The above visual aid illustrates the boxes from within which we choose to live out the appointed (Psalms 31: 15/Hebrews 9 :27) days of our life span here on Earth.
For some, this life span can be as brief as a few hours, for others it was more than 900 years (Gen. 5: 5). For the Lord Jesus Christ, it was approx. 33. God provides with the exact amount of days for us to complete all of the work that He has in mind for each and every one of us. No more, and no less.
Regardless of how relatively long or how relatively short our individual appointed life span may be, we must learn to think outside of the above red box if we are going to make the best of each and every day that God has given us to glorify Him.
The above black box represents the parameters within which God desires that human race to function. Living the way that God desires is the way that each human being brings glory to God. Bringing glory to God in the midst of an ongoing conflict taking place in the spiritual realm was the primary reason for which God created the human race at the time and place that He did.
Th is black box imposes obvious requirements and prohibitions. Failing to do what God requires and/or doing what God prohibits is sin. When we sin, we choose to live outside of the above black box. Living outside of this box has and eternal (Rev. 20: 15/1Cor. 3: 15) consequences.
In God's eyes, every individual soul of the human race here on Earth is either spiritually dead, or spiritually alive, having been "born again - John 3: 5, 7 (NASB). Among those who have been born again, there are those who are and those who are not in fellowship (2C0r. 13: 14) with Him at any given time.
There are born again believers who have identified and are executing the type of post salvation spiritual life that God designed, and there are born again believers who have chosen to follow one or more of the "Christian religions" that have evolved WITHIN the Christian Community at large. The phrase "Christian religion" is an oxymoron. To the surprise of many "Christians," Christianity and Christian religions are NOT the same thing.
Christianity is all about placing one's trust and confidence in what God has done, in what God is doing, and what God will do for those who are born again.
Christian religions, on the other hand, is a counterfeit alternative to Christianity. As in the case of any successful counterfeit operation, its products and practices have all the appearances of being the "real thing." Upon a closer examination, however, an advancing disciple with spiritual discernment can see that where Christianity and Christian religion differ, is that Christian religion consists of what its followers try to do to please God and thereby qualify for His earthly and eternal blessings. Because it is what they do, as opposed to what God does), it appeals to human viewpoint.
If t were possible for Fallen Man to please God through human activity, then there would have been no need for the incarnation and atoning work of God the Son. The same principle of the need of God applies to the post (after) salvation spiritual life (John 15: 5). NOTHING that Fallen Man has ever done, is doing, or ever will do can make or keep himself right with God and qualify him to receive either the earthly or the eternal blessings of God.
In virtually every local assembly within the Christian Community at large, there are those who are "members" and non-members of the various denominations and non-denominational groups that sit side by side in the pews on a regular basis. In virtually every local assembly, there are souls, that as a result of having been born again, are "members" of the Church that God designed, and there are those who have not been born again, and therefore are NOT a member of the Church that God designed. Going to the beach does NOT make one a swimmer.
In every geographical area where local assemblies gather together, there are born again believers who do not obey the Heb. 10: 25 command to gather together. There are many "Christians" who "go to" churches that are NOT the type of local assembly that God designed but rather engage in the products and practices of one or more of the various Christian Religions.
Note that one can "gather together" via the many means of communication that are available today. One should not assume that just because someone is not seen "going to Church" that he/she is not "gathering together" by other means. One should not assume that just because one is seen "going to Church." that he/she is going to the type of Church that God designed. One should not assume that just because he/she is seen going to the type of Church that God designed, that he/she is "with the program" that it offers.
Jesus taught that a "tree" (a man/denomination/local assembly/church) is best evaluated, not on the basis of appearances, but on the "fruit" that it produces. The "fruit" of the type of Church that God designed have members who have been born again, and are now grow-i-n-g (an ongoing process) in the knowledge (2Pet. 3: 18) and the application (James 1: 22) of the Word of God. The Church that God designed views the Great Commission as the primary job that it was given to do. The first half of Great Commission calls for the preservation of and presentation of the Gospel Message to souls that are in the need to be born again. The Second half of the Great Commission calls for the making of disciples, that being students and appliers of the Word of God, out of those who have been born again.
