Category: Teaching Articles

Your Personal Perspective is Important!

Dr. Bill BaileyTo explain how your personal perspective is, indeed, important; it is necessary to first define an important term. The term I want to define is “theology.” The term “theology” has come to mean a great many things to different people. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “theology” as “the study of religious faith, practice, and experience; the study of God and God’s relation to the world.” The second definition given is: “a theological theory or system, a distinctive body of theological opinion.” It is that second definition that I would like to elaborate on. We are a product of everything that we’ve been taught, everything that we’ve heard, and everything that we’ve experienced, in terms of our understanding of the world and how it works. This understanding can, and should be, informed by our study of God’s Word. To put it simply, no matter what we may personally believe from our personal experiences, our understanding of the world must be formed by what God says, and what His Word says alone! As I pointed out, the second definition that Merriam-Webster gives is that theology is a distinctive body of theological opinion. This body of theological opinion is formed by the understanding of the Word of God. Unfortunately, a lot of people allow their understanding of the Word of God to be affected by their life experience, and teachings, and doctrines that they’ve heard before. This allows two people from two different theological backgrounds to look at the Word of God and interpret it in a way that supports their basic understanding of theological study. For instance, let’s use Abraham and his experience with Isaac. God told Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac to God on the altar. One theological opinion would look at that and say, “You see, God was tempting and trying Abraham to see what he would do.” Now, this same individual would say that God is omniscient… that he knows all things and he knows the end from the beginning. So, as a matter of course, why would God need to tempt, or try, Abraham if he are already knew what he would do? This is a theological position, yes, but it is inconsistent. In fact, James 1:3 says very plainly, “Let no man say when he is tempted I am tempted of God.” This word “tempted” in the Greek means “tempted, tested, or tried.” So the Bible tells us not only that God does not try, or tempt, anyone but further, they were not even to say that He would do so! From the perspective of Word of Faith theological thinking how do we see what some would call the “temptation” of Abraham? The first thing we would need to understand is that God is a God of covenant. The way that covenant works is that you get all of the covenant partner’s abilities, capabilities, and resources, and in turn, your covenant partner gets all of your abilities, capabilities, and resources. We know this from the study of covenant. When one partner cuts the covenant with another partner the first partner must be willing to do anything that the second partner would do in a given situation. He must use all of his ability and all of his resources to fulfill the covenant. What God was asking Abraham to do in sacrificing his only son, was, in effect, putting Him in a covenant position to sacrifice his only Son for mankind. Abraham had to be willing to do what his covenant partner was willing to do. God knew, because He IS omniscient, that Abraham would sacrifice his son. Further, from Abraham’s perspective, he had a promise from God that it was through his seed, that is, Isaac, that God would make him the father of a great nation. Abraham knew that the promise must come through Isaac, and if God required him to sacrifice Isaac, and burn him on the altar, God would have to raise him up. How do we know that this is true? Because Hebrews 11:19 says, “Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.” Why does the Bible tell us this? In order to demonstrate that Abraham understood that the promise was through his son Isaac, and that if God was requiring him to sacrifice Isaac, God would necessarily have to raise Isaac up from the dead! This account in Hebrews 11 is in the list of those of great faith! In fact, this was one of the greatest demonstrations of faith that we have, which is why it’s in the “Hall of Fame” of faith. Abraham so trusted God, and so believed in God, that he was willing to sacrifice his only son knowing that God would raise him up. God, therefore, as his covenant partner, was able to sacrifice His only son, Jesus, and received Him raised from the dead, just as Abraham’s faith believed, and knew, that God would do for him.

You can see that the same incident from Scripture can be viewed from two different perspectives. If you look at a Scripture using the “rose colored glasses” of a theology that says that God can cause people problems, or tempt them, or do evil unto them, then the “tint” of those glasses colors everything you see in a given Scripture. However, from a Word of Faith theological perspective we can look at the same Scripture and get a very different message. We don’t get a message that God tempts, in fact, we know that the book of James says that we are specifically not to say that God tempts or tries, but rather, we get the message that God is kind and loving and is a covenant keeping God. Now there are those that would say, “Doesn’t God allow bad things to happen to Christians?” To understand this, we have to go back and understand the Scripture that says that God would allow sickness to come on his people in the Old Testament. The word “allow” that is used is used not in the causative sense but in the permissive sense. The difference is simply this, God did not desire, or engineer, sickness to come upon his people. The sickness came because of the people’s disobedience. I have often use the example of a person with an umbrella that holds the umbrella over their head and steps out into the rain. The umbrella protects them from getting wet as long as they stand under it. But if they drop the umbrella down, and close it, while standing in the rain, they will get wet! The bottom line he is, the rain is out there! It is possible to get wet and if you step out from under your protection… you will get wet! God had a covenant with his people even in the Old Testament, but when they were disobedient they stepped out from under His protection and the evil, and the sickness, that was in the world through satan; being the god (little g-o-d) of this world system, has sickness and disease, and calamity, out there. It’s like the rain. It exists, and it’s available, but it’s not for the believer if they stay under God’s umbrella of protection! How do we choose to stay under that umbrella? By our words! God tells us that He set before us life and death, blessing and cursing, and then gives us the hint to choose life! (Deut. 30:19) He also tells us that life and death is in the power of the tongue. What we say and what we decide, therefore, determines our outcome; whether we live in life or in death. The question that people ask, “Why does God allow bad things to happen to Christians?” The question should be rephrased… the real question is, “Why do Christians allow bad things to happen in their lives?” Why do they choose words that bring evil and negative things into their lives?

So we see that the theological perspective of some would force them to try to understand how a loving, kind, Father God could do the things that they believe He does to His own children. If God truly did the things to His children that He has been accused of, in our society, He would be arrested for child abuse! But our God is not abusive; He does not punish His children physically with sickness and disease, rather the Bible tells us that He chastens His children. However, God chastens His children in their spirit, He is a Spirit, and He chastens in the spirit. I’m sure there have been many occasions when you have read a Scripture and felt a prick your heart… that is the chastening that God does! He doesn’t cut off your arm; He doesn’t give you cancer in order to chasten you! We are told very specifically that if it is killing, stealing, or destroying it comes from the devil. In fact, John 10:10 says that satan is the one who kills, steals, and destroys; and it is Jesus that brings full, and abundant, life!

Now, there are those that say, “We can’t avoid problems, sickness, and disease. In fact, God may have a greater purpose in our experiencing these things.” I submit that this perspective is coming from a negative (non-Word of Faith) theological stand. In our Christian walk, from a faith perspective, these things are not inevitable, in fact, they under our control, not God’s! He has set before us life and death, blessing and cursing, and has told us to choose life, with our words. However, we do live in a world that is dominated by an evil force, that of our enemy the devil. We are in a spiritual battle. And Satan is constantly trying to deceive us to use our authority, and our power, to use our own words to put us in a situation that is evil, negative, and destructive. However, it still our choice! We can allow ourselves to be deceived by Satan and speak what he wants us to speak, and act as he wants us to act, and we will get the results of “stepping out from under the umbrella.” We will get wet! We will have pain, and sorrow, and sickness, and disease. But it is not God’s best! It is not His desire! In fact, it’s not even ultimately His choice. It is our choice, and God has given us the ability to make that choice and to stand against the devil and his plots, and plans, and schemes. This is the Word of Faith perspective rather than the negative theological perspective.

