The Full Christian Life

by Dr. Ken Matto

John 1:16 (KJV) And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.

“Christians are not a special group of people who can be proud; Christians are those who are redeemed-that is all” - Francis Schaeffer (Schaeffer on the Christian Life by William Edgar)

A friend of mine posted this quote on Facebook and it did not seem right when I read it. The first half of the statement is totally true and that Christians should never walk around with a prideful attitude. When I read the second part, there was a major vacuum in Francis Schaeffer’s understanding of Christianity. If he were alive on earth, he might look at that statement again and then realize how erroneous that was. What I am challenging is the truncated view of Christians that Schaeffer has. He says dogmatically "that is all" and that is not all. The Charismatics accuse us of not having the full gospel and in a way they are right. No, I am not talking about speaking in gibberish tongues or fake healing or the false prosperity gospel. I am speaking of the fullness of what Christ did for us at Calvary. How many Christians know what Calvary did for them beyond initial redemption? Redemption is the portal to a great life which goes way beyond just being saved. If more pastors would teach the full Christian life, then Christians would think more like Saints than "sinners." In the Scriptures, God never refers to His children as sinners but children or saints. Christ did not go to the cross to make us sinners or keep us in that pre-salvific state.

We cannot suppress biblical truth because of what someone else might think. It is our responsibility to know what God has fully said in His Word. God didn't include the following descriptions in Scripture to give us pride but to give us encouragement and to teach us how extensive salvation in Christ really is. It goes way beyond “fire insurance.” You will see this because those descriptions of the believer are written across the pages of Scripture, in many different books. What I am going to share is not my opinion but what is written in Scripture. I am going to print out the entire Scripture verse so no one can come back to me and claim I am making this up. When we realize what Christ did for us at Calvary, we will have a fresh new perspective on our salvation. When was the last time your pastor did an extended study of what happened at Calvary? Can’t remember? In my 35 years of salvation, I only heard one pastor ever open up this subject and that was Charles Stanley.

God has a special relationship with His children and He makes no bones about what He has done for us. The Scriptures give us a beautiful description of this. I want to show the beautiful relationship which exists between God and His children. There are many Christians who walk under a cloud of condemnation simply because many pastors do not understand our relationship to God "our" Father and pass that ignorance on to the sheep. My goal is to acclimate Christians to the Scriptures. Christians must rediscover the Bible without the folly of theology books telling us what we shall believe. This monograph is written to aid Christians in their understanding about their relationship to God. I would like to look at one of the most significant chapters in Scripture dealing with "How God views His Children." We will look at Ephesians chapter one and when we have completed this chapter, you may be surprised how God views you if you are a true child of God.

Many Christians are ignorant of how God views them. This is not a slanderous statement but a stark reality owing to the high rate of biblical illiteracy in the church and individual Christians. In today's church, psychological teachings and sensationalism are usurping the teaching of pure Scripture. The next time you hear a sermon, listen carefully and you will hear much psychological dogma mixed with Scripture and presented to you as absolute truth and authority. The sad result is that many Christians do not know how wonderfully they stand with God because of their relationship to Christ. I feel sorry for those Christians who are told every Sunday that they are nothing but dirty rotten sinners that should have gone to hell. This kind of teaching from the pulpit on a continual basis tends to tear believers down instead of building them up.

Let us now look at the extensive blessing of Salvation.

Saints, Holy and Reliable
Ephesians 1:1 (KJV) Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:

The word "saints" may be translated "dedicated, set apart, sacred or holy." God views each Christian as one who is sacred and holy. The word "faithful" may also be translated "a believer, a faithful one, trustworthy, or one on whom we may rely." Here God views His children as reliable

We are Reunited with God
Ephesians 1:2 (KJV) Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Greek word "eirene" is translated "peace" throughout the New Testament except in three places. The first place is Acts 7:26 where it is rendered "one again" which carries the meaning of reunification of two which were separated. The second place is Acts 9:31 where it is rendered "rest" which carries the idea of a state of peace, tranquility with the inducement of a state of security. The third place is Acts 24:2 where it is rendered "quietness" which also carries with it the idea of a place of security and repose. The regular translation of "eirene" into peace carries with it the idea of inner peace resulting from forgiveness. We see in this one word how God views the believer as being reunited with Him.

