What does it really mean to be BORN AGAIN – Positions of Salvation

I have studied the Bible on this subject and have found that much that is preached and taught seems to miss some of what  the Bible teaches regarding the subject.  Before a person accepts Christ, or believes, repents of their sins, commits their life to God or any number of other things that are described in the Bible, they are unsaved, or lost.  They have a selfish end in view for their motive for living.  At that time they own their own life, follow their own will, and are spiritually dead in sin.  The day a person accepts Christ,  they need to realize that the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ are facts, but when the new believer exercises a heart faith and confidence which in effect passes ownership of his life over to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  The Bible says in John 3:16 that “…whosoever believeth in him…” and when we look at the Greek for that phrase, the word inis a Greek word eis which actually means into. The Greek prepositions are placed on a chart to show just how they affect the subject in a sentence.  The diagram for eis appears as presented below:

As one can see, there is movement from one side to the other.  No one that believes in Jesus Christ stays where they were prior to salvation and no one loves the same things.  The meaning of believing in Jesus actually is more accurately said believing into Jesus Christ.  It is being immersed in the love of God as Finney told in his conversion experience.  It is definitely life changing.  It is not mental acknowledgement but life changing waves of the love of God.  The after effect is a new outlook on all that you had once held dear in life.  Nothing looks the same and peace floods your soul.  You are definitely born again, born into a new world and dead to the old one once and for all.  The old man is crucified and the resurrection life of Jesus Christ comes to dwell in the new believer, he is now a new creation in Christ Jesus.

What I found in studying this further is an astounding fact.  The Dana and Mantey Greek Grammar of the New Testament had an interesting footnote in the definition of the word.  It said, essentially, that to believe into or to be baptized into the name of Jesus Christ was to renounce ones self, selfishness and self-gratification, and consider ones self a life-time servant of Jesus Christ.  Nothing is clearer by way of illustration than the testimony of Charles G. Finney in this respect.  The circle on the right, in the illustration above, represents all that Christ stands for.  When a person is regenerated, they pass from the left-hand to the right-hand circle.  They are placing themselves in the hands of God, Jesus Christ specifically, by faith.  When you view the chart you can picture in your mind all the things that we have been saying in this book, the attributes of selfishness on the left, and all the things that relate to disinterested benevolence are on the right.  The left circle is the world of the unsaved; all things are viewed from a self-centered viewpoint.  The right circle is a new world of knowing God through Jesus Christ.  As Charles Finney indicated, there are baptisms of love that no one can describe that come over a new Christian.  He can never be the same.  His position has changed.  He has moved from the left, sometimes without even realizing it, over to the right.  The left feels most uncomfortable now and the right seems most peaceful and tranquil.  On the left a person feels that his life is owned by himself; on the right the person feels that his life is owned now by God.  On the left the person has self as lord; on the right, Christ is now Lord with no problem.  Some seem to cringe at the term “Lordship Salvation” but that is precisely what happens whether there is conscious thought of it or not.  A new Christian is slain by the Love of God and He is Lord of the heart by that same love.  The truth is that regeneration is a drastic change, it is being born again.  The position has changed, as far as the perspective that one has concerning his place in the world and in his place in his relationship to God.  That is just a fact of regeneration that cannot be denied, it is a fact that cannot be otherwise if a person comes to know God.  Is it any wonder that the moral law has this, knowing God, as the number one goal of every human being and of every being in the universe?  There is nothing that can substitute for the thrill and yet the peace and contentment that comes from having a personal relationship with the God of love, the lover of our souls.  So as we have said above, there is a part that the sinner plays, as Charles Finney testifies in his book, and there is a part that God plays as well.  It has happened to all that have come to know God, their perspective is altered in such a way that they can never return to the old life.  Truly old things have passed away and all things have become new.  Here is a list of things from the Bible that show conditions that existed in the left circle and what they are changed to in the right circle:

BEING SAVED – MOVING FROM ONE WORLD TO THE OTHER

Unsaved/Selfish Saved/Benevolence
Owned by me Genesis 3:1-6 Owned by God I Corinthians 6:19,20
Self the lord Psalm 49:18; 81:12; Proverbs 14:12; Zechariah 7:6; Matthew 19:21; II Corinthians 5:15; Philippians 2:21; II Timothy 3:2-4 Christ the Lord Genesis 49:10; Numbers 24:17; Psalms 2:6; 24:8; Isaiah 6:1; 11:10 33:17; 40:10; Jeremiah 23:5,6; 30:9; Daniel 7:13,14; Micah 5:2; Zechariah 9:9,10; Matthew 2:2,6; Matthew 12:6; 19:28; 21:5; 26:64; 28:18; Luke 2:11; 10:22; 23:42; John 1:49; 3:31; 12:13; 18:36,37; Acts 3:15; 5:31; 10:36; Romans 5:9; 14:9; I Corinthians 15:23-28; Ephesians 1:19-22; Philippians 2:9-11; I Timothy 6:15,16; II Timothy 4:8; Hebrews 2:7,8; I Peter 3:22
In the World Ephesians 2:12; II Peter 1:4; I John 2:15,16; 4:3-5; 5:4,5; 5:19; In Christ Jesus Romans 3:24; 8:1,2; 8:39; I Corinthians 1:30; 3:11; 4:15; 15:22; II Corinthians 2:14; 5:17; Galatians 2:4; 3:26; 3:28; 6:15; Ephesians 1:1-3,10; 2:6; 2:8-10; 2:13; 3:11; Philippians 2:5; 3:3; 3:9; 3:14; Colossians 1:28; 2:6; I Thessalonians 4:16; 5:18; I Timothy 1:14; II Timothy 1:1; II Timothy 1:9; 1:13; 2:1; 2:10; 3:12; 3:15; Phileman 1:6; I John 5:20.
Servant of sin Romans 6:17,20 Servant of Righteousness Romans 6:18
Walk in the flesh Romans 8:12,13; Galatians 6:8 Walk in the Spirit Galatians 5:16,25
Lost Matthew 18:11; Luke 15:4-9,24; 19:10; John 17:12; II Corinthians 4:3,4 Saved Matthew 10:22; 19:25; 24:13; Mark 16:16; Luke 7:50; Luke 8:12; John 3:17; 5:34; 10:9; Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30,31; Romans 5:9,10; 8:24; 10:9,10,13; I Corinthians 1:18; 3:15; 5:5; 15:1-6; Ephesians 2:5-10; II Thessalonians 2:10; I Timothy 2:4; II Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5; I Peter 3:20,21; I Peter 4:18;
Dead in Sin Ephesians 2:1,5; Dead to Sin I Peter 2:24: Romans 6; Galatians 2:20
Love the World I John 2:15 Love the Lord Deuteronomy 6:5; 11:13; 30:6,10; Psalms 97:10; 116:1; Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27
Sin is the Master Jeremiah 17:1-3; Ezekiel 3:20,21; John 8:34; 9:41; Romans 3:9; Romans 6:12,16,17,20; 7:17; I Corinthians 15:56; Galatians 2:17; II Peter 2:14; I John 3:8,9 Christ is the Master Matthew 10:24,25; 23:8-10; Mark 13:35; Luke 13:25; 14:21; John 13:13,14; Romans 14:4; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 4:1; II Timothy 2:21
Yoke of sin Leviticus 26:13; Deuteronomy 28:48; Isaiah 10:27; 58:6-9; Ezekiel 34:27; Hosea 11:4; Galatians 5:1; Christ’s Yoke is Easy Matthew 11:28-30
Eternal death Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:46; I John 3:15; Eternal Life Daniel 12:2; Matthew 19:29; 25:46; Mark 10:30; Luke 18:18-23,30; John 3:15,16,36,; 4:14; 5:24; 6:40,47; 10:28; 12:25; 17:2,3; Acts 13:48; Romans 2:7; 5:21; 6:22,23; Galatians 6:8; I Timothy 6:12,19; Titus 1:2, 3:7; I John 1:2; 2:25; 3:15; 5:11-13; 5:20; Jude 1:21.
Reject Christ Mark 7:9 Accept Christ John 1:11,12
Hell the home Psalms 9:17; 16:10; 18:5; 55:15; 86:13; Proverbs 5:5; 7:27; 9:18; 15:11,24; 23:14; 27:20; Isaiah 5:14; 14:15; Matthew 5:22,29,20; 10:28; 18:9; 23:33; Mark 9:43-47; Luke 12:5; 16:23; Acts 2:27,31; II Peter 2:4; 20:13,14; 21:8 Heaven the home Psalms 14:2; Matthew 4:17; 5:3,10,12,16,18,19,20,48; 6:20; 7:21; 10:7,32,33; 18:3,4,10,14,18; 19:14,21,23; 28:18; I Corinthians 15:47; II Corinthians 15:2; Ephesians 3:15; Philippians 2:10; 3:20; Colossians 1:5; I Thessalonians 1:10; 4:16,17; 9:24; 10:34; I Peter 1:4; 3:22; I John 5:7; Revelation 3:12; 4:1,2; 5:13; 11:19; 15:5; 21:1,2,3,10.
Spiritual death Genesis 2:17; Ezekiel 18:20; Romans 6:23; Romans 8:6; Ephesians 4:18; James 1:15; James 5:20; Revelation 21:8 Spiritual Life Matthew 7:14; Matthew 10:39; 16:25-26; 19:17; John 1:4; 3:15,16,36; 5:24,26,29,39,40; 6:27; 6:35,48; 6:63,68; 8:12; 10:10; 11:25; 12:25; 17:3; 20:31; Acts 5:20; 11:18; Romans 5:10; 5:18; 6:4; 8:2,6,10; II Corinthians 2:16; 3:6; 4:10,11,12; 5:4; Galatians 2:20; 3:21; 6:8; Colossians 3:3; II Timothy 1:1,10; James 1:12; II Peter 1:3; I John 1:1,2; 3:14; 5:12;
Spirit is dead Ephesians 2:1-10 Spirit is alive by the Holy Spirit Romans 8:10; Ephesians 2:1-10
No Holy Spirit Jude 1:19 Holy Spirit indwells believer II Timothy 1:14; James 4:5;
Physical birth only John 1:13; 3:6 Born Again of the Spirit of God John 1:13; 3:3; 3:5,-8
Doing their own works Matthew 7:22,23; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8,9; Titus 3:4,5 Hebrews 4:10 Enter into HIS REST Exodus 33:14; Psalms 116:7; Isaiah 28:12; Matthew 11:28-30; Hebrews 4:1-9
Self the motive Proverbs 16:26; Luke 12:19-20 Christ and others the motive Matthew 22:27-40; Philippians 1:21,23-24
Selfishness the mind set Proverbs 12:15; 20:6; Jeremiah 2:35; II Corinthians 10:12 Agape love the mind set Matthew 22:27-40; John 13:35; 15:9,12,13; 21:15-17; I Corinthians 13; I Thessalonians 3:12; I Peter 1:22
Works of the flesh Galatians 5:19-23 Fruit of the Spirit Galatians 5:16-18,25
Man’s will is sovereign John 1:13; II Peter 1:21 God’s will is sovereign Psalms 40:8; 143:10; Matthew 12:50; Ephesians 6:6
Spiritually blind John 9:41 Spiritual sight II Kings 6:17; Job 42:5; Matthew 5:8; John 14:19; 16:14,15; Hebrews 2:9; 11:27;
Unbelief Deuteronomy 32:20; Romans 3:3; Faith and belief foundation Habakkuk 2:4; Matthew 8:10; 9:2,22,29; 15:29; 17:20; 21:21; Mark 5:34; 10:52; 11:22; Acts 3:16; 6:7; 14:9,22,27; 20:21; 26:18; Romans 1:5,8,17; 3:22,25,27-31; 4:5; 5:1,2; 10:6-13,17; I Corinthians 2:5; 15:1-17; 16:13; II Corinthians 5:7; Galatians 2:20; 3:11,24,25,26; 5:5,6,22,23; Ephesians 2:8,9; 3:12,17,18; 6:16; Philippians 3:9; Colossians 1:23; 2:12; I Timothy 6:12; II Timothy 3:15,16; Hebrews 4:2; 10:22,23,28; 11:1ff;
Draw back to perdition Hebrews 10:38,39 Commitment to Christ Psalms 37:3,5; 118:8; Proverbs 3:5,6; Isaiah 26:4; 50:10; II Timothy 1:12;
Believe in the mind James 2:19,20 Believe in the heart Deuteronomy 6:5; Proverbs 3:5,6; Jeremiah 29:13; Joel 2:12; Acts 8:37; Romans 10:9,10
End and scope of life is self Proverbs 16:26; Luke 12:19-20 End and scope of life is God Deuteronomy 6:5; Ecclesiastes 12:13
Does not seek God with whole heart Ezekiel 33:9; Luke 14:18; Acts 24:25; 28:27; Hebrews 2:3; 12:25 Seeks after God with whole heart Psalms 119:2; Proverbs 3:5,6; Jeremiah 29:13; Joel 2:12
Sin unto death Romans 6:16 Obedience unto righteousness Romans 6:16
Love self Luke 12:19,20; 18:10-14 Love God with all the heart Deuteronomy 6:5; Proverbs 3:5,6; Romans 8:28; I Corinthians 8:3; I John 4:20,21; 5:2,3;
Hate or compete with neighbor Matthew 25:41-46; Romans 13:10 Love neighbor as self Matthew 5:44; 19:19; 22:29; 25:34-40; Mark 12:31,33; Luke 10:25-37; Romans 12:20; 13:9,10; 15:1; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8
Hold truth in unrighteousness Romans 1:18ff Hold truth in Word of God Psalms 119:72,127,162; Proverbs 23:23; John 1:1-3,14; 14:6; 18:37; Ephesians 4:25; 6:14
Will chooses selfish goals Proverbs 18:2; Romans 3:23 Will chooses glory of God John 11:40; Acts 7:55; Romans 5:2; I Corinthians 10:31; II Corinthians 1:20; 4:6; 4:15; Philippians 2:9-11,
Continue in sin Romans 6:1-7 Dead unto sin Romans 6:1-7
Old man is alive and well I Peter 4:2-6; II Peter 1:9,10 Old man is crucified Romans 6:6; Galatians 2:20; II Timothy 2:11
Free from righteousness Romans 6:20 Free from sin Romans 6:18,22
Life of habitual sin I John 3:8 Cannot habitually sin I John 3:9
Living in continuous sin I John 3:8 Occasional sin I John 2:1
Save their life now but lose it at endMatthew 16:25,26 Lose life now but save it in eternity Matthew 16:25,26
Regret when they sin Luke 16:30-31; II Corinthians 7:10; Hebrews 12:17 Repent from their sin Matthew 4:17; 9:13; Mark 1:15; 2:17; 6:12; Luke 5:32; 13:3-5; 15:7; 24:47; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 5:31; 11:18; 17:30; 20:21; 26:20; Romans 2:4; II Corinthians 7:10; II Timothy 2:25; II Peter 3:9
Sorrow of the world (being caught) II Corinthians 7:10 Godly sorrow (see sin as God sees it) II Corinthians 7:10
Reject Christ as Lord & Savior Matthew 7:21; Luke 6:46; Hebrews 10:38 Accept Christ in ALL THAT HE IS! Romans 10:13; I Corinthians 1:30,31
Selfish love (lust) James 1:13-15 Agape sacrificial love I Corinthians 13
Gain the world Matthew 16:26 Lose the World Matthew 16:26
Lose their soul Matthew 16:26 Save the Soul Matthew 16:26

