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The Garden and the Gospel

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SUMMATION

“Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: Heb 8:1”

 

Having examined the two greatest events that have influenced mankind, how may we summarize the things that we have learned and apply them to our lives? To do that we must first of all differentiate between the two types of individuals that may be found reading this book—the unbeliever and those who have already trusted Christ. Since all of us begin our lives as unbelievers, and since the greatest need of any individual is to be reconciled to God, we begin there.

I am sure that there are many, even as myself, that are confused about what it means to believe in Christ, trust Christ, or be saved. Having been raised in a nominally Christian home, where God was honored, we prayed at meals, and we sometimes went to Church—I already considered myself to be a Christian. After all, I believed in God, believed in Jesus, and prayed. However, those beliefs, which to me were only a head-knowledge, brought me no comfort, or had very little effect upon my life. Indeed, the Bible declares, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” Everyone, except the most reprobate of men, believe in some god. The evidence of creation is so strong that no one will have any excuse about the existence of  God. Furthermore, most people who are raised in the West, know and believe some facts about the man we call Jesus Christ. Additionally, all men will pray to God in some fashion, particularly when their life is threatened. So what I believed and practiced was little more than what most people did. Further proof of the ineffectiveness of what I believed was the downward spiral of my life into sin and degradation. It was not until I reached the age of twenty-five, that for the first time in my life, I was awakened by God to see myself as a sinner.

Jam 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

● The first truth that anyone must come to understand about themselves, is that they too are a sinner. Through Adam’s transgression, the entire human race has inherited, from our first father, what is called the sin nature. When Adam partook of the forbidden fruit, and obligated himself to keep the law of God, his posterity inherited this indebtedness also. God’s law now condemns all of mankind, because we fail to measure up to its demands. None of us can satisfy the Law’s  requirements of perfect obedience, and therefore it condemns us. There is nothing good that any of us can do to earn heaven, because everything we do falls short of perfect holiness. We are absolute sinners through and through; we are not as bad as we can be, we can be another devil; but everything we are and everything we do is corrupted by sin.

Rom 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

Rom 3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
20
Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Furthermore, those of Adam’s race are born spiritually dead—separated from God; we are “shapen in iniquity,” “estranged from the womb”; all sinners “go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” We do not sin to become a sinner, we sin because we are a sinner. The evidence that all of Adam’s race has inherited this fallen nature is that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” The Scriptures witness against us by proclaiming “There is none righteous, no, not one”; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”

Eph 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; (born dead)

Psa 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. (David was not saying his mother bore him illegitimately, but they he was born with the sin nature.)

Psa 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.

Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Rom 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable;
there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Now, while most people will acknowledge, to some degree, that they are not perfect, and may have done a few bad things, only God can bring a person to realize the awfulness of their condition. Because we are born spiritually blind, we do not comprehend just what it means to be a sinner. As such, we are a part of an alien race that is the enemy of God. We hate God so much, that when He sent His Son to this earth, we crucified Him. God is not, as many believe, our Father—sinners have no relationship with God; and we have no hope beyond this life.

Eph 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

John 15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

John 15:24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.

Col 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled

● What then, is the status of our being sinners, the enemies of God? Although much is said about the love of God, very little is taught about the holiness, righteousness, and justice of God. God is not like some aged grandfather, who smiles down upon His wayward children. On the contrary, the Scriptures are very clear on how God feels about sin and the sinner. When we read such passages as “God is angry with the wicked every day,” “thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness,” and, “thou hatest all workers of iniquity,” we realize that all is not well with us as sinners. Indeed, we are told that upon every sinner “the wrath of God abideth on him.”

Isa 6:1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

Psa 7:11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.

Psa 5:4 For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.
5 The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.

John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

● What then, is the consequence of our being sinners, the enemies of God? First of all, we are condemned by God. Most people are under the impression that everyone will stand before God some day and be judged. At this judgment God will decide who will enter Heaven and who will be condemned—not so. The Bible is clear— “he that believeth not is condemned already.” Already we are under the wrath of God; already our fate has been decided; already we are condemned to perdition. The only thing that awaits us is, how bad will our punishment will be.

John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them:
and they were judged every man according to their works.

