Personalizing Scripture Scroll down to first article
Standing Firm On Biblical Truth ---- scroll down
About every ten days to two weeks I will unwrap one of the more than fifty Gift Blessings of Grace that are given to each new believer the moment they believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior. Below, after the introduction, I have
unwrapped the first gift of God's grace which is the gift or every believer having been chosen in Christ before the foundations of the world. Following this first unwrapping are many more. The latest I unwrapped today was gift number twenty. I have about forty more to go. Enjoy! Be Blessed! and praise the Lord for these many blessings that are ours for all eternity. Tom Hanson
“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” Thus spoke the Holy Spirit through the apostle John as recorded in his first epistle, chapter three, verse two.
As I get older and nearer to that going home time, or what would be even better, His glorious appearing in the air, I marvel at the increase in the Holy Spirit’s working in my life. Though I sometimes deride myself at my seeming spiritual ineptness, I see great evidence of the Holy Spirit’s increased activity in my life as I get older. In the past three years He has been more active than ever before. I ponder and reflect sometimes on why this might be. Since the moment I believed in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Savior of all mankind, the Holy Spirit has been faithfully working in my life. There have been a number of times in which I have sensed the filling of the Holy Spirit for a short period of time and for specific purposes, but the added activity of the Holy Spirit these days I don’t believe to be a special filling, but a heighten sense on my part of a particular work in me. I tell myself that it is because I am closer to kicking the bucket and the Holy Spirit has to finish His job before I can go home. Though I say this with tongue in cheek, I suspect there may be more spiritual truth to this than God has given me the ability to comprehend at this point in my spiritual journey.
In the past several years there has been an elevated sense of the importance of finding answers to questions that have perplexed me in my understanding of certain spiritual realities. Let me mention a few and encourage you to take this journey with me through this seeming spiritual maze.
1. God said to Adam, do not eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil for in the day that you eat of it, you will die. Adam and Eve both ate of that tree, but historically Christians have been taught and they in turn teach that the first man and woman did not die in the day in which they ate of it. Several questions: Was God mistaken about the day in which they would die? Or, did they truly die and because they didn’t stop breathing, eating, walking and talking, we failed to understand their true death?
2. In the gospel of John, chapter three, verse two, Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, said to Jesus, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him." In verse three, Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Now Nicodemus’s reply was very bizarre, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" On second thought, was his question all that bizarre? We have to remember, even though it is revealed that Nicodemus was a teacher of Israel, according to Jesus (verse 10), he did not have the Holy Spirit to guide him into spiritual truths as we have today. When his reply showed that he failed to understand that Jesus was speaking of spiritual realities, Jesus said to him (verse five), “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” Astute commentators on these passages of scripture from John three will point out that the Greek words that we translate as “born again” literally means being born from above. I have never argued with their comments, since I heard Billy Graham reveal this truth in a sermon in nineteen seventy five, when I was only months old in the Lord, and the Holy Spirit, although I did not totally understand it, ingrained that truth into my heart. However, I have wanted someone to explain to me in detail the spiritual reality of what ‘being born from above’ actually means. I guess they assume, if we understand what being born again means, we will understand what being born from above entails. Well, they would be wrong in my case, because, the way my brain wants to understand being born again is about the way Nicodemus understood what it meant. Yet, my spirit wants to see it differently and when I consider what Jesus said in verse six, it helps the spiritual picture come into focus. Jesus said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” His answer to Nicodemus, in plain English, was, “Nick, I’m not talking about a man re-entering his mothers body and being born a second time. I’m talking about a person experiencing a spiritual birth from above by the Holy Spirit.” So how is one born a spirit by the Holy Spirit as stated in verse six? Keep reading.
3. God, who is spirit, said let us create man in our own image, yet we explain the creation of man from the Genesis account this way. “God started with a hunk of dirt and ended up with a material being that you could see and touch. Then, when He breathed into his creation the breath of life, He gave dirt man a soul.” However, it seems we are focusing on Adams body which is not an image of God as I understand God to be. Jesus said in John 4:24, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” So, how are we to understand what God meant when He said, “..let us create man in our own image” if we are convinced that all God created was dirt man? Keep reading.
4. Most bible scholars and teachers say that man is composed of a body, a soul and a spirit with the body being of material substance and the soul and spirit being non-material. I agree with that because there are too many scriptures that refer to man being, or at least possessing, a soul and a spirit. Sometimes, it seems that scripture presents each non-material being separate from the other, sometimes it seems scripture presents them as one entity. However, scripture also teaches that the word of God is capable of dividing the soul and the spirit (Hebrews 4:12). Doe this mean that the soul and spirit are separate entities within man, but only God’s word can reveal their being separate entities?
5. What exactly did Paul mean when He said, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins?” In what manner are we, who are already living, made alive when we believe? What does it mean, we were dead in trespasses and sins? I was born in 1940. I became a believer in 1975. At no time in all those years as an unbeliever do I remember being dead. What did James mean, about the body being dead without the spirit, when he said, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” in James 2:26?
One of the first verses I memorized as a new believer was Romans 12:1, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” I was taught early on in my walk with the Lord that it was the Holy Spirit living and working in me, using ever resource that He needed, but primarily the Word of God, that would renew my mind and transform my sin laden soul, (or heart, as some might prefer).
As I grew in Christ, I would find other verses that reminded me of the work the Holy Spirit was doing in my life, such as these:
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16);
“But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph 4:20-24);
“Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created” (Col 3:9-10);
“But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:4-6).
These verses helped me understand that it was the Holy Spirit who indwells every believer and does the work of renewing and transforming a person into the likeness of Christ.
The work of the Holy Spirit actually begins in our lives while we are yet lost in sin. Jesus said in John 16, “And when He (the Holy Spirit) has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me” (John 16:8-9). Therefore, it is the Holy Spirit that initiates the process of salvation by convicting us of our sin of unbelief while we are yet lost and separated from God. The Holy Spirit doesn’t have to indwell the lost person to bring about conviction.
Once the Holy Spirit indwells us, His work in us is multifaceted. Jesus said part of the Holy Spirit’s responsibility is to guide believers into all truth. “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth “ (John 16:13). The Holy Spirit brings us into harmony with the Lord Jesus and our heavenly Father in many ways. He conforms our spirit to the image of Christ, our minds to the mind of Christ and our wills to the will of God. His work is never ending. His work goes on twenty four hours every day, seven days every week, three hundred, sixty two and one fourth days a year.
In fact, I believe that scripture will bring us to the conclusion that the Holy Spirit will not complete His task so long as a person is living in their old earth suit. When the body is shed at death, or transformed at the rapture into its immortal, incorruptible state, the old sin nature is no more. Now what happens to it, God only knows. Nowhere in scripture can I find reference to the sin nature being part of the existence of a believer after death or the rapture. Therefore it seems the Holy Spirit does not complete the work God has given Him until the ole sin nature is out of the way. Or, perhaps another way of saying the same things is - when the Holy Spirit’s work is completed in a believer the sin nature ceases to exist. The Holy Spirit’s work is not complete until we are the exact image of the Lord Jesus. The moment we are spiritually completed is either immediately after we die and before we enter the presence of the Lord Jesus in heaven, or after our feet leave the earth at the rapture and just immediately before we enter His presence in the air. How can I be so precise? Let us look at the verse from the apostle John’s first epistle, chapter three, verse two. I am taking the liberty of presenting the verse in a paraphrased, conversational English.
“Brothers and sisters in Christ, at the moment we are children of God and we all know what flesh and blood children of God look like. We also know it has not yet been revealed to us exactly what we shall be like in Heaven and eternity future. However, we know that when He is revealed to us, whether at death or the rapture, we are going to be like Him. And at that very moment we enter His presence, whether at death or the rapture, we shall see that He is like us, and we are at that very moment, like Him. So, thank God we will all be spiritual beings and not flesh and blood as we are now.”
Please note that I used the term ‘spiritual beings’ in reference to our heavenly (post earthly body) existence. However, God will not only be dealing with spiritual beings in a heavenly setting. Those whom, because of unbelief will be spending eternity in hell, will one day stand before God as embodied souls. We are told in Rev. 20:12: “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.” This scene is at the great, white throne judgment and those standing before the throne are those who died without Christ. At death, their souls went to Hades, the abode of the unbelieving dead between death and judgment, but their bodies decayed in the earth. Yet John says he saw them standing before God.
Can there be any doubt from the New Testament scriptures as to believers being anything other than spirit beings with glorified bodies after death, or after the rapture? Though we will have immortal, imperishable bodies, they will not be of flesh and blood, but will be of a spiritual, supernatural composition like unto the body of the resurrected Lord. Perhaps this is what John means by saying that we do not yet know what we shall be. But, may I add that when we enter his presence we will be as He is.
In this article I use the term ‘sin nature’ in making reference to man’s proclivity to sin. The term sin nature, though not found in scripture, is an implied reality through out the New Testament epistles. Most all of mankind know that people have at least two natures. One, a moral nature that encourages them toward living a moral life, and the second, a sinful or immoral nature that pulls, pushes and shoves them toward a life of sin and wrongdoing. Perhaps, as someone has said, our two natures are like the two sides of a tapestry. On one side is the beautiful likeness of someone or something that pleases the eye and blesses the soul. The other side of the tapestry is an ugly broken pattern of frayed thread end, knots and gnarly stitches, undesirable to look upon.
For those who agree that our ultimate existence will be that of spirits, let me ask you folks one or two other questions. Now, for those of you who think that man was never, is not now, and never will be a spirit, these questions will seem to be redundant, so bear with me here. Was Adam created a spirit being? Was he created with a sin nature? Are people today born with a spirit and a sin nature? As we continue we will take a look at what the bible says, or perhaps doesn’t say about these things.
“Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…” Gen 1:26
Scripture is silent as to whether God specifically created Adam with or without a sin nature. However, enough is said that I believe we can reach a conclusion. We do know that every man born of Adam has a sin nature - that proclivity to sin, with the one exception being Jesus. The record of God creating Adam reveals that God began by creating an entity in His own likeness. Therefore I understand that, among other things, this means that the first man was sinless in original form. This is one image of God. And I am going to stick my neck out and say that Adam was created without a natural compulsion to sin. Another image of God. I also believe that scripture leads us to understand that God created a being with which He could have spiritual relationship and fellowship just as the Trinity has had from eternity past. Another image of God. And I believe that God created a being, whom He could bless both spiritually and materially.
Does not scripture reveal that God is spirit? Does God’s proposal that He and the other members of the Trinity create man in their image, allow for mans likeness of God to be to found in mans fundamental or essential nature and not in the physical body that housed that essential nature? If God first created the fundamental and essential nature of man as a spirit being, then added flesh, blood and bone to His creation, it would not diminish or fundamentally impact the spirit being spiritual reality. Or, we could say that if God first created man’s flesh, blood and bone it would not impact the spirit being of man when it was created. Since, we Christians insist on defining the spirit aspect of man as the immaterial part of man, we need not speculate on what God used to create the spirit of Adam. Let’s leave it at this, it is immaterial.
At this point I feel the need to reveal a problem with we human beings that prevents our having a perfect understanding of the creation of the first man, so long as we are mortal men or women. Let me present it in this manner: We begin with three objects that will represent the wisdom, knowledge and understanding of the creation of man of each of three individuals. First picture in your mind the vegetable known as a pea, this represents the sum total of what I know and understand about the creation of man. Next, picture a grapefruit. This represents the sum total of the knowledge and understanding of the creation of man of the most intelligent bible scholar who has ever lived. Now, picture, if you can the whole of the known universe. This represents in part the knowledge and understanding of God of the creation process. Do you see the problem?
From beginning to end, this creation of the first man, was a supernatural endeavor, process and reality. Although God, using the simple dust of the earth, created the bone, sinew, flesh and blood of the first man, which we proclaim as God’s crowning achievement in all of creation, it was man’s spirit, the true entity of man, that God created in His own image.
Now the form and stature of man became that of a creature unlike anything else in creation. However, when man looks at himself in a mirror today, what he sees is the image of the same body shape and form as that of the first man, not God’s image. When God completed this body of the first man, He breathed into His creation, through the mans nostrils, the breath of life, creating a living soul. Although, the soul as we know it, is also a non-material part of man, just like man’s spirit, they are not one and the same. Regardless how tempting it might be to believe, that since it is the soul that gives man intellectual capacity, his will and his emotions, that perhaps the soul and spirit are the same, it can’t be so. The primary function of the soul seems to be to enable the body of man to live and move and have earthly being. Besides, the soul can be corrupted, but not man’s spirit, that which is created in God’s image. Thus this creation was trichotomous in existence – spirit, body, and soul.
God built a wonderful, beautiful garden in which man was to live. He told the man when he placed him in the garden, that to sustain his life, he could eat the fruit of any plant growing in the garden with one exception. The exception was the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God warned the man, if he ate of that tree, He would die in the day he ate it. Here is exactly what God said, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die" (Genesis2:16). We Christians believe that for a period of time God and Adam had fellowship and they walked and talked in the garden. We kind of like that picture. Because of all the hopes and dreams that every believer has, the one most paramount is of the day when we walk in the gardens of heaven and talk with our Lord and Savior and heavenly Father. However, in the course of time Adam and Eve decided that they knew what was best for themselves. So, they ate of that tree and just as God had warned, they died. Or did they?
Early in my walk with the Lord, I was deeply convicted by Numbers 23:19, that God has never, He will never and He can not - lie. The verse says, "God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” If a child of God ever finds that God has lied in all of eternity past, he might as well chunk his salvation, because heaven where there resides a God who lies would be the hell of hells! Since I know that God does not, has never, will never lie, my salvation is secure. The question that should come to mind for every believer, while contemplating Genesis 2:16 is, Why didn’t Adam and Eve die, in the day they ate of the tree, like God said they would? Isn’t this a very logical question, considering that they kept on breathing, walking, talking and carrying on with their lives?
The typical commentary on Adam and Eve not immediately dying, is that God didn’t mean that they would drop dead, but would die sooner or later, even though that isn’t exactly what God said. However, since it took Adam over 900 years to eventually die, why didn’t God say, “Adam, if you eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you are going to die in less than a thousand years”?
In seeking the answers to these questions that have arisen from the story of Adam and original sin, let’s revisit the creation process that God used in bringing Adam into being. I believe we may come to an understanding of what happened when Adam sinned.
May I suggest to you that God’s creation process that resulted in the first man appears to have been a three step process. Remember, God said, “let us create man in our own image.” He was speaking of course to at least one, but most likely, both of the other two members of the Holy Trinity. How do we know that? Look at John 1:1 -3, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” If the Holy Spirit is living in you and you are yielded to Him and He is doing that which God promised He was to do in believers, (see John 16:13) then He has already guided you to truths contained in this scripture. But just in case any of us were spiritually in a funk at the time the Holy Spirit covered this in John 101, let’s do a redo. The setting? Creation! Who is present? At least God and the Word. Who is the Word? The pre-existent Christ! What did He do? He created all things! In fact, without Him nothing was created that was created! Therefore, God said, at least to the pre-existent Lord Jesus, (however, I vote that the Holy Spirit was also present) “Let us make man in our own image.” Now, since the Creators were each a spirit and They wanted to create man in their own image, isn’t it logical they began by creating a spirit? What else would they first create, if their creation was to be in the likeness of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit? Therefore, if God wanted man to be in His image, man first of all had to be created a spirit being, a non-material, living being with spiritual life. Step two. They took the dirt of the earth and formed man’s earth suit or body. Scripture doesn’t say, but I assume as They formed the body, They formed it around Adam’s spirit. However, they could have formed the body and then placed the spirit somewhere inside. Step three, God breathed into the man’s body the breath of life, and man became a living entity. We call that living entity that permeates the body of man, the soul, that other non-material living being. Thus, when God was finished creating man, we had a trichotomous being with a spirit, body and soul. The spirit was autonomous, it possessed spiritual life and was dependent on neither, the soul or body, to give it life. The soul was also autonomous, dependent on neither, the spirit or body, to give it life. The body was totally dependent on the soul to give it life.
Thus Adam, the first human being, consisted of a spirit, a body, and the breath of life, or soul. It was through Adam’s spirit that he was able to have intimate, spiritual fellowship with God. The bible tells us nothing about what was involved in or what it meant for Adam and God to have fellowship. However, we can offer a conjecture that both being spirit, it was a spiritual dynamic, perhaps incomprehensible to mortal man. However, Adam was also able to relate with God on a plane with which we are familiar. God and the first man walked and talked together in the Garden of Eden, thus Adam could also relate to God as a mortal man through social intercourse. When God and Adam had simple conversation, it was through Adam’s soul that Adam responded – that is his mind, will and emotion. His mind articulated thought and words, His body responded to his mind and created lip movement to form the words and the slightest discharge of air over the vocal cords to create sound. Also, when God spoke to Adam, Adam was able to hear God’s voice, independent of his spirit.
Though we know almost absolutely nothing of the fellowship and communion Adam had with God through his spirit, his whole being must have enjoyed this special time. The intimacy that was stirred within Adam toward his creator, during this spiritual process, surely was unlike anything else he ever experienced in his nine hundred plus years of life.
Let us go back to what God said to Adam when He placed him in the garden. I know with all my heart that God has never played games of semantics with mankind. God says what He means and He means what He says for God can not lie. When God said that Adam would die if he ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, in the day that he ate it, God meant it. Therefore Adam and Eve died the day in which they ate the forbidden fruit. Now we know that their bodies did not die. We know the breath of life never left their bodies, so it can not be said that the souls of Adam and Eve died. So what died? Surely, it was the spirit of Adam and Eve that died! And it died immediately on their eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, because God deemed it so. I’ve said that I believe also that God created Adam’s spirit in His image so that Adam could have fellowship with Him. However, the holiness of God necessarily requires His divine opposition to and His condemnation of all sin. Thus, when Adam and Eve sinned of their own volition, that part of their being created in the image of God in sinless purity and holiness, had to have died. We do not know, if the spirits of Adam and Eve were supernatural or not. However, man’s first sin, the sin of disobedience, was so destructive that it killed the spirit God had created in His own image? Perhaps, that was just the way God designed it.
Without a doubt, we can justify, through scripture taken from the whole of God’s Word, the assumption that Adam and God had fellowship in the garden before the fall. However, there is no room for the assumption of fellowship in the language of the scripture describing the relationship of God and Adam after Adam sinned. Yes, God talked with Adam, but that doesn’t mean they had spiritual fellowship. In fact, their conversation seemed very strained on Adam’s part and so far as we know, soon ended.
When Adam and Eve’s spirits died, there to take center stage and begin controlling their lives and filling any possible void existing from their departed spirit was a predisposition to sin. We call this the sin nature. But, that sin nature did not respond to the sound of God’s voice, only the shrill, conniving taunts of the god to whom Adam and Eve had just given control of the earth and in whose world they now lived.
Actually, how man’s sin nature happened to come into being, scripture doesn’t say. Perhaps, God had to create the sin nature knowing that man would choose to use his free will in a destructive manner. However, He didn’t just stick man’s sin nature in there, somewhere between his scalp and the soles of his feet, where it awaited being set loose upon man’s first sin. As I was writing this article, the Holy Spirit gave me recall to a verse of scripture that reveals exactly where the sin nature is located. However, first another thought on how the sin nature came into being. Knowing how destructive sin is in the lives of mankind, isn’t it quite possible that Adam’s and Eve’s first sin not only destroyed their spirit but altered their very nature. Yet, the old sin nature is not a thing, it is not a body part, it is not of flesh and blood, it is an evil aberration of the heart of man. We know this is true because our Savior has revealed this to us, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man,……..” (Matt 15:18-20). The sin nature is who we are at the core of our being before we are born again and we have Adam to thank for it. Now, whether it was genetically passed on, or given by Devine proclamation, I know not. But, I do know all of Adam’s descendents, but Jesus Christ, have had a sin nature. It very quickly and with a certainty, manifested itself in the very first child born to Adam and Eve. Their son Cain became a murderer (Genesis 4:8.) Yet, though man’s sin nature is a reality, no one has ever seen or had physical awareness of the sin nature itself, only the destructive results of it. The apostle Paul assures us of that in Romans 5:12. “Therefore, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.”
For more than four thousand years mortal men were born, they lived, they died without possessing a spirit. Yet, a few men in the old Testament were blessed to be filled with the Holy Spirit for a season. Also, many people for a period of time were possessed by evil spirits. However, in all these thousands of years not one person was indwelt by a spirit that was their own and part of their being, with the exception of Jesus Christ.
Then came Pentecost!
Beginning at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit has indwelt every person, who has exercised their faith in Jesus Christ, at the moment they believed in Him. The Holy Spirit will continue to indwell each believer, at least, until such time as the believer is glorified. This happens almost immediately after death, or at the Rapture, if it comes first. However, is it possible that it wasn’t only the Holy Spirit that came into those first believers and took up residents at Pentecost? And to be sure, what ever happened to the believers at Pentecost, has happened to every believer since Pentecost. What in heavens name am I talking about? Keep reading.
Have you ever wondered what Jesus meant by His statement in John 3:6? Here is what He said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Ok, I think we all know what He meant by the first part of that statement. It makes sense that a baby born from a mother of flesh, bone and blood is going to be composed of flesh, bone and blood. But, what does the last part of His statement mean? It says: “that which is born of the (S)pirit is (s)pirit”. If the big ‘S’ denotes the Holy Spirit. The small ‘s’ must be in reference to the spirit of man, or man the spirit. So, what exactly does Jesus mean? It certainly seems that Jesus is saying, “Whoever is born of the Holy Spirit, is a spirit! How can this be?
First, let us consider another confusing verse of scripture that is speaking to the same idea, experience, or happening, to which John 3:6 speaks. I’m referring to 2 Cor. 5:17. The apostle Paul says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
What is confusing about this verse? Well, we know at the time we believe in Christ, the Holy Spirit comes in to us and baptizes us into the Lord Jesus, revealing how it is that we are in Christ. (See Romans 6:3). But how are we to understand, in what way we are a new creation? But first, let me ask another question. What type of beings inhabit heaven? Aren’t they spirit beings? When believers enter the presence of the Lord Jesus at the rapture or at death, how will they see or perceive Him? And how will the Lord Jesus relate to us? Remember 1 John 3:2 at the beginning of the article?
“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).
One of the encouraging truths this verse reveals is that, when we enter the presence of Christ Jesus, we shall see Jesus as He is. We know that He is a perfect spiritual being, so at least we will see Him as that perfect spiritual being, for He can never be anything less. Another truth this verse reveals is that, when we enter His presence that first time, we shall be like Him. That is, at the least, we will be mature spiritual beings! This begs a question. If we must be a spirit being to be like Him, when do we become spiritual beings? I believe John 3:6 and 1 Cor. 5:17 may hold the key. Jesus said that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. He also said, in essence, through the apostle Paul that everyone born again is a new creation. Let us see if we can make sense of these truths. At the moment we believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Savior of mankind, we are born again – literally, we are born from above. What does it mean to be born from above? Might I suggest to you, that there are at least two possible meanings to the phrase ‘born from above’.
The first and probably most accepted meaning of being born from above, would be the evangelical understanding that to become a child of God, people must be transformed through a new kind of birth, a spiritual birth. They must be born of God through the work of the Holy Spirit in the human being. Thus the process of becoming a new spiritual entity has everything to do with the work of the Holy Spirit with nothing being contributed by the individual, beyond surrender to that work. The glorious result would be the believer becoming a new spiritual entity.
The second possible meaning to the phrase ‘born from above’ unfolds with this understanding. When the Holy Spirit comes into a person, upon their believing, He brings from our heavenly Father above a new spirit entity that He the Holy Spirit implants in us. By doing so, this new entity becomes part of us and thus we become this new creation Paul talks about. At salvation, our new spirit entity, brought from heaven above by the Holy Spirit, becomes part of us just as our body and our soul is each a part of who we are, only this new spirit can not be impacted by flesh, blood or bone. Nor is it corruptible by the non-material mind, will or emotions. It is this newly created spirit from God that the Holy Spirit nurtures, shapes and molds into the image of Christ. And as with the first meaning, the development, growth, maturing of our new spirit is all dependent on the work of the Holy Spirit with nothing being contributed by the individual but their surrendering to the work of the Holy Spirit.
Scripture, it seems to me, supports either of the above concepts. However, the Holy Spirit will not perfect and completely mature our spirit until our bodies die and our spirits are translated into the presence of Jesus Christ, or we are translated into His presence at the rapture. Remember, when our body dies, we are immediately translated into His presence according to the apostle Paul who said, “Absent from the body, present with the Lord” (1 Cor. 5:8). It is our spirit, that immediately upon death, is absent from the body and present with the Lord.
If we are alive at the time of the rapture, here is what happens according to 1 Cor. 15:51 and 1 Thess 4:16-17:
“….in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and then we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” And we shall enter His presence as mature, perfect spirit beings…..just as He is.
“ the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain (for only a nanosecond) shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” Somewhere between terra firma and the Lord’s presence in the air, we will become mature, spiritual beings, in the twinkling of an eye ….. and …. we will be just as He is.
From salvation until our death or the rapture, our new spirits can never been tainted by sin or evil. Because, it is isolated from our soul and body and it is under the direct protection and control of the Holy Spirit so long as we abide in our earth suits. Although we will sin as believers, our new spirit can never be impacted by the sin in our lives because Christ destroyed the power of sin to do so and the presence of the Holy Spirit forbids it! And thank God, we will be totally, absolutely free of the old flesh and sin nature either at death or the rapture. Then the Holy Spirit, who has been living in us, since we became a believer will be able to finish His work (perfect our spirit) in the twinkling of an eye. At the moment the Holy Spirit finishes His work our spirits are glorified, we become whole and perfect spirit beings, as is our Savior. So somewhere between, where our bodies fall lifeless when we hear His voice call our name saying, “Come on home my child!” and when we enter His presence in heaven, we will be changed. Or, if it is at the time of the rapture, it will be somewhere between, when we hear that trumpet sound, and when we enter His presence in the air. In either case, we will be totally changed and we will be whole, complete, glorified, spiritual beings for all eternity. Hallelujah! Yes, praise God! For we will be as the Lord Jesus now is and we will be with Him for evermore! Hallelujah again and again!
I do not know for certain what happens to our souls upon death or the rapture. But as long as we are in these ole earth suits, we need the soul to give our bodies life. However, for the believer, it is in and through our spirits that we will live and move and have our being through out eternity as spirit beings. Because our souls are corrupted by sin, it cannot be allowed to exist, in its present corrupted state, in contact with our sin free, perfectly holy and righteous spirits. Perhaps some verses in 1 Corinthians 15 holds the key. First let’s look at verse 50: “Now, this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.” Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God because they are of a mortal nature, they will eventually die, decay and be no more. However, verse 53 says, “and this mortal must put on immortality.” Our body becomes imperishable, just as the body of Jesus is imperishable. The soul, though a non material entity, is corrupt and therefore must become incorrupt, if it is to exist in our new eternal bodies with our spirit. Thank God for verse 51c, “…..but we shall all be changed.” In other words, we need not worry about our bodies being mortal or our souls being corrupted, God will change us into the eternal, immortal, non-corrupted and incorruptible spirit beings we need to be. If only that which has life can be corrupted, then these verses must be talking about the soul. If so, then that which will inter the Lord’s presence will be the new incorruptible soul, housed in a new immortal body and under the control of the new perfected spirit of man. Thus the three will exist for all eternity in the likeness of Christ.
Something that use to concern me was the thought of my soul’s extensive memory bank continuing to exist after I become a glorified spirit being. At the present, I have lots of unpleasant memories and I don’t want them marring anything in eternity future. However, since my soul is made up of my mind, will and emotions, and since my soul will be sanitized at my glorification, I will have the mind of Christ and only good, wholesome, precious memories will come to me in eternity future.
Following is a way in which I believe we can honor God while personalizing Phil. 4:6&7. Suppose you have a good friend or loved one who is very ill and you are greatly concerned about them; so much so, that you find that you are fearfully worried about them. You go to God in prayer and quote Phil. 4:6 &7 to Him in your prayer something like this:
“Father in heaven, I am truly worried about my friends health, yet I know that in Phil. 4: 6 & 7 you tell me not to be anxious about anything. Instead you want me to pray to you about my concerns using supplication and thanksgiving to aid me in my prayer. Therefore, heavenly Father I am asking you to calm my heart as I pray for my friend these things (name those things to God). I thank you Father that you are in control. I pray that my friend is living in obedience to your will and walking in fellowship with you day by day.
“Father I am claiming your peace even in the midst of my great concern. I am asking that your peace, which surpasses all understanding, come into and guard my heart and mind and guard my total being against any efforts by Satan to cause me to lose or diminish that peace which comes from you. I thank you Lord Jesus that it is through You that I can have this faith to come to my heavenly Father and be blessed with the peace that surpasses all understanding at this very minute. Amen.”
Please! If you are not personalizing scripture in your life, begin doing so. This it is one of the greatest weapons in our spiritual armory that we will ever use.
Corruption In The Church of Jesus Christ
Now here is a caveat for all believers. If you read this far and thought to yourself: None of those horrible, sinful, things are happening in the churches with which I am familiar! Satan has blinded your eyes, your mind and your heart to the truth of what is really going on in the church in America today. Remember the church is much, much, larger than your local church body. There is more diversity in the church at large than in your local congregation and the denomination, if any, to which it belongs.
However, I want to be quick to say that when I started doing my research on the divorce stats for the church compared to the stats of the populous as a whole I was pleasantly surprised that it was not as horrible as I had thought. Following are the most recent statistics on marriage and divorce in America that I could find from Barna Research, the premier Christian research organization for the church.
From Barna Christian Research:
Four out of every five adults (78%) have been married at least once, the Barna study revealed that an even higher proportion of born again Christians (84%) tie the knot.
Among adults who have been married, the study discovered that one-third (33%) have experienced at least one divorce.
Among the population segments with the lowest likelihood of having been divorced subsequent to marriage are Catholics (28%), evangelicals (26%).
Born again Christians who are not evangelical were indistinguishable from the national average on the matter of divorce: 33% have been married and divorced.
In fact, when evangelicals and non-evangelical born again Christians are combined into an aggregate class of born again adults, their divorce figure is statistically identical to that of non-born again adults: 32% versus 33%, respectively.
Thirty percent of atheists and agnostics had been married and subsequently divorced. However, the three-point difference from the national average was within the range of sampling error, suggesting that their likelihood of experiencing a dissolved marriage is the same as that of the population at-large.
STANDING FIRM ON BIBLICAL TRUTH!!!
by Tom Hanson
Those of you who know me; know that I am a stickler when it comes to maintaining the integrity of biblical truth. For instance, here are three biblical truths that are not to be abridged by anyone in any way:
How do we know these three things are biblical truths? We go to the scripture that reveals the truths.
Truth number one is revealed in Eph. 2:5, 8-9, Jn. 3:16, Jn. 16:8, and more;
“….even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” Eph. 2:5;
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast” Eph. 2:8-9.
Truth number two is revealed in John 3:16 and 18 etc., etc.:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”;
“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” John 3:18.
The destination of the one condemned in the above verse is eternal separation from God spent in Hell.
Truth number three is revealed in John 16:13 and other scripture:
“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come”.
There are other scriptures that support each of the above three biblical truths; and every believer would do well to discover every passage that supports any biblical truth. Why do I say that? I say that because there are heresies and cults that have come into being through taking just one scripture out of context and denying the truth therein.
However, In addition, there are some passages in the New Testament that have been added to some of the later manuscripts that have become the proof text for at least one major denomination’s theology. There is one false passage which has resulted in many thousands, and perhaps millions, dying and going to hell without the knowledge of truth. That passage is Mark 16:16.
“He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” Mark 16:16.
As revealed in Eph. 2: 5, 8, and 9; John 3:16, 18 and many other verses, one is saved by believing in and on Jesus Christ as God’s Son and the Savior of man and nothing else. Regardless, what chapter sixteen, verse sixteen of Marks gospel may proclaim, this verse is not part of the original manuscripts and is therefore to be shunned!
In fact, verses 9-20 are bogus verses. Read what Merle F. Unger said in his Bible Handbook and Charles Caldwell Ryrie said in his Study Bible notes:
“His post-resurrection appearances. This portion is not found in the Sinaitic and Vatican manuscripts. Others have it only in part. Quite possibly Mark's original copy was transcribed and became a textual tradition before he finished it. Later he finished it, giving rise to another text (the fuller one, consisting of verses 9-20). This latter text is referred to by Irenaeus (c. a.d. 170) and is found in the Alexandrian and Cambridge manuscripts.—New Unger's Bible Handbook, The
Here is what Charles Caldwell Ryrie says about these verses in the footnotes of his Ryrie Study Bible:
“These verses do not appear in two of the most trustworthy mss. of the NT, though they are part of many other mss. and versions. If they are not a part of the genuine text of Mark, the abrupt ending of verse 8 is probably because the original closing verses were lost. The doubtful genuineness of verses 9-20 makes in unwise to build a doctrine or base and experience on them (esp. vv 16-18).
I shudder to think of the hundreds of thousands and maybe more who are still being taught that baptism is a necessary part of the salvation experience, when it is without a doubt a manufactured lie of Satan. When anyone proclaims that there is something else needed, besides believing in Jesus Christ, for salvation, they are lying and the truth is not in them. What they are saying is that the accomplishments of God’s Son while on the cross, on behalf of sinful people, was not efficacious enough and that in His death and resurrection the Son of God fell short and did not measure up.
As Jesus said, Satan has come to steal, kill, and destroy. In this case, Satan is still accomplishing those very things through bogus scripture. Why any organization would continue to produce bibles with these errors, I do not understand.
We believers need to make it a habit to always ask the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth as we are reading, studying, and meditating on scripture. Jesus has promised that the Holy Spirit will do that for us and His promises never fail.
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”. Romans 15:13
Of late, I have spent some time thinking about the emphasis or importance we Christians place on the word “feeling” in its different forms and applications in respect to both the physical and the spiritual realm.
I realize of course, it is very important to our physical health to value the way we “feel” at any moment in time. That is one of the keys to staying healthy. We know when we don’t feel “well” health wise and therefore we can respond in a proactive way to try to improve the way we “feel”. In doing so, we can have a positive impact on our physical health.
However, applying the words feel, feeling, and feelings to our spiritual status quo, when identifying where we think we are spiritually at any point in time, is ludicrous and is something that Satan can use against us. Let me explain.
I don’t know any Christian who jumps out of bed every morning and begins the day with a rhapsodic rendition, at the top of his lungs, of:
“It’s a beautiful day and I thank God for the weather.
It’s a beautiful day and I’m living it for the Lord.
It’s a beautiful day and things will only get better.
I’m living each day by the promises of God’s Word.”
I wish I did, I wish I could, and I wish I would, but I don’t and I won’t, at least not every morning. If I did, after about the third morning, my wife would call the people from the happy place (we used to call it the funny farm, but that’s not PC in this day and age) and they would come haul me away in a straitjacket.
However, if you are somewhat like me, there are mornings you wake up with the impressions that something just seems a little askew and you immediately begin wondering what is wrong with me. Now, if it is an ache or pain you know to start looking for the Advil or aspirin. If it is an upset stomach, you know to look for the appropriate over the counter or prescription remedy you have for that specific ailment. And so it goes as we deal with some of the impressions in life. But, what about those impressions that may not be of the physical realm, are they automatically from the spiritual?
I suspect that every person from the time they are three or four years old, when their cognitive abilities begin to develop, also began to deal with impressions at that time. According to Webster, an impression is something that: 1.) can have a marked influence on the mind or emotions; 2.) can arouse interest or approval of something or someone; 3.) can implant something firmly in the mind or fix in the memory.
However, can or does Satan implant sinful thoughts, desires, imaginations etc., etc., in Christian’s hearts and minds? I want us to look at specific passages of scripture to see if we might come to a biblical position that affirms or denies whether Christians can be impacted by Satan or his demons.
“But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them” (2 Cor. 4:3-4). This verse does not apply to believers, because the verse specifically says only those who are perishing and who do not believe have their minds blinded by Satan.
“Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself” (John 12:31-33). True! Christ will draw all people to Himself, who will respond to Him.
“And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him….”. (John 13:2). This verse does not speak to whether or not a bona fide believer can have something put into his or her heart by Satan. It speaks to Satan having already put into the heart of Judas, who followed Christ and was a member of his disciple group, to betray the Lord. This and many other verses do testify to the lost condition of Judas, who never came to faith in Christ before he committed suicide.
“Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him (Judas). Then Jesus said to him, "What you do, do quickly” (John 13:27). This also does not apply to a believer, for the reasons given above.
“But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” James 1:14-15.
We know from the opening verses of this epistle that James is writing to: “the twelve tribes who are scattered abroad”. Many Christian scholars, including, Charles C. Ryrie, Th.D., Ph.D., believe this is referring to believers everywhere in the known world at the time and would therefore speak to Christians who are being scattered over this world at the present time due to persecution. However, it also speaks to every other believer on earth regardless where we are or what the conditions are, under which, we are living.
“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” James 4:7-8.
Of the three commandments of Christ in the above two verses, the first two commandments are two of the most forceful commandments of Christ given to any writer of the New Testament. I find it encouraging that they were given to James, the half-brother of Jesus, by the Holy Spirit, since he is one of the somewhat obscure NT writers.
Each one of these two commandments can stand alone; but when coupled together, they infuse a believer with such supernatural power, while confronting Satan, that Satan has no choice but to flee!
One of the most assuring passages of scripture for believers under grace is that proclamation Paul the Apostle issued in his first letter to the church at Corinth, in which he said:
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it”1 Cor. 10:13.
Therefore, the old saw made famous by Flip Wilson: “The Devil made me do it!” just doesn’t cut it for a believer. Satan will tempt us, but Satan can’t make us yield to sin. We do that on our own accord.