The Church that God designed gathers together on a regular basis, but the post salvation spiritual life is a 24/7 lifestyle. If one does not have a desire to gather together, or If what goes on when one is gathered together is not impacting what goes on everywhere else. there are serious problems that need to be identified and addressed.
Keep in mind that even if one did show up once a week for an hour, it would only account for less than 1 % of the total time (168 hr. a week) that gives each one of us to glorify Him. Discipleship is a 24-7 lifestyle. God is just as concerned with what goes on during the other 99% of the time that He has given us each week to glorify Him!
"Christians" by name, but not by practice, are what gives Christianity a bad rap. Identifying oneself as a Christian, but then not living accordingly (within the parameters of the above black box, is the New Testament application of what Old Testament Scripture (Exodus 20: 7) was referring to when it speaks of taking (on )the Lord's name in vain!
If what theologians refer to as the Rapture were to take place during a time when a local assembly is gathered together, there are going to be those left behind sitting in pews, and in some cases standing behind the pulpit, wondering where the rest have gone after having instantaneously (1Cor. 15: 52) disappeared (1Thess. 4: 17).
As long as any born again believer remains on this Earth, it is possible that the Rapture can take place during his/her life appointed lifespan. If one departs before it takes, he/she will also be gathered together from Heaven and be with the Lord in the air when the Rapture takes place (1Thess. 4: 16). This is another lesson for another day,but it is good to be reminded that this can take place at any time!
Gathering together, by one means or another, IS something that advancing disciples will do, but "going to Church" is NOT what saves anyone. "Going to Church " (or otherwise gathering together) is a POST (after) salvation activity for the glory of God and for the edification and advancement of those attending.
The born again believers who do not "go to Church" will also be taken up in the Rapture, as "going to Church" is not the means to either obtain or to retain salvation.
Some will ask, "If everyone is getting in (to Heaven), then what am I doing here (in Church), and why should I be all that concerned with living outside of the above black box if God is going to eventually forgive everyone for every thing anyways?"
The Biblical answer to this question addressed several of the issues that this question raises. First of of all, everyone is NOT "getting in (Rev. 20: 15)," but neither is "going to Church," in of itself, the means to get into Heaven. Born again believers gather together because they desire to glorify God by engaging in the type of worship that He desires. Advancing disciples desire to live within the parameters of the above black box because, that too, is the post (after) salvation means to glorify God.
If one does not have that desire, he/she has either never been born again and experienced fellowship with God, or has been born again, but is NOT involved in the post salvation spiritual life of discipleship. Just as a lack of appetite in the natural realm is an indication that there is something gone wrong, a lack of appetite (desire) for the things of God is an indication that something is missing or gone wrong in one's spiritual life.
Since the Fall of Man, every human being comes into this world spiritually dead and out of fellowship with God. Fallen Man has an inherent hostility (Romans 8: 7) towards God and the things of God.
Human souls who commit the (one) sin of disbelief (in the Gospel Message (John 3: 18) will remain out of fellowship with God throughout all of their life span here on Earth and will spend all of eternity future in what the Bible calls the lake of fire (Rev. 20: 15). This is true regardless of how much "religious" activity or how many deeds of human good that he/she engages in while here on Earth.
When born again believers commit any (James 2: 10) sin, they step outside of being in fellowship (1Cor. 13: 14) with God. They remain saved, but are out of fellowship with God until the sin(s) is confessed (1John 1: 9). These periods of time out of fellowship with God due to sin that has not be confessed can be as brief as the time it takes to confess it, or for as long as the rest of one's post salvation spiritual life here on Earth. The longer one spends out of fellowship with God, the less and less of a desire there will be to rectify the situation.