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How to Know Jesus

MEETING JESUS

The whole purpose of life is summed up in the wonderful truth that anyone can know God personally in the person of Jesus Christ.  In order to know Him, one needs to be introduced to him and to see what it is that makes him so special.  Let me try to make a case for the intrinsic value of Jesus who is called the Christ.

“The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.”  (John 7:46)

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”  (Hebrews 1:1-9)

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.”  (Colossians 1:14-21)

“For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”  (Colossians 2:9)

“For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house.”  (Hebrews 3:3)

“Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.”  (Hebrews 5:10)

“So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”  (Hebrews 5:5-6)

“Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;”  (Hebrews 5:8)

What are these verses talking about?  They are talking about Jesus!  Well, you say, what is so special about Jesus?  I have a little list in one of my sermons that goes like this:

  1. To the artist Jesus is the One Altogether Lovely.
  2. To the architect Jesus is the Chief Cornerstone.
  3. To the astronomer Jesus is the Sun of Righteousness.
  4. To the baker Jesus is the Living Bread.
  5. To the banker Jesus is the Treasure of all Treasures.
  6. To the biologist Jesus is the Life.
  7. To the builder Jesus is the Sure Foundation.
  8. To the carpenter Jesus is the Door
  9. To the doctor Jesus is the Great Physician.
  10. To the educator Jesus is the Great Teacher.
  11. To the engineer Jesus is the New and Living Way.
  12. To the farmer Jesus is the Sower and the Lord of the Harvest.
  13. To the florist Jesus is the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the Valley.
  14. To the geologist Jesus is the Rock of Ages.
  15. To the horticulturist Jesus is the True Vine.
  16. To the judge Jesus is the Righteous Judge, the Judge of All Men.
  17. To the juror Jesus is the Faithful and True Witness.
  18. To the jeweler Jesus is the Pearl of Great Price.
  19. To the lawyer Jesus is the Counselor, the Lawgiver.
  20. To the newspaperman Jesus is the Good Tidings of Great Joy.
  21. To the oculist Jesus is the Light of the Eyes.
  22. To the philanthropist Jesus is the Gift of God.
  23. To the preacher Jesus is the Word of God.
  24. To the sculptor Jesus is the Living Stone.
  25. To the servant Jesus is the Good Master.
  26. To the student Jesus is the Incarnate Truth.
  27. To the statesman Jesus is the Desire of All Nations.
  28. To the theologian Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our Faith.
  29. To the toiler Jesus is the Giver of Rest.
  30. To the sinner Jesus is the Lamb of God Who Takes Away The Sin of The World.
  31. To the saint Jesus is the Son of the Living God, the Savior, the Redeemer, and the Lord.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.”  (Matthew 13:44)  There is something about knowing Jesus that does this to people.  It is like the treasure in the field to know Him.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”  (Matthew 13:45-46)  What is it worth to you to have the Lord of the Universe actually live in your heart?  It is definitely worth selling all in order to purchase the pearl.

The point that we are making here and will continue to make as we move further in this book is that there is intrinsic value in knowing Jesus.  There is enough intrinsic value to turn from a life of selfish living to serving Jesus as a life-time servant.  Regeneration is what happens to a man when his vision of life is changed by meeting Jesus face to face.  There is a  blind song writer that put the concept into words that paint a true picture.  Her name was Fanny Crosby.  Read this poem which is also a famous hymn:

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

1. O soul, are you weary and troubled?

No light in the darkness you see?

There’s light for a look at the Savior,

And life more abundant and free!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face;

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace.

2. Through death into life everlasting

He passed, and we follow Him there;

Over us sin no more hath dominion

For more than conquerors we are!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face;

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace.

3. His Word shall not fail you-He promised;

Believe Him, and all will be well;

Then go to a world that is dying,

His perfect salvation to tell!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face;

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace.

What is it that is so special about Jesus?  It is His love!  Jesus has what is called  disinterested benevolence which is how we describe the love of God as well.  His love is like none other!  It is something that will change you forever:

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Romans 8:35-39)

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”  (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)

“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)

“Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”  (Jude 1:21)

The love of God and of Jesus does something that none can explain but it certainly changes a life completely.

“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 3:7-14)

Let’s read the testimony of Charles G. Finney, revivalist

At an early hour I started for the office.  But just before I arrived at the office, something seemed to confront me with questions like these:  indeed, it seemed as if the inquiry within myself, as an inward voice said to me, “What are you waiting for?  Did you not promise to give your heart to God?  And what are you trying to do?  Are you endeavoring to work out a righteousness of your own?”

Just at this point the whole question of Gospel salvation opened to my mind in a manner most marvelous to me at the time.  I think I then saw, as clearly as I ever have in my life, the reality and fullness of the atonement of Christ.  I saw that his work was a finished work; and that instead of having, or needing, any righteousness of my own to recommend me to God, I had to submit myself to the righteousness of God through Christ.  Gospel salvation seemed to me to be an offer of something to be accepted; and that it was full and complete; and that all that was necessary on my part, was to get my own consent to give up my sins, and accept Christ.  Salvation, it seemed to me, instead of being a thing to be wrought out, by my own works, was a thing to be found entirely in the Lord Jesus Christ, who presented himself before me as my God and my Savior.

Without being distinctly aware of it, I had stopped in the street right where the inward voice seemed to arrest me.  How long I remained in that position I cannot say.  But after this distinct revelation had stood for some little time before my mind, the question seemed to be put, “Will you accept it now, to-day?”  I replied, “Yes; I will accept it to-day, or I will die in the attempt.”

