PART 1 CHURCH TEACHINGS
PART 1 CHURCH TEACHINGS
What Are the Bundle of Benefits Received at Salvation?
As a little baby, I was sprinkled with water according to the tenets of my parents’ faith. As I grew older, I participated in the following sacraments, which according to them, were a visible sign of an inward grace.
- Baptism by sprinkling or immersion that resulted in the forgiveness of sins and, along with the presence of the Holy Spirit, brings about spiritual regeneration.
- Communion, which is when the literal body and blood of Christ are partaken of. Allegedly, the more frequently the member participates in it, the more an increase of noticeable fruit should be produced over time, such as neighborliness, compassion, forbearance toward others, the lessening of racial and national prejudices, and of neighborhood resentments.
- Confirmation, which provides a seal of the Holy Spirit along with the enrichment of His special strength.
- Confession, which brings about an assurance of forgiveness for committed sins that results in reconciliation to God and His church.
As I continued in this faith, I participated in these sacraments. As for why I went to church at this time in my life, I have a number of reasons. The first was that my parents told me I had to go. The second was the church had a cafeteria you could go to before Mass and eat the most incredible buttered bulky roles I have ever had. The third was that most of the neighborhood kids were there. The final reason was that my relatives, who also attended the same church, would, when they saw me, express their approval of me by saying that I was a good boy, which gave me self-esteem.
After graduating from high school, I stopped attending church altogether. I concluded that it was a waste of time. What I mean by saying this was that while I was aware that if I continued to follow the sacraments, God would be pleased with me, however, I never had any assurance that He actually existed and that my destination to go to heaven at physical death was a guarantee. Many years went by until I decided to engage in a search in order to see if God truly existed. This probably sounds crazy, but my rationale was that if God does exist wouldn’t He want to have a personal relationship with me and provide me with the assurances I was looking for?
Finding out whether God truly exists became a reality in my life in 1977, when I attended a Bible study of a different faith. I would like to say that what happened to me should be recognized as the chief reason why a person should decide to go to church. After listening to the pastor’s message, he asked if anyone in attendance wanted to have a personal relationship with God. Not only could I not believe what I was hearing, but I was wondering in my mind how this was going to take place. Was there something that I had to do for God to have a relationship with Him? Did I have to give a certain amount of money to the church? Just what was it that would cause God to come into my life and prove to me that He truly existed?
After hearing the pastor make the request, I raised my hand. He came over to me and said that the first condition was whether I would admit to being a sinner who needed a Savior. He went on to say that in order to break the sin cycle, I needed a new nature of which only God could give me. After which, he asked me to confess out loud the words that he would relay to me about who Jesus is and what He has done. I was surprised at this because in the faith I grew up in, water baptism, whether by sprinkling or immersion along with the presence of the Spirit, was the basis for a person becoming a child of God. In this instance, becoming a child of God was based on repenting (acknowledging and expressing a desire to turn from sin) to God the Father and believing in His Son, Jesus Christ, as to who He is and what He had accomplished. This is otherwise known as the gospel message.
Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
John 3:1-3 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
John 7:37-39 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: …
After repentance and belief, all of a sudden, I was engulfed with God’s presence; and because of which, I could barely stand up. His love, joy, and peace permeated my soul. I knew that my life had changed forever. I was told that when a person responds to the gospel, they will receive into their body another person of the Trinity called the Holy Spirit.
I believe that this should be the primary reason to go to church. Once this spiritual reality has taken place in our life, there are more reasons for continuing to attend the gathering of the saints, which we’ll find out about later in this study. Hopefully, you have, likewise, received the Holy Spirit into your life and are now wondering what else could be in store for you. However, if you have never received the Holy Spirit, why not now? God wants to come into your life and make you a new person. This is not a gimmick but, in actuality, the beginning of getting to know Him in a personal way. You can repeat these words silently or out loud and have your life be changed from the inside out in an instant like mine was.
I acknowledge that I have sinned in many areas such as having: slandered others, sexual relations outside of marriage, been jealous, participated in alcohol or drug abuse, sex with others of the same gender, committed adultery, taken money from others in a deceitful manner, committed incest, engaged in pedophilia, etc.