Sin(s) that are confessed (1John 1: 9) but are not then forsaken John 8: 11 will set the stage for such a born again believer to spend much of his/her appointed time here on earth in a never-ending cycle. When he/she remains involved in or quickly returns to practicing the sin that caused the breach in fellowship in the first place, he/she once again is out of fellowship with God. This never-ending cycle is one is which one spends much of his/her post salvation spiritual life in a "revolving doorway" going around and around, in and out of the fellowship with God, and never moving forward towards the goal of spiritual maturity.
Eternal security is not a license to sin. All born again believers are subject to divine discipline (Heb. 12: 6). Although the integrity of the salvation that a born again believer has already received is never in jeopardy (Romans 8: 1), he/she is subject to the pain of divine discipline while here on Earth. It may even be the means by which God takes a sinning believer out of this world (Acts 5).
Avoiding sin and its consequences is not the only purpose that God draws the lines of the above black box. We keep our pets on leashes in order to keep them on the path that we desire for them to follow. The more likely any given pet is to wander off and/or to do its own thing, the shorter and the stronger the leash must be maintained. Pets and humans do NOT, by nature, like to be put on leashes, but by discipline, they can adopt to them. By accepting both the degree of freedom and the limitations that the leash (or black box) imposes, the pet or disciple is kept on the straight and narrow path that the Master desires, and receives His/his the praise and blessings for obedience.
Here in the Church Age, the path here on Earth, that God desires for all souls to tread (1Tim. 2: 4) begins with being born again (John 3: 5, 7). God the Holy Spirit, working with and through (John 15: 5) with Spirit-filled disciples, presents the Gospel Message to unbelievers, affording them the opportunity be make an informed decision. Those who choose to believe, that is to place his/he full trust and confidence in the Person and the atoning Work of the Lord Jesus are forever (Romans 8: 1) saved from the impending wrath of God awaiting all unbelievers (Rev. 20: 15).
The primary purpose for having created the human race, and each and every member of it, was/is to bring glory to God in the midst of an ongoing conflict in the spiritual realm. This conflict began before Man was ever created, and runs concurrently with the remaining course of human history. Man's first involvement in this conflict took place on planet Earth in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3), resulting in the Fall in Man. Man's last involvement in this conflict will take place at the end (Rev. 20: 7) of the 1,000 year period of the earthly Kingdom of God, headquartered in Jerusalem, Israel, to be established following the Second Advent.
It was God (John 3: 6b), and NOT our biological parents (James 3: 6a) that determined in eternity past which dispensation (period of time) of the Master Plan of God that each and every soul that He creates would come into this world. Our biological parents may or many not have had "a" baby in mind at the moment that what would become our dwelling house (2Cor. 5: 1) was conceived (Psalms 51: 5).
There is biological life in the developing human fetus in the womb that is sustained by the biological support system that God created in the body of the biological mother. Many genetic factors, physical aspects, and predispositions were passed down from both sides of the family's genes at conception. The sin nature and the accompanying spiritual death status were passed down through the biological father (Psalms 51: 5) at conception. All of these factors become a part of the total human being when the soul (that God creates) is placed in the body (that He chose) when the body comes forth at birth (Gen. 2: 7). The soul/spirit departs this body after the last breath of natural life is taken in (e.g., Gen. 25:8/Gen. 35: 29/ Mark 15: 37) and the body inevitably turns to dust.
The omniscience of God, making this choice of the specific body in which He places the soul, knew of all the details (Luke 12: 7) and results that His choice of body would place on the earthly experience of the individual soul that would indwell it. Man of these details have got NOTHING to do with SIN. These resulting abilities and limitations are part of the black box that God set for the individual soul involved.