One has to decide which perspective they come, and then approach theology, and doctrine, with that basic understanding… a basic understanding of who God is, and what He will do, based on a solid theological perspective. The decision of which theological perspective you come from should be informed ONLY by your reading and understanding of God’s Word… NOT your experience, and NOT your past doctrine! Your experience is not to be your teacher, the Holy Spirit is your teacher! Biblical “meekness” means, in the Greek, “gentleness, humility, and teach-ability.” (James 1:21) We must remain teachable and accepting of sound doctrine from the Word of God!

Real Faith Comes From Relationship!

Trust!As you know, I teach on faith quite a bit! I have for well over 30 years! In order to understand what faith is, let’s go to the Bible definition. Hebrews 11:1 says “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” The Strong’s concordance definition of “faith” is: “Persuasion, that is, credence; moral conviction of religious truth or the truthfulness of God, or a religious teacher, especially reliance upon Christ for salvation. Abstractly, constancy in such profession, by extension the system of religious gospel truth itself.” In other reference materials you will find that the base definition of faith is simply “trust.” Easton’s Bible Dictionary says, “Faith is in general the persuasion of the mind that a certain statement is true (Phil. 1:27; 2 Thess. 2:13). Its primary idea is trust. A thing is true, and therefore worthy of trust. It admits of many degrees up to full assurance of faith, in accordance with the evidence on which it rests.” (Emphasis mine.)

Consider with me… What is “trust?” The dictionary definition of trust is “firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character, of a person or thing.” What is it that inspires trust? It is knowing the one that you are trusting. You have to have that reliance on their integrity and knowledge of their character. Without that trust in their character you can’t have faith in them. That’s why you can’t have faith, true Bible faith, without knowing the God behind that faith! To say that you have faith without knowing God proves that you don’t understand what Bible faith really is! Unfortunately, there are a lot of people today that say they have faith, but don’t really know God. They only have a concept of faith; they don’t really know what faith is.

So, let’s get back to this idea of trust. In order to trust you have to know the true character of the person that you’re trusting. Now, of course, we know that God has deep, perfect character. He’s the very essence of true character! After all, He is God! So looking at who God is and what we know of Him from the Word of God, we can deeply trust His character. But, there are a lot of people today who, because they don’t know God, and they don’t understand His character, have no concept of this trust! In fact, they actually don’t trust God. This is because they’ve been taught, incorrectly, that God is the root of their problem. That He is, in effect, “out to get them.” Of course, this is not true! God only wants what’s best for us! Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” I like what the Amplified Version of the Bible says for this verse: “For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.” Does this sound like a God who is “out to get us?” Not at all, in fact, this is indicative of a loving Heavenly Father who wants the very best for His children. In order to best understand God, and His character, perhaps the best example we can grasp is of a loving earthly father and his “only child.”

Many people say that children who are an “only child” are “spoiled.” Why do they say this? Because from the outside looking in, a person sees that a parent is fully committed to that child, perhaps to the point of indulgence. They are accused of giving that child anything and everything that they want! And, don’t get me wrong, that kind of situation, in the natural, can be taken to extremes! But, the fact is, that child is well cared for, and well provided for, because the parent in question is concerned only for that child, and wants to provide what is best for them. This kind of “indulgent love” may seem foreign to many people. But the doting care of a parent for a child is a good (albeit, simplified) example of how our Father God loves and cares for us as His children. This kind of God is a God we can trust and that we can rely on… and not fear evil from Him. That is the essence of this verse. Let’s consider it again, paraphasing: “I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, and they are thoughts and plans for your own good and personal welfare; for your peace, and never to do you evil… In fact my thoughts are to give you hope for your final outcome.” Consider this… this verse is talking about God’s thoughts. Thoughts are the root of actions. You don’t do something until you think about it, or consider it. Thoughts imply motives. You consider doing something… you take thought about doing something, long before you do it. At least you should!

So this gives us insight into this God in whom we trust. We can have full trust and assurance in God because His thoughts and motives toward us are only good. God is not out to hurt you! God is not out to “get” you! He’s not “the mean old man with a big stick” waiting to hit you over the head! In fact, He’s just the opposite! Tradition, and the teachings of the church, by and large, have led us to believe that God is mean to His children. In fact, some teach that God makes people sick. They teach that God puts people in car accidents. That God breaks people’s legs. Does this sound like a loving Heavenly Father? Does this sound like One whose motives are only good toward us? No! God has been lied about… He is not out to get you. He is, in fact, out to help you! Again, in order to trust you have to understand character. If you don’t know God’s character you can’t really trust Him. You can’t really know Him, and therefore, you can’t really have faith in Him. In order to have the kind of faith that we’re talking about, you have to have an intimate relationship with God. Otherwise, you are just giving Him “lip service.” Otherwise, you just have a concept. A mental image. Not a full, well developed picture of who God is at His core. Of what His character is like. To understand God you have to know Him. In the same way to understand me, Dr. Bill Bailey, you have to know me! You have to know me personally. It is not enough to just read something about me. You have to have a relationship with me in order to fully understand me, and understand my character. That’s why my closest friends, or my wife, Belinda, will know me and how I will react, and what I will say in a given situation, much better than a stranger. To know me well is to better understand me. In the same way, to know God intimately is to better understand His character… His desires, and His motives.

Diving In!Trust is derived from knowledge at a deep, personal level. Trust is the essence of faith. We talk about “the faith of a little child.” My son, Benjamin, when he was very young, loved to jump off of the diving board into the deep end of the pool, even though he couldn’t swim at the time… because he knew that I, as his father, would always catch him. He would jump off that diving board with wild abandon! Sometimes he would even do it when my head was turned, or I wasn’t watching. He didn’t care. Because he knew daddy would always catch him! And, praise God, I did! I had to watch him closely! I caught him, and I protected him, because I loved him… and still do! But to see that open, simple, childlike trust, was an amazing lesson for me as an adult, and as a parent. That’s the kind of childlike trust and “wild abandon,” that we need to have as believers! We need to wholly trust in God! We need to have “wild abandon” in our faith! There’s a song by Steven Curtis Chapman in which he talks about stepping off into the deep water. That song is an excellent illustration of faith! The kind of faith that “takes a leap of faith!” That’s the kind of faith we need to have in our Father God.

But as I say, this kind of faith only comes from personal, intimate knowledge from a personal, close relationship. This is not a “Sunday morning” kind of faith. What do I mean by that? There are a lot of Christians that do show up in church on Sunday morning once a week to do their “religious duty” and then “get on with their lives” day in, and day out. That does not provide the kind of relationship that we’re talking about here. That’s merely a passing acquaintance. You don’t get to know someone by just being with them one hour, once a week! You can’t get to know God by only giving Him one hour, once a week. You live with your spouse every day and every night, all day and all night. You do everything with them. You talk to them all the time. You share your innermost thoughts and feelings. You know they care for you and you care for them. That’s relationship. That’s intimacy. And that’s what we’re talking about… that’s what you need to have with God! Once you get to know Him that well, and want to start sharing things with Him that often… that is what is called “prayer!” Not the formal “thee and thou” kind of prayer. I’m talking about the kind of prayer that says, “Hey, God I’ve got a question.” You may say, “Well, Dr. Bill, that’s awfully abrupt… That’s awfully informal!” That’s the point! We’re not talking about a formal, stilted relationship. We’re talking about a close, friendly, intimate relationship. The kind in which you “let your hair down,” and just be yourself! That’s what God’s looking for! He’s looking for fellowship with you. Now, that word “fellowship,” I know, is a “religious word” in some circles. Let’s put it this way; He’s looking for a friendship with you! Look at all the places that God called “mere humans” His friend… He said Abraham was His friend; Jesus said to the disciples, “I have called you friends.” (James 2:23; John 15:15) God is looking for a close relationship with His people and that’s what engenders this kind of trust; this kind of faith. It’s knowing God’s motives and knowing His care for us; knowing that He wants to bless you… knowing that He’s a Friend. That’s what brings faith deeply into your life and allows you to fully trust Him.

