Christian Directional Mind-Set
But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 3:13, 14)
Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection [lit. completeness, maturity]. . . .
The directional mind-set that every Christian should embrace, employ and support is clearly articulated by Jesus Christ in the 9th chapter of Luke and the apostle Paul in the 3rd chapter of Philippians, as noted above. One’s mind-set is that which reflects attitude, disposition, intention and inclination – the path to which one is committed to travel throughout life.
It has been this writer’s experience that progress and improvement in one’s life can only be when one looks forward in life, not forgetting the past or any previously valid lessons, but certainly not allowing memories to encumber one’s constructive growth. This is why this writer has always and firmly believed, and has said many times to others, that all that really matters, all that really can be altered for the good, are the present and that which follows. It simply profits no one to “hang-on” to the past.
In the spiritual realm this is particularly true, especially as it relates to the basis for one’s thoughts then actions. Prior to believing in Jesus Christ, a decisive action of the will creating the “birth [life] from above” in one’s spirit, which is instantly secured by the Holy Spirit’s permanent “indwelling” (John 14:17; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 John 2:27), “sealing” – the believer’s “guarantee for redemption” (Ephesians 1:13, 14; 4:30; 2 Corinthians 1:22), and “immersion (baptism) into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12, 13; Galatians 3:27, 28),” an individual could only function in the “flesh” (i.e., a condition influenced by the “god [Satan] of this age” [2 Corinthians 4:4]).
Subsequent to one’s “birth from above” a person has a choice, to live in the past, allowing the “flesh” to have dominion over one’s life, or to forge ahead, allowing the Spirit of God to influence and empower (Ephesians 5:18) one’s thoughts and actions, a process, a spiritual goal that may only be achieved as one absorbs and allows the “Word of Christ” to “dwell” (take root and live) within one’s mind and heart (compare Ephesians 5:18-20 with its companion passage Colossians 3:16).
To follow this path of spiritual maturity would be in stark contrast to the spiritual condition of the believers with whom the apostle Paul came in contact when he visited the “church (assembly, local body of believers) of God . . . at Corinth” (1 Corinthians 1:1, 2), as seen in Paul’s words:
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal [fleshly], as to babes [immature persons] in Christ. I fed you with milk [basics of the Word] and not with solid food [the meat of the Word]; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?
(1 Corinthians 3:1-3; cf. 14:20; Ephesians 4:14)
Sadly, this is also the condition of most of the local churches within Christendom today. This deteriorating condition was forecast by Christ as He sat in a boat speaking to “great multitudes” who had gathered “by the sea” along with His disciples, as seen in the 13th chapter of the book of Matthew. And although this writer is most certainly no model of one who has achieved complete spiritual maturity, for the path toward this end for him has been long and continues on, even he understands the apparent evidence of mediocracy of spirituality within Christendom as it is seen on every hand throughout Christendom today. Instead of concerted efforts to feed the children of God with the Word of God, the vast numbers of local church ministers, so-called “Christian” television programs, and other “Christian” efforts through the broad tentacles of social media mostly center on messages around shallow platitudes, emotional appeal, and financial gain.
As to the proper definitive form of spiritual care by ministers and ministries for Christians, Scripture reveals the following:
So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend [Gk. poimaino – shepherd – to feed and care for) My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.”
Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd [feed and care for] the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. (Acts 20:28)
And He [Christ] Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastor-teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect [mature] man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting. (Ephesians 4:11-14)
Shepherd [feed and care for] the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.
(1 Peter 5:2-4)
To put it succinctly, it is rare to find any minister or organization today that will faithfully and concertedly bring a young (immature) Christian to a state of spiritual maturity through the judicious presentation (feeding, teaching) of the “meat” [solid food] of God’s Word. This being the case, most Christians have little foundation and encouragement to adopt the correct directional mind-set as has been stated by Jesus Christ and the apostle Paul in the passages of Scripture seen in the beginning of this article. Rather, most only take the “easy road” of carnality (fleshly desire), instead of the “noble road” of “forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, [and pressing] toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Sadly, most find themselves to be as those to whom the apostle Paul addressed in 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 (previously quoted), as well as to those whom the writer of the book of Hebrews addressed:
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
For the reader to properly understand the framework elaborated in Scripture designed to advance a believer in Christ from a spiritual state of immaturity to one of maturity, he needs to first understand the composition of man, i.e., his physical and spiritual make-up designed by God at the time of man’s creation when earth was renovated from its previously fallen state as seen in the early chapters of the book of Genesis.