During the course of each dispensation, such things as one's physical condition, familial, social, racial, cultural, societal, educational, political, gender, place of birth, ability to migrate, and financial realities would all inevitably impact all opportunities that any given soul would experience here on Earth. What any one soul chooses to do with the opportunities or the limitations that these details generate will also impact his/her earthly experience.
God places born again Church Age believers in virtually every walk and circumstances of life so that they can minister to those around them.
The Word of God (Phil. 4: 19 ) teaches that God provides born again believers of the Church Age with everything that each one of them needs in order for each one of them to fulfill the individual plan that He has in mind for them. What we need, however, may not be what we want. Most Christians recite by rote the "Lord's Prayer." asking in part, for THY will to be done, but what we really mean is for MY will to be done!
The same God can take away any thing or anyone that hinders the plan that God has in mind. The same God can take (or allow to be taken) anything or anyone in order to place us where the plan of God requires. These anywheres can involve physical locations or circumstances.
It was Job who asked the rhetorical question, "Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity (Job 2: 10 NASB)."
God's greatest servants are willing to be where the plan that God has in mind requires them to be at any given time, and doing what God wants them to be doing, even if it means a war zone, a prison, a funeral parlor, a hospital, a nursing home, or a cross (Mark 14: 35). Where and how we invest our final days here on Earth is one of the strongest testimonies that we can offer those we leave behind.
If the plan of God that God had in mind for any one of us calls for a different body that the one He placed us in, we would have received it. None of us are born with a "perfect" body or circumstances, but the body we did receive is perfect for what we need to fulfill God's plan for us. As good stewards of all that God has given us, we should take all due care and have all due respect for the earthly temple of God the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3: 16). At the same time, our earthly "tent-2Cor. 5: 1 NASB has an expiration date (Heb. 9: 27). Born again believers will exchange their tent for a building (interim body) if they depart this world before what theologians call the Rapture takes place, and will inevitably receive their mansions (resurrected bodies) when the Rapture fiaally does takes place. Born again believers of the Church Age that are alive and on the Earth when the Rapture takes place will have their tents instantaneously transformed into their resurrected bodies when the Rapture takes place.
Take not that each of the various bodies increase in both quality and duration, going from being a tent, to a building, to a mansion as the plan of God for the human race unfolds. Once we depart this world, the yellow box of our earthly opportunity and potential is gone for all of eternity. Only what we had done in the spiritual realm is going to matter then.
There is nothing wrong will seeking medical treatment for physical issues, but being focused on what the plan of God calls for in one's present bodily condition, no matter what that condition may be, will keep us focused on the eternity that will never end, as opposed to the concerns of the here and now that are here today and will be gone tomorrow. Even our death sends a strong reminder to those we leave behind that their own day of departure is coming.
If the plan that God has in mind for us any given individual believer calls for a life of much earthly fame and fortune, as in the case of Solomon (2Chron. 1:1/1Kings 10: 1), we will have one.
If the individual plan that God has in mind for any given individual believer, calls for a life of hardship, suffering, and persecution, as in the case of the Apostle Paul (2Cor. 11: 23-27) and believers throughout the course of the Church Age, he/she will have one.
I have observed that for most born again believers, they will experience a post salvation spiritual life somewhere in the middle of these two extremes with a mixture of both blessings and adversity. I have also observed that it is the one's who are called (1Pet. 2: 21) to endure suffering the most that make the greatest contributions.
If it seems at times, that you are called to suffer a lot more in both frequency and in intensity than those around you, keep in mind that as in the case of military combat here on Earth, it is the best trained soldiers in God's army (Eph. 6) that are sent on the most difficult missions in the realm of spiritual combat (Eph. 6). Born again believers can suffer self-induced misery as a result of divine discipline (Heb. 12: 6) for having done what is wrong, but experiencing trouble upon trouble can also be an indication that one is doing what it right, as well (2Tim. 3: 12).