The point of this article is that you have to have this close daily relationship with God in order to operate in the life-changing, mountain-moving, kind of faith that we teach about here at Word of Faith Ministries! You can’t just have a passing knowledge of God and a passing knowledge of His Word… a one hour a week relationship, and operate in the kind of faith that we’ve been teaching about. If you try to operate in this kind of faith with this shallow relationship, you’ll only be frustrated, and you’ll say “that faith stuff” doesn’t work! No, “the faith stuff” does work… It’s your relationship that doesn’t work! Faith is trust and trust is earned. Earned trust comes from the intimate knowledge of a person’s character. And that’s how you’re going to develop in this life of faith! That is how you’re going to become successful in “walking out” all the great things that you have heard about a life of faith. You can live out all that you have heard that is available in faith teaching… but none of it will come about until you have this close personal relationship with God!

So my advice to you, if I were to take you aside, and take you “under my wing,” so to speak, and “mentor you” personally (which, between you and me, is exactly what I’m trying to do here on this website, and in these articles) is encourage you to seek for, and have, this kind of close, personal relationship with the Creator of the universe! A relationship with God Himself… because until you do, you’re not going to understand God… you’re not going to understand His Word, and you’re going to have misconceptions about Him. You’re going to be frustrated. But, once you have this kind of intimate, close relationship… once you know God the way you should, you will commit to Him and spend time with Him as a friend! Day in, and day out, you’ll find that the life of faith is really simple, childlike trust in our Father God who truly loves you and wants only the best for you!

What About… Hell?

Dr. Bill BaileyDoes Hell exist? A literal, actual place of eternal punishment? What does the Bible actually say about Hell? Well, there are fifty-four verses in the Bible that speak about Hell in one way or another. But what about the New Testament, Dr. Bill? We are New Testament believers, we are in a period of Grace! Well, there are twenty-three verses in the NEW Testament that deal with Hell! Jesus believed in Hell. Jesus spoke about Hell, and He warned about what to do to avoid the punishment of Hell. So, why do modern theologians seem to think that they have more insight, and information, than Jesus Himself? Bottom line is, they don’t! Hell IS real. Hell is to be avoided! How? By receiving Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior! How do you do that?

Romans 10:8 – “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
Verse 9
– That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Verse 10
– For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Verse 11
– For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”

“Saved” here is a Greek word transliterated as “sozo“, (pronounced as “sode-zo“)
which means: “saved, delivered, healed, protected, and made whole: spirit, soul, body, financially, socially, and delivered from every temporal evil.”

Praise God! This is completely saved, totally free! So, to “miss Hell, and make Heaven” you need to:

A) Confess Jesus as your personal Lord (one in control or authority over your life) and,
B) Believe that God literally, actually raised Jesus up from the dead.

What About... Hell?Two things… and then you are saved from Hell! This is a point to rejoice over, not lament! Because you are also freed in the “rotten here and now” NOT just freed in the “sweet by-and-by!” We are to live here in the earth “as the days of heaven upon the earth.” (Deut. 11:21) Jesus said to pray that “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matt. 6:10) Jesus would not ask us to pray contrary to God’s Will! God’s Will is that we have His Will here on earth the same way it is in heaven. Is there sickness in heaven? Is there poverty in Heaven? No! Why? It is not God’s Will! If it is that way in heaven, and we are to have days of heaven upon the earth, and pray that way… then salvation covers our earthly life as well!

Therefore, the “rotten here and now” should not be rotten! They should be blessed… and a blessing! Avoid Hell, embrace heaven! Even here upon the earth!

Living In THE BLESSING!

Dr. Bill Bailey

First, let’s find out how the words used in the scriptures for “blessing” are translated as in the Greek and Hebrew languages. I always like to start with defining our terms!

Greek:
eulogia
(yoo-log-ee’-ah)

From the same as G2127; fine speaking, that is, elegance of language; commendation (“eulogy,”) that is, (reverentially) adoration; religiously, benediction; by implication consecration; by extension benefit or largess: – blessing (a matter of) bounty (X -tifully), fair speech. (Strong’s Concordance)

Literally “eu” = “good” and “logia” “words,” so speaking “good words” over something or someone. Remember, words are containers of creative power!

Hebrew:
berakah
(ber-aw-kaw’)

From H1288; benediction; by implication prosperity: – blessing, liberal, pool, present. (Strong’s Concordance)

The implication of the Hebrew word for “blessing” is “prosperity!” We should not be surprised that financial prosperity is included in The Blessing!

Now, let’s look into the Word of God, and see what we can find out about “the blessing” and the “Bless-er,” that is, God Himself!

God is the “Bless-er”

Genesis 22:17 “That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;”

God is, by His own nature, a bless-er… He desires to multiply and bless His children, just as an earhly, human father wants to bless his children and see his children grow and prosper! No good father wants evil for his children! And, God is not only a Good Father, He is the BEST Father!

Your Employer is Blessed for Your Sake – The Blessing is Tangible!

Genesis 39:5 “And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.”

You need to make a faith “stand” for this truth! Simply being an employee in your particular business, makes that business blessed! You need to actively believe for the blessing to overtake your company! Everyone, and everything, there is blessed because you are “the Blessed!” Allow The Blessing to increase and prosper your company, and all will begin to recognize that “something” has changed, the company is finding favor, and it will be because of your position in the company!

You MUST Choose The Blessing!

Deut. 11:26 “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse;
Deut. 11:27 A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day:
Deut. 11:28 And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.”

Deut. 30:19 “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
Deut. 30:20 That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”

Notice that choosing to live in, and recognize The Blessing is entirely up to YOU! You are the deciding factor! YOU have to actually stand and believe for what God has promised! If you aren’t living in the blessing, it is not The Bless-er’s (God’s) fault, it is entirely YOUR fault! God has said (with His Mouth, which contains creative power) that you are The Blessed! So, apply that Blessing to yourself by faith!

God Will Turn the Curses of Others to Blessing!

Deut. 23:4 “Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee.
Deut. 23:5 Nevertheless the LORD thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the LORD thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the LORD thy God loved thee.
Deut. 23:6 Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever.”

So, you say that people at work, or maybe even at church, are against you? Your family, or friends, seem to have turned against you? Well, “shall their unbelief make the faith of God of none effect?” (Romans 3:3) NO! People may actually be actively against you, they may even be “cursing” you by speaking against you and what you are purposefully believing for… BUT! Glory to God! God will “turn their curses into a blessing!” Whatever they may be saying that is evil against you will NOT deter your faith!

God Will Command The Blessing!

Deut. 28:8 “The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.”

