The Philadelphia Church

The following Scripture passages are offered to aid beginning fellowships. The readings and commentary for this week are more in line with what has become usual; for the following will most likely be familiar observations. The concept behind this Sabbath’s selection is “suffering builds good character.”

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Weekly Readings

For the Sabbath of November 21, 2015

The person conducting the Sabbath service should open services with two or three hymns, or psalms, followed by an opening prayer acknowledging that two or three (or more) are gathered together in Christ Jesus’ name, and inviting the Lord to be with them.


Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. (Rom 5:1–5)



Through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us—yes, the Holy Spirit [’agios pneuma] has been given to disciples. But during Paul’s ministry, was the Holy Spirit given to the Circumcision Faction; to certain men who came from James (from Gal 2:12)? Was the Holy Spirit given to those who followed the mystery of lawlessness (from 2 Thess 2:7)? Was the Holy Spirit given to everyone who professed that Jesus was Lord and believed in the person’s heart that the Father had raised Jesus from death (from Rom 10:9)? Paul would seem to have everyone who professed that Jesus was Lord being saved. And in the past nearly two millennia, many have professed that Jesus is Lord, yet walked in this world not as people of Judea but as Gentiles, far from God and not getting any closer by professing that Jesus is Lord.

Jesus [in Greek, ’Iesou, for Greek speakers like other Indo-European speakers do not hear and thus do not use the Hebrew ‘Ayin glyph, but pass over it silently when encountering the glyph in a consonant cluster] became a name to which sanctity was placed without this sanctity requiring that the person walk in this world as an inwardly observant Judean. Thus, the person—even in the 1st-Century CE—who professed that Jesus was Lord didn’t necessary realize that in uttering the profession, the person was to walk in this world as Jesus walked (1 John 2:6; 1 Cor 11:1 et al), which will now have the person keeping the Commandments because Jesus kept the Commandments; which will have the person keeping the seventh day Sabbath because Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath.

So, was the Holy Spirit given to the Circumcision Faction, or to those “disciples” that followed the mystery of lawlessness even when both professed that Jesus is Lord … no, it was not. For the person to whom the Holy Spirit is given will be born of spirit through the indwelling of the spirit of Christ [pneuma Christou] in the spirit of the person [to pneuma tou ’anthropou], which gives to the person the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16), thereby permitting the person to understand the things of God. And no one will remain in the Circumcision Faction [today, the Sacred Names Heresy] or within the theology of lawlessness if the person understands the things/mysteries of God.

Paul admits that he didn’t understand his own actions:

But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the spirit and not in the old way of the written code. What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, "You shall not covet." But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. (Rom 7:6–23 emphasis and double emphasis added)

Paul doesn’t die physically when sin comes to life within him through him being taught the Commandments. He uses “death/died” to represent the status of his inner self when he became aware of coveting … his inner self was, or had been, knowingly dead when he realized that he had been consigned to disobedience (Rom 11:32) as a son of disobedience (Eph 2:2–3), this awareness coming through coveting what he did not have. Then when born of spirit through receipt of the spirit of God [pneuma Theou] in the indwelling spirit of Christ [pneuma Christou], he realized the difference between how he previously thought and how he thought after receiving the spirit of God; for after he received the Holy Spirit, he inwardly delighted in the Law of God, while realizing that a different law (that of disobedience) continued to dwell in his fleshly members.

Did those Christians of the Circumcision Faction ever realize that there was a separation between inner and outer selves, or were those Christians like followers of Herbert Armstrong, deniers of their inner selves being separate from their outer selves … if a pastor baptizes a woman, submersing her in water and raising her from that watery death, is the woman still female, a woman? Certainly she is. Her outer body hasn’t changed any. But what does Paul say,

So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise. (Gal 3:24–29 emphasis added)

The living inner self of the person who has truly received the Holy Spirit is a son of God that is neither male nor female, Jew nor Greek … the fleshly body of this person remains male or female, circumcised or uncircumcised. So what Paul addresses is a new reality that had not previously existed except in the person of Christ Jesus, the reality of a person being twice-born, once of water (of the womb) and once of spirit through the indwelling of the spirit of Christ in the spirit of the person.