Here in the Church Age, the Army of God is an "all-volunteer" outfit. Many,who claim to Christians (followers of Christ) desert the battlefield of spiritual combat when the heat of battle, the concerns of affairs of everyday life, and/or the pursuit of money or what money can buy present themselves (Mark 4: 19/Matt. 13: 22). Such "Christians" have "other" things to do. The devil will do all he can to have God's people spend their time, talents, and treasure on "other" things. One of the ways the devil does so is to equate human good (humanitarian deeds/relatively good human behavior) with the production of divine good. There is a place for humanitarian deeds (James 2: 16) and relatively good behavior () in the earthly life of a Christian, but keep in mind that an atheist and/or a non-Christian can produce the same type of human good and engage in the same type of good behavior. Human good has its own rewards here on Earth. It is by producing human good that most of us "earn" a living, here on Earth. But If human good and good behavior is what entitle one to receive eternal blessings, then God would owe even such atheists something in Heaven. He does NOT!
Many "Christians" recite by rote the" Lord's Prayer," asking, in part, for "THY "will to be done, but what they really want is for "MY" will to be done here on Earth.
As good stewards of what God has given us, Church Age believers should take care of and have respect (1Cor. 3: 16) for whatever body God chose to place us.
"Do you (born again believer) not know that you (your bodies) are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you (1Cor. 3: 16 NASB) italics mine?"
This requires, in part, making daily decisions to accept and to function within the parameters that above black box imposes.
The next box that we are going to examine is the above red box. This is the box that we choose to build around around us, and that others choose to build around us. The lines of this red box place limitations on us that are not found in the black box that He imposes.
Within this red box there is our personal comfort zone. It is natural for all of us build a strong defensive wall around the parameter our red box in order to avoid the inevitable challenges (Luke 14: 26/James 4: 4) and adversity that we will (2Tim. 3: 12) face is we should choose to leave this red box and enter into the above yellow box of our potential for positive change.
Note that the yellow box does not exceed the parameters of the black box. Accordingly, stepping (thinking) outside of the red box NEVER involves engaging in sin or in any activity that would take us outside of the individual plan that God has in mind for us. Just because something does not involve sin ( in of itself) does NOT mean that it is a part of the individual plan that God has in mind for any one of us. When considering "opportunities" that come our way outside of our present red box, the advancing disciple will first determine if the "opportunity" or "change" will advance or hinder the plan and purpose that God has in mind for him/her as an individual.
The Lord Jesus Christ was offered the "opportunity" to demonstrate the power of His deity (Matt. 4: 3) over the physical realm. The Lord Jesus Christ was offered the "opportunity" to prove the truthfulness of the Word of God (Matt.4: 6) concerning His personal protection.
But knowing what the diabolical objective was behind these "opportunities", He declined. The devil's objective was to have The Lord Jesus Christ commit sin by functioning outside of the plan that God the Father had in mind for Him. This sin would have disqualified Him as being the spotless Lamb of God that came to take away the sins of the world (John 1: 29).
The Lord Jesus Christ was offered the opportunity to receive all of the glory of all the kingdoms of the world without the pain, suffering, and humility of the cross that the plan of God required of Him. The world will offer each one of us as much as it takes to get the focus of our attention off of God and/or the things of God. For the born again believer, this includes the individual spiritual gift and accompanying area of service that God has in mind.
The devil is all for us stepping or thinking outside of the red box, providing we go all the way and include the rejection of the black box , as well. Not going outside of the black box is where the advancing disciple "draws the line," or better, respects the line that God has drawn.
The Lord Jesus Christ identified the vanity of pursuing anything that this world has to offer if it cost or compromised one's relationship or walk with God (Mark 8: 36).
Notice that in the above visual aid that the yellow box is much larger than the red box. Our potential is much, much larger than the red box that most of choose to establish and remain. If we are going to find and reach our maximum potential in the plan that God has in mind for us, we must be willing to step (think) outside of the red box, but wise enough to remain within the parameters imposed by the black box.