I believe in you, Jesus Christ, as one of the members of the Trinity, as deity (having a divine nature), who pre-existed time, as God, having come to the earth and took himself the form of a man, being born of a virgin (no sin nature), lived a sinless life, listened to and obeyed the directives of His Father, went to the cross and paid for the penalty of and forgave the sins of the whole world, rose from the dead after three days, never to die again, walked the earth in His resurrection body for forty days witnessing to over five hundred people, and ascended into heaven to be seated at the right hand of God the Father.
If you have repeated these words, then God the Holy Spirit has come into your life. Your life will never be the same. Let’s read further and find out the answers to the following questions.
Now that I have received the Spirit, why should I go to church?
And no matter where I choose to attend the gathering of the saints, what should be going on there that will help me grow spiritually?
TO LEARN ABOUT THE BUNDLE OF BENEFITS RECEIVED AT SALVATION
Why should you go to church? What should be going on there?
I’m sure there are many different reasons as to why a person goes to a place where those, the body of Christ, the living church, are gathered together.
Some of them could be because:
- It gives him/her hope that when they die, they will go to a better place.
- It allows him/her an opportunity to volunteer to participate in church functions so that they can help others.
- It provides for their children a place where they can receive positive messages about world peace, helping one’s neighbor, etc.
- It’s a place where they can make new friends.
- It’s a place that will provide for their family, when needed, a physical structure that can be used for their kids to get married in.
- It’s a place that provides in its’ teachings an organized approach to please God.
- It’s a place that will offer a formal ceremony at physical death, reassuring their family and friends that their loved ones have passed on to a heavenly abode, where they are now waiting to see them when they also depart from this earth.
All of these are what I would call reasonable human expectations. We want to be liked by others. We want some assurance of a better place after this is over. We want to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. We want to help others. We want others to appreciate us. But the question is, is there a lot more to our spiritual life than just what appears for us on the surface?
This is what this study is all about. God should be someone who we depend on, on a moment-by-moment basis. He should be someone whose presence should be experienced by us intermittently throughout our day. He should be someone who helps us prevail over our addictions. He should be someone who helps us overcome the weaknesses of our flesh. He should be someone who communicates to us. He should be our closest friend.
Does your relationship with God sound something like what was just described? If it is, then you are blessed. If not, then why not find out what you’re missing. This is what will be presented to you in the following chapters. Are you ready to find out the answers to the questions posed at the beginning of this study, which I will condense down to one question?
When I go to church, what should be going on there so that I can learn how to be set free from regrets, disappointments, low self-esteem, and human weaknesses; and evidence a new life that operates in a spiritual nature, with a new mind, and with a divine perspective that changes my outlook about myself, others, and the circumstances of life so that Christ-like qualities are expressed to others in Word and deed?
Please join me in this study and find out what other kinds of teachings might be expressed when you attend the assembly of the saints that you should be aware of. Some of which are considered foundational and intellectual, some that help us grow spiritually, some disputable, some destructive to our spiritual walk, some authoritative, and others are controlling by destructive habits.
We’ll begin by hoping that you have responded to the gospel of Christ and have received the indwelling Spirit. If this was indeed the case, then you should know what the spiritual realities that have taken place in your life at salvation are. The answers to the questions, i.e., what is salvation, and what are those additional benefits that we have received as a result of it, are what we’ll take a look at next?
What is salvation?
Salvation is the bundle of benefits received by the person who believed the gospel, the good news message of repentance of sins to God the Father, and belief in Jesus Christ as to who He is and what He had accomplished. The initial benefit is the receiving of the indwelling Spirit, who causes our spirit to be made spiritually alive. Contained below is a list of the additional assets. By the way, there is one thing you need to remember, i.e., that these benefits have been given to you by God the Father. And because of such, you can’t lose them because you didn’t earn them. So, rejoice in what God has provided for you.
- Your human spirit has been made spiritually alive.
The human spirit is a spiritual apparatus that allows us to store spiritual knowledge. Doctrine heard goes to the mind, and from there to the human spirit, and then to the soul, where it builds rooms.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- You have received the indwelling Holy Spirit, who comes to indwell the human spirit.
1 Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
- You are quickened by the Holy Spirit.
This means that by the power of the Holy Spirit, every Christian has been spiritually resurrected, or another way of saying this is that we have been made spiritually alive with Christ.
Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
- You are given eternal life.