Because Paul addresses a new reality, Paul doesn’t have all of the answers concerning how this reality functions in this world; hence, when Jesus as a man was virtually unknown in this world, the person who professed that Jesus was Lord did so out of defiance to the lawlessness of Gentiles and the legalism of Jews … the world has changed a great amount in nearly two millennia. Today, roughly a third of the world’s population claims to be “Christian,” professing that Jesus is Lord, while remaining hostile to God and to the Law. (One televangelist in his ignorance openly makes love to the Holy Spirit as if the spirit of God were a woman instead of the life-giving force or glory of God analogous to human breath. The spirit of God is the bright fire representing the life of God, this bright fire giving life to those entities that have life outside of space-time.) Therefore, profession that Jesus is Lord means, today, more than uttering words to which every auditor must assign meaning; means more than repeating what the person has heard from parents and pastors for centuries; means truly living as Jesus lived, walking in this world as Jesus walked; means inwardly keeping the Law because that is the person’s desire. And when the inside of the cup is clean, the whole vessel is clean, unspotted by the world.

The Circumcision Faction couldn’t envision any separation between the inner and outer selves; couldn’t imagine that what pertained to the inner self didn’t necessarily pertain to the outer self. Thus, the Circumcision Faction retained Judaism’s prohibitions on women having equality with men, prohibitions not seen in Paul’s ministry until the false Pastoral Epistles appeared a half-century later. Meanwhile, those Christians entrapped by the mystery of lawlessness lost whatever focus they might have had on walking in this world as Jesus walked, and openly walked as spiritual Gentiles, an oxymoron. They, too, couldn’t separate the inner self from the outer self; thus, they never bothered cleaning the inside of the cup, the clay vessel that outwardly walked as Gentiles walked.

Move forward nearly two millennia: because 1st-Century disciples lost their way—lost the Way—resulting in the Father ceasing to draw disciples from this world, resulting in the spiritual Body of Christ outwardly dying with the physical death of John, there was no one continuing the ministry of the Apostle Paul who laid the foundation for the spiritual temple of God (1 Cor 3:10). There was no one making a distinction between physical Israel (outwardly circumcised Israel) and spiritual Israel (people circumcised of heart). There was no one arguing for the inner selves of “Christians” to keep the Commandments as Jesus kept the Commandments, which when done will have Christians outwardly walking in this world as Jesus walked regardless of whether they were or weren’t circumcised in the flesh, meaning that Christians outwardly keep the Law to the best of their ability. This means that Christians live in this world as Judeans regardless of whether they are outwardly male or female, circumcised or uncircumcised; regardless of whether they live in the 1st-Century or the 21st-Century. And this is what Peter taught Gentile converts to do at Antioch … where Paul faulted Peter is in Peter returning to placing importance on outward circumcised when certain men came from James to Antioch, these certain men making sure that converts were circumcised in the flesh before they were in fellowship with converts from Judaism.

Because the spiritual Body of Christ (from 1 Cor 12:27) lives or dies by whether the Father raises a person or persons from spiritual death by drawing the person or persons from this world and delivering the person or persons to Christ Jesus to call, justify, and glorify through the indwelling of His spirit in the spirit of the person or persons—because resurrection of the Body of Christ is as simple as the Father drawing persons from this world and delivering them to Christ Jesus after not having drawn anyone from this world for an extended period of time, the Father did not need to keep the spiritual Body of Christ alive throughout the past two millennia, but could wait to resurrect it at the end of this present age.

Once the Jesus movement hit, figuratively speaking, critical mass so that Christendom would be a self-sustaining “fire”—off target or on target didn’t matter—valued enough in this world that texts would be hand-copied generation after generation, God could leave the spiritual Body of Christ lay dead and buried for as long as greater Christendom stood between the Adversary and the lawless one, a human man that will be possessed by the Adversary himself on day 220 of the Affliction …

Greater Christendom has collectively taught that man cannot become God, thereby preventing any human person claiming to be God from having any credibility. In this manner, greater Christendom has placed Christ Jesus in the way of the lawless one, delaying or for a time outright preventing the lawless one from declaring himself God, with Paul writing,

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to Him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion [the Apostasy] comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only He who now restrains it will do so until He is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath [pneuma] of His mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thess 2:1–12)

By teaching a gospel about the man Jesus of Nazareth, greater Christendom inserted Christ between the Adversary (the ultimate lawless one) and the man of perdition (who will be the human face of the lawless one) and effectively delayed the Second Advent until a seemingly preset number of human persons were alive, seven billion, a tithe of which will be seven hundred million … the tithe belongs to God.

In order for the Body of Christ to spiritually live, an individual believer or a collective of believers must be born of spirit and thus resurrected from death; for collectively all who have received the Holy Spirit form the Body of Christ, even when that “collective” is one person consisting of a living inner and outer self … there needs to be one or more living outer selves for the Body of Christ to have visible presence in this world. As it is, the spiritual Body of Christ has presence in the heavenly realm when John is in vision; for the souls [psuchas] that sleep under the altar (Rev 6:9) are of the 1st-Century Body of Christ.

