Who Are We, Anyway?
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
As we begin another Christmas season, let’s review exactly what the Lord’s arrival on Earth has done for us. It’ll help us remember the reason for the season and rekindle our joy in the midst of all the hustle and bustle.
He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
“As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. (Matt 13:36-43)
“Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt 13:47-50)
In the parable of the weeds in the field, we’re told that the good seed represents the sons of the Kingdom while the weeds are the sons of the evil one. They’re both left to grow together in the field (the world) until the harvest. Likewise in the parable of the net, the good fish and the bad fish are drawn in the same net from the same body of water. In both cases the good and the bad seem to be similar in location and appearance until they’re separated.
By the way, some point to the parable of the weeds as proof of a post-tribulation rapture while others use the parable of the net to justify their pre-trib position. Neither is correct, for reasons I share in my 4 part commentary on the Kingdom Parables available elsewhere on this website (see links below).
But if both these parables point to a co-existence of believers and non-believers during the church age, and if they both allude to a physical similarity between the two, what is it that makes us different?
Who Are We Anyway?
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Cor 5:17) You may look and even feel the same as you did before you were saved, but in God’s eyes you’re totally different. The old you no longer exists. As far as He’s concerned, you’re a new creation, as righteous as He is. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor. 5:21)
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1:12-13) This change came about as the result of a new birth. No matter who your earthly parents are, or what their nationality is, God has given you the authority to be born again as one of His children.
You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal. 3:26-28) You might have been a Jew or a gentile before you were saved, but now you’re neither. You belong to an entirely new race of Human, and God has adopted you directly into His family.
His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. (Ephes. 2:15-16) Since the Fall of Man, God has never been able to dwell successfully among His people. They simply can’t live according to the standards of Holiness He requires. But He loves us too much to abandon us. So after the cross He began taking some from the Jews and some from the Gentiles, forming His new race of Human, and by His death making us as Holy as He is. The ones He takes are the ones who ask to be taken. Finally He now has children with whom He can dwell in peace.
But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir. (Gal. 4:4-7) But that’s not all He did at the cross. Being His children makes us His heirs, inheritors of Creation. In both Greek and Roman cultures, even a biological son had to be legally adopted by his father in order to qualify as an heir. This usually happened between the ages of 14 and 18 and was intended to prevent wayward, rebellious, or incompetent offspring from getting their hands on dad’s estate. It was called receiving the full rights of a son. When you were born again as a child of God, whether male or female, you immediately received the full rights of a son, qualifying you as His heir.
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Rom. 8:15-17) Since we have allowed the death of our Lord to wipe away our debt of sin, thereby sharing in His sufferings, we are entitled by the power of the Holy Spirit to call the Creator of the Universe our Daddy and share with the Lord Jesus the inheritance set aside for Him. This inheritance is identified in Psalm 2:7-8. I will proclaim the decree of the LORD : He said to me, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. By agreeing to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are qualified to share in this inheritance.
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. (Ephes. 2:6-7) Note the past tense of the verbs. As Far as God is concerned this has already been accomplished in Heaven, even though we wait for it to happen on earth. In other words it’s as good as done. And in ages yet to come, when God is asked, “What was the greatest demonstration of Your love for Your people,” He’ll point to us, the church.
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephes. 2:10) This literally means that we’re His work of art, the very best example of His creative genius. We are destined to spend eternity in His presence, to rule and reign with Him in His Kingdom. We’re future Kings and Priests in training for our coming coronation.
Let’s Begin Acting Like The Royalty We Are
Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:28-29) So what does this training consist of? We must believe with all our hearts that Jesus did what He came to do, and entrust our eternal destiny to His completed work alone.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. (John 15:12) With the power of the Holy Spirit invested within us, we must strive to love each other as He loved us.
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephes. 4:22-24) We must begin to change our attitude about life, letting our gratitude for what He’s done for us permeate every aspect of our lives. Here are some examples.
Be joyful always; (1 Thes. 5:16) No matter what happens, we should be so thankful for all He’s given us that nothing can steal our joy.
Pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thes. 5:17-18) He wants a never ending conversation with us, and for us to find something in every situation that we can give thanks for, because He knows this will make us happier.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:4-7) No matter what happens, our reaction should be to rejoice. We should worry about nothing, pray about everything, and be thankful for anything. In return He will give us peace in our lives. Peace that never fails. Peace that’s beyond our understanding. The peace of God Himself.
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matt. 6:31-33) He knows we need food, a place to live, and clothes to wear during our life on Earth. He promised to provide all these things for us, if we’ll just make Him our first priority.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Phil 4:8) He has given us an incredibly powerful mind, the limits of which are beyond measure. There’s no end to the things we can create in our imaginations. Such power can be destructive when it’s used improperly, such as when we focus on hate, or greed or envy. He wants us to focus our minds on good things, things that are beautiful, pure, excellent and praiseworthy. He knows this will make us happier and healthier.
We who’ve been given everything must learn not to worry about anything. We have the promise of One who cannot lie that He will look after our every need, and that He’ll never leave us or forsake us to the very end of the age. And then we’ll spend eternity in never ending bliss with Him. All we have to do is believe it. That’s the gift He brought us when He came to Earth that first Christmas. Selah 12-03-05