So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whosoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.”
Chosen of God is a reference to the Doctrine of Election. Election is the plan of God for believers whereby He chooses or selects certain things to be true. The Greek word for election is “eklektos” and means picked out, selected, or chosen for privilege. The question that must be answered in order to clearly understand this doctrine is “What are these things that God chooses for the believer?” Please notice that it is not God choosing a person for salvation as some teach; rather it is God choosing certain things to be true of the believer. An unbeliever must still use his volition to choose to believe in Christ or to reject Christ. Holy and beloved means set apart and loved. Our faith in Christ immediately sets us apart to God and a new category of God’s love is now ours – personal love. As His chosen ones, God expects us to fulfill our reasonable divine service. (Ephesians 1:4; Romans 12:1-2)
What is true for Church Age believers is that they have been chosen by God for a service. This service has many facets (most of which are invisible), but all are fulfilled as a believer allows the Holy Spirit to form the character of Christ in his soul. The character of Christ is the fruit of the Spirit as outlined in Galatians 5:22-23:
Forgiveness is a judicial pardon from sin and must be understood to be both positional and experiential. Positional forgiveness is salvation forgiveness for eternal life. The experiential forgiveness is forgiveness for the spiritual life. All sins were judged on the Cross. The decision to believe in Jesus Christ means the forgiveness of all sins prior to the moment of faith.
All pre-salvation sins are blotted out at the moment of salvation and God never remembers them again. (Isaiah 43:25) Post-salvation sins are blotted out by the use of the Rebound Technique. (I John 1:9) The Greek word used for forgiveness of sins committed before salvation is “charizomai,” which means to bestow a favor unconditionally. The Greek word used for forgiveness of sins committed after salvation is “aphiemi,” which means the halting of punishment.
The first forgiveness, pre-salvation forgiveness, is for your eternal life, and is taught in Colossians 2:13-14, “And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven (“charizomai”) us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us which were hostile to us; He has taken it out of the way and nailed it to the Cross.” God the Father imputed these sins (transgressions) to Christ on the Cross. The judgment of our sins on the Cross is the basis for our forgiveness.
The second forgiveness, post-salvation forgiveness, is for your spiritual life. This is taught in I John 1:9, “If we acknowledge our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive (“aphiemi”) our sins and to purify us from all wrongdoing.” This is the experiential forgiveness related to post-salvation experience, in which the spiritual life is put on hold until Rebound takes place. God has provided options to offset every contradiction to His plan for your life. Post-salvation forgiveness cancels the repercussions of sin and restores the status of your spiritual life. This forgiveness qualifies you to continue your spiritual life by means of the filling of the Holy Spirit and study and application of Bible doctrine.
The first forgiveness qualifies you to live eternally in a resurrection body. The second forgiveness qualifies you to continue your spiritual life while on earth. The first forgiveness is related to eternity and the second forgiveness is related to time on earth. Your spiritual life on earth is designed to make your eternal life in Heaven an even more fantastic thing. Both types of forgiveness are based on the salvation work of Christ on the Cross. Once you Rebound, you are forgiven in the sense of the cancellation of punishment. All the suffering does not always go away, but whatever suffering is left over is designed for your blessing and spiritual growth.
Forgiving others means exhibiting the character of Christ, and is a sign of an advancing believer. This does not mean that the bad behavior of a person is condoned. It simply means that as a spiritually mature believer you are able to forgive others on the basis of the forgiveness that you have received from God.
“Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.”
When we are properly functioning under the control of the Holy Spirit, we will adhere to the principles found throughout the Word of God and these principles will enable us to exhibit impersonal love toward others. This means that we will treat everyone with respect, not on the basis of our “pet prejudices” regarding race, social status, ability or what a person can or cannot do for us. We will refrain from gossip, maligning, judging, character assassination, etc. In other words, we will “live and let live.” The principle of treating everyone with respect also means that we will be tolerant, be thoughtful and be kind toward others. We will hold no grudges or resentment against anyone. (I John 4:17-18)
Impersonal love is not what we normally think of as love. It is the virtue in your soul that causes you to have a relaxed mental attitude toward others and treat them with kindness, compassion, patience and forgiveness. In other words, impersonal love is how we treat others. Therefore, impersonal love must be based on the virtue of the subject, the one doing the loving (“the treating”). Impersonal love is a function of the Royal Ambassadorship of the believer. It is our love for God that motivates us to exhibit impersonal love toward all. Impersonal love operates from the integrity and virtue that you have developed from learning and applying Bible doctrine.
