Yes, I am not a Saint

Yes, I am not a Saint

When the word “Saint” is mentioned, it is often attached to perfection. When someone is called a saint, we think almost immediately about someone without mistakes or faults or someone with a flawless character or behaviors. Well, maybe such people exist, but the truth is, throughout all of my life I haven’t met anyone who fits into this definition of a saint, and neither am I one. If this is the definition of who a saint is then yes, I am not a saint. Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be.

Wikipedia describes the word saint to mean “A person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of holiness or likeness or closeness to God.” It goes further saying “any believer who is in Christ and in whom Christ dwells”. When I read the latter part of this sentence, I agree completely with Wikipedia’s definition of who a saint is because I had seen over and over again, that this agrees with Paul’s definition of who a saint is in scriptures. He often admonishes the church as saints,

“Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours;”(1 Cor. 1:2 KJV)

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:” (2 Cor. 1:1)

All the saints salute you” (2 Cor. 13:13) KJV

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 1:1 KJV)

“May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height (Eph. 3:18 KJV)

“Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with all the bishops and deacons: (Phil. 1:1 KJV)

*All emphasis in the verses above are mine*

There are just so many references that space and time won’t allow me to share them all. At the beginning of almost all of Paul’s letters he uses the word to describe the believers he was writing to. He called them saints. We can safely conclude that All Believers are saints. Yes, all believers are saints. We are saints not because of what we do or don’t do but because of what Jesus did. We are a people having the very nature and likeness of Christ, similar to what Wikipedia defines.

Now, it is important to note that not all of the churches Paul uses the word “Saint” to describe at the beginning of his letters were morally perfect people. In fact he wrote to settle quarrels among them, he wrote to put orderliness in their meetings. He wrote to warn them of sinful deeds, he wrote to correct adultery, and many other things that were not befitting of saints.

Oftentimes, I see people get mad because some brother or sister in their fellowship offended them. I notice they were not expecting “saints” to behave in such a way. Their expectancy of the behaviors of their church members is so high that they cannot understand why they would behave in such a manner. But the truth is these people are not perfect people rather they are people on their way to perfection. There is work ongoing in them.

“Being Confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:6 KJV)

And while this work is not yet completed, we have to learn to forbear and tolerate the faults of each other in the church without seeing each other as being less than saints. Paul knew this when he encouraged us to,

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Col. 3:13 NIV)

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph. 4: 2-3 NIV)

Some words used in the scriptures give an insight into how difficult it is to love each other in our local assemblies. Words like “Bear, Make every effort”, indicate that this won’t be an easy work to live out amidst saints. Even among saints you have to forgive, you have to make every effort to stay united and you have to make every effort to forgive each other, yet regarding each other as saints because of what Christ has done for us.

One of the elders of my church once said, “If you find a perfect church don’t join them, because if you do, you will make them imperfect”. And the truth is, saints are not people without faults or errors, they are however saints because of what Christ has done. Because of what He has done, of course, I am a Saint.

 

Written By Samson Afolabi

For ALETHEIA

 

Understanding Salvation: The Body

Understanding Salvation: The Body

Today, we consider the last and final part of our series on Understanding Salvation, we consider the body. But first I would like to share a scripture;

“His glory is great in your salvation: honour and majesty have you laid upon him (Psalm 21:5)”

This scripture shows us the beauty of man at the completion of God’s salvation plan. His glory is great, honour and majesty are upon him. I believe God has this picture of Man in mind in this work of salvation. I also believe that the work of salvation is to restore Man back to God’s original plan and intent. What then should be our reaction? Appreciate Him for the salvation of our spirit, agree and work with Him on the salvation of our souls and believe what He says about the salvation of our body.

Just as we earlier established, Man is a spirit, has a soul and lives in a body. His body gives him the ability to relate and communicate with the physical world. He needs his body to relate with the earth. As such his body is an important part of him just as his soul and spirit are. As we earlier stated the salvation of the spirit is done, the salvation of the soul is ongoing, but the salvation of the body as we have it now is a promise. It’s yet to be done.

From the beginning (Gen. 1 – 3), the body was without sickness and disease. We saw that sickness and disease came after the fall of Man. I believe that sickness is a manifestation of the death we acquired from Adam. In fact, plants, where most of our drugs come from today, were initially given for food not drugs or medicine.

Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food” (Gen. 1: 29 NIV)

Paul describing God’s salvation plan in 1 Cor. 15:35 – 58, says our perishable bodies will be raised as imperishable. Our mortal bodies will be given immortality. He further says, our bodies although sown in dishonour will be raised in glory, sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body but is raised a spiritual body. And then we will have fully conquered death in all three segments of Man, then the saying that has been written will come true:

“Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15: 54 – 56)

What a glory our bodies will inherit when it is renewed. Right now, we do not have the words to describe this, but we know that when we meet Him (Jesus), we shall be like Him (1 John 3:2). Our bodies will no longer be subject to death, or be weak or be frail as it presently is. And that is why, even as a believer you can be sick. It does not imply that the salvation of the spirit is not done or that of the soul is not on going. But it is worthy of note that, God doesn’t tempt or discipline us with sickness and disease.

But, before the salvation of the soul is achieved, the Lord has redeemed us from sicknesses and diseases (death). In fact, he wants us to be in perfect health (3 John 1:2). Read my article on “What does God say about your healthhere. or through the link(https://wordofaletheia.org/fellowship/what-does-god-say-about-your-health/) .Peter, through the holy-spirit writes:

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Pet. 2: 24)

“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5)

He bought our health with His blood. He paid for our sicknesses and weaknesses. Notice he didn’t say, we would be healed, he says we were already healed (Past tense). If you believe this, you will see the manifestation of this in your body.

What then should we do? Scriptures help us understand that our bodies are the temple of the Most High, to be kept holy and sacred for Him. (1 Cor. 6:19). It was bought with a price, when we were redeemed. I believe this includes not using our bodies for sinful purposes; fornication, adultery etc. I also believe that this includes keeping our bodies clean and healthy. Being dirty, eating unhealthy or being lackadaisical about our health is not a godly habit. God instructed the priest to keep the tabernacle clean. If God was to dwell there, it was to be kept clean and healthy, as it is often said that “Cleanliness is next to godliness”.

In Conclusion, God’s salvation plan for Man brings glory to Man. It restores Man back to God’s original intent and makes Man to be like God in spirit, soul and body.

Remember to contact me, if you have any questions about any of the Parts 1, 2 and 3.

I Call You Blessed

Written by Samson Afolabi

What do you see?

What do you see?

What do you see? I think this is a very important question to ask.

“Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city”  Vs 14

“When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my Lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked. Vs 15

“Don’t be afraid”, the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them”. Vs 16

And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. Vs 17  (2 kings 6: 14 – 17 NIV)

I find the above passage very interesting and insightful. It shows the reaction of 2 men (Elisha and his servant) to the same scenario. One acting in fear and the other in boldness and confidence. Why? One (Elisha) could see what the other (his servant) could not see. Isn’t this similar to life issues? Elisha’s servant got afraid, seeing an army marching out against two men, while Elisha was seeing a greater army marching out against another army far smaller in size compared to it.

You know, often times in life, it’s the same. We worry because we can’t see. Our two eyeballs are open to the physical just like Elisha’s servant to see our problems, challenges etc. But the eyes of our minds are not open to see the numerous opportunities God has placed around us. What we see, determines how we act. It’s essential we see well! The renewal of our minds which comes as a result of our continuous walk and fellowship with the spirit brings about a change of sight. 

 “The word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see the branch of an almond tree” (Jer. 1:11 AMP)

“Then the LORD said to me, “You have seen well, for I am [actively] watching over my word to fulfil it” (Jer. 1:12 AMP)

God asked Jeremiah, what do you see? He answered and God said you see well. My dear friends, looking at the major preoccupation of your mind, if God was to ask “What do you see?” would He be able to say to you, “YOU SEE WELL”? Do the things you see bring wellness to your soul? Do they help you conform to God’s image more, or do they distort your view of life and scriptures? I believe God was asking Jeremiah this, because for Him and Jeremiah to walk together, they had to agree (Amos 3:3). They had to see the same things. Sometimes the problem we have is, our minds don’t see what God sees, so it’s difficult for us to walk in faith.