Good Spoken of by God
Ephesians 1:3 (KJV) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

Every spiritual need the believer has on earth was already supplied. The word "blessings" is the Greek word "eulogia" which means "good speaking praise." God has given His praises to those in Christ Jesus. We literally have a divine commendation as we read in Romans 2:29, "But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God."  This verse speaks of the believer as being praised by God because of our relationship to His Son. This is not to imply that God worships man because that would be outright blasphemy. God was well-pleased with Christ and because of Christ, He is well-pleased with the Christian.

Chosen - Holy and Without Blemish of Sin
Ephesians 1:4 (KJV) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

The word "chosen" comes from the Greek word "eklegomai" which means "select, choose, elect." Here we read that God has literally hand-picked every Christian. (John 6:37 KJV) "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."  Man did not choose God but God chose man. (John 1:12-13 KJV) "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: {13} Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."  This may be borne out with many other Scriptures. Verse 13 is normally omitted in free will churches.

Refer to the section on "saint" because the same root word in the Greek is used for both "saint" and "holy." If God says we are holy, how can we just be sinners? Is there such a thing as a holy sinner? The words “without blame” may be translated "without blemish of sin, disgrace, or unblameable." This phrase shows how unscriptural the phrase "sinner saved by grace" is when describing the Christian, because God is stating He views us as having no blemish of sin.
Predestinated and Adopted
Ephesians 1:5 (KJV) Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
The word predestinated may also be translated "predetermined, foreordain, or decree beforehand". This one word reveals to us that we were already in God's plan eons ago. God chose to save you, and He predetermined your life as He did for Jeremiah, Paul, and John the Baptist:

The word “adoption” carries with it the meaning of “to place as a son.” We are taken from the kingdom of Satan and placed into the Kingdom of God with all the rights as of a natural born child in a human family.

Accepted in Christ
Ephesians 1:6 (KJV) To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

The "beloved" in view is the Lord Jesus Christ. The word we are focusing on is "accepted," which may also be translated "to make lovely, endue with special honor, or to bestow grace upon." No matter how we feel, we are accepted by Christ because of His sacrifice. Isn't it marvelous how God made us accepted and never to be rejected? When the world rejects us for any reason, we know that we may come to Christ who will never reject us. (Heb 13:5) Since we are accepted we may come with confidence to the throne of grace (Heb. 4:16) and speak whatever is on our heart. The unsaved cannot do this because they are not accepted. Let us remember that it is with God we are going to spend eternity, so if the world rejects us, so what, because this world is fleeting away but the believers life is ready to flourish. So have courage because you are accepted! This one verse also puts to death the idea that one can “accept Christ” as their Savior. It is God who made us accepted in the beloved. We could never make ourselves accepted.

Redeemed and Forgiven
Ephesians 1:7 (KJV) In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

This is another glorious word in this spiritual catalog. Redemption may also be translated "ransom in full, a buying back, deliverance from guilt and punishment from sin." Never will a believer have to stand in judgment for their sin because the work of Christ was complete on our behalf. We were totally redeemed from all sin and guilt. This applies to past, present, and future because when Christ went to the cross all your sins were in the future. Our redemption was secured by God Himself plus He declares us sinless in our souls. It would do good to read Romans 8:33 again. So let the accusers accuse, the mockers mock, the gossipers gossip, because God knows who His children are and once He has declared them redeemed, it is forever.