Eternal life is the quality of life one experiences when God rules his/her life. This can also be called the zoe life. [It’s] even thought of as a life that never [ends] because it comes from God.1
John 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
- Your old man is crucified with Christ.
Our old man refers to the sinful and corrupt nature located in our bloodstream that has been crucified with Christ on the cross through our identification with Him. The body, which has been ruled by the power of sin, may now cease to be an instrument of it and is whereby no longer subject to its control.
Romans 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
- You have been made an heir of God through Christ.
We’re no longer to be treated as servants, being bound by the oppression of the Mosaic Law, but as sons - members of God’s family. And because we’re sons, we’re also heirs, as those who possess God himself, partake of His nature, and have every blessing to which they are entitled.
Galatians 4:6-7 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
- You are seated together with Christ in heavenly places.
God the Father has raised us from spiritual death to spiritual life — from death to sin to a life of righteousness, being made alive and raised spiritually with Christ. He has caused our spiritual position to be in heavenly places with Him, who is seated at the right hand of the Father as our Head and Representative. [We’re] admitted to exalted honors in virtue of our connection with Him. Even now, our [lives] and thoughts are raised to the [heavens] where He reigns.2
Ephesians 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus
- You are God’s handiwork.
For we’re God the Father’s workmanship (denotes a work of art or masterpiece; spiritual handiwork), being made a new spiritual creature in which there is a moral and spiritual renewal for good deeds, which God has prepared beforehand a path of good works that He will perform in and through us as we choose to walk by faith.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them
- You are redeemed and forgiven.
In Christ, through our belief in Him, we’re in a permanent and continuous state of redemption (the setting us free from the slave market of sin; on the release of the payment of a ransom), and the forgiveness (the taking away of; having been lost from God’s mind) of sins.
Colossians 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins
- You are a fellow citizen with the saints and of the household of God.
Whether Jew or Gentile, we’re members of the same family of God, being entitled to the same privileges and regarded by Him as His children.
Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God
- You are complete in Him.
This completeness includes the furnishing of men with all that is required for their present (i.e., to be richly furnished with the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit3) salvation.
Colossians 2:10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power
- You are known by the Lord.
[We’re] marked by God so as to be recognized by Him as [His,] and this mark also serves as a perpetual reminder to us that [we’re] not our own.4 This impression helps to identify what is sealed, together with its owner, and to specify its purpose or function.
2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
- You are reconciled to God the Father.
For the unbeliever, this reconciliation refers to a changed relationship between God and a lost world. The means of reconciliation is Jesus Christ, who was given as a propitiation for the sins of the world, thus satisfying the Father’s justice.
Romans 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, …
Jesus has made it consistent for God to pardon. He has made atonement so that God [the Father] can be just while He justifies the sinner as long as he/she repents and believes in His Son Jesus, [and] by the agency of [the] Spirit, overcomes the unwillingness of the sinner to be reconciled, humbles his pride, shows him his sin, changes his heart, subdues his enmity against God, and [secures, in fact,] a harmony of feeling and purpose between God and [him/herself], so that they shall be reconciled forever.5
2 Corinthians 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation
- You are translated into the kingdom of His Son.
God the Father has rescued us from the dominion of darkness (the spiritual power by which mankind was held) and placed us into the kingdom of His Son.
Colossians 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son
- You are sanctified.
The will of God, which is for the sanctification of men, was accomplished through Jesus’ atonement for sins on the cross. When we believed in Christ, we were placed in a sanctified state, meaning that [we’re] in a permanent and continuous state of salvation6 into which we’re brought and in which we live.
Hebrews 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
- You have become an adopted son.
God, in His foreknowledge, knew beforehand who would freely believe in His Son for salvation, and [it’s] on this basis that they are chosen by Him. God implements a plan in time called predestination for whosoever will receive Him, with humanity (the elect) choosing to respond to His initiation for salvation. God takes a believing sinner, regenerates him, and by means of this, makes him His child (teknon, a born one). Then He takes this child and places him in a legal position as an adult (adopted) son (huios).7 The apostle here uses, as an illustration, the Roman practice of legally adopting a child, and thus not only [bequeathing him] the material possessions of the one [adopting] but also giving him his civil status.8
Ephesians 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
- You are ambassadors for Christ.
We have been brought into a permanent and continual state of ambassadorship (persons who represent someone else and who carried a message from the person whom they represented9 to others).
