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Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries

The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 06/25/06
The Pennsylvania 2006 Conference

There's a very interesting lesson taught in Numbers 21 concerning Moses lifting up a bronze serpent on a pole. One of the most meaningful passages in the entire O. T. took place as Israel was coming into the possession of the land of Edom by the Red Sea. The cross of Christ appears in all of its glory in the incident of the fiery serpents (NUM 21:6-9). Even TLJC used this passage as an illustration of the cross in John 3 where His interview with Nicodemus is recorded. JOH 3:14-18, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. Back in Num 21, it was a long, monotonous journey from Mount Hor through the wilderness in the land of Edom. We read that the people, worn out with fatigue, famished for lack of water, did what most people do, blame the leadership for things not going right. NUM 21:4-5, Then they set out from Mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the people became impatient because of the journey. And the people spoke against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this miserable food.”

            Israel should have known that Jehovah-jireh (the Lord will provide) would not fail His people, because they had seen His faithfulness again and again. They had seen His mighty power on their behalf for the solution of every problem and the supply of every need. Now they were even complaining about the manna from Heaven in NUM 21:5,we loathe this miserable food. In NUM 21:6, the Lord tried a little different approach, but it still pointed to the cross,And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. Sin and rebellion is a fiery serpent, and its sting is the sting of death, 1CO 15:56, The sting of death is sin. Sin bears within itself the horror and the pain of its own punishment, however, as ROM 5:20 teaches where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.

            NUM 21:7-9, So the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, because we have spoken against the Lord and you; intercede with the Lord, that He may remove the serpents from us.” And Moses interceded for the people. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he shall live.” And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived. The fiery serpent spoke of Christ being lifted up on the cross in order that He might save, through the look of faith, those who were dying from sin. What needs to be answered is why a serpent? The serpent was an appropriate figure of the deadly and destructive power of sin. In GEN 3:15 the serpent's seed are said to be unregenerate sinners; the serpent therefore represented the sinner. It may seem totally unfitting to describe TLJC like Satan is described, as a serpent; however, on the cross, 2CO 5:21 says, He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. He was made a curse for us so that the curse might be removed from us, and nothing could be more appropriate than a serpent. This is especially true in light of the fact that the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, is the author of sin. So, the enemy has been judged, his authority shattered, his rights legally annulled. The accuser of our brethren has been thrown down. Sin, which gave the devil legal ground on which to exercise authority, has been expiated. At the cross, the prince of this world met his demise, forever defeated by the Son of God, 1JO 3:8, the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil.

            Why didn't Moses use one of the actual serpents and spike a fiery serpent on the pole? The answer is that it would have damaged the typology. It would have pictured God's judgment on the sinner himself, and worse still, it would have misrepresented our sinless substitute (HEB 7:26). The type chosen was in the likeness of a serpent; it wasn't an actual serpent but a piece of brass made like one. So, the one who is the sinner's Savior was sent in the likeness of sinful flesh (ROM 8:3). So the brazen serpent foreshadows Christ only as He was lifted up on the cross, and the serpent was a reminder of the curse. It was through the agency of that old serpent, the devil, that our first parents were seduced and brought under the curse of a holy God, and on the cross the holy One of God was made a curse for us. It was made of brass to bring out once more the perfect accuracy of the type. In the Scriptures, brass symbolizes divine judgment. The Brazen altar illustrates this truth, for on it the sacrificial animals were slain. Upon the brazen altar descended the consuming fire from heaven. In Rev 1, where Christ is seen as judge inspecting the seven churches, we are told that His feet were like fine brass. So in this passage the serpent spoke of the curse which sin produced and the brass spoke of God's judgment falling on the One made sin for us. Brass is also harder than iron, silver, or gold, so it tells of Christ's mighty strength. He was able to endure the awful judgments which fell upon Him.