(The opening two chapters in the book of Genesis, contrary to what is taught throughout most of Christendom, do not record the creation of the earth and the surrounding Universe. They actually record the restoration of a prior ruined creation. Should the reader wish to meticulously explore this truth, it is suggested that he read Chapter 2 of the book, The Study of Scripture, by Arlen L. Chitwood, which may be found by activating the following link: http://bibleone.net/SS.htm.)
Man was created in the “image” and “likeness” of God (Genesis 1:26, 27). God reveals Himself throughout Scripture as a tripartite Being, One who reveals and expresses Himself in and through three distinct Personalities – the Father, the Son (Jesus the Christ), and the Holy Spirit. God is One in essence (nature), yet three distinct Persons, in revelation and in the performance of His will.
(Should the reader wish to read a more detailed account of the concept of the Trinity as it is supported in Scripture, it is suggested that he read the study “The Trinity” by activating the following link: http://bibleone.net/print_tbs10.html.)
Man, created in the “image” and “likeness” of God, is also a triune person, composed of a “spirit,” a “soul,” and a “body.”
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Thessalonians 5:23)
For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow [body], and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
For lack of a better explanation, the “spirit” is that part of man that enables a spiritual link with God, the “body” is that part of man that is physically linked with material surroundings, and the “soul” is that part of man encompassing his reasoning and communicative abilities that enables man to apprehend (comprehend) spiritual truths, which will allow him to mature spiritually and will culminate in his reign with Christ in the coming Messianic Era.
(The reader should understand that the writer’s supposition of the “soul” is most likely deficient, but it is based on the fact that Scripture definitely and specifically speaks to Christians about “soul salvation” [James 1:21; Hebrews 10:39; 1 Peter 1:9], which, although is not linked with a person’s eternal salvation, it is determined at the Judgment Seat of Christ [1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10, 11] and when successfully achieved is realized by the whole person being able to reign with Christ during the Messianic Era [2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 20:4].)
In addition to man being tripartite in composition, he was also given self-will, the ability to self-determine and choose between different courses of action, which was also typical of the “image” and “likeness” of God. This being the case, the “image” and “likeness” of God in man encompassed both a tripartite and self-determining reality.
After God created man, both male (Genesis 1:26, 27) and female (Genesis 2:21-23), a choice was made to violate God’s will, His specific instructions, which resulted in:
1) Man’s death – the instantaneous death of his “spirit” (his connection with God), which then left his “soul” in “total darkness” (i.e., without any spiritual influence), along with the progressive (through time) death of his body (Genesis 2:17).
2) The deterioration of the earth (Genesis 3:1-19).
The beginning of the Christian journey for any person is anchored solely in Jesus Christ and His work alone, which may be accessed solely by one’s willful act of faith in Christ and what Christ alone has done, i.e., accomplished on the cross of Calvary on behalf of the entire human race. Only through Christ’s propitiatory sacrifice is it possible for persons to be “alive who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1; Colossians 2:13).
But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood [i.e., His death], through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:21-26)
Therefore, in all things He [Jesus Christ] had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. (Hebrews 2:17)
And He [Jesus Christ] Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. (1 John 2:2)
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)
The word propitiation, as seen in Romans 3:25 above, speaks of Christ’s expiatory (atoning) death (i.e., His spiritual separation from God the Father during a three hour period on the cross of Calvary [Matthew 27:45, 46; Mark 15:33, 34] and which was “finished” [lit. “totally completed”] on the cross [John 19:30]) for the redemption of mankind, a death which totally satisfied God and His judgment toward sin. It is by and through the death (a circumstance represented by the “shedding of blood” [Leviticus 17:11; Hebrews 9:22; Ephesians 1:7; Matthew 26:28; Acts 20:28]) of Christ that God demonstrates the mercy of His justifying grace to the sinner who believes – “faith” being the sole condition on man’s part (Acts 16:30, 31; Ephesians 2:8, 9).
