A Study in the Book of Ephesians
Chapter One
What Does It Mean To Be Faithful?

By Stacy R. Wood, Jr.

It makes no difference who receives this Epistle the specifications are always the same. Paul intended the saints even the faithful in Christ Jesus to receive it. Anyone who wants can read this letter. The message contained within its pages is valuable to all who study it. However, to comprehend spiritually and to benefit from the depth of this epistle one must be a saint, even a faithful saint in Christ Jesus.

The English word "saint(s)" always comes from the Greek word "hagios." Vine's Expository Dictionary says, "hagios, fundamentally signifies separated, dedicated, and consecrated to God." In Hastings' Bible Dictionary, G. B. Stevens says, "It is evident that hagios and its kindred words . . . express something more and higher than sacred, worthy, honorable, pure, or free from defilement." "Hagios is . . . more comprehensive . . . it is characteristically God likeness."

"Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, to the saints which are in , and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ" (Eph. 1:1).What did Paul mean by addressing this letter to the faithful in Christ Jesus? It is quite evident one cannot obtain sainthood through human accomplishment. God provided the believer's holiness through the undefiled life of Jesus, the Lamb of God, who took away the sin of the world (1Co. 1:29-31; 2Co. 5:19, 21; Eph. 5:25-27). Further-more, God has chosen living stones and places each where it pleases Him. This is how He forms the temple for His own habitation (1Co. 12:18; 1Pe. 2:5; Eph. 2:20-22). Again, because He is a holy god, the temple in which He dwells is also holy.

The accomplishment of God is the foundation on which a saint stands. The exceedingly great and precious promises of God enable us to become sharers of the divine nature (2Pe. 1:4). However, let us look at another side to this matter that we must not neglect. That is, by the same promises that enable us to partake in the divine nature we must also depart from the corruption that is in the world through human desire. The fundamentals of the entire cosmos rest upon the lust of the eye, lust of the flesh and the pride of life (1Jo. 2:15-17).

This condition caused Paul to write to the church in Corinth saying, "Do not become joined with unbelievers; for what partnership has righteousness and lawlessness?" "What fellowship has light with darkness?" "What harmony has Christ with worthlessness?" "What have the faithful in common with the faithless?" "What agreement has the temple of god with idols?" "We are the temple of the living god!" God said, "I will dwell in them, and walk in them. I will be their God, and they will be My People." "Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,"says the Lord. "Do not touch what is unclean, and I will welcome you. "I will be a Father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to Me," says the Lord Almighty (2Co 6:16).

"Therefore having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness or sainthood in the fear of God" (2Co. 7:1).

What is meant by perfecting holiness in the fear of God! We are the temple of the living God and saints because of His presence. For God has promised He will dwell in us, and walk in us. He further promised to become our God and that we would become His people. However, there is a condition with the promise. The prerequisite is our need to become FAITHFUL IN CHRIST JESUS. By so doing we will bring our sainthood to mature fruition.

We must learn to obey the call to sanctify ourselves (1Th. 4:3-8). The call of God is to separate from all that corrupts or pollutes spirit and soul and body (1Th. 5:23). We can accomplish this by setting ourselves apart from faithlessness, lawlessness, sinfulness, and darkness. We also need to learn to separate ourselves from vain imaginations, carnal religious systems, and the world (1Co. 3:16-17; 2Co. 6:14-7:1). Furthermore, we must purge ourselves from every profane and vain babbling. If anyone cleanses himself from all these, he will be a vessel of honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, and prepared for every good work (2Ti. 2:14-21).

The characteristic of faithfulness is an outgrowth of walking in the experience of this separation.Moreover, faithfulness concerns maturing in our relationship with God. The presence of the Lord produces the state of being called sainthood. Nonetheless each saint must learn to live as a reliable, dependable follower of Christ Jesus.

The Greek word translated "faithful" in this passage is "pistos." Take notice that out of its sixty-six occurrences the scholars translated this word "faithful" fifty-three times in the King James Bible. The apostle Paul used the word "pistos" to describe the unique quality found in trustworthy, reliable, dependable people.