            Next, notice the things the Jews were NOT told to do: 1) They were not told to manufacture some ointment as the means of healing their wounds; spiritual lotions do not cure the disease; only TLJC can. 2) They were not told to minister to others who were wounded and help each other out. What use would it be for one to jump into deep water to rescue a drowning man if he himself could not swim? How can one who is dying and unable to deliver himself help others in a similar state? 3) They were not told to fight the serpents. What use would it be to fight the serpents for those who had already been bitten? Fighting against the serpents or fighting against sin will not solve a thing. 4) They were not told to make an offering to the serpent on the pole. God did not ask any payment from them in return for their healing. Grace ceases to be grace if any price is paid for what it brings. 5) They were told not to look at Moses as they had been doing, but God commanded them to look at the brazen serpent. Moses was the law giver, and how many today are continuing to look to him for salvation and spirituality? 6) They were not told to look at their wounds. To be occupied with self is to be occupied with that which God has condemned. The devil is pleased when he gets an individual looking at good human works, feelings, baptism, self, etc. rather than Christ.

            Now let's look now at the positive side: 1) Moses was commanded by God to make a serpent of brass; it was something that the Lord provided. 2) Moses was commanded to fix this brazen serpent upon a pole; the divine remedy was publicly exhibited so all Israel might look and be healed. The Lord's promise in NUM 21:8 was that It shall come to pass that everyone that is bitten, when he looks upon it shall live. 3) They were to look to the divinely appointed object of faith. This is the principle of ISA 45:22, “Turn to Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other.” After salvation the Christian life continues by looking, HEB 12:2, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, and at the end of the Christian life we are still to be looking to Christ, PHI 3:20, For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly look for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; From the beginning to the end it is looking. 4) The brazen serpent was lifted up so that those who were too weak to crawl up to the pole itself simply could look and be healed. No matter how many times they may have been bitten, no matter how far the poison had advanced, if they looked they could be healed, and anyone could look. It is also interesting that man became a lost sinner by a look, GEN 3:6,When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, how wonderful that we may turn to TLJC Himself to interpret for us the meaning of this incident. He looked upon it as a sign of His own suffering and death upon the cross, in the majestic passage of John 3:14-18. JOH 3:14 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life. In order for a new creation to begin, the old creation must be destroyed. When our Lord died on the cross He put an end to the Adamic race and began a new one. Our Lord referred to His sacrificial death as a lifting up because the Jews were looking for a Messiah who should be lifted up.

This led us to look at the Doctrine of Shame.

            Point 1 was our Introduction.
The doctrine of Shame has to do with an unfortunate experience that will take place for many believers at the Judgment Seat of Christ after the Rapture or the exit-resurrection of the church. After the Rapture every believer is transferred into the event known as the Big Genuflex (PHI 2:9-11, ROM 14:10-12). At this time, the entire Royal Family of God will identify Jesus Christ as the head of the family to the glory of God the Father. This is when the Church, in their resurrection bodies, makes a formal acknowledgment of the Father's function in the resurrection, ascension, and session of Christ. In ROM 14:10-12 Paul writes, But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we shall all stand before the Judgment Seat of God. For it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall give praise to God. So then [after that] each one of us shall give account of himself to God. PHI 2:9-11 says, Therefore also God [the Father] highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name [a royal title, the King of kings and Lord of lords] which is above every name [royal title], that at the name [or the title] of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth [believers alive], and under the earth [the dead bodies resurrected], and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Jesus Christ becomes our Lord at salvation when we are entered into union with Him, but we do not come to recognize this unless we advance to spiritual maturity. During our lifetime, the lordship of Christ is really a matter of our priorities. If Bible doctrine is the #1 priority in your life then Jesus Christ has highest priority as your Lord, for Bible doctrine is the thinking of Christ. If He is not first, then you're a loser believer, and you will not recognize Jesus Christ as Lord until you are in a resurrection body. Therefore your time of glory will be a time of shame, only momentarily, but it will be a time of shame and regret. When PHI 2:11 says, “And that every tongue should acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,”that is the last time there will be any equality in the Royal Family of God. So, this event is the Big Genuflex in the sky; this is the only time when all believers have no distinctions and the same resurrection body. After that comes the Judgment Seat of Christ where tremendous differences will exist among believers in resurrection bodies. The Judgment Seat of Christ follows in heaven while the Tribulation occurs on the earth; then we return with Christ at His Second Advent to begin His Millennial reign (REV 19:11-20:6).