Upon a person’s willful act of faith in Christ, the following is true, expressed by Arlen L. Chitwood in the appendix (“Salvation – Spirit, Soul”) in his book, Salvation by Grace through Faith:
It is at this point in man’s salvation that the spirit is separated from the soul. The “spirit” in unsaved man is dead. It is a part of the totally depraved man, with his “body of…death,” in which there dwells “no good thing” (Romans 7:18, 24). With the movement of the Spirit, using the God-breathed Word, man’s spirit is made alive and, at the same time, separated from his soul.
The “soul” remains within the sphere of darkness, which is why “the natural [Greek: psuchikos, ‘soulical’] man” cannot understand “the things of the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:14). That which remains in the sphere of darkness can have no apprehension or comprehension of that which has shined out of darkness. There is a God-established division between the two that cannot be crossed over (cf. Luke 16:26).
(Note that the preceding forms a foundational part of the reason why Christ becoming one’s Lord [cf. Luke 6:46] cannot be an integral part of salvation by grace.)
Once a person has been “born from above” by the Spirit of God, resulting from an act of faith in Jesus Christ, he is then faced with the responsibility to take an “upward” spiritual journey. The journey, if taken, will transport him from an “immature” person (“babe”) to a “mature” person in Christ. But just as he had the God-given ability to either choose or reject Christ from the very beginning, as a Christian he also has the God-given ability to either spiritually forge ahead or remain in a carnal (fleshly) spiritual state. If he selects to go ahead, utilizing the same principle of faith, receiving assistance (power) from the Spirit of God, he will consistently absorb the ever-deepening truths of God’s Word, which will insure mature spiritual growth resulting in the salvation of his soul and his participation with Jesus Christ during the coming Messianic kingdom.
The remainder of this section will be taken from Chitwood’s book mentioned above, but dealing with that which is subsequent to a person’s “birth from above” by and through “faith in Christ” – the salvation of the soul. The book, which compares man’s spiritual birth and subsequent journey to God’s restoration of a prior ruined creation (the earth), may be reviewed in its entirety by activating the following link: http://bibleone.net/SGF.htm.
The preceding process is the manner that God uses to deliver the spirit from its fallen state, resulting from Adam’s sin. And because the spirit has been delivered, there can once again be communion with God. Man can now comprehend spiritual things, and there can now be a progressive, continued work by the Spirit of God within man so that he can ultimately be delivered to the place that God has decreed that he occupy at the end of six days, at the end of six thousand years.
Within the framework of the type in Genesis chapter one, this is the very first thing that is foreshadowed. This had to be set forth first, for man has to first be made alive — he has to first pass “from death to life” — before anything else in the restorative process can occur.
Thus, this is foreshadowed at the very beginning of the six days that God, in accordance with the established pattern, would use to bring about man’s complete restoration — spirit, soul, and body (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:23).
To briefly illustrate how God’s complete restoration of man is patterned after God’s complete restoration of the material creation in Genesis chapter one, note three things:
1) Where the complete restorative process began (on day one, as previously mentioned).
2) That which occurred on each succeeding day (two through six).
3) Where the whole of the restorative process was leading (the seventh day, the Sabbath, a day of rest following six days of work).
Within the type-antitype framework — pertaining to man’s salvation in the antitype — that which occurred in the type on day one pertains to the salvation of man’s spirit, and that which occurred in the type on days two through six pertains to the salvation of man’s soul, with the entirety of that which is revealed leading to the seventh day.
The salvation of the spirit is an instantaneous event where one passes “from death to life,” but not so with the salvation of the soul. It is a progressive event. It is an event that begins at the point one is made alive spiritually, and it will not be completed and realized until the end of that which is foreshadowed by the six days of restorative work — 6,000 years of restorative work.
(The issues of the judgment seat of Christ at the end of the present dispensation – which will occur at the end of the six days, at the end of the 6,000 years – will have to do with issues surrounding the salvation [or loss] of the soul/life. It will be at the judgment seat – not before – that man will realize [or fail to realize] the salvation of his soul/life.
Note that issues of the judgment seat can have nothing whatsoever to do with man’s presently possessed eternal salvation, which has to do with his spirit. It is only on the basis of man’s presently possessed eternal salvation that he can be dealt with in relation to fruit bearing [having to do with his soul/life], both during present time and at the judgment seat. And the findings and determinations of the judgment seat, in this respect, will have to do with the salvation or loss of his soul/life, which, in turn, will determine his place and position in the coming kingdom of Christ.)
