Archive for April, 2014

True Fellowship Part 13

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Ron seems to now be on a 3-week schedule for his posting.  Probably his #2 scratchings need a lot of post-editing.

——– Ron’s posting —————————–

Not Called, But Sanctified: In the last section, it was covered how that sanctification does not mean that an unbelieving mate or children are being offered a calling from God due to their being “sanctified.”

There is a sanctification that enables one to come into God’s presence on a “physical plane,” as with ancient Israel, and there is then a sanctification that additionally requires a “calling” in order to come into a spiritual relationship with God.

This has been addressed and stated in this specific manner in order to help clarify some of the “process” of how God has worked within the environment of the Church and how some aspects of this same process will work in the future. As this subject continues to unfold, it would be good to be reminded that God does not owe anyone the begettal of His spirit. Although it is God’s will and His desire that all would “receive” His favor and means for becoming part of His Family, the reality is that this brings us back to what determines such an outcome; it is a personal choice whether one will receive it or not, when it is offered.

So when considering the condition in a family where only one mate has been drawn and called by God, there is much that can be learned about a process whereby God works with those who are able to come into the environs of the Church. Some of what we are covering would not be as clearly grasped if it had been revealed during any one of the seven eras of the Church. Instead, God is giving it now as we are in the transitional period between the completed sealing of the 144,000 and their resurrection to spirit life into Elohim at Christ’s coming. As a result, we can now more readily look back at what God has created to this point concerning the God Family. We can especially come to more perfectly see how He has worked within the Church over the past nearly 2,000 years and why He has done so in the manner He has. We are being given these things now because aspects of this same process will be at work throughout the Millennium.

Before more closely examining this, it would first be expedient to focus upon the beliefs of the Church concerning this matter of sanctification of an unbelieving mate. Due to what has previously been believed about such sanctification, it has been thought that such a person (a sanctified unbelieving mate) had the choice of a calling at any time, and we were wrong. They do not! Such thinking will and has affected the attitudes, judgments, and “expectations” exercised (in treatment and acceptance) toward such individuals. The idea that an unbelieving mate or children, due to sanctification, have the ability to “see” the truth on a spiritual plane if they would just simply choose to listen to or read it is not true, nor is such judgment toward them right or even fair.

Previous to covering this matter of sanctification of an unbelieving mate, three specific groups were categorized of those who “have not been called” (1a, b, & c). A fourth group has now been introduced who would be categorized as 1d. That group would consist of those “who have been sanctified, who are not against God.” All four groups are separate and distinct, and each must be understood for who they are when it comes to judging righteous judgment.

Under this fourth group, it is very important to also make the distinction between those “who are against God,” and those “who have been sanctified, who are not against God.” The reason for this is because it must be understood that anyone who is in the state of being “against God” can never be sanctified to come into God’s presence while in that state. This means that if only one mate has been called and is baptized into the Church, then the other unbelieving mate and any children can only be sanctified if they are not against God.

Additionally, if an unbelieving mate and/or children are sanctified and then at any time turn against God, then they are then no longer sanctified and cleansed to be in God’s presence within the environs of the Church. It needs to be emphasized that they are simply in the category of those who have “not been called” of God, “who are against God” (1c). It is important to understand that these are to be clearly seen and judged as those who are “against God,” whose group and their characteristics have already been addressed.

What has now been covered to this point concerning all four groups (1a, b, c, & d) should give far greater insight and discernment for judging those who have not been called of God.

Indeed, it is an awesome thing to understand what God is saying about those who can receive sanctification in order to be in His presence. As Hebrews 9:13-14 was covered in the previous section, God is showing that sanctification (to be in God’s presence on a physical plane) to cleanse a mate or any children is not by the sprinkling of ashes of a heifer, but by the life of God and Christ dwelling “in” a believing mate, who has been sanctified to be in God’s presence on a spiritual plane.

Affect of Sanctification
It now needs to be stated that the children of two believing parents (begotten of God through the sacrifice of Christ) are also sanctified in the same manner as when one parent is “in” God’s Church. This also means that they are not owed a calling, but that God may do so according to His will.

Indeed, a sanctified mate and sanctified children are cleansed in order to be able to come into God’s presence on a physical plane in much the same manner as ancient Israel was, but with the potential of far greater blessings. Such are able to attend Sabbath services (weekly and yearly, but never Passover) and other functions where Church members gather together. They are always welcome, if they are sanctified.

God’s purpose in training, molding, and transforming a believing mate can carry determining factors for “when” the unbelieving mate might be called. Such things are fully a matter of God’s personal calling, timing, and purpose. In addition, a sanctified mate’s and/or sanctified children’s attitude and response to God concerning what they can see through physical knowledge (as with the Israelites) can also have a bearing on God’s response and grace (with a calling) that He may choose to grant them.