            So, the Big Genuflex is the interim event between the Rapture and the Judgment Seat of Christ. It is a time of total appreciation and glorification of the Father's plan and the recognition of our Lord's battlefield royalty which was bestowed at His session. At this time, the entire Royal Family is present, and they confess to the battlefield royalty of Jesus Christ. This explains the phrase in ROM 14:11, every tongue shall confess to God, What is confessed is the fact that our Lord's royalty demands the resurrection of His Royal Family. We must have a resurrection body as He does because we are His bride and His family. The entire royal family will identify the Head of the family, Jesus Christ, to the glory of God the Father. In our moment of greatest happiness we will be talking about the Lord Jesus Christ. So, the Big Genuflex is the moment of maximum happiness which is perpetuated forever; however, it is followed by the Judgment Seat of Christ, where loser believers’ glory will be a time of shame and regret. Winner believers make that happiness meaningful by receiving their eternal rewards and decorations, whereas in PHI 3:19, loser believers’ time of glory will be a momentary time of shame and regret. Perhaps PRO 5:12-13 might be on their mind, And you say, "How I have hated instruction! And my heart spurned reproof! And I have not listened to the voice of my teachers, Nor inclined my ear to my instructors!” No one will lose this fantastic happiness at the Judgment Seat of Christ ,even if they receive no rewards due to failure in time in living the spiritual life, 1Co 3:15, If any man's work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire.

            We will understand the confession of the Royal Family immediately following the Rapture based on the concept of Christ's battlefield royalty, for we will be in total awe of Him. This moment will be the fulfillment of all our doctrine and the realization of the purpose of our new birth. We will each personally praise the strategic victory of the angelic conflict and relate it to our very purpose for living. ROM 14:11, For it is written [quotation from Isa 45:23], “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall give praise to God.”

            Acknowledgment of the strategic victory of our Lord Jesus Christ precedes acknowledgment of the tactical victory of the winner believer whose time of glory will not be a time of shame, but a time of reward. Our praise of our Lord's strategic victory is our recognition of what Christ accomplished from the cross to the session. The tactical victory will then be recognized at the judgment seat of Christ by the imputation of eternal rewards to all winner believers who glorified Christ in time, (ISA 53:11-12). So, the chronology is as follows: First, the Rapture takes place (1CO 15:51-58; 1TH 4:13-18). Second, The Big Genuflex occurs (PHI 2:9-11). Third, the Judgment Seat of Christ (2CO 5:10; ROM 14:10). This will be either your time of glory or a time of shame or regret, based upon the decisions you made in time. Fourth, the bride returns with Christ at the Second Advent (1TH 3:13). Fifth, the manifestation of the Bride (ROM 8:19; COL 3:4). Sixth, Operation Footstool (PSA 110:1; ZEC 13:2; COL 2:15; 1CO 15:24-25). Seventh, the Coronation of Christ (REV 19:6). Eighth, The Wedding Supper of the Lamb (REV 19:7-9).

Point 2. The Shame of the Loser Believer in Time.

            Shame is defined as painful feeling (emotion), originating from the consciousness of something dishonorable, wrong, sinful, or something that causes terrible regret. One of the many blessings of dying grace is to have no regrets and to be able to say with the apostle Paul in 2TI 4:6-8, For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

            For the believer, there is an embarrassment for failing to fulfill God's plan under the principle of equal privilege, equal opportunity, and spiritual freedom. This is because of a few reasons such as the rejection of JOH 3:30, He must increase, but I must decrease. Or the rejection of LUK 14:26, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate [miseo or love less] his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.” Or because they refuse to go against the grain, JOH 12:43 for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God. Or, they let people intimidate them rather than obey passages such as ACT 5:27-9, And when they had brought them [the apostles], they stood them before the Council. And the high priest questioned them, saying, “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles answered and said, “We must obey God rather than men.” That includes anyone in authority over you in any realm; if they try to make you make spiritual decisions, they are doing something that even God doesn't have the audacity to do; they are violating your free will. Adam was cursed when he allowed his wife to manipulate him into making a spiritual decision that he knew he shouldn't have made. Saul was cursed when he allowed the people to manipulate him and violate God's word. Peter and John said in the early church, ACT 4:19, Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge;

            There will be many believers who will have embarrassment and shame at the Judgment Seat of Christ because they allowed others to manipulate them. Those who teach falsely will have as their eulogy something similar to MAR 7:7-8, But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men. Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men. Again, it's important to note that this is only a very temporary shame; for there is no sorrow in the eternal state; however, the loser believer also has shame in time. The point is, don't wait until it's too late. If you have any regrets, forget them, forget about looking back; regret is an appalling waste of energy.