Popularity or wealth cannot buy faithful saints for they will always put character above fame, fortune and power. Their word becomes their bond. That is, their "yes" is "yes!" and their "no"is "no!" These make no compromise with wrong because they do not confine their ambitions to their own selfish desires. They do not hesitate to seize upon an opportunity, nor are they ashamed to stand for the truth when it is unpopular. They will not lose their individuality in a crowd and they will not say they do something just because everybody else does it. They stand true to their friends through a good report and evil report, in adversity and in prosperity. They do not believe shrewdness or cunning or hardheartedness is the best quality for winning success. Furthermore, they will be as honest in small issues as they are in great matters. The world needs faithful men and women in every occupation. The true saint will develop this characteristic of faithfulness until it becomes manifest within his life.

The godlike characteristic of faithfulness becomes manifest in those saints who carry out their deliverance with reverence. The accomplishment of this is of course through the recognition that it is God who works in us both to will and to achieve His purpose (Ph'l. 2:12-14; 2Co. 7:1). That is we qualify our own salvation by living our life through the character of Christ that is inherent within us. The Lord absolves us of all guilt and blame and teaches us to live life more abundantly through His accomplishment. This becomes possible when we let our natural thinking become fused with the mind of Christ that is intrinsic within our spirit (Joh. 14:20; 1Co. 2:16; Ph'l. 2:5-8).

"Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example of the faithful (in Christ Jesus); in word, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity" (1Ti. 4:12).

This instruction give a fivefold example of what it means to be faithful. An overwhelming need exists in the church for saints who set an example of what it means to become the faithful in Christ Jesus. Paul instructed Timothy saying, "Let no one despise your youth, but become an example of reliability." Here the Apostle sets forth five essential areas, in which the believer can show his dependability. The true character of the reliable saint should become evident in word, in behavior, in love, in persuasion, and in purity. These characteristics of faithfulness must become bona fide and indisputable examples in the lives of all those who want to experience the full advantage of being a saint. --Number One--

The Faithful Saint Must Show Himself Trustworthy in Word

Before all created things the "logos - word" existed. The "word" portrayed God, for the "word"was God. The same existed in the beginning with God. All things came into existence through Him; apart from the Word-God not even one thing came into existence. The Word of life already existed in God. The life was the light of humanity. The light shined forth in the darkness, and the darkness could not overpower the Word-God. Then the "word" became flesh and tabernacled among us abounding in the reality of grace" (Joh. 1:1-3, 14).

Consequently, the "Logos" or "Word" became a title of Jesus, the Son of God (Joh. 1:1-18; 1Jo. 1:1, 4; Rev. 19:13). The "Logos" became incarnate in Jesus revealing the fullness of God's thought, wisdom and motive. In Jesus the embodiment and complete formulation of the mind, and idea of God found expression. John says, "No one has seen God at any time, the uniquely begotten son, who is in the bosom of the Father, explained and demonstrated Him" (Joh. 1:18). Furthermore, the prophetic promises became personified in the flesh of Jesus Christ (Ge. 3:15, 2Ki. 7:12-16, Isa. 53:1-12, etc.). He became the embodiment of God, and the exemplification of the new humanity (Ro. 8:29-30; 1Co. 15:45-49; 1Ti. 3:16).

"Endeavor to present yourself to God qualified, an unashamed worker, handling correctly the logos - word of reality" (2Ti. 2:15).

What can one do to present himself without shame to God, as a qualified worker, correctly handling the word of reality? To this question we give a simple and candid answer. One mustr ecognize the objective of God's Word is to transform and purify the life of every believer.

God did not give His word to explain away mankind's polluted condition. He sent His Word to heal and deliver humanity from his own destruction's (Psa. 107:20). By so doing He also improves and advances our life into the likeness of Himself. God's Word will never return to Him empty, without accomplishing what He desires, and without succeeding in the matter for which He sends it (Isa. 55:10-13).

Moreover, to Accomplish the needed purification one must safeguard his life according to godly concepts! (Psa. 119:9). David said, "God's word have I treasured up in my heart that I might not sin against Him" (Psa. 119:11). Again he says "God's word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path" (Psa. 119:105). Valuing the word enough to walk in the illumination of it is necessary.