The following passage of scripture from Ephesians chapter six prepares every believer, who will follow instructions, for every spiritual battle.
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God so that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one” Eph. 6:11-16.
The above passage applies to all believers. However, only believers are instructed and authorized, in this age of grace, to put on the whole armor of God.
Following are some wonderful thoughts on this passage by Merle F. Unger:
Spiritual conflict and a worthy life
10-12. The warrior's resources. The Christian inevitably engages the opposition and spiritual resistance of Satan and his hosts. Thus, as a Spirit-filled warrior he must continually 'be strong' or strengthen himself with the armor provided for him. The ground of the warrior's strength is his position 'in the Lord.' His strength is 'in his [Christ's] mighty power.' When the Christian takes into account his position in Christ and appropriates the provided armor, the Holy Spirit empowers him to make good the new life in resisting Satanic attack.
13-20. The warrior's use of his resources. The believer's resources are described under the figure of a Roman soldier's equipment in full battle dress. His secret of victory in spiritual battle is reckoning or counting by faith on those resources which are actually his in Christ, the Victor (Col 1:13; 2:15). 'Put on the full armor' emphasizes the responsibility of so reckoning, 13. This the Christian must do if he is to wage effective warfare.
Christ is the believer's defense, and therefore all pieces of the armor may speak of Him; but they also speak of the resources which are given to the believer by Him. The belt of truth gives confidence against the onslaught of error, while the breastplate of righteousness (the practical outgrowth of imputed righteousness) gives protection against the subtle temptations of unrighteousness, 14. The good news of peace with God produces firm-footed stability when facing the enemy, 15, and the shield which consists of faith offers a defense against the devious attacks of Satan, 16. Salvation constitutes the helmet or headgear, protecting the vital organs which have to do with the believer's thought life and spiritual senses, 17a. The only offensive weapon is the sword which the Spirit provides, the Word of God, 17b. Personal knowledge thereof is used by the Holy Spirit both offensively and defensively (e.g., Mt 4:1-11; Heb 4:12).
Prayer is the capstone of the believer's armor in that it is to be his uninterrupted activity. It is in this realm that the armor Christ has provided is appropriated to the immediate conflict being waged, 18. Paul makes personal application in verses 19 and 20
—New Unger's Bible Handbook, The
I believe you, who are reading this booklet at this moment, will agree with me that there is evidence in the scriptures we have surveyed, as well as others, that Satan can influence and impact believers in some powerful ways. But the greater evidence from the scriptures as a whole is that believers are never: left alone; or, left to depend on their own resources; or, thrown into conflict untrained or unprepared for battle; or, have not been issued battle ready weapons. The truth is we have all we need with Jesus Christ as our Commander and the provisions He makes for us in equipping us to do all things through Him.
There are times when the Lord has to deal with a sin issue in our lives and He uses whatever He knows works best with each one of us individually to get our attention, so that we will confess and deal with our sin(s).
There is an unspoken notion in the Church body today that often manifests itself when a believer wakes up ‘feeling’ something is out of sorts. The notion is - there must be something spiritually in arrears for me to feel this way.
This notion, that when a child of God feels out of sorts it must be a spiritual issue, is not scriptural. However, I must confess, though I know this truth, when I wake in the morning and I am downcast, the thought which often comes to my mind is: “there must be something amiss between me and the Lord”.
From whence do such thoughts come?
Perhaps sometimes they come from the fact that when one’s health is out of kilter, it is difficult to simultaneously have great joy and gladness in your being. Even though we know that our Lord Jesus has given us a commandment, through Paul the apostle, to rejoice always, it is all but impossible to rejoice while fighting a severe headache, or some other discomforting malady. We senior citizens know of which we speak.
Of course everyone knows that to rejoice always means that a believer is supposed to have joy and gladness at all times. Actually, we don’t know that! What we are supposed to have at all times is faith.
We are to have faith that God knows exactly what is going on in our lives at any moment, regardless whether we actually have joy, or not.
We are to have faith that God is working all things together for our good, because we love Him and we have been called according to His purpose.
We are to have faith that when we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and will cleanse us from all our unrighteousness.
Truthfully, when I awaken in a spiritual/physical funk, all kinds of questions pop into my head: Why do I seem to have this empty place in my chest? Why do I feel so spiritually groggy? Why do I feel so blah? Keep in mind that these quasi fears and doubts usually occur early in the day when I have just gotten out of bed. Consider also they are coming from a 75 year old man who hasn’t had many good nights of sleep, since he was in his late forties.
A typical night results in about six or seven hours of somewhat less than a restful sleep induced by a handful of prescription and over the counter pills designed by modern science to have a positive effect on: my heart, my sleep apnea, my arthritic joints, my brain, my prostate, my psyche, my cholesterol, my allergies and my insomnia.
Surprisingly, my outlook begins to change for the better after sipping a big cup of cappuccino while reading and studying God’s word. Then I follow the cappuccino with a bowl of chopped fruit and low fat, low calorie peach yogurt. Miracles of miracles, the Holy Spirit has moved back into my heart and I don’t have that empty feeling anymore! And bless my soul the grogginess just moved right out and I’m beginning to think about a rousing rendition of O Happy Day!
Though, I am treating this issue lightly, this is not a joking matter in the lives of some folks. Nor is it an uncommon thing in the life of many believers. We live in a world and culture where we have come to depend, to an abnormal degree, on our feelings to tell us how to live. I am not a physician, nor am I a psychologist, so I can’t tell you if that is necessarily good or bad. However, I can tell from God’s word that deferring to your feelings can be devastating spiritually.
There are verses of scripture, which every believer needs to imprint on the tablet of their heart, and when Satan starts to taunt us to doubt, or question any truth of scripture, we need to verbally whip out these verses and quote them to Satan’s face. This is exactly what Jesus did when tempted by Satan in the wilderness. He did not hem and haw about how to answer the old devil. The Lord met Satan’s challenge head on and rebuked Satan by quoting the appropriate scripture. Here is one of those verses imprinted on my heart:
“God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Num. 23:19)
In my forty years walking by faith I have had to quote this verse thousands of times to reassure myself that God’s word is sure. As believers, I am not and neither are you, immune to Satan’s deceptions, lies, and half-truths. Just as Satan put that doubtful thought in Eve’s head, he will try the same tactics on believers today. “Did God really say that you cannot blab, blab, blab?”
So, what is my and your response supposed to be when we sense Satan is trying to do a number on us? Do you recall what James said a few pages back?
“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” James 4:7-8.
God wants us to be proactive, not passive when it comes to exercising the authority He has given us in the spiritual realm. Remember what Jesus said to Peter when Peter was being a little belligerent and trying to rebuke the Lord, as recorded in Matthews gospel, chapter sixteen, verse 23? He said:
“Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men”.
I believe, when necessary, we are to quote the above verse to the devil while remembering God and His Son still speak to us through the Word and our obedience to His Word is evidenced by our submission. And, we know from His Word that God does not lie, cannot lie, and will not lie. His Word is truth personified! Therefore, if He has said to resist the devil, then let us resist the devil as we are told to do.
I purposely capitalized each reference to God’s Word in the above paragraph to draw attention to how important, precious, and supreme is His word.
Because of the assurance I have in this truth and my faith in Him and His word, His word will never be subjugated to Satan’s taunts, my feelings, the direction of the wind or any other supercilious ploy of this world, or our mind, will, or emotion.
However, I have been somewhat surprised to discover the bible never says anything about using our feelings to gauge or determine where we are spiritually. Even though we may often have wonderful sensations of something very special happening in our relationship with the Lord; we are not to make events and experiences the object of our relationship with Him. The object of our relationship with the Lord God our Father, His Son, and the Holy Spirit is: to honor Them with our lives and bring glory to Them and Their names.
I use both the New American Standard Bible and the New King James Version in my bible reading, scripture searches and writing. Therefore, I have tried to discover all the verses in both versions of the Bible that have anything to say about: to feel, feeling or feelings.
However, first I want to share the comments made by Merle F. Unger from the New Unger Dictionary under the definition of feeling(s):
FEELING. In Ephes. 4:19 we find this: “and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality,” etc. The Gk. word apalegeo means “to become insensible to pain, callous, and so indifferent to truth, honor, or shame,” i.e., without feeling. The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews in chapter four verse fifteen tells us that “we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses.” Here we have the Gk. sumpatheo, “to feel for, to have compassion on.” Dorner thus speaks of feeling as an element of man’s nature: “In feeling he has existence within himself, in will he exists in a state of movement from self-outward, in knowledge in movement from without inward. . . . Like the other spiritual faculties, so called, feeling is receptive of infinite as of finite truth. Feeling is a third element alongside of knowledge and will. The strength of feeling depending very much on individual mental temperament, this forms no security for the purity or healthiness of religious feeling. With respect to the contents of feeling, in religious feeling the reference to a definite idea of God will likewise exert an influence, and upon its accurate or confused character—in short, upon its completeness—will the nature of religion depend. A religion, for example, acquainted merely with God’s physical attributes will stand lower than one that has heard of His holiness, or, still more, of His love. Feeling alone, occupied merely with self and brooding upon self, may easily become one-sided and selfish. Knowledge, as the product of revelation, we call illumination. Revelation must possess power by its contents to inspire and intensify the will, and under this aspect it is quickening, while the feeling (the spiritual consciousness of self or life) is enhanced in freedom and blessedness” (Dorner, Christian Doctrine, 2:109, 119).
—New Unger's Bible Dictionary
Now to some of the verses I found in both the NASB and the NKJV that contains either the word feel, or feeling, or feelings that might be good for us to look at:
“And everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.” (Acts 2:43)
The context is that the above takes place on the day of Pentecost when the promised Holy Spirit arrived on earth and entered every single new believer on the face of the earth. Had I been there, I too would have had a feeling of awe!
“Perhaps my father will feel me, then I shall be as a deceiver in his sight; and I shall bring upon myself a curse and not a blessing.” (Gen. 27:12)
The context is Rebekah and Jacob plotting to steal Esau’s blessings from Isaac, so that Jacob would get the blessings of the first born. Rebekah has put the skins of baby goats on Jacobs hands and on the smooth part of his neck, so that if Isaac should touch Jacob, he would think it was his oldest son Esau that had come to him for the blessing of the first born.
“Isaac said to Jacob, “Please come near, that I may feel you, my son, whether you are really my son Esau or not.” ” (Gen. 27:21)
Isaac was deceived by Jacob and Rebekah and Jacob received his father’s blessings intended for Esau.
“And take heed, lest you lift your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, you feel driven to worship them and serve them, which the Lord your God has given to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage.” (Deut. 4:19)
Moses is exhorting the people of Israel to remain faithful to the Lord God. He cautions them to not look at the sun, moon, and stars in a worshipful manner, nor to succumb to their feelings when they felt driven to worship foreign gods. Nor were they to make gods of wood, stone, or metal, but they were to stay true to God Almighty.
“Then Samson said to the lad who held him by the hand, “Let me feel the pillars which support the temple, so that I can lean on them.” (Judges 16:26)
Context: Samson has been blinded and taken captive by the Philistines, those who hate him and his great strength. In a tragic irony, Samson's story ends with his heroic death, when in answer to his final prayer, God restored his strength so that he could kill many more when he died than while he lived.
Now the lords of the Philistines had gathered together to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god, and they summoned for Samson to be brought to their feast to entertain them. Instead Samson enlisted the aid of the young boy who had led him to the feast by the hand. He asked the boy to place his hands on two of the huge columns that held up the Temple, Samson positioned himself between two columns and using his great strength he pushed the columns away from each other causing the Temple to collapse killing all in the Temple including himself.
“A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise man holds them back.” (Prov. 29:11)
Here feelings are seen in a negative light. Solomon’s proverbs will serve us all well, if we will but heed them.
“I feel compassion for the multitude… .” (Mk. 8:2 NASB)
The NKJV uses the word ‘have’, instead of feel, to show action, existence, or occurrence.
Now, you read the following without my comments and see if you can see how feelings may not be the appropriate motivator for things we do as a child of God.
“And when the ten heard it, they began to be greatly displeased with James and John.” (Mark 10:41 NKJV)
“And hearing this, the ten began to feel indignant… .” (Mk. 10:41NASB)
“…who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.” (Eph. 4:19 NKJV)
“And they having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality, for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.” (Eph. 4:19 NASB)
“…just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace.” (Phil 1:7 NKJV)
“For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because …..” (Phil. 1:7 NASB)
As you can see there is not one verse in all these that encourages a believer to rely upon their feelings in determining if they are in God’s will, or if all is well in all other spiritual realities known to you. Let me explain what I mean by spiritual reality.
When you believe in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, the moment you believe, your salvation becomes a spiritual reality. You cannot see, hear, touch, smell, or taste your salvation, but based on God’s word, it is the most real thing you have ever experienced, or will ever experience, until you are glorified at death or the rapture.
Since the moment I prayed to receive Christ as my Savior 40 years ago in March of 1975, I have never doubted my salvation. In those 40 years I’ve had spiritual highs and spiritual lows. I have tried in the power of the Holy Spirit to be absolutely faithful to my heavenly Father and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. However, the reality is I have also been unfaithful to Them, but I always knew, even in my darkest moments as a child of God, that I was still His son and He was still my Father.
In my heart, I have committed the most atrocious sins any man could ever consider committing. And yet, when I confessed my sins, my heavenly Father was faithful and just to forgive me my sins and to cleanse me of all my unrighteousness. Not once has it ever entered my head that He would not for give me. Not once in forty years have I wondered if He would remain faithful to me, though I did not deserve His faithfulness at times. How is it that I a sinner, saved by grace, can willfully sin like a heathen and expect God to remain faithful? His Word! How can I after having committed the most atrocious of sins expect Him to be completely forgiving? His Word! How can I who abuses His love and tries His patience at times, know in my heart that He will not forsake me, throw His hands up and walk away from our relationship? His Word! God has assured me in His Word that He is faithful and loves me beyond my comprehension. Of this one thing I know above all other spiritual realities! God is not a man that He will lie! Nor is He a son of a man that He needs to repent! Has He not said it and will He not do it? He is faithful! His word is sure! His love can never fail!
If you are a brother or sister in Christ who experiences doubt about your salvation here is what you need to do. Ask yourself the question. When and where did my salvation experience take place? In other words: when did you believe in Jesus as Savior and where were you when you ask Jesus to come into your heart and become your Savior?
If you can’t remember exactly when, surely you recall where you were when you asked Jesus to come into your life and give you the free gift of eternal life. If you can recall neither the date, nor the place, you will probably never be able to have absolute confidence in your salvation, because Satan will never stop taunting you. You need to perform a confirmation session and establish a known time and place of you actually placing your faith and trust in Jesus unto salvation.
You can do it right now. Simply stop what you are doing at this very moment. Bow your head and say these words, most of which are right out of scripture:
“Lord Jesus, I’m not sure exactly when I believed in you for eternal life and I can’t remember exactly where I actually was when I did. Therefore, Lord I want to confirm to my heart and my mind that I have trusted in you for eternal life. So, right here and now, if I have not truly believed in You Lord Jesus before this moment, I am asking you to come into my life, forgive me of my sins, and give me the free gift of eternal life that is promised in Your holy word. I believe that you are God’s Son. I believe that you died on that cross in my place, therefore by faith I believe in You for eternal life. I do this on the authority of Your words in John chapter three verse 16 -18. Lord Jesus here is what You said, “God so loved the world that He gave You, His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in You should not perish but would have everlasting life”. Lord Jesus, You also said: “God did not send You, His Son, into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through You, His Son, might be saved”. You also said: “whoever believes in You is not condemned; but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” Jesus, I believe that you are the Son of God and the Savior of the world. By faith, I believe the Holy Spirit came into my heart the moment I believed. Thank you for saving me, whether it was previously or just now as I have been praying. Thank You for the forgiveness of my sins. Thank you for being my savior and Lord. Lead me O Lord Jesus for the rest of my life for I am going to follow wherever you lead. Amen”
If you have prayed this prayer or one similar to it, in all sincerity, before today, you have been a believer since first praying the prayer. On the other hand, if this is the first time that you have prayed the above prayer, in which you ask the Lord to forgive your sins and come into your heart and take control of your life, you have been saved, as of this moment. If you were not saved before you prayed this prayer, I assure you, based on God’s word, you are saved now.
At this point I would suggest you look at a watch or clock and write down on a piece of paper: the date, the time, and the place. Put that paper in your wallet or your purse in a place where you can easily retrieve it. If you keep any kind of diary or journal, as soon as you can, write out what you did and when and where you prayed the above prayer. Now, read it often over the next month or so.
The next time you have a doubt or the vaguest notion to whether you are saved or not, pull that little piece of paper out of your wallet or purse, or go to your diary or journal, and read the time, the date, and the place. And, if you are alone, look around you and say to Satan without hesitation or fear. “Get behind me Satan, you know the exact time and the place when I for certain give my life to Jesus Christ. Therefore, in Jesus name, I command you to leave me alone.”
Every believer in Jesus Christ has the authority to resist Satan’s every attempt to defeat them in their Christian life. Look at what James says in his epistle.
“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
Note the first commandment of Christ in this verse is: to submit to God. Note the second commandment of Christ is: to resist the devil. Without our being submitted to the Lord, we are not going to be very successful at resisting Satan. It is not your voice, your enormous power, or your vivacious personality that is going to put Satan on the run. It is the authority you have in Jesus Christ Who lives in you and Who is committed to living His life through you.
Another thing, any believer who is having thoughts that he or she does not want to have, and especially those which they know are not according to God’s will, should deal with these thoughts according to a commands of Christ found in 2 Cor. 10: 4-6:
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled”.
Do you see what any believer who is having problems with sinful thoughts needs to do? They need to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ!
The NT scripture that I have to quote more than any other is verse five above. When I begin to have thoughts that I do not want to have and know I do not need them, whether sinful or not, I immediately go to God in prayer and I ask the Holy Spirit to help me take those thoughts captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ. He has never failed me one time in forty years of praying this prayer. This is called personalizing God’s word to one’s life. Learn to make God’s promises your personal possession.
God does not want a child of His to get wrapped up in how they feel. When we detect something is out of sorts in our being, whether it is spiritual, or physical, let God deal with it immediately. Let God know, regardless how petty, silly, weird or frivolous your concern may seem to you, tell Him what is bothering you.
The second most claimed and quoted and prayed verse of scripture, by yours truly, is Phil. 4:6 & 7:
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”.
If you have read very much of my stuff, you know the story that I love to tell of how God, taught me how to take scripture and claim the truths of His word for myself while praying the scripture back to Him. Let me talk you through the above verses.
Note the first four words in the verses above. God wants you to: “be anxious for nothing”. Not one thing! El zilcho! Nada! Zero! Instead, He wants you, to pray to Him about everything that concerns or bothers you! In fact, as you pray and make supplication, first give God thanks for whatever it is that is bothering you. Name it! And say, “Thank You heavenly Father for…………….”! Next, make your request specific. Tell God exactly what you want Him to do for You! Tell Him exactly what you believe will remove any doubt, fear, concern, and anxiety. Lastly, thank Him that He is going to answer your prayer with His peace, which surpasses all understanding. Then thank Him for His peace that is soon going to guard your heart and mind through Christ Jesus!
Note. I used a lot of exclamation marks in the above paragraph. I believe God wants to see and hear those exclamation marks in our prayers when we are expecting Him to do for us what we can’t do ourselves! He deserves nothing less; for this is how He wants us to pray: - expectantly, with the utmost assurance that we know without a doubt that our God does not lie and will do what He has said He would do. Has He not said what He would do? Will He not do it?
I pray that God will guide us to every truth revealed in His words that we have considered during this time together. I don’t know about anyone else, but I know from this moment onward, if feeling is of necessity in this life, let me have feelings in my physical being, but let me have pure, God given faith in my spirit.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” Eph. 6:10-11.
That are Part of
The Unsearchable Riches of Christ
By Tom Hanson
“To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ”
I have this insatiable desire and need to share the Unsearchable Riches of Christ with all who will hear. Thus I begin this treatise on “The Unsearchable Riches of Christ” which include those blessings of grace found in the teachings of grace found to a limited degree in the gospels and Acts, but primarily in the epistles of the New Testament.
The blessings of grace I place in these two categories: 1.) Those which become the possession of every believer the moment they believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Savior of all mankind; and 2.) Those which God bestows on every believer as a demonstration of His love and benevolence as a believer lives in obedience to His known and revealed will.
If I asked you the reader to give me a definition of the word unsearchable, to help us better understand what Paul the Apostle is saying in the above verse, you could probably come very close to what Webster defines the word to mean.
Unsearchable – adj. that cannot be searched into; mysterious; inscrutable
Some translations will use the word unfathomable, but I prefer unsearchable, because unfathomable has about it the connotation of something not being knowable. I assure you based on God’s infallible word that the Riches of Christ are knowable to those who believe in Him.
Therefore, whatever word we use to modify and enhance the phrase “the Riches of Christ” must never, in any way, suggest or imply that a believer cannot know about these riches. Unsearchable, might just be the perfect word to describe the Riches of Christ because they are so numerous as to be unlimited and impossible to ever count. In addition they are everlasting because: 1.) we could never stop experiencing them due to a lack of supply; 2.) most of them will last for all eternity.
Let me present an illustration that I hope will imprint on your spirit, heart and mind a beautiful picture of the Riches of Christ that are given to every believe the moment they believe, or they accrue to a believer beginning the moment they believe and they continue throughout all of eternity future.
Imagine if you will, you are walking across a beautiful green, grassy plane and in front of you is what appears to be a high stone wall that stretches thousands of feet to your right and to your left. There is only one entrance that you can see, the one to which you are headed. Hopefully it will allow you entrance into whatever lies on the other side of the wall.
As you approach the entrance you hear a voice say, “Come enter into the blessings of the Lord.” Immediately, the entrance door swings inward and you catch your breath at what you behold. This is a huge store house filled with what must be billions of beautifully gift wrapped packages of every imaginable shape and color with bows and ribbons of colors your eyes have never beheld. Then you notice the mixture of wonderful fragrances like you have never experienced which seems to permeate your whole being as if every pore of your skin was breathing in those fragrances.
Again, though you see no one, you hear a voice, that says, “Look, touch, smell, shake, unwrap, un-package, enjoy and experience these wonderful gifts for they represent the Riches of Christ of which you will experience moment by moment for all eternity. Please be aware! In addition to these, God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus!”
Next time we will unwrap and talk about our first gift of God’s blessing of grace as we begin our journey into the unsearchable Riches of Christ. Until then meditate of Paul’s words to Timothy from his second letter to his disciple.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16).
"The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face to shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace." Num. 6:24-26)
The Unwrappings of Our Seventy Gift Blessings of Grace,I have been required to take of off my webpage because I have published them as Volume One and Two of two ebook set which I have written and published as seperate e-books on Amazon/Kindle. The name of my books are Unwrapping The Blessings of Grace Volume One and Unwrapping the Blessings of Grace Volume Two. I have included a booklet in Volume Onew which I have also written that has been on my webpage for over a year which I have also taken off my website. The name of the booklet is "Did Adam Die The Day God Said He Would?" From time to time I will offer my books for free for about 72 hours over a weekend. I will post the dates of the free offer on this website and encourage all my readers to download any of my books you would like to have into your ebook reader for free. I have recently published these seventy gift blessings of grace in a two volume set of paper back books, titled: Unwrapping the Gift Blessings of Grace From the Unsearchable Riches of Christ, Volume one and two.
“When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come” John 16:13.
Whether we believe in, accept and embrace, or deny and rebel against the fundamental spiritual truths in the above passage of scripture, determines in great part whether or not we will be deceived by heresy.
I use the plural of truth because there is more than one spiritual truth in the verse. There is, in fact, a multitude of truths in this one verse, to which the Holy Spirit desires to guide every believer. Therefore, the premise, with which I have to start, is that you, the reader, and I the writer, need to be a believer in Jesus Christ, to be guided by the Holy Spirit into any biblical truth.
Why is that?
Because every believer in Jesus Christ is indwelt by the Holy Spirit from the moment they believe until they enter the presence of the Lord, at the rapture or upon death. At either of these events, believers are glorified and sanctified. There is therefore, no reason for the Holy Spirit to continue indwelling them. Merle F. Unger’s definition of the word glorify explains what it means for a believer to be glorified.
“The bringing of Christians to a heavenly condition and dignity (Romans 8:30)”.—New Unger's Bible Dictionary
Since Mr. Unger referenced Rom. 8:30, let me take the liberty to offer a simple paraphrase of that which the Apostle Paul spoke in this verse:
“Those whom God predestined, He also called; those whom God called, He also justified; and those whom God justified, He also glorified”.
To demonstrate to you the validity of my statement that there are a multitude of truths in verse thirteen of John chapter 16, I ask you to ponder that verse and then answer this question: What are the fundamental truths of the John 16 passage?
Remember, Jesus is talking to the faithful eleven of the twelve original disciples. He is there with them in the upper room just a few hours before He will be betrayed and crucified. He is telling them that there are going to be some changes in their lives. One change in their lives is: That where they had all been depending on Him to teach them truth, hence forth, once the Holy Spirit had come, they would be dependent upon the Holy Spirit to teach them truth. One fundamental truth found in the verse is that in this age of grace believers are to depend only on the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth.
Another fundamental truth is that the Holy Spirit will not speak on His own authority, but whatever the Holy Spirit hears, this is what He will speak; and He will tell them things to come. However, who is the one who is going to speak to the Holy Spirit? Look at verse fourteen:
“He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you” John 16:14.
The Holy Spirit will take the words which Christ gives Him and He will give those words to the writers of the New Testament. We must always remember what the Apostle Paul tells us about scripture in 2 Tim. 3:16 & 17. Paul said:
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” 2 Tim. 3:16-17.
It is also important for believers to remember that the truths of God’s word do not just come to everyone who reads God’s word. The Holy Spirit must reside in a person for the person to be guided into almost all Spiritual truths.
I say ‘almost’ because when we balance what the Lord Jesus said Jn. 16:13 with what He had just said in verse 8 of that Chapter, we have the potential creating of a spiritual conundrum. Let’s look at that verse:
“And when He (the Holy Spirit) has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment”.
Now, consider this: Unless, the Holy Spirit imparts, reveals, or discloses to a lost person the spiritual truth of Christ having died for their sins and His having provided all that is needed for them to believe in Jesus as God’s Son and mankind’s Savior, how can the lost person be convicted of the sin of unbelief and of righteousness and judgment?
The Holy Spirit must bring these spiritual truths to such a cognitive level as is needed for a lost person to come to faith in Jesus Christ.
This is how you and I, if we are each a believer, came to the knowledge of Christ. It was the Holy Spirit which convicted you and me of our sin of unbelief. How do we know it is the sin of unbelief, of which the Holy Spirit will convict a lost person, when the verse simply says ‘sin’? Note the word ‘sin’ in the verse is in its singular form. Since there is only one sin that will keep a lost person from experiencing salvation, which is the sin of unbelief, would not the sin of unbelief be the one sin of which the Holy Spirit would first convict us as unbelievers?
One of the quickest ways to give birth to heresy is by adding to or taking away from what the original scriptures say. Many cults have been started by folks doing just this: adding to or taking away from what scripture actually says.
Let me give you an example of one of the biggest lies that Satan has embedded in the hearts and minds of men and women that has fostered an entire denomination and may have sent multitudes to hell, thinking they were bona fide believers .
What did Jesus say was the one thing a sinner needed to do to become a Christian? Look at John 3: 14-18:
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe in Him is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God”.
Now, let’s ask and answer some questions from the truths reveal in the statements above which the Lord Jesus made.
From verse 14 and 15, Question 1: Why was it imperative that the Son be lifted up (hung on the cross)? Answer – That whoever believes in Him would not perish (go to hell) but have eternal life. Question 2: So, exactly what is the one thing required of a lost person for them to escape hell and have eternal life? Answer - They must believe in Jesus.
From verse 16, Question 3: Why did God give His only begotten Son to die on the cross? Answer – So that everyone who believes in His Son would have eternal life and they would not perish (go to hell).
From verse 17, Question 4: Why did God send His Son into the world? Answer – It was not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through His Son.
From verse 18, Question 5: In verse 18, who does Jesus say is not condemned? Answer – Jesus says those who believe in Him are not condemned. Question 6: In verse 18, who does Jesus say is condemned already? Answer – Jesus says anyone who does not believe in Him is condemned already. Question 7: What does Jesus reveal is the reason for their condemnation? Answer: Jesus says they are condemned because they have not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. Question 8: In any of these verses is there any other thing stated as necessary for eternal life? Answer – No there is nothing else required, that a person must do, but believe. Question 9: Why is it so important that we not only see with our eyes, but we hear with the ears of our heart what Jesus Himself says is the only requirement for a lost person to experience salvation?
The answer to the last question leads us to examine a passage of scripture which Satan has used to introduce one of the greatest heresies of all time. Let’s look at Mark’s gospel, chapter sixteen, verses 15-16:
“ And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned”.
If one reads this passage in a red letter edition, it will communicate by its color, that Jesus actually said these words. If Jesus actually said these words, then He contradicts what we just read that He said in John 3.
In my exegesis of New Testament scripture, which I believe is correct, as it was given to me by the Holy Spirit, salvation is dependent upon nothing less than Jesus Christ and His perfect righteousness. However, in our Satan tainted hearts and minds we are prone to expunging the efficaciousness of the suffering, the dying, and the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our myopic little sin scarred hearts and minds just can’t conceive that the Son of God has such power in and of Himself as to provide all that is needed for sinful man to experience salvation. Please note the composite paragraph below from the following internet commentaries:
https://en.wikipedia.org/; bibletools.org/; biblegateway.com/; The Westminster Study Edition of the Holy Bible (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1948); et al.
“The two oldest manuscripts of Mark 16 (from the 3rd century) conclude with verse 8, which ends with the women fleeing from the empty tomb, and saying “nothing to anyone, because they were afraid”.
“Many scholars take 16:8 as the original ending and believe the longer ending (16:9-20) was written later by someone else as a summary of Jesus' resurrection appearances and the many miracles performed by early Christians”.
The above is an example of one of the ways, in which heresy was introduced into the church. Another way is that an unbeliever, or an estranged, out of fellowship believer, reads the bible and he or she decides for themselves what they want to believe, or what they want the scriptures to say.
Another way for heresy to be introduced into the life of a lost person or a weak, spiritually destitute believer, is through the lies of Satan coming directly from the heart and lips of sinful people.
One of the best ways to ward off the clutching fingers of heresy from ones heart and mind is to decide, once and for all time, if the blood of Jesus has the power to save a lost person by grace through faith, and to keep one saved, come what may.
The moment you or I entertain the satanic thought that the death, burial, and resurrection of our Savior is insufficient in and of itself, we open ourselves up to what may become a living hell on earth.
Therefore, here is the bottom line: Jesus, like His Holy Father, is not a man that He should lie, nor is He a son of man that needs to repent. Whatever, Jesus and the Father has said, that is truth personified! Believe it!!! See Numbers 23:19.
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen”
Question: "When is the Rapture going to occur in relation to the Tribulation?"
Answer: The timing of the rapture in relation to the tribulation is one of the most controversial issues in the church today. The three primary views are pre-tribulational (the rapture occurs before the tribulation), mid-tribulational (the rapture occurs at or near the mid-point of the tribulation), and post-tribulational (the rapture occurs at the end of the tribulation). A fourth view, commonly known as pre-wrath, is a slight modification of the mid-tribulational position.
First, it is important to recognize the purpose of the tribulation. According to Daniel 9:27, there is a seventieth “seven” (seven years) that is still yet to come. Daniel’s entire prophecy of the seventy sevens (Daniel 9:20-27) is speaking of the nation of Israel. It is a time period in which God focuses His attention especially on Israel. The seventieth seven, the tribulation, must also be a time when God deals specifically with Israel. While this does not necessarily indicate that the church could not also be present, it does bring into question why the church would need to be on the earth during that time.
The primary Scripture passage on the rapture is 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. It states that all living believers, along with all believers who have died, will meet the Lord Jesus in the air and will be with Him forever. The rapture is God’s removing His people from the earth. A few verses later, in 1 Thessalonians 5:9, Paul says, “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The book of Revelation, which deals primarily with the time period of the tribulation, is a prophetic message of how God will pour out His wrath upon the earth during the tribulation. It seems inconsistent for God to promise believers that they will not suffer wrath and then leave them on the earth to suffer through the wrath of the tribulation. The fact that God promises to deliver Christians from wrath shortly after promising to remove His people from the earth seems to link those two events together.
Another crucial passage on the timing of the rapture is Revelation 3:10, in which Christ promises to deliver believers from the “hour of trial” that is going to come upon the earth. This could mean two things. Either Christ will protect believers in the midst of the trials, or He will deliver believers out of the trials. Both are valid meanings of the Greek word translated “from.” However, it is important to recognize what believers are promised to be kept from. It is not just the trial, but the “hour” of trial. Christ is promising to keep believers from the very time period that contains the trials, namely the tribulation. The purpose of the tribulation, the purpose of the rapture, the meaning of 1 Thessalonians 5:9, and the interpretation of Revelation 3:10 all give clear support to the pre-tribulational position. If the Bible is interpreted literally and consistently, the pre-tribulational position is the most biblically-based interpretation.
Answer: In his vision in Revelation 19:7-10, John saw and heard the heavenly multitudes praising God because the wedding feast of the Lamb—literally the "marriage supper"—was about to begin. The concept of the marriage supper is better understood in light of the wedding customs in the time of Christ.
These wedding customs had three major parts. First, a marriage contract was signed by the parents of the bride and the bridegroom, and the parents of the bridegroom or the bridegroom himself would pay a dowry to the bride or her parents. This began what was called the betrothal period—what we would today call the engagement. This period was the one Joseph and Mary were in when she was found to be with child (Matthew 1:18; Luke 2:5).
The second step in the process usually occurred a year later, when the bridegroom, accompanied by his male friends, went to the house of the bride at midnight, creating a torchlight parade through the streets. The bride would know in advance this was going to take place, and so she would be ready with her maidens, and they would all join the parade and end up at the bridegroom's home. This custom is the basis of the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-13. The third phase was the marriage supper itself, which might go on for days, as illustrated by the wedding at Cana in John 2:1-2.
What John’s vision in Revelation pictures is the wedding feast of the Lamb (Jesus Christ) and His bride (the Church) in its third phase. The implication is that the first two phases have already taken place. The first phase was completed on earth when each individual believer placed his or her faith in Christ as Savior. The dowry paid to the Bridegroom’s Parent (God the Father) would be the blood of Christ shed on the Bride’s behalf. The Church on earth today, then, is “betrothed” to Christ and, like the wise virgins in the parable, all believers should be watching and waiting for the appearance of the Bridegroom (the Second Coming). The second phase symbolizes the Rapture of the Church, when Christ comes to claim His bride and take her to the Father's house. The marriage supper then follows as the third and final step.
Attending the wedding feast will be not only the Church as the bride of Christ, but others as well. The "others" include Old Testament saints who are going to be raised at the Second Coming, as well as the martyred dead of the Tribulation. As the angel told John to write, “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:9). The marriage supper of the Lamb is a glorious celebration of all who are in Christ!
The above article comes from the website: www.gotquestions.org. This is one of the better websites on the internet, in my opinion, for doing simple biblical research and finding simple biblical answers to spiritual questions.
Some of their answers I do not agree with, but seldom does it involve doctrine. For instance, I believe that the Marriage Supper of the Lamb takes place in heaven. I base this belief upon the location of the church at the time John is sharing the information about the Supper.
Based on 1 Thess. 4 we are raptured off the earth just before the tribulation period begins. Therefore, in Rev. 19, we, the bride of Christ, are in heaven, having been raptured to the clouds above the earth and then having ascended into heaven with Jesus sometime before these events in Rev. 19 take place. We, the bride, according to the voice which came from the throne, vs 5, are putting on our wedding garments in preparation for the wedding per. Rev 19:8.
“And to her (the bride of Christ) it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”
Then in verse nine the voice announces says to John the writer of Revelations:
“Write: 'Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!'”
That would be believers for we are the called. Guests are the invited. Now look at verses 11 through 13.
“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.”
Jesus is mounted on a white horse. He is called faithful and true. In righteousness He judges and He is getting ready to make war on earth. Now look at verse 14.
“And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.”
How makes up the armies in heaven at this time? Any bible scholar worth his or her salt will tell you these are saints and angels. Note what we will be wearing at this precise time. Yep, still got on our wedding clothes.
That in a nutshell is why I believe the marriage supper of the Lamb takes place in heaven. One added note. We will follow Christ all the way to earth and watch Him defeat the enemies of the Lord and Israel and then we will assist Him in setting up the Kingdom of Heaven on earth and we will reign with Him a thousand years.
My Response to the article:
With my responses are interspersed in the writers comments.
The following is one of several articles copied off the internet while searching for answers to the question, “Why are Jews still rejecting the Lord Jesus?” This article was under the title: “Why don't the Jewish people recognize the New Testament?” The webpage from which I copied this article was:
There was a notice on this webpage that this article was:
From Site: www.geocities.com/Metzad/Notstmnt.htm
As I read the article, titled, “Why Jewish People Refuse to Recognize the New Testament”, I felt compelled to enter, so far as possible, into a dialogue with the writer. However, I decided that, to begin I would simply dialogue by interrupting his commentary with my responses to statements he makes in defense of Jews continuing to reject their Messiah. Now that I have finished responding to his commentary, I am going to make every attempt to get in touch with the writer, Eliyahu Silver. If I am successful at contacting Mr. Silver, I will offer to email a copy of his article with my comments interposed, just as you see them in this document, back to the writer, giving the writer an opportunity to respond to my comments. However, in the mean time I am publishing this article, just as it is, on my website. It will be on the webpage: Israel: Past, Present, Future.
If and when I get feedback from the author, I will post his feedback as an addendum to this article that is posted on my website.