            So, in PHI 3:18-19 we see believers had not been faithful in the perception, metabolization, and application of doctrine through the problem-solving devices, and therefore they were losers. All losers are enemies of the Cross; they are slaves to their emotions and die the sin unto death. Christian losers are believers who fail to execute the PPOG of God in time. They have equal opportunity to do so; however, always remember you must be self-motivated; no one can do it for you. Losers fail to glorify God in time through the function of the spiritual skills, and therefore, loser believers have no glory other than their resurrection body. They have no blessing at the judgment seat of Christ, because on earth they had only wrong priorities and wrong scale of values. They will not have what the twenty-four elders had, crowns to cast at the feet of TLJC (REV 4:10-11). In the N.T. believers who will have shame at the Judgment Seat of Christ are described under at least seven categories: 1) They have drifted off course from grace (GAL 5:4). 2) They come short of the grace of God (HEB 12:15). 3) They are lukewarm in Rev 3:15-16. 4) They are shipwrecked believers (1TI 1:19). 5) They are double-minded believers (JAM 1:8). 6) They fail to metabolize doctrine (Jam 1:22-24). 7) They are enemies of the Cross (PHI 3:18-19). The loser believer lives out his life in a state of irrationality under the control of his own emotions.

            There are at least five categories of the emotional complex of sins which cause the most problems in distracting the loser believer. 1) Hysteria, which includes fear, worry, anxiety, panic, confusion, irrationality, dislocation, and garbage in the subconscious (DEU 31:6, 8; ISA 35:3-4; ISA 41:10). Fear controls the life and therefore distracts the believer from living the Christian life. 2) Hatred. Many believers do hate; this includes anger, hatred, bitter jealousy, loathing, animosity, vulnerability to imagined insults or injury, implacability, malice, tantrums, irrational violence, and even murder. 3) The self-centered category includes the skills related to the arrogance complex of sins: self-justification, self-deception, self-absorption. It includes arrogant self-righteousness, egotistical irrationality, hypersensitivity concerning self and insensitivity concerning others, projection, denial, self-pity, and whining. 4) Reaction, which combines the sins of arrogance with the emotional complex of sins. It includes jealousy, bitterness, vindictiveness, hatred, vilification, vituperation, malice, revenge motivation and operation, inordinate ambition and inordinate competition. 5) Guilt, which is a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some real or imagined offense. Religion generally functions by producing guilt in its adherents. Guilt is the motivation of religion, not the Christian way of life. When you are under the sin of guilt, you are under the greatest area of weakness that you could ever have. Guilt is caused by repression, denial, projection, and manipulation, and weak people manipulate stronger people through guilt. 

            In 1CO 15:34, Awake to righteousness and stop sinning; for some [believers] have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame. In other words, wake up, it's time that we all understand why we are here after salvation. The phrase awake to righteousness or come to your senses righteously refers to having capacity for divine blessing from the righteousness developed by the execution of the spiritual life or productive righteousness. It means to be oriented to reality in a state of tranquility, the status of productive righteousness. As a part of the plan of God, all believers are given God's very own righteousness at the point of salvation as capacity for blessing as they begin to grow spiritually. This gives the capacity to enjoy lesser blessings in life, such as logistical grace blessings. At salvation God the Holy Spirit entered us into union with Christ and we now share His righteousness; this is our wall of fire, our protection. However, if we are going to be blessed with greater blessings in our post-salvation experience and not 1JO 2:28, shrink away from Him in shame at His coming, we must have a righteousness which comes from our spiritual life. This righteousness can be called our productive righteousness, which is attained by the filling of the Holy Spirit plus the metabolization of doctrine plus the use of the problem-solving devices. Receiving the greater blessings of spiritual maturity demands we have the capacity to appreciate and enjoy those blessings. By the way, the command to stop sinning in 1Co15:34, has to do with the arrogance complex of sins and the emotional complex of sins. God will never bless us beyond our capacity. 