Everything that you put your hand to, everything that you “attempt” in faith, will be Blessed! You will be blessed in your storehouses (bank accounts) and you will be blessed in your surroundings and circumstances! Hold fast to The Blessing!

This Blessing is NOW on Us (as Gentiles)

Gal. 3:14 “That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

Gal. 3:9 “So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.”

Hebrews 6:13 “For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,
Hebrews 6:14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.
Hebrews 6:15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.”

Aren’t you glad that The Blessing is not JUST reserved for the Jews? (Thank God that it is for them as well, but, it is also for us as Gentiles!) Don’t let anyone tell you, “Well, that is just for the Jews!” No, these scriptures tell us that The Blessing is for all of us that have been grafted in as well! (Romans 11:17-24) Say this, “I am of faith, therefore, I am blessed with faithful Abraham!”)

Note also that The Blessing is a multiplication… not just an addition. It is like the old, familiar story of taking a penny, doubling it every day… that is multiplication… not just addition! It is called an “exponential growth!” In short order you would have started with only a penny, but you would soon have millions of dollars in pennies! God’s Blessing is EXPONENTIAL!

God’s Blessing is ONLY Good… The Blessing Has NO Downside!

Proverbs 10:22 “The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.”

There are a lot of people today that are rich in the natural, but in their family life, and personal life, they are destitute! God’s Blessings, and His Riches are ONLY GOOD… He adds NO sorrow with the Blessing! YOU CAN REST IN HIM and fully trust that He has only good and peace in store for you!

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
Jeremiah 29:12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.”

Tithers are Blessed!

Malachi 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
Malachi 3:11 “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.
Malachi 3:12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.”

God Himself will rebuke satan for OUR sakes! We are The Blessed! In fact, ALL nations shall call us “The Blessed!” We are blessed by the Tither’s Blessing!

Maintain an Attitude of Blessing!

1 Peter 3:8 “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
1 Peter 3:9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
1 Peter 3:10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:
1 Peter 3:11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
1 Peter 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.”

Note the attitude that we, who inherit The Blessing, should have: compassionate, loving, full of pity (active concern,) courteous, not rendering evil for evil, or railing (griping and whining) but rather, we should be speaking words of Blessing toward others! We need to be lovers of life, and refrain from speaking contrary to the Word of God, we need to be rejecting evil, and doing good, we should be seeking peace with others! As Blessed people, we are those that can, and should, be helping others, not rejecting them and running them down!

We Are Blessed Spiritually!

Ephesians 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:”

We are Blessed in the spiritual realm, in our spiritual life, in our communion and times with the Lord! We should be experiencing the best in our spiritual life with God!

We Are Blessed Materially!

Romans 8:32 “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

God will “freely give us ALL things!” That covers material blessings! If it is not covered specifically, then, all still means “All!

The Blessing Covers Life Here on Earth and in Heavenly Realms!

2 Peter 1:3 “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:”

Notice that this pertains to life here on earth, as well as our spiritual state! Also, notice that this Blessing comes through the “knowledge” (Greek: “epignosis” – “full discernment” “revelation knowledge” “epi” = “above, or beyond” and “gnosis” = “body of knowledge.”) Therefore, “epignosis” is the knowledge above and beyond our natural body of knowledge, it is revealed knowledge! We receive these things by revealed knowledge of the Word of God, of His Plan for us individually as believers, and by receiving supernatural direction from Him!

Matthew 16:17 “And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”

We need to receive revealed knowledge from God, and live in the Blessing He has bestowed upon us! The Blessing comes by revealed knowledge!

Strange Fire: Don’t Get Distracted!

Dr. Bill Bailey

In Numbers 26:61, it says, “And Nadab and Abihu died, when they offered strange fire before the LORD.” We are told that our God is a jealous God. (Deut. 4:24) He expects us to worship Him, in His Way, and not get pulled away by distractions of bad (that is, un-sound) doctrine. We are also told that the immature are often “carried about with every wind of doctrine.” Eph. 4:14, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” We have already spoken in past articles, of the fact that these “last of the last days” are perilous times. 2 Timothy 3:1, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.” So, we must be ever more vigilent and serious about keeping the purity of the Word of God in our lives and in our worship!

There are many things afoot in the Body of Christ in these days that have no basis in Biblical history, doctrine, or fact. Some of these teachings come from cults, some come from other religions, but ALL are are from the devil! He is trying to draw believers away from sound doctrine. 2 Timothy 4:2-5 says, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” We are to preach the Word! We are to preach and teach “sound doctrine.” But, we are also told that there will be those that will not endure sound doctrine, but will be turned unto “fables.” What kind of fables? Well, look at what is happening in certain circles around the Body of Christ. There are various “revivals” that are occurring around the country today that are following doctrines that have no basis in scripture, they are not teaching sound doctrine. They endorse speaking with angels for guidance, and direction, and ask them (angels) directly for help. Angels are God’s “agents” to bring about His will, and they are called “ministering spirits” that are to function “for us.” (Hebrews 1:14) However, we are not to speak TO angels, we pray to God, and God will dispatch them to aid us as necessary. To pray to them, or invoke their (supposed) names instead of God’s is not scriptural! We are to pray to God, in Jesus’ Name! John 14:13, 14 says, “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” The Biblical pattern is to pray in Jesus’ Name to the Father God. Not to angels, not to people who have died, not to Mary, or John, or Peter… but to the Father God in Jesus’ Name! Notice the admonition in 2 Timothy 4:5, to “watch thou in all things.” To put it in more modern vernacular, “Watch out!”

This is just one of many examples, there are those that perform “magic tricks” in God’s name, producing feathers, gold dust, and other physical manifestations that are not Biblical. Show me a case, just one in the Bible, where Paul during his travels, for instance, manifested gold dust to prove his own piety, or demonstrate supernatural power! Or, where he spoke and feathers appeared. Can’t find it? That’s because it is not in there! However, there are followers of Jewish mysticism (the Kaballah) that speak of it, and there are some so called Charismatic “revivals” that involve this kind of “strange fire.” What are these things to believers that are determined to do what God has commanded and preach the Word and teach sound doctrine? They are distractions. They are flashy and look and sound “different” and interesting… but they are not what God wants us interested in. He wants us to be true to His Word. He wants us to follow sound doctrine.

I remember a time when a very well known pastor of a large church had a speaker come and speak at his church. This speaker was a lady that was drawing large crowds and getting invited to many large Charismatic churches, no doubt with very large offerings as well! People flocked to see her produce feathers! “Wow, ooooh, ahhh!” People, Jesus said, seek signs. (Luke 11:29) But not for the right reasons. Anyway, this pastor invited the lady to speak. After the service many were asked, “What did she teach?” No one could remember what she said, but they were all talking about the “supernatural manifestations!” Another minister that attended this same service, which was broadcast via satellite to hundreds of other churches, videotaped the lady as she ministered. He was able to show that she was pulling the feathers out of pockets sewn in her her sleeves. A simple “sleight of hand” trick. Her “ministry” was disgraced. She got fewer and fewer invitations after that. In another incident, a minister had the “gold dust” that was “supernaturally” manifested examined, and it turned out to be iron pyrite dust… so, in fact, it wasn’t even real gold! You would think God would manifest real gold! The bottom line is… the ministry of God is not a show… it is not entertainment! We are to preach the pure Word of God, not “perform!”