That is why Paul went on to explain the importance of a called mate’s “example” in faithfully living God’s way. That example and love (agape – true giving and sacrificing love) they learn to live toward others, including the example of those in the Church, which should be doing the same, can have a strong bearing on an unbelieving (sanctified) mate’s response to God and the Church. However, the “calling” is always according to God’s purpose. In some cases, He may choose to call someone, and in other cases, not to call someone at a specific moment in time. Yet, a believing mate’s “example” and that of the Church should always be a right one, even though that may have no impact on a loved-one’s life. It is still a matter of God’s calling, and in what He may have purposed for such an individual, even as to when it is the best time to grant them salvation (a calling).

“For how do you know, Oh wife, whether you shall save your husband (as explained above concerning one’s example and resulting impact it may have)? Or how do you know, Oh husband, whether you shall save your wife” (1 Cor. 7:16)?

Every baptized parent desires that their child (or children) will receive what God offers to them in knowledge and truth (on a physical plane) of how to live life, with the hope that they will then choose to live by those things. There are far too many factors to be addressed here, in any real depth, which have strong bearing upon a child’s response or even their ability to respond to truth that is made available to them through sanctification. Their learning is primarily limited on a physical plane, except where God may grant deeper spiritual insight into some things (because of His purpose in their life). Therefore, differing circumstances such as God’s purpose, the age of a child or children at the time of a parent’s or parents’ calling, the influence of friends, an unbelieving mate’s (if applicable) attitude and response to the Church, primary inherited and learned traits, parental and Church examples, etc., determine a wide variety of responses from children.

Although the sanctification of ancient Israel, and then that of the sanctification of a mate and children, has been to grant a presence on a physical plane to come before God, there is also a big difference between the two. That difference concerns the level (depth) of knowledge that God has granted to those sanctified to Himself, His Son, and to His Church. Not only can far greater knowledge on a physical plane be gleaned, but also much understanding as well. This is the result of God’s progressive revelation of Himself and His purpose to mankind ever since the days of ancient Israel. Just the simple matter of additional Biblical history that has unfolded, as well as the addition of many books of the Bible, especially of that in the New Testament writings, has incredibly enhanced the potential for far greater knowledge and understanding.

Such vastness of knowledge and understanding given within the environs of the Church are awesomely powerful because the Church has the “truth” of such matters, whereas the world does not. It is primarily the children who have been sanctified who have an ability to be molded in such truth on a physical plane. The younger a child is able to begin having such an experience, and the longer their exposure in a positive and truthful environment is, the greater the potential will be for a child to make better decisions when they are of a more mature age; however, that does not mean they will. All of this is far beyond what the ancient Israelites had.

It would also be good at this point to mention that in recent years God has made it evident that He has given children greater insight and greater ability to grasp on a spiritual plane than in times past. This has much to do with the advantage many are now being given since they will also have opportunity to be the first generation to live on into the Millennium.

It should also be obvious that a longer, more positive exposure, combined with the willing positive response of children, has much to do with God receiving them (in order to offer a calling) once they are of a matured age to choose God’s way of life for themselves. God’s will is to work in families and to grant them (primarily the children) favor (grace) if they respond in a good way toward God and His Church, and if a parent who is called is continually faithful to God.

The 144,000
Having addressed some of the varying aspects of sanctification, it is now necessary to look back over time in order to be able to better grasp and understand God’s purpose in those whom He has been calling into the environs of the Church from its beginning. Foremost, God has been calling those whom He has chosen to teach, train, fashion, and transform into a creation of the 144,000 who are to be resurrected into His Family. They will fulfill a completed and perfected number of spirit beings who form God’s government to serve with Christ at his return.

However, not all who have been called to have a spiritual relationship with God and to become impregnated with His holy spirit over the past nearly 2,000 years have been called to that specific purpose (to be in the 144,000). Presently, the strongest evidence of this is contained in the recent history of the Church. Of the many tens of thousands “called” during Philadelphia and Laodicea, God only purposed that an extremely small remnant would be awakened spiritually following the Apostasy. Then, of that small remnant that was awakened, only a fraction was to be sealed in order to fulfill the very small remaining number that would complete the final total of the 144,000.

Incredibly, God’s purpose has always been that a vast majority (63,000) of those called during Philadelphia and Laodicea and that are still alive toward the very end of this age (shortly before Christ’s actual coming) would be awakened spiritually from the sleep that followed the Apostasy. The purpose for this is so that they would be part of the beginning foundation of the Church at the start of the Millennium (Rev. 11:13).

God also predetermined that 7,000 (ten percent of a total of 70,000) would not live into that new age, but would die and be resurrected in the final 100 years. Many of these include the ministry, other leadership, and influential individuals from those two eras. The reason for this is that many of these individuals were held to a higher accountability for their actions in the time period just preceding and following the Apostasy. These individuals are not being allowed to immediately enter a greater “promised land” (the Millennium), but will have to wait until the Great White Throne to experience it.

All of this clearly reveals that 70,000 of the approximate 96,000 baptized members at the time of the Apostasy were never called for the purpose of becoming part of the 144,000. For the most part, they had been called to be among those who would live (physical lives) on into the reigning age of Christ’s rule in order to be the starting foundation of the Millennial Church at that time. However, there was a portion of these who experienced trial and testing (especially just preceding and following the Apostasy) to reveal their response (individual free choices) in order to determine if they might be among some of those who would be “chosen” and prepared to be among the firstfruits.