2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
- You are made righteous.
God the Father has made Christ be a sin offering (the sin of the world, past, present, and future, were placed on Him, meaning that He bore the punishment due to them in His body) for all mankind (in place of us), the purpose of which was so that those who believed in Him would be made the righteousness of God in Him. Another way of saying this is as Christ who was perfectly innocent, by a voluntary substitution, is treated As IF he were guilty, so we who believed in Him being guilty and who deserve to be punished, are treated, through His vicarious sufferings, as if we were perfectly innocent.10 Righteousness is not to be taken as a quality or habit received by us but in the sense of that which is approved or accepted by God. On the grounds of Christ’s righteousness (acceptability) to God the Father so, we also have become by faith righteous (acceptable) to God the Father.
2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
- You are declared righteous.
Therefore, being justified (declared righteous; having been put right with God) by faith (by believing), we have peace with God through Jesus Christ and are no longer threatened by the Father’s wrath.
Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
- You are the recipient of the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
We have been:
Baptized with the Spirit.
By the agency of the Holy Spirit, each of us has been suited to our appropriate place by means of the endowments (the gifts) of the Spirit to constitute the body of Christ-the church.
1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
Sealed with the Holy Spirit.
When the Holy Spirit comes into our life, He is the seal (the stamp of ownership) indicating to God the Father who is His. A seal can also refer to a down payment in the sense of having tasted the [Spirit,] we have begun to taste the life of the future world that God had promised11 us.
Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
Given gifts (spiritual endowments) by the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit distributes the gifts individually, to males and females, as He wishes.
1 Corinthians 12:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
Provided security by His seal.
The Holy Spirit is God’s seal [for those who responded to the gospel,] indicating that the transaction whereby the Son of God paid the penalty of human sin at the Cross is a finished transaction and that God owns us as His property by right of purchase12, until the day of redemption. Some say that the day of redemption refers to the rapture of the church when we’ll meet the Lord in the clouds of the air, where we’ll not only receive a glorified body at this time but also rewards in regard to the spiritual quality of our works.
Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Keep in mind that when we hear messages from those in leadership of different churches, they will vary greatly. However, hopefully, these spiritual realities that have occurred in our life at salvation will be presented at various times from the pulpit reminding us of who we are and that what we have received can never be taken from us. Some churches will call these spiritual realities by another name, i.e., positional truth. Positional truth encompasses those facts which are eternally set in stone when it comes to my position before God.13 There is a lot more that has occurred in our life at salvation that I’m sure we’re unaware of. So, when you get a chance, read about these additional spiritual realities over again and pick out one or two of them to memorize and meditate upon, thus reminding yourself of these eternal truths.
Again, I will ask the same question. When I attend the gathering of the saints, what should be going on there? The next thing that should happen is that we should be learning about something that will help us rely on the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Do you have any idea what this is? Let’s proceed to the next chapter and find out. But before we do, I would like to leave you with an article that points out the distinctions between positional truth and what is called conditional fellowship. This will help provide us with clarity as to what it means to have an eternal relationship with God and yet have a friendship with Him that is ever changing.
POSITIONAL TRUTH VS. CONDITIONAL FELLOWSHIP: THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD AND INTIMACY WITH HIM
Anna Wishart 06/23/2017
Sin [in a] Christian’s Life – What’s It Mean?
Many of us believe [in] God for our salvation from hell, but we don’t seem to have a deep friendship with God in everyday life. We may have, by faith in Christ’s work, been justified and made one of God’s children, but we still struggle with sin. Sometimes we obey God with a pure heart, but other times we live in open rebellion. What does this mean? Does it indicate we aren’t actually saved? Does it mean we’ve missed something in the gospel? After all, our lives don’t always line up, and shouldn’t we be fully surrendered to our Lord if [we’re] Christians?
The reality of sin in a Christian’s life [doesn’t] point to a false profession of faith. It indicates the fact that there is a difference between eternal positional truth and every day conditional fellowship.
What Is Positional Truth?
Positional truth encompasses those facts which are eternally set in stone when it comes to my position before God. My standing before Him can never change. Once I place my faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ, certain facts become true of me forever.
Examples of Positional Truth
[We’ve] only to run to the Word to find out what all this positional truth about us entails.
For example, when we become believers:
[We’re] now adopted and become children of God (Ephesians 1:5; 1 John3:1).