The word "forgiveness" may also be translated "freedom, pardon, or release from sin." This word states the Christian has absolute pardon from all their sin. Since we have been totally forgiven, we are eternally secure because God sees us as sinless in our soul essence. Being in Christ guarantees our place in Heaven. We are totally free from all spiritual penalties owing to sin. However, there may be physical penalties for sin, such as AIDS for sexual sins or liver disease from drinking et al. You can take comfort that even though our flesh is corrupting, the inner man is being renewed daily. 2 Corinthians 4:16 (KJV) For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

Inheritors of Heaven
Ephesians 1:11 (KJV) In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

The word "inheritance" may also be translated "to allot, to obtain, possess." The Christian is guaranteed to inherit heaven and all the spiritual blessings as we previously discovered. If our hope was only in this world, I would definitely be depressed but because God is viewing us as His children, He has given us the greatest inheritance that we could ever ask for or dream of, HIMSELF! Genesis 15:1 states: (Gen 15:1 KJV) After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

As we have read in just the first chapter of Ephesians, twelve descriptions of the true believer. Now I did not take any unclear word and attach a personal meaning but took everything directly from the Scriptures. So far Ephesians 1 has shown Francis Schaeffer to be in error because Ephesians 1 refutes “that is all.” Now let us look at other descriptions that are written in various parts of the Scriptures.

The Lord’s Portion and Inheritance
(Deu 32:9 KJV) For the LORD'S portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.

The portion is a part of something which has been separated from the whole. The Lord’s portion is the entire body of believers which were redeemed by the blood of Christ. Jacob is a synonym for the body of believers, even though Jacob was a real person. Romans 11:26 (KJV) And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:  Romans 11:26 teaches us that the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Deliverer, will bring in godliness to Jacob, that is, the body of believers by means of salvation. Jacob is also the lot of His inheritance. The word “lot” carries with it the meaning of “something which measures like a rope or cord.” It means that there is a certain number whom God will save, not one more, not one less.

A Preserved People
(Psa 37:28 KJV) For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.

The word “preserved” carries with it the meaning of “protected or guarded.” This means that Satan can never have anyone who is born again in Christ. 1 Peter 1:5 (KJV) Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  The word “kept” carries with it the meaning of “guarded” thus confirming the word “preserved” in Psalm 37:28.

A Turtledove
(Psa 74:19 KJV) O deliver not the soul of thy turtledove unto the multitude of the wicked: forget not the congregation of thy poor for ever.

A turtledove is a gentle bird which has only one mate in life to which it is very faithful. The Christian has only one mate for eternity and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:2 (KJV) For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

The Assembly of the Saints
(Psa 89:7 KJV) God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.

The word “assembly” in the Hebrew has an interesting meaning. It is speaking about intimate counsel or even secret counsel. It speaks about the intimate prayer and communication that the believers have with God when they are assembled together. This is why church is only for believers and not unbelievers. The unbelievers divert that intimate prayer and mood by bringing in the things and philosophies of the world. Many churches gear their services toward unbelievers when weekly services are to encourage and strengthen the true believer, and that is why they are worldly and weak. This verse speaks about the intimacy of the Saints which are the believers and not the unbelievers because there is no fear of God in the unbeliever. Romans 3:18 (KJV) There is no fear of God before their eyes.

The Assembly of the Upright
(Psa 111:1 KJV) Praise ye the LORD. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation.

The word “assembly” is the same word and meaning as found in Psalm 89:7. The word “upright” carries with it the meaning of “straight or just.” The believer is viewed as being one who is straight before the Lord because of salvation. This is in contrast to those who are crooked. Philippians 2:15 (KJV) That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;  Yet, those who are crooked and are the Elect of God will be made straight. Isaiah 40:4 (KJV) Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:

The Congregation of the Saints
(Psa 149:1 KJV) Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints.

The word “congregation” carries with it the meaning of “assembly, gathering, or multitude.” The Lord’s praises are specifically sung in the congregation of the Saints because the Saints are saved. The unbelievers cannot truly praise God because they are in the flesh and not Spirit. John 4:24 (KJV) God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.  One must be born again and once that occurs, we then have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which then qualifies us to worship God in the Spirit. Without salvation, one does not have the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:9 (KJV) But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

(Isa 43:10 KJV) Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

The body of believers are to be witnesses in the entire world. Acts 1:8 (KJV) But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 

The Branch of God's Planting
(Isa 60:21 KJV) Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.