North of the village, and over the hill, lay a piece of woods, in which I was in the almost daily habit of walking, more or less, when it was pleasant weather.  It was now October, and the time was past for my frequent walks there.  Nevertheless, instead of going to the office, I returned and bent my course toward the woods, feeling that I must be alone and away from all human eyes and ears, so that I could pour out my prayer to God.

But still my pride must show itself.  As I went over the hill, it occurred to me that some one might see me and suppose that I was going away to pray.  Yet probably there was not a person on earth that would have suspected such a thing, had he seen me going.  But so great was my pride, and so much was I possessed with the fear of man, that I recollect that I skulked along under the fence, till I got so far out of sight that no one from the village could see me.  I then penetrated into the woods, I should think, a quarter of a mile, went over on the other side of the hill, and found a place where some large trees had fallen across each other, leaving an open place between.  There I saw I could make a kind of closet.  I crept into this placed and knelt down for prayer.  As I turned to go up into the woods, I recollect to have said, “I will give my heart to God, or I never will come down from there.”  I recollect repeating this as I went up-“I will give my heart to God before I ever come down again.”

But when I attempted to pray I found that my heart would not pray.  I had supposed that I could only be where I could speak aloud, without being overheard, I could pray freely.  But lo!  When I came to try, I was dumb; that is, I had nothing to say to God; or at least I could say but a few words, and those without heart.  In attempting to pray I would hear a rustling in the leaves, as I thought, and would stop and look up to see if somebody were not coming.  This I did several times.

Finally I found myself verging fast to despair.  I said to myself, “I cannot pray.  My heart is dead to God, and will not pray.”  I then reproached myself for having promised to give my heart to God before I left the woods. When I came to try, I found that I could not give my heart to God.  My inward soul hung back, and there was no going out of my heart to God.  I began to feel deeply that it was too late; that it must be that I was given up of God and was past hope.

The thought was pressing me of the rashness of my promise, that I would give my heart to God that day or die in the attempt.  It seemed to me as if that was binding upon my soul; and yet I was going to break my vow.  A great sinking and discouragement came over me, and I felt almost too weak to stand upon my knees.

Just at this moment I again thought I heard some one approach me, and I opened my eyes to see whether it were so.  But right there the revelation of my pride of heart, as the great difficulty that stood in the way, was distinctly shown to me.  An overwhelming sense of my wickedness in being ashamed to have a human being see me on my knees before God, took such powerful possession of me, that I cried at the top of my voice, and exclaimed that I would not leave that place it all the men on earth and all the devils in hell surrounded me.  “What!” I said, “such a degraded sinner as I am, on my knees confessing my sins to the great and holy God; and ashamed to have any human being, and a sinner like myself, find me on my knees endeavoring to make my peace with my offended God?”  The sin appeared awful, infinite.  It broke me down before the Lord.

Just at that point this passage of Scripture seemed to drop into my mind with a flood of light:  “Then shall ye go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.  Then shall ye seek me and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”  I instantly seized hold of this with my heart.  I had intellectually believed the Bible before; but never had the truth been in my mind that faith was a voluntary trust instead of an intellectual state.  I was as conscious as I was of my existence, of trusting at that moment in God’s veracity.  Somehow I knew that that was a passage of Scripture, though I do not think I had ever read it.  I knew that it was God’s word, and God’s voice, as it were, that spoke to me.  I cried to Him, “Lord, I take thee with all my heart, and that I have come here to pray to thee; and thou has promised to hear me.”

That seemed to settle the question that I could then, that day, perform my vow.  The Spirit seemed to lay stress upon that idea in the text, “When you search for me with all your heart.”  The question of when, that is of the present time, seemed to fall heavily into my heart.  I told the Lord that I should take him at his word; that he could not lie; and that therefore I was sure that he heard my prayer, and that he would be found of me.

He then gave me many other promises, both from the Old and the New Testament, especially some most precious promises respecting our Lord Jesus Christ.  I never can, in words, make any human being understand how precious and true those promises appeared to me.  I took them one after the other as infallible truth, the assertions of God who could not lie.  They did not seem so much to fall into my intellect as into my heart, to be put within the grasp of the voluntary powers of my mind;  and I seized hold of them, appropriated them, and fastened upon them with the grasp of a drowning man.

I continued to pray, and to receive and appropriate promises for a long time, I know not how long.  I prayed till my mind became so full that, before I was aware of it, I was on my feet and tripping up the ascent toward the road.  The question of my being converted, had not so much as arisen to my thought; but as I went up, brushing through the leaves and bushes, I recollect saying with great emphasis, “If I am ever converted, I will preach the Gospel.”

I soon reached the road that led to the village, and began to reflect upon what had passed; and I found that my mind had become most wonderfully quiet and peaceful.  I said to myself, “What is this? I must have grieved the Holy Ghost entirely away.  I have lost all my conviction.  I have not a particle of concern about my soul; and it must be that the Spirit has left me.”  “Why!”  thought I, “I never was so far from being concerned about my own salvation in my life.”

Then I remembered what I had said to God while I was on my knees-that I had said I would take him at his word; and indeed I recollected a good many things that I had said, and concluded that it was no wonder that the Spirit had left me; that for such a sinner as I was to take hold of God’s word in that way, was presumption if not blasphemy.  I concluded that in my excitement I had grieved the Holy Spirit, and perhaps committed the unpardonable sin.

I walked quietly toward the village; and so perfectly quiet was my mind that it seemed as if all nature listened.  It was on the 10th of October, and a very pleasant day.  I had gone into the woods immediately after an early breakfast; and when I returned to the village I found it was dinner time.  Yet I had been wholly unconscious of the time that had passed; it appeared to me that I had been gone from the village but a short time.

But how was I to account for the quiet of my mind?  I tried to recall my convictions, to get back again the load of sin under which I had been laboring.  But all sense of sin, and all consciousness of present sin or guilt, had departed from me.  I said to myself, “What is this, that I cannot arouse any sense of guilt in my soul, as great a sinner as I am?”  I tried in vain to make myself anxious about my present state.  I was so quiet and peaceful that I tried to feel concerned about that, lest it should be a result of my having grieved the Spirit away.  But take any view of it I would, I could not be anxious at all about my soul, and about my spiritual state.  The repose of my mind was unspeakably great.  I never can describe it in words.  The thought of God was sweet to my mind, and the most profound spiritual tranquility had taken full possession of me.  This was a great mystery; but it did not distress or perplex me.

I went to my dinner, and found I had no appetite to eat.  I then went to the office, and found that Squire W-had gone to dinner.  I took down my bass-viol, and, as I was accustomed to do, began to plan and sing some pieces of sacred music.  But as soon as I began to sing those sacred words, I began to weep.  It seemed as if my heart was all liquid; and my feelings were in such a state that I could not hear my own voice in singing without causing my sensibility to overflow.  I wondered at this, and tried to suppress my tears, but could not.  After trying in vain to suppress my tears, I put up my instrument and stopped singing.

After dinner we were engaged in removing our books and furniture to another office.  We were very busy in this, and had but little conversation all the afternoon.  My mind, however, remained in that profoundly tranquil state.  There was a great sweetness and tenderness in my thoughts and feelings.  Everything appeared to be going right, and nothing seemed to ruffle or disturb me in the least.

Just before evening the thought took possession of my mind, that as soon as I was left alone in the new office, I would try to pray again-that I was not going to abandon the subject of religion and give it up, at any rate; and therefore, although I no longer had any concern about my soul, still I would continue to pray.

By evening we got books and furniture adjusted; and I made up, in an open fire-place, a good fire, hoping to spend the evening alone.  Just at dark Squire W–, seeing that everything was adjusted, bade me good-night and went to his home.  I had accompanied him to the door; and as I closed the door and turned around, my heart seemed to be liquid within me.  All my feelings seemed to rise and flow out; and the utterance of my heart was, “I want to pour my whole soul out to God.”  The rising of my soul was so great that I rushed into the room back of the front office, to pray.

There was no fire, and no light, in the room; nevertheless it appeared to me as if it were perfectly light.  As I went in and shut the door after me, it seemed as if I met the Lord Jesus Christ face to face.  It did not occur to me then, nor did it for some time afterward, that it was wholly a mental state.  On the contrary it seemed to me that I saw him as I would see any other man.  He said nothing, but looked at me in such a manner as to break me right down at his feet.  I have always since regarded this as a most remarkable state of mind; for it seemed to me a reality, that he stood before me, and I fell down at his feet and poured out my soul to him.  I wept aloud like a child, and made such confessions as I could with my choked utterance.  It seemed to me that I bathed his feet with my tears; and yet I had no distinct impression that I touched him, that I recollect.

I must have continued in this state for a good while; but my mind was too much absorbed with the interview to recollect anything that I said.  But I know, as soon as my mind became calm enough to break off from the interview, I returned to the front office, and found that the fire that I had made of large wood was nearly burned out.  But as I turned and was about to take a seat by the fire, I received a mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost.  Without any expectation of it, without ever having the thought in my mind that there was any such thing for me, without any recollection that I had ever heard the thing mentioned by any person in the world, the Holy Spirit descended upon me in a manner that seemed to go through me, body and soul.  I could feel the impression, like a wave of electricity, going through and through me.  Indeed it seemed to come in waves and waves of liquid love; for I could not express it in any other way.  It seemed like the very breath of God.  I can recollect distinctly that it seemed to fan me, like immense wings.

No words can express the wonderful love that was shed abroad in my heart.  I wept aloud with joy and love; and I do not know but I should say, I literally bellowed out the unutterable gushings of my heart.  These waves came over me, and over me, and over me, one after the other, until I recollect I cried out, “I shall die if these waves continue to pass over me.”  I said, “Lord, I cannot bear any more;”  yet I had no fear of death.

How long I continued in this state, with this baptism continuing to roll over me and go through me, I do not know.  But I know it was late in the evening when a member of my choir-for I was the leader of the choir-came into the office to see me.  He was a member of the church.  He found me in this state of loud weeping, and said to me, “Mr. Finney, what ails you?”  I could make him no answer for some time.  He then said, “Are you in pain?”  I gathered myself up as best I could, and replied, “No, but so happy that I cannot live.”