This group of 63,000 comprises those who fit into the categorized group mentioned earlier as “those who have been called” (2c). These are those “who became scattered after the Apostasy, but had not been formally disfellowshipped from God’s true Church.” These have been called and “chosen” to live on into the beginning of the millennial reign of Jesus Christ.

Having addressed the “small remnant” and the 70,000 from the time of the Apostasy, the question that still remains is, “What about all of the others (approximately 26,000) who had once been part of the Worldwide Church of God?” That answer will follow after further understanding of what God is giving concerning “how and why” He has called various ones into the environs of the Church.

The first phase of God’s plan of salvation has always been to make ready His firstfruits to reign in His Kingdom with Christ, at his coming. During the first 4,000 years, God called and worked more directly and meticulously with those who would comprise some of the major portions of the structure and organization of His future ruling Family of the 144,000. In the nearly 2,000 years following this, a far greater number of people began to be called into His Church in order to fully fill and prepare the larger remaining structure of that government, which would be finished being built just before Jesus Christ would come as King of all kings within that ruling body. To accomplish this, God began drawing and calling “many” of whom “few would be chosen,” the few He would “select” to complete the 144,000.

Ever since the Church had been established on Pentecost in 31 AD, there are “many” who have been called, of which “few” became part of the 144,000. Although called, most were not meant to become part of this governing body. There are a lot of reasons why “many” have been called. The overall, predominant reason was to provide an environment in which some parts were to be good and a lot would be bad, in order to better teach, try, and test a “select group” through actual experiences in life that would work to mold and prepare them for God’s ruling Kingdom.

The mind does not become convicted and transformed by simply receiving instruction and then growing in knowledge. Knowledge given from God, along with the ability to understand it, is more firmly established in the mind because of choices and judgments one must make through personal convictions that are formed as a result of difficult experiences in life. Such experiences are designed to produce responses (whether right or wrong – a matter of free choice) that define an individual. These are experiences that require judgment and response, which cannot be simply ignored (as even that is a choice). When yielding to God’s holy spirit, this process of “actually experiencing” the knowledge and truth God has given, enhances conviction of God’s ways, and then works to indeed transform the mind.

Not An Environment of Peace
Within the environs of the Church, God created a wide varying range of environments to be experienced, in which His called “select” (those in the 144,000) could be transformed and fitted (molded) into His ruling Family. It was not to be an environment of peace and tranquility within the world, and not even within the environs of the Church. Those in God’s Church are told that they can have real peace, but that is through being in God and Christ, which comes from living in unity with God through confidence and faith in His plan and purpose being worked out in oneself. It is a “spiritual” peace of the mind one can have in their relationship, with comfort and trust in God working in them and in the Church.

However, Christ made it clear, as we have already looked at a portion of what he said, that we were not called to have peace “in the world,” and that includes not having peace in many of the relationships that have been within the environs of the Church. It is so very important to grasp the significance in what Christ stated about a great number of our relationships, as “few” have survived this portion of the process that has “worked” in their calling.

The “many” have succumbed to strong pulls from unbalanced, unsound, adversarial, and/or improper relationships that have led to their making wrong choices. This in itself is an environment within and outside the Church that can be witnessed and/or experienced that can help produce deeper conviction and transformation “in those who yield” to God working in them. Those who make wrong choices through what they witness and/or experience, no matter why those wrong choices were made, results in not being amongst the final “chosen” of those “called and chosen” by God to be in His reigning government.

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against (to not be in agreement or harmony because of the truth – in opposition due to it) his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household (family). He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me (not worthy of a relationship with God and Christ), and he who loves a son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Mat. 10:34-38).

Division, disagreement, and opposition always become manifest in close relationships once a person is called to receive God’s truth – when called into the Church. It is at such a time as this that “many” are tried and tested as to whether or not they will put God first in their life. Such division, disagreement, and opposition not only occur quickly in the beginning in close relationships in family (with those not called) and other close relationships, but in time, the exact same thing will try “many” as this also occurs in relationships within the environs of the Church itself. Too often, people have not made it clear to others that they “stand” firm in putting God first in their life. Instead, they have often been deceitful with members of the Church by making various excuses why they must limit their time with them in order to placate another. They can also become deceitful in a relationship they have with the person who is disgruntled (because of that relationship the other has with the Church) and too often they are found compromising by giving into demands, harassment, etc. Being deceitful is not of God. It is a spirit of lying.

God has given us the analogy of planting seeds and raising crops to help us better understand the necessity for the “adverse” environs of the Church to exist in order to enable the creation of spiritual growth in firstfruits. This process makes it possible to have plants that can become mature and thereby produce varying levels of yield (fruit/grain). The Parable of the Sower (Mat. 13:18-23, Mk. 4:14-20, & Lk. 8:4-15) and the Parable of the Tares (Mat. 13:24-30, 36-43) reveals much about this process. Rather than quoting here all that is stated about these two parables, a simple summarized comparison will be given to explain this process of “many” being called, but “few” who are chosen. This is all in the context of those whom God has called to potentially be among the firstfruits (the 144,000).