An older brother in the Lord said, "God has never been interested in "talkie-walkies," but in walkie-talkies." By this he meant that it is not mankind's ability to talk about what he thinks he knows that qualifies him before God. It is the Christ like walk, and not the talk, that sets a faithful saint apart from all else.

Learning Not to Quarrel Over the Word

Those who are trustworthy must also learn not to quarrel over words or teachings. Argumentativeness is of no value to anyone and often leads to the ruin of those who listen.Remember, the one who really knows and exemplifies the life of what he knows does not need to wrangle with those who do not. He can let the personified Word stand for itself because he knows the truth will always win in the end. Consider for a moment it is not what we think we know, but whom we know that saves us (2Ti. 2:23-26).

Learning to Avoid Profane and Vain Babbling

Those who are reliable should also avoid empty chatter. Many teachings in this hour fit this description. Every word of teaching that is not apropos to one's life takes away from the practical expression of the Christ life and is a meaningless babble. Remember. All true spirituality is lived out through practicality. If teaching is not applicable to the reality of life's experience, it becomes worthless, shallow rambling.

Faithfulness in word calls for us to cleanse ourselves from every insincere utterance. A former pastor of mine said, "Beware of any teaching which majors in the minors." This was a warning to look out for any word that emphasizes unessential matters. For this kind of teaching often serves to tread under foot that which is truly holy. Furthermore, those who indulge in such useless prattle become increasingly ungodly. This is because the truly sacred things become common place, rendering the life of the believer fruitless (2Ti. 2:14-21).

Learn to Guard the Mouth Against Idle & Frivolous Words

"Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit." "You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. Moreover, I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned" (M't. 12:33-37).

Someone once said, "The spoon always seems twice as large when you have to take a dose of your own medicine." In the light of Jesus' teaching in Matthew chapter twelve, we might paraphrase that truth. "Words that are just tiny molehills of idleness and frivolity here will loom as mountains of error when we face them in the judgment!" Not only the wicked utterances of the tongue will rise against us in that day, but for every foolish, idle word God will call us to give a strict account!

They have estimated that most people speak enough in one week to fill a large 500-page book. In the average lifetime this would amount to three-thousand volumes or 1,500,000 pages! It is a frightening thought that by these words we will either be "justified" or "condemned."

Moreover, among the saints there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality. Every kind of impurity, or greed, is improper for God's holy people. "Nor should there be OBSCENITY, FOOLISH TALK OR COARSE JOKING, which are out of place, but thanksgiving. For of this one can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person--such a man that is an idolater--has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God" (Eph. 5:3-5). Jesus said, "What goes into a man's mouth does not make him unclean, but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him unclean. Don't you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? However, the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man unclean. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man unclean" (M't 15:10-12, 15-20). Therefore, "he who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from trouble" (Pr. 21:23).

Learning to Guard the Commitment of the Mouth

"Now listen, you who say, `today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, `if it is the lord's will, we will live and do this or that'" (Jam. 4:13-15).

The faithful saint carefully considers each commitment he makes because "there is more hope for a fool than for a man that is hasty in his words" (Prov.. 29:20). He simply lets his "Yes" be "Yes," and his "No," be "No." (Mat. 5:36). He guards the commitment of His mouth and does not promise what he cannot keep. Remember, from the fruit of his lips a man enjoys good things, but the unfaithful have a craving for wrong. "He who guards his lips guards his soul, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin" (Prov. 13:2-3; 21:23).

Someone asked me, "Do you believe that a person can genuinely know someone else by their words?" Erich Sauer gives an illustration that answers this query in his book, "The King of The Earth." He wrote, "A young man who devoted himself to ideological and moral problems . . . had been hoping to be further stimulated by meeting Socrates. However contact with this intellectual giant so overawed him that he scarcely dared to open his mouth to speak or to ask a question. So they walked side by side for a while without conversation. Then Socrates suddenly broke the silence and said kindly but briefly to his young companion, 'speak, that I may see you.' In this short sentence lies the deep recognition of the connection between spirit and word. Speech is the instrument for the manifestation of the spirit."