Since the salvation of the spirit cannot occur apart from an exact duplication in the antitype of that which occurred in the type during day one of the restoration in Genesis, it should be evident that the salvation of the soul and its relationship to that which occurred on days two through six must be looked upon the same way. The latter must follow the pattern to the same degree as the former. There can be no difference in this respect.
And since this is the case, note what occurred on days two through six in the restoration of the ruined material creation in Genesis. Then, to see the overall picture of that which must be done to bring about the salvation of redeemed man’s soul, these same events can be viewed in relation to God’s present continuing restoration of man, a subsequent ruined creation.
Events on days two and three (as events on the first day) have to do with divisions. On the second day God established a division between the waters (vv. 6-8), and on the third day He established a division between the dry land (with its vegetation) and the waters (vv. 9-13).
Then events on days four through six belong together as another unit, depicting things beyond the divisions previously established. On the fourth day God placed lights in the heavens to give light upon the earth (vv. 14-19), on the fifth day He created birds that could soar above the earth and marine life that could move throughout the depths of the sea (vv. 20-23), and on the sixth day He created the land animals, which included great creatures capable of roaming the earth (vv. 24, 25).
And, as previously noted, the entirety of God’s restorative work relative to the material creation in Genesis foreshadows the whole of God’s restorative work relative to man today. After man has “passed from death to life,” wherein the spirit is separated from the soul – wrought entirely through divine intervention – redeemed man finds himself in a position and condition where a continued divine work not only can occur but must occur if he is to realize the salvation of his soul. And only through this continued divine work can the whole of God’s restorative work, as it pertains to man, be realized.
(Man, as the material creation, must be completely passive in relation to the salvation of the spirit [he is dead, rendering him incapable of acting]; and man, as the material creation [“And the earth brought forth . . . .”] must be active in relation to the salvation of the soul [he now has spiritual life, allowing him to act in the spiritual realm]. But, as in the restoration of the material creation, the entire salvation process [spirit and soul, and ultimately the body] is a divine work. “Salvation is of the Lord” [Jonah 2:9].
For more information on the preceding, refer to the author’s book, The Time of the End, Appendix 3, “Faith and Works.”)
Events occurring during the first three days in Genesis chapter one would point to elementary things or the basics in one’s spiritual life and growth. Events occurring during day one would point to a division between the soul and the spirit, having to do with the impartation of life.
Then events occurring during days two and three would point to divisions and distinctions as one begins to progressively grow within the framework of the new life brought into existence on the first day. One would learn to distinguish between the soulical and spiritual, spiritual and carnal (fleshly), Jew, Gentile, and Christian, the dispensations, etc.
Only when one learns the divisions and distinctions depicted by that which was brought to pass on days two and three is he in a position to move on into the things depicted by that which was brought to pass on days four through six. On these three days, light was restored to the sun and moon (day four, vv. 14-19); sea life and the birds of the air were created (day five, vv. 20-23); and then God created all the living creatures that roam the earth, followed by His creation of man (day six, vv. 24-27).
That which is depicted by the work of the Triune Godhead during these three days points to things beyond elementary truths in the antitype. After one has passed “from death to life” and has been instructed in the elementary truths (days one through three – after he has grown to a degree in his Christian life – he can then begin to view with understanding deeper spiritual truths of the Word. He can then begin to view with understanding those things in the Word depicted by events on days four through six of Genesis chapter one.
An individual in this position can begin to sink deep shafts down into the Word and mine its treasures. He can look into the Word and understand that which is depicted by the lights in the heavens. He can, in the true sense of the Word, “mount up with wings as eagles . . . run, and not be weary . . . walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31), as he scales the heights; or he can scale the depths of the Word, as the sea creatures plunge to the depths of the sea; or he can roam through the Word, as the land creatures roam the earth.
Christian maturity and spiritual victory – bringing to pass the salvation of the soul – go hand-in-hand. And the entire process of God’s restoration work throughout the six days is with a view to that which lies beyond, on the seventh day. It is with a view to the Sabbath rest awaiting the people of God.