A minister does not “perform tricks” and spectacular acts to elevate themselves! Most often these folks are seen to be, and often proclaim themselves, as “more spiritual” than others… after all, they are specially “touched of God.” Now, don’t get me wrong, there are unique, special anointings. But, those that God uses in special anointings know that it is NOT them, it is God that does the work! As Peter said, “Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?” (Acts 3:13) It is not YOUR personal power that is involved in ministry. In fact, personal power, and seeking such, is the hallmark of the occult! It is not that you are more “spiritual” or “holy!” I believe that this scripture is, in fact, recorded in God’s Word to show us this truth! It wasn’t Peter’s own power, or holiness, or spirituality, that caused special healings to happen in his presence. Acts 5:15, 16, “Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.” What did the work? Jesus told them to preach the Word, and as Mark 16:20 says, “And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” The Lord worked WITH them… confirming the Word they preached with signs following. What kinds of signs? Gold dust? Feathers? Using “angel’s names?” No! The sick were healed, demons were cast out, the lame were made whole, and the blind saw! Those are God’s kind of signs! And, they didn’t need weird manifestations or paper “barf bags” to do it! They simply preached the uncompromised Word of Faith, and God performed the work! They acted on the Word, and the Word worked!

Why bring these things to your attention? Because as we are told in the Word, in Eph 4:14-24: “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

Brethen, it is time to be grown-ups! Not to be easily distracted… not seeking “strange fire!” We are to “watch out!” Watch out for these things and avoid them! Rom 16:17, 18 says, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and AVOID them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; (we could say “their own self interests”) and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” Preach and teach only the purity of God’s Word!

Focus, Focus, Focus!

Dr. Bill Bailey

God is calling the Body of Christ (the Church) to get serious in these “Last of the Last Days.” I keep hearing, “Focus, focus, focus!” Time is short, and we have so much to do to reach a lost and dying world. And the world is getting worse.

2Timothy 3:1, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.”

2 Timothy 3:13, “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” I don’t mean all this to sound negative, in fact, this isn’t a negative message at all, merely a recognition of what the Bible says about the Last Days. However, the same chapter DOES say, in the very next verse, after verse 13:

2 Timothy 3:14, “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;”

2 Timothy 3:15, “And that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”

2 Timothy 3:17, “That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

We are to be mature, thoroughly furnished unto all good works! And we have works to do! We need to be reaching out and teaching and preaching the Gospel! Not the reverse-Gospel (since “Gospel” means “good news”) or, maybe we could call it the “negative-spell!” This type of teaching has left a “negative spell” on the church! It is time to wake up, shake ourselves off, and reach people with the Truth of God’s Word!

John 17:17, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”
John 17:18, “As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.”
John 17:19, “And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.”
John 17:20, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;”
John 17:21, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”

Believers need to be operating as one, reaching out to the world, so that the world will see us as one… as united! How do we do that? Teach the Truth of God’s Word! Not church doctrines… not opinions, just Truth!

If we will do that… then they will hear and receive the Word of God!

Acts 3:19, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;”

Folks need to turn, which is what “repent” means, and be converted, that is, changed… then their sins shall be blotted out, and refreshing will come from the presence of the Lord! Times of refreshing are coming for the Body of Christ, but hard times for those that don’t receive and believe!

Proverbs 13:14, “The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.”
Proverbs 13:15, “Good understanding giveth favor: but the way of transgressors is hard.”

Who is wise? Proverbs 1:7: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” The word “fear” here is the Hebrew word “yerah” and means “reverence.” Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” So, the way of the transgressor may be hard, but for the believer, we are promised: deliverance, life, favor, wisdom, and knowledge! It is so much better to be a believer!

So many people are seeking things, things, things! Instead, as Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

My brethren, seek God, seek His way, reverence Him! Then all the things will be added in… and you will be in His Perfect Will!

Having Faith in God’s Work in Us

Dr. Bill Bailey

One of the great blessings I have in my ministry is helping folks that are studying the Word of God, and have questions.  Here’s an e-mail that I received today (as I write this it is February 27, 2008.)  The message that the brother mentions in his e-mail is from a Wednesday Night service at Faith & Victory Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, where I attend church, and get to teach the Word when Pastor Ed Taylor is on the road.  He was in Tulsa last week at Rhema for a meeting, so I got to minister!  (In fact, you can listen to the message by clicking on the message title in the e-mail’s first paragraph below… I have linked it from the Faith & Victory web site.)  Isn’t the Internet great?  We can share the Word and reach folks all over the world!  Here’s the e-mail, followed by my answer to him.

His E-Mail:

“I recently accepted Jesus Christ into my life and learned of you after visiting the Faith and Victory Church website.  I really enjoyed your sermon titled, “An Attitude of Love by Decision.”  Not letting other people affect me in negative ways has always been a weak point of mine, but after hearing your sermon on the topic, I will now be working very hard to improve in that area.

After accepting Jesus, I know that he has forgiven me of my past sins, but I am having trouble forgiving myself of certain things.  I would like to think that the Lord does not want me to live in the past, but live in the future in his way, but I still struggle with some guilt issues.  Could you please give me some advice in overcoming this guilt?

I am really glad that I also found your website where I can listen to your sermons on-line.  I like the way you are able to get your point across in easy to understand language.  Keep up the good work, and may God continue to bless you.”

My Response:

Praise God!  I am glad that you enjoyed the message from last Wednesday.  I think that the key to your question is that God is Love.  1 John 4:16 says, “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”

In fact, God loved us before we had accepted Jesus as our Savior; that is what is so amazing about the Love that God had for us, even when we were sinners… He loved us!

John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Note that God so loved THE WORLD that He sent Jesus.  And, Romans 5:8 says,  “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Now, if God can love us THAT much, even while we were yet sinners… then we have to learn to love ourselves enough to forgive ourselves and let go of the past.  In fact, we can’t adequately love others until we learn to love ourselves.  This means letting go of what we were.

Paul said that he had to forget his past and look only forward.  Philippians 3:13, 14  tells us, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

He said, “…this one thing I do, FORGETTING those things which are behind,”  and then he pressed “toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”  We are to be “heaven minded” and not “past minded.”  There is an old Christian saying, “He’s so heavenly minded that he’s no earthly good.”  I understand the sentiment, but I prefer to see it as “SO heavenly minded that they ARE some earthly good!”  Once we look at the mark (goal) that God has set for us, and strive toward that, we become less US centered, and get more GOD centered!  Then, what we have done in the past is not what is constantly before us, but rather, what God has for us in the now and the future.  THAT is what we dwell on, and think about, NOT the past.

