Section 2
Lesson2

God's Last Will & Testament


           "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" Hebrews 1:14.
          Question:  Do heirs automatically receive an inheritance? Or do they need to take steps towards laying hold of it? Indeed, one must claim an inheritance to actually receive it. More so, sometimes conditions are attached to the will which must be met in order for the heir to claim the inheritance.
          Such is the case concerning the Creator's will, which is found in the New Testament of the Bible, or rather, what I'm referring to here as "God's Last Testament". You know... the OT was God's first covenant or testament. This means the NT is the new covenant or testament. And since it's throughout the NT that God establishes the conditions to inherit eternal life, this makes the NT God's Final, Unchanging, Permanent, Signed, Sealed & Delivered via Christ's Blood... Last Will & Testament.
          As we know, the NT reveals that, via the death of the Son of God and submission unto His kingdom through repentance and faith, people could inherit eternal life.  But just as it sometimes is with an earthly inheritance, heirs to salvation could potentially forfeit the Father's will for them to inherit eternal life, by failing to adhere to the conditions of His will. God's last will and testament outlines how we are made heirs of Christ unto eternal life by grace, adopted as sons into His Holy family. But it additionally outlines how we must remain as heirs by abiding in Him in order to not forfeit His will for us.
          Indeed, believers grasp that God sent His only begotten Son to die for us because He passionately loves us. And we know that God's will is that none should perish, 2 Peter 3:9. And we know that, "It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast", Ephesians 2:8-9.
   
          But that's not all God's last will and testament conveys.
       
          If we thoroughly study God's last will and testament, especially looking at the original Greek to understand the intent, we see that there is definitely the potential for born-again believers to thwart their eternal destiny with Christ. We're going to examine this in depth. The following are many excerpts from God's last will and testament which clearly outline His conditions for salvation:


  • Philippians 2:12 says, "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed... work out your own salvation with fear and trembling". In other words, continue on in your obedience reverently. Failing to do so, to the contrary, is not working out your salvation with fear and trembling (reverence and honor). This establishes that salvation is not guaranteed just because you're adopted into the family. One must demonstrate via their convictions and actions that they are a legitimate member of God's family, committed, submitted and loyal to the holy family and its values.
  • ​Hebrews 10:26-29, "If we willfully (continue in habitual) sin after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.  Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.  How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who (as believers!) has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spiritof grace?" Big stipulation here! If we sin, we are forfeiting grace! Though our works (obedience) aren't what gain us salvation, a life of willful sin without repentance and faith negates the will of the Father that we should have eternal life with Him.
  • John 15:1-6, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch (believer) in me that bears no fruit...Remain (abide) in me, as I also remain (abide) in you... If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches (believers) are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
  • Colossians 1:21-23, "Yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you as holy and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— IF indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard"
  • ​Hebrews 12:6, "See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.  -So, we're being warned to not be like Esau in giving up our inhertance by living according to our lusts and lack of self-control!
  • 1 John 2:24-25, "As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. IF it does (remain in you), you also will remain in the Son and in the Father (and His will!). As this is what he promised us—eternal life." It's very clear that abiding in the ways of Christ and His kingdom are what defines if we truly believe and submit to Jesus as King. Not genuinely abiding in Christ is stepping out of the will of the Father and away from the inheritance of eternal life. Yes, first we must repent and believe. But if we do that but then remain in the ways of darkness, not really believing in God's power in us to overcome sin, not really seeking and learning the right, holy kingdom ways of being, not letting His power transform us, not growing in the attributes (fruits) of His Spirit, having no heart for truth, then that's choosing to be joint heirs with the devil and his pending fate, not Christ's.  (Now, I'm not referring to people who are struggling with sin who haven't been able to overcome yet. They hate their cycles of sin and repent. I'm referring to willfully continuing in our old ways, serving self and the world without conviction and with no regard for Christ outside of "saying the sinners prayer" and going through the motions.)
  • Romans 8:1-2, "There is therefore now no condemnation (which is katakrima - damnatory sentence) to those who are IN Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of (obedience to) the Spirit of life (abiding) IN Christ Jesus has made me (Paul) free from the law of (obedience to) sin and death (eternal damnation)".  -Yes, Paul specifically said HE was the one free from eternal damnation, not all believers as many Bible translation wrongfully say, because HE personally walked in obedience to the Spirit and not his flesh. Paul explained in Romans chapter 7 that he recognizes how his spirit wants to do right while his flesh, his members, strive to do contrary. He declares how wretched he is except that God delivered him from his sinful nature through Jesus Christ. This is why he could only speak to his personal freedom from eternal damnation, not everyone's. The emphasis is he personally accomplished this freedom from damnation via the crucifying of his flesh / members and living according to the Spirit.  [Several translations leave out half of Romans 8:1 and then say, "has made you free" in Romans 8:2 where it's actually "has made me free" in the original text. This is dangerously misleading to the body of Christ.  The true text clearly establishes that believers have a choice to yield to the sinful nature that still resides in us, or to crucify it and yield to the Spirit of righteousness that resides in us, and that it's only by living in resistance to sin and in submission to the Spirit whereby we have eternal life.]
  • Galatians 5:4, "You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace". This right here clearly states that the heir, by stepping outside of the conditions of the will, has disqualified themselves from receiving the inheritance. Unless they come back into compliance with the will - via genuine repentance and submission to His conditions, they're damned.
  • 2 Peter 3:18, "Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard lest you also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in the grace. "
  • Titus 3:9-11, "In speaking to believers, Paul says, 'Warn a (quarreling) divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that he is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned'". Here we see Paul speaking to "believers" who were once condemned (born sinners) but redeemed through Christ, yet are now self-condemned again.  Are the "condemned" heirs to the Father's will?
  • 1 Timothy 4:1, " Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some (Christians) shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils..." Sadly, these believers think they're still in their adoptive Heavenly Father's will, but they've actually abandoned the conditions of God's last will and testament by chasing after the false, "all goodies" gospel which caters to their flesh. Except that their eyes are opened and they repent, the last will and testament of the Holy Father will be lost to them forever.
  • ​1 Timothy 6:10-12, "For the love of money is the root of many evils: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, laying hold of eternal life, whereunto thou art also called (unlike how those who do not follow after righteousness will not lay hold of eternal life)". 
  • In referring to the Church of Sardis (the dead church) Jesus told John to tell them that, "He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels". Revelation 3:5. In other words, if these Christians do not overcome, Jesus WILL blot their names out of the Book of Life!
  • ​Matthew 7:19-21, "Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but (only) he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven".  This shows that not every "believer" truly belongs to God's family and His promised inheritance. Because they live according to their own will, their flesh, not the Father's. These "believers", therefore, have no part in the inheritance.
  • "But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days and months and seasons and years. I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain."  Galatians 4:9-11. Many interpret that Paul is saying these Galatians returned to observing Jewish holy days but this is wrong. Galatians never observed Jewish traditions in the past, so how could they return to it? Further, would Paul call God's festivals and holy days weak and beggarly? No! So, what Paul meant was they were going back to observing all their old pagan holidays and rituals. If Paul was fearful for these folks, clearly it had to do with the potential of losing their eternal inheritance - because other than that, what else would there be to be so afraid for them about? And we need to ask ourselves if that which we observe and hold in such sacred regard (despite pagan roots) is something that would provoke Paul to fear for us as well. 
  • Galatians 4:30, "Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman SHALL NOT BE HEIR with the son of the freewoman".  You understand that we are children of the freewoman now because we have been born again, by believing in Jesus. But realize that the children born of the free woman in spirit (as Isaac was born supernaturally in Sarah's barren womb via Abraham's faith in God and the power of the Spirit) are the heirs because we are delivered out of our old identities as children of the slave woman - through Christ. So, technically, we have two distinct identities.  And what this passage is commanding is, "Cast out (renounce, crucify) your old identity! Cast out (renounce, crucify) your flesh, sin, and your will. These shall not be heir with your new, spiritually living identity". In other words, if we continue to live out of the aspects of our dead, flesh identity after receiving our new spiritual ID, thinking we can bring it along for the ride, we're wrong. Prior to receiving new life in Christ, our dead flesh selves had no ability to partake of an eternal inheritance in Glory. And they still don't. So, if we've received Jesus but have our old ID in our back pocket, unable to completely part with it, then we're in danger. Our old selves have no inheritance with Christ! So, if our old identity still runs our life despite our receiving a new one, how can we inherit eternal life? I mean, think about it. If you're a history professor but get a degree to be a surgeon and get hired by a hospital, if you show up for work teaching history all day, never walking in your new identity as a surgeon, how long will you last? You'll be kicked to the curb because your history professor identity has no place at the hospital! 
  • 1 Peter 1:7-9, "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom (despite) not seeing him, you love him; in whom, though now you still don't see him, you believe, rejoicing with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."  What a perfect summation. This passage outlines the reality that the believer's faith must be tried, proven and established by fire, so that it is found blameless at Christ's return (when He comes for His spotless bride). And Peter points out that those whose faith is tried by fire, are those who truly love and believe God, so much so, that they rejoice with unspeakable joy, full of glory, despite it. And finally, note that it is through the trying of the believer's faith whereby we can receive the END of our faith - the salvation of our soul. So we see, then, making a profession of faith in Christ is only the beginning of salvation through Christ. It's via the repentant, submitted, selfless, ongoing, whole-hearted pursuit of Christ and His ways, through a great trying of our faith and the application of faith in our lives, whereby we work out our salvation, laying hold of the inheritance of eternal life; the will of the Father. To the contrary, not staying the course, not living according to the law of the Spirit which is outlined throughout the entire last testament, is to our eternal demise.
         
