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What is this idea that all people on the planet are “in” Christ and only need to ‘wake up’ and know who they are (which is what so many are teaching these days)?

The second Adam (Jesus) is a quickening spirit. You aren’t quickened unless and until you believe. If you don’t believe, you wait for the resurrection.

The Greek word translated “in” is “en” and means in, by, with, etc., a primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state), and (by implication) instrumentality (medially or constructively), i.e. a relation of rest.

There is an entirely different word that means “into”, as in “inside of”. Christ is not literally in anyone. He ascended bodily and is at the right hand of God. He sent us the Holy Spirit to be with us and indwell us. And when the spirit came upon anyone, then as now, there was evidence. It was an action, an event.

I submit that most translations, and I’ve yet to find one that differs, have gotten this wrong. The word “in” should be “by” or “with”, especially since English makes little distinction regarding the word “in”. It does not always mean “inside of” but that’s how we usually read it.

When God poured out His spirit on all flesh, it means that it was poured out on everyone who believes, comes to Him, and so on. Before Pentecost, the spirit was only upon individuals for a purpose, and then it left. Now it’s freely given.

No where in the book of Acts do we read anything about everyone having the Holy Spirit, or Christ. Quite the opposite, in fact. People had to hear the gospel and believe.

It is true that through Christ, God reconciled all things. Now that all things are reconciled and sin is taken away, all people have access to God, are able turn to Him, and believe about Jesus, and so on.

The Holy Spirit draws and calls all. Some come. But the vast majority of humanity will not ever hear, and will only see their Creator on that resurrection day. Because of the finished work of Christ, this is possible. Truly, no one comes but because of Him.

If Christ is present in everyone on the planet, there is little evidence of it. No scriptural basis for it. I have had issues with this idea for years and I still do.

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salvation-handsHere is the basic verse I am looking at. Ephesians 2:8 (paraphrased) For you are saved by grace, through faith; it is the gift of God.

Grace is God’s influence on the heart. It is freely given, not based on anything we have done. We don’t earn a gift. The Greek word translated as grace is charis, from which we get the word, charismatic.

Now see this: the word translated as gift is doron. It means a gift, present.

  • gifts offered in expression of honor
  • of sacrifices and other gifts offered to God
  • of money cast into the treasury for the purposes of the temple and for the support of the poor
  • the offering of a gift or of gifts

So the gift of God’s influence and favor (charis) is given as an offering or honor. In other words, grace is freely given, showing divine favor. But it’s more. Jesus gave Himself as an offering, for us, as the word doron implies. He is our salvation. Our gift. Amazing God, amazing grace!

Here is a friend’s breakdown of the Ephesians 2:8 sentence:

Subject: “You” Predicate: “are saved” (present participle I think) Adverb phrase: “by grace” modified by additional adverb phrase “through faith”… then compound sentence this is the subject (being saved) “is” (implied predicate) “of yourselves” is prepositional phrase modifying subject, then simply “it” (subject) “is” predicate “the gift of God” is the predicate object. How’s that for “it’s Greek to me”? (Thank you, Michael Proctor)

I think we can read it this way: So then by His grace/divine influence on our hearts (and His favor towards us) we are made whole (and delivered from death) because we have trusted/believed God; and this wholeness is a gift from God. We did nothing to earn it. I believe that the Holy Spirit is the agency by which this works.

God has made us so that we have the ability to trust/believe/be persuaded/have faith. Then He is working, drawing us, through grace. It’s twice a gift. Grace is a gift, and salvation is a gift.

Grace opens our hearts and draws us to God. Then we hear and we are persuaded and we trust. In other words, we have faith and believe. It’s the same word in the Greek – pistis, to trust or be persuaded; or being trustworthy and faithful.

Or, in some cases, we just see and believe. Who can stand in the light of His love? I don’t believe anyone can see Him and not be changed. Some believe that eventually everyone will see, and run to meet the One who is running to meet them.

 What an awesomely beautiful thing He has done.

 

“We are not preaching the Gospel of ADAM where our choice and FAITH was robbed from us. We are preaching the Gospel of JESUS where choice was restored. We have a free will now, we had no freedom under ADAM. It can be likened to slavery. When freedom comes they have choice, they are not placed into NO CHOICE again, that is bondage. Many can still not believe what Jesus has done for us, we are restored to HIM (JUST LIKE HIM). If He can choose I can choose… simple.

I refuse go back to bondage…” ~Bertie Brits

Chose this day whom you will serve, said God. When Jesus came, He said to His disciples that they hadn’t chosen Him but He had chosen them. What? Well, they still had choice. Most dropped everything and followed the rabbi who had the words of life. One said, not now, because he had to bury his father (which was a polite way in those days of saying, “No”).