The Prize, the Hope
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13, 14)
Make no mistake, there is a “prize” reserved for Christians who select to adopt and continue in the proper directional mind-set, to look not to the past but to that which is “ahead” as they “press toward the goal” [from “immaturity” to “maturity”] set before them. The human author of the book of Hebrews likened the pursuit for this “goal” to a “race.”
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1, 2)
The apostle Paul, realizing that his time on earth was drawing to a close, who had remained faithful in his press “toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus,” who had “finished the race [and] kept the faith” resulting in the salvation of his soul, defined (but not totally) the prize he had been pursuing.
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. (2 Timothy 4:6-8)
Paul was prepared to face Christ at His judgment seat and to receive the verdict of the quality of his Christian life on earth, which could be positive, resulting in definite “reward,” or negative, resulting in definite “loss.”
For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
(1 Corinthians 3:11-15; cf. 2 Corinthians 5:9-11, Romans 14:10-12; Colossians 3:25)
And as a Christian, you may be assured that you too will face “the righteous Judge [Christ] . . . on that Day [of Judgment], which although will not affect in any way your eternal salvation (of the spirit), will most surely reveal what you will either gain (salvation of your soul) or lose due to your Christian life upon this earth.
The prize to which you are challenged to earn (yes, I said “earn”) is also defined as “the hope” to which all Christians should and must aspire, the salvation of their souls. The remainder of this study will be a brief dissertation by Arlen L. Chitwood regarding “the hope” – taken from the second appendix to his book, Salvation of the Soul, a book strongly recommended to the reader, which may be obtained by activating the following link: http://bibleone.net/SOS.htm.
According to 1 Peter 3:15, Christians are to “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” This is called, in introductory verses to the book, “a living hope”; and it is made possible through “the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1:3). Christ lives, and those “in Christ” are being called to live, beyond resurrection, in glory with Him.
Hope in 1 Peter is associated with “an inheritance” (1:4), a future “salvation” (1:5 [“the salvation of your souls”; v. 9]), and “honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1:7; cf. 4:12, 13).
When Christ appears, Christians will appear with Him in glory; and it is different facets of this entire matter – ruling as co-heirs with Christ, realizing the salvation of their souls – concerning which Christians are exhorted to always be ready to provide a response to anyone who asks “a reason of the hope” that lies within.
In Hebrews 6:11, 12, the “hope” to be held by Christians is laid out in a very simple fashion: that “through faith and patience [present]” they would be able to “inherit the promises [future].”
Exercising “faith” is simply believing that which God has to say about a matter, resulting in the person who exercises faith acting accordingly. Hebrews chapter eleven is the great chapter on faith, toward which everything in the preceding part of the book builds: “By faith Abel . . . By faith Enoch . . . By faith Noah . . . By faith Abraham . . . .”
Then Hebrews chapter twelve, immediately following, forms the capstone to the whole matter. The fifth and last of the five major warnings comes into view – a direct reference to the rights of the firstborn (all the warnings have to do with these rights, though viewed from different facets of the overall subject) – and Christians are exhorted to run the race set before them after such a fashion that they will one day be accorded the privilege of realizing these rights.
Exercising “patience [lit., ‘patient endurance’]” has to do with the manner in which one runs the race (cf. 12:1). This is a race of the faith (1 Timothy 6:12; Jude 3), to be run continuously for the entire duration of the Christian life. This is a race over the long haul – not one for sprinters, but one for marathon runners (though the runners may be called upon, at times, to sprint in the race). And Christians are to properly pace themselves so that they will be able to victoriously complete the race.
The “inheritance,” which is out ahead is the object of a Christians’ hope; and one day realizing that which God has promised is, within the text, to be wrought by and through patient endurance in the race of the faith. Both “faith” and “patient endurance” are inseparably linked after this fashion with the subject at hand – inheriting the promises.
Hebrews 10:23-25 presents a companion thought. In verse twenty-three, Christians are told, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering.” And the whole idea, contextually, behind Christians assembling together today (v. 25) is to “consider one another” and “to stir up [one another to] love and to good works,” with this hope in view.
Christians are to assemble together to discuss that which lies out ahead, pray for one another, and exhort one another; and they are to do this “so much the more,” as they “see the Day approaching [that coming day when their hope will be realized]” (vv. 24, 25).
This is that “blessed hope” in Titus 2:13, which is to be a purifying hope. And Christians are exhorted to “live soberly, righteously, and godly, in the present age,” with a view to one day realizing this hope (v. 12).