Everyone stumbles in word sometime or another. Therefore, it is a good thing to muzzle the mouth and guard the tongue. For the one that is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep himself completely in check. "An evil man is trapped by his sinful talk, but a righteous man escapes trouble. From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him" (Prov. 12:13-14). Therefore, "let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise -- the fruit of lips that confess his name. Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased" (Heb. 13:15-16; Psa. 12:3; 25:21; 34:13; 37:30; 52:4; 66:17; 71:24; Prov. 5:3; 6:16-19; 8:13; 10:13, 19-20; 11:12; 12:6, 9, 18; 15:2, 4, 23, 26; 16:24, 27; 17:20, 28; 18:8, 20-21; 21:26; 22:11; 25:11, 23; 26:24-26, 28; 28:23; Ec. 5:3; 1Ti. 6:3; 2 Tim. 2:14, 16; Tit. 2:8; Eph. 5:6; Col. 2:4; Jam. 3:1-18; 1Pe. 3:10; 2Pe. 2:3, 18-19; 3Jo. 1:10).

--Number Two--

The Faithful Saint Must Show Himself Trustworthy in Conduct

"As obedient children, do not become conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance. Rather, like the Holy One who called you, you also are holy in all your behavior; because it is written, you will be holy, for I am holy" (1Pe. 1:15).

The faithful in Christ Jesus no longer conduct themselves as non-Christians do. For it is shameful even to speak of those things done in secret by unbelievers (Eph. 5:8-13). Nonbelievers walk in the futility of their own mind and the ignorance within themselves excludes them from the life of God (Eph. 4:17-18; Col. 1:21). Their hardened, callused heart turns them over to sensuality, for the practice of every kind of impure greed.

However, the trustworthy did not come to understand Christ in this way. The teaching they receive agrees with the reality made known in Jesus (Eph. 4:20-21). Regarding the reliable saints former manner of life, the instruction is to lay aside the old self, which became corrupted according to its own deceitful lusts. Moreover, they learn to become renewed in the attitude and spirit of their mind. They accomplish this by putting on the new creation self, through which one can live in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:23-24).

--Number Three--

The faithful Saint Must Show Himself Trustworthy in Love

"That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. Moreover, you being firmly planted and founded in love, may become fully capable of comprehending with all the saints what the breadth, and length, and depth, and height of love is. Even coming to know the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge, that you may become completed into the entire complement of God" (Eph. 3:17-19).

God set forth the first example of this profound love by giving the world the gift of His uniquely begotten Son. He proved His own love toward humanity, in that while we were still helpless, ungodly, sinners Christ died for us all. Moreover, Jesus authenticated God's love by dying for us while we were yet God's enemies (Ro. 5:6-11). Unquestionably God's love was not the consequence of any goodness or worthiness found within the human race.

The faithful saint finds the love of Christ baffling and becomes overwhelmed by its life transforming influence. "For the love of Christ constrains us, causing us to conclude, one died for all, therefore, all died." Jesus died for all humanity, so that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but they should live for him who died and rose again for them (2Co. 5:14-15).

This is the simplicity of the matter, "If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he lives in God." The reliable saint knows and depends on the love God has for humanity. He understands "God is love." Consequently, "Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him" (1Jo. 4:15-16).

As the trustworthy saints learn to continue faithfully in the character of the one who dwells in them love becomes perfected. Again we see the principle of the temple becoming one with the God who dwells within it. Therefore, since "God is love," it makes sense that in this world we also are love (1Jo. 4:8, 15-17).

Love contains no fear. Perfect love drives out fear, because fear relates to needless punishment. Needless torment does not make the one that fears perfect in love. We love because God first loves us. If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. Jesus gave us this command: whoever loves god must also love his brother (1Jo. 4:18-21).

"This is My commandment, that you love one another, exactly as I love you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friend" (Joh. 15:12-12).