          I'd like to close by touching on a most profound condition of the Father's will that I've never heard anyone acknowledge or discuss. Of course, we know Mark 16:16 says, "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved". So, whenever someone gives their life to Christ, they go through the ceremonial baptism of proclaming their death and new life through Christ. But I don't think that's all there was to baptism.
          John the Baptist reports, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire", Luke 3:16. 
          First, why "fire"?  We know the Bible speaks of the refiner's fire (Zechariah 13:9, 1 Peter 1:6-7, Isaiah 48:10, Psalms 66:10, Proverbs 17:3) whereby He purifies His children via trials as a refiner would purify silver or gold via fire. So then... Luke 3:16 is saying while John, the preparer, the minister, the teacher, baptized with water, Jesus would baptize us with the Holy Spirit and trials, to purify us. Look specifically at 1 Peter 1:6-7:  "...You may have had to suffer in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."
          Now let's look at the definition of baptism:

  1. a religious, ceremonial dedication with sprinkling or immersion
  2. an initiation into a particular activity or role, typically something perceived as difficult.
  3.  to cleanse spiritually, initiate or dedicate by purifying

          Like I said, we're all acquainted with the first part of the definition of baptism. But when John the Baptist said Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire, it definitely refers to our being tried and proven, spiritually cleansed, and dedicated to God via trials that purify us.
          To understand more clearly, remember how Jesus referred to His pending death on the cross as a "baptism" that He must undergo in Luke 12:50? And remember how, after James and John asked to sit at his right and left hand in Heaven, Jesus said, "“You don’t know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” Mark 10:38.
          Jesus was giving us clues as to what He really meant when He said, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved" in Mark 16:16 - which is that those who believe on Him who also submit to being purged and purified, potentially even unto persecution and death like Him, will be saved.
          The purpose for the new believer's ceremonial baptism was to serve as a public declaration of our laying down the old and taking up the new, but even more, as the entry into the purification process of the refiner's fire. Together the ceremonial declaration along with the refining of proving of our faith are a complete baptism that, because we believed and were baptized, inherit eternal life.
          So, then, yes, it is by grace we are saved through faith (and the process of Christ finishing it in us via our submission and cooperation). And yes, if we repent, and believe (which is demonstrated via our actions according to James 2:14-26)... and if we are baptized (purified by the Holy Spirit and fire), then yes, we will have met the conditions of the Father's will and shall receive an "inheritance incorruptible and undefiled that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for us." 1 Peter 1:4. Amen.




God's Last Will & Testament Question Sheet