We could go on with the narrative, but shortly after the above mentioned meeting, a serious man from the church came in and began to laugh with a holy laughter and then a young man who had used Charles Finney as his reason to remain an unbeliever came in only to hear the testimony of Charles and his change of life.  He was immediately convicted and on His knees gave his own heart to God.  You can read it all in the book Charles G. Finney, An Autobiography. The life of Charles Finney was drastically changed from that day to the day of his death.  He became one of the greatest revivalists history has ever known and profoundly influenced the early years of our country in having many Senators, Congressmen, Lawyers, and Judges converted to Jesus Christ.  The reason is that regeneration, as we are discussing here, made a remarkable change.  Charles G. Finney was truly “born again.”

What is being born again as Finney describes?  I have studied the Bible on this subject and have found that much that is preached and taught seems to miss some of that the Bible teaches regarding the subject.  Before a person accepts Christ, or believes, repents of their sins, commits their life to God or any number of other things that are described in the Bible, they are unsaved, or lost.  They have a selfish end in view for their motive for living. Charles Finney said he had selfish pride that kept him from believing the promises of God.   At that time they own their own life, follow their own will, and are spiritually dead in sin.  The day a person accepts Christ, as seen in the testimony of Charles G. Finney, he does more than to mentally believe, as Mr. Finney describes in his testimony, that the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ are facts, but he exercises a heart faith and confidence which in effect passes ownership of his life over to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  The Bible says in John 3:16 that “…whosoever believeth in him…” and when we look at the Greek for that phrase, the word in is a Greek word eis which actually means into. The Greek prepositions are placed on a chart to show just how they affect the subject in a sentence.  The diagram for eis appears as presented below:

As one can see, there is movement from one side to the other.  No one that believes in Jesus Christ stays where they were prior to salvation and no one loves the same things.  The meaning of believing in Jesus actually is more accurately said believing into Jesus Christ.  It is being immersed in the love of God as Finney told in his conversion experience.  It is definitely life changing.  It is not mental acknowledgement but life changing waves of the love of God.  The after effect is a new outlook on all that you had once held dear in life.  Nothing looks the same and peace floods your soul.  You are definitely born again, born into a new world and dead to the old one once and for all.  The old man is crucified and the resurrection life of Jesus Christ comes to dwell in the new believer, he is now a new creation in Christ Jesus.

What I found in studying this further is an astounding fact.  The Dana and Mantey Greek Grammar of the New Testament had an interesting footnote in the definition of the word.  It said, essentially, that to believe into or to be baptized into the name of Jesus Christ was to renounce ones self, selfishness and self-gratification, and consider ones self a life-time servant of Jesus Christ.  Nothing is clearer by way of illustration than the testimony of Charles G. Finney in this respect.  The circle on the right, in the illustration above, represents all that Christ stands for.  When a person is regenerated, they pass from the left-hand to the right-hand circle.  They are placing themselves in the hands of God, Jesus Christ specifically, by faith.  When you view the chart you can picture in your mind all the things that we have been saying in this lesson, the attributes of selfishness on the left, and all the things that relate to disinterested benevolence (Love of God) are on the right.  The left circle is the world of the unsaved; all things are viewed from a self-centered viewpoint.  The right circle is a new world of knowing God through Jesus Christ.  As Charles Finney indicated, there are baptisms of love that no one can describe that come over a new Christian.  He can never be the same.  His position has changed.  He has moved from the left, sometimes without even realizing it, over to the right.  The left feels most uncomfortable now and the right seems most peaceful and tranquil.  On the left a person feels that his life is owned by himself; on the right the person feels that his life is owned now by God.  On the left the person has self as lord; on the right, Christ is now Lord with no problem.  Some seem to cringe at the term “Lordship Salvation” but that is precisely what happens whether there is conscious thought of it or not.  A new Christian is slain by the Love of God and He is Lord of the heart by that same love. He is Lord of love.  The truth is that regeneration is a drastic change, it is being born again.  The position has changed, as far as the perspective that one has concerning his place in the world and in his place in his relationship to God.  That is just a fact of regeneration that cannot be denied, it is a fact that cannot be otherwise if a person comes to know God.  Is it any wonder that the moral law has this, knowing God, as the number one goal of every human being and of every being in the universe?  There is nothing that can substitute for the thrill and yet the peace and contentment that comes from having a personal relationship with the God of love, the lover of our souls.  So as we have said above, there is a part that the sinner plays, as Charles Finney testifies in his book, and there is a part that God plays as well.  It has happened to all that have come to know God, their perspective is altered in such a way that they can never return to the old life.  Truly old things have passed away and all things have become new.   The following outline is how you, too can have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and know the Love of God.  Read each word with a prayerful spirit:

 

“This is Life Eternal ….that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”  John 17:3

  • Is God the end & scope of your life? Who owns your heart?  If you died right now, do you know 100% sure that you will be with Jesus in Heaven?
  • Do all your friends and family know you as a life-time servant of Jesus Christ?
  • Is there any part of your life that you would say does not belong completely to God?
  • What would it profit you to gain the world and lost your soul or what would you give in exchange for your soul?
  • God’s Wonderful Plan of Salvation is right here in four simple but powerful truths.  Read them carefully and cry out  to God with your mouth and with all your heart!

If you could know that Jesus loves you,

If you could only understand

That Jesus thought of you when dying,

And paid the price that guilt demands.

I know your heart would then adore Him;

I know His voice you would obey.

He calls you now with tender pleading!

Obey His voice and follow Him today.”

(Continued below)

FIRST, You Are A Sinner!

  • Romans 3:10,11 says, “As it is written, there is none righteous, no not one.  There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.”
  • When the Bible talks about sin it means to miss the mark of the end and scope of life which is God. Could you say that the goal of your life is the glory of God?
  • Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
  • There is one thing that separates between man and God and that is sin.
  • Romans 7:19-20 says, “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.  Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.”
  • We find that we are in bondage to sin, unable to break it’s power.  Anyone that is in bondage to sin does not glorify God.
  • Do you admit that you have sinned?  If so, move to the next point.

SECOND, The Price on Sin Is Death!

  • Romans 5:12 says, “Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”
  • The first people in the world were Adam and Eve.  Their sin was that they decided to make “self” their goal rather than God. Does that sound familiar?
  • Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
  • Serving Self makes us all the enemies of God.  The bondage of our flesh to lust and sin has made what we thought was pleasure into a mirage of doom, physical death and separation from God in hell.
  • Revelation 20:14 says, “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.  This is the second death.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
  • Do you admit that you are headed for hell if you don’t break the bondage to sin?  If so, go on to the next point.

THIRD, Jesus Paid the Price for your sins!

  • Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
  • The greatest story ever told is of Jesus, come to earth, born in a lowly manger of the virgin Mary, living a life without sin, and then dying on a cross to pay the penalty for all mankind.
  • He did more than that, He took us with Him, thereby breaking our bondage to sin by His death and resurrection. Glory to God!  When you give up your life to Him, you get His resurrection power!
  • Do you believe enough that He died and rose again for you, that you would be willing to trust your life and future to the One that can raise the dead?  Go on to the next point!

If you could know the joy of pardon;

If you could know the peace it brings.

When Jesus speaks, “DIVINE FORGIVENESS,”

The saddest heart with rapture sings.

I know your heart would then adore Him;

I know His voice you would obey.

He calls you now with tender pleading;

Obey His voice and follow Him today.”

LAST, Ask Jesus To Come Into Your Heart! Give Him ALL YOUR LIFE!

Romans 10: 9,10 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. . . . .For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

  • It almost seems too simple, yet the Bible says we must be like little children to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
  • Do you see what the verses say? To believe is to give up your life to Him because He gave His life for you.  He only wants the best for you.  Being His servant is to be free from the bondage of sin. You will have a new  yoke, a bondage of love to Jesus.
  • Wouldn’t you be willing to just tell Jesus that you will surrender your life to him today and let Him come into your heart to take control?
  • Great!  If Jesus would take you just like you are, would you take Him? You will do it won’t you?  He will make the changes but you must give him all!  Don’t hold back!  It’s all or nothing!
  • So, simply bow your head and say a prayer something like this, as you picture placing your life in God’s hands now and forever:

Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and deserve hell for my sins.  I believe that you died for me and rose from the dead the third day and am willing to surrender all my life to you right now.  Take away all my sins!  Take me to heaven when I die?  I now receive you as my Lord and Savior.  Thank-you for saving me!  In Jesus Name I pray, Amen!”

If you pray that prayer while viewing the pages on this site, please write to us and let us know about your new life in Jesus Christ and then follow all the lessons from Lesson #1 to Lesson #27 so that you can be the best Christian one can possibly be and invite all your friends and family as well as many others that cross your path to find the same Savior that you have found.

SEEKING GOD’S WILL

Scripture Reading: John 7:17; Matt. 10:29-31; 18:15-20; Rom. 8:14; Psa. 119:105; 1 John 2:27

If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. (John 7:17)

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:29-31)

Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:15-20)

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.  (Romans 8:14)

NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.  (Psalms 119:105)

But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.  (1 John 2:27)

 

I. THE NEED TO OBEY GOD’S WILL

Before we were saved, we did everything according to our own will. At that time we served ourselves and did everything to please ourselves. We would do anything as long as it pleased us or made us happy. However, now we have believed in the Lord and have accepted Christ Jesus as our Savior. We have acknowledged Him as our Master, the One whom we serve. We have acknowledged that He has redeemed us. We belong to Him and are of Him, and we are here to serve Him. For this reason, we need a fundamental change. We no longer should walk according to our preference; we must walk according to God’s will. After we believe in the Lord, the focus of our living changes. The focus is no longer ourselves, but the Lord. The first thing we should do after we are saved is ask, “What shall I do, Lord?” Paul asked this question in Acts 22:10, and we should ask the same question. Whenever we come across a situation, we should say, “Lord, not as I will, but as You will.” In making decisions or in choosing our paths, we should always say to the Lord, “Not as I will, but as You will.”

The life we possess has one basic demand—to walk according to God’s will. The more we obey God’s will, the happier we become within. The more we deny our own will, the straighter our pathway will be before God. If we walk according to our own will as we once did, we will not feel happy. Instead, we will suffer. After we are saved, the more we walk according to our own will, the more suffering and the less joy we will have. But the more we walk according to the new life and the more we obey God’s will, the more peace and joy we will have. This is a wonderful change. We should not think that we will be happy if we walk according to our own will. After becoming Christians, we will find our path filled with peace and joy if we do not walk according to our own will but learn to submit to and obey God’s will. Christian joy has to do with obeying God’s will, not with walking according to our own will.

