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My Testimony

The following describes religious and supernatural experiences that I have had.

Religious Experience

Background

Catholic Church (4 years): My church experience began at age eight when two Catholic nuns came to my house one Sunday and took my brother and me to church.  I started attending Sunday school and sacrament meetings every Sunday.  I left the Church and became agnostic when I could make my own decision about it, which occurred when I was confirmed a member of the church at age twelve.

Protestant Churches (1 year): I spent a year during my mid-twenties investigating Protestant churches.  I read the Bible from cover-to-cover, went to a number of Protestant churches, and had groups visit my home to discuss their beliefs.  My assessment of these churches was that they taught inconsistently with-respect-to the Bible and were not otherwise of significant value to me or to my family.  Therefore, I did not join a church and counted the experience as a loss of my time.

LDS Church (couple of weeks): When I was in my late twenties, two missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints came by my house to visit and share a message.  At the conclusion of their lessons, which lasted a couple of weeks or so, the missionaries challenged my wife and me to be baptized into the Church.  We agreed to become members of the Church and were baptized.

Evidence

My intellectual evidence is an acknowledgement of the harmony of the doctrine of the LDS Church with the Bible.  “The Progression of Man” post contains information from the Bible about man’s progression through the plan of salvation.  The only religious organization of which I am aware that faithfully teaches this Bible doctrine is the LDS Church.

There are those who focus on making an acknowledgement that Jesus is the Christ and then think that they are saved.  In other words, they say that salvation occurs at a point in time.  However, the Bible places the focus on salvation as being a process whereby the individual grows spiritually and becomes just like Jesus Christ through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.  The following is an attempt to capture these differing ideas:

Salvation is not about finding Jesus Christ.
Salvation is about becoming like Jesus Christ.

My spiritual evidence comes from the witness of the Holy Spirit.  The more significant experiences I have had include a radiation of love emanating from an LDS member’s home that pierced through my body, a vision in a temple of the Church, and a visitation while shopping in a grocery store.  I provide these more significant experiences in the following section titled, “Supernatural Experiences”.  These experiences certainly enter into my thought process about whether the Holy Spirit has interacted with me, but I consider these experiences, as wonderful as they were, to be unnecessary to my spiritual testimony.

My spiritual evidence is based on the feelings that I experience in association with Church members and/or of doing the work of the Lord.  It comes from experiences obtained through various callings that I have had and of the witness that I receive when a member speaks at Sacrament meeting that what is being said is true.  I feel at times as though the Spirit ravishes me with feelings of love.  I am thankful for this interaction with the Spirit and desire it very much.

Testimony

Given my intellectual and spiritual experience, I am inclined to believe that The Church of Jesus Christ is the true Church of Jesus Christ and that Jesus Christ is at its head.

Supernatural Experiences

I have had many spiritual experiences in connection with the LDS church.  I only relate the most significant here.  These experiences go beyond natural experience; they are supernatural.

Visitation in Supermarket

Context

I was in the Air Force stationed at Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, Illinois serving as a technical instructor.  My family lived in Champagne-Urbana, which is located south of Rantoul about 20 miles or so.  I was in my mid-twenties at the time and was on my second enlistment.  I was not a member of this church or of any church.

My then wife, Jeanie, and I had decided before going to Illinois that I would leave the Air Force at the end of my enlistment and go to college.  Jeanie had attended three years of college, but had not graduated.  She had been pursuing a degree in occupational therapy.

There was a nursing school in Champagne-Urbana and it made sense to us that in preparation for my leaving the Air Force and for Jeanie’s benefit in completing her education that she attend that school and obtain a nursing degree.

In order to make that possible I worked many jobs.  For a brief period, I was actually working four jobs at the same time.  I worked my full time job as an Air Force Technical Instructor; I had a job as an engineer at a radio station; I worked as an avionics technician at a small airport; and I worked as a gas station attendant.

During this time, I also enrolled in and completed a correspondence course in analytical geometry.  I suppose it may seem that I am exaggerating.  However, somehow all this was possible.

Experience

It was in this context that I had a significant experience.

I went to the grocery store one day.  The store, from what I can remember, was on a par with what grocery stores are today.  It was large and spacious with many isles of food.  Being in the store was a comfortable experience.  As I was walking in an especially spacious area where I had a good view of an isle and additional areas something happen to me.

I felt as though something moved over and through me.  It did not happen all at once.  There was an initial experience.  I did a double take.  What was that I thought?  Then I became completely engulfed.  I felt disconnected from the store, but I was clearly still in the store.  The feeling of disconnection was so strong that I wondered if the others in the store could still see me.  I looked to see if they noticed me, but the few people that I saw were busy about their business.  It was strange to see them – it was as though there was an unseen divide between us.