(That “blessed hope” is not Christ’s return per se [particularly not His return for Christians at the end of this present dispensation, as is often taught]. Rather, that “blessed hope” has to do with the “glorious appearing [lit., the ‘appearing of the glory’] of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” [v. 13], a glory that will not be revealed until Christ returns at the end of the Tribulation.
The construction of the Greek text would necessitate the previous understanding of the verse. In the Greek text, the “appearing of the glory” is a further explanation and description of that “blessed hope”; also in the Greek text, in the latter part of the verse, the construction of two other parts of the verse is the same: “Savior Jesus Christ” is a further explanation and description of “our great God.”
With this in mind, the verse could be better translated as follows:
Awaiting that blessed hope, which is the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior who is Jesus Christ.
And this “hope” surrounds the thought of Christians having a part in Christ’s glory at this time — a central teaching of the book of Titus.)
With Confidence and Rejoicing
Christians are to hold fast the hope set before them after a revealed twofold fashion – with confidence and rejoicing (Hebrews 3:6). The word “confidence” is a translation of the Greek word, parresia, meaning “to be bold, courageous, open, or plain” about a matter; and the word “rejoicing” is the translation of the Greek word, kauchema, meaning “to take pride in something,” resulting in the person having “something to boast about.”
Parresia is used a number of times in the New Testament in the sense of being “open” or “plain” about matters, with nothing being hidden. Jesus spoke openly and plainly to His disciples and the people of Israel (Mark 8:32; John 16:29; 18:20), though, because of the nation’s rejection of Him, the day came when He “no longer walked openly among the Jews” (John 11:54). And it was because of this same rejection that Jesus had previously begun to teach through the use of parables (Matthew 13:10-15).
Parresia is also used in the New Testament a number of times in the sense of being “bold” or “courageous” about matters. Peter and John, standing before Annas the high priest, and others, exhibited “boldness” as Peter spoke; and those hearing Peter “marveled,” recognizing that both men exhibited these qualities because “they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:5-13; cf. v. 31).
Then Paul, at the end of his epistle to the Ephesians, requested prayer on his behalf: “that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:19).
(Note that the thought of “openness” or “plainness” would also have to be included within the idea conveyed by “boldness” in the preceding passages [cf. 2 Corinthians 3:12; 7:4; see also Philippians 1:20; 1 Timothy 3:13; Hebrews 4:16].)
Then the word kauchema (translated “rejoicing”), or the verb form of this word (kauchaomai), is also used a number of times in the New Testament. The word is translated three different ways in Scripture (KJV) –“boast,” “glory [used in the sense of ‘boast’ or ‘pride’],” and “rejoice” (cf. Romans 2:23; 4:2; 5:2; 2 Corinthians 1:14; 5:12; 9:3).
The thought of “rejoicing” (as in Hebrews 3:6; cf. Philippians 1:26; 2:16), rather than being derived from the meaning of kauchema, appears to be derived more from the result of what this word means. That is, kauchema means “to take pride in something,” resulting in the person having “something to boast about”; and “rejoicing” would emanate out of the person being placed in this position.
Firm unto the End
When a Christian is told to be “ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you,” he is to be open about the matter, he is to exhibit plainness of speech, he is to be bold and courageous as he expresses himself, and he is to take pride in the matter, for he has something to boast about.
He has been extended an invitation to ascend the throne with “the King of kings and Lord of lords” to rule as co-heir with Him in His kingdom. He possesses the hope of having a part in what Scripture calls, “so great a salvation” (Hebrews 2:3), which is the greatest thing God has ever designed for redeemed man.
And this is what Christians are to be open and plain about. They are to tell it exactly as it is, regardless of what others may say or think. And they are to be bold and courageous as they tell it as it is, knowing that they have something of incalculable value, something they can boast about (cf. Matthew 10:32, 33; 2 Timothy 2:10-13).
Christians have been saved for a revealed purpose, which has to do with future regality, as co-heirs with Christ in the kingdom.
Christians are to set their course straight and hold it there, not deviating; and they are to hold their course, after this fashion, “firm to the end” (Hebrews 3:6), allowing them to one day realize that which Scripture refers to as “so great a salvation,” the salvation of their soul.