Not Of This Earth

A host of people call themselves Christian but, as I have said many times before, there are Christians and then there are “Christians.” When it comes to real Christians, many people think they are odd, and the Holy Scriptures indicate that is the way it is to be.
Not Of This Earth
Source - Image owned, uploaded and copyrighted 2015 by the author, Peter P. Macinta (BrotherPete).

As one reads the Holy Scriptures they soon learn the Holy Bible often presents two types of people, one being the opposite of the other. Jesus would often call, or describe, His followers as sheep, but also mentioned others as a generation of vipers. In the epistles sometimes the unbelievers were termed “the sons / children of disobedience.”

“Inhabitant/s of the earth” is another term for the unbelievers. The phrase is found a total of eight times in Holy Scripture and all but one (Revelation 17:2) are found in the Old Testament. In the New Testament believers are sometimes called pilgrims

or sojourners. The reason for this that when one truly comes to know God through Christ they are translated (changed) from darkness into His kingdom (Colossians 1:13). Thus, the truly redeemed are not of this earth but are, instead, citizens of heaven.

The fact that Christians are not of this earth and are citizens of heaven is found in Philippians 3:20. It is not that evident in the KJV but the actual Greek does use the term “citizenship.” Compare the verse in the KJV with some other translations or versions:

KJV = “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:”
YLT = “For our citizenship is in the heavens, whence also a Saviour we await — the Lord Jesus Christ —”
ESV = “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,”
NASB = “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;”

For our message we will include verse 21: “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” We will see mainly four things from these two verses.

I. Our Standing 20a

“For our citizenship is in heaven . . .” NASB

As you see, the KJV’s term “conversation” in this case means “citizenship” {1}. The Greek word translated that way is very similar to the Greek word in Philippians 1:27 where the NKJV has “conduct” for the KJV’s “conversation.” Back when the KJV was developed the term “conversation” meant more than talking. It meant way of life. The epistle to the Philippians is the only New Testament (NT) book where these Greek words, speaking of citizenship, are used. Elsewhere in the NT other Greek words are used that speak of manner of living.

Consider with that the fact that years before Paul was directed by God to write this epistle that he and Silas were prisoners at Philippi. As Acts 16:12-40 records, they were scourged then put in stocks. They were released by a miracle of God. Soon the jailor would learn Paul was a Roman citizen and therefore should not have been treated so harshly. Roman citizens had certain rights that should not be violated --but God was in charge. Years later Paul was a prisoner again, but this time by the Roman government. And even though his imprisonment in Rome could have ended in physical death, God was still in charge.

Perhaps this came to mind while Paul was composing the epistle and he felt led of the Holy Spirit to use some terms speaking of heavenly citizenship. No matter how we feel or what happens to us, God is in charge. Thinking back to the miraculous release of Paul and Silas from Philippi reminds me again that when one truly becomes born again they are released from being prisoners of this world. They are no longer citizens of this world but they are citizens of heaven.

And, as previously stated, God is in charge. That means we are to do His will regardless of how we feel, regardless of our circumstances, and regardless of any consequences when we by His grace act in such a way as Peter and John when they told their religious leaders that they will obey God rather than man.

II. Our Savior  20b

“ . . . from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ." NASB

The true Christian waits for the physical return of the One Who lived a life pleasing to God for us, Who became our sin, taking our just punishment, Who rose from the dead and was exalted--the victorious Christ (Messiah). His resurrection, ascension, and exaltation collectively comprise the Father’s declaration that the Son is righteous.

While the KJV simply states, “whence also we look for the Savior,” translations like the NASB bring out the deeper meaning of the Greek. Strong points out that “we wait” means to be assiduously (constantly) and patiently waiting for. At the time of this article, it has been almost 2,000 years since Christ ascended. However, the establishment of the United Nations and Israel in the 1940s, along with numerous current events coupled with the temperament of the world indicate that Christ’s physical return is very imminent. Until He does physically return, there should always be a desire in our heart for that occurrence and we should permit His grace within to give us strength not to give up.

Though, at the time of this writing, this speaks of a future event, the thought of constantly and patiently waiting can be applied to our moment by moment living. We must not give up, act presumptuously, become overly frustrated, or any such thing while we wait for something from God. We must keep in mind that before Christ ascended He said all power (authority) had been given unto Him in heaven and earth. We must permit the Holy Spirit to produce the holy fruit of meekness in all matters of our lives whether great or small.