The true believer by electing grace will be like a branch which is planted. Psalm 92:13 (KJV) Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God.  When something is planted, it is done by an outside source namely the gardener. The Lord himself will be the one who plants the believer in the house of the Lord. We will be planted together by means of the death and resurrection of Christ. Romans 6:5 (KJV) For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:  If you notice, Isaiah 60:21 plainly states that salvation of the believer is the work of the hands of the Lord and no one else. One cannot “accept Christ” just as a flower cannot plant itself.

Beulah and Hephzibah
(Isa 62:4 KJV) Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.

The name “Hephzibah” carries with it the meaning of “my delight is in her.” The name “Beulah” carries with it the meaning of “married” because of the blessing of God. As we previously read that the body of believers is married to the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:2 (KJV) For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.  As for “Hephzibah” the Lord delights in the body of Christ because we are redeemed by His Son. Psalm 16:3 (KJV) But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight.

Holy People, Redeemed of the Lord, Sought Out and A City not Forsaken
(Isa 62:12 KJV) And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken.

This verse is replete with biblical descriptions of the true body of believers. First, they are called the holy people. This means that God has taken them from the pits of sin and by salvation has made them holy unto the Lord, set apart for Him. Secondly, they are called the “redeemed of the Lord” which means one who is bought back as one who is ransomed. It means the Lord is the one who redeemed His own children and no one else. Thirdly, they are the people who are sought out of the Lord for salvation. Ezekiel 34:11 (KJV) For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.  They are known in the New Testament as God’s Elect. Romans 8:33 (KJV) Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Finally, they are called “a city not forsaken.” This is not speaking of an earthly city but a heavenly city. Hebrews 13:14 (KJV) For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.  The city is one that God had prepared without human hands, the one which Abraham searched for. Hebrews 11:10 (KJV) For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

A Pleasant Portion
(Jer 12:10 KJV) Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness.

The words “my pleasant” carries with it the meaning of “something desirable, valuable or precious things.” God sees the body of believers as something precious in His sight because we were not redeemed with earthly things but with the blood of His Son. 1 Peter 1:18-19 (KJV) Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; {19} But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: The portion is a part of something which has been separated from the whole as the body of believers which has been separated from the rest of the human race which remains unsaved.

A Loved People
(Jer 31:3 KJV) The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

John 13:1 (KJV) Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. The love of God is a qualified love and in John 13:1 we read that the Lord Jesus Christ “having loved His own” which means His love was also qualified. The body of redeemed believers is loved not with just a temporary love in this lifetime but an eternal love which will go into eternity with us.

The Place of God's Throne
(Ezek 43:7 KJV) And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places.

The body of believers is where God rules and reigns from is the place of His throne. Psalm 22:22 (KJV) I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee. From the congregation of the Saints go out the praises and worship of God and the Lamb. Hebrews 2:12 (KJV) Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. God plainly states that He will dwell among the body of believers. 2 Corinthians 6:16 (KJV) And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

The City of Truth, the Mountain of the Lord, and the Holy Mountain
(Zec 8:3 KJV) Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain.

Revelation 21:10 (KJV) And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, The first description in this verse is the body of believers will be known as the city of truth. It is further shown to us in Revelation 21:10 that it is speaking of the body of believers. A physical city is not in view but the city of New Jerusalem which is the redeemed body of believers. The next description is called the “mountain of the Lord.” Psalm 48:1 (KJV) A Song and Psalm for the sons of Korah. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. Here the body of believers is called the “mountain of his holiness.” The mountains in Scripture normally allude to the kingdom of God and where is the kingdom of God on earth? Romans 14:17 (KJV) For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. The Kingdom of God is found in the body of believers which represents the kingdom of God on this earth and evangelizes to bring all the Elect. The next description which we are given is “the holy mountain.” Now we know that there is no holy mountains on this earth because the entire earth was cursed because of Adam’s sin. However, what God makes holy is the believer, taking them from a sinful state and washes them in Christ’s blood and then they are made holy. Ephesians 2:21 (KJV) In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: Ephesians 2:21 likens the body of believers to a holy temple in the Lord.