The recognition of Love comes from the action it generates. Jesus said one cannot display greater love than laying down their life for a friend. Most saints feel secure when it comes to showing their faithfulness in love. For seldom does the opportunity present itself for "laying down one's life" for another. However, human knees are sure to begin knocking when one understands that Jesus was not referring to mere physical death. He did not make reference here to laying down the biological life.

The commandment of Jesus to love one another refers to the laying down of the "psyche" or self life. The Psyche life describes one's ego, individuality, personality, mind, will, emotions, and desires. Often laying down the physical life seems easier than laying down ones' self-image, self-regard, and self-esteem for a friend. However, if this is not difficult enough, the Lord takes it one step further by telling us perfect love will love its enemy as well. Jesus said, "You have heard that they said it, `Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' However, I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. HE CAUSES HIS SUN TO RISE ON THE EVIL AND THE GOOD, AND SENDS RAIN ON THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE UNRIGHTEOUS. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? If you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? BE PERFECT, THEREFORE, AS YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER IS PERFECT" (M't 5:43-48; Ro. 5:6-11; 12:9, 17-21).

The love that manifests faithfulness tolerantly endures remaining calm and always shows kindness. Love never becomes jealous or envious; nor does it brag or show itself arrogant. Love does not behave itself unbecomingly or indecently. It does not seek its own satisfaction. No one can provokes love. Furthermore, it never takes into account the wrong done to it. Love never rejoices in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the reality. Love bears, believes, anticipates and endures all things. Love absolutely never fails (1Co. 13:4-8).

--Number Four--

The Faithful Saint Must Show Himself Trustworthy in the Faith

"Now (Christ) reconciles you . . . to present you holy and flawless and unimpeachable in (God's) sight, SINCE SURELY YOU ARE PERSISTING IN THE FAITH, FIRMLY FOUNDED AND DEPENDABLE. Furthermore, you are not being removed from the expectation of the evangel which you heard" (Col. 1:21-23).

The Greek noun "pistis," translated faith in this verse, is a living principle. God Divinely implants this principle into the life of the saints. Moreover, faith is a firm persuasion, belief, or conviction, based on what a person hears. The Biblical usage of this word shows it always speaks of faith in God, in Christ or spiritual matters and not in humanity. Faith is the conviction of what one looks forward to with expectation and the assurance of unseen things. Without faith pleasing God is impossible. This is because everyone who comes to God must first become firmly persuaded of His existence. Then they must become fully convinced that He is the Rewarder of them who diligently seek Him. The Apostle Paul taught the faith one holds to increases by hearing, and hearing comes through the declaration of Christ (Eph. 2:8-10; Ro. 10:17; Heb. 11:1, 6).

"As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him. Initially you became firmly rooted in Christ Jesus. Now you are becoming built up in him and established through the faith, just as you were instructed. Learn to overflow in the faith with gratitude. See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ" (Col. 2:6-8).

Receiving Jesus as Lord and continue practicing the life style of an unbeliever is not sufficient. When they beget one of God, the initial experience firmly roots the believer in Christ Jesus through no effort of His own. The beginning stage of the Christian life compares with the birth of an infant. For both come into the world without any sense of self-achievement. Remember. Grace has saved you through faith. Neither one is out of yourself, but both are the gifts of God (Eph. 2:4-5, 8-10).

The faithful must protect their walk from becoming damaged through philosophy and empty illusions (Col. 2:8). Potential harm often comes by following in step with the traditions of men. For human tradition invalidates the word of God. Others suffer loss by walking according to the elementary principles of the world, which serve only to enslave us. (M't. 15:6; M'r. 7:13; Gal. 4:3, 9; Col. 2:8, 20; Heb. 5:12).

The call of God is to live our lives in obedience to the faith taught by Christ (2Jo. 2:9). Jesus came not to tear down or destroy, but to replete what had become depleted by humanity from the law and the prophets (M't. 5:17-20). He came not to condemn or penalize humanity, but to set the oppressed free from sin and death (Lu. 9:54-55, a.v.; Joh. 3:17; 8:32-36; 1Jo. 5:11-12). Furthermore, He came that we may have life and have it in abundance (Joh. 10:10; 2Pe. 1:2-11).