We receive and are sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13; John 16:7-15).
[We’re] immediately hidden [“in Christ”] and become identified with his death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:2-4; Galatians).
We become set apart as His people (1 Corinthians 1:2).
We become part of the Church (Ephesians 2:11-22).
And these are just a few examples of what becomes true of us at the moment of our salvation! Positional truth is unchanging and certain. It brings security and identity to our lives.
What Is Conditional Fellowship?
Conditional fellowship, on the other hand, can change from day to day. My intimacy, or friendship, with the [Lord,] can fluctuate constantly. Sometimes [I’m] walking by faith and keeping my eyes on him. Other times [I’m] trying to live life in my own [strength,] and I sin. Sometimes I [engage] in friendship with him, and other times I ignore and rebel against him. Like any human friendship, our connection can be either damaged or encouraged, depending on my attitude and actions.
The words “conditional fellowship” and “positional truth” may seem like big terms, but they are easily distinguishable in human relationships. [I’m] my father’s daughter. Nothing either he or I can do, say, or desire can change the fact that [I’m] genetically connected to him. It’s a [set-in-stone] reality. Our friendship, however, is a different story. We could be estranged. We could be best friends. We could see each other daily or only every couple of years. We could [argue,] or we could enjoy each other’s company. I will always be his daughter, but our friendship may change and go through seasons throughout the years. That is conditional fellowship.
The Corinthian Example
When you understand the difference between positional truth and conditional fellowship, you can rest knowing that your daily actions don’t reflect your standing with God. You can be secure and sure of how God views you in [Christ] while still understanding that your friendship with God needs to grow and deepen in [everyday] life. The believers in the book of 1 Corinthians are a great example of this important difference.
The Corinthians had major problems in their conditional fellowship with God. They were involved in all kinds of sin: backbiting, divisions, immorality, and drunkenness, just to name a few. They had some serious growing to do in their friendship with God. Their intimacy with Him and each other was greatly hindered because they were choosing to sin and ignore his holiness. Not only were they missing out on communing with God and experiencing a life of blessed victory with Him, [but] they were also going to experience loss on [judgment] day because of their choices. Sure, they were going to go to heaven, and yes, they were God’s children, but they were not living up to who they were (1 Corinthians 4:10-15; 1 Corinthians 5:6-8).
Because of positional truth and their identity in Christ, Paul had the chance to appeal to them and address their sinfulness on the basis of who they were. He didn’t question if they were in God’s family, but he did address them [like] disobedient children. With their standing before God in place, he could address the state of their lives.
The Danger of Not Understanding [the] Difference
There is danger in not understanding this difference between positional truth and conditional fellowship. If you are trying to determine what your standing before God is by looking at your daily friendship, you will live in fear and uncertainty. The [fluctuating failures and sins] that naturally come with being human and not yet fully sanctified will indicate that you and God are not [“okay.”] This will either drive you to “fix it”, or eventually lead you to discouragement and despair when you find that you fail at even that. You will depend on yourself to stay in God’s good graces, which always leads to futile self-effort and works. If you don’t have the foundation of knowing [that] you are justified, unconditionally loved, and secure in Christ, you won’t have a rock on which to stand so that your friendship can grow.
Live [in the] Confidence [of] Positional Truth.
Knowing that you are fully accepted can give you [the] confidence to work through sin issues in your friendship with the Lord. Don’t live in fear of how God sees you. Know who you are in Christ, and then, in dependence [upon] Him, you can start to address your failures.14
New Covenant Ministries - Ministerios NuevoPacto - Harbor Church, Block Island
Sunday & Thursday Worship - Domingo & Jueves 7:00PM
1UBS New Testament Handbook Series Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005, 1 January 2016 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
2Barnes’ Notes. Pc Study Bible version 5, 2006, 2 January 2016 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
3Thayer’s Greek Lexicon Pc Study Bible version 5, 2006, 2 January 2016 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
6Weust’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005, 7 January 2016 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
10Calvin's Commentaries Pc Study Bible version 5, 2006, 7 January 2016 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
11IVP Bible Background Commentary Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005, 10 January 2016 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
13Anna Wishart. “Positional Truth Vs. Conditional Fellowship: The Difference Between Relationship with God and Intimacy with Him,” 21 October 2021 <https://bit.ly/3jndFAN>.