The Article by Eliyahu Silver begins:
Why Don’t The Jewish People Recognize the New Testament
by Eliyahu Silver
All Biblical quotations are taken from the King James translation, the Authorized Version, unless specified otherwise.
The Jewish reader is advised not to pronounce the names Jesus and Eastre; "The names of other gods you shall not mention, nor shall your mouth cause it to be heard." Exodus 23:13
For almost 2000 years the Jewish people have not recognized the New Testament, although all those who contributed to the New Testament were Jewish. All the writers of the New Testament were Jewish, but nevertheless the Jewish people reject that which 1,000,000,000 people consider to be the word of G.d.
What is it that the Jews see in the New Testament that is apparently not seen by all the Christians?
The Jews look at the New Testament from an Old Testament viewpoint. About 3300 years ago G.d gave the Torah to the Jewish people. Millions of people watched this event when G.d spoke from Mount Sinai to the Jewish people. There G.d gave to the Jewish people the Holy Torah, which is the first five books of the Bible; Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. This does not only contain the Ten Commandments, but it contains a total of 613 commandments that G.d commanded the Jewish people to fulfill.
A Pause in Mr. Silver’s commentary: My Response to Above Comments Follow
I would expect most Jews to look at the New Testament only from an Old Testament point of view. However, Jews do themselves a great disservice and they limit the work of the Lord God in their lives by not realizing that the New Testament is an addendum to the first part of God’s Holy Bible, The Old Testament. Jews or Gentiles should never limit themselves to only one or the other of the two Testaments.
The Old Testament is primarily a testimony of God’s dealings with the Jewish people. I conclude this because 37 and 3/4ths of its 39 books covers the History of the Jewish people and their egregious, tumultuous, rebellious relationship with almighty God.
The New Testament is God’s testimony of His infinite love for all mankind through His sending His Son to provide salvation for all people. First God sent His Son to the Jews, but the Jews would have nothing to do with Him or His mission. In fact, they rejected God’s provision of His Son as their Messiah and they rejected the Kingdom of Heaven on earth that God’s Son offered to them. Had they listened to their Messiah, they would have repented, turned back to God and would be living today in the kingdom of heaven on earth with Jesus reigning over them from the throne of David in Jerusalem.
Upon the failure of the Jews to receive God’s Son and their rejection of Him as their Messiah and King, God turned His attention away from the Jews and has been concentrating on drawing as many gentiles into His Son’s Kingdom as was will believe in His Son as the Son of God and the Savior of mankind.
Lastly, the New Testament gives man a preview of the everlasting life to come for all who believe in His Son and the eternity of suffering for those who do not believe.
Jews and Gentiles of today, both believers and unbelievers should seek wisdom from the entirety of God’s Word. Jewish unbelievers should look to those passages of Old Testament that first prophesied the Messiah that God would send to Israel. Then they should read the gospels in the New Testament, especially the gospel of Matthew, which reveals that Messiah came to His own people the Jews, as God promised He would, and His own people rejected Him.
Though God’s Word in its entirety will help all believers to grow in spirit and truth, it is the New Testament that reveals God’s plans and ministries for the church and how through faith in His resurrected Son that believers will blanket the earth with the gospel of Christ and people from every nation, tongue, tribe and dialect will turn to Jesus Christ for salvation.
It is through the New Testament that God reveals that His Son was slain before the foundations of the world. This means that God being omniscient (knowing all things – past, present and future) knew that His Son would be rejected by Israel when He came to earth and presented Himself to them as their Messiah and He would be put to death.
Even knowing this would happened, God determined to keep His promises to Israel. These promises include His sending a deliverer to Israel, giving them the whole of Canaan for their homeland, setting up a Kingdom on earth for Israel under the reign of one who would come through the lineage of David, their beloved king. This reign would last for a thousand years in which time the Lord God would so bless Israel that through her all the nations of the world would be blessed.
In logic, there is a principle referred to as the Law of No Middle. It means that a thing must either be, or not be, the case. There is no middle ground or position. Herein needs to be the logic every unbelieving Jew and Gentile and believer uses when considering the inerrancy of Scripture: The Scriptures are either inspired of God, or they are not inspired of God. If the writings of the Bible are not inspired of God, then they are the mere writings of men. As such, they can merit no religious respect. And whatever their exalted claims, they must merit only contempt.
A Jewish scholar from the 1st Century AD, wrote:
“Every scripture is inspired of God, and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.”
So that we do not find ourselves at a stalemate, I suggest that we Jews and believers, show a great respect for both the Old and the New Testaments and take God at His word, as believed by that 1st century Jewish scholar. The Old and New Testaments are God’s Word in its entirety.
Luke was not a Jewish writer. He was the only, so far as we know, he was the only writer who was not Jewish. Though, it could very well be argued that Job was also not a Jew.
As I understand scripture, God’s first purpose in sending Messiah was that Israel would repent and turn back to Him. Upon their doing so, God would have instituted the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. No adequate context for Jehovah sending Messiah can be postulated apart from God desiring that Israel repent and turn back to their God through their acceptance of His Son. Theories based upon O/T Scripture which God had given the Prophets concerning Messiah, with only Jewish interpretation, and void of the reality that Jesus Christ fulfilled those scripture, have doomed and are still dooming millions of Jews to hell. This needed not to be and needs not to be any longer. Since God knew beforehand that the Jew’s would repudiate His Son and put Him to death, He instituted the Age of Grace upon the death of His Son and the church was to be built up of Jews first and then the gentiles. However, Jews just could not stop rejecting God’s Son. And, as is evidenced by Mr. Silver’s article, they still are.
God, being all knowing, means that God knows everything that has ever happened even before it happened and He knows what is going to happen into the future for all eternity. God knew exactly what would happen to His Son, Messiah, long before He introduced Him into this world.
First and foremost, it was to the Jewish people that God sent Yeshua. In fact, Jesus came to this earth as a baby born of a Jewish young maiden who had never experienced sexual intercourse with a man, just as prophesied in the O. T. Whether Jews accept it or not, Jesus came on a mission from God the Father, for the specific purpose of calling Israel to repent and turn back to God, so that God could institute the promised Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Read the book of Matthew, with a special request of God that the Holy Spirit guide you into God’s truth.
God’s plan was for Israel to heed the cries of John the Baptist and Jesus, who were preaching the same message. Their message was: “Repent Israel, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand”. Had Israel heeded that message, He, God, would have inaugurated the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth, with Jesus, the son of David sitting on David’s throne in Jerusalem. It was from this throne that God’s Messiah would rule over the nation of Israel and through the nation of Israel, all the nations of the world.
Had Israel responded as God desired them, He would have overwhelmed His chosen people with blessings as never experienced by that nation before. Though God had desired to heap blessings upon blessings on Israel from the moment the Jews agreed to the Mosaic Covenant, He was never given the opportunity to do so, because of the Jews habitual disobedience throughout their history. God promised to bless the Jews, if they would swear to obey God’s law in exchange for God’s blessing. Here’s the Covenant.
“Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, "All that the LORD has said we will do, and we will be obedient." And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, "This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you according to all these words."” Ex. 24:7-8 (NKJV)
Yet, seldom did Israel ever keep their promise to obey God’s laws as called for in the Covenant with God the Almighty.
However, even in light of Israel’s unfaithfulness, God was absolutely willing to forgive and forget all of Israel’s broken promises, if they would repent, turning back to Him and accept their Messiah, His beloved Son. Had the Jews embraced His son, God would have begun continuously blessing Israel through His Son, Israel’s Messiah. Then, through God’s marvelous, overflowing blessings on Israel, the nations of the world would have become jealous of Israel and would have desired to be recipients of God’s generosity also. Thus, God would have drawn all the nations of the world to His Son and Himself, through Israel. Again, through Israel, God would extend His blessings to all mankind, bringing all mankind to His Son. But, Israel would have no part in God’ plan.
Because of Israel rejecting and putting to death the Son of God, God has turned His attention to the Gentiles. In what is known as the age of grace, or the age of the church, or also, the time of the Gentiles, God’s attention, through the efforts of the Church, is turned to the Gentiles of the world. This will be God’s focus until every race, tongue, dialect, nation, and individual has had an opportunity to believe in Jesus Christ, God’s Son, unto salvation.
Let me caution every Jew to not expect too much revelation to come from God in their trying to comprehend the New Testament through the Law of Moses. Mr. Silver, has rightly said that the Law of Moses was never given to anyone but the Jews. However, God has revealed in another part of His Holy Scripture, the New Testament, that, though the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. Selah.
End of my Comments - Mr. Silver’s commentary continues
The Torah is the most Holy part of the Hebrew Bible. Later prophets arose, whose works are added to form the Hebrew Bible. The Torah teaches that there is one G.d, Y-H-W-H, who is a jealous G.d, who allows no other gods beside Him. See Exodus 20:3. G.d's name, Y-H-W-H, appears almost 7000 times in the Old Testament. The King James translation translates this name as "The Lord". This G.d is the one and only G.d for the Jews, as it is written in the Hebrew Bible.
"Know therefore this day, and consider it in your heart, that the Lord, he is G.d in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath; there is no other." Deut. 4:39
"See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with me." Deut.32:39
"I am He, before Me no god was created, neither shall there be after Me." Isaiah 43:10
"Thus saith the Lord, the King of Israel and his redeemer, the Lord of hosts, I am the first, and I am the last, and beside Me there is no god." Isaiah 44:6
"I am the Lord, and there is none else." Isaiah 45:18
This Jewish G.d is one, as it is written; "Hear Israel, Y-H-W-H is our G.d, .Y-H-W-H is one." Deuteronomy 6:4 The King James translation translates this as: "Hear Israel, the Lord our G.d is one Lord." Here in Deut. 6:4 too, the word "the Lord" stands for Y-H-W-H in the Hebrew text. When we insert G.d's name into this translation, we get; "Hear Israel, Y-H-W-H our G.d is one Y-H-W-H." This is not a correct translation, the correct translation is as above mentioned; "Hear Israel, Y-H-W-H is our G.d, Y-H-W-H is one."
The fact that G.d is one is so important that G.d commands this to be in the heart. It must be diligently taught to the children, the Jews must talk about it when they sit in their houses, when they walk upon the way, when they lie down and when they rise up. They must bind it as a sign upon their arm, and it must be frontlets between their eyes, and they must write it upon the doorposts of their houses and upon their gates. See Deuteronomy 6:4-9 –
The Jews until this day do this. Every morning they put upon their arm and upon their forehead their phylacteries, (prayer belts) that consist of black straps with black leather cubes, that contain parchment upon which is this Biblical text that says that G.d is one. Upon the doorposts of the houses of the religious Jews there are small boxes or containers that also contain parchment upon which is written that G.d is one. So for the Jewish people there is one G.d, and that one G.d is one.
One means one. That is not two, not three, not three in one, not two in one, but one.
A Pause in Mr. Silver’s commentary – My Response to above comments begins
Mr. Silver, you are absolutely correct in saying that the LORD God Jehovah meant for Israel to worship and have no God but Him. But, if God is only one entity and there is no other. How do you explain the Holy Spirit? How do you explain why the many people in the Old Testament who were confronted with the Angel of the Lord, addressed the Angel of the Lord, as Lord. Each time they addressed the angel using the title, Lord, or Adonai, as the term of respect for one who is diety. In doing so, they did this as if they knew the person to be divine. Also, how then does your concept of God being one singular divine being explain to whom King David was referring in Ps. 110 when he said: “The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” In what respect did David have both, the LORD God, and the Lord, Adonai?
Also, in what respect is David, in this passage, referring to anyone else besides God as a multifaceted personality, self, or being? The first identifying word for God in the verse is LORD which is translated in many bibles, including the Hebrew, as jehovah” (je-ho´va). Some Jewish commentators explain it as the Hebrew YHWH and say it is the name of God most frequently used in the Hebrew Scriptures, though it is commonly represented by LORD.
The second identifying word for God in the passage is the word Lord (spelled with a capital L and small o, r, d, in English) which the same Jewish scholars say is correctly translated Adonai and is referencing the Jewish Messiah. For the most part, in studying the writings of Jewish rabbinical scholars, it seems obvious they believe Psalm 110 is messianic.
Are not both God and Adonai each divine entities or being? Reading the comments at various websites hosted by Jewish unbelievers commenting on Ps. 110, I conclude that there is a great difference of opinion among Jews as to the meaning, the interpretation, the application and veracity of the words in this and other passages of Old Testament scriptures that are considered Messianic. At least in His Son, the Jewish Messiah, God has revealed the One, who is One with Himself, and not another god, just as is the Holy Spirit. In addition, whether you admit the Old Testament evidence or not, God revealed to Israel on many occasions that He was going to send: a deliverer; a King; Messiah; and, according to Isaiah, one who would be known as Immanuel, which means, according to God Himself, as breathed into the heart, mind and soul of Isaiah by the Holy Spirit of God, “God with us!” (Is. 7:13-14).
How was God going to present a deliverer, Messiah, or King to Israel who would be God With Us, if there could be no other divine entities in heaven or on earth, but God? Isn’t every OT reference to the deliverer, when it is speaking of Messiah, a reference to a divine entity? Isn’t every reference to Messiah, referring to a divine being? Was God lying when He, instructed Isaiah to inform King Ahaz that a virgin would conceive and bear a Son, and His name would be God With Us?
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel (literally God with us)” (Isaiah 7:14).
Mr. Silver, this is not a diatribe against you, or any dead or living Jew, for not believing in God’s Son, Israel’s promised Messiah. I am imploring you and all Jews to seriously weigh the horrible ramifications for not doing so, which are suffered solely by those who reject God’s Son. It is a simple equation. God can be whomever He deems it necessary for Himself to be, for whatever purpose He deems it necessary and to whom He deems it necessary and He still is God. God knew when He sent His Son as Israel’s Messiah, that Israel would reject Him. It wasn’t so much that Israel was rejecting Messiah, they were rejecting God and they knew it.
Mr. Silver, when God said that He was giving Israel a sign and that sign was a baby which was going to be born to a very young girl, who had had no husband, most Jews know in their hearts that God was talking about a virgin and she was going to have a miracle child born to her in Bethlehem. I suspect that most Jews are like me and would never consider God having Messiah born of a woman who had already experienced sexual intercourse. And when God said that the boy child was going be named Immanuel, Jews know this means God With Us. They also know that Messiah would be a divine entity entering into the human realm. Jew’s also know in their heart of hearts that this divine entity would be and is very God. I learned a long time ago, early in my walk with the Lord, to let God be God. Even if that means letting God be whoever God says He is and let God manifest Himself in Whomever and wherever He deems divinely appropriate. After all He is the great I AM! Having read and studied God’s complete word many times over many years, I believe without a doubt that down through history, God has revealed Himself to many different people in different ways and in different persons or personalities and He is still God. He has lost not one smidgen of Who He is in His totality.
God has given ample warning to every Jew living today, just as He gave ample warning to your forefathers. God meant it when He said, through the Psalmist, in Psalm 95:
“Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, As in the day of trial in the wilderness, When your fathers tested Me; They tried Me, though they saw My work. For forty years I was grieved with that generation, And said, 'It is a people who go astray in their hearts, And they do not know My ways.' So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest' " Psalms 95:8-11 (NKJV).
After a lapse of over 400 years without hearing from God, any sane person would have thought that the Jews of the first century, Anno Domini, would have greatly rejoiced at receiving “The Word”. But apparently not! Just as they have hardened their hearts and stiffened their necks from the moment God brought them out of Egypt until this very day, Jews, apparently, have hearts like rocks and necks like rods of steel when it comes to true Spiritual matters.
Just as your Jewish forefathers refused to believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, God With Us, the Savior of all mankind, when He was here on earth, so has every generation of Jews since, with very few exceptions. Except now, God is allowing Satan to blind your eyes and shield your mind from believing because of the hardness of your hearts.
About 39 years ago, I discovered the writings of a Jewish man who lived in the first century A.D. I was very impressed with his credentials as a Rabbinic scholar and faithful Jew.
In one of his books he was explaining how zealous he was for the law and keeping Jewish traditions. I felt that he was somewhat of a braggart at times, but then not being a Jew myself, I could only imagine how being one of God’s chosen people would possibly give a person great pride in being a Jew.
He even seemed to boast about his being circumcised on the eighth day and that he was of the stock of Israel. Apparently it was also very important to him that he was of the tribe of Benjamin. He called himself a Hebrew of the Hebrews. He said, concerning the law, he was a Pharisee. He said concerning the righteousness which is in the law, He was blameless. Although, he seemed almost arrogantly prideful of being involved in persecuting the church of Jesus Christ to the death, in spite of that shortcoming, I had this impression that God truly had over the centuries spoken into the hearts and minds of many people, through him.
Consider very carefully what this 1st Century Jew had to say:
“What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded. Just as it is written: "God has given them a spirit of stupor. He has given them eyes that they should not see and ears that they should not hear, To this very day”.
Jews would know these truths, if they would limber up their stiffen necks and allow the Holy Spirit of God to reveal their Messiah to them through His New Testament.
I believe that everyone who seeks to know the Lord Jesus Christ will be drawn by the Holy Spirit into those necessary truths one must obtain to come to a biblical understanding of Who Christ is and what God’s will is for all unbelievers today. This one thing we know for certain: God is not willing that any should perish. However, no one will actually know that without reading it, or hearing it read, from the New Testament.
If Jews ever come to a place where they realize God is not going to damn, or anathematize them for reading the New Testament, a good place for them to start is with the book of John. But, no one should just read any of God’s Word simply for the sake of reading. If they want to know what God has for them in His word, they should ask God to give them spiritual insight into what He is saying through His Word: whether studying the Old or the New Testament.
Please understand, God reveals in the New Testament that when an unbeliever, believes in His Son unto salvation, the Holy Spirit of God immediately comes into that persons being and takes up residence and begins to guide them into all truth. It doesn’t matter if they desire truth from the Old or the New Testament, the Holy Spirit will guide them to truth they need to live in obedience to His will. Messiah revealed this to His followers just before He died, when He said to them:
“When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come” John 16:13.
By the way, something else that 1st Century Jew revealed in his writings is that all of God’s Word, Old and New Testaments, comes from the heart of God. Here is what he said:
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Mr. Silver, you admit that Jews are still waiting for The One to come and deliver them from ancient bondage. Well, I’ve got news for any Jew who will listen. He whom you are waiting for has come! In fact, HE is seated at this moment at the right hand of God the Father, where He intercedes for all believers, Jew and Gentile.
I cannot for the life of me understand why Jews continue to grovel in their unbelief, as if doing so will save their people from certain doom? When in truth, every soul a Jew persuades to continue denying Christ, when that person dies apart from Christ, they will go to hell, and Jews will have been used of Satan to help send them there.
I know that you hate the words of the one Who is the Word, but you and all Jews need to hear them over and over and over until you allow the Holy Spirit of God to convict you of your unbelief, of righteousness and of judgment. This is one of the gracious works that God sent the Holy Spirit into the world to do. For God said, through Israel’s deliverer, this about the Holy Spirit according to one of the 1st Century Jewish writers:
“And when He (the Holy Spirit) has come, He will convict the world (unbelievers) of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”
Mr. Silver, surely your know that God so loved all the Jews and all the Gentiles that He sent His only Son to the nation of Israel to call the Jews to repentance and acceptance of His Son as Messiah and Lord. Actually, if you have limited your reading of God’s Word to the Old Testament, you may not know about God’s love as expressed in His Son. Had the Jews responded positively to God’s Son, God was going to place His Son on the throne of David and usher in the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.
The last sentence in the paragraph above is the promised scenario in which God’s Son would rule over Israel and so bless them that gentiles all over the world would flock to Israel desiring to be ruled over and blessed by their God. But, those to whom God sent His Son, instead of welcoming Him, they hated His Son and put Him to death.
Upon this rebellious act of Israel, God turned His attention to the Gentiles of the world. God informed Israel through His Words recorded in His authentic addition to Israel’s Holy Books, which make up the Old Testament, that until the times of the gentiles came to an end, if Jews desired a relationship with the Holy God of all creation, they would have to come through His Son in the same manner that Gentiles now come, by faith in the Son of God. And so it is.
End of My Comments - Back to Mr. Silvers commentary
And then a Jew stands up and claims that he is the messiah, the redeemer that is announced by the prophets. But he did not do what he was supposed to do, set the Jews free from their oppressors, the Romans, and establish an era of peace and tranquility for the Jewish people and all mankind. Instead he was killed, and all that is left of him is a collection of writings, called the New Testament. For the Jewish people, the Old Testament is the established word of G.d. Therefore, everything written in the New Testament must comply with the Old Testament, and not the other way around. The Old Testament can without any problem stand on his own, without the New Testament. The Jewish people have shown this already for more than 3000 years, but the New Testament cannot stand on its own without the Old Testament, because it claims to be the fulfillment of the Old Testament. Look for this fact in the following verses:
A Pause in Mr. Silver’s commentary – My Response to above comments begins
Actually before the Jew stood up He was lying in a manger, in a cattle stall in Bethlehem. He became a Jew as a result of being born of a Jewish virgin. A result of the Jewish virgin being with child, a progeny of God, as recorded in this authentic Word of God called the New Testimony of God and prophesied in the O.T. He came to His own and His own refused to receive Him. And just as He said, He was from God and He was God, but the Jews to whom He came, they refused Him and immediately began trying to kill Him.
Of course because the only record of His actual mistreatment at the hands of the Jews is recorded in the New Testimony, in fulfillment of OT prophecy, Jews are blinded to the these truths. Why? Because Jews refuse to give any credence to the Words of God recorded in this Testimony of His Son. Jews, proclaim the N.T. is not the authentic Word of God. Of course, if you repeat a falsehood often enough, you not only come to believe it, you can get others to believe it also.
Although the New Testimony of God shows Jews are guilty of rejecting and having put to death their own Messiah, God still loves them. This New Testimony of God reveals God’s love for all mankind. It also reveals God working in the lives of Jews for the benefit of Jews as recorded in the Gospels of this New Testimony and Jews still will not accept it.
Not only do Jews refuse to authenticate the New Testament, they refuse to authenticate those passages of scripture that reveal all the suffering that Messiah Jesus Christ endured, that is recorded in the Jewish Old Testament. How do you authenticate Old Testament Prophecy? You compare it to what actually happened as recorded in the New Testament. Then, if what the prophet of the Old Testament said was going to happen, actually happens, you know the Old Testament prophecy was true prophecy. Such as:
“I gave My back to those who struck Me, And My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and their spitting on me.” Isaiah 50:6;
“He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our grief And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 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. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And yet the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:3-6;
“He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.” Isaiah 53:7
God does not look down upon His people today and make excuses for them for neglecting His Word. The books of the Old Testament, up until the giving of the Law, are not only valuable to Israel. These are primary history books given to all mankind as a record of how the true God of the Universe worked in the lives of the people He created from Adam until He gave the Law to Israel. However, one of the main thrusts of much of the Old Testament was to establish and trace the lineage of God’s people, Israel, which is also the lineage of Messiah.
God’s covenant with Israel, the Mosaic Law and all additional laws given to Israel in conjunction with the Mosaic Law, recorded in the books of the Old Testament, were for Israel alone. But, much of the Old Testament God is a resource given to all people who want a better understanding of God and His works from the beginning of time. Therefore, no man who lives today can say, I don’t have any information about God, so how can I believe in Him. In fact, God has revealed in the New Testimony that man is without excuse. For even those who have had no written word of God delivered to them have the testimony that “God is” through His testimony of creation.
End of my comments - Back to Mr. Silvers Commentary
Matthew 5:17; "Think not that I have come to destroy the law or the prophets, I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill."
Luke 4:16-21; "And there was delivered to him the book of the prophet Esaias ... and he began to say unto them: This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears."
So if the New Testament goes against the Old Testament, it must be rejected as being false.
A Pause in Mr. Silver’s Commentary- My Response to Above Comments Begins
As Mr. Smith has revealed by the passages of scripture from the New Testament, Jesus did not come to destroy the Law or the prophets, but to fulfill them. And He did. He kept and fulfilled them in at least three different ways. First, as a law abiding Jew He kept the Law perfectly as given to Moses for the Jews. Jesus did not however keep the Jewish precepts and traditions, that were not given or approved by God, and this was not to the satisfaction of the Jews. Secondly, Jesus fulfilled the Law on behalf of all who would believe in Him. He did this, because God knew no man could keep the law, and God was determined He would not condition His blessings on whether believers in His Son kept the Law perfectly, or not. Thirdly, Jesus also kept the law for us, so that Satan could never condemn a believer before God as being a law breaker, since the Son of God had kept the Law perfectly on their behalf.
All these things are revealed in the New Testament to believers who seek God’s wisdom and are surrendered to the work of the Holy Spirit who abides in them. For instance, The Law of Moses will be restored to Israel at the beginning of the millennial kingdom. Also, Israel will be given additional New Laws for the Millennial Kingdom, when God issues in the Kingdom at the Second coming of Israel’s Messiah.
The writings of these first century Jews reveal that at the close of the Tribulation period, when Messiah is coming in the air to defeat the enemies of Israel, every Jew on earth will behold Him. Here is prophecy from the writings of one of those 1st century Jewish writers:
“Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.”
For every eye, meaning every eye in the world, to see Messiah as He comes from heaven with the armies of heaven, is a supernatural happening. Think about it, no matter where a person is living on planet earth at the time of Israel’s Messiah coming the second time to earth, everyone in the world will behold him, at twilight, or day or dark of night.
God’s desire is to turn the heart of every Jew on earth to Himself, at this time. So, by a supernatural event, all the Jews in the world, who have survived the seven years of tribulation, without receiving the Mark of the Anti-Christ, will look upon Israel’s Savior, Messiah and King coming in the air on a majestic white horse from heaven.
At that time every Jew alive on earth will be given one last chance to embrace their Messiah as their Lord, Savior and King. If they do not receive Him at this His second coming, their rejection will haunt them in hell, for this is where they will be assigned for all eternity. However, unbelieving Jews will not be alone. They will be in the presence of every unbelieving Gentile, who has survived the tribulation, but who also have refused to believe in Jesus Christ.
New Testament scripture reveals, since Messiah was put to death on the cross, there has been only one way for anyone, Jew or gentile, to come to God, to relate to God, to be accepted by God. That one way is through believing in God’s Son.
“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17).
Therefore, God cannot be held responsible for: 1.) the stubborn refusal of Jews or gentiles, to read the totality of God’s word, found in the Old and New Testament; and 2.) their not coming to know God’s plan of salvation as revealed in the New Testament. These are two good reasons for everyone to be reading God’s complete word.
Return to Mr. Silver’s commentary
Now let us take a closer and open-minded look at the New Testament.
1. The reliability of the New Testament
Let's start at the beginning, that is the book of Matthew. It starts with a genealogy of Jesus, starting with Abraham and ending with Joseph, Mary's husband, "of who is born Jesus, who is called Christ." Matthew 1:16. It is further stated, in verse 17, that all the generations from Abraham to David were 14 generations, and from David to the Babylonian exile were 14 generations, and from the exile to Christ were 14 generations. Here already we stumble upon a major problem; in the Holy book of Chronicles, I Chr. 3:10-24, the genealogy of the family of Solomon is given, and in the book of Chronicles there are 18 generations between King David and the Babylonian exile, and not 14.
Hebrew Bible -------------------------New Testament
I Chr. 3:10-16 .............................Matthew 1:6-11
Joash ...........................................---?.. --.?
In the genealogy in the Book of Matthew we are missing four names that are clearly listed in the Hebrew Bible. So according to the Holy Old Testament there are 18 generations between King David and the Babylonian exile, whereas the New Testament claims that there are 14.
If the New Testament is the divinely inspired word of G.d, then how can such a mistake appear in it?
In this context it is also interesting to look at the book of Luke, chapter 3, from verse 23. Here Luke also gives the genealogy of Jesus, but a brief reading is enough to show you that this genealogy is completely different from Matthew's genealogy. In the book of Matthew the father of Joseph is Jacob, whose father is Matthan, whose father is Eleazar. In the book of Luke the father of Joseph is Heli, whose father is Matthat, whose father is Levi.
How can this be?...... Was Mary married to two Josephs?
Things like this constitute a grave problem for somebody who looks objectively and open-mindedly to the New Testament.
Some say that Luke gives the genealogy of Jesus through his mother Mary. But this makes no sense, because it is clearly written in Luke 3:23; "And Jesus himself began to be about 30 years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, who was the son of Heli, who was the son of ..." It clearly gives the genealogy of Joseph. The name Mary is not even mentioned in this chapter.
So the New Testament not only contradicts the Old Testament, but it also contradicts itself. Since we have two different genealogies, at least one must be wrong. These difficulties were already recognized in the time of Paul. Therefore he wrote to Titus: "But avoid foolish questions and genealogies and strivings about the law, for they are unprofitable and vain." Titus 3:9. See also I Timothy 1:3-4.
But avoiding the problem does not make it go away.
The facts are that here already are big mistakes in the gospels.
In Matthew 1:18 we read: "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise; When his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found to be with child of the Holy ghost." When Joseph wanted to leave her, because she was pregnant with somebody else, an angel came to him (verse 20) and said: "That what is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost." It is clearly written here, and firmly believed by Christianity, that Joseph was not the father of Jesus. Then what is the point of trying to prove that Jesus descended from King David (Matthew 1:1) by giving the genealogy of Joseph who was not his father?
The angel tells Joseph (Matthew 1:22-23) that this is done in order to fulfill the word of the prophet: "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel." This prophecy is recorded in Isaiah 7:14. There it says: "Behold a virgin shall conceive and bare a son and shall call his name Emmanuel." But for the Jewish reader who knows Hebrew, this also raises problems. The Hebrew word in Isaiah 7:14 that the king James translation translates as virgin is almah. In Hebrew almah means girl, young woman, that can be, or not, a virgin. Therefore the word virgin in Isaiah 7:14 is a wrong translation. The Hebrew word for virgin is betulah, that word is used for instance when the Holy Torah speaks about Rebecca in Genesis 24:16: "...a virgin, neither had any man known her"
This fact is recognized by many Christian Bible translators, for instance "The New English Bible", "The Good News Bible", and "The Revised Standard Version" have translated this verse in the right way, and not as virgin. .
The King James translation recognizes this fact too. When we look for instance at Exodus 2:8, and at Proverbs 30:19, there the Hebrew text also uses the word almah, and there the King James translates it with maid, which is a girl or young woman, whose state of virginity is unspecified. And in psalm 68:25 the King James translates almah as damsel, whose meaning is similar as maid.
So the New Testament is here misquoting the Old Testament.
Nowhere in the Old Testament is there a prophecy that the messiah will be born unto a virgin. In fact, nowhere in the Old Testament do virgins give birth. This concept is only to be found in pagan mythology.
The angel goes on quoting the prophet Isaiah saying: "And they shall call his name Immanuel". But this is not what is written in Isaiah 7:14; there it clearly says in the Hebrew and in the King James translation, that she, the mother, shall call his name Immanuel. This prophecy is never fulfilled in Jesus, he is never named Immanuel, instead his name was Jesus. This verse also cannot apply to Jesus because it says in verse 16: "For before the child shall know to refuse evil and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of their kings." It says here that there will be a time period that the child will not be able to refuse the evil. And since Jesus is, according to Christianity, without any sins, this verse cannot apply to him. ... And when we look at this verse in the right context, when we look at the whole chapter of Isaiah 7, then we see that this verse is definitely not refering to the coming of the messiah. This chapter talks about G.d giving a sign to Achaz, that he will have tranquility in his days. We see from this two things: the whole chapter speaks about the days of Achaz, about 700 years before Jesus; verse 14: "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you (King Achaz) a sign." G.d would not give him a sign by having a baby born 700 years after his death. The second thing that we see is that the baby that is talked about is only a sign, not a redeemer. G.d is the redeemer, as it is written in verse 17: "The Lord shall bring upon thee."
But quoting prophecies or conveying happenings from the Old Testament is not really the strong side of the New Testament. Look for instance at the book of Acts chapter 7. Here Stephen is arrested and led before the high court, accused of blasphemy. He speaks there about G.d calling Abraham. Acts 7:4 says: "He dwelt in Charran, and from there, when his father was dead, He removed him into this land wherein you now dwell." Here it clearly says that Abraham left Charran after the death of his father. Who was his father? See Genesis 11:26: "And Terah lived 70 years and he begot Abram, Nahor and Haran.
So Abraham's father was Terah, who was 70 years when he begot Abraham.-Genesis 12:4: "And Abraham was 75 years old when he departed from Haran." At this time, when Abraham departed from Haran, his father was 70+75=145 years old. And how long did his father live? Genesis 11:32: "And the days of Terah were 205 years and Terah died in Haran."..
When Abraham left Haran his father was 145 years old. His father lived to be 205 years old. That means that after Abraham left Haran, his father lived another 60 years. (205-145)
So how can Stephen say that Abraham left Haran after the death of his father?
In the same chapter it is written, Acts 7:14; "Then send Joseph and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls." Now look what the Holy book of Genesis says about this event. Genesis 46:27; "All the souls of the house of Jacob that came into Egypt were threescore and ten souls." So the Torah says that 70 people of Jacobs household left for Egypt, and Stephen says 75. How can this be?
In verses 15 and 16 of Acts 7 Stephen says; "So Jacob went down into Egypt and died, he and our fathers, and were carried over into Sychem, and laid into the sepulchre that Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons of Emmor, the father of Sychem."
This verse contains multiple mistakes.
Jacob was not buried in Schem, he was buried in the cave of the field of Machpela at Mamre. Genesis 49:33; "And when Jacob had made an end to commanding his sons he gathered up his feet into the bed and yielded up the ghost and was gathered unto his people."
Genesis 50:13; "For his sons carried him into the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpela which Abraham bought with the field for a possession for a burying place of Ephron the Hittite before Mamre."
So we see that Abraham did not buy a tomb in Schem, but in Mamre, which is Hebron, (Genesis 23:19) and there was Jacob buried, and not in Schem.
There was in fact a burial place in Schem, but it was bought not by Abraham, but by Jacob, and not Jacob, but Joseph was buried there. See Joshua 24:32: "And the bones of Joseph which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground that Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem, for a hundred pieces of silver."
About Stephen it is written (Acts 6:5), that he was full of the Holy Ghost, and that they were not able to resist the spirit and wisdom by which he spoke. (verse 10)
What kind of wisdom is this, making mistake after mistake after mistake, all these misquotations?
Can somebody who is full of the Holy Ghost make so many mistakes?
What does this say about the reliability of the New Testament?
And what about the leading figure of the New Testament, Jesus, how reliable are his statements? Look at a statement by him from Mark 2:26. Here he says that David entered the Temple (Tabernacle) in the days of Abiathar the high priest and ate the showbreads. This event is recorded in I Samuel 21:1; "Then came David to Nob, to Achimelech the priest, ..." During this incident Achimelech was high priest, and not his son Abiathar. A high priest functions until the day he dies, and then his son takes over. So only after the death of Achimelech, recorded in I Samuel 22:18, did his son Abiathar succeed him, as we can see in I Samuel 30:7; "And David said to Abiathar the priest, Achimelech's son, ..."
Let us take a look at an other of Jesus' statements, from Matthew 23:35: "That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of the righteous Able unto the blood of Zacherias son of Berachias, whom you slaughtered between the Temple and the altar." This event is recorded in II Chronicles 24:20-21; "And the spirit of G.d came upon Zacheriah son of Jehoiada the priest which stood above the people, and said to them ... And they conspired against him, and stoned him with stones, at the commandment of the King, in the house of the Lord". .
Here we see that the Zacherias who was slaughtered between the Temple and the altar was the son of Jehoiada, and not the son of Berachia, as stated by Jesus. Jesus was mixing up two things: There was a prophet Zacherias son of Berachias, but he was not the one who was slain (II Chronicles 24:22) in the Temple courtyard. Zacherias son of Berachias was the prophet who gave us the Bible book Zacheriah. Look in Zacheriah 1:1; "In the eight month in the second year of Darius came the word of the Lord (Y-H-W-H) to Zecheriah, son of Berechiah, son of Iddo the prophet..." This Zecheriah lived after the destruction of the first Temple, during the rebuilding of the second Temple. The killing of Zacherias son of Jehoiada in the Temple courtyard happened in the first Temple period, long before Zecheriah son of Berechiah. In case that in your Bible translation Zacheriah 1:1 says "Zecheriah, son of Iddo the prophet, ..." then be assured of the fact that the Hebrew text says; "Zecheriah, son of Berachiah, son of Iddo the prophet, ..." In some Bible translations is the text corrupted in order to cover up this mistake of Jesus.
So from this we see that even the words of Jesus are not reliable.
How can it be that the "son of G.d", according to Christianity G.d himself, makes such elementary mistakes?
To a Jewish reader this indicates that the people from the New Testament just did not know their Bible.
For a Jew this is enough to disqualify the whole New Testament.
The arguments; "O.K, the New Testament is not reliable, but the Old Testament, which is much older, is also not reliable", or the argument; "The Jews changed the Old Testament after the rise of Christianity, in order to discredit Christianity" are not valid. The Torah, the most Holy part of the Hebrew Bible, is transmitted through the ages, over a time period of 3300 years with an astonishing degree of accuracy. There are very many rules that apply to the copying process of Torah scrolls: They may only be written on parchment of kosher animals, which must be sewn together with tendons of kosher animals. It may only be written by a Jew, dressed in a Jewish garment, in a state of ritual purity, which means that, amongst other things, he must wash himself in a ritual bath. Even his state of mind is subjected to certain rulings. The whole manuscript must be ruled before it is written upon, when three words are written without ruling, the whole manuscript is disqualified and must be buried. The ink may only be black, prepared according to an ancient recipe. The Torah scroll may only be copied from another authentic scroll, and absolutely no deviation is allowed. Absolutely no words may be written without first looking to the example. The length of each column must be between 48 and 60 rules, and the width must be 30 letters. Between the letters must be a space as wide as a hair, between the paragraphs a space of nine letters, between the books a space of three rules. Calculations have been made how many letters there are in the whole Torah, which letter is the middle, how many letters there are in every book of the Torah, how many times certain words and even letters appear in the text. And there are many, many more rules for copying Torah scrolls that are still in effect, up to this day. No other religion had such an extremely precise way of copying their holy texts. This shows the enormous respect that the Jewish people have for the sacred text, and this is the reason that the text is handed down through the millennia with an extreme grade of accuracy. .......Every expert, and everybody knowledgeable in the field of Biblical texts, agrees upon the fact that the Old Testament, even though much older than the New Testament, is handed down much more accurate than the New Testament.