OT Summary
We have looked at only a few verses in the Old Testament and found 21 descriptions of the body of believers. When we looked at those descriptions, we saw they were all New Testament in substance. Even back in the Old Testament God was already describing the eternal body of believers, the chosen people in Christ. Ephesians 1:4 (KJV) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:  Now these examples are not the only ones found in the Hebrew Scriptures but they are shining examples that the biblical description of the body of believers goes way beyond just “being redeemed, and that’s all.”

Let us return once again to the descriptions found in the New Testament. We have already seen what was written in Ephesians 1 and if we stopped there, we would have sufficient descriptions to reject the “that’s all” belief system.

A Pearl of Great Price
(Mat 13:45-46 KJV) Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: {46} Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

Here we have a description of the body of believers as “one pearl of great price.” If you notice very carefully that it is describing it as “one” pearl. Now I have heard in the past, especially from benighted dispensationalists that there are two chosen people in the Bible, the Jews and the Christians. Does verse 46 state “two pearls” or “one pearl?” It is one pearl which is speaking of the body of believers that contains both saved Jews and Gentiles. The word in the Greek behind “great price” carries with the meaning of something “very valuable or precious.” Psalm 49:5-8 (KJV) Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about? {6} They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; {7 }None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: {8} (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:) As you can read in Psalm 49:8 that redemption of the soul is precious in God’s sight.

The Vineyard
(Mat 21:41 KJV) They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.

A vineyard is a place where plants grow. Psalm 1:3 (KJV) And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.  Psalm 1:3 speaks about bringing forth fruit as do plants which are planted in a vineyard. The body of Christ grows as on worldwide vineyard as each one that is planted, will grow and bear fruit. Psalm 104:16 (KJV) The trees of the LORD are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted;  A tree that is full of sap is like a believer filled with the Holy Spirit, a spiritually healthy Christian.

The Fold and Flock of Christ
(John 10:16 KJV) And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

The word in the Greek used for “fold” in the first instance is a word which carries with it the meaning of “an open space, corral, palace or courtyard.” John 18:15 (KJV) And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple: that disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest.  So Jesus is saying that all the other sheep will be gathered into palaces and he must bring them. This rules out free will as some teach that Jesus is waiting for them to “accept Him.” Jesus isn’t waiting for anyone and in their appointed time, He saves His Elect. The second usage of the word “fold” is a different word carrying with it the meaning of “flock” which has to do metaphorically with people, namely the adding of new believers daily. Then the verse ends with stating that there will be one shepherd and that will be the Lord Jesus Christ over the body of believers. This was prophesied as far back as Ezekiel. Ezekiel 37:24 (KJV) And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. When it speaks of David in this verse it is speaking about the Lord Jesus and not the physical David who will be raised on the last day with all the other believers, so he could not possibly be the one shepherd who is in view. Hebrews 3:6 (KJV) But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.  Christ is the son who is over his own house which is the body of believers which he purchased with his own blood. Acts 20:28 (KJV) Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 

Little Children
John 13:33 (KJV) Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.

Here the believer is affectionately called “little children.” Just like parents care and nurture their very little children, this is what God has in mind with us. He cares for us and nurtures us after He saves us. In John’s first epistle, he uses this term nine times.

The Church of God
(Acts 20:28 KJV) Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

The word “church” in the Greek is the word for “called out assembly.” It is also interesting that the word is in the feminine gender and that lines up beautifully because the body of believers is referred to as the Bride of Christ. The words “of God” are in the genitive case which is the case of possession which teaches us that the body of believers belong to God.

We are God's Laborers and Tilled Field
(1 Cor 3:9 KJV) For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.

The body of believers are laborers together with God, that is we go out and spread the Gospel but God gives the increase. 1 Corinthians 3:6 (KJV) I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.  There is no such thing as an unemployed Christian. All believers have responsibility in getting out the gospel to the world.

The word for “husbandry” in the Greek is an interesting word. It carries with it the meaning of a “tilled field.” It means a field which has been cleansed, especially of rocks, trees, or weeds and is prepared to receive seed. Matthew 13:23 (KJV) But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.  The believer receives the seed of the Gospel to become saved but afterwards comes the bearing of fruit as the seeds grow into plants and trees which bear fruit, which is the fruit of the Gospel.