Once we become Christians, we have to learn to accept God’s will and be governed by it. If a person can submit humbly to God’s will, he will spare himself many needless detours. Many fail and stop growing in life because they walk according to their own will. The result of walking according to our own will is nothing but sorrow and poverty. In the end we still have to walk according to God’s will. God always subdues us through things, circumstances, and the environment. If we have not been chosen by God, He will let us walk as we wish. But since we have been chosen by God, He will lead us to the way of obedience according to His way. Disobedience will only cost us unnecessary detours. In the end we will still have to obey.  (The desire to do the will of God is linked to the intrinsic value of who God is and the love that He has for us as He wants the very best for our lives.  God always has the good of being or the very best end for all his family which we have become a part of the day we were saved.  He has what is called disinterested benevolence which is love that wants nothing in return as a payback but his love has only one ending goal, the best possible life that we can ever have.  In short, God loves you and me with an everlasting love and even when we don’t respond to that love, he will always try to work things out in our life to give us an expected happy ending.  That happy ending is the will of God that we are speaking about.  It is not the will of a tyrant like some false religions such as Islam where Allah demands that his subjects sacrifice their lives in some kind of suicide bombing or fighting Jihad.  With Christians, the Will of God is never the foundation of our obedience to Him.  Instead, it is the Love of God that is the foundation.  So as you read this lesson about the will of God, don’t think of it as the same as the will of Allah, but like a loving father that is gently leading you into a life that will have the best possible results at the end.)

II. HOW TO KNOW GOD’S WILL

Our question now is how do we know God’s will. We often think that mortals like us could never understand God’s will. However, we should have the assurance that not only do we want to obey God’s will, but God Himself also wants us to obey His will. Not only do we seek to know His will, but God Himself also wants us to know His will. If God wants us to obey His will, He must first enable us to know His will. Therefore, it is God’s business to reveal His will to us. None of God’s children need to worry and say, “Since I cannot know God’s will, how can I obey it?” This concern is unnecessary because God always has a way to show us His will (Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.  Hebrews 13:21). We have to believe that God will always show us His will through the proper means. It is God’s responsibility to tell us His will. If we are submissive in our attitude and intention, we will surely know His will. All of us must learn to believe that God is eager to reveal His will to man.

What are the ways to know God’s will? A Christian must pay attention to three things in order to know God’s will. If these three things are in agreement with one another, we can be quite sure that it is God’s will. These three things are: (1) arrangements in the environment, (2) the leading of the Holy Spirit, and (3) the teachings of the Scripture. These three things are not mentioned according to the order of their importance. They do not necessarily have to be in sequential order. We are simply stating that these three things help us know God’s will. When the testimonies of these three things are in agreement with one another, we can be assured that we know God’s will. If one of these three things is not in agreement with the other two, we still need to wait. We must wait until all three agree with one another before we go ahead.

A. Arrangements in the Environment

Luke 12:6 says, “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?” Matthew 10:29 says, “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.” If one farthing could buy two sparrows, then by right two farthings should only buy four sparrows. But the Lord said two farthings could buy five sparrows. One farthing buys two, and two farthings buy four plus an additional one. This shows us the cheapness of a sparrow. However, even a cheap thing such as a sparrow is not allowed to fall to the earth if God forbids it. Although the fifth sparrow is an extra one that is given for free, no sparrow is forgotten by God. If our God does not allow it, no sparrow can fall to the earth. This clearly shows us that everything happens under God’s permission. If our heavenly Father forbids it, even a sparrow will not fall to the earth. (This helps us see the intrinsic value of the love of God.  His benevolence is that even with a sparrow there will be a best end.)

It is difficult to number a person’s hairs. However, the Lord said, “Even the hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matt. 10:30). No one knows how many hairs he has, and no one can count his own hairs, but God has counted and numbered our hairs. Our God is so fine and so exact!  (Can’t you just see the love of a God who even knows the number of your hairs?)

If God takes care of a seemingly worthless creature such as a sparrow, how much more will He take care of His children! If God takes care of something as minute as a hair, how much more will He take care of other things! Once we believe in the Lord, we need to learn to know His will through the environment. Nothing that happens to us is a coincidence. Everything is measured by the Lord. Our career, spouse, parents, children, relatives, friends, and everything have been ordained by God. Behind everything that happens to us each day is God’s sovereign arrangement. Therefore, we have to learn to read God’s will (as created by His love) in the environment. A new believer may not be that experienced in the leading of the Spirit, and he may not know that much of the teaching of the Scripture. But at least he can see God’s hand in the environment. This is a believer’s most basic lesson. (Look around you and when you consider the love of God, you can’t help but see his handiwork in all of creation and in the seemingly natural events of life, even in the environment around you.)

Psalm 32:9 says, “Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.” Many times we are just like a horse or a mule, without understanding, and must be harnessed with outward bit and bridle by God before we can avoid mistakes. Have you ever seen a duck farmer? He has a long stick in his hand. When the ducks wander to the left or to the right, he herds them back with his stick. The ducks have no choice but to take the right path. In the same way, we can commit ourselves to the Lord and tell Him, “Lord, I am truly like a horse or a mule that has no understanding. But I do not want to make mistakes. I want to know Your will. Please harness me with Your bit and pull me with Your bridle. Once You let go of me, I will take the wrong way. Please guard me with Your will and direct me into Your will. If I wander away, I want You to stop me. I do not know many things, but I know what pain feels like. When I reject Your will, please come in and stop me!” Brothers and sisters, we must never belittle God’s arrangement in the environment. Even though we may have fallen into shame and may have become like a horse or a mule, we often can still count on God’s mercy to bridle us in time. God uses the environment to stop us from making mistakes. He forces us to have no alternative but to follow Him.

B. The Leading of the Holy Spirit

God’s hand is seen through the environment. But He is not happy to always guide us like senseless horses or mules. He wants to guide us from within. Romans 8:14 says, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” We are God’s children and God’s life is within us. God not only guides us through the environment but also speaks to us and guides us from within through His Spirit. The Spirit dwells within us, and God’s will is revealed to us through our innermost being.

The book of Ezekiel tells us that God will “put a new spirit within you” (11:19). Again it says, “A new spirit will I put within you…I will put my Spirit within you” (36:26-27). We must distinguish between “a new spirit” and “my Spirit.” “My Spirit” refers to the Spirit of God, whereas “a new spirit” refers to our spirit at the time of our regeneration. This new spirit is like a temple, a home where the Spirit of God dwells. If we did not have a new spirit within us, God would not have given us His Spirit, and the Holy Spirit could not have dwelt within us. Throughout the ages God has been trying to give man His Spirit. However, man’s spirit was defiled, sin-ridden, dead, and fallen in the old creation. It was impossible for the Spirit of God to dwell in man even though this was His desire. Man has to receive a new spirit through regeneration before he can be in the position to receive God’s Spirit and before God can dwell in him.

Once a new believer has a new spirit, the Spirit of God dwells in him. The Spirit of God spontaneously communicates to him His will; he spontaneously has an inner sense. Not only is he able to discern God’s provision in the environment, but he also now possesses an inward knowledge and inward assurance. We should learn to trust not only in God’s sovereignty in the environment but also in the leading of the Holy Spirit within. At the right time and when the need arises, the Spirit of God will enlighten us within. He will give us a sense and show us what is of God and what is not of God. (Many times this inner sense is stronger than our five senses because we just “know” that God has spoken to us in our spirit.  It is much like the day you were saved.  You knew that you were a sinner.  You knew that the penalty for sin was death.  You knew inside that Jesus loved you and died for you.  Then when you prayed to ask Jesus to save you, you know that he heard you even though you could not see, hear, or touch him.  It was the inner sense in your spirit that gave you this knowledge.  It is the same with the leading of God through the Holy Spirit.  As God begins to lead you, it will be a strong sense and a “rest” that will come as you have no doubt that it is God’s Spirit leading you through that “still small voice” inside your spirit.)

One brother loved to drink before he became a believer. Every winter, he would drink much wine. He even made his own wine. Later, both he and his wife were saved. He was not very literate and could not read the Bible very well. One day he prepared some food and wine and was going to drink as before. After thanking the Lord for the food, he asked his wife, “Can a Christian drink wine?” His wife said, “I do not know.” He said, “Too bad no one is here to tell us.” His wife said, “The wine and the food are ready. Let us go ahead today and ask others afterward.” He gave thanks again but felt that something was not right. He thought that, as a Christian, he should find out whether Christians can take wine. He asked his wife to take out the Bible, but he did not know where to turn. He was stuck. Later, he met someone and told him about this incident. His friend asked whether or not he drank the wine that day. He answered, “In the end I did not drink it, because the householder within would not allow me. I did not drink the wine.”

If a man has the desire to obey God’s will, he will find out what this will is. Only those who are callous about their inner sense will remain in darkness. As long as one has the intention to obey God’s will, the “householder within” will guide him. The householder that our brother spoke of is actually the Holy Spirit. When a person believes in the Lord, the Holy Spirit dwells within him. He guides the believer and becomes his Master. God reveals His will not only through the environment but also through the “householder within.”

There are two kinds of leading of the Holy Spirit. The first is an inner urging, as in Acts 8:29 when “…. the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.” and in Acts 10:19-20 when the Holy Spirit said to Peter, “Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.” These are inner urgings. The second kind of leading is an inner forbidding, as mentioned in Acts 16:6-7: “were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,  After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.” This is the inner forbidding. The story of the “householder within” is a case of inner forbidding.

In order to know God’s will, a new believer should be somewhat familiar with the inner sense. The Spirit of God dwells in the innermost part of man. Hence, the feeling of the Spirit is not something shallow or outward; it issues from the deepest part of man’s being. It is a voice that is not quite a voice, a feeling that is not quite a feeling. The Spirit of God within shows us whether something is according to His will. Provided we have the divine life within, we will feel right when we act according to this life, and we will feel terrible and uneasy within if we disobey and deviate slightly from this life. A believer should live a life that yields to this life. We must not do things that will take away our inner peace. Whenever we sense any unrest, we should realize that the Holy Spirit within is displeased with what we are doing; He is grieved. If we do something that is contrary to the Lord, we will surely have no peace within. The more we go ahead with it, the less peace and joy we will have. If something is of the Lord, spontaneously we will have peace and joy.

