Jesus Christ used parables to describe what the Kingdom of Heaven was like. This article represents a modern-day parable of the education system. As such systems of education are found in many countries, they are used to illustrate the Biblical truth about Salvation and how God expects His people to progress and mature from beginning (Initial Salvation) to the end (Final Salvation).
The scripture verse that underscores the message in this post is this:
“It is written in the prophets, And THEY [ALL truly 'born-again' Christians] shall be ALL TAUGHT [PERSONALLY] of God [the Father]. Every [truly 'born-again'] man [or woman] therefore that hath HEARD, and hath LEARNED of [God] THE FATHER, COMETH UNTO ME [Jesus—at the Rapture].” (John 6:45)
Every Christian commences their faith-journey when he or she first accepts Christ as their personal Savior. This symbolizes in the parable a young child commencing their education years in kindergarten.
For a student to realize their career potential in life, all phases of the educational system have to be attended. In this, the knowledge gained must be examined and passed successfully in accordance with the curriculum. The Bible indicates that Final Salvation—or, the end of one’s faith journey from a spiritual perspective, follows a similar pattern.
“Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that IN ME FIRST [the Apostle Paul and his sufferings] Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for A PATTERN [or a curriculum] to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” (1 Timothy 1:16)
“Receiving THE END OF YOUR FAITH [journey], even THE SALVATION OF YOUR SOULS.” (1 Peter 1:9)
To illustrate this point, the phases of a secular education look something like this:
From a spiritual perspective, the spiritual growth stages that are necessary to achieve Eternal Salvation look something like this:
Education System Phase 1:
The Kindergarten Level of Faith
Firstly, very young children commence entry in the school system at the kindergarten level.
In the spiritual context , Initial Salvation is obtained by Grace and by Faith ALONE. This phase represents the kindergarten level of the new Christian’s faith:
“For by GRACE ARE YE SAVED THROUGH FAITH [alone]; and that not of yourselves: IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD: 9 NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
However, the Apostle James said that it is unwise for any Christian to remain at such a low level of kindergarten level of ‘faith’ for the remainder of their lifetime. This means that such a low level of faith was insufficient to save them from spending eternity in Hell:
“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe [that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, etc.], and [they] TREMBLE [because they cannot obtain Salvation].” (James 2:19)
Education System Phase 2:
The Primary School Level of Faith
God requires Christians who have accepted Christ as their Savior (Romans 10:9-10) and water baptized (Mark 16:16) to then “STRIVE to enter into God’s kingdom“.
“STRIVE TO ENTER IN AT THE STRAIT GATE: for MANY [Christians], I say unto you, will seek to enter in [at the Rapture], and SHALL NOT BE ABLE.” (Luke 13:24)
The Bible says there are exceptional circumstances where people can enter into eternal life at the kindergarten level of faith (e.g. the thief on the cross (Luke 23:39-43). However, wise Christians should not rely upon any exceptional circumstances for them to secure Salvation with Christ.
"Wherefore the rather, brethren, GIVE DILIGENCE to MAKE YOUR CALLING and election SURE: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall" (2 Peter 1:10)
This is because only the Wise Virgins enter into the Rapture, whereas the Foolish Virgins are rejected from entry into Heaven.
"And while they [the Foolish Virgins] went to buy [the needed quantity of oil], the bridegroom [Jesus] came [in the Rapture]; and they [the Wise Virgins] that were ready went in with him to the marriage [supper of the Lamb—Rev 19:9]: and THE DOOR [of Heaven—Rev 4:1] WAS SHUT. 11 Afterward came also the other [Foolish] virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12 But he [Jesus] answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I KNOW YOU NOT. 13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh."
What does it mean to “STRIVE”?
“STRIVING” represents the serious studying of the scriptures. God requires ‘study’ as the means to determine what TRUTH is.