● Because of our fallen nature, we are condemned to die. Most people consider death to be a natural part of life on earth—not so. Death is unnatural to this world. Death was not a part of God’s creation until Adam fell. Death was a result of Adam being separated from the One who is life—God. Furthermore, as we have already studied, death is not the final end of our existence. Once the spirit\soul leaves the body, the unbeliever awaits the final judgment in the prison house of hell. We understand from the Scriptures that this is located in the center of this earth; and that the inhabitants of that place are very conscious of where they are, and live there in torment. Finally, at the end of this world, the bodies of the unbelievers will be resurrected, and their spirit\souls will be brought out of hell. Those that are lost will stand before God—wholly in their body, soul, and spirit. At this judgment, called The Great White Throne, the records of everyman’s life will be examined, and the just due for everyman’s sins will be dispensed. The final home of all unbelievers will be the Lake of Fire, where, for all eternity, the retribution for their sins will be administered.

Rom 5:12 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:

Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Luke 16:22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

● Howbeit, this we say, if the preceding scenario has caused you consternation, there is hope for you. God has made a way of escape from this eternal damnation, for those who will avail themselves of it. The first step toward this escape is to admit before God that you are a sinner who justly deserves condemnation. Then, you must be willing to forsake your life of sin and accept the life that God has for you in Christ. This is what is called “repentance toward God.” Now, I hear the voices of many who would say, ‘But I don’t think I can overcome certain sins or habits in my life’ ; or ‘I don’t think I can live like a Christian is supposed to live.’ Those kinds of statements are irrelevant to becoming a child of God. The real issue is your willingness to yield yourself to God, and allow Him to transform you as He would. We can never quit sinning, or become good enough for God to save us—which leads us to the next point.

Acts 20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

Matt 9:13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

2 Cor 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

● There is absolutely nothing a lost sinner can do to make amends for their past life, or to earn a place in Heaven by doing something good. If you are truly repentant, and are seeking someway to atone for your sins or to endear yourself to God—stop trying. There is nothing you can do but throw yourself upon the mercies of God and allow Him to save you. Joining a church, or being baptized, or cleaning up your life will do you absolutely no good. You must be saved and converted by God before any of these kinds of things become meaningful.

Tit 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

Luke 18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

● The question then becomes “what must I do to be saved?” The answer is so simple that even a child can understand it—“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” The problem is, that we have so complicated the plain meaning of this text, that we have made it ineffectual. Churches and religions, pastors and priests, traditions and false doctrines, have so clouded the plain truth, that only God can open the blinded eyes of a person and make the truth effectual to them.

Acts 16:30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

Gal 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you,
and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

Because our nature has been so skewed by Adam’s fall, it is impossible for us to think that our salvation requires no work of our own; but that we must rely totally upon someone else to save us. When the demands of the Law came to bear upon Adam and his race, it was necessary for us to try to work to satisfy its requirements; but the salvation that God has provided does away with those self-works. Instead, we must rely totally and completely upon what God has done for us in Jesus Christ.

Gal 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

We might illustrate what we are saying this way. I once crossed a very long suspension bridge that hung over a very deep gorge. Even though I made the trip quite safely, if the bridge had failed while I crossed it, I would have fallen to a certain death on the rocks below. Now, I had nothing to do with building the bridge; I had absolutely no part in designing it or in the construction of it; furthermore, there was nothing about the way I crossed the bridge that aided it in keeping me safe—the bridge did all the work. Apart from me jumping over the railings, the steel cables, anchored into the sides of the gorge, did all that was necessary to secure my passage. Even so it is with God’s salvation. We need to cross from this sin-cursed earth to Heaven above, and God has built a bridge. The Father designed it, Jesus built it, and the Holy Spirit sustains it. By faith, if we step out upon what God has built, we will make the trip quite safely. Furthermore, once we are on the bridge, God’s hand will not even allow us to fall or jump over the side; we will, without a doubt, complete our journey safe and secure.

John 6:28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
29 Jesus answered and said unto them,
This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all;
and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.