The experience did not last long, but it did linger awhile.  It was the most wonderful feeling that I have ever had.  I thought that it was as though all of space and time had ordered itself in its most perfect fashion and that I was at the center of it.  I had no time to understand what was happening.  The euphoria that I was feeling was something that I did not want to go away.  …  But, it did.  It left as quickly as it had come.  It seemed to move away as though it were going somewhere.  It was gone and I was back in the store.

Assessment

I still remember this experience and I will always remember.  I have tried to understand why it happened, but there is no understanding it.  It just happened.  I cannot point to anything that I had done to cause it.  I cannot imagine that there was any reason why I deserved it.  This has frustrated me, because I want for another experience like it to happen again, but I don’t know what to do so that it will.

Radiation from Home

Context

I had been away from the Church for a few years.  My work setting had just changed and I was in a new situation that was causing me significant stress.  I felt the need for help and visited with a psychologist to see if he could help, but he turned out to be useless.

My home teachers found me and started coming by the house to see if they could provide assistance.  One evening I felt the need so strong that I asked for their help.  I spent a significant amount of time over the next few weeks with one of my home teachers.  He was very helpful and I started attending Church again.

At Church my elders quorum president spent time with me.  I was glad to be back.  It was where I needed to be.  However, a Protestant friend had all sorts of negative things to say about the Church.  I began to worry that there was something wrong with the Church.  It got to the point that I began experiencing a bit of fear of going to meet with Church members.

Experience

One evening, for reasons that I don’t remember, I needed to visit a member’s house.  It was dark when I arrived, but there were street lights to light the area.  This was in the Saint Louis suburbs area and it was a bit like being in the country.  There were no sidewalks and the houses were on large plots of land and distanced a bit from each other.

I was apprehensive about visiting the member’s home because the words of my friend.  I parked my car on the opposite side of the street from the member’s home and towards one end of its lot.  This made it a bit of a walk to get to the home.

When I left the car and as I started to cross the street, I felt some sort of radiation pierce through my midsection.  It felt like love.  The radiation was a wonderful feeling and appeared to be emanating from the member’s home.  As I moved closer to the home the feeling increased until at the door I felt completely engulfed in love.  It was a wonderful experience, but when the door opened and I started to enter the home the effect left me and things returned to normal.  I don’t remember anything about the visit itself.

Assessment

My speculation is that I was being told that I should not worry about being with members of the Church.  But I have no real way of knowing why the event occurred for sure.  At any rate, I proceeded with my return to Church activity and ignored the words of my friend.

Vision in Temple

Context

I was a software engineer working at Loral Defense Systems in Akron, Ohio.  My wife, Pat, and I lived in Akron.  I was in my late 40s.

I had many callings in the church at Akron.  My first calling was Sunday School President.  Other callings that came were Ward Clerk, Counselor in the Elder’s Quorum Presidency and Executive Secretary to the Bishopric.  I did all that I could to fulfill my callings, but I remember that I never seemed to be able to keep up my end.  The many blessings that I received always seemed to outweigh any sacrifice that I was making.

Experience

It was in this context that I had another significant experience.  My ward made trips to the Toronto temple.  It was not unusual to experience feelings of joy while there.  But there was one visit that stands out in my mind.  A couple in the ward were being married as proxies for a dead couple and there were a number of ward members in the sealing room.  Everyone was dressed in white and the room was also very light.  At the end of the ceremony, I stationed myself near the door, but out of the way of the members.  I did this so that I could see each member as they left the room.

As I stood by the door, I became overwhelmed by a feeling of joy unlike anything that I have ever experienced before except at the grocery store.  I felt so close to the people in the room that it seemed we were all connected in some way.  The room seemed to increase in brightness.  There appeared to be radiance from the members so that the edges of their persons were softened.  For a brief time the world, at least in the room, became paradise.  It was an experience that I am very thankful for and will never forget.

Assessment

I believe that this was a reward from the Spirit for all the service that I had provided to the members.  I knew each one very well and I loved each one very much.  I had been serving them for some time and at this moment I was experiencing a bond with them via the Spirit that was extraordinary.

This experience has not left me with the frustration of the first experience because I feel that there is a connection between what I had been doing and the experience.  The experience it seems to me was a reward for the service that I had provided to these church members through the opportunities that my callings had provided.  If true, this means that, it is possible that I may yet have another such experience and I desire another such experience very much.