            So, in this passage, these believers who had no knowledge of God were believers who sat under the teaching of the apostle Paul and yet were distracted by the arrogance and emotional complex of sins. At the Judgment Seat of Christ, they, like every believer of the Church-age, will stand in a resurrection body and be evaluated. For those who are winners, the Lord Jesus Christ will convey their escrow blessings for the eternal state. For those who are losers, their escrow blessings will remain on deposit in the eternal hall of records in heaven as a memorial to lost equal opportunity to fulfill God's plan, 1Co 3:15, they shall suffer loss; but shall be saved, At that point, the loser believer will stand in a resurrection body in a state of shame and embarrassment. So, there is great differentiation between winner and loser believers in eternity. The issue is: what are you going to do with all the spiritual assets God has provided for you? It is volition toward Bible doctrine, not environment or circumstances, that is the issue in your spiritual life. The filling of the Holy Spirit has given us all equal ability to understand Bible doctrine. The phrase stop sinning, doesn't mean that you can enter into sinless perfection in time, because in 1JO 1:8-10, the believer who says that he doesn't sin after salvation is a liar and doctrine is not in him.

            Another passage which warns us about the loser believer is found in REV 3:14-15, And to the angel [the messenger, the pastor-teacher] of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this: I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would that you were cold or hot. TLJC is not saying this to mature believers, who are hot, or unbelievers who are cold. If they were cold, He could give them the Gospel. If they were hot, they would use the problem-solving devices to solve their problems, and He would continue to give them advanced doctrine. But, because they are lukewarm, all He can do is warn them. REV 3:16, “So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.” This is the reason why so many believers die in a horrible way. The sin unto death is God putting His official stamp of loser on the life of the believer and a guarantee of shame and embarrassment at the Judgment Seat of Christ. It is one of the greatest disgraces for a believer; there is no order of the morning star, no uniform of glory, no uniform of honor, no crowns, no official coat of arms and all those wonderful things involved in ruling during the Millennium, but there is embarrassment and shrinking in shame at the bema seat judgment. They may have certain kinds of success and prosperity, but their success and prosperity does not bring them happiness, REV 3:17 “Because you say, I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing, and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.”

            In this passage, they were not able to pass the prosperity test. They still have the prosperity as they are living in the cosmic system; however, that prosperity is going to be a means of setting them up for divine discipline. Prosperous people like non-prosperous people can be very unhappy and unstable; prosperity doesn't change anything. The moment that you say; I am successful, I am rich, I am wealthy, you know that you have problems! Once you get into the “I” syndrome there is the exclusion of the Pre-designed Plan of God. You're never going to have a truly successful and meaningful relationship with any human being when you have an attitude like this. There's nothing wrong with prosperity, but all too frequently, there is something wrong with those who have it. Prosperity was designed to be a blessing, but prosperity can never be a blessing for any believer without capacity. So in REV 3:17, we are talking about cosmic believers who will be embarrassed and shrink in shame at the bema seat judgment. But, always remember the principle that grace precedes judgment; therefore the Lord offers them some advice on how to recover. REV 3:18, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich, and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see. Obviously the first step to recovery is to name and cite your sins, and then begin to sort out your priorities and decide what should have first place on your scale of values.

Point 3. Questions and Principles We All Need to Answer and Understand in Relationship to the Doctrine of Shame.

            The Bible says in 2Co 13:5, Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you, unless indeed you fail the test? GAL 6:4 says, But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. One of the principles of self-examination is being honest with yourself concerning legitimate questions and principles that you need to understand. When you stand in the presence of the Lord at the Judgment Seat of Christ will He say (Mat 25:21,23) to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in a few things. I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the perfect happiness of the Lord”? Or will you be ashamed that you rejected the spiritual skills, ignored the divine motivation behind grace, and lived in ignorance concerning the PPOG?

            The divine motivation behind grace is to supply everything that you need to enjoy this life in time, but most of all have the ultimate life in the eternal state. Under the principle of election, the sovereignty of God willed the highest and best for every believer, having previously deposited everything that the believer would ever need it in eternity past. From eternity past God has wisely provided your needs based on His grace and love for you, PHI 4:19, And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. As your Father, He has provided everything for you, so why live a life of anxiety, worry, concern, doubt, and fear, while ignoring God's plan for your life? Not only has God known about your needs from eternity past and provided them in your very own portfolio of invisible assets, but He also knows that you must keep His authority always before you. Therefore, you need a wake-up call from divine discipline every now and then. Everyone gets disciplined; there are no exceptions, because every one fails and gets slothful, sidetracked, and apathetic at sometime. HEB 12:5-11, and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, Nor faint when you are reproved by Him; For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, And He scourges every son whom He receives. It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”