In the Parable of the Sower, seed is sown; some seeds fall by the wayside, some among stones, and other among areas where weeds (thorns) spring up and work to choke out the seed. This pictures the condition and effect of the world as it has been over the past 6,000 years. It is a world filled with adversity toward God, His Son, His Church, and His word. In the Millennium and the Great White Throne, these same conditions in which there is such a lack of good ground in which to plant the seed will not exist. Most of what is described as preventing growth and production is either more directly from Satan (and his demons) or is the product of what Satan has produced in the world that works directly against God’s word and spirit to produce growth.

God knows and has always known where the seed is sown. In order to be in God’s ruling government in His Kingdom (in position and placement), the 144,000 were predetermined and designed to be molded and constructed (created) in an “adverse” environment. Much of that environment is the simple result (effect) of where the seed fell, and where it fell is the result of the response – the free choice – of those who were given the opportunity of a calling. Although God knew that the result of free choice following a calling would be that only a “few” would be chosen to be in His government (the 144,000), He also provided a means to “save the spirit” of many of these in another time.

We understand that the angels and mankind were created with the ability of “free choice” by being made free moral agents. However, for the creation of a highly faithful angelic realm, God knew that for a long period of time “peace” would have to be sacrificed. From the time that “free choice” led to adversity, divisiveness, and disagreement with God, “peace” has not existed in the angelic realm (nor on earth) and will not be fully reestablished until Satan and the demons no longer are in existence. But from that time, when peace no longer reigned, until now, the angels who remained faithful to God, through all that they have witnessed millennia upon millennia, have become stronger through this time in their conviction of God’s great power, wisdom, might, and “right way” (in all His perfect ways being right).

In a similar manner, in order for the creation of a highly trained and strong government of 144,000 in God’s Kingdom, peace within the world, within families and other close relationships, and even within the environs of the Church, would not exist, but instead, much adversity. It is through the process of those who are “faithfully yielding” to the power of God’s holy spirit to work in them in this kind of adversarial environment that the creation of such a government is possible.

The Many
It is important to know that there are also “many” whom God has reserved from among the seven eras of the Church (of all who have died prior to Christ’s coming) who will be resurrected in the Great White Throne. A large portion of these were “never called” to become part of the 144,000. Yet another substantial portion of these had been called and then tried and tested to reveal their response (individual free choices) in order to determine if they might be among those who would be chosen and then prepared to be among the firstfruits. For as we understand, all who are chosen, who are of the “few” (of the many called), must first be tried and tested before being chosen. So all of these who were not called to the specific purpose of being among the firstfruits, and all of those who were called to potentially be among the firstfruits, but who were not chosen, comprise those who fell by the wayside, upon stony areas, or in areas where weeds (thorns) choked them out. All of these became those who would be witness (during the Great White Throne) of the various Church eras and of the conditions that existed for God’s Church at those times.

In a similar manner to those who will comprise the foundation of the Church at the beginning of the Millennium, there are those from the seven eras, from among the “many”, who will help comprise the beginning foundation of the Church at the beginning of the 100-year period. In all that these people have witnessed in life during the time-period they lived in, along with the knowledge they had received within the environs of the Church, they will witness and be part of a great resurrection that will (to a large degree) stir them to deep repentance. The awesome advantage of truth they had received and those things they had witnessed within the Church will work to help thrust them ahead of all others at the beginning of this Great White Throne. These will comprise that beginning foundation along with those who will continue to live on from the end of the Millennium and into that final age of salvation offered to mankind.

A very large portion of the “many” who have been called through time will be resurrected physically and awakened spiritually at the beginning of the final 100-years. There is also a sizable portion of these who had fallen by the wayside, upon stony areas, or where weeds choked them out who turned against God to the degree that they became set against Him. Such people will be in the resurrection to judgment that follows the Great White Throne.

It is this group (who became set against God) that make up “some” of the number of the 26,000 mentioned earlier that had been in the Worldwide Church of God. But an even larger portion of these (the 26,000) are from a group who are described in the Parable of the Tares.

In that parable, it shows how Satan planted seeds (tares) that were not of God’s doing (of those not called by Him), but allowed by God. Not only were those who were called by God to be tried and tested in relationships once someone began to fall by the wayside, or among stones, or weeds, but they were also tested and tried by those who were fully false members – plants of Satan. These consist of a wide variety of people of which nearly all simply left in time or were disfellowshipped (although they were never in a true fellowship with God anyway).

Those who became set against God and those who were tares comprise that number of 26,000 who had been in the Worldwide Church of God or who were pseudo-members of the organization.

Of a final note concerning the tares, it needs to be noted that they consisted of two primary groups of people. There were those who were simply deceived and influenced by Satan to feign conversion or they were of a more sinister group who were (or became) “set against” God. Those large numbers of tares that were deceived and falsely influenced will have opportunity of a calling in the Great White Throne, while those set against God will be resurrected to judgment afterward.