Another key point is that we HAVE BEEN MADE the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.  We are NEW creatures.  2 Corinth. 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  Everything has passed away, ALL THINGS are become new.  A “new creature” here in the Greek literally means, “a new species of being.”  That is, a new type of creature that never existed before.  We are not the old type of man, we are a NEW type of man, one that is alive unto God.  In fact, we ARE a spirit, we POSSESS a soul (mind, will and emotions) and we live IN a physical body.  We are what is referred to as a “tripartite man” in Theological terms.  Paul speaks of this in 1Thess. 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.”  Note that he prayed that God sanctify us WHOLLY (completely) spirit, and soul, and body.  Before being born again, our spirit man was dead unto God, but now, we ARE living SPIRITS (Greek, “pneuma”) that possess a SOUL (Greek: “psuche”) (mind, will, and emotions) and live in a BODY (Greek: “soma”).  By recognizing that we aren’t as we were, that all the old has passed away, and that we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus… we know that our “right standing” (which is what “righteousness” means) with God is of Jesus, not of us.  This is very “freeing,” because my “right standing” (my position) before God is not dependent at all on my past, or even my current, actions.  It is WHOLLY dependent on God’s work in me, which was done when I received Jesus… thus becoming a new creation man.  2 Corinth. 5:21 says,  “For He (God) hath made Him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we (believers) might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”  Since HE made me the righteousness of God in Him, I don’t have to worry about any actions on my part being necessary to be that righteousness!  In fact, He says plainly that that is NOT the case.

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

Eph 2:8-10:  “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk.”

So, we are saved by faith (and even that is not of us, but a gift from Him!)  And, we are justified by faith, we are HIS workmanship… meaning He has “re-made” us as new creatures… so the old has, indeed, passed away.   That old man is gone.  Since we were saved by faith, we also have to live by faith, and not look at what our lives look like, or feel like.  I may not “feel too saved” on a given day… but I still am… because it isn’t dependent on me… it is only dependent on HIM!  That is such a freeing thing to trust in… and that is what faith is… simple trust in God!

2 Corinth. 4:18 says, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

The things that we see in the natural are temporal (the Greek meaning here is “subject to change, temporary”) but the things of God, the things of heaven, spiritual things… THEY are eternal.  They are not subject to change, time, or circumstance.  THEY are solid and dependable!  As are we, IN HIM!

I trust this helps!

Satan Has No Power, Only the Ability to Deceive!

Dr. Bill Bailey

Once, many years ago, when I was preaching, the Lord spoke to me and said, “Satan doesn’t have any power over you; the only thing he has is ability, and that is the ability to deceive.” There are a lot of people that consider satan to be an all-powerful being, when, in fact, he’s not! He lost whatever power he had as an anointed cherub of God when he was cast out of heaven and fell to Earth (Luke 10:18; Isaiah 14:12-14) He is not equal to God in any way, and he never was! We have to realize that all he is, is a disenfranchised spirit that is seeking those that he might deceive. The Scripture says in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” Note that he isn’t a roaring lion, he just acts like one! It’s important for us to realize that God is the one that has the real dynamic power, not satan, and in this study we’re going to look at some scriptures and some definitions that will help us better understand that!

Satan doesn’t have power, but what he can do is use your own authority against you by getting you to say things that are out of line with God’s Word, and that are on track with satan’s plan in your life.

And, of course, his plan is simply stated in John 10:10, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” So, satan has come to steal, to kill, and to destroy; so if it is destructive, if it is stealing from you, if it is robbing you, then that is satan’s involvement in your life. And it stems from deception. Deception in getting you to speak things that are contrary to God’s will for you, and His Word. So let’s take a look at some scriptures and we’ll see that in each case, Satan doesn’t have power he has only has the ability to deceive!

Job 1:9-12, “Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?
Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.
And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.”

The Hebrew word “yawd” means “open hand” indicating, “power” but means “direction.” Both the word “power” and the word “hand” in verse 12 is this Hebrew word “yawd.” When God said that Job was in satan’s “power” he was saying that Job was “in the palm of satan’s hand.” And how had Job gotten to this place? As Job 3:25 says, “For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.” Satan uses fear to deceive us into confessing things about our lives and situations in a spirit of fear, and the power of our own words is used against us. Job realized this later on and said, “Teach me, and I will hold my tongue: and cause me to understand wherein I have erred. How forcible are right words!” (Job 6:24, 25) Job “erred” because he allowed satan to deceive him into speaking words contrary to God’s will for his life! Once he got back in line with God’s Word, and began to pray for his friends in faith, all was restored to him… and even more than he had!
What about the New Testament?

Acts 26:17, “Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:”

The Greek word for “power” here is “exousia” which means “ability, privilege, mastery, influence,” and denotes “freedom of action, the right to act;” when used of God, it is absolute, unrestricted, “authority,” “ability, force, strength,” W.E. Vine says it is nowhere translated “power” in the Revised Standard. In other words, the word “exousia” is “ability” while the word “dunamis” is better translated “dynamic power,” in the sense that we normally think of truly dynamic power. So it this case, the phrase “from the power of satan unto God” means that they should turn from the “ability” of satan to the ability of God.

So, what is the root of the ability of satan to deceive mankind? Satan uses mankind’s base nature, that came from Adam’s sin, against him! For instance, in Habbakuk 2:9, “Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house, that he may set his nest on high, that he may be delivered from the power of evil!”

Again, here the word translated “power” in Hebrew is “kaf” a word that means the “palm of the hand, bowl, figuratively power.” Not actual power, but figurative power. We see again the ability of satan is to deceive, in this case, using covetousness against the person in question not literally “strong-arming” them to do exactly what he wants. This ability and influence is something that he gained not though his own power… he got it from Adam; when Adam committed high treason against God in the Garden. Satan admits as much in his discussion with Jesus during the unsuccessful temptation of Jesus:

Luke 4:1-8, “And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,
Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.
And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.
And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.
And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.
If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.
And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”

The Greek word for “power” here is “exousia” which we defined earlier. If you remember, it means “ability” or “influence.” He said that this ability and influence was “delivered” to him and “to whomsoever I will I give it.” So, he has the ability to use this ability, and he can also give it, or confer it, to others. Jesus didn’t dispute this in the temptation, in fact, that is why it was a temptation! This will come up as an important point later in our discussion.

Let’s look at satan’s ability to oppress people. Note what Acts 10:38 says, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth witalign=”justify”align=”justify”h the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.”

The Greek work here, “katadunasteuo” means to “exercise dominion against, that is to oppress.” Dominion? Where would satan have gained dominion? Remember what God told Adam in Genesis? In Genesis 1:26, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” God gave mankind dominion over the earth… then, Adam gave it to satan when Adam committed high treason! Using this influence, satan brought death into the world by teaching man how to speak death! The scripture tells us that, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” (Prov. 18:21) Once satan began to deceive man into speaking death over himself; slowly man began to live a shorter and shorter lifespan. Think of how people express themselves, “That just KILLS me!” “I thought I was going to DIE!” “That was so funny I nearly laughed myself to DEATH!” People constantly use death to express themselves… and it is literally KILLING them! Rather than living by the power of faith in God… people live by fear, inspired by the devil. Fear is the reciprocal of faith… it is faith perverted! So, by using the fear of death, mankind was subjected to bondage.

The scripture says in Hebrews 2:14:

“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”

The Greek word here is “kraytos” meaning “vigor,” figuratively “dominion.” Satan used the dominion given to him by Adam to develop a fear-based dominion over mankind.

And remember that I said that satan has the ability to transfer, or share, this ability with others? The only recorded incident in the Scriptures that demonstrates the active, dynamic form of power that has normally been associated with satan is in regard to power that will be exercised by the antichrist and spoken of in 2 Thess. 2: 1-14:

“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.

For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The “wicked” that will be revealed is, of course, the antichrist. Satan will share his dominion, temporarily with the antichrist, and he and his “prophet” will do some amazing looking “signs.” But, they will be lying wonders.