            The Lord has your best interest in mind at all times because He has always loved you from eternity past. This is the real meaning of election where God wills His highest and best for every believer. This is why Peter said in 2PE 1:10-11, Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you [His election of you]; for as long as you practice these things [virtues developed from living the spiritual life in 2PE 1:5-7], you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you. The very fact that we reap what we sow is a manifestation of God's grace to protect and guide us so that we will not experience shame at the Judgment Seat of Christ. We do not want to be found naked (in the sense of not having all of the divine blessings in eternity that God has willed for us to have) in the eternal state (REV 3:18; Rev 16:15; REV 22:12). Remember that in 1CO 15:41-42, resurrection bodies differ in glory and in the glorified state. DAN 12:3 says, some resurrection bodies will shine brighter than others. Imagine spending all eternity wondering why you don't have the uniform of glory. Imagine spending all eternity knowing that you could have gone to the Gazebo in the garden where the big parties are in heaven. You could have had the freedom to go in and out of the New Jerusalem suspended above the earth, the greatest party place the world has ever known! If you're really going to make it, if you really want to make it, you'd better start now. If not, you're going to regret and be filled shame at the Judgment Seat of Christ when the different crowns are distributed to winner believers.

            No believer can advance with security unless the Lord takes the point, and the Lord does not take the point unless the believer is on the offensive by the consistent function of the spiritual skills inside the PPOG, which is the believer's wall of fire. You have the option of learning and using the spiritual skills to glorify God or the option to live for yourself and your goals and plans. If you reject this option, then it takes divine discipline to discover who is really in charge. The people who are really happy in life are the people who have the ability to identify true authority in life. You cannot respond to authority until you can identify it. The believer who does not recognize the authority of the infallible word of God as the mind or thinking of Christ can never find happiness. For those believers who reject authority there is only pain and suffering in the form of two biblical doctrines: the law of volitional responsibility (HOS 8:7; GAL 6:7-8; COL 3:25), and the law of divine discipline in three categories — warning, intensive, dying. Through divine discipline you learn two things: volition is an issue in life, and divine punishment is the alternative to positive volition to doctrine.

This led us to the Doctrine of Winner and Loser Believers.

            REV 12:11, Furthermore, they [believers in TLJC] overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb andbecause of the doctrine applied by means of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death. Three reasons they overcame Satan and the kingdom of darkness: 1) Blood - dealt with their sin. 2) The Word of God. 3). They did not love their life, no self-preservation even to death. So, these individuals became winner believers.

How do you know when you start to become a winner? You can tell when you become or start to become a winner, because you are not afraid of death. You live in the reality of PSA 23:4, Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Or in 1CO 15:55, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” If you are a winner believer, you're going to have dying grace whether it takes you a year to die, or five seconds to die. Everyone apart from the rapture generation is going to die, but there is no fear of death for the mature believer. Believers who have failed, losers, are always afraid of death, and Satan has the power to give them fear of death, because it is one of his principles inside the cosmic system (HEB 2:14-15).

            Back in REV 12:11, Furthermore, they [believers in TLJC] overcame him (Satan) because of the blood of the Lamb [the saving work of Christ] and because of the doctrine applied by means of their testimony; in fact, they did not love their life even to death. They were strategic winners because they had believed in Christ; they were tactical winners because they had advanced to maturity in a very difficult time. This verse reveals the two categories of winners in the Christian way of life: the strategic winner and the tactical winner. Strategic refers to that which is important or essential in relation to a plan of action. Tactical refers to combat tactics as involving actions or means of less magnitude or at a shorter distance from a base of operations than those of strategy.

