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Jeff Wickham

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  1. For sure! Some topics would require a whole series to adequately cover them. But thankfully, the word comes "here a little, there a little." I try to zoom in on a sliver that will make sense, even standing alone, and trust that the Holy Spirit will eventually use it to help recreate the big picture for other people.
  2. You are welcome! And thank you for sharing your thoughts too. There are indeed many deep trains of thought in the Bible. So many ideas worth exploring.
  3. Jacob's dream about a ladder had two parts - the ladder itself, and God's promise about a seed. Both parts describe one another, and both parts are a prophecy about Jesus. Jesus was the ladder (John 1:50-51). Jesus was also the seed. Paul points out in Galatians 3:16 that this seed of Abraham (and Isaac and Jacob) was only one individual, namely, Christ. But the plot thickens. In Galatians 3:26-29 Paul reveals a startling insight: if we are united with Christ, then we are part of that one-and-only seed. Although the seed is singular, it is composed of many parts. Since the promised seed and Jacob's ladder both describe one another, this means that Jacob's ladder is also composed of many parts. The ladder represents Jesus, both head and body. This union of Christ and believers is the means by which God pours out His heavenly blessings on the world. How does union with Christ affect your efforts to bless the world?
  4. I believe that the story was literal. The reason is because of the fulfilled prophecies. If God is able to predict the future, which is a very difficult thing to do, it gives me confidence that His account of the past is also accurate. If you are interested, I shared a few of my thoughts on this topic in a recent YouTube vlog entitled "Is the Bible Reliable?". Adam and Eve ate fruit, but the real issue was that they chose their own way over God's way. This action opened a way of life that resulted in untold evil. I suppose in this sense, all the evil could be attributed back to that first act. But I think it is more accurate to view the way of life, continued through the years, as the real culprit. As far as mercy in the Garden of Eden, God told Adam and Eve that in the day they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would surely die. Yet they did not die. However, something did die, because God clothed them with skins, and then they were allowed to live on, at least for a time. This experience was a symbol of Jesus. Paul wrote, "All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ" (Gal. 3:27, NASB). When we are baptized, we are united with Christ, just as Adam and Eve were clothed with the animals in Eden which were sacrificed. And then He grants us eternal life, which is even better than Adam and Eve being allowed to live on for a time. And one might even say that Adam and Eve were symbolically united with the animals in Eden. After all, they sure looked like them after being clothed with their skins. Thus, in a symbolic sense, Adam and Eve did die on the day they ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Likewise, when we are united with Christ, His death counts for us because He considers us part of Himself. This union is so close that He considers our sins as His own, thus His death can justly pay for our guilt. As mentioned already, this union happens because of baptism. Baptism is a symbol of death and resurrection. In other words, believers respond to their sinful desires as a dead person would, and they respond to Christ's desires as very much alive. This way of life undoes the problematic lifestyle introduced by Adam and Eve, and restores people to a path that will result in eternal happiness.
  5. It comes down to the all-important attitude: out of the love in our hearts for God, we wholeheartedly seek to know and do His will, depending on Him for strength. In response to this faith, Christ works in us to will and to do according to His good pleasure. If this attitude is our way of life, we will continually be advancing in our victories over sin. I doubt we will ever get to the place where we run out of additional aspects of God's will to learn and apply. However, if we have the all-important attitude, we are safe to save. In a sense, that right attitude is perfection, for it leads to union with Christ. That union results in forgiveness of our past sins, and strength to do what is right going forward. If we have that attitude, Christ has free reign in our lives. And given time, He will perfect all believers who truly surrender to Him in this way.
  6. If there seems to be a contradiction between passages, it may be because we do not fully understand the topic. We need to allow all these texts that people have mentioned (and re-mentioned) to affect our concept of this topic. My current understanding is that once someone is united with Christ, they stay united until the judgment. No one is able to snatch them out of His hand. It is not a situation where people vascillate between a saved state and a lost state based on their latest successes or failures. Christ did not come to destroy men's lives, but save them, and for now, that is still the case. However, at the judgment when God carries out His strange act, Jesus will decide who has grown in union with Him, and who has neglected it. He will separate from His hand those who have not allowed His words to flourish in their lives. Jesus alluded to this progression in many parables and teachings about the kingdom of God. It is possible to be in the kingdom and then be rejected from it. The net brought in all sorts of fish, and then they sorted out the bad ones and threw them away. The wheat and tares grew together until the harvest when the tares were burned. The sheep and goats both thought they served God, but the goats were sent to destruction. The three servants were each given talents, but in the end, the one who did not allow it to grow was cast out. Digging even deeper, the Day of Atonement was symbolic of the judgment. All through the year the sins of the people were transferred to the tabernacle. On the Day of Atonement, not only were the sins transferred out of the temple, but whoever among the Israelites did not afflict his soul was to be cut off from among the congregation. Jesus' body is the true temple (see John 2:13-22), and our sins are transferred to Him when we are united with Him. He bears them in His body for a time, working zealously to cleanse His body from things that hinder fellowship with God. But He will not put up with sin forever. He will either separate the sin from the sinner, or at the judgment He will separate the sinner from Himself.
  7. The sin offering in the Old Testament sanctuary service symbolized the Lamb of God. The study in this video reveals that in the amazing reality to which the sin offering pointed, believers are to eat the Lamb of God. Much is said about the importance of Christ's blood releasing us from the guilt of our sins. In what ways does the concept of eating the Lamb of God clarify the purpose for Christ's shed blood?
  8. Thank you for the heads-up Willa. Learning as I go.
  9. Hi Everyone, I am just getting started here on Worthy Christian Forums. I am looking forward to participating in discussions with fellow members here. By trade I am a mechanical engineer in the medical device industry. My wife and I have been married for 20 years, and we have four lively children, and eight squawking parakeets. My passion is helping other people grow in their connection with Christ. The Bible centers on the grand theme of union with Him. In fact, I just started a YouTube channel called "Christ In Our Veins." The first video series is a study of this topic in the book of John. When I get new videos posted, I will try to let folks know here. They could serve as discussion starters.
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