Paul assumes that those person who profess that Jesus is Lord “profess” the same understanding of Jesus being Lord as he has, and this isn’t true in the 21st-Century. The Adversary has worked for generation upon generation to convince the Christian laity that because Jesus kept the Law, Jesus’ followers do not have to keep the Law … how can the indwelling Jesus keep the Law and not have the fleshly body in which Jesus dwells also keep the Law?

Returning to what Paul wrote about himself: if Paul in his mind delights in God’s Law, will God’s Law remain only in Paul’s mind and not find its way into everything Paul does? Why is Paul disappointed by his fleshly body’s doing those things he hates unless he expects his body to faithfully keep the Law—and finding that his body cannot keep the Law with perfection, he denounces the Law of Sin and Death that he finds lingering in his fleshly body.

Paul didn’t know there would be a Second Passover liberation of a second Israel, with this liberation being from indwelling Sin and Death through the disciple being filled-with and empowered by the Holy Spirit … obviously Paul wasn’t filled with spirit; for if he had been filled with spirit Sin would have had no dominion over his fleshly body. As it was, neither Sin nor Death had dominion over his living inner self, but both retained dominion over his fleshly body, causing him to do those things he hated, causing him to cry out, Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Rom 7:24).

The assumption that everyone who professes that Jesus is Lord has received the Holy Spirit and is thus saved had a narrow window of truth in the 1st-Century and no more truth than a cracked pane in the 21st-Century as greater Christendom stands outside of the house built by God:

Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God's house. For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God's house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God's house as a son. And we are His house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope. (Heb 3:1–6)

Moses stood as a faithful house; as a faithful servant in God’s house. But Christ Jesus isn’t a house, but the faithful Son over God’s house. And we disciples are His house if we hold fast to the hope that lies within us—

It is not possible for unbelievers that ignorantly profess Jesus is Lord without considering what swearing allegiance to a lord means to comprehend the deception of the Adversary, who has deceived the whole world (Rev 12:9) without carving out a caveat for greater Christendom. So yes, greater Christendom has been deceived by the Adversary, with Paul’s genuine epistles being the tools the Adversary has used to turn the Chriatian laity away from God, Father and Son. But more on this subject in another Reading.


The person who desires to suffer has a mental deficiency, a masochistic need to be degraded by either self-denial or by the acts of others—and the boundary between being willing to suffer to improve character and suffering to produce shame isn’t a broad thoroughfare, but rather, a narrow path like a game trail that can be followed for a while then abandoned because it doesn’t go where the person needs to go.

Suffering should produce misery that the person wants to avoid if at all possible, but is willing to endure for a truly worthy cause—and a truly worthy cause is the spiritual maturation of the inner self, born of spirit as a son of God regardless of the fleshly body’s gender.

According to Paul, the fleshly body cannot inherit immortality:

The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. (1 Cor 15:47–50)

The justification for rejoicing in suffering originates in the separation of the inner self from the outer self, the flesh and blood body of the person … the relationship between inner and outer selves is analogous to the relationship between a person and the person’s shadow, with the inner self not being the shade of ancient Greek ideology, but being “the person” with the outer self functioning as the shadow or shade.

Ancient Greek philosophers anticipated what would be revealed to Israel centuries later; to a second Israel millennia later. But these ancient Greeks couldn’t accept the reality that a human person is not humanly born with an immortal soul, but born with a dead [lifeless] inner self that goes nowhere upon the death of the fleshly body. They couldn’t accept the reality that there is no shadow of the person inside the person; no “shade” who would rather be a living slave than a dead prince in the Greek underworld.

The prophet Malachi spoke about the fate of the just and unjust:

“Your words have been hard against me,” says the Lord. But you say, “How have we spoken against you?” You have said, “It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping His charge or of walking as in mourning before the Lord of hosts? And now we call the arrogant blessed. Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.” Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed His name. “They shall be mine … in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him. For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze … so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act,” says the Lord of hosts. (Mal 3:13–4:3 emphasis added)

Before the spirit was given and disciples of Christ Jesus received a second breath of life, the spirit of Christ [pneuma Christou] in the spirit of the person [to pneuma tou ’anthropou], the person slated to receive eternal life after death had no life anywhere until the resurrection of firstfruits. Rather, the person—in the form of the person’s name—is merely recorded in a Book of Remembrance of those persons who feared the Lord and esteemed His name … how does a person show that he or she fears the Lord and esteems His name? Malachi tells how, “‘Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel’” (Mal 4:4).