Other People can do much to build and to keep us in the red box by telling us what we can, can't, should, or shouldn't do in just about every area of our lives. When the limitations or restrictions are imposed or generated by such people (parents, husbands, fathers, mothers, clergy, government, bosses, coaches, teachers, etc.,) are in line with the Word of God, complying with such restrictions and requirements are in one's best interest.
But to the extent that such persons discourage or impede the plan that God has in mind for those under his/her authority, these same people can be used by devil to prevent us from becoming all that God wants us to be.
Unless complying with what anyone in a position of authority would cause one to sin, born again believers are called to obey (Romans 13) the persons ( e.g., parents, husbands, fathers, mothers, clergy, government, bosses, coaches, teachers, etc.) in authority. as long as they are "under the roof" or within that system of authority.
" Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God...(Romans 13: 1, 2 NASB)."
The Apostle Paul placed limitations on what activities he would and would not make an ongoing part of the ministry, based upon the individual calling that He received from the Lord (). I limit by ministry to the teaching of the Word of God. If I were to make officiating in marriage a part of my ministry, I would have two primary questions that I would ask of the engaged couple.
Based on Eph. 5: 25 NASB, I would ask the Man if he intends to love his wife, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her ? There are many different definitions of "love," but love can be best measured or evaluated by what one is willing to give up in order to please the object of his love.
Based on Eph. 5: 24/ NASB, I would ask the woman if she intends to obey her husband in everything.
If their answers are not YES, I would decline their request to officiate and suggest to them that they are not ready for Christian Marriage.
Marriage of any kind is going to be difficult. Christian Marriage is even more so. The Fallen nature in the husband does NOT naturally want to submit to the ultimate authority (God) in the marriage, and the fallen nature in the wife does NOT naturally want to submit to the authority of her husband in all matters. Fallen Man (both men and women) are by nature self-centered. Christian marriage is Christ-centered, and promotes the interests of one's mate.
Learning what God's Word has to say, once again, plays a critical part in one's decision making process. Accepting the consequences for obeying God rather than Man is a part of the calling that an advancing disciple (Luke 14: 26) must endure.
Becoming a genuine Christian is some societies, cultures, and families can result in rejection, physical abuse, and in some cases death in many parts of the devil's world. Following Biblical Christianity rather than the Man-made teachings and practices of one of the many Christian Religions can result in the same reactions from those WITHIN what is generally accepted as being a part of the Christian Community at large.
Many Christians have or will suffer rejection, isolation, and persecution at the hands of those who are followers of one or more of the world's religions (Psalms 96: 5), Judaism (John 16: 2), and/or followers of one or more of the many "Christian Religions" that have come along. Persecuting genuine Christians is often carried out by those who believethat they were/are doing service to their god/God (John 16: 2, 3) in the process!
"They will make you (born again believers) outcasts from the (Jewish) synagogue, but the hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he (by killing you) is offering service to God. These things they will do because they (these religious groups) have not known (God the) Father or Me (John 16: 2, 3 NASB italics mine).
It is one thing to know "of" God, but its another thing altogether to be known by God as one of His children. God knows who has been born again. Those who have been born again have been "sealed" (marked for identification) by God the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4: 30). God recognizes His own work, and distinguishes it from the alternative religious works of Man.
"Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord" did we not prophecy in Your name, and in your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?" And I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness (Matt. 7 : 22, 23 NASB)."
These words of the Lord Jesus Christ were spoken to and about the Jews before the coming of the Church Age, thus the mention of "lawlessness." Lawlessness meant living contrary to the Old Testament Law (first five books of the Old Testament). Ultimately, the sacrificial rituals of The Law, practiced during the Old Testament dispensation, pointed to the coming and the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. By rejecting the deity (divine nature) of the Lord Jesus Christ and the atoning work that He would and later did accomplish on the cross, they failed to see that it was He (and not they) that fulfilled the very Law. By rejecting the Gospel Message, they (and many (Matt. 7: 13) religious persons of our day will fail to have their names inscribed in the (Rev. 20: 15) Book of Life as will face the eternal consequences.
