Searching the Scriptures
“Search the Scriptures…They are they which testify of Me.” John 5:39
Author: Bob Moses
Interpreting the Scriptures
Standing and State
My goal throughout my writings is basically two-fold. First to teach and edify the Saints, and secondly to evangelize to those who know not their salvation in Jesus the Christ and lead them into His glorious companionship. Three distinct things stand out among these, 1) Those who are saved and Know it, 2)Those who are saved and are yet Unsure, and 3)Those who are not saved but Think they are. The question is resolved by distinguishing and understanding the difference between Standing and State. Therefore allow us to differentiate between the two.
Let us begin by taking a close look at one’s “Standing”. The Bible, which is our ultimate resource, clearly gives evidence of how to define our (Christian) Standing. “But as many as received him (Jesus), to them gave He power to become the children of God, even to them that believe on His name. Who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (Jn. 1: 12-13). “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God; therefore, the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the children of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” (1 John 3: 1-2). Notice that it is “NOW” that we are the children of God. Not sometime in the future or in eternity, but Now!! How blessed are we. “The Spirit (Holy Spirit) himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God; And if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ—if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Rom. 8: 16-17). “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, according to His abundant mercy, hath begotten us again (the 2nd birth), unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you. Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this we greatly rejoice.” (1 Pet. 1: 3—6). Note that we are “Reserved in Heaven”, further; “My sheep (us) hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” (John 10: 27-28). “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, by whom ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30). “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead (natural death )and your life (spiritual life) is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.” (Colossians 3: 1—4).
You can therefore begin to understand your “Standing” as a Christian. There is no wavering, nor ambiguity. We are “Now” Sons of God, Heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. This heirship guarantees our Preservation for we are kept by the Power of God. We are Reserved in Heaven and Sealed unto the Day of Redemption and further Hid with Christ in God for safe keeping. For those who doubt, keep in mind Jesus said; “And no man shall be able to pluck us out of our Father’s hand, and then we are sealed unto the day of redemption”. How then can we lose our salvation, as some would have us to believe? If we are in the palm of the hand of God and his fist is closed about us, and then sealed; how can we possibly be pried from his preservation? This does not mean that we will never sin again, nor ever go astray, quite the contrary. We have two natures, the earthly or human part and the spiritual and heavenly part. Man has a tendency toward the earthly. Mankind loves wine, strong drink, women/men and song, he loves onions, leeks and garlic, and a good smoke, all things that make him stink. His spiritual side longs for righteousness; fellowship with God, good smelling oil, frankincense, sweet perfume, goodness, peace, gentleness, love, faith, temperance, meekness, longsuffering, temperance and joy, these are the things of God. Ah, but one must understand; “That which is born of flesh is flesh, and that which is born of Spirit is Spirit.” (John 3:6). We do have two natures.
Let us dwell for just a brief moment upon my statement above; “This does not mean that we will never sin again”. In Interpreting the Scriptures we must always look at a subject with more than just a glance. There is a difference between sin and sin(s). Some might say; “Brother Moses, we sure are splitting the hair a bit thin”; but I think this must be understood. Sin is in the world due to the fall of Adam. We have been born into the sin of the world. We cannot escape it nor can we avoid it. It goes with life on earth. Sin(s) on the other hand are committed by individuals. You and I sin our own sins. You may lust after the sexual things, I may lust after money. You may go to church every time the doors open and think of yourself as righteous. I may never go to church nor tithe, nor honor God and consider myself holy. Sin(s) are our own personal failings, whereas Sin as a whole we inherited. We cannot avoid the sin in which we live, but we do have a responsibility to not commit evil. Come judgment day we will not be accountable for the sin in the world, but we will be held accountable for the sin(s) we committed. Unless, of course, we have turned over our sin(s) to Jesus, who has taken our sin(s) upon Himself at the Cross. Yet, even then, we are instructed to confess our sin(s) daily and seek His forgiveness and instruction. Thank you for indulging me. I felt this explanation a necessary element in our learning to Interpret the Scriptures.
We shall now return to Standing and State. Our Standing is settled, safe and sure. However, our State is variable owing to our two natures, earthly and spiritually. Remember Jesus said in John 3:6, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
This Spiritual Warfare is revealed by Paul in his letter to the Romans. Let us read Romans Chapter 7, vs 14—25. “For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I understand not; for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If, then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now, then, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 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. 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 dewelleth in me. I find then a law that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man; But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. Oh, wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So, then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh, the law of sin.” This speaks volumes of the Dual Nature of man.
Man is either sinful or sinless, depending upon which nature is uppermost at any given time. The disposition to do wrong we inherit from Adan and is called “original sin” or “natural depravity”. Our disposition to sin(s) are the acts which we commit. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 1 John 3:9. Jesus died on the Cross to remove the disposition to sin from us, and by accepting Him as our personal Saviour we get a NEW NATURE in which there is no disposition to sin. It is that nature therefore that cannot sin.
Ah, there is always the doubting Thomas out there who says, does not the Apostle Paul say that we are “dead to sin” and ought not to live any longer therein? Rom. 6:1-2. The answer is yes, but what he means is that we are judicially dead. That is, we are in our “New Nature” dead to the law of sin; that law has no further power over us, therefore, the Apostle adds, we should “Reckon Ourselves Dead” (Rom. 6:11) “Likewise, reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ, our Lord.” And how do we accomplish this? “Walk in the Spirit and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Gal. 5:16. “Let not sin, therefore, reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in its lusts. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin, but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law but under grace.” Rom. 6: 12—14.
We see then in our first lesson on Interpreting the Scriptures that while a believer’s Standing is safe, secure and settled. His State is variable and will be either sinful or sinless according to whether the “Old” or “New Nature” is in control.
I must acknowledge much help in this endeavor to the late Rev. Clarence Larkin in his book “Rightly Dividing the Word”, circa 1920. It is notable that the “Old Timer’s” seem to cut through the chase and make it plain and simple, where anybody can understand it. Whereas today, most commentators make it so complicated that it takes a Philadelphia lawyer to try and figure it out.
It is my hope and prayer that you have gleaned something from this Study. May God bless you and yours…. You may contact me through my e-mail also at: firstname.lastname@example.org.