Paul writes by the hand of Tertius to the saints at Rome,

He [God] will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, He will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality. For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. (Rom 2:6–16 emphasis added)

Grace doesn’t erase unbelief of God. Faith [pisteos] is manifested belief of God; thus, the person who has faith also believes God to the extent that the person remembers Moses and what the Lord commanded Moses to deliver to Israel at Sinai [Horeb]. For the person who sins [transgresses the Law — 1 John 3:4] with or without the Law will perish. It doesn’t matter whether the person without love for neighbor and brother has the Law or doesn’t have the Law. This person will perish because there was no outward manifestation of love for others; love for even the most difficult person in the world to love …

Who are you, O Christian, to say that you need not have love for a brother that is merely annoying; or that you need not have love for a neighbor that kills your dog, every dog you acquire; or that you need not outwardly manifest love for the disciple with whom God is working, as I once heard said while visiting a Sabbatarian fellowship in Spokane, Washington? Indeed, who are you, O Arrogant Person, to set yourself up as your brother’s judge? Do you want salvation, or does salvation matter … it may well not matter to you, but doing what is right and good should matter regardless of whether there is any reward for doing so.

Doing what you know is right is self-satisfying. Suffering is not. Nevertheless, if suffering will cause a person to do what is good and right even when no one is looking—the essence of good character—then suffering even as Job suffered produces desired results. And God is interested in results, not slogans, not jingleism, not mighty works done in Jesus’ name by lawless Christians. God is interested in seeing Himself in His sons, not in seeing a masked copy of the Adversary posing as a son.

If God’s love exists in our heart; if God’s love has been poured into our heart via the indwelling of the spirit of God [pneuma Theou] in the spirit of Christ in the spirit of the person, then what sort of a people should we be?

And the answer is in the long form of John’s definition of sin:

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. 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. And everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure. Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that He appeared in order to take away sins, and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen Him or known Him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as He is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. (1 John 3:1–16 emphasis added)

First John 3:4 is commonly and often cited as the definition of “sin,” but of perhaps even more importance is John’s definition of “love”: By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers

What does it mean to lay down a disciple’s life for the brothers? Does this not mean going beyond what is reasonable in serving the brothers? For what’s reasonable is dying for the brothers … permit the one who martyrs a disciple to deal with the disciple’s body. Again, the disciple isn’t the fleshly body but is the non-physical inner self that has life from and in the heavenly realm.

The striking difference between a son of God—one of Christendom’s Elect—and Islamic jihadists is the son of God knowing that the prince of this present world is the Adversary; that until dominion is taken from the Adversary and given to the Son of Man, all that can be accomplished by engaging in social change is to replace one form of the Adversary’s administrative philosophy with another form that will prove to be equally problematic. Therefore, the Christian whose citizenship isn’t of this world but in heaven will—when having matured past infancy—disengage from worldly political matters. The Christian will be unwilling to assist the Adversary in correcting problems inherent to self-rule societies and embedded in transactional economics, meaning that the genuine Christian will be a non-participant in world (or even local) politics. The Christian will wait for God to bring the Adversary’s dominion over the single kingdom of this world to an end before engaging in social change that will really matter.

For the person predisposed to social isolation, functioning as a genuine Christian in this present world isn’t difficult. However, for the social animal, being a “Christian” will cause the person to suffer greatly for there will be few with whom the person can converse about theological subjects; few with whom the person can interact; few with whom the person can be friends. The person drawn from this world by God and called by Christ Jesus had better like the company of the indwelling Christ; for there will be almost no one else with whom the person can fellowship—and Christ Jesus lived physically as an observant Jew, as will the genuine disciple who is circumcised of heart.

Suffering and what causes a disciple to suffer differs from person to person, and differs from one stage of life to another stage. What a disciple bears today without suffering might well have caused the disciple to suffer at a younger age. After all, what can the Adversary use as a threat against the person who has already lived a long life? That agents of the Adversary will kill the person and thereby end the person’s physical suffering? That agents of the Adversary will kill children or grandchildren that don’t come to visit anyway? That agents of the Adversary will inflict pain on an aged body that will easily die, and is certain to pass out [faint] before much additional pain can be administered? … The Adversary and his agents cannot really threaten the long-time disciple with additional suffering; for the long-time disciple has already suffered far more than youthful disciples can imagine in the process of developing the good character that produces hope for life beyond death.

The person genuinely born of spirit knows that the person has been twice-born. There is nothing that can be done to this person to cause him or her to deny Christ. Thus, the Adversary when going after this person can only martyr the person and hasten the person’s entrance into heaven. Sobeit.

Suffering does produce endurance, and endurance seeds the development of good character, with these seeds requiring a germination period of unknown duration. And the person, like God, has to wait for good character to sprout from enduring suffering—and the person truly born of spirit has to suffer and endure the folly of foolish Christians who make love to the Holy Spirit when they should know better than assign personhood to the glory of God.

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"Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."