            Every Christian is a strategic winner; anyone who believes in Christ is a strategic winner in the angelic conflict. The very fact that he has made a one shot decision to personally trust in Christ makes him a winner in that sense. And of course, the result is eternal life and a resurrection body. 1JO 5:4-5, For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith. And who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? In REV 2:11, winner believers shall not be hurt by the second death because of blessing by association (REV 2:11). In REV 2:17, they eat of the hidden manna and receive a new name on a white stone; the new knighthood is given to the winner. Each winner alone knows his place in the eternal order of chivalry. In REV 2:26, they are given power and authority to rule nations. In REV 3:5, they are clothed with the uniform of glory. In REV 3:5 “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments and I will never blot out his title [the winner is knighted at the Judgment Seat of Christ] out of the book of life.  In fact, I will acknowledge his title in the presence of My Father and before His angels [a formal presentation].” The decoration includes presentation in the Court of Heaven to God the Father. While this occurs in the third heaven for all winners, the losers will wait in the second heaven. In REV 3:12, their names are written in the historical record section of heaven and he has a coat of arms. They have a new title written upon them as they follow their fearless leader back to earth, in Rev 19:11-16. In REV 3:21, winners are granted to sit with Christ on His throne. And then finally, in REV 21:7, winners inherit fantastic blessings in the eternal state, “He who overcomes shall inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.”

            So this is a description of the winner in the eternal state, the one who discovers that the Word of God is alive and powerful, not only in time, but forever and ever and ever in the eternal state. There are two parts to the angelic conflict as it extends into human history: the strategic side and the tactical side. The tactical side is when you have the opportunity to become a witness for TLJC in the midst of the angelic conflict. The chief witness in all of human history is the humanity of Jesus Christ in hypostatic union; He is the strategic witness (COL 2:14-15; REV 1:4; 3:14). The other witnesses are the invisible heroes, those believers who execute the PPOG in the Church-age. These mature believers are tactical witnesses; tactical meaning we do the same thing but in lesser form. Under strategy, our Lord accomplished the strategic victory of the angelic conflict through His salvation ministry on the cross plus his physical death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. Under tactics, the believer accomplishes the tactical victory of the angelic conflict through his advance to spiritual maturity in the PPOG; at this point he becomes an invisible hero. Anyone who believes in Christ is a winner strategically in the angelic conflict, but it is the tactical victory that is in view with Bible doctrine. Your daily attitude toward Bible doctrine, in both perception and application, becomes the tactical victory. So you can be a strategic winner and a tactical loser. A strategic winner has eternal life, but in eternity nothing to show for the time that he spent on earth. This reveals the importance of growing in grace, of daily perception of doctrine, and the importance of application of doctrine to the different momentum tests that every believer must pass to become a winner.

           So, the two kinds of winners are the strategic winner and the tactical winner. The strategic winner has eternal life and can't lose it, and will have a resurrection body in heaven forever and forever. The tactical winner is going to have much more. In fact, the tactical winner is going to be invited to parties in eternity that the strategic winner can't enjoy.  He's the one who’s going to be in the gazebo in the garden. He's the one who’s going to have the special privileges forever and ever, privileges that go with being a winner.  The concept is, RHIP, rank has its privileges, and there is no equality in heaven. Equality ends with the strategic victory that all believers have by accepting Christ as Savior; it is the tactical winners who are going to have higher rank and greater privileges forever, and ever, and ever. 

           Under strategic victory we have the one shot decision, faith in Christ, which produces a strategic winner in the angelic conflict, in contrast to the unbeliever, who is a loser in the angelic conflict, and that's why he shares the destiny of Satan, the eternal lake of fire. On the other side, in the tactical victory, we have a contrast: instead of a one shot decision, you have to make thousands of positive decisions, with regard to the plan of God. Under strategic victory Christ is glorified by one decision, the positive decision to believe in Christ.  But on the tactical victory side, Christ is glorified by many decisions. Under strategic victory, we have a result, eternal life plus a resurrection body, but no eternal rewards. Whereas on the tactical victory side, for those who have it, the result is eternal life, resurrection body, plus the uniform of glory with the resurrection body, plus fantastic blessings in time and eternal rewards. Under strategic victory, the winner, the strategic winner who fails to advance, lives in the cosmic system and he fears death. Whereas on the other side, the tactical winner lives in the PPOG and has no fear of death. On the strategic victory side, the strategic victor is sustained in time by logistical grace only; he's kept alive by the grace of God. Whereas on the tactical victory side, he is sustained in time by both logistical and supergrace blessing. Logistical grace sustains him to spiritual maturity where he receives supergrace blessing. The strategic victory side, the cosmic believer is a strategic winner, but a tactical loser. On the tactical victory side, the believer in the PPOG is both a strategic and tactical winner; he's a dual winner instead of simply a single winner.

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