However, do not over-analyze your inward feelings. If you keep analyzing whether or not something is right, you will be totally confused. Some people continue to ask what the feeling of the Holy Spirit is and what the feeling of the soul is. They are always analyzing whether something is right or wrong. This is very unhealthy; it is actually a spiritual sickness. It is very difficult to bring a self-analyzing person back to the proper path. I hope that you can avoid such a trap. Actually, a person analyzes only because he does not have enough light. If he has enough light, everything will be clear to him spontaneously, and he will not need to waste his energy on such analysis. If a person is sincere in trying to obey the Lord, it will be very easy for him to sense the inner leading.

C. The Teachings of the Scripture

God’s will is not only revealed through the environment and made known through the indwelling Spirit; it is also revealed to us through the Bible.

God’s will never changes. His will is revealed through the various experiences of men of the past, and all these things were recorded in the Bible. God’s will is revealed in the form of principles and examples in the Bible. To know God’s will, one must study the Bible carefully. The Bible is not a book of simple records, but a book rich in content. God’s will is fully unveiled through the Scripture. One needs only to find what God has said in the past, and he will know what God’s will is today. God’s will never wavers. In Christ there is only one yes (2 Cor. 1:19). God’s will for us never contradicts the teachings of the Bible. The Holy Spirit will never lead us to do something today that He has already condemned in the Bible.  (A great man once said, “Duties never conflict.”  This means that the will of God for a man or woman to be a parent will never conflict with the will of God to be in some kind of ministry or religious duty.  The will of God will never contradict the clear teachings of the Bible.  A wife may feel the call of God to the mission field and if her husband does not feel the same call then if she divorces him to become a missionary she is doing so against the teaching of scripture. The same can be said of two parents feeling the call to some ministry as being a pastor or missionary and because of this call they abandon the duties of parents, leaving the child to himself and many times to the wiles of the Devil in the life of the child.  I have seen many families where the parents are in the ministry but the children have been virtually abandoned on the sands of time and their lives become a wreck.  Some children even wind up divorced or on drugs while the parents are “doing the will of God.”  The first principle of moral law is to see the intrinsic value of God in your life but also to see the intrinsic value of others, friends, neighbors, and your own children.  If serving God causes you to abandon your own children and allow Satan to have full sway in their lives then you have a misplaced sense of the will of God.  I have seen this very thing by personal experience in my own life and in the lives of relatives of mine. )

God’s word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psa. 119:105). If we want to understand God’s will and His leading for us, we must study the Bible carefully and seriously.

God speaks to us through the Bible in two ways: One is through the teaching of biblical principles, and the other is through the promises in the Bible. We need the Spirit’s enlightenment to understand biblical principles, and we need the Spirit’s leading to receive biblical promises. For example, the Spirit may speak to us through the Lord’s commandment in Matthew 28:19-20 that all Christians should preach the gospel. This teaching is a biblical principle. However, whether or not it is God’s will for you to go to a certain place to preach the gospel depends on the leading of the Spirit. You still have to pray much and ask God for a specific word. When the Holy Spirit puts a certain phrase or verse within you in a powerful, fresh, and living way, you have a promise from the Spirit. This is how you identify God’s will.

Some believers use superstitious ways to seek God’s will. They open the Bible before them and pray, “O God, please move my finger to the verse which reveals Your will.” After they pray with their eyes closed, they open their Bible and point their finger to any passage. Then they open their eyes and take the verse before them as God’s will. Some childish believers try to know God this way. Because they are desperate, God will sometimes accommodate their ignorance and show them the way. However, this is definitely not the proper way. It will not work with most people, and it will not work most of the time. It is dangerous, and there is a great possibility for mistakes with this way. Brothers and sisters, please remember that we have the divine life and that God’s Spirit is dwelling in us. We should ask God to reveal His word to us through the Holy Spirit. We should study the Bible conscientiously and consistently and memorize the Scripture well. When needs arise, the Holy Spirit will use the passages we have read to speak to us and to guide us.

Let us now combine the three things spoken of above. There is no fixed order for these three things. Sometimes, the arrangement of the environment comes first, followed by the leading of the Spirit and the teachings of the Bible. Sometimes, the Spirit’s leading and the teachings of the Bible come first, and afterward, the confirmation in the environment. The environment is related especially to God’s timing. In seeking after God’s will, Brother George Müller always asked three questions: (1) Is it God’s work? (2) Am I the person to do this work? (3) Is this God’s time for such a work to be done? The first and second questions can be resolved by the teaching of the Bible and the leading of the Spirit. The third question is settled by provisions in the environment.

If we want to be sure that our inward feeling is the leading of the Spirit, we should also ask two questions: (1) Does this leading match the teaching of the Bible? (2) Does the environment confirm this leading? If such a leading does not match the teaching of the Bible, it cannot be God’s will. If the environment does not give any confirmation, we should wait. Our feeling may be wrong, or it may not be the Lord’s timing.

In seeking God’s will, we should cultivate a healthy fear of making mistakes. We should not be subjective. We can ask God to block the ways that are not according to His will.

Suppose someone has invited you to work, and you have the intention to do a certain thing, or someone has advised you to reconsider your future, etc. How can you know whether these things are according to God’s will? First, you should look at the teaching of the Bible. You should find out what God has actually said about such matters in His Word. After this, you should check with your inner feeling. The Bible may teach this, but do you feel right within? If your inward feeling is different from the testimony of the Bible, it proves that your inward feeling is not reliable. You should continue to wait and seek the Lord. If your inward leading agrees with the testimony of the Bible, you should lift up your head and say, “O Lord, You have always revealed Your will through the environment. It is impossible for my inward feeling and the teaching of the Bible to both point to one direction, and yet have the environment point to a contrary direction. Lord! Please work in the environment and line it up with the Scripture’s teaching and the Spirit’s leading.” You will see that God always reveals His will through the environment. Not one sparrow will fall to the earth if it is not God’s will. If it is God’s will, what you see outwardly will surely line up with what you see inwardly and what you see from the Bible. If your inward sense, the teaching of the Bible, and the environment are all clear, then God’s will for you will also be clear.

III. THE CONFIRMATION OF THE CHURCH
AND OTHER FACTORS

God’s will is revealed through His Word, man’s spirit, and the environment. God’s will is also revealed through the church. In seeking God’s will concerning a certain matter, you should be clear about the Spirit’s leading, the Scripture’s teaching, and the environment’s provision. As much as it is possible, you should also fellowship with those who know God in the church to see whether they will say amen to your guidance. This will give you additional confirmation concerning God’s will. These ones know God’s Word more, their flesh has been dealt with somewhat, and they are under the direction of the Spirit. Their spiritual condition allows God to speak His heart more freely through them. They will consider your condition in the church, and they will sense whether or not they can say amen to what you have seen. If they can say amen, you can be sure that what you have is God’s will. If they cannot say amen to it, it is better for you to wait and seek more guidance. As individuals, we are limited. An individual’s personal feeling, understanding of the Scripture, and knowledge of the environment may be wrong; they may not be that accurate. The church is much more reliable in this respect. If the other members of the church think that the “guidance” you have is not reliable, you should not insist on your opinion. Do not think that your “guidance” is always reliable. In such cases we should learn to be humble.

Matthew 18 speaks of the principle of the church. If a brother sins against another brother, the offended one should speak to the offending one while they are alone with each other. If the offending party does not want to listen, the offended party should take with him one or two more. By the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word may be established. If the offending party still refuses to listen, the matter should be told to the church. In the end the offending one has to hear the church. We have to accept the feeling of the church. The Lord Jesus says, “Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (v. 18). Because the church is God’s habitation and the beacon of God’s light, we need to believe that God’s will is revealed in the church. We should humble ourselves and should be afraid of our own judgment. This is why we need to fellowship with the church and receive the supply of the Body.

The church has a heavy responsibility before God. It has to act as God’s light. If the church is careless or if it does things loosely according to the flesh, it will be impossible to have such a thing as the confirmation of the church. The church can render an accurate and divine confirmation because it has become the mouthpiece of the Holy Spirit. The church must be spiritual, and it must allow the Spirit to preside over it before it can be used by the Spirit to be God’s mouthpiece. The confirmation of the church does not mean a discussion among all the brothers and sisters in the church together. It means the speaking of a group of people who know God and who are being led by the Spirit. For this reason, the elders taking responsibility in the church, as well as those given to the Lord’s work, must have a certain amount of knowledge of spiritual things. Their flesh must be dealt with to a certain extent. They must be watchful at all times and have unceasing fellowship with the Lord. They must be full of God’s presence and must live under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Only then can there be accurate judgment, and only then will the Spirit give accurate confirmation through them.

Some people may quote Galatians 1:16-17, which says that when Paul received a revelation, he did not confer with flesh and blood, neither did he go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before him. They think that it is sufficient for them to be clear by themselves and that there is no need to fellowship with the church. No doubt a person with a clear revelation like Paul can be truly confident of what he sees. But have you received the revelation the way Paul received his? Even Paul received the Lord’s help and supply through other brothers. He saw the great light on the way to Damascus, fell to the ground, and heard what the Lord said to him alone: “Rise up and enter into the city, and it will be told to you what you must do.” He received the laying on of hands from an obscure brother named Ananias, and he also received the laying on of hands and the commissioning from co-workers in the church in Antioch (Acts 9:3-6, 12; 13:1-3). The words he spoke in Galatians 1 were to prove that the gospel announced by him was not according to man, but that he had “received it through a revelation by Jesus Christ” (vv. 11-12). There is no flavor of self-exaltation in such words. We should be humble and not intractable. We must not think highly of ourselves. The fact is that we are too far behind Paul to compare ourselves to him! Because we are the party involved, we are clouded by our own interests and subjectivity when we seek God’s will. It is difficult for us to see things clearly. This is where the church comes in; it can supply us and render us much help. This is why we should seek confirmation from the church when we are in need.

However, we should avoid another extreme. Some Christians are too passive. They ask the church about everything, and they want others to make decisions for them. This is against the principle of the New Testament. We cannot treat a group of spiritual people in the church as if they were the prophets in the Old Testament, asking them for advice in everything. First John 2:27 says, “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.  ” This anointing is the indwelling Holy Spirit. We can never replace the teaching of the anointing with the confirmation of the church. The confirmation of the church should not be regarded in the same way as one regards the words of the prophets. Its purpose is to confirm what we see so that we can be more assured of God’s will. It is a protection rather than a replacement of an individual’s pursuit of God’s will.

We should note one other point: This way of seeking God’s will should be applied only to important matters. As to the trivial affairs of daily life, we do not need to resort to such a method. We can make judgments according to our common sense. Our God has not eradicated our common sense. God wants us to make our own judgments concerning things that we can manage with our common sense. We need to employ this method only in seeking God’s will concerning the more important matters of our life.