Jesus was to heal a particular man, and this happened:

“Taking the blind man by the hand, He led him out of the village; and after spitting on his eyes and laying His hands on him, He asked him, “Do you see anything?” (Mark 8:23 AMP)

“And he looked up and said, “I see people, but [they look] like trees, walking around” (Mark 8:24 AMP)

“Then again Jesus laid His hands on his eyes; and the man stared intently and [his sight] was

restored, and he began to see everything clearly. (Mark 8:25 AMP)

[completely]

After Jesus first prayer, notice the man could see, but he wasn’t seeing well. He saw humans like trees. Jesus didn’t allow him to go. That would have been dangerous. He could have pick up an axe and started hacking at people, or started leaning on people. Notice Jesus called him and prayed for him again, until he saw clearly. Let me add an important principle below.

Whatever we are experiencing in our lives, is a result of what our gaze is fixed upon. If you notice you are worried, full of anxiety, fears, and burdened about the future, check your gaze, you might just be too focused on your problems and challenges and that has fuelled your thoughts. If you are struggling with a particular sin, check the kind of videos or songs you’ve been listening to, your gaze might just be on the wrong things. Your gaze determines your personality. What you look upon determines what you become. So if you want to see right, start looking at the right things. Fix your gaze more upon the perfect law of liberty (the scriptures). Let it define you, your life and your life principles, shut down every voice not from God which speaking to you.

The issue of sight is important, we know this because Jesus said:

“The light of the body is the eye: therefore when your eye is single, your whole body also is full of light; but when your eye is evil, your body is full of darkness” (Luke 11:34 KJV)

Again, let me ask, what do you keep your gaze on? does it bring wellness to your soul? In the book of Numbers 21:6 – 9, the children of Israel were healed by setting their gaze upon the brazen serpent.

“So Moses made a serpent of bronze and put it on the pole, and it happened that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived” (Numbers 21:9 AMP)

So much power is in what you look upon. Setting your gaze on the right things brings life. By looking on Christ, who he is and what He has done for us, we are changed. Our soul receives life. We are transformed from who we used to be to who Christ is. And then our reactions are defined from that view point. We then act no longer in fear but in courage and love. Paul counsels:

“Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above [the heavenly things], not on things that are on the earth [which have only temporal value]” (Col. 3:2 AMP)

Yes. Our gaze must be right. Despite our situations we must learn to see what He sees. We must also learn to keep our gaze on Him to be like Him.

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18  KJV)

It is my prayer that:

The eyes of your understanding be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. And what Is the exceeding greatness of his power to us who believe, according to the working of his mighty power which he wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly place far above all principality and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.

I Call You Blessed

Written by Samson Afolabi

What do you see?
A SHORT LESSON FROM MY LAST BIRTHDAY

A SHORT LESSON FROM MY LAST BIRTHDAY

I was not intending to write an article really, but at the same time I wanted to share a lesson the Lord impressed on my heart from my last Birthday. So expect that, this article won’t be one with so many scriptures but with a story that reveals the person of our Heavenly Father.

Since the past 2 years I have loved to always find time often at midnight crossing over into my brethren to seek the Lord’s face for my new year. I love to hear His prophecy for me into my new year. I always want to hear His instructions, promises etc. and I love to have them first before the calls, messages etc. from friends. I do not have any scriptural backing for this, but I just love to do it.

This year however, just as my birthday was around the corner, I had a lot of work on my plate that got me really busy, such that in-fact, I spent my whole birthday in the Library. Not new for me though, because 2 years ago same happened. I was really busy, that even though I wanted to create the time for my special time to fellowship and receive from the Lord, I just didn’t have the time. I slept into the morning, woke up, cleaned up and I was off to the Library. Thanks to all my beautiful friends who celebrated me. I really appreciate you all.

It was a bit difficult to focus because the calls, messages etc. kept making my phone buzz continuously, but I was able to achieve more than I would if I had stayed at home. And here is where the lesson is. I got home quiet late and just then a call came in from a brother friend, and he started prophesying to me. He spoke extensively into God’s mind/will for me for the coming years some which were a confirmation of what I had heard from God myself some days before.

Friends, I leaped with Joy. Not just because of the prophecy but I learnt the Love nature of God once again. Jesus didn’t just die to create a way for us to go God, He made a way for God to come to us. In the Christian faith, we are not just the only one going to God, He also comes to us. Oftentimes He wants to come to us more than we want to go to Him.

Remember the story of the Prodigal son, in Luke 15. Verse 20 says:

“And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him”

Often, we quote the above scriptures and say, Oh, the child went back to his father and forget the disposition of the father (which illustrates the person of our heavenly father) that he ran to his child. He ran! And even in our mess, and not having time, he still comes to us.