Floating Spirituality

Context

I am accustomed to going to sacrament meetings and feeling the presence of the Spirit and I am accustomed to attending other church meetings such as the ward mission correlation meetings that I participate in and feeling the presence of the Spirit.  Being in association with this church is a wonderful experience and being in the presence of the Spirit has become familiar to me.

Experience

But what I am talking about is different from this.  It is now the case that I will experience periods of such joy that I am brought to the brink of tears.  This occurs outside of the context of this church.  It is becoming commonplace for me to be alone and enter into a period of such wonderful joy that I am taken back by it and wonder why it is happening.  It happens while I am working at my computer or while I am preparing to eat.  It has actually happened at some times that have not seemed entirely appropriate.

Assessment

I can only speculate that it is being caused by a number of activities that I have been involved in now for some time.  I think that it is because of my association with the Church on a regular basis; because of my calling as ward missionary; because of the extensive personal scripture studies that I have been engaging in; and because of my home teacher and my home teaching companion.  In short, I think it comes out my active relationship with Jesus Christ and his Church.

The Progression of Man

This document traces the progression of man through the plan of salvation as presented in the King James Version of the Bible.  The focus is only on Jesus Christ and his disciples who overcome this world.  The following is a list of the major steps of the process:

Preexistence

Christ existed prior to being born into this world:

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  2 The same was in the beginning with God.  …  14 And the Word [Christ] was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Like Christ, it appears that man existed prior to coming into this world:

Genesis 2:7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Ecclesiastes 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Physical Birth/Creation

God created man in his own image:

Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Man’s being in the image of God is like a human son being in the image of his human father:

Genesis 5:1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; 2 Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.  3 And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:

It is the man, who is in God’s image (even after the Fall of Adam):

1 Corinthians 11:7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. 8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. 9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

God put man’s spirit into the body he created from the dust of the earth:

Genesis 2:7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Ecclesiastes 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Just like men Christ took on a physical body:

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  2 The same was in the beginning with God.  … 14 And the Word [Christ] was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Spiritual Death

Adam sinned and brought about his spiritual death:

Genesis 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Genesis 3:12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

Genesis 3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: 23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Just as Adam sinned, all men sin and spiritually die:

Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Spiritual Rebirth

A sinner must be reborn or born again:

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.  4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?  5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.  8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.  (see also 1Peter 1:22-23)

Salvation comes by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ manifested in good works.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.  10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.  (see also James 2:14-26)

Spiritual rebirth requires repentance:

Matt 3:1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judæa, 2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

The repentant individual receives baptism by water:

Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Following baptism by water is baptism by the Holy Spirit:

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

Sanctification

Salvation is a process through which the Holy Spirit sanctifies the individual:

2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.  (see also 1Peter 1:1-2)

Entering into eternal life requires keeping the commandments, a trial of faith, and endurance to the end:

Matthew 19:16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?  17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

Phillippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye 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 worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.  (see also 1Peter 1:7)

1Timothy 6:11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.  12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.  (see also 1Peter 1:6-9)

Matthew 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.  (see also Matthew 24:13; Mark 13:13)

The Church’s role is to help perfect the individual:

Ephesians 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.  …  11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

We shall be like Christ.

1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.  3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

Physical Death

The first man, Adam, died.

Genesis 5:5 And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.

Just like Adam all men will die.

Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: (see also 1Corithians 15:20-22)

Christ died.

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Resurrection

Christ was resurrected.

1 Corinthians15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.  21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.  22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.  23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

Just like Chist every person will be resurrected.

John 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

The resurrected body will be a spiritual body.

Philippians 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 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.

1 Corinthians 15:35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?  36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: 37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: 38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.  39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.  40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.  41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.  42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.  45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.  46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.  47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.  48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.  49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.  50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

Disciples of Christ have been called to the obtaining of the glory of Christ.

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.  30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

2 Corinthians 3:18 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 Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Judgment

Men will be judged according to their works.

Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.  12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.  14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.  (see also Matt 16:24-27)

Christ will render eternal life unto those who have sought for glory, honour and immortality according to their deeds.

Romans 2:6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: 8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,

John 17:1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.  3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Exaltation

We are the children of God and shall inherit all things.

Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.  18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Revelation 21:6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.  7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

Those who overcome shall sit with Christ in his throne and rule over nations.

Revelation 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.  28 And I will give him the morning star.

Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

Faith and Works

Introduction

Some say that you cannot work your way into Heaven.  This is true to a point, but it is important to know that you will not realize eternal life without works.  The following reviews relevant scriptures on this topic.