“THY WORD IS VERY PURE: therefore thy servant loveth it.” (Psalm 119:140)
Such studying of the Bible and the obtaining of a working knowledge of what it says indicates one has become approved by God for further progression in His education system.
“STUDY TO SHEW THYSELF APPROVED UNTO GOD, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
The real purpose of studying scripture
As with all educational systems, every student must “STUDY” to obtain the desired qualification. The same requirements apply in God’s educational process.
God’s people through their studies should be able to “…rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) . This ability allows them to detect heresies, liars, false prophets, or “weeds” mingled with the “wheat” in the church, etc. (Matt 13:24-30). It also ensures they will NOT be overcome by the “snares of the Devil” due to any lack of knowledge:
“MY PEOPLE ARE DESTROYED [by the Devil’s snares] for LACK OF KNOWLEDGE [on their part]…” (Hosea 4:6)
This is because:
“…OUR ADVERSARY THE DEVIL, as a roaring lion, walketh about, SEEKING WHOM HE MAY DEVOUR:” (1 Peter 5:8)
Therefore, our Heavenly Father requires each of His children to OVERCOME our ADVERSARY THE DEVIL” (1 Peter 5:8) by using “sound doctrine” as the means:
“Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that HE MAY BE ABLE BY SOUND DOCTRINE both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.” (Titus 1:9)
“But speak thou the things which become SOUND DOCTRINE:” (Titus 2:1)
To achieve this level of education in God’s kingdom, a high level PASS is vital at every stage for progress to continue in God’s curriculum.
Therefore, this phase of the parable of the educational system represents the successful completion of the Primary School Level of Faith. This level of knowledge indicates in God’s kingdom that the Christian can scripturally discern between sound and false doctrine.
Education System Phase 3:
The Secondary School Level of Faith
As we saw previously, the grades associated through Primary School could represent the period of “Striving”. This means learning what “sound doctrine” and “false doctrine” represent.
Once God the Father has seen His child progressing in Bible understanding and skill, He then gives such an individual the “NEW BIRTH” experience. This experience is vital for additional spiritual growth to continue. In this, Jesus Christ described the New Birth as follows:
“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 [again] of [the] water [of the word—Eph 5:26] and of [walking in] the Spirit [Rom 8:1], HE CANNOT ENTER into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3-5)
The New Birth
The born-again experience is just that. It represents the transformation of the individual from their former pride, lusts and sins into God’s kingdom.
These new values of righteousness, holiness, mercy, compassion, love and especially TRUTH MUST now be evident.
To be truly “born-again”, such an individual should be able to report on what God has shown him when he entered God’s kingdom (John 3:3).
When this happened to me, God showed me the corruption and the level of Satanism that had infiltrated the churches, which had defiled them. I was shocked!
After the Christian has “seen” what God has revealed to him or her, Christ then approaches God’s new-born child and says:
“If any man will come after me, let him DENY HIMSELF [of this world’s lusts and pleasures], and TAKE UP HIS CROSS [meaning, the burden Jesus requires him or her to bear for Him], and FOLLOW ME [as the Great Shepherd of the sheep for the remainder of their life].” (Matt 16:24)
It is therefore vital that Christians learn to “walk in the Spirit. To do this, Christians must first learn to identify and reject Satan’s temptations to walk in the flesh”—meaning, ‘religion’:
“There is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION to them [God’s children] which are in Christ Jesus, who WALK NOT AFTER THE FLESH [i.e. 'religion'], but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1)
To “walk after the flesh” means to take a religious view of the Christian faith, rather than a scripturally-based understanding of the Bible IN [pure, non-wavering] FAITH!
"...For HE [whose faith] THAT WAVERETH is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed." (James 1:6)
Therefore, the parable of the educational system represents the successful completion of the Secondary School Level of achievement. This equivalent in God’s kingdom represents the New Birth. The New Birth then allows the identification and bearing of the cross that each Christian now carries for Christ.