While I am not advocating for a lackadaisical attitude towards our fellowship, am trying to show us how much the passion of the holy-spirit in helping us.

I remember praying at the chapel lawn at my last university for over an hour and I felt I need to go. Just as I said Amen to leave, I felt the holy-spirit telling me “I was enjoying that, please let’s do more”.  I was so surprised. Since then I had learnt that we are not the only ones enjoying those times of fellowship, the holy-spirit also does. Well he has said:

“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” John 14:18

I will come to you! I will be the one to come. That’s our father. He also said:

…I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen Matt. 28:20

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you: when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned neither shall the flame kindle upon you”

I hope this encourages you and it has for me. And don’t forget to send my birthday gifts, I am still receiving them pls.

 

 

I Call You Blessed

Written by Samson Afolabi

Becoming the Picture

Becoming the Picture

My master’s level studies has given me the opportunity to meet a lot of people. One of them is Dr. Banky (Not his real name). I so much respect him. First of all, because of his advanced knowledge in Mathematics, being a Dr. of Mathematics from the department of Mathematics in my University is something I know didn’t come easy.

Dr. Banky is very organised and matured. You need to visit him at home or see his office to see that. There’s only a few mathematicians have met that seem to be well organized. I would say his influence and support has been very vital to get me to the present level I am in my Master’s. When I first arrived here, many things happened to me that made me doubt my ability to complete the program. I almost lost my self-confidence, thanks to a lot of counsels and support from esty-b (another friend that I value so much) and Dr. Banky. I think have been really blessed with the gift of people.

One important thing I must also say about him is, he dresses well. Truth be told, if you meet him randomly on the streets you wouldn’t know he is Doctor of Mathematics. I haven’t seen so many Mathematicians dress so well. He eats well and takes very good care of his health (unlike me), goes to the gym, so he looks really fit, and sure he is. There’s just a lot of things I really respect and like about this man. In-short he is one of my mentors and his counsels have been very helpful.

I have seen so many things in his life that I really want to emulate them and imbibe many of his cultures because I know they will be beneficial to me. A lot of them I have started already. we attend the same church here, I used to sit at his sitting position in church, I was so happy when one lady took me for him one Sunday. I thought I must be looking so much like him. I actually want to look like him. Imbibe many of his way of life. Follow him as he follows Christ. Looking at him do many of this things has actually made it easier for me to learn so many things that would have been difficult for me to learn on my own. And I must say, a lot of things has improved in me by watching him, including spurring me to academic excellence.

One lesson, I learnt from all this is “there is no Becoming without Beholding”. I noticed that before I could want to learn from him, I had to relate with him. We became very good friends, brothers. In-fact am his special junior brother. I opened up my life to him, then he did same to me. We commune, fellowship. We share our lives together.

Same happened with Peter and Christ. At Peter’s denial of Jesus at his death, he denied, but I believe that he had so much become like Jesus that it was easy for people to find out that he had been with Jesus. The early disciples were called Christians. They had so much commune with Christ that they were becoming him.

“And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26 KJV)

Notice, they were called Christians. By people who noticed they talked, lived etc. just like Christ. The writer of the book of Hebrews, encouraged us saying “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith”.

In order for the disciples to be like Jesus, he simply chose them to live with him, be with him, and as they do that, they were going to be like him. No wonder, he called us to this same fellowship with him,

“God is faithful, by whom you were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Cor. 1:9)

“…and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3)

This technology of “Beholding to Become” had been for ages, Jacob applied it.

“Laban asked, “What shall I give you?” Jacob replied, “You shall not give me anything. But if you will do this one thing for me [which I now propose], I will again pasture and keep your flock:” (Gen. 30:31 AMP)

“Let me pass through your entire flock today, removing from it every speckled and spotted sheep and every dark or black one among the lambs and the spotted and speckled among the goats; and those shall be my wages.” (Gen. 30:32 AMP)

“Then Jacob took branches of fresh poplar and almond and plane trees, and peeled white stripes in them, exposing the white in the branches” (Gen. 30:37 AMP)

“Then he set the branches which he had peeled in front of the flocks in the watering troughs, where the flocks came to drink; and they mated and conceived when they came to drink. (Gen. 30:38 AMP)

“So the flocks mated and conceived by the branches, and the flocks gave birth to streaked, speckled and spotted offspring” (Gen. 30:39 AMP)

Jacob made the animals see, what he wanted their offspring to look like.