The Old Testament could not be changed after the arising of Christianity, because it was already widely known to the non-Jewish world. Alexander the Great founded in 332 before the Common Era (B.C.E.) the city Alexandria. The Jews had there from the beginning a prominent place, and at one point there were living there one million Jews. The main language there was Greek, therefore a Greek translation of the Old Testament was made for the Jews there, known as the Septuagint. Septuagint means seventy. It points to the 72 translators, six of every tribe of Israel, who made this translation, which was finished about 250 B.C.E. One copy of the Septuagint was kept in the library of Alexandria.
When the Jewish people were exiled to Babylon, the land was filled with pagan tribes. They mixed with the remnant of the Jews, and started to take over large parts of the Jewish religion, and they accepted the Torah. A Jewish priest was sent from Babylon in order to teach those pagan tribes, now living in Samaria, how to live according G.d's commandments. (II Kings 17:24-29) When the Jews came back from the Babylonian exile, these Samaritans wanted to join the Jewish people, but they were rejected because they were still involved in idol worship. This caused a great deal of animosity between the Jews and the Samaritans. The Samaritans even obstructed the rebuilding of the second Temple. (Ezra 4) The Samaritans remained a sect separated from the Jewish people and their entire Bible consists of the first five books, the Torah. These events took place about 350 B.C.E. The Samaritans are still around today as a small sect in Israel.
The Samaritan Torah and the Septuagint were not subjected to such a very precise copying process as the Jewish Torah. But nevertheless, when we compare the Old Testament to the Septuagint, and the Jewish Torah to the Samaritan Torah, then we see that in most places were Stephen and Jesus made serious mistakes, these texts agree with the Jewish Bible. Therefore, even the Greek Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church of Greek rite, who up to this day have the Septuagint as their official text of the Old Testament, are faced with serious problems.
A Pause from Mr. Silver’s commentary - My response to above comments begin
When I was an atheist, before coming to faith in Jesus Christ, I used the same tactics that Mr. Silver uses above to argue with believers about the incomprehensible stupidity of anyone believing a holy book that was filled with so many gross errors. I would begin my diatribe against God’s word with what I thought was a hilariously funny line from an interview between television comedian, Woody Allen, and Billy Graham. When Mr. Graham asked Woody if he read the bible, Woody quipped that he sat around every day reading the bible and penciling in corrections. Whether reading in the Old or New Testament, we can always find what we think are errors, if we want to, to help us misuse God’s Word.
I definitely remember as an unbeliever trying my best to torture believers by insisting that the bible was full of error and falsehoods. However, when I came face to face with the living God, what few mistakes there might have been between the pages of God’s word, held little relevance in light of my lost condition. Those truths which God, through the Holy Spirit, used to convict me of sin, righteousness, judgment and my lost condition came exclusively from the New Testament portion of His total word.
Though I was reading huge amounts of Old Testament scripture, as well as New Testament Scripture, in my search for God, God convicted me upon my hearing that passage of scripture in the Book of Romans, chapter one, verses 18 thru 32. I believe that God wants to use any portion of scripture, that would be applicable, to convict all lost people today, Jew and Gentile. In my experience in sharing the good news, any portion of His word that reveals His love for mankind through the sacrifice of His Son, produces results. These truths are found almost exclusively in the New Testament, that portion of God’s Word which the Jews reject.
Why God chose not to totally reveal His Son, Israel’s Messiah, and His plan of salvation in the Old Testament, has not been revealed in any part of the Holy Bible. My observation has been that God’s grace can never co-exist with Law. Therefore, God had to reveal His Son, and then through His Son, God could reveal His grace, absent of any encroachment of the Law. For whatever reason, apart from those prophetic passages, God chose to contain these new revelations entirely in a New Testament, or New Testimony of God.
As to whether or not the word that Isaiah used in Is. 7:14 for virgin came from the Hebrew word almah or betulah is of no importance. As you have explained one means a young maiden, who may not be a virgin and the other means a true virgin. What is important is revealed in God’s Word, the New Testament, when the scripture is dealing with the bona fide real life person who gave birth to God’s Son, the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
As recorded in the writings of a first century Gentile writer, Luke, the Words of Jesus Christ, spoken through the Holy Spirit into the ear, heart and mind of the writer, and written down on parchment under inspiration of the same Holy Spirit were:
“Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary” (Luke 1:26-27).
And to the virgin Mary the angel Gabriel said:
"Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!" But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end. The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:28 - 35).
Back to Mr. Silvers Commentary
Even the name "New Testament" is not correct: It points to the new covenant that G.d will make with the Jewish people. Paul claims that this is done through Jesus. Paul says in Hebrews 10:15-17; "Whereof the Holy Ghost is also a witness to us, for after he had said before: This is the covenant that I will make with them, after those days, saith the Lord, I will put My laws in their heart and in their minds will I write them. And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more." This is written in Jeremiah 31:31-34; "Behold, the days come saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah. Not according to the old covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, which my covenant they broke, although I was as a husband to them, saith the Lord. But this shall be the covenant that I make with the house of Israel: After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in there inward parts and write it in their hearts, and I will be there G.d, and they shall be my people. And they shall no more each man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying: Know the Lord, for they shall all know me, from the least of them till the greatest, saith the Lord, for I will forgive their iniquity and I will remember their sins no more."
Are we now in the days that everybody knows about the Lord (Y-H-W-H)? That nobody has to teach his neighbor about G.d? Obviously not! So, even the reference to the new covenant, the "New Testament", is not correct.
A Pause from Mr. Silver’s commentary - My response to comments above
Was God lying when He gave the prophecy to Jeremiah as stated in chapter 31? No. God was not lying. When God gave the prophecy to Jeremiah referencing a New Covenant with Israel, God knew that Israel would reject His Son and that His Son would have to die at the hands of Romans. The Romans were compelled to crucify the Lord of Glory by angry Christ rejecting Jews, who wanted nothing to do with the Son of God.
However, the Covenant promised by God through Jeremiah was not null and void upon Christ being rejected by the Jews and put to death, it was postponed. However, those Jews who have believed in Messiah since the cross have spiritually fulfilled that prophecy for themselves and they are now living, along with Gentile believers, under a New Covenant with God. This new covenant which became effective on the death of Jesus Christ is known as the Covenant of Grace. At the heart of The Covenant of Grace is faith by the individual in Jesus Christ alone. Every aspect of a believer’s relationship with God, His Son, and His Holy Spirit depends solely on God’s grace. There is no law involved in the Covenant of Grace whatsoever, other than the law of love. Rejecting Christ as Messiah did not delay the New Covenant of Grace. Christians, Jew and Gentile, have been enjoying this New Covenant for nearly two thousand years. Many of those Jews who have believed in Jesus Christ are now in heaven with Jesus Christ having been glorified the moment they entered His presence at death.
As to the reference you made to Hebrews 10:15-17, know this: The Holy Spirit's testimony to the finality of Christ's sacrifice is quoted from Jer. 31. This prophecy of the new covenant for Israel, however, envisions Israel's conversion at the second advent, not the first. However, inasmuch as the new covenant in Jer. 31 is based on the efficacy of Christ's sacrifice, its blessings are for both the church and Israel.
There is coming a time revealed in the Old Testament as the time of Jacobs trouble. This is revealed in Jeremiah 30:
“The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, (2) "Thus speaks the LORD God of Israel, saying: 'Write in a book for yourself all the words that I have spoken to you. (3) For behold, the days are coming,' says the LORD, 'that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah,' says the LORD. 'And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.' " (4) Now these are the words that the LORD spoke concerning Israel and Judah. (5) "For thus says the LORD: 'We have heard a voice of trembling, Of fear, and not of peace. (6) Ask now, and see, Whether a man is ever in labor with child? So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins Like a woman in labor, And all faces turned pale? (7) Alas! For that day is great, So that none is like it; And it is the time of Jacob's trouble, But he shall be saved out of it. (8) 'For it shall come to pass in that day,' Says the LORD of hosts, 'That I will break his yoke from your neck, And will burst your bonds; Foreigners shall no more enslave them. (9) But they shall serve the LORD their God, And David their king, Whom I will raise up for them.” (Jer. 30:1-9).
Carefully studying God’s whole word reveals that this time of Jacob’s trouble corresponds to what the Church teaches about the Tribulation period that will come upon the earth immediately prior to the second coming of Messiah, Jesus Christ.
The period of tribulation covers about seven years. It begins shortly after Jesus comes in the air above the earth and calls all believers to come and join Him. This is known as the Rapture of the Church. When I say, that upon all believers being taken off the earth and back to heaven with Jesus, at the time of the rapture, I am putting it lightly when I say all hell is going to break loose. You can read about some of what transpires in the book of Daniel. But for the birds eye few read Revelations.
God is going to return to Israel all those Jews still living in foreign lands, who wish to return, during this seven year period. Scripture doesn’t say what happens to those who don’t want to return. In fact, we saw in 2013 and are seeing early 2014 more Jews returning to Israel from foreign lands than at any time since Israel became a nation in 1948. Israel’s Ministry of Immigrant Absorption announced that 22,470 Israelis who were living outside of Israel returned to Israel in the past two and a half years since 2010.
This time of tribulation is designed by God for the benefit of Jews. Shortly after the church is raptured there will be 144,000 Jews who come to faith in Jesus Christ. Their assignment is to share the gospel with unbelieving Jews all over the world. In doing so, they will help bring as many as possible to faith in Christ and back to Israel.
Jews who come to faith in Jesus Christ during the Tribulation period, but before Christ’s second coming, will embrace the Covenant of Grace, just as new believers have since the cross.
At the beginning of the tribulation period a man will be raised up by Satan to become the leader of the world. He is known as the anti-Christ and He will inaugurate a one world government and religion exalting himself as a god. At first, Israel will fall for his persuasive persona and will sign a treaty of peace with him as the world leader because of his promise that he will help Israel rebuild the temple and inaugurate animal sacrifices once more.
At the midpoint of this tribulation period the anti-Christ will break his covenant with Israel. From that point to the end of the seven year period, Israel will suffer the wrath of the demonic leader. By the end of the seven years of tribulation, anti-Christ will have persuaded all the other nations of the world to send their armies to the middle east and surround Israel with the intention of obliterating the nation and killing every Jew in the Holy Land.
Upon the nations of the world surrounding Israel with the intention of completely destroying the nation, God will send His Son, Jesus Christ, from heaven, followed by all the armies of heaven (read the church and all the angels of heaven) to defeat all the enemies of Israel and to usher in the Kingdom of Heaven on earth that will last one thousand years.
While Christ is descending from heaven, accompanied by His bride, the church and the armies of heaven, to rescue Israel from total annihilation, God is going to perform the most amazing miracle of all time. God is going to supernaturally enable the eyes of every believer and unbeliever on the face of the earth, Jew and Gentile, to behold His Son coming to earth to rescue Israel. At this time every person on earth will see Him and they will know Who He is and every unbeliever will be given one last opportunity to believe in Him as their Savior. One of those first century Jewish writers revealed this amazing supernatural feat:
“Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.”
Scripture reveals that all Jews will see and recognize their Messiah. Some, though they will recognize Him will not place their faith in Him. However, most of the unbelieving Jews, upon recognizing Him as Messiah, will believe in Him unto salvation and will enter the millennial Kingdom as part of the converted remnant of Israel. Those gentiles that open their hearts to Him at that time will enter the Kingdom as gentile believers.
Upon defeating the enemies of Israel, Jesus Christ will institute the Millennial Kingdom of Heaven on earth and He will bring into existence the New Covenant with Israel prophesied in Jer. 31. This is the covenant under which Israel will live in their promised land for one thousand years. This is in addition to the covenant of Grace under which believers came to faith during the tribulation period. Believers alive today will have already been glorified and we will live and reign with Christ under the Covenant of Grace through the Millennial Kingdom and through all eternity.
This New Covenant with the believing remnant of Israel finally comes to fruition and will last through the Millennial Kingdom. This is an excellent example of God’s word never returning to Him void of fulfillment.
Return to Mr. Silver’s commentary
2. The divinity of Jesus.
Let us now take a look at the message that the New Testament is trying to give us, armed with the knowledge that, as shown before, there is one G.d, and that one G.d is one. Surprising as it may be, in the New Testament G.d is also one. Look for this fact at the following verses: Mark 12:29-34. Here Jesus himself speaks: "Hear Israel, the Lord our G.d is one Lord." And in verse 32 he is answered: "There is one G.d, and there is no other than He", upon which Jesus replies: "You are not far from the kingdom of G.d."
So also for Jesus G.d is clearly one.
And what about Paul, who wrote more than half of all the books of the New Testament, what does he think about it?
Romans 3:30: "Seeing it is one G.d, ..."
I Corinthians 8:4: "We know that an idol is nothing in the world and that there is no other G.d than one."
Idem verse 6: "But to us there is but one G.d ..."
Ephesians 4:6; "One G.d and father of all, ..."
I Timothy 2:5; "For there is one G.d ..."
And look what James says in James 2:19; "You believe that there is one G.d, and you do well."
Also in the New Testament G.d is one.
Please take good notice that nowhere here is spoken about, or even hinted at a trinity.
The concept of trinity is nowhere to be found in the Old or the New Testament.
And what does the New Testament say about Jesus? It says that he is a god. Look for instance at what Thomas says to Jesus; "My Lord and my god." John 20:28.
The gospel of John turns Jesus into the creating G.d. Look at the first verses of John 1; "In the beginning was the word, and the word was with G.d, and the word was G.d. The same was in the beginning with G.d." Here, in verses 1 and 2, it clearly says that "the word" is G.d..... Now look at verse 3; "All things are made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made." Here it says that everything is made by him (the word), so the word is the creating G.d. Who is the word? Look at verse 14; "And the word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the father." The word made flesh is, according to Christianity, Jesus. So according the New Testament Jesus is the creating G.d. Also in Colossians 1:16 it clearly says that Jesus is the creating G.d. Please read verse 12-18 of Colossians 1 in order to get a clear overview of this.
In John 10:30 Jesus says; "I and my father are one."
So here we have a case of a human being saying that he is G.d. But according to the Holy Hebrew scriptures this is impossible, because it is stated in Numbers 23:19, in I Samuel 15:29, and in Hosea 11:9 that G.d is not a man. The Jewish idea about G.d is that He is a spiritual being, and not flesh and blood. See Genesis 1:2; "And the spirit of G.d moved upon the face of the waters.".......... For a Jew it is an abomination that the one true G.d should be a human. G.d is an indefinable, spiritual, invisible being. "There shall no man see me and live." Exodus 33:20. By saying that G.d is a man, or that He is 2, or 3, or 3 in 1, you are defining G.d, who is indefinable.
The idea that Jesus was G.d also goes against the oneness of G.d. How can G.d be one when He is walking around upon the earth as a man and at the same time He is in heaven?
Even though Jesus says that he and the father are one, this is clearly not the case. Look at Matthew 23:9; "And call no man your father upon the earth, for one is your father, which is in heaven." So here Jesus excludes himself from being the father in heaven.
Luke 22:41-42; "He prayed, saying: ... not my will, but thine be done." This also indicates that the father and Jesus are not the same person, otherwise he would be praying to himself. If they were the same person then Jesus' will would have been automatically the will of the father, but he says: Not my will but your will be done.
A Pause in Mr. Silver’s commentary - My response to above comments begins
Before Jesus began His ministry of revealing to the nation of Israel that He had come from God to show them by His miracles and through His teaching that He was the Son of God, God had already sent a prophet like unto Moses to prepare the way for that message and the messenger.
John, the son of a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah, God raised up and sent to the Jews to prepare the way of the Lord. John told the Jews their Messiah was coming and if they would repent and turn back to God that God would institute the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. In this Kingdom of Heaven on earth God’s Son would be their King, reigning from King David’s throne in Jerusalem for a thousand years. When Jesus began His ministry His message sounded repetitive of John’s because it was. The same message was given to both John and the Lord Jesus because God knew the Jews. On numerous occasions God said that Jews were an obstinate, hard headed, stiff necked, rebellious people who refused to listen to the prophets He had sent down through the history of the people. God knew that the Jews would not listen to their Messiah, but He wanted to give them every opportunity to turn back to Him, so He sent John the Baptist to prepare the way for His Son, their Messiah. Here is the message God gave both to preach:
“Repent you sinners for the Kingdom of heaven is nigh at hand.”
God didn’t give this message because He was angry with the Jews. God didn’t give this message because He wanted to revile, castigate, embarrass, harass and malign the Jews. He gave message because He loved the Jews and He wanted them to see who they were in His eyes and He wanted them to turn back to Him and receive those blessings He desired to bestow on them.
Two thousand years after they rejected His Son, God still loves the Jews. He is still committed to them. There are ample testimonies of His blessings on that nation since they became a nation by decree of international law in 1948. God is still going to fulfill every promise He made to them as a nation, including His promises to Abraham. However, in this present age of grace, the only way for Jews to be esteemed and highly honored by God is individually through His Son. Yet, because Jews are being taught by their scholars and teachers that the New Testament is, in essence, a work of Satan, not to be trusted, not to be read and certainly not to be followed, Jews cannot receive the truths of God during their continued rebellion.
Here are some examples of the truths found in God’s Word, the New Testament. I warn everyone who reads The Word that the living God may very well get a grip on your heart and never let go of it. And I pray that He will.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became 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” (John 1:1-14).
I am not a scholar, but, I personally know One Who is. Actually, He is not just any garden variety of a scholar, He is the Scholar of all biblical scholars! He was most instrumental in the writing God’s Holy Bible in its entirety. I am talking of course about the Holy Spirit of God. Whether you believe in, or even know about, the Holy Spirit does not impact or change who He is. He is the One who comes to live in every person who believes in the Son of God as the Son of God and Savior of the mankind in this age of grace.
Mr. Silver, there is probably nothing I could ever say, no matter what scripture I used, to sufficiently explain to your satisfaction, why I believe that God is one God. Yet, being God, He possesses the power, inclination and purpose to reveal Himself in the person, the personalities and work of the Holy Spirit and the Lord Jesus Christ, His Son. You are so singularly focused on Jewish biases, I doubt that God Himself could convince you that He is more than you have ever conceived Him to be.
I want you to read with your own eyes and experience with your heart the truth that at the creation of the universe there were clearly at least two divine entities involved in creation. Read what God says in Genesis 1:26 :
“Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; (We will) let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
Mr. Silver, here is a question for all the sons and daughters of Israel who are so emphatic about making the point that God is: absolutely, irrevocably, indivisibly - one. In the above verse from Genesis, to whom is God speaking when He uses the plural and possessive pronouns, Us and Our, in the above verse? In your heart of hearts you must not know the answer to my question based on what you have said above. Oh, you may have some intellectual reasoning and thoughts, but it is only when a Jew has a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus that they understand exactly to Whom God speaks in the above verse. Today, an unregenerate Jewish heart will reject the truth of what the scriptures above reveals, just as their forefathers have rejected God since their vacation in Egypt and especially since they rejected their Messiah for almost 2000 years.
Ask any religious Jewish scholar if the Hebrew Holy Books are the foundation of all revealed truth, and undoubtedly he will emphatically say “Yes”. However, ask him or her if the New Testament is a legitimate part of the Holy Word of God and he will tell you emphatically “No”. Why? Because the New Testament, although given by God, was given apart from the Hebrew Holy books, some of which make up the Old Testament. Others Jewish holy books include the Talmudic writings that Jews place on the same level as God’s Holy Word. Also, and this is truth personified, the New Testament reveals the prophesied Messiah, whom Jews refuse to accept to their eternal condemnation. Jews do not accept the New Testament as any part of God’s word to a Jew. Yet, most of the New Testament was written by Jews, with a special inclusive message for the Jews.
From what I know of the Hebrew bible it consists of 24 books. Five books of the Torah or "Instruction"; Eight books of the Nevi'im or "Prophets" and eleven books of the Ketuvim or "Writings" or "Scriptures". Jews believe anything outside of these 24 books are not Holy Scripture, thus, to Jews the New Testament is not of God. One gigantic exception will be those so called holy writings found in the Talmud. By now these are more important than the actual words of the writers of the original twenty four books.
In the writings of Jews who have converted to Christ, most say their conversion came after having decided that the New Testament was God’s message to anyone who desired to believe in and embrace Jesus as the Son of God and the Savior of all mankind.
Technically, from a true biblical and spiritual viewpoint, there are only two classes, groups, or types of people on earth today: believers and unbelievers. In this age of grace God is making no distinctions, along Jewish/Gentile lines, for purpose of salvation. God will save whosoever will believe in His Son for salvation. Once, the age of grace comes to an end, God will begin dealing with all mankind through the Lord Jesus Christ seated on the throne of David in Jerusalem in the millennial Kingdom. But until then every man and every woman who dies without Jesus Christ condemns themselves to hell for all eternity.
At this very moment, Jesus is seated at the right hand of God the Father in heaven, awaiting that time when God will tell Him, “Son go get your bride and bring her back to heaven.” In His capacity as the Head of the Church He intercedes continually for everyone who believes in Him. When God sends Him for His bride, He will come in the atmosphere to a point somewhere above the earth and with the sound of a trumpet and the shout of an archangel, He will call the church from all over the world to come to Him. This is known as the Rapture of the Church. And no you will not find it explicitly mentioned in the Old Testament. It is a New Testament event, for those whom God chose before the foundation of the World, in His Son.
Once we, the church, have all gathered to Him, He will take us back to heaven where we will reside with Him and all the inhabitants of heaven for about seven years.
Upon the removal of all believers from the face of the earth, the ever present restraining power of God’s Holy Spirit indwelling all believers, while they were here on earth, will disappear and suddenly evil will be allowed to run rampant over the earth. In the New Testament this Restraining Power of the Holy Spirit is what keeps Satan and his demons from having absolute total free reign over the earth.
Almost immediately there will arise a man to political and religious power, who is under Satan’s control. He is referred to in the Whole of Scripture as: the man of sin; the son of perdition; the lawless one; the AntiChrist; and the beast. In the seventh chapter of Daniel he is referred to as the “little horn” in verse 8, who has: “eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words”.
This evil person will befriend Israel and sign a peace treaty with that nation that will last about three and a half years. At the end of those three and one half years will begin a period of the most horrible suffering and evil ever experience by mankind. This is known as the Great Tribulation period. This period of unparalleled suffering will precede the establishment of the future kingdom of Israel. At the close of this period of Great Tribulation is when God sends His Son and all the armies of heaven to earth to rescue Israel from total annihilation and to set up the kingdom of heaven on earth.
For one thousand years Jesus Christ the Son of God, Israel’s Messiah, will reign over Israel in her promised land, from the throne of David in Jerusalem. At the end of the millennial kingdom on earth, Jesus will surrender all authority to God His Father and the Lord God will reign on His throne over the entire Universe throughout eternity future.
Return to Mr. Silvers commentary
Even in heaven Jesus is subordinated to the father according I Corinthians 15:28, Matthew 20:23, Philippians 2:9, so it is impossible that they are the same person. We can add many other examples to this. The interested reader can read for example Matthew 24:36, John 5:19-23, 12:27, 17:24, 18:11, Colossians 1:15.
When Jesus hangs on the cross he shouts out: "My G.d, my G.d, why hast thou forsaken me?" Matthew 27:46
Did G.d forsake himself?
This leaves us with a G.d "the father" in heaven, and a G.d "the son" on earth. Since we have established that there is only one G.d, and that that one G.d is one, there is now one G.d to many.
The one true G.d says: "Thou shall have no other gods before Me, ... Thou shall not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them; For I the Lord thy G.d am a jealous G.d." Exodus 20:3+5. Jesus completely agrees with this. He says in Matthew 4:10: "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy G.d, and him only shalt you serve." See also Luke 4:8
But how then can we explain the statements of Jesus when he says "That all man should honour the son, even as they honour the Father." John 5:23.
"If any man serve me, let him follow me, ...if any man serve me, him will my father honour." John 12:26.
How can this be? This is idolatry!!
A Pause in Mr. Silver’s Commentary – My response to above comments begins
Mr. Silver, Jesus has always subordinated Himself to the Father. Sons who truly love their fathers do that all their lives, because of who their fathers are. Jesus never presented Himself in scripture, nor will He ever present Himself in eternity to come, on the same level as God, though He is God as scripture reveals. He is God with us. But He always has and always will submit to His Father’s authority.
When one has scriptural spiritual truths imparted to him or her by the Holy Spirit, they see and understand scripture from a spiritual standpoint. Until one has the Holy Spirit living in them, guiding them to all truth, they cannot understand spiritual reality.
Many people, believers and unbelievers, are curious when they read Matthew 27:46 or Mark 15:34, as to why Jesus, while dying on the cross, would say, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Those believers, who use a good study bible and/or, who sit under good bible teaching have their questions answered early on in their walk with the Lord. These believers come to the understanding that those words are actually from Psalm 22, which according to Jewish tradition, was written by King David about 1,000 years before Jesus was crucified.
Psalm 22 speaks of a man who cries out to God for deliverance from intense persecution such as that to which King David was often subjected. There are many parallels between the details in Psalm 22 and the details written in the New Testament about Jesus' crucifixion. For instance, Psalm 22:7 speaks of a man surrounded by people who scorn and despise him. This is exactly what happened to Jesus in Matthew 27:39 and Mark 15:29. Psalm 22:7 also speaks of a man being mocked, which is similar in the descriptions of what happened to Jesus' at the crucifixion given in Matthew 27:31, Mark 15:20 and Luke 22:63; 23:36. In Psalm 22:8, the Psalmist says, "He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him." Jesus’ enemies taunted Him in Matthew 27:43, by saying: "He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him."
In Psalm 22:16, the phrase, “a man who was numbered with the transgressors”, actually means an innocent man is being regarded as being one of a group of criminals. Jesus also was numbered with the transgressors when He was crucified between two thieves, as described in Matthew 27:38, Mark 15:27, Luke 23:32 and John 19:18.
Also, in Psalm 22:16, we have a man whose hands and feet are either pierced, or mauled, or disfigured, depending on which is truly the better translation into English of the original verse. As recorded in John 19:23, 34, 37, Jesus’ hands and feet were pierced with huge nails during the crucifixion process.
In Psalm 22:17, is a man who was surrounded by others who stared and gloated at him. This too was the exact situation with Jesus during the crucifixion, according to Matthew 27:36 and Luke 23:35.
In Psalm 22:18, we have onlookers gambling for pieces of clothing that belonged to the person being persecuted. As recorded in Matthew 27:35, we have Roman soldiers gambling, which is the same as casting lots, for articles of Jesus' clothing while he was being crucified.
Please notice other descriptions in Psalm 22 that are surely accurate descriptions of what would happen to a person being crucified, such as the disjointing of bones, the physical exertion that comes from trying to breath, while attempting to lessen the pain in ones hands and feet through which the large nails held Him to the cross. These horrors of crucifixion would certainly drain a person's strength, and cause an intense sense of thirst.
Many Christian and some Jewish scholars have written about the significance of Psalm 22 and the parallels with the crucifixion of Jesus. The late Charles Briggs, while a professor at the Union Theological Seminary, said:
"These human sufferings recorded in Psalm 22, transcend those of any historical sufferer, with the single exception of Jesus Christ. These sufferings find their exact counterpart in the sufferings of the cross.... This ideal is a Messianic ideal, and finds its only historical realization in Jesus Christ."
Merle F. Unger, in his New Unger's Bible Handbook said: “The sufferings recorded in Psalm 22, verses 1-21, are a graphic portrayal of crucifixion (cf. Mt 27:27-50).”
The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary states very succinctly about the suffering recorded in Psalm 22:
“The experience here detailed may be adapted to the case of all Christians suffering from spiritual foes, and delivered by divine aid, inasmuch as Christ in His human nature was their head and representative.”
I say the following with a heart of love for all unbelievers, Jew or Gentile. When I first read the New Testament, as an unbeliever, I felt like I had no comprehension what so ever of what was being said, or to whom it was being said and really didn’t get much out of anything I read.
The first time I read the New Testament after believing in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and my Savior, I was almost overwhelmed by everything I read, because things made sense to me that had not before. When I got to John 16, verse 13, God turned a light on in my heart, head and new spirit being. Here is why. The verse reads:
“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”
Here is what the Holy Spirit revealed to me after I became a believer: “Tom, now that you are a believer and I am living in you, I will guide you into all truth whenever your read God’s Holy Word, if that is what you desire for me to do. I will not speak on my own authority, but whatever the Lord Jesus reveals to me, I will speak, whether the scripture you are reading speaks to things of the past, things of the present, or things to come.” The Holy Spirit revealed this to me from a number of verses in John 16.
A short while after becoming a believer, I was invited to speak at a ladies luncheon. The Holy Spirit prompted me to speak on Matt. 27:45 – 55. As I began to study the passage and seek a biblical understanding of what transpired in those verses and what the application is for believers today, I pondered those words from verse 46, and I wondered why Jesus would cry out to His Father, “Why have you forsaken me?”
As I was seeking answers, the Holy Spirit reminded me of a scripture verse I had committed to memory as part of a scripture memory program I was going through with a young man who was my spiritual mentor. The verse was 2 Cor. 5:17, but as I was reading the verses before and after v. 17 trying to comprehend what my being a new creation had to do with Christ’s agonizing cry from the cross, my eyes became riveted on verse 21:
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
In a heartbeat, I understood one of the reasons why Jesus suddenly felt alone and forsaken by His heavenly Father. Jesus and God’s relationship, unlike any father and son relationship, before or since, was so intimate and familial that God taking His eyes off His Son and turning away from this Son Who had become the sins of all mankind, left Jesus experiencing the never expected and the horribly unthinkable – being forsaken by His Father and God! All His life, Jesus was being watched over by His Father, creator God and when God had to turn away from His Son when He became sin, Jesus cried out: “My God! My God! Why have You forsaken Me?!
However, God did not forsake His Son!! But God, being a perfectly Holy God, was compelled to take His eyes off of His Son while His Son was hanging on that cross. Habakkuk 1:13 in talking about God says, "You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness...."
Jesus while hanging on that cross, became sin! My sin, your sin, the sins of the whole world were piled up and pressed down upon the person of Jesus Christ by God Himself, until His Son spiritually became sin. God could not look upon His Son in this condition.
I believe the Holy Spirit guiding me to truth revealed these things that I found there in 2 Cor. that day.
Mr. Silver, unbelieving Jews will never be indwelt by or have the guidance and mentoring of the Holy Spirit so long as they remain in their unbelief.
Return to Mr. Silver’s Commentary
These facts did not pass by unnoticed by the early Christian church. In the early centuries of the Christian church there was no such thing as a trinity. The church looked upon Jesus as a "half god", according to the teachings of Origen, who lived from 185 to 254. But in 318, the presbyter Arius got into a conflict with his bishop, because of his firm statements about Jesus. Since he was a Bible scholar, he could not accept that Jesus was a god, since the Bible teaches that there is only one G.d, and therefore he taught that Jesus was not a god but a creature. But his bishop, Alexander, disputed that because the New Testament clearly turns Jesus into a god. This dispute was settled in the synod of 325 in Nice; First Jesus and "G.d the Father" become a duality, and later the Holy Ghost is added to form a trinity. (History of the church, by Dr. H. Berkhof, 6th ed. 1955, pages 68-70).
A Pause in Mr. Silver’s Commentary – My response to above comments begins
I don’t know where you got your statistics claiming the church in the early centuries did not believe in the Trinity and that the church viewed Jesus as half God. Even a cursory reading of the New Testament reveals that the apostles and the writers of the New Testament believed that, in the reality of the spiritual realm, God was three entities. In the human realm most of them had seen and beheld God in the flesh through their contact with Christ Jesus and they knew without doubt that He was very God.
Even Saul of Tarsus, who was the greatest Jewish Christ hater of all time, when he met Jesus on the road to Damascus, recognized Jesus as Deity before he was actually converted. Read it for yourself:
“Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" Then the Lord said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads." So he, trembling and astonished, said, "Lord, what do You want me to do?"” Acts 9:1-6
Unbelieving Jews find it very difficult and almost impossible to wrap their minds around the spiritual reality that God is three entities. I refrain from using the term three persons because to the unbelievers mind, the term person (s) conjures up the whole physical structure and substance of the human being. God is purely a spiritual being, although He can take on shape, dimension and distinguishing traits, of other beings. He can speak, articulate thought, breath, laugh, weep, and grieve. He knows all things. He is everywhere. He has infinite power and He is love. Yet, few on earth have ever seen God. In the Old Testament we are told that God walked and talked with Adam and Eve and talked with Noah, Moses and Abraham. A few others heard and talked with God, but whether they had glimpses of God where He manifested Himself, the bible doesn’t reveal.
After God came to earth in the person of His only begotten Son, many people saw God in the Lord Jesus Christ. If we have to touch, taste, smell, feel and hear something or someone before we believe in them, then no one in this day and age will ever come to faith in God, or His Son.
Unbelievers have no way for understanding or comprehending, nor do they have an assured way of relating to, the spiritual realm. Scripture reveals that until a person believes in Jesus Christ, they are dead in their trespasses and sins. This means they are spiritually dead. Since Jews refuse to consider the NT as valid communication from God, they need to consider what Isaiah said in Is. 59:2:
“Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear (you).”
I’m sure Jews understand exactly what God is saying through Isaiah. Therefore, if this verse from Isaiah was valid during Old Testament times, I believe with all my heart that the rejection of God’s Son, Israel’s Messiah, makes it more applicable to the Jews of today than those in Isaiah’s day.
Let me say to unbelieving Jews and gentiles: at the cross, God brought an end to the Mosaic Law, as it pertains to mankind relating to God as their heavenly Father, whether we choose to believe that or not is irrelevant, scripture deems it so:
“And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He (God) has made (you) alive together with Him (Christ), having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements (the Mosaic Law) that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it (the Mosaic Law) out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” Col 2:13-14
Does spiritual death mean spiritual annihilation, or spiritual separation from God? I personally believe the Bible teaches separation, not annihilation. What else does the Bible clearly teach about separation? It teaches that physical death is separation of soul/spirit from body. In the case of an unbeliever dying, his or her soul would be separated from their body, they have no living spirit, they are spiritually dead. When a believer dies their soul and spirit go to heaven immediately to be with Jesus. There body is buried or cremated. The Bible also teaches that the second death is the eternal separation of man from God. That is their body ins buried or cremated and their soul is cast into hell where it burns without being destroyed for all eternity. No one is annihilated, but the torment of hell, and being separated from God, goes on for ever and ever.
Believers on the other hand have Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, both Spirit beings, living and working in each individual believer, who, according to scripture, is seated in the heavenlies with Jesus Christ on the right hand of the God of the Universe. Only your old testament scripture doesn’t reveal this truth. Why? Because until the cross of Christ when a believing Jew or Gentile died they went to the bosom of Abraham where they awaited judgment day.
Believers can talk with their Heavenly Father and be assured that He hears them anytime day or night and anywhere they may be. They can also receive spiritual input from God the Father and the Lord Jesus through the Holy Spirit living in them. All these truths are revealed, in the New Testament part of God’s Word, to believers living in obedience to the work of the Holy Spirit.
When it comes to a person obtaining God given spiritual truths, it matters not what one’s name is, what race they belong to, or how extensive is one’s education or intellect. It solely depends on whether the Holy Spirit is residing in the person and whether the person in whom the Holy Spirit resides is surrendered to the work of the Holy Spirit. For it is through the Holy Spirit guiding someone to the truths of God word, as found only in the Old and New Testament, that one gains true spiritual knowledge. One can gain earthly knowledge or intelligence from reading and studying almost anything. However, God will only impart spiritual wisdom and knowledge today by working through His Holy Spirit in the lives of people who are believers in His Son. This wisdom is based on the words which Jesus Christ, very God and very Son of God, revealed in the Gospel of John chapter 16, verse 13. Let us look at it again.
“When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears (from God or God’s Son) He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”
I realize that many Jews absolutely would rather have their eyes gouged out than have to read anything from the New Testament. However, there is no other way for them to come to know the truth. I am reminded of something else which Isaiah said:
“He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, Lest they should see with their eyes, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.” Isaiah 6:10
In this passage of scripture and at that time in the history of the world there were only two classes of people in the world, Jews and Gentiles. Isaiah was not talking about Gentiles
Return to Mr. Silver’s Commentary
So the invention of the trinity was a forced way out of the problem of having two gods, where the Bible teaches that there is only one. And this is what the Christian churches believe and teach up to this day, that G.d is a trinity But nowhere in the Bible can anything be found that says that there is such a thing as a trinity.
And what about I John 5:7? "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the word and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one."
Well, this looks like a good verse to prove a trinity, except for the fact that this is a falsification of your Bible. In the original Greek scriptures of the New Testament this text does not exist. This text was added later to the New Testament in a desperate attempt to prove a trinity that cannot be proven. The New Testament has come to us in bits and pieces, a gospel from here, a letter of Paul from there... The first ones who compiled out of this a reliable text of the Greek New Testament, were Westcott and Hort in 1881. In that Greek text I John 5:7 says: "For there are three witness bearers." That's all.