The Word of God teaches us who we are to love. We are to love God, ourselves, and others. Husbands are told to love their wives, and wives are told to respect their husbands. Parents are to love their children and children their parents. We are to love fellow believers. (Mark 12:30; Ephesians 5:21-6:4; I John 3:14; Luke 6:27)
A person who accepts Jesus Christ as his “Sin-bearer” is immediately reconciled to God, having been placed in union with Him. This means that he is no longer God’s enemy, but peace now exists between this individual and God. Since God can have nothing to do with sin, the sin barrier must be removed so that mankind can once again have a relationship with God. We are talking about the spiritual mechanics that accomplish this for man. Jesus Christ is the Sin-bearer, which means that He was judged for our sin. The judgment of sin satisfied the righteousness and justice of God. Since God is impartial, anyone (both Jew and Gentile) who believes in Christ as Savior will be reconciled to God. Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:14-18 that everyone in the Church Age, from the Day of Pentecost to the Rapture, who personally believes in Jesus Christ as Savior becomes part of the body of Christ and peace now exists with the believer and God. And this peace with God is able to rule your soul as you exhibit the character of Christ.
Thankfulness is synonymous with gratitude which is a matter of having the right attitude. And attitude is everything! Knowing who we are and what we have as a result of being in union with Jesus Christ should cause us to be grateful. As we grow up spiritually our gratitude will also grow. If we understand that our lives are in God’s hands and that He will direct our paths if we choose to allow Him to, we can have gratitude in any circumstance of life. (Colossians 2:6-8)
“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”
The Christian Way of Life is a life of thinking divine viewpoint (the thinking of Jesus Christ). Philippians 2:5, says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” The mind of Christ is the word of Christ found in the Word of God, the only source of absolute truth. In order to have the proper thinking, a believer must be consistently learning, believing and applying the Word of God to every circumstance in life.
God has given all believers a command to grow spiritually and He never gives us a command without giving us the means necessary to obey it. God, therefore, has provided His written instruction book (the Bible) and the filling (control) of the Holy Spirit. Both are grace functions for every believer in this age, regardless of education or I.Q. Any believer with a positive attitude towards Bible doctrine can learn, believe and apply it accurately.
At salvation all believers are placed into union with Jesus Christ and become complete in Him, positionally. (Colossians 2:10) However, experientially we are not complete because we still have a sin nature. For this reason all believers are commanded to grow spiritually and to advance toward spiritual maturity. Spiritual maturity and a stabilized mind should be the goal of every person who has trusted Christ as Savior. (Ephesians 4:14-15; II Peter 3:18)
Spiritual maturity does not happen overnight. It takes a lifetime of persistent and consistent study to learn Bible doctrine. God’s Word likens spiritual growth to building a house. Often expressed as edification, the concept in Greek is to build or to build up. For the Christian, this occurs in his soul as he exposes himself to accurate Bible teaching and applies the truth that he learns. As with any building, we must be careful to first lay the right foundation before we build on it. The Scripture is clear that the only foundation for the believer is Jesus Christ Himself. We know that the Word of God is the mind of Christ. Therefore, the foundation is the written Word (Christ is the living Word). The written Word of God is meant to be understood and utilized as a blueprint for building your spiritual building (the Christian Way of Life).
God’s Word has been set to music for our benefit. However, we must always ensure that what we are singing is doctrinally accurate. As a matter of fact, much of the book of Psalms is made up of songs written by David. Singing spiritual songs is a way of expressing love and gratitude to God.
The Christian Way of Life was not designed to be a life of human good works performed as a means of gaining the favor of God. The Christian Way of Life is a life of thinking divine viewpoint and the divine production that results. Divine production can be visible or invisible. (Titus 2:12) During the Church Age, believers receive all the necessary tools for the fulfillment of the plan of God. The objective for all believers should be to reach the status of spiritual maturity, which results in a tactical victory over Satan in the Angelic Conflict. Only by residing in God’s power system under the control, power and guidance of the Holy Spirit can a believer reach this status. In this way we can fulfill the command, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”