He made us sit in heavenly places with him, invited us to his fellowship and as we do this, his image his imprinted upon our soul. His work his enhanced in our lives, and he would be manifested in us without stress as we commit to this to this fellowship.

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18)

I Call You Blessed

Grow to Maturity

Grow to Maturity

I was in the library a day to my birthday, studying, when I met my brother, friend and colleague, ***** (name with-held), from Ethiopia. We greeted each other in love and I asked him to join me later for lunch at the departmental Mensa. Over lunch, we had a nice discussion, laughing and smiling as we shared our lives together. One of the things we laughed about was how our parents had recently been demanding we show them who it was we wanted to get married to.  ***** said, “My Mum’s friend told me, I would love you to get married to someone from our tribe here in Ethiopia, so I could speak with her heart to heart in our native language.” He also added “My mum told my younger brother, she would love to be a grandmother”.

 Well, I must say I can relate very well with such statements and expressions. My mum is just similar. She keeps telling me “I am not asking you to get married right now, but just show who it is you are dating”. She hardly believes when I tell her I don’t have a girlfriend. She keeps calling me whenever she hears of any of my friends get married telling me am the only one left. I tried hard to make her understand that she is mounting pressure on me, but she wouldn’t stop. I spoke with her husband, (my father, who doesn’t care about the issue) to speak with her, but it was one of those things my dad couldn’t stop her from her doing. I did find the perfect response whenever she asks me. I would just say, “I’m working on it”. That response always makes her happy, although I know the way she thinks of the response is not the way I mean it. But I don’t care as long as it works. I’m sure many who have African mothers can relate.

One statement struck me out of my conversation with *****, it made me consider writing this article. He said “While we were young, we dare not talk about women with my mum. She never wanted us to have a girlfriend while growing.”

For me, it’s almost same. So it is a surprise to see our mothers suddenly come out of the blue and start talking to us about marriage. You know the difference? We had grown. We had matured. We had come of age. We were not thinking like babies or kids anymore but as men. And so our parents think also it is right for “men” to have someone to date. Same it is in our Spiritual Walk. There are truths and lights we would only be exposed to when we grow up. When we mature. See what Paul said here:

“And I brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (1 Cor. 3:1)

Paul wanted to teach the Corinthian church a lot of truths, but he couldn’t because they were babes. They were children. They were divided. Just as in the natural world where there are R-rated discussions so also are there deep truths for those who over time have matured themselves in the world. The Holy Spirit through Peter said:

“As new born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word that you grow thereby” (1 Pet. 2:2).

Notice the charge was to GROW! Not to remain a baby. You should feed on God’s word to grow. So you are not tossed here and there by every wind of doctrine. It is annoying when a Christian of many years is still a babe. It’s just same as seeing your 25-year-old son wet the bed. It is disgraceful.

Paul said this “I have fed you with milk and not meat because you can’t bear it and even now you still can’t bear meat” (1 Cor. 3:2 Revised by me). How painful would it be for God, if He would like to introduce new and deeper truths to me to save my generation but I can’t bear it because I am still a baby. Understand me, it’s not wrong to be a baby once but it is bad to remain a baby. See here to:

“Of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing” vs 11

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food” (vs 12)

“For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe” (vs 13)

“But solid food belongs to those who are not of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (vs 14) Heb. 5: 11 – 14.

The people addressed here were dull of hearing. They were babes. More about Jesus was supposed to be shared with them, but they were not matured enough to receive it. See these scriptures here also:

“Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave though he is master of all” Gal. 4:1

Notice he is the heir, the owner of the property but he can’t be in charge if he doesn’t step up to grow. He is only a slave. Thanks to God that through believing in Jesus we are now sons and not slaves. Peter said this in 2 Pet. 3:18

“But grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen”

How do I grow in grace? And what does it mean to grow in grace? Please read the article “GROW IN GRACE”.

There is a lot we stand to lose if we choose to remain as babies. Deeper truths and revelations are to be given to us to liberate our generation and establish his reign here on earth. Finally, let me say, “GROW IN GRACE”.

I call you blessed
Written by Samson Afolabi