By Grace, Through Faith, Unto Good Works

We are saved by the grace of God through faith unto good works.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.  10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Faith Is Shown Through Works

Faith is demonstrated via good works.  Without works there is no faith.

James 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.  19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.  20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

Keep the Commandments

Obtaining eternal life requires the keeping of the commandments.

Matthew 19:16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

Chosen/Elect through Sanctification

Disciples are chosen to salvation through a process of sanctification of the Spirit.

2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This process requires the obedience of the disciple.

1 Peter 1:1 To the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

Work Out Your Own Salvation

The process of sanctification of the Spirit is the working out of our salvation.

Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye 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 worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Judged by Works

Christ will reward us according to our works.

Matthew 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

We will ultimately become like Christ or not and will be judged by what we have worked to become.

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Conclusion

Works are an indispensable element of the process of sanctification through which we become like Christ and learn to live the the kind of life that he lives, eternal life.

Eternal Life

It’s about Life

First, the term being defined is “life” not “eternal life”.  For example, when asked about “eternal life” Christ responded about “life”:

Matthew 19:16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?  17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

Everyone will receive eternal life in the sense that all will be resurrected and live forever, but only those that have done good will be resurrected to “life”:

John 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

“Eternal life” is also called “everlasting life”, which implies that “eternal” is the same as “everlasting” and indicates that both terms refer to a (long …) stretch of time.  For example:

Matthew 19:29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

Eternal Life Is to Know Christ

Eternal life is the kind of life lived by God and Christ:

John 5:26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;

1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)

We have eternal life when we know Christ intimately and thereby are living the kind of life that He lives:

John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Eternal Life Is to Become Like Christ

We are to learn to become eternal lives like Christ:

2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 John3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.  3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

Eternal Life Is Fully Realized in the Next World

Eternal life will be fully realized in the world to come:

Mark 10:28 Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.  29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, 30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.  31 But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.  (see also Luke 18:28-30)

Realizing Eternal Life Requires Endurance

The learning/growth process must be completed to be an eternal life:

Mark 13:13 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.  (see also Matthew 24:13)

It is possible that some who have realized the work of the Spirit in their lives may turn away and be lost.

Hebrews 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

God Created Man in His Own Image

Introduction

The Bible asserts that “God created man in his own image” (Genesis 1:26-27). What this means seems clear, but the Christian world has varying ideas about it. This document provides an analysis and a conclusion about what the Bible actually says on this assertion.

Analysis

Body Was Created; Spirit Given by God

Genesis 2:7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

The only thing that was created is man’s body from the dust of the ground.  Therefore, man’s body is at least part of what was created in God’s image.  This body was given the “breath of life” from God.  What was this breath of life that is mentioned?

Ecclesiastes 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

The body of man returns to the earth when he dies. While his spirit returns to God who gave it. So, the “breath of life” is man’s spirit.

Example of Being in the Image

An example of being in the image of another is provided in the same book of Genesis as the initial assertion:

Genesis 5:1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; 2 Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created. 3 And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:

It is noteworthy that the Bible goes this extra mile to define what is meant by being in the image of God. In this case Adam had a son in his own likeness and image just as God created Adam in his own image.

One is left to wonder how Seth came to be possessed of his spirit. It seems clear that God did not give him his “breath of life” like he did with Adam, but there is not information on this or otherwise on how Seth came to have a spirit. So, it is left as a question.

Even After the Fall Man Is In God’s Image

Even after the fall man is still in the image of God.  The Apostle Paul taught:

1 Corinthians 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. 5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. 6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. 7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.

Man Identified; Woman Not Identified

Note in the above verse 1 Cor 11:7 woman is not said to be in the image of God.  Instead she is said to be the glory of the man.  The following verse in Genesis specifically says that man, was create in the image  of God.

Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

It appears from verse 27 above that it is man that was created in the image of God, but it is not clear about the woman.

While woman is not specifically mentioned as having been created in the image of God, this does not necessarily mean that she is not.  However, it does open the door for speculation.  Men and women are very similar, but they are different.  Certainly, they have different roles in life.  Paul above points specifically to this.  Perhaps this is the differentiating factor.  In any case, this is an open question.

Conclusion

The conclusion from the Bible is that man, both body and spirit, is in the image of God. His body was created from the dust of the earth and his spirit came from God. When man dies, his body returns to the earth and his spirit returns to God.

Note that when the spirit returns to God, it is not at that point in the image of God, since it is not in a body. However, man will receive a resurrected body at some point. Then he will be like Christ, who also has a resurrected body and is like God the Father.