Followed by verse 8: "The spirit and the water and the blood, and the three are into the one." The whole part about the Father, the word, and the Holy Ghost, and these being one, does not exist in the original Greek text.
The Greek text of the New Testament of Dr. Eberhard Nestle is nowadays considered to be the most reliable Greek text available, and in that text the verses 7 and 8 of I John 5 are exactly the same as in the Greek text of Westcott and Hort. (You don't have to take my word for this, just ask your pastor or reverend, and he will confirm these facts, unless of course, he is outright lying to you.)
There is no such thing as a trinity, not in the Old Testament and not in the New Testament. The proofs for the oneness of G.d are however abundant. Look at these texts; "The Lord, (Y-H-W-H) He is G.d, and there is none else beside Him." Deuteronomy 4:35.
"See now that I, even I am He, and there is no G.d with me. I kill and make alive, I wound and I heal, neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand." Deuteronomy 32:39.
"O Lord, there is none like thee, neither is there any G.d beside thee." I Chronicles 17:20.
"Thou, even Thou, art Lord alone." Nehemia 9:6.
"Thou are G.d alone." Psalm 86:10.
"I am the Lord and there is none else, there is no G.d beside me: That they may know from the rising of the sun and from the west that there is no G.d beside Me. I am the Lord, and there is none else." Isaiah 45:5-6.
This list can be extended with many other verses, but the meaning is already clear: There is only one G.d and there is none else. No son, no Holy ghost, nothing.
G.d has no father, no son, and no brother.
There is just one G.d.
Pause in Mr. Silver’s Commentary – My response to above comments begin
Recently, I was explaining in a Bible Study on God’s grace, why believers must be careful and determine the context of every scripture in the four Gospels before assuming that every NT scripture applies to the Church. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, but especially Matthew, were written for Jews to reveal that Jesus was Messiah sent from God to the Jews. These gospels were written to demonstrate through His preaching, His miracles and His teaching that Jesus was Messiah. And, if the Jews would repent and turn back to God, God would institute the Kingdom of Heaven on earth and Christ would begin to reign over Israel from the throne of David in Jerusalem.
During this promised reign of God through His son, He would bless Israel exceedingly. In fact, because of the abundance of blessings that God would heap upon Israel during the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, all the other nations of the world would be drawn to God. Yes, the nations of the world would flock to Israel begging them to tell and show them how they could also love, obey, serve and follow Israel’s King and be blessed as Israel was being blessed!
God was determined to fulfill the promises He had made Israel when He and Israel entered into the first, the Mosaic covenant. What were those promises? That He, God, would bless Israel beyond their greatest desires and imaginations. Of course God made it clear to Israel that the blessings were contingent upon the Jews obeying God’s Laws. What was Israel’s reply? Let me give you a de facto quote: “Yes God!!! We will obey, just bless us beyond measure! We will faithfully do everything you tell us to do!” Did the Jews keep their promises? Actually seldom, but mostly never.
Yet, from the giving of the law until the sending of Messiah, God still wanted Israel to succeed and be the people they had promised Him they would be. O, He knew they would never live up to His hopes for them, as long as they had a choice. However, God had to give Israel one more opportunity to be the people they said they wanted to be. So, He sent His Son, their Messiah, and just in case the unbelievable happened and Israel repented and returned to Him, He was going to put His Son, Jesus, on the throne of David and allow His Chosen people, the Jew to be ruled by His Son in a perfect Kingdom. But, the Jews would not have it.
Unless Jews have read the New Testament, or have been informed of that 1st century Jew’s writings which I have mentioned, they don’t know that before the foundations of the world, God looked down through the corridors of coming time and saw everything that would happen. God knew before He came to the Jews in the person of His Son, that the Jews would reject Him and kill Him. Yes! He knew it! He knew what would happen! Yet, He loved the Jews so much He died for them. But, they still reject Him even today.
Mr. Silver, God made a bona fide offer to Israel, but that offer was rejected by His chosen people when they refused to repent and they rejected His Son. Had Israel accepted God’s offer of Himself through His Son, Israel would have almost immediately have begun dwelling in their land, Canaan. And, yes this would have included all that God had promised Abraham for them.
The Jews of the first century would soon have seen their children playing safely with all manner of reptile, four legged beast and birds. They would have witnessed the lion lying down with the lamb. They would have witnessed all the nations of the world being blessed through them. Instead the nation of Israel has suffered greatly for having rejected God’s Son. There are exceptions of course. Those Jews who individually have placed their faith in God’s Son have been receiving all the blessings that God promised Israel in Jeremiah 31. These Jewish believers, along with their brother and sisters in Christ, regardless their nationality, have prospered spiritually in their walk of faith.
However, because of Israel being Israel, God Son’s was rejected and God warned everyone, Jew and gentile: Beginning with the death of His Son on the cross, whoever tried to relate to the God of the Universe through the Law of Moses would be cursed. That is what has been happening since the cross.
Upon the death of His Son, God stopped speaking to, giving leadership to and otherwise relating to anyone through the Old Testament. He began providing His wisdom, counsel and all else that any person needed to enter into a right relationship with Him, through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The means for communicating this new plan of God, the plan of salvation, is for all believers to take God’s message found in the New Testimony and give it away, beginning in their own home and then traversing the world. Therefore, the good news of Christ was and is the heart of the Canon of the New Testament.
Of course this means from the first written and distributed Gospel or New Testament Epistle, sometime after Jesus was crucified, until this day, that anyone who wants a relationship with God must learn of and understand God’s plan for all of mankind. This plan is revealed only in the New Testament of Jesus Christ.
Jews and Gentiles, believers and unbelievers, are free to read the Old Testament and the writings and teachings of every scribe since the beginning of time. They are also free to read all the other extra biblical writings known to man. However, until they read, or hear, at least the plan of salvation from the New Testament, which the Holy Spirit can use to convict them of their sin of unbelief, of righteousness and of judgment, they will forever be lost.
The cold, hard facts of life for unbelievers, Jew and Gentile, are revealed in the New Testament gospels and epistles that explains the way of salvation for man, beginning at the cross. Jews and Gentiles can keep every one of the Ten Commandments and all the other dietary and ceremonial laws that are revealed in the whole Law of Moses and they can keep all the precepts written by the religious leaders of Israel throughout the history of that nation, until they are blue in the face, and it will profit them naught. There is no other way for any man or woman, Jew or Gentile, to relate to God today, other than through Jesus Christ.
Until individual Jews give up their fanaticism of proving that: 1. Jesus wasn’t the Messiah; 2. G_d is one and He could never be represented by Jesus Christ or any other being, divine or otherwise; 3. That the New Testament is of the devil; and 4., That Christians are false children of G_d and in truth are of the devil; they have no hope of ever having a relationship with God’s Son.
Jews, as a nation of people, are going to continue finding it impossible to have any kind of relationship with God, apart from an individual relationship through the Lord Jesus Christ. However, until God chooses to remove the scales from their eyes, by which they are currently blinded, individual Jews with a nationalistic mind set are going to find it difficult to be drawn by the Lord to His Son. Here is what Your Messiah said:
“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.”
Until then, Jews will never, as a nation, discover the truth of Jesus being their Messiah and be able to believe. Individual Jews will continue coming to faith in Christ through the Holy Spirit drawing them to the Lord Jesus, just as Gentiles must come today.
Back to Mr. Silvers Commentary
Who is Jesus?
Who and what is the messiah? Let us check according to the Holy Hebrew scriptures what the messiah is supposed to do. Isaiah 11; "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious."
This is what is supposed to happen, as soon as there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse and a Branch shall grow out of his roots; that is as soon as the messiah comes. Nowhere here is mentioned that the messiah will be killed and that these prophecies will happen at least 2000 years later.
Jeremiah 23:5-6; "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS."
Jeremiah 33:14-16: "IN THOSE DAYS AND AT THAT TIME, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. IN THOSE DAYS shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness."
When the branch of righteousness springs forth to David, when the messiah comes, THEN, IN THOSE DAYS, Judah will be saved and Jerusalem shall dwell safely. That was not exactly the case in the days of Jesus. After his death the Temple got burned down, Jerusalem destroyed, and the Jews exiled.
Zachariah 9:9-10; "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth."
Pause in Mr. Silver’s Commentary - My response to the above comments
Refer to my last comments above as they also apply to that which we have just read which Mr. Silver has written. I repeat, had Israel accepted God’s Son when His Son presented the offer of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth being nigh at hand, then Jesus, God’s Son would have responded as the Old Testament writers prophesied He would. “The spirit of the LORD would have rested upon Him. A spirit of wisdom and understanding, of counsel and might, of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD would have permeated His being and impacted everything He did as Israel’s, and eventually the world’s, King. He would not have judge after the sight of earthly eyes, neither reproved after the hearing of earthly ears. He would have reigned and judged and reproved with the power, wisdom and righteousness of God His Father! Yes, with God’s righteousness He would have judged and blessed the poor, and reproved with equity the meek of the earth. He would have smitten the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He would have slain the wicked. Righteousness would have girdled of His loins, and faithfulness would have been the watchword of His reign. (As I said above), the wolf would now be dwelling with the lamb, and the leopard with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child would have been leading them. Also, the whole earth would now be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. And today the root of Jesse, would have been reigning over God’s chosen people back in their homeland and Gentiles would be seeking the salvation of the Lord God through Israel. And, God’s rest would have been glorious!”
In other words Mr. Silver, the Jews prevented Jesus from accomplishing all that God has sent Him to do at the time God sent Him to do it. Is it possible that all the things, which you mentioned and which happen to Israel, within the forty years of the Jews putting Messiah to death: 1. the Temple being burned down; 2.Jerusalem almost destroyed; and 3. most of the Jews being exiled; came about because the Jews rejected their Messiah, God’s Son? I think so!
Return to Mr. Silver’s commentary
They say that he did ride on a donkey, like the whole Middle East in those days, but that is where it stops. He did not bring any peace, the battle bow, the war horse and the chariots, symbols of war, were not cut off from Jerusalem, and his dominion was not from sea to sea; as a matter of fact, he did not have any dominion at all.
Pause in Mr. Silver’s commentary - My response to the above comments
Mr. Silver, apparently finding no credence in the prophecy in Zachariah, seemingly makes an attempt at finding humor in Jesus entering Jerusalem on the back of ass. However, there isn’t really anything to laugh about, when you think of the millions of Jews who have died and gone to hell in the last two millennia. Why? Because they refused to believe in Jesus Christ, God’s Son as their Messiah when He came to them from God the Father. And now they refuse to believe in Jesus Christ, God’s Son as the Savior of mankind.
Also, one has to wonder at the angst that Mr. Silver shows, while deriding Jesus Christ for having accomplished nothing, at least in his mind, but to ride into Jerusalem on a donkey, just before He died on the cross. The world’s population is estimated to be around 7 Billion people. Of that, it is estimated that 2,173,180,000 are Christians. Surely using these numbers as a guide of sorts, one could hypostatize that over 3 Billion people have been saved from the fires of hell since the Jews crucified the Son of God. If that isn’t a bona fide worthwhile accomplishment in your way of thinking, then you probably have no choice but to show angst, fear, doubt, and anger because your heart and mind is wrapped in delusion.
Having refused to read all of God’s word and thereby discover how God responded when Israel rejected and had His Son put to death on a cruel cross, Mr. Silver has yet to discover the rest of the story.
In the past two thousand years, while Israel has continued to look for their Messiah to come with a battle bow to vanquish the imaginary war horses and chariots of Israel’s foes, over 3 plust billion Gentiles and Jews have been saved from the fires of hell and become part of the glorious family of God through faith in Jesus Christ.
By the way, God’s family now includes those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ since the cross, plus thousands of Jews and some Gentiles who believed in God unto salvation before the cross, such as Abraham.
“And he (Abraham) believed in the LORD, and He (God) accounted it to him for righteousness” (Gen. 15:6).
From the cross until this day, Jews have refused to believe that the moment they put Jesus Christ the Son of God on that cross, God removed the opportunity for anyone, Jew or Gentile, to come to and be accepted by Him in the manner of Abraham. Hating to be the one who is the bearer of such horrible news, I must inform Jews everywhere that no one comes to God apart from their believing in His Son unto salvation. Jews, since the cross, have been living in ignorance, refusing to believe that Jesus is Messiah and the New Testament a viable part of God’s Word.
Folks, who believe that ignorance is bliss, need to rethink that satanic philosophy of life. The reason being, they are missing God’s plan for all of mankind, which has been in place since the cross. In addition, they are damning themselves and their progenies to an eternity in hell if they don’t wise up.
Return to Mr. Silver’s commentary
Micha 5:2-9; "But thou Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for NOW shall he be great unto the ends of the earth. And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men. And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders. And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the LORD, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men. And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off."
Also here we have very clearly physical redemption from earthly enemies. The one coming forth from Bethlehem is to be a ruler in Israel, and not a wandering preacher and miracle healer. In order to get around this problem, the Christian church invented the "second coming". However, nowhere in the Hebrew scriptures is it written that the messiah would come once, get himself killed, and come again in a second coming. This is a pure rationalization of Jesus' failure to function in any way as a messiah. Nowhere in any of the above prophecies does it indicate that there will be a gap of at least 2000 years between the birth of the messiah and the redemption. Nowhere does it speak about a messiah being tortured to death and coming back thousands of years later. On the contrary; when the messiah comes redemption comes. Nothing of this all was done by Jesus. Conclusion: He was not the messiah.
Pause in Mr. Silver’s Commentary - My response to the above comments begins
Let me print the Micah 5:2-9 passage from the New King James Version of the Bible. With its clear, more exact translation, it should help us see Who is speaking and of Whom He is speaking, and to what purpose He is speaking. My comments I will enclose in brackets and parenthesis, inserted into the NKJV text.
Micah 5:2 - "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, [Yet, out of you, (Israel), shall come forth to Me, (El Shaddai, Jehovah, G-d, YHWH,) The One (My Son, Messiah, Jesus the Christ - Who is the Bethlehem-born preexistent, eternal One)] to be Ruler in Israel. Whose goings forth are from of old…. (Pause and read Isaiah 9:6).
Is. 9:6 – says: [(Isaiah says of Him), “For unto us a Child (the prophesied Messiah, King of Israel, very God) is born, Unto us a Son (God’s Son, Messiah, Prince of peace) is given; And the government will be upon His (God’s Son, Messiah, Son of David) shoulder. And His name (the Son of David, Son of God, Messiah, Jesus the Christ) will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” Is. 9:6NKJV). Micah 5: 2 cont.: …..from everlasting.]
Micah 5:3 - 4 [Therefore He (G-d, YHWH, Jehovah, El Shaddai) shall give them (Israel, the Jews, G-d’s chosen people) up, Until the time that she (Israel) who is in labor has given birth (turns to the Messiah as one nation upon seeing Him coming in the air - TNT); Then (when or after) the remnant (These are Jews scattered all over the world) of His brethren (Jews) shall return to the children of Israel. And He (Messiah, Son of God, Warrior King of Israel*….] Pause
Let me interrupt my dialogue so that we can look at what Zechariah reveals about Messiah, the Warrior King of Israel, and His rescue of Israel in Zech. 14:1-5:
“A day of the LORD (Messiah, Jesus, Son of God) is coming…..”
The day of the Lord begins on the day Christ, Israel’s true Messiah, leaves heaven with His new bride, the church, and comes to earth to defend and rescue Israel from all the armies of the nations of the earth. This is known as the second coming of Messiah, Jesus Christ, Son of God. The first coming was when Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
All the nations of the world have come to the Holy Land and have surrounded Jerusalem to utterly destroy the nation of Israel. Though most of their armies are gathered and quartered on the plains of Megiddo, Jerusalem is actually the focus of the battle. This can be understood when one considers the huge numbers of soldiers involved in this battle. This area, Megiddo, and the Valley of Jezreel, or Plain of Esdraelon, will be the staging area where the troops of the nations of the world will assemble prior to their marching on Jerusalem.
Zech. 14:1-5 cont. “…..when your plunder will be divided among you. I (G-d, YHWH, the LORD Himself) will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city.
“Then the LORD (Jesus Christ, Messiah, the Son of God, very G-d Himself) will go out and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle. On that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, (this is where Jesus will touch down upon coming from heaven with the armies of heaven on His heels) east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. You (all the surviving Jews from the 12 tribes of Israel who have returned to Israel in the last days) will flee by My (G-d’s) mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You (surviving Jews) will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD (Jesus Christ, Messiah, the Son of God) my (Israel’s) God (in the person of Messiah) will come, and all the holy ones (the Bride of Christ, the Church of the Age of Grace) with him.”
The revelation of Jesus Christ’s second coming, from Revelation 19:11- 21:
“Now I (John, the author) saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He (Jesus Christ, God’s Son) who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He (Jesus Christ, God’s Son) judges and makes war. 12 His (Jesus Christ, God’s Son) eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean (Christians, the Church, the Bride of Christ), followed Him (Jesus Christ, the Son of God) on white horses. 15 Now out of His (Jesus Christ, Son of God) mouth goes a sharp sword (God’s Holy Bible), that with it He should strike the nations (destroy them by speaking God’s Word). And He Himself (Jesus Christ, God’s Son) will rule them with a rod of iron (for a thousand years). He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, "Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, 18 that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great." 19 And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.” (Rev 19:11-21).
*Micah 5: 2-9 continued:
“…..shall stand and feed His flock In the strength of the LORD (ALMIGHTY GOD), In the majesty of the name of the LORD His (Messiah’s) God; And they shall abide, For now He (Jesus Christ, Messiah, the Son of God) shall be great To the ends of the earth; 5 And this One (Jesus Christ the Prince of Peace) shall be peace. When the Assyrian (the army of the nations of the world) comes into our land, And when he treads in our palaces, Then we will raise against him Seven shepherds and eight princely men. 6 They shall waste with the sword the land of Assyria, And the land of Nimrod at its entrances; Thus He (Jesus the Messiah) shall deliver us from the Assyrian, When he comes (at His second coming) into our land And when he treads within our borders. 7 Then the remnant of Jacob Shall be in the midst of many peoples, Like dew from the LORD, Like showers on the grass, That tarry for no man Nor wait for the sons of men. 8 And the remnant of Jacob Shall be among the Gentiles, In the midst of many peoples, Like a lion among the beasts of the forest, Like a young lion among flocks of sheep, Who, if he passes through, Both treads down and tears in pieces, And none can deliver. 9 Your hand shall be lifted against your adversaries, And all your enemies shall be cut off (by Messiah at His second coming.” Micah 5:2-9 (NKJV)
Many of the Old Testament Prophecies have multiple fulfillings. However, as a student of God’s entire Word I know that near the end of the coming tribulation period, Jerusalem is to come under military siege and be overrun by foreign armies one more time. Zechariah and other prophets have announced that this will happen just prior to Messiah's final return to the city.
Return to Mr. Silver’s Commentary
Even in his own days people were not sure whether he was the messiah or not, but, he said that he would give a sign. Just one. Matthew 12:38-40; "There shall no sign be given than the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so shall the son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Here he clearly says that the only sign he will give is his being in the grave for three days and three nights.
He was crucified on Friday afternoon, the day before the Sabbath. Mark 15:42
He was supposedly resurrected on Sunday morning. Mark 16:9.
Can you fit in between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning three days and three nights?
From this we must conclude that he did not live up (die up?) to the only sign he promised.
Pause in Mr. Silver’s Commentary - My response to the above comments begin
According to most Bible scholars, historically, including in the time of Israel’s Messiah being here on earth the first time, the Jews counted any part of a day as equal to the entire day. Christ died around three o’clock on Friday, therefore Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus had before six o’clock, or approximately three hours to bury Him. So that you don’t suspect me of pulling the wool over your eyes, let me quote from the website, Let Us Reason Together.org. “The Jewish reckoning of time is found in the Jewish Talmud and the Babylonian Jerusalem Talmud, Jewish commentaries. They state that an “onan”, which is any part of the day, is considered a full day. If that is so, from Friday before six o'clock by Jewish reckoning, any minute was considered one day and one night. From Friday night at six o'clock to Saturday at six o'clock, was another day and another night. From Saturday night to Sunday was a third day. Thus, Jesus was in the grave part of Friday (a whole “natural day”), through all of Saturday (the second day), and from Saturday at sunset a part of Sunday (the third day). Thus, it is likely that the part of the day (Friday) on which Jesus was crucified, the entire day He was in the grave (Saturday), and the part of the day on which He rose again (Sunday), estimated as entire days. The concept of three days would be an idiom, not necessarily meaning 3 full 24- hour periods.”
Back to Mr. Silver’s Commentary
As for saving us in this world he did not do a very good job. And what about saving us for the next world? According to the New Testament Jesus is the savior of mankind, without him no salvation is possible. What does G.d say about this in the Hebrew Bible? Isaiah 43:3: "For I am the Lord (Y-H-W-H) thy G.d, the Holy one of Israel, thy saviour."
So here it clearly says that the one and only G.d is our savior.
Does G.d need another savior? Is there another savior? Isaiah 43:10-11: "Before Me there was no G.d formed, neither shall there be after me, even I, I am the Lord, and beside Me there is no saviour."
Isaiah 45:21-22: "... I the Lord, and there is no G.d else beside Me, a just G.d and a saviour, there is no saviour beside Me. Look unto Me and be you saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am G.d and there is none else."
Hosea 13:4: "Yet I am the Lord thy G.d, and thou shall know no G.d but Me, for there is no saviour beside Me."
So here we see that the Lord (Y-H-W-H) is our savior and that there is none but him. G.d is not a man that He should lie (Numbers 23:19); so we must put our trust in G.d and not in a man. "Thus saith the Lord: Cursed be the man that trusteth in man... Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is." Jeremiah 17:5+7.
Pause from Mr. Silver’s Commentary - My response to the above comments
In the time of the events of those passages above, God was Israel’s Savior and God. And the writers of these passages were giving the exact message that God had for Israel at the time. Yet, some of the same writers at other times, along with other Old Testament prophets, being compelled by and under the influence of the Holy Spirit, quoted God saying of the Messiah:
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Is.7:14 (NKJV);
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Is. 9:6);
Mr. Silver, in Is. 9, vs. 6: who is us? Israel! Right? Who was the child who was born? Who was the son who was given? No other person in the history of man can fit this verse but Jesus Christ! Who else but God the Father in all of history has been called Mighty God, Everlasting Father? No one but Jesus Christ!
“Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 For He (Jesus Christ) shall grow up before Him (God His Father) as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness (no exceptional beauty); And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. 3 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 4 Surely He has borne our grief And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 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. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray.” (Is.53:1-6);
Mr. Silver, let me draw your and other Jews who are still rejecting God’s Messiah attention to several phrases in the above quoted scripture passage an ask a few questions:
“Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zech. 9:9);
“Dogs (meaning snarling, growling people) have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing” (Ps. 22:16-18).
Mr. Silver, who else in the history of mankind can this be said of? No honest, learned, God fearing Jew living in the times, when these prophetic words were made known to Israel, would have ever made those negative, slanderous comments about Israel’s coming Messiah. This would have been blasphemy and worthy of death in the eyes of God. Yet, a few centuries later Jews of the first century AD were embolden to look into the face of the Son of God, spit in His face, hit Him in the face and scream, “crucify Him, crucify Him!
Back to Mr. Silver’s Commentary
4. Jesus as a prophet.
Let us take a look at the prophetic qualities of Jesus. In Matthew 4:17 he claims that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Now, almost 2000 years later, the kingdom is still not here.
Look for an impressive prophesy in Mark 13:24-30: "The sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light. And the stars of heaven will fall and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then they shall see the son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then he shall send his angels and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven ..... Verily I say to you, that this generation shall not pass till all these things be done." -----See also Matthew 24:29-35 and Luke 21;25-33. .
This generation passed away almost 2000 years ago, and no one has seen him coming back on the clouds to establish his kingdom of peace and gather in his elected Christians.
Pause in Mr. Silver’s Commentary - My response to the above comments
Yes, Jesus declared the Kingdom of heaven was at hand and so did John the Baptist of whom Isaiah prophesied. However, scripture tells us that Jesus came to His own, meaning the Jews, but the Jews would not receive Him, as God desired them to do. Instead, because of their hardheadedness, hard heartedness, their stiff neck stubbornness and their blindness, brought on by their father, the god of this world, they rejected God by rejecting His Son. As a result, God postponed the kingdom of heaven and delayed the salvation of the nation.
Out of blindness, ignorance and an enmity toward God their creator, the Jews, even today can read any portion of the New Testament and they will still reject God’s Son. It is the Holy Spirit of God living in a person after they believe in God’s Son that enables them to be guided into all truth. Jews or Gentiles without Christ do not have the Holy Spirit, yet you are without excuse. Romans 1.
Without the Holy Spirit guiding a person into all truth, a person, Jew or Gentile, will probably read New Testament passages such as Mark 13: 24 – 30 and proclaim: “Jesus was a liar when He said that those Jews living at the time He said, ‘This generation will not pass away until all these things happens.’ This generation passed away almost 2000 years ago, and no one has seen him coming back on the clouds to establish his kingdom of peace and gather in his elected Christians.” However, a thorough word study will reveal that the Greek word, genea, translated as generation in many passages in the New Testament, also means race of people. Thus Jesus was saying, “This race of Jews will not pass away until these things take place.”
I made reference above to Satan being the father of the Jews in Jesus time based upon what Jesus said in John 8:44:
“You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
Jesus knew of what He spoke, because in the not too distant future from when He proclaimed this truth, He knew the Jews would have Him put to death.
Back to Mr. Silver’s Commentary
In Matthew 16:27-28 Jesus says: "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. Verily I say unto you, there be some standing here which shall not taste of death till they see the son of man coming in his kingdom." See also Mark 9:1
Did anybody see him coming in his kingdom? Is every man already rewarded according to his works?..... But some of them would not die until they would have seen him coming in his kingdom!...-.Are they still around today?..... Even Methuselah didn't live that long!
From this we must conclude that Jesus has a very poor resume as a prophet. What does the Holy Torah that the only eternal G.d gave to the Jewish people say about this?
Deuteronomy 18:20-22: "But the prophet which shall presume to speak a word in my name which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if you say in your heart; how shall we know the word that the Lord has not spoken? When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing follows not, nor come to pass, this is the thing that the Lord has not spoken, but the prophet has spoken it presumptuously, you shall not be afraid of him."
Here G.d commands the Jewish people to execute false prophets, who are prophets whose prophecies do not come true. Jesus is a perfect example of a prophet whose prophecy did not come true. See also the prophecy concerning the three days and three nights that did not come true.
And what about the miracles that he is supposed to have done?
Jesus placed himself in the place of G.d (John 10:30, 14:9), and he demanded to be worshipped like Him (John 5:23), and people did worship him (Matthew 2:11, 8:2, 14:33, John 9:38*).
So if he really performed these miracles, then applies to him the law of G.d that says: "If there arise among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or wonder, and the sign or wonder comes to pass whereof he spake onto thee, saying: Let us go after other gods which thou has not known, and let us serve them; Thou shall not hearken to the words of that prophet or dreamer of dreams, for the Lord (Y-H-W-H) your G.d proveth you, whether you love the Lord thy G.d with all your heart and all your soul. You shall walk after the Lord your G.d and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice, and you shall serve Him and cleave to Him. And that prophet or dreamer of dreams shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the Lord your G.d which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the Lord thy G.d commanded thee to walk in. So shall thou put the evil away from the midst of thee." Deuteronomy 13:1-5.
*If you are a Y-E-H-O-V-A-H witness, and you read these verses in the translation that is made by your church, than it will not say that Jesus was worshipped. It says in your "New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures" that they did obeisance to him, where all other translations say that he was worshipped. Since you don't believe in a trinity, but only believe in the one true G.d (may his name be blessed), your translation had to be made in such a way that it would fit your religion. However, in Matthew 4:9-10, and in Luke 4:7-8, the devil tries to entice Jesus to worship him. Jesus answers upon this that G.d must be worshipped and Him alone must be rendered sacred service. The Greek word proskuneo, here correctly translated in your translation as "worship", is also used in these verses where it says that Jesus is worshipped. You can very easily verify this by means of "The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures", published by your own church. This is a Greek text of the New Testament, based upon the Greek text of Westcott and Hort, that has an English translation alongside and underneath each Greek word. Please ask your spiritual leaders why in one place the word proskuneo is translated as "to worship", and in another place as "to do obeisance." Since you already believe in the one true G.d, you are just one small step away from being a righteous Noachide. Open your eyes and realize the truth about him that you think is your Messiah and take upon you all the Noachide commandments.
Pause in Mr. Silver’s Commentary - My response to the above comments
In reference to Mr. Silvers comments on Mathews 16: 27 – 28: without the Holy Spirit guiding a person into the truths of any part of God’s Word, Old or New Testament, what convictions a person comes to while reading God’s Word will depend primarily on the conclusion(s) to which a person’s biases lead them. A lost person, without the Holy Spirit to guide them, can never come to the true spiritual understanding of God’s Word.
“Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom" (Matt 16:28 NKJV).
In the Greek the word for kingdom is basileia which also means sovereignty, royal power, reign, etc. Therefore, when one doesn’t understand there are multiple meanings to almost all Hebrew and Greek words, from which we translate God’s word into today’s versions, we often jump to conclusions. One chapter later in the book of Matthew we read in chapter 17, verses 1 – 3:
“Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; 2 and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. 3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.”
Christ announced in Matt. chapter 16, His second coming from glory to establish the kingdom which the Jews, at this point, had already rejected. He proclaimed that some of those with Him at that moment would not die until they saw Jesus in his kingdom. This prediction came to fruition in the chapter 17 passage above at Christ's transfiguration. His transfiguration was a brief portrayal of the postponed glorious future event now delayed by a Christ rejecting Israel. All the essential details of that glorious event are present: (1) Christ as Son of Man, not in the humiliation of His sinless humanity, but in glory; (2) Moses in a glorified state, represents the redeemed who have entered the kingdom via death; (3) Elijah, likewise glorified, represents the redeemed who have been, or will be, translated into the kingdom; (4) Peter, James, and John, unglorified, represents that remnant of Jews who will enter the future kingdom unglorified; (5) the crowd with its great needs at the foot of the mountain (vs. 14 - 21, portrays the Gentile nations to be brought into the blessings of the kingdom after its restoration to Israel.
As to Mr. Silver’s dissertation about Jesus being worshipped, I understand that Jews are offended by even the thought of a Jew worshipping anyone but God. However, since some Jews will not read that part of the Word of God known as the New Testament with a seeking heart, they will never come to the correct understanding of Who Jesus is. Nor will they come to understand God’s present plan in saving many from the nation of Israel and many of the Gentiles in the world, through faith in Jesus Christ, as the Son of God and the Savior of the world.
Whoever will approach God’s Word, as revealed in the New Testament, with a seeking heart, God will reveal Himself and His Son to that person. But, as long as a Jew, or a gentile, rejects God’s Son, God will not force them to believe. Unbelief, as it pertains to God’s Son, is the most damning conviction a person can have. Hell is occupied solely by those who are condemned by unbelief. Throughout the History of the World, from Adam to the cross, folks who died believing in God went to heaven upon death. Those who died in unbelief went to hell. Beginning at the cross and continuing until eternity future those who believe in God’s Son, unto salvation, go to heaven. Those who are condemned by unbelief go to hell.
Jesus said to a learned Jewish teacher of the Law: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in God’s Son is not condemned; but he who does not believe in God’s Son is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” John 3:16-19.
Mr. Smith, here is problem that every Jew may have who refuses to read, with a seeking heart, that part of God’s Word known as the New Testament. They may die without ever having the opportunity of acquiring the faith to believe in Jesus Christ as God’s Son. Faith comes by hearing or reading God’s Word. God is faithful and will give to everyone who seeks, the faith to believe in His Son. It is only by God’s grace through our faith that anyone is saved from an eternity in hell. But without reading or hearing the Word of God how will they know? They won’t know and that is the problem!
Nor will they know that Jesus Christ died on that cross to free all mankind from the clutches of Satan and sin. Nor will they know that God actually sent His Son into this world as their Messiah. However, they will know the moment they close their eyes in death, that He is Lord and that hell is real.
Mr. Silver, I could never convict you, or any Jew, that Jesus Christ is very God. Nor can I convict anyone who doesn’t want to believe, that God the Almighty has revealed Himself to present day believers as God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. He has done this without ever proclaiming those exact words in any one sentence anywhere in scripture. Yet, He has taken the whole of scripture and revealed these truths to those who walk by faith and not by sight. He has also revealed Himself through His Son, through His Holy Spirit and through His Living Word.
The Word of God has the incalculable supernatural power of God to accomplish whatever God wants to accomplished in the life of those in whom the Holy Spirit resides. It is through God given faith that believers can say with assurance, ‘I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.’ Note that believers do not say I can do whatever I want to do because Christ Jesus strengthens me. When we choose to do the will of God, then God empowers us to do whatever He wants us to accomplish. Believe me when I say that it takes this supernatural power of God for any believer to live in obedience to God’s known, revealed will. Especially, when one is determined to live in obedience to God’s will, regardless of the personal cost to him or her.
Worldly faith and worldly truth based upon man’s precepts and misunderstanding of God’s word, or his intellectual vanity, profits a man nothing and often dooms him to perdition. Faith, when it is a supernatural entity given to a believer by God, is cherished for above diamonds, rubies, or pearls. When it is the gift of God, faith is the assurance of things hoped for, and the conviction of things not seen. Faith lived out in accordance with the truths found in God’s New Testament reveals that the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Under such demanding, but divine, conditions, the Holy Spirit guides the heart, mind, and spirit of a faithful believer to the truths of God’s Word (John 16:13).
Back to Mr. Silver’s Commentary
5. Jesus' attitude towards non-Jews.
How did Jesus behave towards people who were not Jewish? When a Canaanite woman approached him because her daughter was possessed, he said to her: "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Matthew 15:21-24. Here he refuses to help her because she is not Jewish. After she insists he says: "It is not meet to take the children's bread and cast it to dogs." Here Jesus is calling the Canaanite woman a dog because she is not Jewish. After the woman humiliates herself and also compares herself to a dog, her daughter gets cured.
Who needs a messiah that calls him a dog because he is not Jewish?
The "good news" was only intended for the Jews, and not for the non-Jewish world. When Jesus sent out his disciples he specifically told them: "Go not into the way of the gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Matthew 10:5-6.-
So this is Jesus' outlook upon the non-Jewish world.
Pause in Mr. Silver’s Commentary - My response to the above comments
Mr. Silver’s comment that the “good news” was only intended for the Jews is both close to the mark and yet way off base. Jesus Christ, God’s Son, was sent by His Father to call the Jews to repentance toward God in preparation for their long awaited Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Had they obeyed God’s purpose in sending is Son and had they repented, turned back to God and embraced His Son their Messiah things would have been totally different today. The “good news” would have been all the tremendous blessings that would have come to Israel as they lived under the reign of Jesus Christ their King on the throne of David during the Kingdom of Heaven. For God would have ushered the Kingdom into being had the Jews crowned their Messiah instead of putting Him to death by crucifixion. O, what a demonstration of God’s remarkable love for, and His kindness toward, Israel and her people would the world have witnessed for all eternity.
However, being that the Jews have always had this strong penchant for disobedience toward God and total disregard for their Covenant with Him, they chose to demonstrate how repulsive they found the Son of God and just how black and evil were their hearts toward God Himself.
But as I said, Mr. Silver’s comment was somewhat close to the mark. The 1st century Jewish scholar, whom I’ve mentioned, declared:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”
Mr. Silver, do you see how much of God’s wisdom and truth you miss by refusing to read that portion of God’s Holy Word known as the New Testament?
I have more to say about the good news being for the Jews first, later.
Back to Mr. Silver’s commentary
Please don't think for one moment that this is the official Jewish outlook upon the non-Jewish world. In the Talmud (this is the codification of the oral law that expands the written law) tractate Avos 4:3, Rabbi Ben Azzai, who lived at the same time as Jesus, says: "Do not despise any man."
In tractate Sanhedrin 13 of the Talmud it is stated: "The righteous of all nations have a share in the world to come." The Rabbis saw G.d's love as available to all people, not only to Jews.
According to Jesus, the "dogs" (the non-Jews), must be satisfied with the crumbs that fall of the table. Now compare this narrow minded view with the opinion of the Rabbis who Jesus hated so much and cursed so many times: Talmud Gittin 61a: "We are obligated to feed the non-Jewish poor in exactly the same way as we feed the Jewish poor."
It is written at least three times in the Talmud, Baba Kama 38a, Avoda Zorah 3, and in Sanhedrin 59, that a non-Jew who studies Torah (the passages that apply to him) is equal to a high priest.
King Solomon put it into words in his prayer for the inauguration of the Temple in this way: "Moreover, concerning a stranger that is not of your people Israel, but comes out of a far country for your names' sake, for they shall hear of your great name and of your strong hand, and of your outstretched arm, when he shall come towards this house; Hear You in heaven your dwelling place and do according all that the stranger calls to You for, that all the people of the earth may know your name to fear you, as do your people Israel." II Chronicles 6:32-33.
Pause in Mr. Silver’s Commentary - My response to the above comments
As an atheist, before coming to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, I would bash believers with all manner of put downs of Christ. I probably even used the passage from Matthew 15 at some time or another. But, almost immediately upon believing, I was so convicted that Jesus Christ was worthy of my love, respect, and obedience, that I knew in my heart of hearts that He, as God, would never say or do anything except that which God told Him to say or do. Yes, there are some difficult passages of scripture that describe the actions of God toward many people, especially the Jews that might leave some folks wondering if God truly loved them as He said He did. Yet, God was always right and man was wrong whenever God spoke or dealt harshly with His people or people of any other nation.
Having come to see God’s heart of love for all people through His supreme sacrifice of His Son for all mankind, I determined I would never be guilty of blaspheming His holy name, or His Son’s name or person, again. Also, I discovered that God’s Son never uttered a word while here on earth that was not given Him first by the Father. Read what Jesus said:
“For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak” (John 12:49-50).