Let’s look at the Greek words used in the above verse. The Greek word translated “power” in verse 9 is “dunamis” and means “force, miraculous power.” The word translated “signs” is “semeion” which means “supernatural indication.” And the two word term “lying wonders” is “pseudos teras” which is “lying, or false, omens.” All of this is more along the lines of what we have come to expect when we think of satan’s POWER! But, notice, it is channeled through a man, the antichrist! The power and dominion that God gave man is perverted by satan and turned into lying wonders! So, even at what may be the height of his demonstration of “power,” it is due to his perversion of man’s authority, not because it is inherent in satan himself. Keep this in mind when satan tries to lie to you about just how strong and powerful he is!

John 8:44, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” He is a liar! He can only deceive and lie! Don’t let him turn this ability on you! He has no dynamic power… he only has the ability to deceive you into using your own authority and ability to use your words against yourself!

Is It Really Possible to KNOW the Things of God?

Dr. Bill Bailey

Can we KNOW the will of God? Can we KNOW anything about God? Most folks would say, “Well, we can’t KNOW, we can BELIEVE what we think is right, but to KNOW implies settled fact… and isn’t everything that applies to God done by faith?” Well, we certainly approach God by faith in His Son, Jesus, and we have faith toward God. However, does the Bible teach us that we can KNOW?

Yes, it does! Let’s look at some scriptures and see what they say about knowing spiritual truths. Can we KNOW? (By the way, to emphasize the word “KNOW,” I am intentionally bolding and capitalizing “KNOW” for emphasis.)

1 John 5:13 “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may KNOW that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
1 John 5:14 “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:”
1 John 5:15 “And if we KNOW that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we KNOW that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” (Emphasis is mine.)

Look at these three “KNOWs.” We can KNOW that we have eternal life, not just guess, or hope, or even just believe, we can KNOW!

We can KNOW that God hears us when we pray to Him!

We can KNOW that we have what we have prayed for and received by faith!

And that is just one of many places that says that we can KNOW! For instance, Luke, when he was explaining why he was writing the book that bears his name says:

Luke 1:3 “It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,”
Luke 1:4 “That thou mightest KNOW the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.” (Again, the emphasis here is mine.)

You can KNOW the certainty of the things that you have been instructed in from the Word of God as well! Notice, not just KNOW, but KNOW the CERTAINTY! That seems to be the very opposite to, “Well, we can’t really KNOW…” or, “Well, you might BELIEVE that is so, but…” No, we can KNOW the CERTAINTY!

Let’s look at other examples:

John 8:32 “And ye shall KNOW the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (Emphasis mine.)

Do we KNOW OF the truth, or does it say that we KNOW the truth? Notice that we KNOW the truth, and KNOWING the truth makes us free!

In the parable of the shepherd Jesus said:

John 10:4 “And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they KNOW his voice.” (Emphasis mine.)

“His sheep (followers) KNOW His voice. We KNOW the voice of God! “But, Brother Bill,” you might say, “surely we can’t KNOW that we KNOW the voice of God!” What does the Bible teach us here? If we are His sheep, then we KNOW His voice, and verse five continues, “And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they KNOW not the voice of strangers.” So, if we are His sheep, we KNOW His voice, and we can distinguish His voice from a stranger’s voice!

The bottom line to all this is that we do KNOW the Spirit of Truth:

Joh 14:17 “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye KNOW him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” (Emphasis mine.)

We KNOW the Spirit of Truth, for He dwells IN us! God’s Spirit, the teacher of the church (John 14:26) lives within us as believers! How much do we KNOW?

1 John 2:20 “But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye KNOW all things.” (Emphasis mine.)

Because of the anointing of the Holy Spirit (the “unction”) we KNOW ALL THINGS! Now THAT is powerful! Don’t sell short what we KNOW as believers! (Emphasis mine.)

1 Corinthians 2:12 “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might KNOW the things that are freely given to us of God.” (Emphasis mine.)

1 Corinthians 2:13 “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (Emphasis mine.)

1 Corinthians 2:14 “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he KNOW them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (Emphasis mine.)

Because we are believers, because we have the Spirit of truth on the inside of us, we can KNOW the things that are freely given to us by God! The world can’t understand these things, but we can! That is plain from these scriptures!

BUT BROTHER BILL! What about scriptures like:

1 Corinthians 8:2 “And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to KNOW.” (Emphasis mine.)

And:

1 Corinthians 13:9 “For we KNOW in part, and we prophesy in part.” (Emphasis mine.)

What do you say to those scriptures? Well, the Word is true…and we don’t KNOW everything that we are going to KNOW when we are in our glorified bodies after the resurrection. We DO now, in this dispensation, only KNOW in part. And we will KNOW more in that day…but, let’s look at it this way, we KNOW enough about some things scientifically to use them effectively, but we don’t KNOW their full depths as of yet. Scientists can split the atom and produce electricity, or make an atom bomb, but they would be the first to say that they don’t understand and KNOW all that there is to KNOW about atomic energy. But, what they KNOW, they KNOW! The part they have learned and can use, they can use. It is the same way with us and spiritual things. What we KNOW, we KNOW! We will learn more, we can KNOW more…but what we KNOW, is still true!

The bottom line is that we have been dwelling too long on “we can’t KNOW the things of God.” When, in fact, He tells us we CAN KNOW the things of God! We won’t KNOW them all in this life necessarily, but what we do KNOW, we KNOW!

One thing we KNOW is His grace:

2 Corinthians 8:9 “For ye KNOW the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” (Emphasis mine.)

We KNOW His grace (unmerited favor!) We can rest in that!

Paul prayed that the believers in Ephesus would KNOW the love of Christ:

Ephesians 3:19 “And to KNOW the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” (Emphasis mine.)

Even though this Love passes nature knowledge, we can KNOW this Love and be filled with all the fullness of God! Paul goes on to say:

Phillipians 3:10a “That I may KNOW him, and the power of his resurrection…” (Emphasis mine.)

We can KNOW God, we can KNOW the power of His resurrection! We can KNOW how to answer every man that we deal with (Col. 4:6) and we are to KNOW those that labor over us, such as pastors and teachers (1 Thess. 5:12) and that are “over us in the Lord” (that is, have authority over us.) Therefore, don’t confess, “I don’t KNOW what church I am to attend!” Rather, confess, “The scripture says that I am to KNOW those that have authority over me, therefore I KNOW what pastor and church I am to join, support, and submit to!”

1 John 2:3 “And hereby we do KNOW that we KNOW him, if we keep his commandments.” (Emphasis mine.)

So, we “KNOW that we KNOW Him,” if we keep His commandments! If we KNOW His Word, and if we keep His Word, then we can KNOW that we KNOW!

1 John 2:5 “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby KNOW we that we are in him.” (Emphasis mine.)

We can KNOW that we are in Him…but notice the key: “Keep His Word! Let the Love of God be perfected in you!”

1 John 3:14 “We KNOW that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.” (Emphasis mine.)

We KNOW we have passed from death unto life…not guess, not hope, but KNOW!

Now, here’s the bottom line scripture:

1 John 4:6 “We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby KNOW we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” (Emphasis mine.)