Furthermore, looking upon that bridge before crossing it, I observed how well it was built, how strong the cables appeared, how well the decking was secured, and the bridge seemed to be in excellent condition. Furthermore, I watched several other people cross it safely, and believed it would hold me also. Therefore, I found implanted within me faith in that bridge and the work of the men who built it. This faith gave me the courage to step out upon the bridge and walk across. Likewise, when we hear and read the Word of God; when we examine the bridge of salvation that God has built; when we hear the testimonies of others who have crossed it; and when we come to believe in the greatness of the God who has provided for us this salvation, we find within ourselves the faith to trust in His salvation also. The moment we see Jesus dying on the cross for our sins—believing that what He has done is all that is necessary for us to be saved—we will step out and put our trust in Him. For those who are truly repentant, and to whom God gives the faith to believe upon His Son, they become a child of God and receive eternal life.

Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

John 4:39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.
40 So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.
41 And many more believed because of his own word;
42
And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.

John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

This then is the message to the unbeliever— “repent ye, and believe the gospel.” What is the Gospel?— “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” Call upon God to have mercy upon you and save you for Jesus sake—“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.”

Mark 1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand:
repent ye, and believe the gospel.

1 Cor 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved,
if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received,
how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

Rom 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Isa 55:6 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
7
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Let us now progress to summarize what the message of The Garden and the Gospel is for those who are the true children of God. We have examined in detail what the effects of Adam’s sin has had upon the body, soul, and spirit of man. We have also studied how the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ was God’s means to redeem fallen man; and, for those of you who have experienced God’s grace, you have found much of what has been said to be true. The problem, I have found, in mine own life and in viewing the lives of others, is that we tend to forget those truths about ourselves and God’s means of salvation which are so vital to the Christian life.

Gal 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

● We fail to consider what we are apart from Christ. We lose the sense of how wretched we are in ourselves, the depravity of our sin nature which still abounds in the flesh— “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing.” While Christ has made a great change in us, we must never forget the “horrible pit” out of which He raised us, and the “miry clay” of the flesh we wallowed in.

Rom 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

Psa 40:2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.

Because ours lives have gotten so much better then when we floundered in sin, we fail to recognize the evil nature which is still apart of us. As believers we are on guard against the world and the devil, but we often ignore our greatest enemy—the flesh. The carnal desires which once reigned over us may be subdued as God’s Spirit now strengthens us; but once we get our eyes off of Christ, they are ready to once again take control of our lives.

Rom 7:5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

Matt 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Because of our strong desire to be elevated beyond what we really are—“the creature was made subject to vanity”—we can become proud. Religious people can be some of the most puffed up, arrogant people to be found anywhere. Instead of being a humble witness of God’s mercy and grace, we are a stench in the nostrils of  God and lost sinners. When we have a “holier than thou” attitude toward others, we turn them away from Christ. As believers, we need to remember the first time we stood before God as empty handed sinners, begging only for His mercy; that is still the only ground we can stand on before Him.

Rom 8:20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,

Eph 4:17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,

Isa 65:5 Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.

Psa 6:1 O LORD, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.
2 Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed.
3 My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O LORD, how long?
4 Return, O LORD, deliver my soul:
oh save me for thy mercies' sake.

This self-righteous attitude leads to all kinds of offenses against other people. We are unmerciful toward weaker brethren or the lost. We become judgmental about the faults we see in other peoples lives. In thinking we are better than others, we become bigots, and discriminate against people we imagine to be inferior to us. These kinds of feelings greatly hinder the work of God, and bring upon ourselves the chastening hand of God.

Luke 6:36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:

Jam 2:1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;
3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:
4
Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?

● We have an inbreed tendency to again try to please God by the works of our flesh. This works philosophy, that became a part of our nature when Adam partook of the forbidden fruit, is ingrained in our flesh. We forget that when we came to God as a sinner we had nothing to offer Him but the blood of Jesus. God accepted us for Jesus’ sake, and nothing has changed. Just because we are now a child of God does not mean we have the ability to earn God’s grace or blessings. God will never be pleased with us because we now try to obey His law, do good deeds, or perform some pious rituals. If fact, the moment we put ourselves back under the law we fall from grace.