Here is what one Christian Commentary said about this passage of scripture from Matt. 15:
“The Jews considered themselves as the peculiar children of God. To all other nations they were accustomed to apply terms of contempt, of which dogs was the most common. The Mohammedans still apply the term dogs to Christians, and Christians and Jews to each other. It is designed as an expression of the highest contempt. The Saviour means to say that He was sent to the Jews. The woman was a Gentile. He meant, that it did not comport with the design of his personal ministry to apply benefits intended for the Jews to others.
“Our Saviour did not intend to justify or sanction the use of such terms, or calling names. He meant to try her faith. As if he had said:
“”You are a Gentile. I am a Jew. The Jews call themselves children of God. You they vilify, and abuse, calling you a dog. Are you willing to receive from a Jew, then, a favor? Are you willing to submit to these appellations, to receive a favor of one of that nation, and to acknowledge your dependence on a people that so despise you?”
“It was a trial of her faith, and not lending his sanction to the propriety of the abusive term. He regarded her with a different feeling.” —Barnes' Notes on the New Testament
I thank you for explaining about the Talmud being “the codification of the oral law that expands the written law”. Isn’t that similar to what many heretics have done to the New Testament in creating their own “Bibles” that have resulted in all manner of cults? They have taken God’s word and made it say what their evil hearts desired to hear. Folks that know God’s Word, call their works “extra biblical writings” - Mostly stuff of Satan.
You see, when one takes the written word of God and adds to it or takes away from it, He or she is playing God. In fact, God promises to add plagues to the life of anyone who adds to His Word and He promises to take away the persons part from the Book of Life who takes away from His Word.
"For I testify unto everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book, if anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; And if anyone takes away from the words of this book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, and from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book" Rev. 22:18-19.
Back to Mr. Silver’s Commentary
6. Jesus' message of love and peace.
Most people think that Jesus was the inventor of high moral teachings like "You shall love your neighbor like yourself" and "If somebody hits you on one cheek, turn the other cheek" However, he was just quoting the Jewish teachings. In the Torah, given by G.d to the Jewish people, it is written in Leviticus 19:18: "You shall not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself." -
Look what is written in Lamentations 3:30: "He giveth his cheek to the one that smiteth him." So these teachings are not coming from Jesus, but from Judaism.
Jesus says: "Love your enemies". Judaism says: "If you meet your enemy's ass or ox, going astray, you shall surely bring it back to him again. If you see the ass of him that hateth you lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, you shall surely help him." Exodus 23:4-5.
Jesus says: "You have heard that it has been said: you shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy." Matthew 5:43. It is a Jewish commandment to love your neighbor, but is absolutely not a Jewish commandment to hate your enemy. Instead Judaism says: "If your enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he be thirsty give him water to drink, for you shall heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord (Y-H-W-H) shall reward you." Proverbs 25:21-22. This statement is later used by Paul, in Romans 12:20.
From this we see that all the high ethical teachings come from Judaism, therefore we don't need Jesus or Christianity in order to live according to high moral standards.
And did Jesus himself live up to these standards? He says in Matthew 5:22: "And whosoever shall say to his brother Raca (a not translated Aramaic term, meaning fool) shall be in danger of the council; but whosoever shall say: You fool, shall be in danger of hellfire." And how does he speak about his fellow Jews, the Pharisees? He calls them hypocrites (Matthew 23:13), fools and blind (idem:17-19), full of all uncleanness (idem:27), and serpents, a generation of vipers (idem:33). So he did not really live up to his own teachings, and, according to his own teachings, he brought himself into danger of hellfire.
And what about turning the other cheek? After his arrest, during his interrogation, an officer struck him. Did he meekly turn the other cheek? No. He protested. John 18:22-23 ---The prophet Isaiah however, did give his cheeks to his abusers: "I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked of the hair: I did not hide my face from shame and spitting." Isaiah 50:6
Jesus said (Matthew 10:34) "Don't think that I come to send peace on the earth, I came not to send peace but a sword." But this is not the messiah the Jews are waiting for. In the messianic days the wolf and the lamb must feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock, and dust shall be the serpents meat (Isaiah 65:25). We already have an abundance of swords, wars and misery on earth. We don't need a messiah who brings more misery.
Jesus taught not to take revenge but to love your enemy. But when he was on the road, hungry, and came to a fig tree and found no figs on it, he cursed it and it died right away. Matthew 21:18-19 Is this an attitude of loving-kindness? In Mark 11:13 we can read that it was not even the season for figs. What did the poor fig tree do wrong to deserve such a fate?
In Luke 19:27 Jesus says: "But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me."-
This surely is a very strange way of loving your enemies. This statement was a motivation for the crusaders to slaughter many Jewish communities.
Another poor example of loving your enemies is John 15:6 : "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered, and man gather them together and cast them into the fire, and they are burned."--- This terrible statement is later used by the Catholic Church to justify their practice of burning Jews alive at the stake.
From all this we learn that even for Christ it was difficult to be a good Christian.
Pause in Mr. Silver’s Commentary - My response to the above comments
When Jesus is quoting any passage of scripture, whether Old or New Testament, He isn’t just quoting Jewish teachings. He is quoting the God of Israel. Although no passage of scripture in the Old Testament declares it so, the Apostle Paul in His 2nd letter to Timothy states very clearly from whom all the scripture, both in the Old and New Testaments, come.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16-17).
You are correct in saying that the words from the Old Testament in Lamentations did not originate when Jesus spoke them as recorded in the New Testament. However, it was Jesus, upon receiving the words from His Father, who gave them to the Holy Spirit of God, who breathed them into the hearts and minds of all Old and New Testament writers.
I personally believe there is sufficient evidence that it was the Eternal Son of God, also known as the Living Word, Who gave all the words recorded in the Old Testament to the Holy Spirit, Who breathed them into the hearts and minds of those OT writers. But for you or any unbelieving Jew or Gentile to ever discover this for yourselves, you would have to read the New Testament, specifically the first chapter of the book of John. But, whether you would be able to receive any of the truth from the passages without the Holy Spirit living in you and guiding you into the truth is doubtful. However, anyone who seeks the information they need to believe in Jesus unto salvation, will be given the information they seek.
Whenever Jesus told His disciples to love their enemies, He wasn’t saying for them to phileo, or philia, or philos their enemies, He was instructing them to agapao, or agape their enemies, that is, they are to love them without any thought of receiving anything in return. Anyone, you are I, can phileo even our ememies, but only one who is born from above can agape anyone else, friend or enemy. And that is because true agape love is produced only by the Holy Spirit, as a fruit of the Spirit, through the one He indwells. This is an example of New Testament truth from Gal. 5:22-23:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
You see it is the Holy Spirit who produces these fruits in a believer, not the believer producing them him or herself.
The Bible teaches that Jesus was tempted in every way in which any other man has ever been tempted, yet He was without sin when He died on the cross. Therefore showing your disapproval at His anger at a fig tree is merely looking for excuses to continue rejecting Him as your forefathers did.
Tell me Mr. Silver, are you as critical of the words and actions of G-d as you are His Son. God ordered King Saul to put to death all the Amalekite men,all the innocent Amalekite women, children and infants, and all the oxen, camel and donkeys. Read it:
“Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey” (1 Sam 15:3 ).
God also commanded Jews to stone their own children to death when they were habitually disobedient of the Law. Do you do that? On second thought, as a father of three boys, who are now grown and are experiencing the woes of raising children of their own, my sons, at times say they are tempted to ask God to reinstate the Law.
My point being that your mentioning a diatribe on the part of the Son of God over a bush that would not produce fruit out of season, reveals that you missed the spiritual truths that Jesus was revealing to His disciples. At this point in His presenting Himself to Israel as their Messiah, they have made it very clear that they are rejecting Him and His Kingdom.
The cursing of the barren fig tree, vs.18-22, is a type of Israel according to Joel 1:7, here symbolized in national rejection.
“He has laid waste My vine, And ruined My fig tree; He has stripped it bare and thrown it away; Its branches are made white” Joel 1:7.
Contrast Luke 13:6-9 with Mt. 24:32-33.
Luke 13: 6-9: “He also spoke this parable: "A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, 'Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?' 8 But he answered and said to him, 'Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. 9 And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.””
Israel, the nation, is the fig tree. Because the nation displayed zero, zilch, not any repentance, the tree was to be chopped down, metaphorically speaking. In actuality your nation has been set aside until all the gentiles who are going to come to Christ are all brought into His kingdom. Now look at Matt. 24: 32-33:
"Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near--at the doors!
Here, symbolic prophecy indicates that Israel shall again bud. In other words Israel will be brought back to her international prominence, where she was when God declared her His Chosen People.
Mr. Silver, I beg you to go and read Rom. 11:1-26. But, before you do, please ask God to give you His wisdom and understanding of what is being said in this wonderful passage. You will not be committing the unforgiveable sin by the reading that passage from the New Testament, or for praying such a prayer. Besides, the word says there is nothing impossible with God.
All the objections you have raised as to why you believe Jesus is not God the Son and why Jews won’t believe the New Testament are carbon copies of the self-serving denials of Who Jesus Christ really is that I used as an atheist. The result of which is that I would have spent eternity apart from God and burning in hell, had I died before believing in the King of kings and the Lord of lords. I must inform you, your fate at this point, is no different than what mine would have been had I not believed in God’s Son. I am not trying to frighten you, but I hope to put the fear of God in you to the point that you will investigate everything I have proclaimed.
As to the Catholics treatment of Jews based on John 15:6, it doesn’t surprise me how wicked some people who do the work of Satan can be. And I am not saying Catholics are wicked, I’m saying that all men are wicked. In the history of the Church many evil organizations and individuals have done great harm to innocent people. Some have committed atrocities, hypothetically, in the Name of Jesus Christ. Satan’s workers can be found in Church buildings, Synagogues, Mosques and brush arbors all over the world. However, John 15:6 gives no license for evil, to evil doers, anywhere in the world.
“If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned” (John 15:6).
Jesus is revealing a very important spiritual reality in the above verse. In this age of grace, anyone who believes in Him is not condemned to hell. But, everyone who does not believe in Him is condemned to hell already, because they have already rejected the son of God. However, God is not willing that anyone should perish. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved: You and your whole household. This applies to every Jew and Gentile on earth who are not believers.
Return to Mr. Silver’s Commentary
7. The present status quo of the Christian churches
And where are the Christian churches holding that claim to go by the New Testament?
The biggest branch, the Roman Catholic Church, is deeply immersed in idolatry. G.d says: "Thou shall not make unto thee any graven image nor any likeness of anything that is in the heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth." Exodus 20:4. Please notice that it is not only forbidden to worship idols, but even making them is forbidden. However the whole Roman Catholic Church is filled with idols that are worshipped by the whole congregation. What does the Bible say about this? "Their idols are silver and gold, the work of man's hands. They have mouths, but they speak not, eyes have they, but they see not, they have ears but they hear not, noses have they but they smell not. They have hands, but they handle not, feet they have, but they walk not, neither speak they through their throat. They that make them are like unto them. So is everyone that trusteth in them." Psalms 115:4-8.
The Protestant churches are doing slightly better in the sense that they have no statues which they worship, but praying to and worshiping a human being, whether dead or alive, man or woman, Jew or non-Jew, is also idolatry. They think that they are fulfilling a divine commandment when they rest on Sunday, the first day of the week. However nowhere in the Old or New Testament is it written that anyone should rest on the first day of the week. As a matter of fact, a non Jew is not commanded to rest on any day of the week. The commandment to rest on the Sabbath, the seventh day of the week, is given by G.d to the Jewish people: "Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever." Exodus 31:15-16. A non-Jew is bound by the covenant that G.d made with Noah; "While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease." Genesis 8:22. Seedtime and harvest shall not cease. G.d did not command a day of rest for the Noachide's (non-Jews). Therefore a Noachide can not stop working on the Sabbath or on any other day, thinking he is doing that because G.d commanded it to him. Of course he can take a vacation and stop working, but he can not do that, thinking he is fulfilling a Scriptural commandment. What did Jesus, who was a Jew, do in this respect? Luke 4:16: "And as his custom was, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day." So what is the reason for resting on Sunday? Resting on Sunday is an invention of the Roman Catholic church, and has no basis in the Scriptures whatsoever.
The same holds true for Christmas, Easter and other pagan festivals that the church adopted. The exact date of birth of Jesus is not given in the New Testament, but it is very unlikely that it happened in the winter, because the shepherds were out in the field at night (Luke 2:8-11), and this was not the custom in the winter, the rainy season. The pagan tribes that worshipped the sun, used to celebrate on the 25th of December the rebirth of their god, the sun. In order to make their conversion to Christianity easier, they were allowed to continue celebrating their pagan festivals, but now under a Christian heading. The Christmas tree is the remainder of another pagan custom, namely the worshipping of trees.
Did you ever wonder where the name Easter is coming from? Look in the MacMillan Contemporary Dictionary: "From Eastre, the Teutonic goddess of the dawn, whose rites were also observed in the spring."--- The Easter eggs and bunny are pagan fertility symbols.
From this we see that the Christian churches are immersed in paganism and idolatry, and follow customs and celebrate festivals that have nothing to do with either the Old or the New Testament.
How can anybody expect a G.d fearing Jew to become a Christian?
The Christian churches believe in the theory that G.d rejected His chosen people, and that instead the Christians are the new spiritual Israel. However,G .d says clearly in the Holy Torah that He will never break his covenant with the Jewish people, even not when they stray away from Him. When the Jews go astray G.d will punish them. (Leviticus 26:14-17) And if they then still don't listen, G.d will punish them seven times harder. (Idem:18-22) And if they then still don't listen, G.d will punish them another seven times harder. (Idem:23-24) And if they then still refuse to turn back to G.d, He will punish them another seven times harder. (Idem:27-28) But despite all this, G.d will not break His covenant with the Jewish people: Leviticus 26:44-45; "And yet for all that, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break My covenant with them: For I am Y-H-W-H their G.d. But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their G.d: I am Y-H-W-H."
Pause from Mr. Silver’s Commentary - My response to the above comments
Many of the things you have to say in criticism of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ are absolutely correct. However, in spite of how far believers today may have strayed from the straight and narrow way, don’t let that detour you in seeking to discover the righteousness, peace, fellowship with and the favor of God that is only found in this Age of Grace though a relationship with Israel’s Messiah.
Although some versions of God’s Word translates the Greek word apatheo, in Rom. 11:1 as rejected, such as the NASB, others translate it as caste away as does NKJV. My Holman Exhaustive Concordance translated the word as: pushed away, rejected, repudiate, and repudiated in the various NT scripture that used the word. So, although scripture says that God has rejected His people, Israel, we know that it is not a permanent condition, because New Testament scripture also teaches us that God is going to restore Israel in the last days.
I have this inclination to consider God’s action toward Israel for rejecting His Son as Messiah, as His having set Israel the nation aside for a time. The word rejection has a very strong connotation of permanent abandonment, so I do not use that word very often in regards to how God deals with people. God has set the nation of Israel aside for a period of time, while He is concentrating on drawing the gentiles through the Holy Spirit to His Son.
Mr. White, the Jews rejecting God’s Son and God rejecting the nation of Israel, these are scriptural facts. No person or any amount of prayer can change what God has deemed necessary to do. However God has not rejected the individual Jews.
In fact, New Testament scripture reveals that God is faithfully committed to seeing individual Jews from all over the world regathered in the Holy Land. However, they will not only occupy the present land of Israel. Instead, there is coming a day when Jews from all over the world will inhabit all the land God promised to Abraham and his descendants. Mark my word.
However, Mr. Silver, neither you, nor any other Jew will ever come to the fullest understanding of what God has in store for the nation of Israel and Jews from all over the world, with the present heart condition of Jews. Until you deal with your religious biases and antichristian, anti-New Testament, and anti-Jesus-as- Messiah hang ups, God cannot work with you. In fact, the rejection by Jews today of the New Testament is a blasphemous rejection of God’s Word. He, who rejects the word of God, rejects God, the Word Giver.
Return to Mr. Silver’s Commentary
“Considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying: The two families that the Lord hath chosen, He has even cast them of? Thus they have despised My people, that they should no more be a nation before them. Thus saith the Lord: If My covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob: for I will cause their captivety to return and have mercy on them." Jeremiah 33:24-26
If G.d rejected the Jews, why then is He now fulfilling the prophecies that He will gather in the Jews and bring them back to their land? "Fear not, for I am with thee, I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west. I will say to the north; give up, and to the south; keep not back: Bring my sons from far, and My daughters from the ends of the earth." Isaiah 43:5+6 The whole world witnesses this miracle, how after almost 2000 years of dispersion over the whole earth the Jews are returning to Israel. In just 50 years a state has been built from scratch, the Hebrew language has been revived. Is there any precedent in history for this? Is there any other people that was dispersed throughout the whole world for almost 2000 years that held on to their identity and their religion?---Surely we see here the hand of G.d. However, this is not the final ingathering of Jews, that is to be done by the messiah. The final ingathering will be after the war of Gog from Magog with Israel. This is described by the prophet Ezekiel, in Ezekiel 38 and 39. Please read these two chapters in order to get a good overview of this. Ezekiel 38:8; "In the latter years thou shall come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel." Here it is prophesied that Gog will attack Israel, a land that is brought out of many nations. We see now that the Jews from the whole world are coming home. The Jews are coming from Africa, America, all the European countries have given their share of Jews, we have had mass immigration from Russia, the Jews are coming home from all over the world. But, the final complete ingathering of the Jews will be after the war of Gog from Magog with Israel. This war and G.d's terrible punishment upon Gog are described in the latter part of chapter 38 and the beginning of chapter 39. And after that it is written in chapter 39, verse 25: "Therefore, thus saith the Lord G.d: now I will bring back the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy on the whole house of Israel... " So the final complete ingathering will be later.
Why is Gog attacking Israel? Ezekiel 38:12: "To take spoil and to take a prey". Idem verse 13: "Art thou come to take spoil? Hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? To carry away silver and gold? To take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?" Here we see that the attack is in order to carry away large amounts of riches that have accumulated in Israel. Fifty years ago the state of Israel started with less that 500,000 people in a piece of desolated desert, with no natural resources whatsoever. On the contrary; even water is a problem. It was attacked right away by fifty million Arab neighbors, yet by a miracle it survived. The state was faced with major problems, like constant terrorism from hostile neighbors and full-blown wars. Israel has to spend enormous amounts of money for defense in order to survive. Israel has been faced with mass immigration. For instance, since '89 almost a million Russian immigrants arrived, which is an enormous strain upon such a small nation. But nevertheless, what is the result? Israel has a level of prosperity comparable to many western countries. Israel has joined the twenty richest countries in the world, and financial experts think that Israel is fast on its way to the top. Surely the blessings of G.d are worth much more than an abundance of oil or gold mines.
Pause in Mr. Silver’s commentary - My response to the above comments
It is God, in Jeremiah 33, verses 15 and 16, speaking through the prophet, who proclaims:
“In those days and at that time I will cause to grow up to David, A Branch of righteousness; He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In those days Judah will be saved, And Jerusalem will dwell safely. And this is the name by which she will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.'[
God is revealing through Jeremiah that there is coming a time when righteousness is going to reign in Israel. But, how does God say this righteousness is going to come about? It is through A Branch of righteousness that God is going to cause to grow up to David. By using King David’s name, God is referring to the throne of David, which will be located in the midst of a nation comprised of Jews from all over the world. This King’s government will be centered in Jerusalem. God grew that Branch up in the first half of the 1st Century A.D. And had Israel not rejected the Branch, He would have been place by God His Father on the throne of David and He would have ruled that nation in such profound righteousness that He the King would have executed judgment and righteousness over the whole earth during His reign.
However, because of the actions of the Jews in their response to God’s offer of His marvelous love through His Son, ‘those days’ are now future and will occur when the fullness of the gentiles have come in. Here is what God has said through a Jewish wise man from the first century. My comments are in brackets:
“For I do not desire, brethren, [Jews of the 1st Century, Jews of today and Jews until Jesus returns] that you should be ignorant of this mystery [mystery here means everything related to: 1.) the age of grace; 2.) God’s current dealings with Israel; and 3.) Jesus coming to set up His kingdom at His second coming to earth], lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel [Israel blindness began at the cross and continues today and will continue until Jesus returns] until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The Deliverer [Jesus the Messiah] will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob [all Israel]; For this is My covenant with them [see Jer. 32:31], When I take away their sins."
In Jer. 33:15: ‘Those days’ mentioned in v. 15 are now on God’s time table and schedule and will come about when Jesus Christ, the true Messiah of Israel, returns to earth for the specific purpose of saving Israel from extinction at the hands of the Jew hating nations of the world. At that time God will establish His New Covenant with Israel and the millennial Kingdom of His Son on earth.
As to your question, ‘Why will Gog attack Israel’? God did not totally turn His back on Israel as a result of the crucifixion of His Son. Yes, He has set Israel aside, but He has kept His hand of blessing on her. The restoration of Israel as a bona fide nation is evidence of God’s love, concern for and blessings of her. From the cross until God restored Israel as a nation, the greatest evidence of His blessings on this people is that they have survived almost 2 thousand years without being annihilated. Since Israel’s restoration as a nation, God has blessed her immensely in many ways. Some of the evidence of His blessings in modern times was in His moving on the hearts of England’s leaders to work on behalf of Israel being given the status of a nation. Almost immediately upon Israel the people becoming a nation, God defended her against her enemy/neighbors desiring to wipe her off the map.
In all of the first three major wars in which Israel has been embroiled: the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, the Six-Day War, and the Yum Kipper War; the hand of Almighty God has been evident. In her efforts to become a truly independent nation, God has blessed and sustained her. Her agricultural endeavors are nothing short of miracles. Gardens are blooming and farms are abounding even in her deserts. Her petroleum explorations hold the promise of Israel becoming a world class supplier of petroleum products.
Thanks to the industrial technological miracle known as fracking, Israel is about to become the new energy Mecca of the Middle East. Although her Arab neighbors might like to stop this from happening, there’s very little they can do.
In a petroleum hungry world, the Gogs of earth will turn their greedy eyes toward Israel. Therefore, Satan will certainly convince a few that Israel’s petroleum resources are there for their taking. This is especially true, if Russia promises the Arab nation of Iran a helping hand for a share in the spoils. However, Christians all over the world are ready to come to the aid of Israel at any sudden satanic move.
Back to Mr. Silver’s Commentary
You may think to yourself: But there are 1,000,000,000 Christians, they cannot all be wrong?
But then, what about the 1,000,000,000 Muslims, aren't they all wrong?
Maybe the question arises: If you can prove, in a small paper like this, that the New Testament is unreliable and leads to idolatry, then how is it possible that for 2000 years all the Christians never recognized this fact? --
In order to understand this, we must realize that for almost 16 centuries the Bible was not available to the common people. Only in the middle of the 15th century was the technology to print books invented. Before that time every copy had to be written by hand, which made it very expensive, and absolutely unaffordable for the common people. After the invention of the printing press the Bible was almost exclusively printed in Latin, so that it could not be understood by the layman, but only by the clergy. The Roman Catholic Church did not want the Bible to be available to the common people, because they were afraid that when the people could read the Bible themselves, they would realize how they were cheated, and stray away from the mother-church. This was a justified fear, because as soon as the Bible became available to the masses, a major Christian reform movement arose. Hence the church used all means available to prevent Bible translations from reaching the common people.
Pause in Mr. Silver’s commentary - My response to the above comments
Is it coincidental that when I found this article on the internet, I was seeking an article that would reveal why Jews still have not embraced God’s Son, from a Jewish standpoint? I don’t think so! In fact, Mr. Smith’s was the very first article that popped up at the start of my search.
I believe the sovereign hand of God works in the lives of those who are surrendered to His will. Having said that, the question arises: How can a person, who believes in God, but not His Son, be surrendered to the known, revealed will of God, if he or she does not believe in God’s Son as Messiah?
The answer is they cannot. An unbeliever can read the Old Testament over and over and over and never come to faith in Jesus Christ as Israel’s Messiah. That is why God first gave the gospel to the Jews. That is why God through the Holy Spirit indwelling those first eleven disciples of Jesus, immediately began to spread the good news of His Son, after His death, to Jews. Yes, God wanted the whole world to know of His Son having come to earth and having died on that cross that all men might be free from their burdens of sin, but the message went first to the Jews, then the Gentiles.
First, God sent His Son to Israel as their Messiah, that He might set up the long awaited Kingdom of Heaven on earth. However, His Son was rejected by the Jews and was put to death. Therefore, immediately upon His Son’s death, God sent His Son’s disciples to the Jews with the good news that they, the Jew, would be the first recipients of His blessings of Grace. These blessings of grace would include: forgiveness of all sins; eternal life; the Holy Spirit taking up residence in their being, to be their mentor, helper, comforter and source of supernatural power for living the abundant life on earth. They would only have to recognize that their Messiah who God had sent to set up His Kingdom of Heaven on earth, had now become their Savior. However, Jesus was not replacing God His Father as the savior He had been to the Jewish forefathers in delivering them from their many trials of earthly human bondage.
In fact, this Savior was a personal savior who would save each individual from a hellish existence in a world ruled by Satan and upon death would save them from an eternity in hell and being separated from God.
The question, Mr. Silver, we need to be addressing is: How has it blessed God that millions of Jews have died and have been burning in hell since about 33 A.D, because they continually rejected, as you are doing, God’s Son, Israel’s Messiah.
I grieve for Jews daily. They put their own Savior to death on a cruel cross, resulting in God having to reject them for rejecting His Son until the Church could evangelize the Gentiles of the world. Now, almost 2000 years later, Jews are still dying and going to hell every day. Why? Because, they continue to reject God’s Son.
Mr. Silver, all this religious shrapnel that you are blasting away with in your article serves nobody’s purpose but Satan’s. Get your eyes off the Catholic Church and any other religious organization and put your eyes on Christ. He is the only hope that you and the nation of Israel have.
Back to Mr. Silver’s Commentary
The first translation of the whole Bible into a spoken language was into English, made by John Wycliff in 1380. But the church was not as grateful as you would expect. Forty-three years after his death, in 1428, his bones were dug up and burned at the stake, by command of the synod of Constance. Pope Martin V personally confirmed this order.
In 1525 William Tyndale gave the English people his translation of the New Testament, and later of parts of the Old Testament.
On the sixth of October 1536 he was strangled to death, and afterwards burned at the stake in Vilvorde near Brussels.WW
Luther, who translated the Bible into German, was excommunicated and outlawed by the church, but died a natural death before the church could get its hands on him.
In 1527 the Antwerp edition of Tyndale's New Testament was burned at St. Paul's Cross, London, and a little later mass burning of these works and the works of other translators began. (These facts and dates can easily be verified by means of the New Catholic Encyclopedia, by an editorial staff at the Catholic University of America, Washington, or through the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, by Cross and Livingstone.)
Later, when translations became widely available, the translations were usually corrupted at critical points, as shown before.
The Roman Catholic Church was not very patient with dissidents. The Jewish people suffered immensely under the church. They were subject to discrimination, stashed away in ghettos, they were deported, they were tortured, they were killed. Under these circumstances reaching out to the nations and telling them that their religion is a fraud, was for the Jews tantamount to suicide. .But now the time is right for the truth to come out.
It is very simple and very clear: There is one G.d, and that one G.d is one. Give up your idol worship and turn to the one true G.d. Do you want to be amongst those of whom the prophet Jeremiah says: "The gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth and shall say: Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit." Jeremiah 16:19.
Wait for the true messiah who will bring peace and prosperity to the whole world in his first attempt.
"And the Lord (Y-H-W-H) shall be king over all the earth; in that day shall there be one Lord and His name One." Zechariah 14:9.
"Thus saith the Lord of hosts: In those days it shall come to pass that ten men shall take hold out of all the languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying: We will go with you, for we have heard that G.d is with you." Zechariah 8:23.
What does this all mean? Does everybody have to forsake his religion and embrace Judaism?
This is not necessary. Although anyone who is driven by the right motives can become Jewish and join the Jewish people, this is not a necessity in order to enter heaven. Noah was not Jewish, but nevertheless it is written about him in Genesis 6:9: "Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations." And what was his reward? "And Noah walked with G.d." The same holds true for Job. He was also not Jewish. "Job was perfect and upright, and one that eschewed evil." Job 1:1. So you don't have to be Jewish in order to be a G.d fearing and righteous person. The Jewish people have a different mission in life: "And you shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, a holy nation." Exodus 19:6. For this reason the Jewish people have to live according to 613 commandments. For the Noachide (non-Jew), life is a lot easier; he has far fewer commandments. Seven of them are particularly notable, because if he transgresses them, he will be punished by a human court. These are:
1) Establish courts of law.
2) Do not murder
3) Do not worship idols
4) Do not blaspheme
5) Do not steal.
6) Do not commit adultery
7) Do not eat the limbs of a live animal.
These seven are the minimum that a Noachide must fulfill. All together there are about 30 commandments that a Noachide must fulfill. He is obligated to do everything that has to do with the understanding of the heart, but if he transgresses these, he will not be punished for it by a human court. If you want to go deeper into these laws, the following books are recommended:
The Seven Laws of Noah, by Jacob Joseph, School Press. 1981 New York.
The Path of the Righteous Gentile, Targum Press, Southfield 1987.
The International Lubavitch Organization, headquartered in Brooklyn, New York, is also active in informing non-Jews of their G.d given code of law.
There is also a possibility that there is in your neighborhood a B'nai No'ach (Sons of Noah) movement.
In the Temple times non-Jews living in Israel and observing these seven universal laws, were permitted to offer sacrifices in the Temple. Because of the constant persecution that has befallen the Jews since the destruction of the Temple, it was not possible to teach these laws to the world. But now G.d is bringing the Jewish people home, and the Jewish people can once again reach out to the nations of the world and teach them G.d's laws.
"For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord ---(Y-H-W-H) from Jerusalem." Isaiah 2:3.
In the Midrashic literature a Rabbi declares: (Tana De Bei Eliahu Rabba) - I call heaven and earth as witnesses: Any individual, whether Jew or non-Jew, man or woman, servant or maid, can bring the Divine Presence upon himself, in accordance with his deeds."
Keep the seven, go to heaven!
Look what happened when mankind abandoned these laws: "And G.d looked upon the earth and behold, it was corrupt, for all the flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth. And G.d said unto Noah: The end of all flesh is come before Me for the earth is filled with violence through them, and behold; I will destroy them with the earth." Genesis 6:12-13.
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear G.d and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For G.d shall bring every matter into judgement, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil." Ecclesiastis 12:13-14.
Let us hope and pray that the real Messiah may come speedily, in our days, and that the third everlasting Temple shall be build rapidly.
The end of Mr. Silver’s commentary
My final Comments
Something that surprises me, somewhat, is the fact that Jews still despise the New Testament and shun it as they have for 2000 years. They do it because it is, in the Jewish tradition, proclaimed to not be the Word of God. However, ever Jew on the face of the earth that has any semblance of Jewish religiosity embraces with a fervor that body of homiletic stories told by Jewish rabbinic sages to explain the passages in the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible.
As I have already said, any written material on spiritual matters outside of the pages of God’s Holy Word, the Old and New Testaments, are classified by Christians as ‘extra biblical’ writings. Meaning they are never to be used in place of God’s word. This is why God wants faithful Jews and Christians to depend solely upon what He has said through the writers of the Old and New Testaments.
Again, as I have already said, Mr. Silver is shooting religious shrapnel. In other words, he sees all these evil things that are trying to force Jews to believe in a Messiah that they hate and deplore, so he shots every religious canon he can get his hands on hoping he can blow these evil ideas, words and concepts to smithereens. Everything he has said in defense of his having rejected, and his continuing rejection of God and God’s Son, as the Savior of all mankind, is nothing but fool hearted nonsense. Nonsense, that has resulted from Satanic blinders having been placed over his and the eyes of millions of Jews by the god of this world.
Mr. Silver and all the lost Jews in the world, need to get their eyes off extra biblical writings, no matter who has written them, and trust in the Lord God to speak to Jews through that portion of His Holy Word known as the New Testament. Jews seem so willing to read the extra biblical writings of dead Rabbis, perhaps it is time that they begin reading the Scriptures of God as set forth by the eternal Priest and Rabbi of all mankind, the Lord Jesus, who is seated at the right hand of God in the Holy of Holies in Heaven, interceding for all who belong to Him.
In fact, Jews need to get their eyes off Judaism. They need to put their eyes squarely on the Lord God. Might I suggest that Jews everywhere pray the prayer I prayed 39 years ago as an atheist.
Lying in bed, my heart breaking because of a very sick child that I thought was going to die, looking at the ceiling of my bedroom through the very faint glow of a bedside night light, I cried out to the God that I had rejected as a teenager. I said:
“Father, I have no one to turn to in asking help for my son, but you. I have said that you do not exist for 17 years. But, if you really are out there give me the faith to believe in You.” Amen
Mr. Silver’s, I almost immediately began to read everything I could get my hands to help me find God. However, I turned to the wrong religious books. For about six weeks I read all sorts of garbage about eastern gods, even books on the gods of the cults, reincarnation, and started reading the Bible beginning with Genesis. About two months after praying that prayer, someone gave me Hal Lindsey’s book, The Late Great Planet Earth. I truly believe God began to open my eyes with that book. It certainly was a lot better than my reading about Hare Krishna and Buddha.
About three months after praying, a neighbor cajoled me into going to his church one Sunday with my family. I don’t remember anything about what was said at the morning service. But, I felt compelled to go back that night. When the preacher walked up to the pulpit, I settled down in the church pew ready to scoff at everything the preacher was going to say. God had other plans.
The preacher opened his bible and began reading through chapter one of the book of Romans. I can’t tell you one word from the first fifteen verses, but at verse 16, God opened my ears and I sat up. When he reached verse 18, printed below is what I heard in my heart.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of Tom, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in Tom, for God has shown it to him. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that Tom is without excuse, 21 because, although he knew God, Tom did not glorify Him as God, nor was he thankful, but Tom became futile in His thoughts, and His foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, Tom became a fool, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man--and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God also gave him up to uncleanness, in the lusts of his heart, to dishonor his body and mind, 25 Tom exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. Romans 1:18-25.
I went home, walked out on the pier of my Lake Palestine waterfront home, got on my knees and ask God and the Lord Jesus to take over my life and do with me as He pleased. He did, He has and He still is.
Having served Satan most of my 34 years before inviting God and His Son to come into my being and take control of my life, I know what it means to be blinded by the evil one. Whether, you accept what I have said in my comments as truth or not, is of little importance.
However, I beg Mr. Silver and all unbelieving Jews, with all my heart and being, since you already believe in God, ask Him, if His Son truly exists, to give you the faith to believe in His Son. I am asking God for His will to be done in your life and the lives of countless Jews. Mean it when you pray this prayer of truth seeking. And don’t stop praying until you hear from God, one way or the other.
Mr. Silver, or any Jewish reader, if I have offended you in the things I have said, or anything to which I have alluded, I ask your forgiveness. There is nothing in this entire world that is more important than your and my eternal destiny. I commend Jews for being a nation of people to whom God once referred, and I believe will one day refer again, as His chosen people. However, you and your fellow Jews, for a period of time, the length of which is only known to God, have been set aside as God’s chosen people until all the Gentiles have been given an opportunity to turn in faith to God’s Son.
I do not know why God has willed for you and your people to be blinded by Satan during this time of the Gentiles. I believe, from my study of God’s Word, that it will not last much longer. And in truth, I can say with the greatest of confidence in my Lord and Savior, that God will at this very moment lift the vision impairment from anyone’s eyes, which will look to His Son in faith.
Mr. Silver, ask yourself the question: how can any person suddenly turn to one in faith whom they have despised and hated all their life? They must be willing to forsake their hatred and enmity! Are you willing to give up your enmity and hostility toward Jesus? If you are not, ask God to change your heart. If you are willing, then tell God you want to be rid of it. Tell Him you want the faith to believe in His Son and He will give it to you.
Mr. Silver, I have a confession to make. The 1st Century Jewish bible scholar I have been quoting is actually the apostle Paul, a man who hated Jesus and he hated those who belonged to Jesus through faith. Yet, after his Damascus road experience, (read about it in Acts, chapter nine) he became the greatest, apostle, preacher, teacher, follower of Christ and writer of God’ Word of all time. And yes, that includes King David’s Psalms. By the way, Acts is in the New Testament. Sorry about that.
If you would care to respond to my comments, you are encouraged to do so. I will post them on my website as an addendum to this document, which I am going to post on my website just as you see it here, as soon as I have your permission or determine that it is going to be impossible to contact you..
“If anyone is willing to do God’s will, he shall know concerning the things I have shared, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority” John 7:17(TNT).
May The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make His face to shine upon you, And be gracious to you; may The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.
Personal note to all readers of this document: I tried unsuccessfully to locate Mr. Silver. The email connection on the webpage from which I copied his article was not working and the original website where the article had been posted is no longer in existence.
What is the believer’s rule of life? By what rule should I live? How is the Christian life to be lived? What rule should I follow and what should be my focus? How should I walk as a believer? What is the key to living the Christian life? What must I do to live a life that is pleasing to God? How can I live a holy life? How can I walk down God’s chosen path for me, the path of holiness and sanctification? "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification" (1 Thess. 4:3).
These are important questions and they have been answered in at least two different ways. Some insist that the believer’s rule of life is the LAW. When they say "LAW" they are thinking especially of God’s moral law as set forth in the Ten Commandments. For their question: How am I to live? Their answer would be this: "I am to live by God’s law. I am to live by the Ten Commandments. This is my rule of life. The key to living the Christian life and the key to walking in holiness is to strive to obey God’s holy law, especially the Ten Commandments, which the Lord Jesus summed up in two great commandments: to love God with all your heart and to love your neighbor as yourself." Compare Matthew 22:36-40.