It is possible, and in fact, the norm, for us, as children of God, is to KNOW the Spirit of Truth and the spirit of error. To KNOW the difference between them. To hear God’s Voice, but discern the devil’s voice. To KNOW what is right and what is wrong. Yes, we can and do KNOW! So, don’t let anyone tell you that the things of the spirit are “wishy washy,” uncertain, or unknowable. In fact, we CAN and DO KNOW the things that pertain to the Spirit! We CAN and DO KNOW right and wrong, and we do KNOW the things of God, and can, in confidence proclaim them!

Once Saved, Are We Always Saved?

Dr. Bill BaileyCan I lose my salvation? Is the doctrine of “once saved always saved” true? Every young Christian has had that twinge of questioning, “Did I ‘blow it’ with God? Am I STILL saved?” Salvation is such a precious gift, and, truth be known, we, as fallible humans DON’T “deserve” such an amazing gift! To realize that is to just be honest with ourselves once we know the awesomeness and wonder of a truly Holy God! And, of course, the amazing LACK of holiness we have as mere humans. Thank God, our righteousness is not in ourselves, it is Jesus’ righteousness that we stand in! (2 Cor. 5:21) However, it is no wonder that young Christians are perplexed by these concerns! The bottom line is this: no, we DON’T deserve what God has provided to us through His Son, Jesus! But, thank God, we don’t go by what we deserve, we go by His Word! God’s Word tells us that it was God’s own decision to send His Son to redeem us, and that salvation is a free gift that He gives to us… all we need do is receive that gift. He evens gives us the faith as a gift to receive Him by hearing the Word preached to us:

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

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

We hear the Gospel preached, faith comes (from God as a gift to us) and we accept His Son as our Lord and Savior.

Rom 10:9, 10 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

This word “saved” is “soteria” in the Greek, and means “saved, delivered, healed, protected and made whole spirit, soul, body, financially and socially!” Salavation is powerful and all encompassing! We are “saved to the uttermost!”

Heb 7:25 “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”

The Greek word translated “uttermost” here is “panteles” which literally means “full ended, that is, entire!” So we have a powerful, God given salvation, that He has provided the means to receive that salvation. So, back to our question, is this salvation powerful enough to “stick?” That is, can we lose our salvation easily, can it just “slide away?” I would say no, we can’t lose it easily, or it wouldn’t be all encompassing, powerful and “full ended,” however, choosing to receive salvation is just that, a choice. Can someone or something “rip away” our salvation? No! Check this scripture out:

Rom 8:35 – 39 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Who can separate us from the Love of God? (And, God IS Love according to 1 John 4:8) So, we could say it this way… who can separate us from God? No outside power can! No force… “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” No creature… certainly not satan! No one outside of us can separate us from God. BUT, we CAN separate ourselves from God. It is still our decision. We decided to love Him, and follow Him, and we COULD decide to leave Him, and forsake Him. It would be the most mind bogglingly stupid decision we could make, but we could. Now, would we? Could we, really do that? Again, what does the Bible have to say?

Heb 6:4 – 6 “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.”

This passage would seem to indicate that one COULD make this decision, and that once having done so, one could NEVER come again to repentance. That would be it, “send your saddle home, you are done.” But, before you get too excited… let’s look at the whole passage, in context!

Heb 6:1 – 9 “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.”

Notice what He says, (paraphrasing) “Let us as believers leave behind the first principles of the basic teachings we have all already learned, which are: the doctrine of repentance, all the teaching concerning faith and how it works, the doctrines involving all the types of baptisms (into the Body of Christ, water baptism, the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, baptism by fire, etc.), all the teachings concerning what occurs when we lay hands on people (in ordination, laying on of hands for healing, ordination, etc.,) and all the teachings surrounding the resurrection of the dead, eternal judgment, the end times, etc. Let’s leave ALL THAT aside since it is basic teaching and proceed to “advanced teaching.” Think about it folks! What else is there that is not covered in that list that “typical” church folks are hearing? Is ANYONE teaching anything beyond the “first principles?” Even Paul, (yes, I believe Paul wrote the Book of Hebrews) says here that “this we do…” meaning leaving behind these first principles to proceed to advanced teaching… “IF GOD PERMIT.” Am I just “making this up?” Let’s look at this verse from the Amplified Bible:

Heb 6:1 “THEREFORE LET us go on and get past the elementary stage in the teachings and doctrine of Christ (the Messiah), advancing steadily toward the completeness and perfection that belong to spiritual maturity. Let us not again be laying the foundation of repentance and abandonment of dead works (dead formalism) and of the faith [by which you turned] to God, With teachings about purifying, the laying on of hands, the resurrection from the dead, and eternal judgment and punishment. [These are all matters of which you should have been fully aware long, long ago.] If indeed God permits, we will [now] proceed [to advanced teaching].”

“If indeed God permits, we will now proceed to advanced teaching.” So, most of what we know, are the first principles, NOT advanced teaching. Why is this important? Well, notice what the next verse says in the Amplified:

Heb 6:4 – 6 “For it is impossible [to restore and bring again to repentance] those who have been once for all enlightened, who have consciously tasted the heavenly gift and have become sharers of the Holy Spirit, And have felt how good the Word of God is and the mighty powers of the age and world to come, If they then deviate from the faith and turn away from their allegiance–[it is impossible] to bring them back to repentance, for (because, while, as long as) they nail upon the cross the Son of God afresh [as far as they are concerned] and are holding [Him] up to contempt and shame and public disgrace.”

The bottom line is… one who is not a babe in Christ, one who is mature, one who has left the basic teachings of Christ and has proceeded on to advanced teaching, one who has “tasted the heavenly gift, and become sharers in the Holy Spirit;” they have “have felt how good the Word of God is and the mighty powers of the age and world to come.” basically, they have operated proficiently in the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, they are personally led by the Spirit… if THEY THEN “turn away their allegiance” and reject God at this level… then it is impossible for them to come back. But it is not something done when they are not in their right mind, nor when they are deceived, it is when they make a clear, conscious, choice to reject their salvation, by decision, on purpose… clear of mind and fully knowing what it means to do so. These can not return!

Have any done so? I would say, yes, or God wouldn’t have mentioned it in His Word. Does it happen often? No! I do not believe so. No, God’s salvation is not “wishy-washy,” or that easy to reject and “throw off.” We are not talking about something a young Christian could do… remember, it is only possible for one who is mature in the faith, who understands all the ramifications in doing this.

But, the bottom line is, if God provides freedom of choice to receive, He must also provide freedom of choice to reject. That is tough… but it is true.

So, back to our young Christian asking this question… “Did I “blow it?” I had a mentor as a young Christian that gave me this answer to that question: “Do you still care if you are saved?” “Of course,” I said, “Yes; that is why I am asking!” “Then,” he said, “you ARE still saved, because if you understood all the things in that list (after showing me the scriptures I have shown you) and if you had experienced all the powers of the world to come, and had rejected God by decision… you wouldn’t care about the things of God… you wouldn’t ‘wonder,’ you would KNOW that you were no longer saved.” Wow. The wisdom of that, the simplicity of it, it just “seemeth right unto me.” So, do YOU still care? Then, the Holy Spirit is still in there, dealing with you! You are a child of God! Now, as Brother Kenneth Copeland says, “Don’t run away from God when you sin, run TO Him!” Repeat, and confess your sin, as the Word of God says:

1 John 1:9 – 10 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness! Our close fellowship with Him can be restored! You have not “fallen from grace!” G-R-A-C-E is “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense!” We have Grace, we have Favor with God… we are saved to the uttermost!!!