We are the Temple of the Living God
(2 Cor 6:16 KJV) And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Just as God inhabited the Old Testament Temple with His glory, He now inhabits the New Testament temple which is the body of believers. God indwells us through the person of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 3:16 (KJV) Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?  Whether in a corporate sense or as individuals, God indwells His children and that indwelling makes us the temple of the Holy Spirit. There is no physical temple in view to be built in Israel. In the Old Testament, where did people go to learn about God? They went to the temple. In the New Testament, where do people go to learn about how to become saved? They go either to individual Christians or they go where there is a gathering of Christians.

The Israel of God
(Gal 6:16 KJV) And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

The physical nation of ancient Israel was a figure or a foreshadow of the eternal Israel that was to come. Then name “Israel” means “prince with God.” Psalm 47:2 (KJV) For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth. Since God is a great king over all the earth, that would make His children Princes and Princesses, which is what the name “Israel” alludes to. God does not have in view the physical nation of ancient Israel and He definitely does not have in view the modern nation of Israel. The Israel which is to be built from the time of the cross to the last day, is the Israel of God which is the body of believers. There is nothing in the New Testament about a re-birthing of a physical nation of Israel. God is now dealing with the entire world and the Israel of God is now a world wide nation. Matthew 21:43 (KJV) Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.  The old nation of Israel lost its right to bring the Gospel because of its rank disobedience and choler. The nation which has been given that task is the body of believers described here as a nation. Philippians 3:3 (KJV) For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.  Here God speaks about the body of believers as being the true circumcision which worships God in the Spirit and one must be born again to have the Spirit of God. John 4:24 (KJV) God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 

The Body of Christ
(Eph 1:22-23 KJV) And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, {23} Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Here we have the eternal church being described as the “body” of Christ. Since Christ is the head, then the rest of the body represents the body of Christ which is the body of believers. Just like the human body, each part has a specific function. (1 Corinthians 12:15-20) No one is less important or more important than another. There are public ministries and behind the scenes ministries but both are level at the foot of the cross.

We are His Workmanship
(Eph 2:10 KJV) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

The Greek word behind “workmanship” is used only two times in the New Testament. Romans 1:20 (KJV) For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:  The twin usage gives us tremendous insight. In Romans 1:20, it is speaking about the creation which God made. Here in Ephesians 2:10, it is speaking about Christians which were made by God. We were made Christians by the blood of Christ. So we see that the act of creation and the act of redemption are both works of God and not of man.

The Family of Heaven and Earth
(Eph 3:15 KJV) Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

Here we have a passage describing the body of believers as a family. If you notice, not even death breaks up that family because the believer who physically dies, at once is united with the other part of the family in Heaven.

Reconciled unto God
(Col 1:21 KJV) And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled

The true Christian has become reconciled unto God, that is, we were once far off or at enmity with God but now through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary, we are no longer enemies of God but now we are reconciled unto Him. Those in religion who attempt to appease God through their works are still in darkness and separated from God. Reconciliation comes only through the cross of Christ.

Children of Light and Children of the Day
1 Thessalonians 5:5 (KJV) Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

In this verse two metaphors are used to describe the spiritual state of the believers. First we are children of light. Matthew 5:14 (KJV) Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.  Jesus stated that we are the light of the world. This is in contrast to the whole world being in the darkness of sin. Colossians 1:13 (KJV) Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:  When we became saved through Christ, we were instantly transferred from the kingdom of darkness, Satan’s kingdom, into the kingdom of light, which is the Kingdom of God. Secondly, we are children of the day. In the day there is sunshine and much light. The world walks in the night of sin from which we were delivered from. 1 Thessalonians 5:7 (KJV) For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.  1 Thessalonians 5:7 teaches us that the world does all it’s sinning at night, that is, they sin because they walk in darkness and are not regenerated unto salvation. The darkness and the night for the unbeliever is constant no matter what time of day it is for all their works are tainted with sin. 1 John 1:5 (KJV) This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  God is light and those who become saved also become children of light.