And the true Christian eagerly, constantly, and patiently awaits the physical return of “a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ." ”Savior” means that in Jesus Christ salvation is provided from the wrath of God, from the clutches of the world system, from sin, from self, and more. “The Lord" speaks to Christ’s lordship. He must be “the boss," the king, of our personal life. “Jesus" was the name assigned to our Messiah on earth. Many do not know it, but the name “Jesus" is the same as “Joshua" (Yeshua), a very common first name at that time. God in His wisdom chose that common name in part to show that the salvation wrought by Jesus Christ is available to each person. “Christ," “Messiah," in part speaks to His anointing by God, authorized and empowered to do all the foregoing and more.

III. Our Salvation 21a

“Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, . . .” 

A final aspect of our salvation will be having  the same type of body Christ now has. The term “vile body" is definitely in contrast with “glorious body." Vile can mean “lowly," “humble," etc. The contrasting term, “glorious," should be very appealing to us because, if


one is granted a new body like His then one will be no longer be subject to temptation, pain, aging, physical limitations and much more.

With that truth comes a very important responsibility for every true believer which is found in 1 John 3;1-6 (ESV*): 
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in himself purifies himself as he is pure. 4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.”

IV. Our Submission 21b

 “. . .  according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” 

The Word of God is very clear that the changing of our current physical body into a glorious body like unto Christ’s is accomplished by, if I might put it this way, the raw power of God. We get our English word “energy" from the Greek word in this verse translated as “the working." He Who created the universe by His speaking (Genesis 1) and He Who will make all things new (Revelation 20) without a doubt has the ability to transform a lowly human body into an everlasting spiritual reality that is also physical.

“He is able to subdue all things to Himself" should bring us encouragement, not just for the future hope of a glorious body, but the present assurance that in Christ our sin and sin nature is conquered, granting us the ability to follow through with the admonitions of 1 John 3. The power to thwart our sin and sin nature is seen through much of the NT in passages such as Galatians 2:20 and Romans 6:14.

The admonitions of 1 John 3:1-6 and the encouragement of Philippians 2:21b come together in Philippians 2:12-13--
“Wherefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13  For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

“Works” of verse 13 is essentially the same Greek terminology as “the working” of 2:21b. God can do it, but we must cooperate with Him and let His power change us.

Because we are not of this earth (if we are a true Christian) and we are empowered by God to be that way, we are exhorted in Philippians 4:1 as follows:

“Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.”

As mentioned near the beginning of this article, unbelievers are sometimes referred to in God’s Word as “inhabitant/s of the earth.” Isaiah 24 is referred to by some as “Isaiah’s little apocalypse.” When we get to verse 17 we read, “Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth.” Much can be said about that verse and verse 18 and I have a recording of a message titled, “The Snare: An Apocalyptic Warning” that I would like for you to hear {2}, but suffice it at this point for me to say that snare is certainly being laid at this moment and it will soon catch its prey.

Its prey are the inhabitants of earth, but not the citizens of heaven. If you have not made peace with God through Jesus Christ please yield to the moving of the Holy Spirit upon you and surrender your life fully to Him. You might lose many earthly things, friends, family members, and pleasures, but you will gain Eternal life. You will escape the snare because you are not of this earth.

Notes:

{1} From an electronic version of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance by James Strong incorporated in the Online Bible program, and so throughout the article whenever the ancient language is referred to and no other authority is cited.

{2} Please select the appropriate link at  http://www.sapphirestreams.com/life/audioM.html#M175 to hear “The Snare: An Apocalyptic Warning.”

This article was in the form of a sermon (message) outline with comments. God willing by December 31, 2015 (hopefully much sooner), you should be able to hear the actual message (sermon) by selecting a link at http://www.sapphirestreams.com/life/audioM.html#M386 .

Unless otherwise noted all Holy Scripture is from the 1769 Authorized Version with spelling of some words updated for our time in addition to changing LORD to YHVH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates. An * next to the abbreviation for another translation or version indicates the same for the text presented.

Not responsible for lead picture after date of publication. Not responsible for any advertisements appearing with this article nor am I necessarily in agreement with any of them. The statements of this paragraph hold true not only for this article, but for everything I have placed on the Internet.



Article Written By BrotherPete

I am a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, having served over forty years as a pastor. I graduated from Northeast Bible College of Green Lane Pennsylvania and have a Bachelors Degree in Bible. I am enthused about the Word of God and how it can make a positive change in the life of anyone once it is teamed up with faith and the Holy Spirit. I am happily married. Visit www.sapphirestreams.com.

Posted on: Last updated: 10-06-2016 108 2

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  • nbillett  28-12-2016
    Our limited ability to see the awesome and intricate detail of things in the physical world reminds us that our ability to see and understand what's happening in the spiritual realm is equally limited.
    reply 0
  • rubyhawk  08-12-2015

    Some people believe in fables and some belive in science.

    reply 0
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