Like the Jews of His Day, who chose to place their confidence in what they thought would bring them eternal life, many followers of religion, including Christian religions (as opposed to Christianity) will be shocked to see their good deeds and religious activities failed to have their names recorded in the Rev. 20: 15 Book of Life. I believe that they will be among the "many" that "Will say to Me, Lord, Lord..." and will go on to say all the things that they had done (gone to Church, participated in rituals, did good deeds, and engaged in relatively good behavior), but will face the same end. Scripture could not have made it any clearer than it did in Rev. 20: 15.
"And if anyone's name was not found in written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire (Rev. 20: 15 NASB)."
There is only ONE (John 14: 6) way to have one's name written in the Rev. 20: 15 Book of Life. One MUST be born again (John 3: 5, 7, 16, 18).
There is divine discipline (Heb. 12: 6) here on Earth for born again believers. Divine discipline can range in anything from living with a guilty conscience up to physical death (Acts 5).
However, there is NO Judgement Day (concerning salvation) in Heaven in store for those who leave this world "in Christ (Romans 8: 1 NASB)." To be "in Christ" means to be born again. Born again believers will be called upon to give an account (Romans 14: 1) of what they did with the call to the post salvation salvation spiritual life. As a result , they will receive or forfeit the accompanying rewards (1Cor. 3: 14) and privileges (Rev. 2/Rev. 3), but their home in heaven is never in jeopardy (1Cor. 3: 15).
Anyone who thinks that a born again believer can lose his/her salvation, does NOT understand the true Gospel Message, and as a result, has not been set free from the inevitable bondage that false teachings will generate (John 8: 30). There are many "Christians" who live in fear of death all their lives and will never experience that John 8: 30 speaks of during their time here on earth. This fear is from the devil. This freedom is from Christ.
There are other "Christians" that consider their eternal salvation to be a license to sin, but will face the only moment of regret recorded in Scripture that born again believers will face in Heaven. This moment of regret takes place when he/she sees all the things that he/she thought was going to bring reward goes up in smoke (1Cor. 3: 15) and fails to receive many of 1Cor. 3: 14 rewards and Rev. 2/Rev. 3 privileges that are in store for those chose the life discipleship during their time here on Earth.
There are many that will be surprised to find themselves in Heaven, having been deceived into thinking that their salvation could have been lost.
There are many "religious" folks within the Christian Community who think that they were/are heaven bound (Matt. 7: 22, 23), but will find themselves in the Torments of Hades upon departing this world, and eventually in what the Bible calls the lake of fire (Rev. 20: 13, 15) because they were never born again!
With spiritual discernment, one can see why the devil promotes Christian Religion and opposes Christianity. If one can not see the difference between Christian Religion and Christianity, he/she has a need to make a 2 Cor. 13: 5 self examination.
Christian religion is all about what many who consider themselves "Christians" do, have done, or refrain from doing in order to earn or otherwise qualify for the earthly and/or eternal blessings of God.
Many areas of Christian religion is big on promoting the commandments (KJV)/precepts (NASB) of men (Mark 7: 7). Such things are found in their never-ending (and changing) lists of additional requirements, leading their followers to believe that their salvation hangs in the balance. It is usually these same religions (and followers) that neglect the commandment of God (Matt. 7: 8).
The commandment that identifies the primary mission of Church is found in the Great Commission (Matt. 28: 19, 20). The "churches" that are the product of Man have their own agenda and neglect (fail to prioritize) the primary mission that God gave the Church that He designed (Mark 7: 8).
The primary mission of the Church that God designed is to proclaim the Gospel Message to unbelievers, and to make disciples (students and appliers of the Word of God) out of those who are born again.