(Part 14 will follow.)

True Fellowship Part 12

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

False Prophet Ronald Weinland’s postings now seem to be on a 3-week schedule.  Perhaps that’s 1 week of his working with a #2 pencil and 2 weeks of Laura rewriting them.

————————  Weinland’s posting of April 3 —————————

We have now come full circle in this series in order to more soundly address matters of judgment associated with discerning the differences among those who do not have “spiritual fellowship” with God at this time.

God has been revealing a clearer understanding of what true fellowship with Him entails. This has also magnified the instruction which states how someone is able to worship God (have a true relationship with Him), or if they are incapable of having such a relationship at all. For it is clearly stated that, “God is a spirit” and those who worship Him must worship “in spirit and in truth” (Jn. 4:24).

This final area that will now be covered is one in which there has always been much confusion within the membership of the Church. It is about how to judge and then to act upon such judgment concerning those who are not in the fellowship of the Church. This final section will answer many of the questions that relate to this issue.

As with the last section, where a categorization was given for those who become “set against” God, a categorization will be made here at the beginning for those who are not in a “spiritual fellowship” with God at this time. Then, each of these will be explained more fully as we proceed further into this subject. We are to learn to better discern these differences through “clearer judgment,” and then “act” upon such understanding more wisely. Within this category of those who are not in a “spiritual fellowship” with God at this time, there are two primary groups of people:

1. Those who “have not been called”
a.) Who are highly indulgent in immoral and evil living
b.) Who are among most who are “of the world,” living out normal physical lives
c.) Who are against God’s Church

2. Those who “have been called”
a.) Who have been disfellowshipped and have no active outward display of ill will toward the Church
b.) Who have been disfellowshipped and have an active outward display of ill will toward God’s Church
c.) Who became scattered after the Apostasy, but have not been formally disfellowshipped from God’s true Church

Judge Righteous Judgment
As we proceed through this final section, some will be “tried” in how they may have to make some adjustments in current relationships and/or how they currently view them. God is helping us to more fully refine our thinking about relationships, especially in how to more perfectly judge them.

God’s Kingdom will soon be established on this earth and some of the parameters here will change when that begins. For example, group #1, or those who “have not been called” will begin changing at that time, for many will have the opportunity of a calling in the Millennium. But in all of this, God is teaching us much about a process of attaining to a stronger ability to “judge righteous judgment.”

Sometimes in the beginning of one’s calling, people can struggle with some of the things Christ had to say about judging. Although he made statements such as, “judge not, that you be not judged,” he also stated, “judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment”. In all these instances, Christ is warning that we should not judge by normal human judgment based on sentiment, pride, prejudice, selfishness, etc., but that it is to be based upon God’s word and ways (purpose, design, and will).

Christ said, “You judge after the flesh (via human nature). I judge no man (in the context of ‘after the flesh’). Yet if (when) I judge, my judgment is true, for I am not alone (not reliant upon self), but I and the Father who sent me” (Jn. 8:15-16). He was showing that right judgment must originate from God and through His inspiration (conveyed by His holy spirit). This is also in line with the statement he made: “Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous (the source being from God) judgment” (Jn. 7:24).

Once we are more perfectly able to judge in such a manner, then we and we alone must choose if we will live according to such judgment. It is the difference between living by (or according to) “our own will” or choosing to “live by God’s will.” Our Passover stated it beautifully: “I can of my own self do nothing. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just because I do not seek my own will (to live by that), but the will of the Father who has sent me” (Jn. 5:30).

The key to the difference of living our lives our way, or God’s way, especially in all relationships, is in what was stated at the very beginning of this series.

In Part 1 under the section heading of “God First,” the following statements (in quotations) were written:

“Relationships reveal what is in the heart, desire, and ‘true’ convictions of one who has entered the Body of Christ. Jesus Christ plainly stated how important it is that God be first in a person’s life, above all other relationships, ‘if’ a person desires to remain ‘in’ true fellowship with God.”

“If any come to me (through the Body of Christ) and does not love less (often translated as ‘hate’ – but in meaning and context is to ‘love less by comparison’) his father, mother, wife (or husband), children, brothers, sisters, and yes, even his own life also, then he cannot be my disciple” (Lk. 14:26).

“Christ is clearly saying that in order to be in a true relationship of continuing fellowship with him and God that one must always place God first in all matters of life in all the closest of human relationships.”

Before proceeding, it must be stated that all too often, some people’s spiritual weakness and self-inflected trials in close relationships come from not “standing on the principle” (living by, applying it to life) that God is indeed first in their life. Too often, there is vacillation, blindness, and even downright failure to actually place God first above “loved ones.” The question must then be asked, “Whom do we truly love most (first)?”

Basic Judgment
In this series, those who are in God’s Church have had magnified to them the awesomeness, privilege, seriousness, and humbling honor it is to be granted true fellowship with the Eternal God, His Son, and His Church. In this final segment, we are focusing on learning how to better judge our relationship with those who do not now have such a relationship with God.