We are now born of the Spirit and God has stored our life in Christ in God. We are no longer in the flesh, but in the Spirit, since God's spirit dwells in us (Joh. 3:1-8; Ro. 8:1-10; Col. 2:20-3:4). Therefore, "since we live in spirit we should also keep in step with the spirit" (Gal. 5:25). That is our life must correspond with the character and teachings of the Lord who now resides within us. Those saints who become dependable in the faith do so by becoming built up and established in the faith through instruction, until they abound in it with thankfulness (Col. 2:6-7).

Furthermore, the faith plays an essential role in the victory obtained by those who triumph in Christ. "For whatever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world - our faith" (1Jo. 5:4). Notice it does not say "whosoever," but "whatever is born of God" overcomes the world. Now "who" refers to the animate creation, while "what" applies only to inanimate things. Every "whosoever" born of God has some "whatever" in their thinking that needs to become transformed through the faith (1Jo. 5:1, 4).

Therefore, "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things" (Ph'l. 4:8).

"If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever" (1Ti. 5:8).

The attainment of intellectual knowledge has little to do with upholding the faith. For the faith taught by Jesus Christ was pragmatic. It is not some nebulous or inconclusive mind game, but a down-to-earth expression of the indwelling Christ's life. The goal of the faith is to bring forth godly character in faithful saints enabling them to express a more excellent form life. The many different roles in life, such as spouse, parent, child, employer, employee, and friend, become amplified in those who are faithful saints.

--Number Five--

The Faithful Saint Must Show Himself Trustworthy in Purity

"To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, both their minds and their conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny him, being detestable and disobedient, and worthless for any good deed" (Tit. 1:15-16).

The word "purity," in 1 Timothy 4:12, comes from the Greek word "katharos." Vine's Expository Dictionary says it literally means, "free from impure admixture, without blemish, spotless." Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon adds, "Clean, Pure, (Free from the adhesion of anything that soils, adulterates, or corrupts)."

The Lord, speaking figuratively, said to Peter, "A person who has bathed needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. You are clean" (Joh. 13:10-11). When God has cleansed the innermost character, it does not need a radical renewal. Nevertheless, the faithful saints must keep themselves unspotted from the unrenewed world (Jam. 1:27). Essentially this means, as trustworthy saints live in the pollution of the unregenerate world they need continuous cleansing within their walk.

"Happy are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (M't. 5:8). The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. Thus, we encourage all to depart from the strong overpowering desires of the flesh. Remember, when tempted no one should say, "God is tempting me." God cannot be tempted by a vicious disposition or by evil desires. Moreover, He never uses a vicious disposition or by evil desires to test anyone. Nevertheless, an individual becomes tempted when, through his own depraved desires and evil disposition, he becomes dragged away and enticed. Then, after his depraved desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin. Sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death (Jam. 1:13-15). The faithful saint who perseveres under trial is a happy saint. This is because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

Moreover, some swerving away from love out of purity of heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith have gone into error. Many have been turning aside to follow fruitless discussion. Therefore, we admonish every believer no longer to associate with those who teach or approve of licentious and unrestrained living. These are spots in your feasts of love. Do this instead, Pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart (1Ti. 1:5-6; 2Ti. 2:22; 2Pe. 2:1-22; Jude 1:1-25).

"The lawless messenger falls into that which is good-for-nothing; but a faithful messenger constrained by principle is healing" (Prov. 13:17).

We thank God continually for the grace and peace that God gives to everyone in Christ Jesus. In everything we are becoming enriched and fortified through Christ. God is verifying the testimony of Christ in each of us. The conformation of faithfulness causes the Lord God to advance us toward the goal in both word and experience. The Holy Spirit abides within each vessel continually. This assures us of not lacking in any gift of grace. It is the grace of God that equips us while we wait for the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself will secure us and keep us in peace until the culmination of His purpose. God guarantees us to be irreproachable in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful! Remember, God is the One who called us into the partnership of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord. "Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God" (2Co. 7:1).

Chapter Three

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