Church of the Living God & Pillar and Ground of Truth
(1 Tim 3:15 KJV) But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

The body of believers and not necessarily a church building because in every church there are unbelievers. The church of the living God is made up of only those who are born again in Christ. Mark 12:27 (KJV) He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.  Those who are in Christ are those who have eternal life and because of that God is the God of the living. This is in comparison to those religions or houses of worship where there is a false gospel making them the church of the dead. They are spiritually dead and if any do not become saved, they will experience the second death.

Then we are called “the pillar and ground of truth.” The words “pillar and ground” are used metaphorically because they are both used in the understanding of constructing a building. The word “pillar” deals with the principle of support as physical pillars support a building. The pillar was used widely in ancient times to uphold or support a structure. The church functions in the same manner that it upholds these truths. Each true believer is a pillar in that they support and uphold the truth of the Gospel going forth to all lands. Then the word “ground” has to deal with the foundation of a building. Now it must be realized that the church does not establish the truth, the truth is given by God in his Word. The truth is also the Lord Jesus Christ Himself as He stated in John 14:6. (John 14:6 KJV) Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  When the passage speaks concerning the church being the ground of truth, it is speaking of the responsibility of the church in two areas. First, the church is built on the foundation of the prophets and apostles. (Eph 2:20 KJV) And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;  This means that their authority for preaching the true gospel has been handed down to the church and the church now holds the foundational truths of Scripture. Secondly, what it does with these truths is to uphold them in an evil world. Now when compared to the false religions of the world, the true church comprised of all true believers, holds the true foundations of truth and upholds those truths against all the false religions of the world. So the pillar and foundation works hand in hand to maintain a solid and strong structure.

City of the Living God & Mount Zion
(Heb 12:22 KJV) But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,

The believers are called “mount Zion” which is in contrast to Mt. Sinai which was the giving of the law. Mount Zion is the New Testament description of the body of believers. It is because one who is called can approach and enter by grace alone. At Mt. Sinai, if anyone came near to the mountain, they were instantly killed but Mt. Zion is a Mountain of eternal life through Christ and in it is no death. John 10:28 (KJV) And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 

In 1 Timothy 3:15 we are called the “church of the Living God” and here we are called “the city of the Living God.” Hebrews 11:10 (KJV) For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.  It is the city which Abraham looked for. He wasn’t looking for an earthly tract of land as today’s dispensationalists are looking for and at, but his horizon’s were set much higher, in the realm of eternity. He looked for the city of the living God which was the body of believers here and Heaven after that. After Adam and Eve sinned, God cursed the ground for their sakes. Abraham did not seek a tract of cursed land instead he sought the glorious, eternal kingdom of God.

General Assembly & Church of the Firstborn
(Heb 12:23 KJV) To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

The words general assembly carries with them the idea of a festive gathering. It describes the joyful praise and celebration in the heavenly Jerusalem. Here was a great declaration which would have boggled the minds of the first century church which was living in the midst of an empire that was bent on wiping them out. First they are told that they have come unto the general assembly which carries with it the meaning of a great festival of joy and celebration which overshadowed the fear which was experienced at Sinai.

Then they were called the “church of the firstborn” which means that every believer, no matter who it is, is on equal footing with every other believer. In the Old Testament economy the first born in a family was entitled to a double portion of the inheritance and here it is being told that all Christians are viewed as firstborn. The names of all the Christian were written in Heaven before the foundation of the world. (Rev 17:8 KJV) The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. So every believer is written in the Lamb’s book of Life. Salvation goes way beyond the double portion of the inheritance of the firstborn in the Old Testament.

Chosen, Holy, Royal, Peculiar People
(1 Pet 2:9 KJV) But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

God calls us a chosen generation which means we are the elect of God and the word generation means a race or family. This means those who are chosen of God to be born again are His family because we become His offspring by salvation. He then goes on to say that we are not only family but a kingly priesthood which means we are royalty in His eyes. Revelation 1:6 (KJV) And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.  Revelation 1:6 teaches us that we are not only saved but we are elevated to the dual office of Priest and King.