Gal 3:2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
3
Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

Gal 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
4
Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

When we fall from grace we lose the joy of salvation; Christian service becomes a burden; the fruits of the Spirit are non-evident in our lives; we fall out of love with God and with other people; we become quick-tempered and unkind; and there is no desire to see the lost come to Christ, or are we concerned about the work of God. It is only as we abide in Christ that these fruits are a reality in ours lives.

Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance:
against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

● Many of God’s children have set their affections upon this world and what it has to offer. Jesus told Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world.” He gave up all that the world had to offer in order to redeem His Bride—the Church. When we give our affections to the world and the things of the world, we are betraying Christ. We pray and ask for God’s blessing upon us concerning the material things of life; but we are unconcerned about the work of Christ. When are attitude is such—we are “adulterers and adulteresses”; and “whosoever … will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” We must allow God to crucify these fleshly desires until we set our “affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”

John 18:36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

Jam 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
4
Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

Gal 6:14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

Col 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

● The Christian life is a life of faith. It began when we trusted Jesus and the work He accomplished on our behalf; and it is lived by continuing to look “unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” By faith we receive strength to overcome sin and the world. By faith we receive power to carry out the work of God. By faith we see God answer our prayers. Finally, by faith we await the day when Jesus shall return. We await His  return to resurrect those who have died in Christ; to change those who still live in Christ; and to set up His Kingdom here on this earth.

Gal 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

1 Pet 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

Acts 6:8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.

James 5:15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

1 Pet 1:9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

● In the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, God did all that was necessary to save us; and it is our death, burial, and resurrection that God works to conform us to the image of His Son. The suffering of the cross is never pleasant, but for a child of God it is an absolute necessity. Charles Spurgeon is quoted as saying, ‘He doubted that anything of significant value had ever happened in his life except through suffering.’ It takes suffering to bring us again and again to the foot of the cross, where we cry out, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner.’ Its takes suffering before we will give up the ways of the flesh and accept the life God has for us in Christ. It is in the burial of the old man that a child of God can come forth from the grave to a new life. When we die to the flesh, that life is buried, gone forever. After the cross and the grave comes the resurrection, where God reveals to us an ever deeper life in Christ than we have ever known. For a child of God, this suffering of the cross, the burial of the old man, and being raised to new life in Christ, will be repeated again and again until Christ becomes our “all and in all.”

Rom 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Phil 3:8 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,
9 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:
10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
12 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.
13 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,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.

Col 3:9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;
10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free:
but Christ is all, and in all.

As a redeemed child of God, we have no choice but to follow our Lord in His death, burial, and resurrection. In our repentance towards God, we choose to accept whatever God would do to make us like Christ. We are not promised happiness as Christians, but we are promised peace and joy—and there is a great difference. Happiness depends upon happenings. If we are looking for happiness we will be greatly disappointed. The truth is that God removes many of those things that make us happy to crucify the flesh. Peace and joy, on the other hand, are the gifts of God to those who abide in Christ. Nothing and no one can take them from us. They do not depend upon circumstances, but upon the indwelling Christ.

1 Cor 15:19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

John 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

As a final word to those who are in Christ: let us be “patient in tribulation”—knowing that “it is God which worketh in you”;  let us “be content with such things as ye have”—knowing that “God shall supply all your need”; and let us abide in Christ, and have His Word abiding in us—knowing that we shall “bear much fruit” to the glory of Christ and of God. These simple guidelines will avail us much that we might “finish (our) course with joy”; and that we might one day hear our Saviour say, “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”

Rom 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

Phil 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
13
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Heb 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Phil 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

John 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Matt 25:23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

* * * * *

It has been our desire, that the reader of this study,  The Garden and the Gospel, has profited spiritually by what has been put forth. While much of what we have said will be readily embraced by many Christian believers, some things will be taken as an offense to beliefs that many hold dear. The only recourse we offer to those who would object to the viewpoint of this book, is to be like the people of Berea, who  “received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” What any man speaks or writes must be authenticated by the Anvil of Truth—the Word of God. While some may muse “What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods,” our only defense is the Scriptures from which we draw our conclusions. Finally, “though we be as reprobates” “we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.”

Acts 17:10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.
11
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

2 Tim 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Acts 17:18 Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.

2 Cor 13:7 Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates.
8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.

 

 

 

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