"And HE THAT TAKETH NOT HIS CROSS, and FOLLOWETH [not] AFTER ME, IS NOT WORTHY OF ME." (Matt 10:38)
Education System Phase 4:
The University Level of Faith
The period of transferring from Secondary School to University could represent God’s educated child now progressing to undertaking various “WORKS” in His kingdom. These “works” aim to bring forth the required “FRUIT” unto God the Father.
Such “works” determine if the Christian is worthy or not of eternal life with Christ:
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto GOOD WORKS, which God HATH BEFORE ORDAINED that WE SHOULD WALK IN THEM [while walking in the Spirit].” (Ephesians 2:10)
“But wilt thou know, O vain man, that FAITH [alone] WITHOUT [the accompanying] WORKS IS DEAD [that represents WORTHLESS faith]? 26 For as the [deceased] body without the [person’s] spirit [dwelling inside] is DEAD, so faith without [the accompanying] works [that bring forth the required fruit] is DEAD [faith] also.” (James 2:20, 26)
“I am the TRUE VINE, and my Father is the husbandman [or gardener]. 2 Every branch [or Christian grafted] in ME [Jesus] THAT BEARETH NOT FRUIT, HE (God the Father] taketh away [by pruning and casting it on the ground – verse 6]: and EVERY BRANCH THAT BEARETH FRUIT, he PURGETH it [or prunes it back] that it may bring forth MORE FRUIT.” (John 15:1-2)
This parable of the Vine and the Branches is very clear that any spiritually “fruitless Christians” have no Salvation. This indicates they will indeed spend eternity in the Lake of Fire for being so ‘faithless’ towards God:
“If a [Christian] man ABIDE NOT IN ME [Christ the Vine], he is CAST FORTH [from Christ to the ground] AS A [fruitless] BRANCH, and is [or, eventually becomes] withered [meaning, the person demonstrates no spiritual life]; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, AND THEY ARE BURNED.” (John 15:6)
Therefore, the successful completion of the UNIVERSITY DEGREE equivalent in God’s kingdom represents FAITH PLUS WORKS. It also PRODUCES (spiritual) FRUIT unto God.
Education System Phase 5:
The Post Graduate Level of Faith
To move beyond the University level of spiritual faith, every Christian is required:
1. To KNOW what God the Father’s will is for them in their life—overall, and every day.
“For WHOSOEVER SHALL DO THE WILL OF MY FATHER which is in heaven, the same is MY BROTHER, and SISTER, and MOTHER [or a family member in Heaven].” (Matt 12:50)
2. To KNOW what their particular ministry is that Christ has allocated to them within His “body of believers”:
“Now ye are the [spiritual] body of Christ [for Christ to work through on Earth], and [individual] MEMBERS IN PARTICULAR.” (1 Corinthians 12:27)
3. To KNOW whether they are a fruit-producing “branch grafted into Jesus” or not.
4. To KNOW whether he or she has an eye, ear, nose, hand or foot ministry.
In this, each spiritual member of Christ’s “body” operates his or her allocated Gifts of the Spirit that enable their particular ministry to function:
“For by one Spirit are we all baptized [e.g. the Spirit baptism] into ONE BODY, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been ALL [born-again Christians] made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For THE BODY IS NOT ONE MEMBER, BUT MANY. 15 If the FOOT shall say, Because I am not the HAND, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the EAR shall say, Because I am not the EYE, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the SMELLING [or nose]? 18 But now hath GOD SET THE MEMBERS EVERY ONE OF THEM IN THE BODY, AS IT HATH PLEASED HIM.” (1 Cor 12:13-18)
Therefore, the post graduate course in God’s kingdom represents the advanced spiritual Christian becoming a Good Soldier of Jesus Christ.
He or she not only wears the defensive armor provided by God effectively (Eph 6:11), but is also skilled at wielding the two-edged sword of the Spirit. This is used to fight effectively against the enemy when called to by God.