Then God states that we are a peculiar people which means we belong to Him exclusively as His special possession through the Lord Jesus Christ. The entire body of believers, whom God has redeemed, will now be able to bring forth the praises of God who has redeemed us from the kingdom of Satan and darkness and brought us into the wonderful light of the Gospel. (1 John 1:5 KJV) This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  

The Sons/Daughters of the Living God
(1 John 3:2 KJV) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

Here John makes a comparison between the present state of the believers and the future. First, we are told that “now” we are the sons of God, meaning that we are the children of God from the moment of salvation and not the moment we die. This speaks of the fact that when one becomes a Christian, they are now family, family of God that is. We must understand that eternal life begins at the point of salvation. While we have this heavenly treasure in earthly vessels at present, we do not know what the future holds for us in the area of new bodies. We can be confident that when the Lord Jesus Christ returns, our bodies will be changed so we will be qualified to see Christ in all His glory, this way we will not be consumed with the brightness of His glory. We know this to be fact because the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 discussed the nature of the new body for the believers. If our bodies were not qualified to see the Lord Jesus in His Glory, then we would be consumed in a nanosecond. We saw a glimpse of His Glory on the Mount of Transfiguration. (Mat 17:2 KJV) And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.  Can anyone look into the sun and not suffer blindness?

The Heavenly Jerusalem
(Rev 3:12 KJV) Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

Here we once again see the description of the pillar. Those who become saved will be made a pillar in the temple of God. Then there are three names which will be attached to the believer for eternity. Just as old Jerusalem was associated with the earthly nation of ancient Israel, New Jerusalem is associated with the body of believers.

The first name is going to be the name of God. (Rev 14:1 KJV) And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. 

The second name is the city of God which is New Jerusalem. (Rev 21:2 KJV) And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 

The third name is the new name of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Rev 19:12 KJV) His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 

The Holy City
(Rev 21:2 KJV) And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Here is another description of the new Jerusalem. It is called the holy city because all the believers who are in the city have become holy by means of salvation in Christ. Colossians 1:22 (KJV) In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:  This is why the city will be flawless.

The Bride of Christ
(Rev 21:9 KJV) And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.

The last description we are going to look at for the body of believers is “the bride of Christ.” This means that we will be married to him eternally and will never be divorced. It also means that we will dwell in His house forever and never have a worry about being excommunicated. The body of believers is now made pure forever.

Final Thoughts
The descriptions we looked at are not the only ones in Scripture but they give us a good idea that salvation is a lot more than just initial redemption. As we started out, we know that what we have discovered here is not something to be proud of or hold over somebody’s head. God is openly showing us the result of becoming saved in Christ that salvation goes far more in depth than just redemption. There is a major transformation which takes place in the believer, both here and in Heaven. We are not going to be just a bunch of robe wearing choirboys and girls but because of the positions which we will hold, it will be something far greater and God wants us to know these things. I know many preachers who hold to false humility that like to keep the Christian down as low as possible so they can self-exalt themselves in the congregation but the reality is that all Christians are equal and earthly position or title does not change anything. Deuteronomy 29:29 (KJV) The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.  The key to all this is that God does wants us to know what waits for us in the new heavens and new earth. Deuteronomy 29:29 is key and teaches us that those things revealed belong to us. It is not wrong nor is it egotistical to teach these things or to understand these things.

If we are to teach about sin or evil, or other things like that, then why is it prohibited for us to teach and learn the realities which God placed in the Bible concerning the believer. It is not pride but it is Bible and not be neglected. We always associate the full counsel of God with sin and judgment, but we never associate it with the future of the believer. If God did not want us to know, then He would not have placed those descriptions in the Bible, but He did and therefore they belong to us! So Christian, read and study and see how God describes you. If you start to think that you are more than just a “sinner saved by grace” then you are going to act more like a redeemed saint and your life will begin to take on a new meaning. You will not find this type of teaching in the majority of churches and that is sad. What I have written in this article can be a great encouragement to believers. Maybe if the biblically challenged clergy would start teaching these truths, there would be much less self-centered and depressed Christians. They would see their salvation in a whole new light and would come out of the spiritual gutters the churches keep them in.

Nehemiah 8:10 (KJV) Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.

The joy of the Lord is our strength but it requires knowledge of who we are in Christ to attain that stable joy in our life.