This all sounds good, but the problem is simply this: The more we try to keep God’s holy law, the more we fail. Even as regenerate believers we cannot, of ourselves, measure up to God’s perfect standard of righteousness. The problem is not with the law because "the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good" (Romans 7:12). The problem is with the believer: "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not" (Romans 7:18).
This is similar to the problem the Israelites had when they first were given God’s holy law. Their response to the commandments was as follows: "All that the LORD hath spoken we will do." They were sincere in their desire to obey but as we know they failed miserably to keep God’s commandments. They did not understand their own weakness:
This oral response of the people is commended by the LORD in Deut. 5:27-28: "They have well said all that they have spoken." Their subsequent history, however, shows that they had failed to realize their own spiritual and moral weakness and the infinite perfection of the divine law which they so easily were engaging themselves to obey. See God’s lament in Deut. 5:29: "O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear Me, and keep all My commandments always." [Footnote #1--See the note in the NEW SCOFIELD REFERENCE BIBLE given under Exodus 19:8.]
Where does a person need to go to find God’s rule for living the Christian life? Those of a legal persuasion would point the person to Mount Sinai, the place where Moses received the law from God. They would say, "Mount Sinai is where you need to go. Mount Sinai is where you will find the key to living the Christian life."
This is a popular view among Bible believers. This is one of the major thrusts of what is called Reformed Theology. [Footnote #2--See the document entitled Problems with Reformed Theology] Reformed, covenant theologians say that believers are under the law as a rule of life. To help you and guide you in living the Christian life they will send you directly to Mount Sinai.
It is to their credit that they do not do this when it comes to justification. When it comes to how a person is saved and how a person is justified, they will send you to Mount Calvary where the Saviour died for hell-deserving sinners. They will rightly point you to Jesus Christ and Him crucified as the sinner’s only hope! Mount Sinai can never save a person, it can only condemn him. "By the law is the knowledge of sin" (Romans 3:20), and Mount Sinai serves a very useful purpose in showing a person his sin and showing him that he is condemned before a holy God. The law can never save: "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified" (Galatians 2:16). The law can never justify. It can only show a person how UNJUST and UNRIGHTEOUS he really is. The law is God’s MIRROR that shows a person his true condition. See The Purpose of the LAW.
THE REFORMED POSITION
When it comes to justification, those in the Reformed tradition would say, "Yes, the key to salvation is to go to Mount Calvary. Christ and Him crucified is the sinner’s only plea." When it comes to the process of sanctification and how a believer can live a set apart and holy life, it is then that they will send a person back to Mount Sinai. This is illustrated in the following three quotes given by well known Reformed theologians:
"The Christian must never say farewell to the law. Thank God, we are no longer under it as a way of salvation; but we are to keep it, we are to honor it, we are to practice it in our daily life." – DR. MARTIN LLOYD-JONES
"Is the disciple to be above his Master, the servant superior to his Lord? Christ was ‘made under the law’ (Gal. 4:4), and lived in perfect submission thereto, and has left us an example that we should ‘follow His steps’ (1 Peter 2:21). Only by loving, fearing, and obeying the law, shall we be kept from sinning." – ARTHUR PINK [Footnote #3--Cited in THE COMPLETE GREEN LETTERS (Zondervan), by Miles Stanford, p. 263.]
"Genuine sanctification will show itself in habitual respect for God’s law, and habitual effort to live in obedience to it as a rule of life. The Holy Spirit will always lead him (the believer) to a spiritual use of the law in the pursuit of sanctification." – J.C. RYLE [Footnote #4a--Cited in THE COMPLETE GREEN LETTERS (Zondervan), by Miles Stanford, p. 263.]
"They [Reformed men" devote even more attention to the law in connection with the doctrine of sanctification. They stand strong in the conviction that believers are still under the law as a rule of life" [Footnote #4b--L. Berkhof, Systematic Theology, 4th ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1977), 613-15, italics added).
What are these men actually saying? Lloyd-Jones says that we are not under the law as a way of salvation but he implies that we are under it as a means of sanctification. The idea is this: "We don’t need the law for salvation but we need it for daily living." He says we must never say farewell to the law. [Note that Paul says that the believer has become dead to the law by the body of Christ (Rom. 7:4) and that the believer has been delivered or released from the law, having died to that by which he was once bound (Rom. 7:6), whereas Lloyd-Jones says that we must never say farewell to the law.]
Arthur Pink, in the above quote, reveals his own misunderstanding of dispensational truth. We recognize that the Lord Jesus was under the law because He lived in the dispensation of the Mosaic law which did not end until His own death at Calvary. He was "made of a woman, made under the law" (Gal. 4:4). Because the Lord Jesus was under the law does not mean that Christians living in the present dispensation of grace are under the law. Indeed Paul declares the very opposite: "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace" (Romans 6:14). Pink also insists that the way a Christian can be kept from sinning is by loving, fearing and obeying the law. He thus brings the believer to Mount Sinai. Paul in Romans chapter 6 does not do this. Instead Paul brings the believer to Mount Calvary and sets forth the glorious fact of our identification with Christ in His death unto sin and in His resurrection unto life.
J.C. Ryle says that we are to make every effort to obey the law "as a rule of life." To him, the law has a "spiritual use" as a means of sanctification. The Westminster Confession of Faith agrees: "Although true believers be not under the law as a covenant of works, to be thereby justified or condemned; yet it is of great use to them...as a rule of life" (Chapter XIX, Section VI).
L. Berkhof says that Reformed men stand strong in the conviction that believers are still under the law as a rule of life. Thus, according to Berkhof, Mt. Sinai provides the key to sanctification and holy living.
[Footnote #5--We are not saying that Reformed men never point believers to Mount Calvary when it comes to holy living and sanctification. The cross is prominent in much of their teaching on sanctification, and for this we are thankful. When it comes to sanctification as well as justification let us join Paul in saying, "For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:2).]
For more information on Reformed Theology, see Problems with Reformed Theology.
THE DISPENSATIONAL POSITION
In contrast to Reformed theology is Dispensationalism. Dispensationalism says that to find the believer’s rule of life you must go not to Mount Sinai, but to Mount Calvary. Mount Sinai is powerless to justify a person and Mount Sinai is also powerless to sanctify a person. The law is not the believer’s rule of life. Something else is. The Scofield Bible states this position very clearly: "The test of the gospel is grace. If the message excludes grace, or mingles law with grace as the means of justification or sanctification, or denies the fact or guilt of sin which alone gives grace its occasion and opportunity, it is ‘another’ gospel, and the preacher of it is under the anathema of God." [Footnote #6--This is the note in the SCOFIELD REFERENCE BIBLE under Galatians 1:6.]
The early dispensationalists understood this well. Consider the following quotations given by pioneer dispensationalists:
I learn in the law that God abhorred stealing, but it is not because I am under the law that I do not steal. All the Word of God is mine, and written for my instruction; yet for all that I am not under law, but a Christian who has died with Christ on the Cross, and am not in the flesh, to which the law applied. I have died to the law by the body of Christ (Romans 7:4). – JOHN DARBY [Footnote #7--Cited by Miles Stanford (840 Vindicator Dr., #111, Colorado Springs, CO 80919), in the paper entitled, "ARMINIUS, TO CALVIN, TO PAUL– MAN, LAW, OR CHRIST-CENTERED?"]
Some good men who in grievous error would impose the law as a rule of life for the Christian mean very well by it but the whole principle is false because the law, instead of being a rule of life, is necessarily a rule of death to one who has sin in his nature. Far from a delivering power, it can only condemn such; far from being a means of holiness, it is, in fact, the strength of sin (1 Cor. 15:56). – WILLIAM KELLY [Footnote #8--Cited in THE COMPLETE GREEN LETTERS (Zondervan), by Miles Stanford (p. 265).]
We are fully convinced that a superstructure of true, practical holiness can never be erected on a legal basis; and hence it is that we press 1 Cor 1:30, upon the attention of our readers. It is to be feared that many who have, in some measure, abandoned the legal ground, in the matter of "righteousness," are yet lingering thereon for "sanctification." We believe this to be the mistake of thousands, and we are most anxious to see it corrected. It is evident that a sinner cannot be justified by the works of the law; and it is equally evident that the law is not the rule of the believer’s life. As to the believer’s rule of life, the apostle does not say, "To me to live is the law;" but, "To me to live is Christ" (Phil. 1:21). Christ is our rule, our model, our touchstone, our all. We receive the Ten Commandments as part of the canon of inspiration; and moreover, we believe that the law remains in full force to rule and curse a man as long as he liveth. Let a sinner only try to get life by it, and see where it will put him; and let a believer only shape his way according to it, and see what it will make of him. We are fully convinced that if a man is walking according to the spirit of the gospel, he will not commit murder nor steal; but we are also convinced that a man, confining himself to the standard of the law of Moses would fall very short of the spirit of the gospel. – C.H. MACKINTOSH [Footnote #9--THE MACKINTOSH TREASURY– MISCELLANEOUS WRITINGS BY C.H.Mackintosh, p. 628, 653-654].
Most of us have been reared and now live under the influence of Galatianism. Protestant theology is for the most part thoroughly Galatianized, in that neither the law or grace is given its distinct and separate place as in the counsels of God, but they are mingled together in one incoherent system. The law is no longer, as in the divine intent, a ministration of death (2 Cor. 3:7), of cursing (Gal. 3:10), or conviction (Rom. 3:19), because we are taught that we must try to keep it, and that by divine help we may. Nor does grace, on the other hand, bring us blessed deliverance from the dominion of sin, for we are kept under the law as a rule of life despite the plain declaration of Romans 6:14. – C.I. SCOFIELD [Footnote #10--Cited in THE COMPLETE GREEN LETTERS (Zondervan) by Miles Stanford (p. 265).]
When the sinner is justified by faith, does he need the law to please God? Can obedience to the law produce in him the fruit of holiness unto God? What is the relation of the justified believer to the law? Is he still under the dominion of the law or is he also delivered from the law and its bondage? These questions are answered in this chapter [Romans 7]. "Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter" (Romans 7:4,6). – ARNO C. GAEBELEIN [Footnote #11--GAEBELEIN’S CONCISE COMMENTARY ON THE WHOLE BIBLE, p.907.]
Believers today are not under law, either as a means of justification or as a rule of law, but are justified by grace and are called upon to walk in grace. Primarily here [in Romans 7:14-25] we have a believing Jew struggling to obtain holiness by using the law as a rule of life and resolutely attempting to compel his old nature to be subject to it. In Christendom now the average Gentile believer goes through the same experience; for legality is commonly taught almost everywhere. Therefore when one is converted it is but natural to reason that now [that] one has been born of God it is only a matter of determination and persistent endeavor to subject oneself to the law, and one will achieve a life of holiness. And God Himself permits the test to be made in order that His people may learn experimentally that the flesh in the believer is no better than the flesh in an unbeliever. When he ceases from self-effort he finds deliverance through the Spirit by occupation with the risen Christ. – H.A. IRONSIDE [Footnote #12--THE CONTINUAL BURNT OFFERING, see under September 18; and ROMANS, p. 89.]
The Word of God condemns unsparingly all attempts to put the Christian believer ‘under the law.’ The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul gave to the church the book of Galatians for the very purpose of dealing with this heresy. Read this Epistle over and over, noting carefully the precise error with which the writer deals. It is not a total rejection of the gospel of God’s grace and a turning back to total legalism. It is rather the error of saying that the Christian life, having begun by simple faith in Christ, must thereafter continue under the law or some part of it (Gal. 3:2-3). – ALVA McCLAIN [Footnote #13-This last quote by Alva J. McClain is taken from his book LAW AND GRACE, p. 51-52. This book in its entirety is highly recommended. It is published by BMH Books, Winona Lake, IN 46590.]
For more information on Dispensationalism see Studies on Dispensationalism. At www.middletownbiblechurch.org
IS THE BELIEVER UNDER THE LAW AS A RULE OF LIFE?
The Word of God declares plainly that the Christian believer is not "under the law." The New Testament declares this important truth four times: (1) Romans 6:14; (2) Romans 6:15; (3) Galatians 5:18; (4) 1 Corinthians 9:20 (see the NASB or the New Scofield Reference Bible).
The preposition "under" (hupo) means "subject to the power of any person or thing, to be under the power of something, to be under the rule or sovereignty of something." An excellent illustration may be found in Matthew 8:9 where the Roman centurion says, "For I am a man under (hupo) authority, having soldiers under (hupo) me." Just as the centurion was absolutely under Roman military authority, both as to its laws and its penalties, so also were his soldiers under his authority. To be under the law in the Biblical sense is to be under the law of God– the entire Mosaic legal system in its indivisible totality– subject to its commands and liable to its penalties. [Footnote #14--See LAW AND GRACE by Alva McClain, pp. 41-43.]
The Bible makes it clear that a person is not under the law as a way of salvation or justification. The law and the works of the law (trying to keep the law) can never justify (see Romans 3:20; Gal. 2:16; Acts 15:7-11; Acts 13:38-39; Romans 3:27-28). A man is saved by grace through faith apart from any works of the law.
The Bible also makes it very clear that a person is not under law as a rule of life. The law and the works of the law (trying to keep the law) can never SANCTIFY (produce holiness). The law is holy (Rom. 7:12), and the law can convict us and condemn us (by revealing how unholy we are) but it cannot make us holy. Romans chapter 6 makes it clear that sanctification is not by the works of the law. Sanctification is by faith in the crucified and risen Christ and in the fact of our identification and union with Him. The book of Galatians (see especially Galatians 3:2-3) makes it very clear that sanctification is not by the works of the law. Sanctification is by faith in the crucified and risen Christ and in the fact of our identification and union with Him. The book of Galatians (see especially Galatians 3:2-3) makes it very clear that sanctification is not by the works of the law.
In Romans 6:14 Paul declares that the believer is not "under the law but under grace." What did Paul mean by this? Was he saying that we are not under the law with respect to justification (the believer’s right standing before God in Christ) or was he saying that we are not under the law with respect to sanctification (the believer’s progress in holiness)? Paul earlier in Romans made it clear that a person is not JUSTIFIED by the works of the law (Romans 3:20; 3:28). In Romans chapter 6 the subject is that of sanctification or holiness (see Romans 6:19,22), not justification (the subject of justification was dealt with previously in chapters 3-5). It is clear from Romans 6:14 that Paul is talking about being free from sin’s dominion and power and authority, which is what sanctification is all about. We conclude then that Paul in Romans 6:14-15 set forth the great truth that the believer is not under the law as a rule of life and as a means of sanctification. The key to living the Christian life is not Mount Sinai, it is Mount Calvary. The emphasis of Romans 6 is upon Mount Calvary (and the believer’s relationship to Mount Calvary in light of our identification with Christ and our position in Christ). To go back to Mount Sinai is to go back to bondage.
THE BELIEVER’S RULE OF LIFE - WHAT SAITH THE SCRIPTURES?
What is the believer’s rule of life? By what rule should I live? How should I walk? How can I live a holy life that is set apart and dedicated to the service of Jesus Christ? Do I go to Mount Sinai or do I go to Mount Calvary?
Since we are seeking to find the rule of life for those living in this present dispensation, we must go to the New Testament Epistles. The Christian’s rule of life is not to be found in the Old Testament, nor is it to be found in the Gospels or in the Sermon on the Mount. The RULE for living the Christian life is to be found in the New Testament Epistles. It is there that we must find our answer.
How did Paul live? What was his rule of life? Did he live by the works of the law? Did he find his rule of life at Mount Sinai? Notice what the great apostle says, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I LIVE BY THE FAITH OF THE SON OF GOD, who loved me, and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). This is how Paul lived! He lived "by faith of (in) the Son of God." [Note that in Galatians 3:2 Paul contrasts faith with the works of the law.] Paul’s life was centered upon the Person of Jesus Christ with Whom he had been co-crucified. The focus of Galatians 2:20 is upon Mount Calvary. The cross is central. Paul was able to live because he had died! He was able to live because Jesus Christ was HIS LIFE: "For to me to live is Christ" (Phil. 1:21) "For ye died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God Christ, WHO IS OUR LIFE, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory" (Col. 3:3-4). Yes, JESUS CHRIST is the believer’s rule of life!
There is one place in the New Testament where Paul specifically sets forth the believer’s RULE OF LIFE. This passage is Galatians 6:14-16, "But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk ACCORDING TO THIS RULE, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God."
What RULE is Paul speaking of in Galatians 6:14-16? It is obvious that Paul’s focus is upon Mount Calvary, not Mount Sinai: "But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world" (verse 14). His focus is upon the cross. A comparison of Galatians 5:6 ["For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love"] and Galatians 6:15 ["For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature"] is helpful in seeing what the real issue is. Faith is the root and love is the fruit (Gal. 5:6); and love is the fulfilling of the law (Gal. 5:14; Rom.13:9-10; compare Rom. 8:4). Love is not produced as the believer tries and struggles to keep God’s moral law, the Ten Commandments. The more the believer tries to do this the more he fails (Romans 7:12-25). Love is produced by God the Holy Spirit as the believer walks in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16,22-23; Rom. 8:4).
Thus we are to walk not according to any legal code, but according to THE NEW CREATURE RULE (Gal. 6:15-16). We are new creatures in Christ by the grace of God and totally apart from any works of the law (2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 2:8-10; 4:24; Col. 3:10). By faith we are to reckon on the fact that we are new creatures in Jesus Christ, united with Him in a wondrous union, partaking in His death and partaking in His resurrection life. By faith we are to reckon upon what God has already accomplished at the cross (Romans 6). When it comes to the believer’s sanctification, Mount Calvary is to be the central focus, not Mount Sinai.
Mount Sinai has never produced a new creature, a new man. It can only condemn the old man. Paul boasted only in Mount Calvary: "But God forbid that I should glory [boast], save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world" (Gal. 6:14).
Another key passage is Galatians 3:1-3 where Paul addresses the deadly problem of legalism: "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?"
In verse one Paul reminds the Galatians that Mount Calvary had been the focus of the true gospel preaching which they had received: "before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you." The problem was that false teachers had come in trying to get the Galatians to focus upon Mount Sinai with respect to sanctification. Paul reminds them that the Christian life began when they received the Spirit, not by the works of the law, but by the hearing of faith. Progress in the Christian life must come the same way.
In Colossians 2:6 we learn that the Christian life is to CONTINUE the same way it COMMENCED. Just as we received Christ by faith (apart from the works of the law), so we are to walk and live by faith (apart from the works of the law). The problem with the Galatians was that they COMMENCED the Christian life in one way and then they tried to CONTINUE the Christian life in an entirely different way: "This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" (Gal. 3:2-3). They began their Christian life at Mount Calvary and they tried to continue their Christian life at Mount Sinai. This will never work. This is totally contrary to THE NEW CREATURE RULE!
I DIED TO THE LAW I AM MARRIED TO ANOTHER!
The believer’s relationship to the law is made very clear in Romans 7:1-6. The believer is delivered and released from the law, HAVING DIED TO IT. Romans chapter 6 makes it clear that the believer, because of his identification with Christ, has DIED TO SIN. Romans chapter 7 makes it clear that the believer, because of his identification with Christ, has DIED TO THE LAW. Notice that the result of this is not LAWLESSNESS but FRUITFULNESS: "Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to ANOTHER, even to HIM who is raised from the dead [our Lord Jesus Christ], that we should bring forth FRUIT unto God" (Romans 7:4).
Watchman Nee beautifully explains the illustration Paul uses in Romans 7:
Notice first that in the picture by which, in Romans 7:1-4, Paul illustrates our deliverance from the Law, there is only one woman, while there are two husbands. The woman is in a very difficult position, for she can only be wife of one of the two, and unfortunately she is married to the less desirable one. Let us make no mistake, the man to whom she is married is a good man; but the trouble lies here, that the husband and wife are totally unsuited to one another. He is a most particular man, accurate to a degree; she on the other hand is decidedly easy-going. With him all is definite and precise; with her all is casual and haphazard. He wants everything just so, while she takes things as they come. How could there be happiness in such a home?
And then that husband is so exacting! He is always making demands upon her. And yet one cannot find fault with him, for as a husband he has a right to expect something of his wife; and besides, all his demands are perfectly legitimate. There is nothing wrong with the man and nothing wrong with his demands; the trouble is that he has the wrong kind of wife to carry them out. The two cannot get on at all; theirs are utterly incompatible natures. Thus the poor woman is in great distress. She is fully aware that she often makes mistakes, but living with such a husband it seems as though EVERYTHING she says and does is wrong! What hope is there for her? If only she were married to that other Man all would be well. He is no less exacting than her husband, but He also helps much. She would fain marry Him, but her husband is still alive. What can she do? She is "bound by law to the husband" and unless he dies she cannot legitimately marry that other Man.
The first husband is the Law; the second husband is Christ; and you are the woman. The law requires much, but offers no help in the carrying out of its requirements. The Lord Jesus requires just as much, yea more, but what He requires from us He Himself carries out in us. The law makes demands and leaves us helpless to fulfill them; Christ makes demands, but He Himself fulfills in us the very demands He makes. Little wonder that the woman desires to be freed from the first husband that she may marry that other Man! But her only hope of release is through the death of her first husband, and he holds on to life most tenaciously. Indeed there is not the least prospect of his passing away (see Matthew 5:18).
The law is going to continue for all eternity. If the Law will never pass away, then how can I ever be united to Christ? How can I marry a second husband if my first husband resolutely refuses to die? There is only one way out. If HE will not die, I can die, and if I die the marriage relationship is dissolved. And that is exactly God’s way of deliverance from the Law. The most important point to note in this section of Romans 7 is the transition from verse 3 to verse 4. Verses 1 to 3 show that the husband should die, but in verse 4 we see that in fact it is the woman who dies. The Law does not pass away, but I pass away, and by death I am freed from the Law. [Footnote #15--Watchman Nee, THE NORMAL CHRISTIAN LIFE, pages 107-109 (Chapter 9).]
The great fact of SUBSTITUTION is that Christ died for me. The great fact of IDENTIFICATION is that I died with Christ. When Christ died, I died! I died to sin (Romans 6) and I died to the law (Romans 7). But if I died, how can I be married to Another? In Christ’s death I died, but in Christ’s resurrection I live (compare Galatians 2:20– "I am crucified, nevertheless I live"). Through Christ’s death on the cross and my identification with that death, I died to the law: "Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead [have died] to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to Another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God" (Romans 7:4).
A LOVE RELATIONSHIP, NOT A LEGAL RELATIONSHIP
The believer is married to Christ. It is a LOVE RELATIONSHIP not a LAW (LEGAL) RELATIONSHIP. This love relationship involves being joined to Christ and in vital union with Him. This is what Christianity is all about. Christianity is not a RELIGION, it is a RELATIONSHIP to a Person, the Son of God (John 17:3). It is not doing something but it is knowing Someone (John 17:3; 1 John 2:3-4). It is not a set of rules and it is not a system of morality (though rules and morality are involved). It is not a legal system of "THOU SHALT" and "THOU SHALT NOT." In its essence it is a unique and intimate and personal relationship with the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.
Many in our day have lost sight of this precious truth. For many the Christian life has degenerated into another legalistic religious system. It is common for people to get wrapped up in rules and regulations and requirements and duties. One could think that the Christian life is reading the Bible and praying and witnessing and memorizing Scripture and doing certain things and not doing certain other things. We know how a Christian ought to live. We know how a Christian ought to act and speak and think. We know the kinds of things a Christian ought to do and we know the kinds of things a Christian ought not to do, and without realizing it the Christian life has lost the very thing that makes it different from every other religion or religious system. We have missed the whole point.
C.H. Mackintosh has said it this way: Christianity is a living and divine reality. It is not a set of doctrines, however true; a system of ordinances, however imposing; a number of rules and regulations, however important. Christianity is far more than any or all of these things. It is a living, breathing, speaking, active, powerful reality— something to be seen in the every day life— something to be felt in the scenes of personal, domestic history, from hour to hour— something formative and influential—a divine and heavenly power introduced into the scenes and circumstances through which we have to move, as men, women, and children, from Sunday morning to Saturday night.
Christianity is the life of Christ communicated to the believer—dwelling in him—and flowing out from him, in the ten thousand little details which go to make up our daily practical life. It has nothing ascetic, or sanctimonious about it. It is genial, pure, elevated, holy, divine. Such is Christianity. It is Christ dwelling in the believer, and reproduced, by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the believer’s daily practical career. [Footnote #16--THE MACKINTOSH TREASURY–MISCELLANEOUS WRITINGS BY CHM (Loizeaux Brothers, one volume edition, 1976), p.790.]
To emphasize this important truth, let us see what the Bible does not say:
1) Philippians 1:21– For to me to live is reading my Bible, memorizing Scripture, praying at least 15 minutes daily and witnessing at every opportunity.
2) Philippians 3:8– I count all things but loss for the excellency of trying to guard my tongue, trying to overcome my bad habits and trying to have my daily devotions.
3) Philippians 3:10– That I may do this and avoid doing that and that I may force myself to witness and avoid every appearance of evil.
4) Revelation 2:4– Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy daily Bible reading schedule and thou hast broken thy New Year’s resolutions and thou hast failed to keep the 10 Commandments.
5) 2 Corinthians 5:9– Wherefore we labour [lit., we are ambitious], that, whether present or absent, we may watch our temper, keep following our strict diet, memorize verses, get enough rest, and not watch too many bad television shows.
What do these verses really say? In the above verses the emphasis is upon KNOWING and LOVING and PLEASING a PERSON, even the Lord Jesus Christ. Read carefully Colossians 1:9-12. Notice the emphasis of this great prayer: to know His will (v.9), to walk with Him (v.10), to please Him (v.10), to increase in my knowledge of Him (v.10), to be strengthened by Him (v.11), to be joyful in Him (v.11), to thank Him (v.12)!
Consider again the illustration of the marriage relationship. There are many things the husband must do and there are many things the husband must not do. There are duties he must carry out, responsibilities he must meet and obligations he must perform. But why does he do all these things? It is because he has decided to love a person--namely his wife. The wife does many things as well. She prepares meals, washes the dishes, cleans the floor, vacuums the rugs, washes the clothes, etc. Why does she do all these things? Is it because her husband has given her a long list of "THOU SHALT’s" and "THOU SHALT NOT’s"? Hopefully this is not the reason. She is doing these things because she is responding to the love of her husband. The marriage relationship is based on love, not law.
What then is the Christian life all about? The Christian life is simply knowing a Person, loving Him, seeking to please Him, walking with Him, honoring Him, obeying Him, thanking Him, rejoicing in Him, delighting in Him, trusting in Him, growing in Him, talking to Him, talking to others about Him, abiding in Him, learning of Him, learning from Him, sitting at His feet and enjoying His presence. Note the emphasis on Him (on a PERSON).
As we go through each day, are we walking with a Person and enjoying Him or are we following a religious, ritualistic, legalistic routine? If we really have that unique, intimate, personal LOVE RELATIONSHIP with the Lord Jesus Christ, then this will change everything we do. This will change PRAYER because PRAYER is talking to the Person I love. This will change BIBLE STUDY because I want to get to know this Person better. This will change WITNESSING because I want to introduce others to this wonderful Person. I want others to know the Christ that I know.
Are we walking with a Person or are we working at a religion? "Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to Another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God" (Romans 7:4). In light of John 17:3, can we each say from our hearts: "I know this Person as my Saviour, as my Lord, as my Friend, as my Sovereign Master, as my Helper, as my Shepherd, as my ever-present Companion, as my Advocate, as my Comforter. (So many more things could be said!)."
There are many who wrongly think that if a person is not "under the law" then he will be LAWLESS. A right relationship to Jesus Christ will not result in lawlessness, but rather fruitfulness (Rom. 7:4). Indeed, a right relationship to Jesus Christ is the only possible way that the righteous requirements of the law will be fulfilled: "That the righteousness [righteous requirements] of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Rom. 8:4). "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law" (Gal. 5:22-23). Notice carefully that Romans 8:4 does not say "by us" but "in us." The key to fulfilling the law is LOVE (Rom. 13:8-10 and Gal. 5:14). The key to having LOVE is a Spirit-filled walk (Gal. 5:13-23 and Rom. 8:4). In and of myself I am totally unable to fulfill God’s righteous requirements: "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not" (Rom. 7:18). I, in and of myself, utterly fail. CHRIST IN ME (Gal. 2:20) never fails!
Not being under the law does not mean that the believer in Christ is opposed to the 10 Commandments and is in favor of violating them. God forbid! Nine of the ten commandments are repeated on the pages of the New Testament It is never right to take God’s Name in vain or to murder or to steal or to covet. God’s moral standards never change. The believer who violates any of these commands is guilty and must give account to God. It is essential that we fulfill the righteous requirements of the law. But how do we do that?
It is important to keep in mind that those who try to put themselves and others under law do not themselves keep the law: "For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh" (Gal. 6:13). "Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?" (Acts 15:10). Those who walk by faith according to the NEW CREATURE RULE of GRACE actually fulfill the law (see Romans 8:4; 13:8; Gal. 5:14,22-23). In our justification we did not receive the righteousness of God by the works of the law (Rom. 3:21-22); so also in the Christian life we do not fulfill the righteousness of God’s law by the works of the law. The way to fulfill the law is not by trying to keep the law. It is God’s working in me that counts (Heb. 13:21; Phil. 3:13). It is not the production of the flesh but it is the fruit of the Spirit.
SANCTIFICATION BY GRACE!
The watchword of the Reformation was, "THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH." When it comes to sanctification, however, the slogan of Reformed Theology is this: THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY THE LAW! Some might even say, "We live by law and grace." But as soon as you add law to grace you have destroyed grace (Rom. 11:6). The entire area of the believer’s identification with the Lord Jesus in His death and resurrection and ascension is often misunderstood and neglected by Reformed men. Reformed theologians rarely set forth the NEW CREATURE RULE in their writings. Examine what they write. Little is said about the great identification truths in Romans chapter 6. Little is said about the believer’s glorious POSITION in the risen and ascended and seated Christ (2 Cor. 5:17; Col. 3:1-4; Eph. 2:5-7; etc.). More needs to be said about the importance of RECKONING (Rom. 6:11)–counting on God’s facts by faith.
Sanctification, like salvation, is by grace through faith and not by the works of the law. It is based on the finished work of Christ (Romans 6), not on man’s feeble law-keeping efforts. The Christian life is to CONTINUE as it COMMENCED (Col. 2:6; Gal. 3:1-3). Paul teaches that those who are under the law are under the dominion of sin (Rom. 6:14). This is because the flesh cannot keep God’s holy law (Rom. 8:7). Grace living is not lawless living (Tit. 2:11-12; Rom. 6:1-2,15; Eph. 2:10). Only when God’s grace is given its rightful place in the Christian life can we appreciate the words in the hymn by Philip Bliss: "FREE FROM THE LAW—O HAPPY CONDITION."
Today some of the most popular "Christian counseling" books seek solutions by subtly putting believers under the law rather than putting them under the principles of grace. [Footnote #17--See our review of the booklet, GODLINESS THROUGH DISCIPLINE, by Jay Adams. Jay Adams’ Teaching on Sanctification] Whether knowingly or unknowingly, the central focus is on Mount Sinai instead of Mount Calvary. Miles Stanford has offered this strong statement: "(Reformed) Calvinism emerged from the dark ages, but is still in the twilight--half in the shadow of the law, half in the light of the Saviour. It has a fleshly affinity for fetters, hence it is the life of the hang-dog heart, the wretchedness of Romans Seven."
The thrust of Paul’s Epistles is to first show the believer what God has done in His grace. The exhortations and commands are generally found toward the end of the Epistles and are based upon what God has graciously done. The believer is to count on the facts of what God has done and by faith live accordingly. The emphasis is not "do and thou shalt be blessed" (the legal formula) but it is this: "You have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus (Eph. 1:3) therefore walk accordingly (Eph. 4:1)." How does God’s grace teach us to live (compare Tit. 2:11-12)? One of many examples that could be cited is Ephesians 5:8– "For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light." First Paul tells the Ephesians WHO THEY ARE (by the grace of God, not because of their keeping of the law), and then he tells them HOW TO WALK! "Since you are children of light, walk as children of light! BE WHAT YOU ARE! By faith, count on the fact of who you are and walk accordingly! See yourself in the Lord Jesus Christ." [Footnote #18--See our paper entitled The Riches of His Grace--215 THINGS THAT ARE TRUE OF ME NOW THAT I AM SAVED.] The great exhortation is that we should walk as new creatures (Gal. 6:15-16) because that is WHO WE ARE! God’s peace and victory will be upon all those who walk according to this NEW CREATURE RULE (Gal. 6:16), based upon the FINISHED WORK OF CHRIST ON THE CROSS (Gal. 6:14)!
ROMANS 7 AND THE NORMAL CHRISTIAN LIFE
Most men who are influenced by Reformed theology insist that Romans 7:14-25 is to be the normal experience of the Christian. The believer is not to leave Romans 7 to get into Romans 8, but the believer is to stay in Romans 7 throughout his Christian experience. These verses describe the conflict of the two natures in the child of God. Thus those of the Reformed tradition say that Romans 7 describes the normal, God-intended experience of a saved person as long as he is in the body. [Footnote #19--John MacArthur, Jr., for example, in his book FAITH WORKS, presents the view that Romans 7 ought to be the normal experience of a mature believer and that the Christian should never get out of Romans 7. See pages 131-138.] Indeed, according to A.W. Pink, there is no present deliverance from the carnal nature by the power of the Holy Spirit. [Footnote #20--Pink wrote this in a tract entitled "THE CHRISTIAN IN ROMANS 7." He was referring to Romans 7:24 where Paul cries, "Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Pink insists that there is no present deliverance, but that deliverance will come only at the time of "the redemption of the body." If Pink had only read 3 verses further he would have seen that there is deliverance from the law of sin and death even in this life (see Rom. 8:2).]
Before being critical of the above view, we must recognize that there is much truth to it. It is true that in the believer there will be a conflict and struggle between the two natures as long as he is in this body (Gal. 5:17). The sin nature will never be eradicated or uprooted. [Footnote #21--John MacArthur, Jr. denies that the believer possesses an old sinful nature. He teaches that the believer has but one nature, the new nature in Christ. How then does he explain sin in the believer? Sin must have a source. MacArthur teaches that although the sin nature is gone, some left-over remnants of sin have somehow survived. In his book FAITH WORKS he speaks of "surviving sin" (p. 135) and "the remnants of sin" (p. 135) and "this residual fallenness" (p. 134) and "the vestiges of sinful flesh" (p. 116). "We are, in short, new creations—holy and redeemed but wrapped in grave clothes of unredeemed flesh" (p.117). See our paper on MacArthur’s one nature teachings, available upon request.]
We would fully agree with Reformed men that the more we mature in the faith the more we should be conscious of our own sinfulness and wretchedness (v.18,24). The more we grow in the Lord the more we should come to know "the plague of (our) own heart" (1 Kings 8:38) and our own depravity. Also we should always be painfully aware of our complete helplessness and inability to do what is right in and of ourselves. We do not have the power to perform that which is good (v.18). Without Christ we can do nothing (John 15:5), and this shall ever be true. We should always stay in Romans 7 in the sense of knowing our sinfulness and helplessness and our moment by moment need of a Deliverer who is Christ Jesus.
What is there about Romans 7 which is not the God-intended Christian experience? Romans 7 describes a believer who contrary to his own will fails to do what is good and instead does the evil (v.19). This may be a common experience of believers, but certainly we dare not say that God intends believers to do evil and to be overcome by the old nature. This would be contrary to all of the Scriptures which teach that the believer is responsible not only to will the will of God but also to DO IT (Phil. 2:13; Heb. 13:21; 1 John 3:22). Certainly the normal Christian life which God intends us to have is not one of failure and defeat and frustration.
The purpose of Romans 7 is to teach that sanctification does not come by the law. The law is HOLY (Rom. 7:12) but the law cannot make us holy. Deliverance does not come by the law, it comes by Jesus Christ. When it comes to sanctifying the believer, the law utterly fails to do the job. Romans 7 brings us to the point where we cry out, "I CAN’T!" but Romans 8 gives the victory cry, "GOD CAN!" I can’t keep the law (Rom. 7:22-24) but the law can be fulfilled in me by the power of God (Rom. 8:4). Technically it is not that the believer leaves Romans 7 to get to Romans 8. It is perhaps better to say that Romans 7 gets the believer to Romans 8. Romans 7 teaches us valuable lessons about ourselves—about our helplessness and sinfulness and inability to please God in spite of our righteous desires. May we never forget these lessons.
Many Reformed men agree with A.W. Pink that there is no present deliverance from the carnal nature by the power of the Holy Spirit. They point to the future tense in Romans 7:24 ("who shall deliver me") as indicating that this deliverance shall not be realized until "the redemption of the body" or until believers are glorified. This would mean that believers would all their lifetime be in bondage to their carnal natures. This is not what the text says. Paul’s desperate cry in Romans 7:23-24 is answered in Romans 8:2. Is there deliverance from the law of sin and death? Indeed there is, "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death" (Rom. 8:2). Pink and others say that such a deliverance is future. Paul says that it has already been accomplished! Believers need to claim it by faith.
The God-intended Christian life is not the life of doing the evil which I hate and failing to do the good that I want to do (Romans 7:19). The God-intended Christian life is not a life of captivity and bondage to the law of sin and death (Romans 7:23). Christ came to set us free (John 8:31-36)! It is not God’s desire that we should live in perpetual defeat and failure and frustration days without end. No, the God-intended Christian life is set forth in many passages including these: Colossians 1:10-12; 1 John 3:18,22; Eph. 4:1-3; Phil. 4:1-9; 1 Cor. 15:10; Gal. 2:20; 5:22-23; etc. May we so walk and live.