"And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph 6:17)
Those identified as ‘the enemy’ are Satan’s:
- Evil angels in the heavenlies (Ephesians 6:12)
- Hoards of evil spirits who indwell people—Christians especially (Matthew 10:8)
- False preachers in church pulpits (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)
- Evil workers elsewhere (Philippians 3:2)
The Parable: Summary
Every living thing in God’s kingdom is a living organism – whether they are physical or spiritual things. As the “body of Christ” on Earth is a living organism, it too must experience spiritual growth .
Where a plant commences life by sprouting, it is considered to be mature when it becomes a fruit-producing plant, as shown in the illustration below.
In a similar manner, God expects each Christian to GROW from being a carnal Christian into a spiritual Christian. This is one who ultimately produces spiritual fruit unto God in the same manner as a seed matures into becoming a fruitful plant.
Such spiritual growth commences when Christians choose to travel along the “Narrow Way” that leads to eternal life with Christ.
“Because STRAIT IS THE GATE, and NARROW IS THE WAY, which LEADETH UNTO [eternal] LIFE, and FEW [Christians] THERE BE THAT FIND IT.” (Matthew 7:14)
Therefore, the True Gospel is THE ONLY GOSPEL MESSAGE that can save people from Hell. In this, the Apostle Paul referred to his Gospel as “My Gospel”, because it contains a “MYSTERY”. Also, Paul’s Gospel MUST be “OBEYED” if its benefits are to be realized:
“In the day when God shall judge the secrets of [Christian] men [at the Great White Throne Judgment—Rev 20:11-15] by Jesus Christ ACCORDING TO MY GOSPEL.” (Romans 2:16)
“And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known THE MYSTERY OF THE GOSPEL,” (Ephesians 6:19)
“But THEY [today’s Christians] HAVE NOT ALL OBEYED THE GOSPEL. For Esaias [Isaiah] saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?” (Romans 10:16)
Therefore, the Gospel of Initial and Final Salvation represents the MYSTERY OF THE GOSPEL.
A brief reflection
This article commenced by quoting the following verse of scripture:
“It is written in the prophets, And THEY [ALL truly 'born-again' Christians] shall be ALL TAUGHT [PERSONALLY] of God [the Father]. Every [truly 'born-again'] man [or woman] therefore that hath HEARD, and hath LEARNED of the Father, COMETH UNTO ME [Jesus—at the Rapture].” (John 6:45)
On the contrary, if Christians prefer to follow the teachings of ‘men’ such as John Calvin, R.C. Sproul, Charles Spurgeon, Ellen G. White, William Branham, and many others besides—none of which has died AND risen from the dead; placing one’s ‘faith’ in the teachings of these ‘men’ is the same as rejecting the teaching of the scriptures—which cannot save anyone from Hell:
"Howbeit IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME [Jesus], teaching for DOCTRINES the commandments of men [mentioned above]." (Mark 7:7)
“Wherefore IF ye be DEAD WITH CHRIST from the rudiments of the world, WHY, as though living in the world, are ye subject to [church] ordinances, 21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not; 22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the COMMANDMENTS and DOCTRINES of men?” (Col 2:20-22)
If you are dead with Christ, having been freed from the elementary rules of the world and the rudiments of Judaism, why then should any Christian be subject to them any longer? Their program is simply touch not this or you will be unclean (Leviticus 15), taste not this for it is unclean (Leviticus 11; Deut. 14), and handle not that for it is forbidden. All such things are to perish with the using. They are mere traditions of men in today’s world, not the laws of God in the new covenant (Col. 2:20-23).
A word of warning to ‘religious’ Christians
For Christians who believe in the doctrine of Once Saved, Always Saved, this study reveals that their level of knowledge about God and the Bible is at Kindergarten level.
Such a low level of spiritual maturity and their failure to bring forth the required “fruit” unto God will determine that such Christians are unsuitable for Heaven.
This is Satan’s desire for all of God’s children on Earth, as it means they will forfeit their Salvation through “lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).
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