Participating in the Great Commission is going to require that one thinks and steps outside of the comfort zone of his red box.
Unlike Christian Religion, Christianity is all about placing one's full trust and confidence in all that God has done, God is doing, and that God will do, for and through those who are "in Christ." Those who are "in Christ" have been born again. Among those who have been born again, there are those who have identified and are executing the post salvation spiritual life of discipleship. Discipleship will require one to think outside of the comfort zone of his red box.
Christian Religion has enlarged the black box and reduced the size of the yellow box, placing demands and restrictions on Church Age believers that God never intended for them to bear. Removing the extended part of the black box that religion has established, while acknowledging the part that God has established, is critical if one in going to reach his/her full potential in the kingdom of God.
When Peter was in the boat (), he was in his red box. When challenged, he accepted the call and began to enter his yellow box by walking across the water towards the Lord. When overcome by fear of his surroundings, he lost confidence and began to sink, but was rescued by the Lord. What might have been one of his greatest personal victories in the realm of the Angelic Conflict, was compromised when lost confidence. Instead of receiving a "Well done" from the Lord, he had to be rescued and was asked why he doubted.
"And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt (Matt. 14: 31 KJV)
There are times when an advancing disciple will have the same experience, but at least give Peter (and those like him) credit who are at least willing to step out of the comfort zone of their red boxes.
When it is God who calls us to think and/or to move outside of the comfort of our red box, He assumes full responsibility for the outcome, and always has a divine objective in mind.
If we are presented with an "opportunity" that would requires us to go outside of the black box, the call is NOT from God. If we respond to an "opportunity" that has not come from God, we assume all responsibility for the outcome. We have all done things that seemed all right at the time. We must learn that what IS a part of the plan for other Christians, may not be a part of the plan that God has in mind for us.
Eve was deceived into thinking that it was a good opportunity to eat of the forbidden fruit . She had been led to believe that she and Adam would become like God (Gen. 3: 5). Eating of the forbidden fruit took her outside of the lines of the black box that God ha drawn when He forbade the eating of the fruit. She not only took herself outside of the black box that God had drawn, she ended up taking Adam with her. Our sin often impacts the lives of those around us.
At the same time, Jonah understood that God wanted him to step out of his red box (he didn't want to go) when He to him the plan for him to go to Nineveh and preach about the wickedness taking place there. In attempt to get away from the plan that God had in mind, he ended up being tossed overboard Jonah 1: 15 and being rescued by God, finding himself spending three days an three nights in the belly of large fish. God has a "disaster at sea" and a "large fish" for those who choose to remain in the comfort of their red box when He calls us out.
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In conclusion, most of us find our red box to be a place of comfort on one hand, as thinking or acting outside of it can generate challenges to be overcome that we, as humans, would prefer to avoid.
We, ourselves, do much to build the restraining walls of our red box. As we have seen, there are many people who also have contributed to the limiting walls of our red box. There is the black box that God establishes that keeps us within the plan that He has in mind for us as an individual believer.
Christian religions have added to the black box that God has established, placing requirements and restrictions on us that God never intended for us to experience. Between the black box that God established, and the red box in which any one of us presently function, there is the yellow box of our potential. This potential not only refers to our spiritual activity, as there is a need to maximize our natural abilities in order for God to place us in the specific area of secular labor, professional, domestic, social, and recreational activities where we, in the capacity of an advancing disciple are called to serve as Christ's ambassadors.
While this yellow box is enclosed by the limitations of the black box that God established, it is much larger than the red box that most souls choose to function. If we are to identify and to become all that God wants us to be and do, we much develop the ability and the willingness to both hear and to respond when God calls us to think/move outside the red box and into yellow box within which we can identify and reach our maximum earthy potential, bringing the maximum glory to God in the process. Conducting oneself in a manner that glorifies God is the divine purpose for the reason God placed each one of us where we find ourselves ourselves each and every day.