Making a categorized list of those who do not have such a relationship with God is for the purpose of turning our attention to a sound process for exercising basic judgment. This is because human nature tends to judge “after the flesh” – by the way “I” see it (“self” sees it). Although this has just been covered, it must be emphasized again in this manner. The reason for this is because righteous judgment requires we turn our attention fully away from how “we” instinctively see something (via human nature) to the way God shows us to “see,” which is in a sound spiritual manner.

The process for such judgment we are being shown here, concerning those who do not now have an active relationship with God, is quite basic. It is first divided into two basic categories: “those who have not been called” and “those who have been called.” Our ability to judge such matters does have a direct bearing on our overall relationship with God.

This is truly a simple place to begin, but again, although it is simple, it serves to turn our attention away from judging “by the flesh” (from carnal reasoning) to focusing on seeing such matters in light of “other’s” relationship to God, His plan, and purpose for human life.

Not Called
The first area of focus is upon those who have not been called by God. In this group, there are three basic sub groups of people to be considered. Within this, there are some things that God is revealing, correcting, and refining concerning past understanding which will help us to clarify many past and current relationships.

The first area that is listed here is not a difficult one to judge, and obviously, God’s people should not be engaged in any “relationship” with such individuals. This concerns those who are highly indulgent in immoral and evil living. This concerns those who openly and outwardly live real evil in life. However, there are biblical admonitions that God’s people should not even be in environments and close relationships with any that live highly immoral lives. There is plenty said in scripture about this so there is no need to more fully cover it here.

The second group is often more difficult for many to judge when it comes to the kind of relationship we have with them. This consists of most of those living within the “western” world around us that we see and come into contact with day by day. It is one that we would simply see as “normal,” in and of the world. They are of the same group that most of us were in until God called us out of the world. It is with this group that we so eagerly look forward to being called by God. It is with so many within this group that we hope will have the opportunity of living on into the Millennium and then being able to learn and live full and blessed lives.

It is this group that can sometimes be treated with impatience by us, as we can tend to “expect” more from people and how we are treated by them. Yet, the bottom line is that they are not yet called and “are who they are” until they can begin to be transformed into something different. So it is always expedient upon us to treat them in a right manner, with patience and understanding, as we have already been blessed to be called now. So in many ways, it is with this group that more is required of us – of how we exercise God’s love toward them and that we not “expect” something of them that they really cannot yet deliver.

Before giving some specific examples that are more “common,” over which some have difficulty judging, the third group of “those who have not been called” needs to be mentioned. The reason for this is that “those who are against God’s Church” (1c) is one of the primary “deciding factors” for judgment of those “in the world” and not yet called out of it.

Both groups of 1B and 1C are made up of people, who by nature, are at “enmity against God” (Rom. 8:7). Most know nothing of God’s Church. Some who know you may know some basic things about what you believe. It may be about you keeping the seventh day (Saturday) Sabbath, foods you do not eat, or that you do not observe Christmas or Easter. None of these “agree” with your belief (Rom. 8:7) and they most certainly do not want this for their way of life.

However, there can be big differences in how they respond to you, your belief, and/or the Church (those in it). While all who are in the world who have not been called are simply “against” God, there are many who are tolerant of different beliefs even though they do not agree with the Church and its teachings, since they do not have the ability to do so. Many simply like you as a person because they like the qualities they see in you in the way you live and how you treat them. This makes up most of those who are simply “of the world” (1b), and it is with these that we are able to interact and have some form of relationship and friendship. This is said in the context of physical human relationships (friendships) that can be rewarding and meaningful, but obviously void of the added “spiritual” level of relationship that we look forward to having with them in the future.

Standing Firm in God
This is akin to how Jesus Christ interacted with the world around him. Others around him at that time did not have God’s spirit dwelling “in” them, with the exception of John the Baptist. These relationships were more of a matter of how Jesus himself treated others, just as we should. Yet there were many who were outwardly against him and what he believed and taught. He did not seek nor work to build any relationship with them, but stood firm in his “stand” for God and the truth. He did not strive to make peace with them, as they were outwardly against His Father, himself, and the truth, and they had no desire to have any “peace” with him.

Jesus Christ actually said something that is quite contrary to what many in traditional Christianity actually believe: “Do you suppose I have come to give peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division” (Lk. 12:51). This is actually said in the context of close human relationships, because when someone is called there will be those who they have close relationships with that will no longer be close, but instead will be filled with outwardly manifested division and void of peace. When these things occur, God’s people are tried and tested as to their true stand in faithfulness, conviction, and of placing God first in their life.

Jesus Christ was “down to earth,” as the expression goes. He had no display of superiority, pride, or haughtiness, but displayed a humble, approachable, kind, and open demeanor to those around him – in all levels of life. This is our example of how we should interact in our relationships with the world around us.

We too are to stand firm in God, with God always being clearly first in our life. For those who respond in a friendly manner (within the world) to “who we are,” without wanting to or working to “change” us, then we can have meaningful, productive, and rewarding relationships and friendships. However, these cannot be compared to the added strength and purpose that comes from “spiritual” fellowship, but at a future time that can potentially become added as well.