When we hear the message of the gospel, we can be persuaded by it and believe. Or we can not be persuaded and not believe. We of course are drawn to Him by God and He knows just the right way to present Himself to us at just the right time. That is why most will, at some point, respond by believing. Faith (belief and trust) will rise up and they will recognize Him for who He is. We are designed to know God.

This is good news. Many tell us that we do not choose. What? Are we puppets? No! We all have the ability to believe, to have faith, to be persuaded, and to trust. We are made that way. 

When God said He would pour out His spirit upon all flesh, and we see it happen on Pentecost in the book of Acts, what happened? Who received the Holy Spirit? How do we know?

Well, those in the upper room received the Holy Spirit. They not only had those tongues of fire over their heads, but they spoke in tongues, so that the foreigners outside heard them glorifying God in their own languages.

This was not all flesh or all men, but just those believers who were gathered together that day. And then some three thousand souls were added to the church that day.

One would assume that those souls also received the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues, since that was the way it happened, from the testimony of the rest of the book of Acts.

So, all flesh would seem to indicate not the whole world, but just those who believed.

To those who received Him, He gave them the power to be sons of God. All are not sons. Only those who receive Him. Paul says as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. He also says because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

See what kind of love the Father has given us, that we should be called the sons of God: the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Clearly, all flesh are not the sons of God.

In the Old Testament, the spirit of God only came to someone for a reason, and then it left. When Jesus came, He had the spirit without limit. It was a new thing. After this, on Pentecost, God poured out His spirit on all (manner of) flesh. Men and women, and perhaps young people.

Again, a new thing. A Peter declared it was the fulfillment of prophecy.

People, everyone in the world does not have the spirit of God in them. Only those who believe. I know many teach that everyone has the spirit. But it is not so. It is really new age thinking.

Furthermore, Paul says if someone does not have the spirt of Christ, he not His. If the spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in you, he shall make your mortal body alive. The key word is “if”. Now, the the spirit of Christ is the same as the Holy Spirit and the spirit of God. These just are different ways to express it.

Therefore, it follows that if you don’t believe, you don’t have the Holy Spirit. All flesh does not mean all people, but many people. People who believe.

To say that all people on the planet have Christ, or the spirit of Christ, in them, is not what the scripture teaches. It is more new age thinking that has crept into the church.

Ephesians 2:8 (The Message)

Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! 

The word for faith means trust. God cannot give us trust. He gave us the ability to trust. Every man has that (Romans 12:3) – Paul calls it the measure of faith. God gives us that. It means the ability to believe, since God cannot trust for us. It can also mean that He has given us “the faith”, which is the new and living way. And it also means ‘fidelity’ or trustworthiness/faithfulness.

Paul is actually talking about thinking soberly of ourselves, saying that each one has the measure of trust, the same as anyone. No one has or gets more faith/trust. Either you believe or you don’t. Actually, if everyone believed because it was a gift, then preaching would be unnecessary.

The idea that faith is a gift comes from misreading and misunderstanding these passages. Perhaps seeing faith as a gift appeals to those who think that using faith is a work. But scripture says without faith it’s impossible to please God. You don’t use your faith anymore than you can use your trust. Faith is something you have.

In other words, we must believe that He is in order to even come to Him. This is called having faith toward God, often badly translated as the faith of God. But in the passages that say that, God is the modifier for the word, faith. It is having the God kind of faith, or faith in Him. God doesn’t have or need faith. He knows and doesn’t need to trust. 

Therefore all people have the ability to believe. He gave us that much, but He does not trust or believe for us or give us His trust. We trust. Suppose we want to believe and can’t seem to. If faith is a gift, then we would be blaming God for not giving us this necessary gift. How preposterous! 

Some say that the gift of faith is ours and we just need to use it. Well, how to you use trust? You have trust, you don’t use it. Trust comes from being persuaded of something. In fact, the word for faith also means to be persuaded.

Again, God doesn’t give us persuasion, any more than He gives us trust. How do we become persuaded that anything is true? We hear about it and make up our minds, perhaps with the spirit’s nudging, but we believe it. We have faith. We trust. It’s the same root word, meaning to believe or to trust.

The gift is salvation, by grace – and grace is His favoring us, and His divine influence in our hearts. Grace enables us to believe. It is that divine spark in us that only mankind has. And yes, trust is one of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit, like the fruit of the spirit (1 Cor. 12:7-9).

Clearly, if faith is handed out to this one or that one, this passage in 1 Corinthians cannot be talking about basic faith or trust. It is something else here.

Grace is the gift and its various out-workings are by the Holy Spirit.

True, we do not earn grace or salvation. God gives it to us because He loves us. We are His children. The idea that we don’t deserve it is not the best understanding of favor. Like we give good things to our children without making them earn it or do something to deserve it, God gives gifts, like grace, to us. But faith/trust is not one of them.

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