In seeking God’s will, we must not fall into an abnormal state where the mind is blank and the will is passive. Hebrews 5:14 speaks of those “who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” We need to exercise our mind and will. We have to put our will on God’s side and co-labor with God. It is true that we should put aside our own will. But it is wrong to annul the function of the mind and the will, allowing them to be passive and void of function. Many people trust only in their intellect and not in God. This is a big mistake. But many people think that relying on God means that one does not need to use his mind. This is also a big mistake. When Luke wrote his gospel, it was “having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, ” (1:3). In Romans 12:2 Paul told us to ” transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” In seeking God’s will, we need to use our mind and our will. Of course, this mind and will have to be transformed and renewed by the Holy Spirit.

We need to briefly touch on the matter of visions and dreams as well. In the Old Testament God revealed His will to man through visions and dreams. In the New Testament there are also visions and dreams, but God does not use them as an essential means of guidance. In the New Testament the Spirit of God dwells in us and speaks to us directly from within. The chief and common means of guidance are the inward leading. God will lead us by dreams and visions only when He has something very important to say and it would not be easy for us to accept this leading under normal circumstances. In the New Testament visions and dreams are not the usual means of God’s leading. Therefore, even when we have visions and dreams, we should still safeguard ourselves by seeking the inward confirmation and the confirmation in the environment. For example, Acts 10 shows us that God wanted Peter to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. Peter, being a Jew, would never go to the Gentiles according to his tradition. In order to turn him from this prejudice, God had to show him a vision. After Peter saw the vision, Cornelius sent three men to him. This was the confirmation in the environment. At the same time there was also the speaking of the Holy Spirit. These internal and environmental confirmations assured him that he was acting according to God’s will.

Of course, there are cases when one has little time to consider or wait. At such times one can prove God’s will immediately if the vision or dream is clear and obvious and the feeling within approves it; there is no need to wait for the confirmation in the environment. For example, Paul was in a trance when he was praying in the temple. He saw the Lord speaking to him and charging him to leave Jerusalem without delay. At first he reasoned with the Lord and tried to refuse. But the Lord said to him again, “Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.” (Acts 22:17-21). Later, Paul met a heavy storm at sea, and all hope of salvation was gone. God sent His angel to stand beside him and speak to him, telling him not to fear (27:23-24). These were all clear visions. But they do not occur frequently in the New Testament. God revealed things to His children in visions and dreams only when there was a special need. Some Christians have so many so-called dreams and visions that these are like everyday meals to them. This is a kind of spiritual sickness. It may come from some kind of nervous disorder, attack from Satan, or deception from evil spirits. Whatever the cause, this situation is abnormal.

In conclusion, God leads men by many ways. Everyone is different in his spiritual condition and needs. This is why God leads us in different ways. However, His main means are the arrangement in the environment, the inward leading, and the teachings in the Bible. We need to point out once again that when these three things are in line with one another, we can have the confidence that we have God’s will.

IV. THOSE WHO ARE QUALIFIED TO KNOW GOD’S WILL

Finally, even if we have all the right methods, not everyone knows God’s will. A right method is useful only when the person is also right. When the person is not right, even the right methods become useless. It is futile for a rebellious man to seek to know God’s will. If a man wants to know God’s will, he must have an inward yearning to do His will.

Deuteronomy 15:17 records the case of a slave who had his ear run through with an awl into the door. This shows that our ears have to listen to God’s word all the time if we are to serve Him. We should come to the Lord and say, “I am willing to thrust my ear to the door. I will incline my ears to Your word. I want to serve You and do Your will. I beseech You from my heart. I will serve You. You are my Master. I have an earnest yearning within my heart to be Your slave. Let me hear Your word. Let me know Your will.” We need to come before the Lord and plead for His word. We have to incline our ears and thrust them to the door. We have to wait for His commission and listen to His command.

Many times my heart aches over the fact that many people are looking for methods to know God’s will, but they have no desire to obey God’s will. They merely study such methods for the sake of knowledge. They have their own desires. They merely take God as their counselor and His will as their reference point. Brothers and sisters, God’s will is made known only to those who are determined to obey His will! “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God,” (John 7:17). In order to know God’s will, one must resolve to do His will. If you have an intense and absolute desire to do God’s will, God will make known His will to you even when you know nothing about the methods. There is a word in the Bible: “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him” (2 Chron. 16:9). The literal translation of this verse is, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” His eyes are running to and fro, from here to there. His eyes do not run through just once. Rather, they run continually to and fro to see whether anyone’s heart is after His will. He will appear to those whose heart is completely inclined toward Him. If your heart is completely inclined toward the Lord and you say, “Lord, I want Your will; I really want it,” God will show you His will. He will not refrain from revealing Himself to you; He has to reveal Himself to you. We should not think that only those who have believed in the Lord for a long time can understand His will. We hope that every believer will offer up everything he has from the day that he is saved. This will pave the way for him to understand God’s will.

We should never think that it is a trivial thing to know God’s will. We are little worms in God’s eyes. It is a tremendous thing for a tiny person like us to understand God’s will! May we see that it is a glorious thing to understand God’s will. Since God has humbled Himself to make His will known to man, we must seek to know His will, and we must worship, treasure, and do His will.

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(Written originally by Watchman Nee in China during the Chinese revolution and died in a prison camp but these lessons have been the foundation of my life for 38 years.  David Williams – site Admin.)

 

I have studied the Bible on this subject and have found that much that is preached and taught seems to miss some of what  the Bible teaches regarding the subject.  Before a person accepts Christ, or believes, repents of their sins, commits their life to God or any number of other things that are described in the Bible, they are unsaved, or lost.  They have a selfish end in view for their motive for living.  At that time they own their own life, follow their own will, and are spiritually dead in sin.  The day a person accepts Christ,  they need to realize that the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ are facts, but when the new believer exercises a heart faith and confidence which in effect passes ownership of his life over to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  The Bible says in John 3:16 that “…whosoever believeth in him…” and when we look at the Greek for that phrase, the word inis a Greek word eis which actually means into. The Greek prepositions are placed on a chart to show just how they affect the subject in a sentence.  The diagram for eis appears as presented below:

As one can see, there is movement from one side to the other.  No one that believes in Jesus Christ stays where they were prior to salvation and no one loves the same things.  The meaning of believing in Jesus actually is more accurately said believing into Jesus Christ.  It is being immersed in the love of God as Finney told in his conversion experience.  It is definitely life changing.  It is not mental acknowledgement but life changing waves of the love of God.  The after effect is a new outlook on all that you had once held dear in life.  Nothing looks the same and peace floods your soul.  You are definitely born again, born into a new world and dead to the old one once and for all.  The old man is crucified and the resurrection life of Jesus Christ comes to dwell in the new believer, he is now a new creation in Christ Jesus.

What I found in studying this further is an astounding fact.  The Dana and Mantey Greek Grammar of the New Testament had an interesting footnote in the definition of the word.  It said, essentially, that to believe into or to be baptized into the name of Jesus Christ was to renounce ones self, selfishness and self-gratification, and consider ones self a life-time servant of Jesus Christ.  Nothing is clearer by way of illustration than the testimony of Charles G. Finney in this respect.  The circle on the right, in the illustration above, represents all that Christ stands for.  When a person is regenerated, they pass from the left-hand to the right-hand circle.  They are placing themselves in the hands of God, Jesus Christ specifically, by faith.  When you view the chart you can picture in your mind all the things that we have been saying in this book, the attributes of selfishness on the left, and all the things that relate to disinterested benevolence are on the right.  The left circle is the world of the unsaved; all things are viewed from a self-centered viewpoint.  The right circle is a new world of knowing God through Jesus Christ.  As Charles Finney indicated, there are baptisms of love that no one can describe that come over a new Christian.  He can never be the same.  His position has changed.  He has moved from the left, sometimes without even realizing it, over to the right.  The left feels most uncomfortable now and the right seems most peaceful and tranquil.  On the left a person feels that his life is owned by himself; on the right the person feels that his life is owned now by God.  On the left the person has self as lord; on the right, Christ is now Lord with no problem.  Some seem to cringe at the term “Lordship Salvation” but that is precisely what happens whether there is conscious thought of it or not.  A new Christian is slain by the Love of God and He is Lord of the heart by that same love.  The truth is that regeneration is a drastic change, it is being born again.  The position has changed, as far as the perspective that one has concerning his place in the world and in his place in his relationship to God.  That is just a fact of regeneration that cannot be denied, it is a fact that cannot be otherwise if a person comes to know God.  Is it any wonder that the moral law has this, knowing God, as the number one goal of every human being and of every being in the universe?  There is nothing that can substitute for the thrill and yet the peace and contentment that comes from having a personal relationship with the God of love, the lover of our souls.  So as we have said above, there is a part that the sinner plays, as Charles Finney testifies in his book, and there is a part that God plays as well.  It has happened to all that have come to know God, their perspective is altered in such a way that they can never return to the old life.  Truly old things have passed away and all things have become new.  Here is a list of things from the Bible that show conditions that existed in the left circle and what they are changed to in the right circle:

BEING SAVED – MOVING FROM ONE WORLD TO THE OTHER

Unsaved/Selfish Saved/Benevolence
Owned by me Genesis 3:1-6 Owned by God I Corinthians 6:19,20
Self the lord Psalm 49:18; 81:12; Proverbs 14:12; Zechariah 7:6; Matthew 19:21; II Corinthians 5:15; Philippians 2:21; II Timothy 3:2-4 Christ the Lord Genesis 49:10; Numbers 24:17; Psalms 2:6; 24:8; Isaiah 6:1; 11:10 33:17; 40:10; Jeremiah 23:5,6; 30:9; Daniel 7:13,14; Micah 5:2; Zechariah 9:9,10; Matthew 2:2,6; Matthew 12:6; 19:28; 21:5; 26:64; 28:18; Luke 2:11; 10:22; 23:42; John 1:49; 3:31; 12:13; 18:36,37; Acts 3:15; 5:31; 10:36; Romans 5:9; 14:9; I Corinthians 15:23-28; Ephesians 1:19-22; Philippians 2:9-11; I Timothy 6:15,16; II Timothy 4:8; Hebrews 2:7,8; I Peter 3:22
In the World Ephesians 2:12; II Peter 1:4; I John 2:15,16; 4:3-5; 5:4,5; 5:19; In Christ Jesus Romans 3:24; 8:1,2; 8:39; I Corinthians 1:30; 3:11; 4:15; 15:22; II Corinthians 2:14; 5:17; Galatians 2:4; 3:26; 3:28; 6:15; Ephesians 1:1-3,10; 2:6; 2:8-10; 2:13; 3:11; Philippians 2:5; 3:3; 3:9; 3:14; Colossians 1:28; 2:6; I Thessalonians 4:16; 5:18; I Timothy 1:14; II Timothy 1:1; II Timothy 1:9; 1:13; 2:1; 2:10; 3:12; 3:15; Phileman 1:6; I John 5:20.
Servant of sin Romans 6:17,20 Servant of Righteousness Romans 6:18
Walk in the flesh Romans 8:12,13; Galatians 6:8 Walk in the Spirit Galatians 5:16,25
Lost Matthew 18:11; Luke 15:4-9,24; 19:10; John 17:12; II Corinthians 4:3,4 Saved Matthew 10:22; 19:25; 24:13; Mark 16:16; Luke 7:50; Luke 8:12; John 3:17; 5:34; 10:9; Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30,31; Romans 5:9,10; 8:24; 10:9,10,13; I Corinthians 1:18; 3:15; 5:5; 15:1-6; Ephesians 2:5-10; II Thessalonians 2:10; I Timothy 2:4; II Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5; I Peter 3:20,21; I Peter 4:18;
Dead in Sin Ephesians 2:1,5; Dead to Sin I Peter 2:24: Romans 6; Galatians 2:20
Love the World I John 2:15 Love the Lord Deuteronomy 6:5; 11:13; 30:6,10; Psalms 97:10; 116:1; Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27
Sin is the Master Jeremiah 17:1-3; Ezekiel 3:20,21; John 8:34; 9:41; Romans 3:9; Romans 6:12,16,17,20; 7:17; I Corinthians 15:56; Galatians 2:17; II Peter 2:14; I John 3:8,9 Christ is the Master Matthew 10:24,25; 23:8-10; Mark 13:35; Luke 13:25; 14:21; John 13:13,14; Romans 14:4; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 4:1; II Timothy 2:21
Yoke of sin Leviticus 26:13; Deuteronomy 28:48; Isaiah 10:27; 58:6-9; Ezekiel 34:27; Hosea 11:4; Galatians 5:1; Christ’s Yoke is Easy Matthew 11:28-30
Eternal death Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:46; I John 3:15; Eternal Life Daniel 12:2; Matthew 19:29; 25:46; Mark 10:30; Luke 18:18-23,30; John 3:15,16,36,; 4:14; 5:24; 6:40,47; 10:28; 12:25; 17:2,3; Acts 13:48; Romans 2:7; 5:21; 6:22,23; Galatians 6:8; I Timothy 6:12,19; Titus 1:2, 3:7; I John 1:2; 2:25; 3:15; 5:11-13; 5:20; Jude 1:21.
Reject Christ Mark 7:9 Accept Christ John 1:11,12
Hell the home Psalms 9:17; 16:10; 18:5; 55:15; 86:13; Proverbs 5:5; 7:27; 9:18; 15:11,24; 23:14; 27:20; Isaiah 5:14; 14:15; Matthew 5:22,29,20; 10:28; 18:9; 23:33; Mark 9:43-47; Luke 12:5; 16:23; Acts 2:27,31; II Peter 2:4; 20:13,14; 21:8 Heaven the home Psalms 14:2; Matthew 4:17; 5:3,10,12,16,18,19,20,48; 6:20; 7:21; 10:7,32,33; 18:3,4,10,14,18; 19:14,21,23; 28:18; I Corinthians 15:47; II Corinthians 15:2; Ephesians 3:15; Philippians 2:10; 3:20; Colossians 1:5; I Thessalonians 1:10; 4:16,17; 9:24; 10:34; I Peter 1:4; 3:22; I John 5:7; Revelation 3:12; 4:1,2; 5:13; 11:19; 15:5; 21:1,2,3,10.
Spiritual death Genesis 2:17; Ezekiel 18:20; Romans 6:23; Romans 8:6; Ephesians 4:18; James 1:15; James 5:20; Revelation 21:8 Spiritual Life Matthew 7:14; Matthew 10:39; 16:25-26; 19:17; John 1:4; 3:15,16,36; 5:24,26,29,39,40; 6:27; 6:35,48; 6:63,68; 8:12; 10:10; 11:25; 12:25; 17:3; 20:31; Acts 5:20; 11:18; Romans 5:10; 5:18; 6:4; 8:2,6,10; II Corinthians 2:16; 3:6; 4:10,11,12; 5:4; Galatians 2:20; 3:21; 6:8; Colossians 3:3; II Timothy 1:1,10; James 1:12; II Peter 1:3; I John 1:1,2; 3:14; 5:12;
Spirit is dead Ephesians 2:1-10 Spirit is alive by the Holy Spirit Romans 8:10; Ephesians 2:1-10
No Holy Spirit Jude 1:19 Holy Spirit indwells believer II Timothy 1:14; James 4:5;
Physical birth only John 1:13; 3:6 Born Again of the Spirit of God John 1:13; 3:3; 3:5,-8
Doing their own works Matthew 7:22,23; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8,9; Titus 3:4,5 Hebrews 4:10 Enter into HIS REST Exodus 33:14; Psalms 116:7; Isaiah 28:12; Matthew 11:28-30; Hebrews 4:1-9
Self the motive Proverbs 16:26; Luke 12:19-20 Christ and others the motive Matthew 22:27-40; Philippians 1:21,23-24
Selfishness the mind set Proverbs 12:15; 20:6; Jeremiah 2:35; II Corinthians 10:12 Agape love the mind set Matthew 22:27-40; John 13:35; 15:9,12,13; 21:15-17; I Corinthians 13; I Thessalonians 3:12; I Peter 1:22
Works of the flesh Galatians 5:19-23 Fruit of the Spirit Galatians 5:16-18,25
Man’s will is sovereign John 1:13; II Peter 1:21 God’s will is sovereign Psalms 40:8; 143:10; Matthew 12:50; Ephesians 6:6
Spiritually blind John 9:41 Spiritual sight II Kings 6:17; Job 42:5; Matthew 5:8; John 14:19; 16:14,15; Hebrews 2:9; 11:27;
Unbelief Deuteronomy 32:20; Romans 3:3; Faith and belief foundation Habakkuk 2:4; Matthew 8:10; 9:2,22,29; 15:29; 17:20; 21:21; Mark 5:34; 10:52; 11:22; Acts 3:16; 6:7; 14:9,22,27; 20:21; 26:18; Romans 1:5,8,17; 3:22,25,27-31; 4:5; 5:1,2; 10:6-13,17; I Corinthians 2:5; 15:1-17; 16:13; II Corinthians 5:7; Galatians 2:20; 3:11,24,25,26; 5:5,6,22,23; Ephesians 2:8,9; 3:12,17,18; 6:16; Philippians 3:9; Colossians 1:23; 2:12; I Timothy 6:12; II Timothy 3:15,16; Hebrews 4:2; 10:22,23,28; 11:1ff;
Draw back to perdition Hebrews 10:38,39 Commitment to Christ Psalms 37:3,5; 118:8; Proverbs 3:5,6; Isaiah 26:4; 50:10; II Timothy 1:12;
Believe in the mind James 2:19,20 Believe in the heart Deuteronomy 6:5; Proverbs 3:5,6; Jeremiah 29:13; Joel 2:12; Acts 8:37; Romans 10:9,10
End and scope of life is self Proverbs 16:26; Luke 12:19-20 End and scope of life is God Deuteronomy 6:5; Ecclesiastes 12:13
Does not seek God with whole heart Ezekiel 33:9; Luke 14:18; Acts 24:25; 28:27; Hebrews 2:3; 12:25 Seeks after God with whole heart Psalms 119:2; Proverbs 3:5,6; Jeremiah 29:13; Joel 2:12
Sin unto death Romans 6:16 Obedience unto righteousness Romans 6:16
Love self Luke 12:19,20; 18:10-14 Love God with all the heart Deuteronomy 6:5; Proverbs 3:5,6; Romans 8:28; I Corinthians 8:3; I John 4:20,21; 5:2,3;
Hate or compete with neighbor Matthew 25:41-46; Romans 13:10 Love neighbor as self Matthew 5:44; 19:19; 22:29; 25:34-40; Mark 12:31,33; Luke 10:25-37; Romans 12:20; 13:9,10; 15:1; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8
Hold truth in unrighteousness Romans 1:18ff Hold truth in Word of God Psalms 119:72,127,162; Proverbs 23:23; John 1:1-3,14; 14:6; 18:37; Ephesians 4:25; 6:14
Will chooses selfish goals Proverbs 18:2; Romans 3:23 Will chooses glory of God John 11:40; Acts 7:55; Romans 5:2; I Corinthians 10:31; II Corinthians 1:20; 4:6; 4:15; Philippians 2:9-11,
Continue in sin Romans 6:1-7 Dead unto sin Romans 6:1-7
Old man is alive and well I Peter 4:2-6; II Peter 1:9,10 Old man is crucified Romans 6:6; Galatians 2:20; II Timothy 2:11
Free from righteousness Romans 6:20 Free from sin Romans 6:18,22
Life of habitual sin I John 3:8 Cannot habitually sin I John 3:9
Living in continuous sin I John 3:8 Occasional sin I John 2:1
Save their life now but lose it at endMatthew 16:25,26 Lose life now but save it in eternity Matthew 16:25,26
Regret when they sin Luke 16:30-31; II Corinthians 7:10; Hebrews 12:17 Repent from their sin Matthew 4:17; 9:13; Mark 1:15; 2:17; 6:12; Luke 5:32; 13:3-5; 15:7; 24:47; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 5:31; 11:18; 17:30; 20:21; 26:20; Romans 2:4; II Corinthians 7:10; II Timothy 2:25; II Peter 3:9
Sorrow of the world (being caught) II Corinthians 7:10 Godly sorrow (see sin as God sees it) II Corinthians 7:10
Reject Christ as Lord & Savior Matthew 7:21; Luke 6:46; Hebrews 10:38 Accept Christ in ALL THAT HE IS! Romans 10:13; I Corinthians 1:30,31
Selfish love (lust) James 1:13-15 Agape sacrificial love I Corinthians 13
Gain the world Matthew 16:26 Lose the World Matthew 16:26
Lose their soul Matthew 16:26 Save the Soul Matthew 16:26

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