Most can especially relate to this desire of future hope in relationships within physical family. Although being “in” God’s Church (both a husband and wife, or other family members together), by definition, does not automatically bring about happy marriages and/or happy family life, because for such to exist, one must “live” God’s ways to attain this kind of fullness and richness in life. Candidly, I’ve known of a few marriages and families where only one person has been called and the marriage and/or families were closer, more caring, and filled with more happiness than some marriages and families in which both spouses and/or the family is together in God’s Church and had access to God’s spirit to make such fullness and happiness in life a much greater reality.

Some questions about relationships can become more difficult to judge when someone is more emotionally invested due to a marriage relationship, or that of a parent to child, child to parent, siblings, or of other close relationships. These can become very difficult because of the personal attachments and longings that exist in a marriage, family, and/or close friendships. But at the top of all such considerations is the fact that God must be placed first – that one stands firm “in God” above all else.

It would be good at this juncture to repeat some of what was written toward the beginning of this series under the heading of “Second Commandment.”

“In covering the first commandment, it was stated, ‘God is saying that no one should place any relationship (fellowship) ‘before’ or ‘in front of’ Him and His purpose in Elohim. He is stating that to do so is to place some other family (fellowship, relationship) against Him and against His purpose in Elohim – to raise up ‘other gods’ before Him – some other god family (other god elohim).’”

“It is truly one of the most heinous acts of all idolatry to ‘raise up’ some other relationship (family, fellowship) above what God has called us to become – His Family Elohim – which is currently in His begotten Church. Indeed, God’s Church is a Family!”

Those Against God’s Church
One of the most needful and yet often one of the most difficult places for one to stand firm in God concerns the situation where one’s mate or other close family member (who has not been called) takes a stand against God’s Church (against members and/or beliefs). In such an environment the only answer and action to be taken is a clear response that God and His Church come first in your life, and that this will not change!

Either the person vocalizing their disdain for God (the truth, God’s Church, towards yourself as a member, etc.) ceases doing so and agrees to love you and accept you for “who you are,” or not. If they will not accept you for who you are and love you for who you are, then their true response will be one of continuing their attacks (anger, disdain, resentment) against you and the Church. That will not change toward you unless they change toward you. If they will not change, then what kind of relationship actually exists and what kind of relationship can be built upon such a thing? If they love you for who you are, then they will respect you, be kind to you, and enjoy being with you even though they do not agree with your beliefs.

Can meaningful and lasting peace ever dwell where there is such division? It is a simple truth, a clear statement, which Jesus made about a basic family structure that also applies to the greater structure of a kingdom itself. “And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand” (Mk. 3:25). Peace cannot be produced in a divided home – only compromise. Compromise can only lead the one who is called to distance themselves from much needed fellowship with God and His people. In such cases of compromise, people can tend to pull away from God (His Church and His people) in order to appease someone who is “against God.” In such a case, God is not being placed first, and all too often a person is actually directly disobeying both the First and Second Commandment, blatantly so.

God gives strength, favor, and direct help to those who grow in learning how to place Him first in their life. Each must themselves discern, judge, and apply how this is to be accomplished in their life.

Misunderstood Principles
There are some awkward, unsettling, difficult, and at times very trying occurrences in relationships that often develop within the environment of the Church when someone is called into a relationship with God. These have often proven to be very hard to address by those who are called.

Paul addressed some of the most difficult issues that can arise. These have not been fully understood within the Church; however, God is now giving greater clarity. The first issue concerns one of the closest of relationships that God has given mankind to experience. It is in marriage. Yet the lesson from this first issue can also be applied to other relationships.

“To the rest I speak (as an apostle), but not (directed of, from) the Lord. If any brother (one called who is in the Church) has a wife that does not believe, and if she is pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away (‘put away’ is generally translated as ‘leave’). And the woman who has a husband who does not believe, and if he is pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave (same Gk. word translated as ‘put away’ in vs. 12) him” (1 Cor.7:12-13).

It is expedient that these verses be looked at much more closely. In the previous verses, Paul covered several issues concerning relationships and especially marriage relationships between those who are called and in God’s Church. Verses 12 and 13 go on to address a difference where only one in a marriage is called (is believing of the truth) and the other is not a believer – not called.

If someone wants to “change you” to being someone else, then they do not truly “accept you” or love you for who you are. If they do not truly love you, they will continue their attacks upon the Church. If they accept you and love you for who you are, then they will clearly cease from all attacks. Only then can there be a real and meaningful relationship to be built upon. Each person must decide for themselves how they choose to deal with such environments. However, it should also be understood that such adversarial environments can work against one’s spiritual strength and convictions.

Many have gone by the wayside because they have not stood firm “in God” and firm against such adversarial attitudes, spirit, and actions against themselves, God’s Church, and God’s truth – against God. Over the years, due to close family ties (or friendships), there have been far too many who have worked to appease, console, compromise, and have given in to attacks from those whom they love, yet that has never produced any lasting or meaningful peace. Instead, it generally just weakens a person spiritually in conviction, faithfulness, and joy in the truth.

In these two verses in 1 Corinthians 7, the expression “put away” is generally translated as “leave,” and in this context it is about a mate leaving the marriage either by legal separation or divorce. It is about the matter of whether a person is free before God to put away – to leave – that relationship. The deciding factor here rests on whether the unbelieving mate is “pleased to dwell” with their believing mate.

The word translated as “pleased” into English is from a compound word in Greek (composed of two separate Greek words). The first word is “union” or “being close together” and is sometimes translated as “companionship” or “association.” The other word means, “to think well of,” as “in approval of,” “thinking good of,” or “to be pleased with a person.” In the context used here, it gives a complete meaning of “thinking well of the relationship – the marriage” just as it is. It is simply another way of stating that the unbelieving mate accepts their believing mate “the way they are” – for who they are, even in their own personal beliefs, although they do not believe the same.

Although Paul was not charged by Jesus Christ to add this instruction to the Church, nevertheless, he was under God’s inspiration and he was in unity with Him as he wrote this for what the Church was to observe (thus “being bound on earth”). He clearly told members of the Church that if they had an unbelieving mate who accepted them (for who they were) and thought well of them “in their belief,” that they were not to leave that relationship – not to divorce them. However, he is also showing by this that if a mate is “against God” and is not accepting them in their belief, but is instead against them (wanting them to change to something else), then they are free to make the choice of separation or divorce.

This is also obviously true for anyone who has a mate who is turning (or has fully turned) away from the truth and is not “pleased to dwell with them” in their continuing belief. In other words, the one who turns against God (and against the believing mate) begins to pressure their believing mate to change in some form or manner to begin to also turn from God (away from His truth).

The lesson contained here from this matter of how to judge such relationships in marriage is also one that individuals need to weigh, consider, judge, and then apply to other close relationships. If someone who is not pleased with you in the way you are, in who you have become as you are being transformed, and they are “against God” and want you to change, then you are certainly “free” to put away – to leave –such a friendship and/or relationship. In such cases, it is so very often spiritually expedient to do so.

Sanctified Relationship
Another issue often misunderstood and/or misapplied is in what Paul addressed that actually follows directly behind the instruction that has just been covered.

“For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife (who is in the Church), and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband (who is in the Church), or else your children would be unclean, but now they are sanctified” (1 Cor. 7:14).

This verse is merely stating that an unbelieving mate and any children born from that marriage are “sanctified,” which means they are “set apart for holy use and purpose” due to that relationship. However, one must understand what that holy use and purpose is. This does not mean that the unbelieving mate or any subsequent children are being called by God or are even being offered a calling from God, unlike what previously has been believed within the Church concerning sanctification.

It would be helpful to consider what this sanctification is all about in order to more clearly understand how this is being applied to such a relationship. A simple statement about sanctification is used in Hebrews where a comparison is being made of physical sacrifices performed by the Israelites with that of the power God has given through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to forgive and remove sin.

“For if the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, ‘sanctifies’ to the purifying of the flesh, then how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Heb. 9:13-14)?

The “sanctification” being spoken of here was for “holy use and purpose” so that Israel was able to exist in a unique physical relationship with God, but not in a spiritual one.

In like manner, God sanctifies an unbelieving mate and children so that they may be in a unique and indeed special relationship with someone in whom God dwells. It is God’s presence that sanctifies, and in this case, individuals are able to enter a unique physical relationship with one who has been begotten of God (in whom God dwells), but the relationship is not spiritual, just as Israel’s relationship was not spiritual.

This sanctification is not a “calling” into a spiritual relationship with God, nor is it “offered” because of sanctification alone. So someone who is sanctified in order to be in such a physical relationship, due to the one who believes, is not being called, nor can they automatically choose at any time to be in a “called” – spiritual – relationship with God.

It is solely within God’s power, timing, and purpose for who and when anyone is called by Him.

There are potentially awesome blessings that such sanctified individuals can receive in their life, just as there were potentially awesome blessings available to the Israelites because of their sanctification. For the Israelites, receiving those blessings depended upon the personal choices of each individual with what they accepted (willingly received) from what God offered to them, and then choosing to apply it in how they would then live their life, according to what God had given. This obviously involved physical aspects of life, concerning such things as clean and unclean foods, tithing, observance of the Sabbath, and other of God’s laws. God blessed obedience, even on a physical plane.

Other nations were not sanctified as Israel had been blessed to be. God gave Israel much truth of His way in which life is to be lived. The rest of the nations were void of such knowledge. In like manner, there is no one in the world who has knowledge of God’s truth until they are blessed to come into contact with it. Those who are “called” of God to enter a spiritual relationship – fellowship – with Him, His Son, and His Church are so very profoundly blessed above all mankind. Those who are sanctified and able to come into an environment where truth dwells are also profoundly blessed, even if it is limited to a more physical plane.

(This concludes Pt. 12, as more must follow which cannot be readily received until this portion has had time to be more fully consumed and digested.)