"Run, John, run! The Law commands!
But gives me neither feet nor hands.
Far grander news the Gospel (grace) brings:
It bids me fly and gives me wings!"
– John Bunyan
Too many believers are trying to run without feet and hands (Romans 7). By the power and grace of God may we soar (Romans 8)! Using this illustration, the believer in Romans 7 is saying, "I want to run but I have no feet and no hands. I CAN’T DO IT! How to run I find not! No matter how hard I try, I fail! Who shall deliver me from this immobile condition?" This is not the God-intended Christian experience. The God-intended Christian experience is that we SOAR with the wings that God has provided! Compare Isaiah 40:31– "they shall mount up with wings like eagles."
For a more detailed study of Romans chapter 7, see Romans.
QUESTIONS FOR THOSE WHO WOULD PUT US UNDER BONDAGE
Here are some questions for those who would try to make the LAW the believer’s rule of life:
If the law is a "MINISTRATION OF DEATH" (2 Cor. 3:6-9) than how can it be the believer’s rule of life? If the law has been "done away" (2 Cor. 3:11) and "abolished" (2 Cor. 3:13; Eph. 2:15) and disannulled (Heb. 7:18-19) and "taken away" (Heb. 10:9 and compare Heb. 8:6-13), then how can a believer be under the law as a rule of life?
Why do you accuse those who teach that the believer is not under the law of promoting LAWLESSNESS and antinomianism? Does not Paul teach that God’s grace teaches us the very opposite? "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world" (Tit. 2:11-12). Was not Paul, the champion of the doctrine of grace, also falsely accused of teaching a doctrine that would promote lawlessness? See for example, Romans 6:14-15.
How can you place the believer under the law when the New Testament in at least four places declares that the believer is not under the law? See Romans 6:14; Romans 6:15; Galatians 5:18 and 1 Corinthians 9:20 (NASB). If the law is "the strength of sin" (see 1 Cor. 15:56), how can it be the believer’s rule of life? If the believer has died to the law and has been delivered and released from the law (Rom. 7:1-6), then how can the believer be under it as a rule of life?
Why did Paul give credit for the success of his Christian life to the grace of God instead of to the law of God (1 Cor. 15:10)? Why did he say, "I live by the faith of the Son of God" (Gal. 2:20) instead of saying "I live by the Ten Commandments"?
If the law cannot justify us, why should we think that it can sanctify us? If we were saved by the hearing of faith and not by the works of the law, then should not progress in the Christian life be made in the same way (see Gal. 3:2-3)? If we were saved at Mount Calvary, why should we abandon Mount Calvary and go to Mount Sinai for sanctification?
IS THE BELIEVER UNDER OBLIGATION
TO KEEP CHRIST’S COMMANDS?
"And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (1 John 2:3-4). "If ye love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15). Yes, commandment keeping is essential!
The believer living under grace whose focus is on Mount Calvary must keep God’s commands. Obedience to the Word of God is essential in each and every dispensation. The key question is this: What commands are we to obey? What commandments has Christ given to believers living in this present dispensation of grace? Here are some examples:
As believers living under grace we need to have our minds baptized and immersed in the EPISTLES, becoming more and more familiar with the great GRACE-ORIENTED COMMANDS that are found therein. Yes we are certainly to obey God’s commands, but the commands which God has given to us are based upon the believer’s glorious position in a crucified and risen Christ. These commands do not flow out of Mount Sinai, they flow out of Mount Calvary.
THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT IS NOT
THE MAGNA CARTA FOR CHRISTIAN LIVING
We acknowledge that the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5-7) is profitable for church age believers in many ways and is of immense spiritual value for our souls (2 Tim. 3:16-18), yet we must firmly insist that it is not church truth. [Footnote #22--The non-dispensationally minded John MacArthur, Jr., for example, teaches that the Sermon on the Mount not only applies to church-age believers, but "its primary message is for Christians" and must be considered "truth for today" (THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JESUS, p. 27 footnote).] Church truth is found in the "Upper Room Discourse" (John 13-17) and in the New Testament Epistles. The Sermon on the Mount is legal in character and its purpose was condemnatory. Its primary message was for those living at the time when "the kingdom of heaven" was "at hand." The long-promised kingdom was imminent and the people needed to know that they fell far short of the spiritual requirements necessary for entrance into that kingdom. They were totally unfit and unqualified for the kingdom, lacking the kind of righteousness that was required. This sermon has nothing to do with the believer’s exalted POSITION in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church. In this sermon we do not find the believer’s rule of life. It was a vital message given by our Lord to Jews who were told that the kingdom was at hand. It was not a message given to Christians.
For a more detailed study see The Sermon On The Mount.
W.J. Berry, in his preface to William Huntington’s classic work on THE BELIEVER’S RULE OF LIFE, well summed up the problem:
It is a divine fact that Christ has delivered absolutely, the "redeemed" from all bondage to, and consequences of all coded law with penalty. This truth was at first denied by the Pharisees and by some believing Jews. This denial of the truth might have prevailed, had not the issue been immediately settled forever by the apostles. The essentials of this work is recorded of the conference in Jerusalem (Acts 15:1-35); in Paul’s correction of Peter; of the apostle’s rebuking the Galatian Judaizers (Galatians); his exposition in the Roman Epistle, and the final clarification in the letter to the Hebrews. But in spite of these clear declarations from heaven, certain men came into the churches and persisted in teaching the same coded laws of Moses. At the Council of Nicea, called by the Roman Emperor Constantine, his bishops began the first "system" of Judao-Christian coded laws, to be expanded through the dark ages by Popes and their hierarchy of bishops; then modified and continued by the Protestant Reformers,– thence in all Christendom to the present day. The issue is not a question of right and wrong doing, but of the relationship under which we serve. All under every coded law serve sin to condemnation; all who are freed from the law now serve as free sons to righteousness and true holiness (Romans 6:15-23).
William Kelly, an early pioneer dispensationalist, presented this Biblically balanced position:
There are vast numbers who think that the Lord Jesus, besides bringing pardon, is simply a means to strengthen them to keep the law. But this is sad and fundamental ignorance of Christianity. Is a believer then at liberty to break the law? God forbid! It is one thing to be a debtor to do the whole law, and another that God can make light of any breach of the law. Is there nothing possible between these two conditions--debt to the law and freedom to break it? Neither consists with a Christian. He who is free to do his own will is a lawless, wicked man. He who is under the law to do it, describes the proper condition of the Jew and nobody else. The Christian stands on entirely new ground. He is saved by grace and is called to walk in grace. The character of righteousness that God looks for in him is of another sort altogether; as it is said in Philippians, ‘being filled with the fruits of righteousness’--not which are by the law, but ‘by Jesus Christ unto the glory and praise of God’ (Phil. 1:11)--by the Lord Jesus under grace and not under law. And this is not a question solely of justification. This has to do with the responsibility of the believer to do the will of God; and the Lord Jesus, not the law, is the measure and source of the Christian life and walk, which makes all the difference possible.
May our focus be upon the Lord Jesus Christ WHO IS OUR LIFE (Col. 3:1-4)! May we rest upon the FINISHED WORK of our Saviour, not only for justification but also for sanctification (Romans chapter 6)! May we glory and boast in Mount Calvary and what was accomplished there (Gal. 6:14)! May the righteousness of the law be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit (Rom. 8:4)! May we not abandon the GRACE OF GOD and THE CROSS OF CHRIST! May our hearts and minds be saturated with the practical principles for Christian living which are found in the New Testament Epistles! May the grace of God teach us that "denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world, looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave Himself for us [when He died at Mount Calvary], that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works" (Tit. 2:12-14).
Thanks beyond measure goes to Middletown Bible Church in Middletown, Ct. for the above article. Check out their most excellent website at:
God's first purpose in sending His Son to Earth was as Israel's Messiah. If Israel would repent of their sins and accept His Son as Messiah, He would put His Son, the Lord Jesus, on the throne of David to reign and rule over Israel in the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. John the Baptist came preparing the way for the Lord and preaching to Israel, "Repent, be baptized for the remission of your sins and turn back to God for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." Shortly after John began his ministry, Jesus was baptized by John and He began His ministry to Israel. His message was the same as John's, "Repent and be baptized for the remission of your sins, turn back to God and He will usher in the Kingdom of Heaven, which is at hand."
Mathew's gospel was written for the Jews that they might understand what John and Jesus were trying to accomplish and to understand that they had missed the message and crucified the Son of God to their peril. If one has a biblical understanding of grace, they will quickly understand that blessedness in the Kingdom of Heaven, which will occur upon the Second Coming of Christ, falls very short of the blessings believers have in this age of Grace.
Keep in mind that Matthew, Mark and Luke were motivated by the Holy Spirit to write their gospels so that Israel could see and understand that God had made every effort to get that nation to turn back to Him and embrace His Son as Messiah. Had Israel done so, God would have ushered in the Kingdom of Heaven, in fulfillment of prophecy.
Had the people of Israel repented of their sins and embraced their Messiah, God would have ushered in the Kingdom of Heaven with the Lord Jesus enthroned on David's throne in Jerusalem. God, who would have accepted Israel's repentance, would also have begun blessing that nation as part of His covenantal promise. The resultant, bountiful blessings of God that He would have bestowed on Israel would have been witnessed by all the nations of the world. And all the nations of the world would have desired the blessings of Israel's God. Thus, through Israel, God would have drawn all nations unto Himself. The leaders of Israel knew this, yet Israel would not have it.
Because of Israel's refusal to repent, turn back to God and embrace His Son, God had to turn to plan number two. Do not think for a moment that God implemented another plan as a result of a knee jerk reaction to Israel's stubbornness and sin. Before the foundations of the world were laid God had formulated His master plan and it was right on His schedule.
The supernatural profundity of a plan that would result in the God of the Universe sacrificing His only Son for the sin debt of all mankind will never be comprehended by mortals this side of heaven. Yet, it was through the altruistic sacrifice of His Son that God provided a way for releasing His marvelous grace into the lives of everyone who would believe in His Son. The present time, or age, we are living in is known as the Dispensation of Grace, or the Age of the Church, or the time of the Gentiles. This Dispensation of Grace will end either when Jesus comes in the air at the rapture of the church, or at the end of the seven years of tribulation when He returns to earth, destroys the enemies of God and sets up His millennial Kingdom.
The Sermon on the Mount
Matthew, Chapter 5-7 present the Sermon on the Mount, uttered by the King when 'the kingdom of heaven' was being announced. Verses 1 -16 in Matthew 5, reveals the character of the citizens of the kingdom. The beatitudes, 1-12, give the character of those who "inherit" the kingdom. Such who really 'repent' become also 'the salt of the earth,' 13, as well as 'the light of the world,' 14-16.
1. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Mathews gospel uses the term "poor in spirit", Luke uses the term "poor". Believers in Jesus Christ, having the Holy Spirit dwelling in them, are not poor spiritually, unless they choose to be. The Holy Spirit living in every believer will spiritually anoint, cleanse, empower and guide every believer into all truth, if the believer will surrender to the Holy Spirit working to accomplish God's will in their lives. The result being that they grow spiritually as every Christian should desire to do. In the above verse, the word "theirs" seems to mean a reward for being "poor in spirit." Christians should be filled continually by the Holy Spirit living in them and therefore should never be satisfied with being poor spiritually. Regardless, whether a believer is poor or rich in spiritual matters, the "kingdom of heaven" is not a believers reward. Compared to the blessings of grace that are ours under God's covenant of grace, The Millennial Kingdom is going to be a very trying place and time because it will be much more legalistic than even under the Law of Moses. Instead of the Kingdom of Heaven being a reward for a believer, we are co-heirs to all that belongs to Christ. We will serve Him and rule with Him in the Kingdom of Heaven.
2. "Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted."
As a believer, having access to the throne of grace every minute of our lives, we should seek comfort immediately through prayer to the Father, along with praise and worship of Him and fellowship with Him. However, since a key ministry for every believer is to offer comfort to others in need, it is part of God's plan for believers to experience His comfort coming from and through others in the body of Christ. Through the encouragement and edification of others we are being comforted continually, not only when we mourn.
3. Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.
Believers should make it their goal moment by moment to be humble and meek in spirit and countenance, but not for the purpose of inheriting the earth, for the earth will one day be destroyed, but none of a believers inheritance will be destroyed. Our inheritance is everything that belongs to Christ.
4. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
The chief desire of every believer should be to live in obedience to God's will regardless the cost, not to hunger and thirst for righteousness, for we are God's righteousness through believing in His Son. We have no righteousness of our own. Our righteousness comes from the Lord Jesus Christ who lives in us and it never needs replenishing.
5. Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.
Believers avail themselves to God's mercy the moment they believe and from that moment on His mercys are available in unlimited supply according to each believers need, not when it is merited, or by virtue of our being merciful.
6. Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.
Believers are pronounced pure in heart the moment they believe. For at that moment they are positionally sanctified and declared holy by God as a blessing of grace. As believers grow in grace they or involved in experiential sanctification as the Lord Jesus in the person of Holy Spirit takes the truths of God's word and inculcates these truths into their hearts, minds and spirits, applying it to their lives, making them more and more like Christ. Every believer is presently seated in the heavenlies with Christ at God's right hand. Therefore, I believe we are beholding our heavenly Father and God continually. However, this being a spiritual reality, as long as we are living in this earth suit, we have no awareness of it. Take comfort in this - upon death, or at the rapture, we will immediately see God in the person of our Savior Jesus Christ, for He and God are one.
7. Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.
Believers are given the title daughters and sons of God the moment they believe in His Son as a blessing of grace. They continue in these roles and positions throughout eternity. This is a work of God's grace not of our works lest we boast.
8. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Living under grace, believers are blessed to be chosen to enter into the suffering of Christ, and their rewards are promised to be great. However, the only part they will have in the kingdom of heaven will be to serve Christ and reign with Him.
9. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
Living under grace, believers know they are blessed when they have the privilege of entering into the suffering of Christ, therefore why not rejoice and be exceedingly glad. However, if we have the heart and mind of Christ, we do it because of our love for Him and our appreciation for what He has done for us and not because we covet any reward that would result.
The Beatitudes were given to those who anticipated the immediate ushering in of the Kingdom of Heaven under the Covenant of Law. Therefore it is now for those who will live during the Millennial Kingdom of Heaven on Earth and not for believers today.
Father, give me clarity of thought and a biblical understanding as I try to put down on paper, the applications of grace in the lives of humankind – the lost and especially those who believe.
The Grace of God may be the least understood spiritual truth in the collective intelligence of all humankind. And it is particularly so in Christendom where it is of the utmost importance. The apostle Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, told those gathered, whom he addressed as “Men of Athens”, that the god whom they called “THE UNKNOWN GOD” was the true God, who made the world and everything in it. Paul proclaimed that He was Lord of heaven and earth since He gives to all things life and breath, and that He had made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth. Paul ended by saying to these men of Athens, “You don’t need to look very far to find Him, because He is very near to each of you. In fact, it is in Him that we live and move and have our being”. That is how important grace is to a believer. For it is through God’s grace that Christians live and move and have their being.
Before I go any further, I need to issue a warning to my readers. Because this material is written for people who believe in Jesus Christ as their Savoir, it will not impact a nonbeliever the same way it should impact a believer. Jesus Christ promises that whoever believes in Him will receive eternal life (John 3:16). And whoever receives eternal life will receive (be indwelt by) the Holy Spirit and the one who is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit will guide them into all truth (John 16:13). One who has not believed does not have the Holy Spirit to guide them into God’s truth. The only things for certain that the Holy Spirit will do for a lost person is draw them to the Lord Jesus (John 6:44) and convict them of sin, judgment and righteousness (John 16:8). However, John 3:16 ff, convinces me that the God who so loves the lost people of the world that He sacrificed His son for them, will not quickly give up on them. Yet, because the Holy Spirit is given only to those who believe in Jesus Christ for salvation, God limits Himself to what He can do for those who are without Christ.
If anyone reading this is not a believer and they want to become a believer they only need to do one thing and that is to believe in the Lord Jesus. Jesus himself said this in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” To believe in someone you have to know about them. In Jesus’s case you have to know that He truly is the Son of God and that as the Son of God He died on the cross, was buried and was resurrected from His grave for the sins of all mankind. If you know these things are true and you believe them to be true, then confess your belief that these things are true about Jesus to God the Father and He will welcome you into His forever family. He will give you His Holy Spirit to live within you, and write your name in the Lambs book of Life. Since Jesus himself said that all that you needed to do was believe in Him then you have the assurance that this is all that He asks of you. You can talk to God the Father right now right where you are and confess your desire to become His child. If you have any questions about anything related to believing in Jesus Christ, or praying a prayer unto salvation, go to www.hislightshining.com and click on Good News For You.
When it comes to definitions for grace there may be as many definitions as there are people whose languages include a word for grace or some concept thereof. If we begin with a Webster dictionary we learn that it defines God’s grace as: The unmerited love and favor of God toward mankind; Devine influence acting in a person to make the person pure, morally strong, etc; The condition of a person brought to God’s favor through this influence; A special virtue, gift, or help given to a person by God.
Grace, as understood and articulated by some of the Christian teachers, evangelist, preachers and writers who have influenced my walk with Christ fit these definitions:
The power of God unto salvation;
The power of God through the Holy Spirit as He works in every surrendered believer’s life;
The desires and power of God available to every believer to do His will;
God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense;
“Grace is what God may be free to do, and indeed what he does, accordingly, for the lost after Christ has died on behalf of them” (Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, 7:178).
A Christian Organization, which was headquartered in East Texas at one time, had this awesome phrase as their slogan: “God’s love is the greatest force in the Universe!” I was absolutely convinced of this was the truth of all truths for many years. After the organization was disbanded, I acquired the sign that contained the above phrase from an ex-employee of the ministry, who was cleaning out a storage building. The words were literally hand carved into a 20 foot, 4”X12” cedar beam. I placed this beautiful, inspiring quote across the front entrance of a Christian Camp and Conference Center of which I was director. Needless to say, it became a very popular, much quoted truism.
Twenty two years later, I have to confess, maturing as a Christian has led me to another reality. I would suggest that it is God’s grace that is the greatest force in the Universe, while love, being the chief component of that power, is not degraded one iota. We cannot appreciate God’s power apart from a deep understanding of His grace and we cannot appreciate God’s grace apart from a deep experiencing of His love.
Though, I now believe the colossal scope of grace to be a literal and universal truth, during my first thirty years as a believer I never realized how awesome and all-powerful was and is God’s grace. It wasn’t until about six years ago, after reading the “The Complete Green Letters”, by Miles J. Stanford, that I felt the Holy Spirit urging me to a deeper, more encompassing understanding of grace. Not long after embarking on a search of scripture of all things related to grace, my wife and I started attending Lake Country Bible Church in Mineola. Shortly after this, the pastor, Craig Lacy, preached a series of sermons on the “Gifts of God’s Grace Through Jesus Christ”. Though I had already discovered many of these gifts, this sermon series opened my eyes to all the gifts of grace that belongs to every believer the moment they believe.
Then, about the time I came down off the spiritual mountain top I was on from our Pastor’s sermon series, I stumbled across Lewis Sperry Chafer’s life changing book, “Grace: An Exposition of God’s Marvelous Gift”. This book has done more to engraft the wisdom of God concerning grace into my heart, than all the combined articles, sermons, teachings and books on grace that I had ever heard, or read, or studied in my Christian walk.
The amount of power God used in bringing our universe into existence is negligible, when compared to the enormous amount of power expended – past, present and future - by God through grace in all its manifestations.
If God’s grace is as important and powerful, as I believe the bible says it is, why is the church not putting the correct and proper emphasis on understanding and experiencing grace in individual’s lives? I do not know all the answers to that question, but I believe I know in part what the answer is. Are bible colleges and seminaries first and foremost putting the appropriate emphasis on grace? Are they teaching the relationship of grace to every other biblical subject relevant to the church age? Are they teaching about of the gifts of grace found in Christ? Do they have a course on the teachings of grace as revealed in the gospel of John and the epistles of the NT? Do they offer a course on the commandments of Christ revealed in the teachings of grace? If grace is not of the most paramount importance to our Bible Colleges and Seminaries, their graduates will not bring the importance and teachings of grace to their pulpits. If pastors and teachers are not presenting grace as the most important aspect of a believer’s life experiences, a believer will probably never pick up on the importance of grace in their lives to its fullest extent. I’ve had many godly, evangelical pastors in my life, who taught and preached excellent sermons. However, for the most part, evangelism was the heart of their messages, and in looking back, I see that their congregations suffered from a very shallow understanding of grace under the shepherding they received.
Let me give an example of how important a deep and thorough understanding of grace actually is. Besides eternal life and the forgiveness of sins, how many other blessings of grace in Jesus Christ, that accrue to every believer the moment they believe, can you name? You probably, like me six years ago, don’t even understand the question. Back then, if I had understood the question, I would have thought of only two or three more blessings of grace. Maybe justification, sanctification and having the Holy Spirit indwelling me would have finally come to mind. Would you believe, well over sixty five blessings of grace in Jesus Christ are ours the moment we believe. For my article on The Blessings of Grace In Jesus Christ that are ours the moment we believe, go to my website www.hislightshining.com and click on All About Grace and More, then click on The Blessings of Grace in Christ. Don’t just read the article! Copy and paste it into your computers word processing program and double and triple check it against God’s Word to be certain that I am telling you the truth.
About half of the first thirty years of my walk with the Lord I spent primarily associated with one church. This church had: a very rich body life; great bible studies; one of the best Christian School systems in east Texas; a super evangelism training program, including Evangelism Explosion; forward thinking board of elders; and at one time a staff of five pastors who alternated preaching on a regular basis. It was all for which, a believer could ask, or so I thought. I was sharing the gospel on a regular basis, teaching bible studies, going on evangelism outreaches, working in or leading evangelism conferences. But about the only thing I knew in regards to grace was that a person was saved by grace through faith and that it was grace that kept one saved.
I can’t explain the wonder and joy I experienced when, after more than thirty years walking in faith, the Holy Spirit through scripture, began revealing the many wonderful truths of grace to me. I discovered that by God’s grace alone I was: accepted by God through His Beloved Son; justified; sanctified; redeemed; adopted into His forever family; co-heir to the inheritance of Christ Jesus; on and on and on. Somehow, I felt that I should have stumbled onto these truths thirty years earlier. But the truth was that most of my reading of the bible since I had accepted Christ was directed by specific bible study, Sunday school classes, preparation for sermons or quiet time reading. It wasn’t until I surrendered to the Holy Spirit’s control, for the purpose of being guided into the truths about God’s grace, did I discover those truths. When the reality of my insufficient knowledge and understanding of grace became apparent, I didn’t become bitter towards anyone for it would have served no purpose. I was dismayed that the knowledge of all the blessings of grace that were mine was kept from me mainly by my own lack of in-depth seeking after God’s truths. However, spiritual leaders who had never been taught or trained in discovering all the blessings of God’s grace found in the teachings of Christ were not able to pass on to me what they had not been taught or discovered on their own.
One of the greatest investments I have ever made is in a Bible Explorer Computer program from Word. The reason it has proven so valuable is because it contained, as part of its Christian Literature section, the book by Lewis Sperry Chafer titled “Grace: An Exposition of God’s Marvelous Gift.” I copied the book into my Word program and in the past three years I have read it six times and am leading a bible study through the fourth chapter presently. I will still be reading and enjoying this book, I hope, when the Lord calls me home or calls me to Himself in the air. If you are as hungry as I am to grow in grace and in the knowledge of: my heavenly Father; His Son, my Savior the Lord Jesus Christ and the work He is doing on my behalf there at the right hand of the Father; and the Holy Spirit and the work He is doing in my being, then you will benefit greatly from reading Mr. Chafer’s book.
However, I am not trying to promote anyone’s book through writing this article. I am trying to encourage believers to grow in God’s grace. For it is through the grace of God that believers will live the most spiritually prosperous lives, experience more victories while battling sin and temptation, and will share the love of Christ with the saved and the lost more effectively.
I have titled this paper, Grace 101 because this is where I am convinced every believer needs start in their life quest to understand and apply every manifestation of grace to their lives.
Every person’s first contact with grace comes while they are an unbeliever. Jesus says in John 16: 8, “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” He is talking of course about the Holy Spirit for it is the Holy Spirit that convicts the lost person of their sin. John MacArthur and others teach that ‘sin’ in this verse represents the sin of unbelief. Therefore, it is an act of God’s grace when the Holy Spirit moves upon any lost persons heart to convict them that they are lost and condemned to hell. We know that a lost person is condemned because of what Jesus said in verse 18 of John 3, “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” You see it is a lost persons unbelief that condemns them to hell, not their sins, because Jesus paid the penalty for every lost persons sins by dying on the cross. Thus the conviction of one’s lost condition is God’s first act of grace in the life of an unbeliever.
God’s next act of Grace comes upon a person acknowledging their belief in God’s Son. Eph. 2:8 expressing the salvation process in past tense, gives us understanding in this step of the salvation transaction. “You have been saved through your faith and by God’s grace, therefore, it is not of your work, but is a gift of God.” Step number one in the salvation process is for a person to acknowledge their belief in God’s Son. Believing in Jesus means you have faith that He is God’s Son and that He died on the cross for the sins of all men, which includes you. Acknowledging these truths is your way of expressing or communicating your faith to God. This allows God to respond to your faith expression by extending His grace to you, thus making you a bone fide child of God.
What transpires immediately upon a person believing is an avalanche of wonderful, marvelous, precious gifts of grace into the life of the new believer. Let me mention just a few. So that you won’t be overwhelmed, don’t try to understand immediately everything there is to know about these gifts. Don’t exasperate yourself over why you are receiving them, or what you had to do to deserve them. These are God’s gifts of grace to you and the best way to absorb, understand and be filled with joy by them, is to let the Holy Spirit, in His timing, guide you through a study of them.
Here is a very short list of the blessings of grace in Christ Jesus:
1. Adoption as God's sons (Rom 8:15) (Eph 1:5)
2. Accepted in the Beloved Son (Eph 1:6)
3. Redemption (Eph 1:7) (Col 1:13-14) (Rom 4:22-24)
4. Understanding of God's eternal purpose for us (Ephe 1:4-5)
5. Forgiveness of our sins (Eph 1:7) (Col 1:14)
6. Inheritance that we will have in Jesus (Eph 1:11-12)
7. Sealed with the Holy Spirit for all eternity (Eph 1:13)
8. Buried with and Resurrected In Christ (Eph 2:6) (Col 2:12)
9. Seated with Christ In the heavenlies, present tense (Eph 2:6)
10. Reconciled to God (Col 1:20)
The above ten blessings of grace that belong to every believer the moment they believe just barely scratches the surface. I have about sixty listed on my website www.hislightshining.com under All About Grace and More and The Blessings of Grace in Christ.
These blessings of Grace we don’t deserve. What we deserve is the fires of hell. However, God has demonstrated His infinite love for us by blessing us beyond measure. What will a bible based understanding of all of God’s blessings of grace do for us? It will set us free from false condemnation, false guilt, false remorse and false teaching. However, these all have a negative connotation, so let me start over listing some more positive, wonderful things an understanding of grace will do for every child of God.
Here are some positive things that will cause your heart to rejoice. An understanding of the blessings of grace along with a handy mental list will allow you to recall and incorporate them into your prayers of thanksgiving. The next time you pray, take the time to offer a praise of thanksgiving, thanking God for some of His blessings of grass. Such as those I have already mentioned. They will enrich your relationship with God the Father. They will enrich your relationship with God the Son and they will definitely enrich your relationship with the Holy Spirit who lives in you. If you incorporate them into your prayers of worship and thanksgiving they will enrich your prayer life. They will set every believer who is struggling with legalism free from the bondage of the Law. Why do I say that? Because as you grow in grace and begin to understand the importance of grace in the life of every believer you will see that the teachings of grace, which are the teachings of Christ, have nothing to do with keeping the law. One of the truths to which the Holy Spirit will guide you is the truth that the whole law system of Israel, or law of Moses, if you prefer, has been fulfilled in Christ and has been nailed to the cross by Him. God’s message to Israel and His message to Christians is that He deals with individuals through His grace only during this: Age of Grace, Time of the Gentiles; Dispensation of Grace; Church Age, ad infinitum. It doesn’t matter what name we put on this period of time from the cross until the Rapture, it is the reign of Christ in the hearts of man through the grace of God.
Now, let’s get down to the heart of the matter. Before we can understand how gigantic, enormous, far reaching, infinitely powerful and all controlling grace is, we have to get a reality engrafted into our minds and hearts. There are caveats to God’s grace: 1.) Gods grace emanates from God alone; 2.) No one controls God’s grace but God; 3.) God’s grace will only be applied to that which God deems worthy of His grace; 4.) God determines when, where, how and why His grace is applied. These are warnings because, he who tries to abridge these uncompromising rules of God’s grace, may do it at their eternal peril.
Scripture, having established these rules, they stand unchallenged. Why do I say they stand unchallenged? Simply because, who in the whole universe can defy God’s power? Satan thought he could, but when you read the end of God’s book you see what happens to Satan. And anytime mortal man, no matter how noble he believes his motives are, tries to add to, subtract from or do away with God’s grace, he is aligning himself with the forces of evil and he is acting in obedience to Satan’s will.
Let’s play a game! If you have read some of my other work, you may have played this game before, but just humor me for the moment. Let’s think for a moment to see if we can think of an object that will represent our understanding of God’s grace. I’ll tell you the object that comes to my mind that represents my knowledge of God’s grace. It’s a English pea. Can you picture that? Now let’s identify the object that represents all the knowledge that you have in regards to God’s grace. Ok, so that I don’t treat you unfairly or embarrass you, let’s use someone else. Let us use the most intelligent bible scholar in the history of the world. Now, let’s use a basketball to represent the knowledge of God’s grace that is or was contained in the brain of the most intelligent bible scholar who has ever lived. My knowledge is represented by an English pea and the bible scholar’s knowledge is represented by the basketball. What do you believe would represent the knowledge of God in reference to His grace? The truth is you and I can’t think of an object. The closest we can come is just letting the entire universe represent God’s knowledge of His grace. We can’t use anything smaller because that truly would limit the power of God and we know that He not only created the universe, but if our latest scientific findings in the field of astronomy is correct, God is still building His universe. In other words the universe cannot be measured until God quits building. And His knowledge of His grace and His grace alone, is larger than the Universe measured at any given nanosecond in time.
I believe that I am correct in my estimation of the astronomical size of God’s grace. Therefore, I also believe that anytime we identify God’s grace at work in the entire universe as presented in scripture we are not to add anything to grace, or take anything away from grace. That is a privilege that God has not and He will not grant.
Clearing Up Misconceptions
Grace cannot be earned! Grace is a benevolent act of God on behalf of those who have believed in His Son. In every operation or facet of grace, it is a gift from God to man. Grace thus rules out all human merit. “It (grace) requires only faith in the Savior. Any intermixture of human merit violates grace. God’s grace thus provides not only salvation but safety and preservation for the one saved, despite his imperfections. Grace perfects forever the saved one in the sight of God because of the saved one’s position “in Christ.” Grace bestows Christ’s merit and Christ’s standing forever (Romans 5:1-2; Romans 8:1; Col. 2:9-10); —New Unger's Bible Dictionary
Grace is not a reward for faithful service or meritorious acts of believers. Rewards for faithful service or benevolent acts of believers may be rewarded, but those rewards come at the Bema Seat, shortly after the second coming of Christ and before He issues in the Millennial Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
Grace is never conditional. It depends on nothing from the recipient.
God’s gifts of grace in Christ Jesus that are bestowed on every believer at Salvation are the same for each believer. There are no different graces for different people.
For an article on all the verses in the New Testament that contains the word grace with comments go to the article on this page titled The Grace of God Understood in Context
A Primer: Understanding God’s Grace
The purpose for creating this primer is so that those who truly want to read every scripture in the New Testament that pertains to the Church Age, a.k.a. the Dispensation of Grace can quickly do so without having to continually refer to their Concordance. These verses were referenced in my NASB Concordance, however they are cut and pasted from my Word Bible Program in the NKJV. Please use the to the glory of the Lord.
Luke 2:40 The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.
John 1:14, And the Word became 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.
John 1:16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.
John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Acts 4:33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.
Acts 6:8 And Stephen, full of faith, grace and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.
Acts 11:23 When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.
Acts 13:43 Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.
Acts 14:3 Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
Acts 14:26 From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed.
Acts 15:11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they."
Acts 15:40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God.
Acts 18:27 And when he desired to cross to Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him; and when he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace;
Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
Acts 20:32 So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
Romans 1:5 Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name,
Romans 1:7 To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 3:24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
Romans 4:16 Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all
Romans 5:2 Through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Romans 5:15 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man's offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.
Romans 5:17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:20 The Law came in so that the transgression would increase ; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,
Romans 5:21 so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 6:1 [Believers Are Dead to Sin, Alive to God] What shall we say then ? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase ?
Romans 11:6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.
Romans 12:3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think ; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.
Romans 12:6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith.
Romans 15:15 But I have written very boldly to you on some points so as to remind you again, because of the grace that was given me from God
1 Corinthians 1:3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:4 I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus,
1 Corinthians 3:10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it.
1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.
1 Corinthians 16:23 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.
2 Corinthians 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 1:12 [Paul's Integrity] For our proud confidence is this : the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you.
2 Corinthians 4:15 For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.
2 Corinthians 6:1 [Their Ministry Commended] And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain –
2 Corinthians 8:1 [Great Generosity] Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia,
2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.
2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;
2 Corinthians 9:14 while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you.
2 Corinthians 12:9 And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.
Galatians 1:3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,
Galatians 1:6 [Perversion of the Gospel] I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;
Galatians 1:15 But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother's womb and called me through His grace, was pleased
Galatians 2:9 and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.
Galatians 2:21 "I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly."
Galatians 5:4 You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law ; you have fallen from grace.
Galatians 6:18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen.
Ephesians 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace
Ephesians 2:5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved ).
Ephesians 2:7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith ; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
Ephesians 3:2 if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace which was given to me for you;
Ephesians 3:7 of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God's grace which was given to me according to the working of His power.
Ephesians 3:8 To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ,
Ephesians 4:7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift.
Ephesians 4:29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
Ephesians 6:24 Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love.
Philippians 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:7 For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me.
Philippians 4:23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
Colossians 1:2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae : Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
Colossians 1:6 which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth;
Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.
Colossians 4:18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my imprisonment. Grace be with you.
1 Thessalonians 1:1 [Thanksgiving for These Believers] Paul and Silvanus and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ : Grace to you and peace.
1 Thessalonians 5:28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
2 Thessalonians 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 1:12 So that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 2:16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace,
2 Thessalonians 3:18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
1 Timothy 1:2 To Timothy, my true child in the faith : Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord
1 Timothy 1:14 and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus.
1 Timothy 6:21 which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith. Grace be with you.
2 Timothy 1:2 To Timothy, my beloved son : Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
2 Timothy 1:9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,
2 Timothy 2:1 [Be Strong] You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 4:22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.
Titus 1:4 To Titus, my true child in a common faith : Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,
Titus 3:7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Titus 3:15 All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all.
Philemon 1:3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ
Philemon 1:25 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
Heb. 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.
Heb 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 10:29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?
Heb. 12:15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;
Heb 13:9 Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.
Heb 12:25 Grace be with you all. Amen.
James 4:6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
1 Pet 1:2 Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
1 Pet 1:10 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you,
1 Pet 1:13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
1 Pet 3:7 Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.
1 Pet 4:10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
1 Pet 5:5 … "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble."
1 Pet 5:10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
1 Pet 5:12 By Silvanus, our faithful brother as I consider him, I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God in which you stand.
2 Pet 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,
2 Pet 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.
2 John 1:3 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.
Jude 1:4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Rev. 1:4 John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne,
Rev 22:21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Answer: John Wayne Gacy was put to death by lethal injection in the early morning hours of May 10, 1994 for murdering 33 young men and boys, 29 of whom he buried in the crawl space beneath his own Chicago home between the years of 1972 and 1978. After Gacy’s death, he was delivered into the hands of Dr. Helen Morrison to perform a very unique autopsy. Dr. Morrison had previously interviewed Gacy, along with many other serial killers, in an attempt to isolate personality traits that were common among such ruthless murderers. Now at the request of Gacy’s family, Dr. Morrison was going to remove the brain of the notorious serial killer in hopes of discovering some sort of physical abnormality that would provide answers for why Gacy destroyed so many innocent lives.
In her book, My Life Among the Serial Killers, Dr. Morrison commented on what she believed to be a genetically predetermined factor in people like Gacy: "He is a serial killer when he is a fetus, even as soon as sperm meets egg to create the genes of a new person.” In other words, according to Morrison, there was no hope for Gacy; his genes determined his actions and his behavior. In some sense, Gacy could be excused for his behavior if there were no laws prohibiting his actions. Morrison did not see any separation between the natural ability in her patients and their moral ability.
Is such a thing true? Or is there instead a division between each person’s natural body and their intrinsic essence or nature—that which makes them who they are from a moral standpoint? Atheists and naturalists say ‘no,’ but the Bible counters with the reality that there is a spiritual and moral side to every person that is distinct from their physical body. And Scripture also states that it is this component of a person who has inherited what is called a ‘sin nature’ that produces everything from white lies to atrocities such as those committed by John Wayne Gacy.
The Reality of the Sin Nature
Some psychologists and scientists have attempted to deny that humanity is inherently sinful or ‘bad.’ For example, the founder of humanistic psychology, Abraham Maslow, said: “As far as I know we just don't have any intrinsic instincts for evil.” Agreeing with Maslow is noted psychologist Carl Rogers who stated, “I do not find that…evil is inherent in human nature.” Both Maslow and Rogers dismiss sin and instead say if a person is committing evil acts, then the ‘patient’ is psychologically ill and must be brought back to mental sanity through medication and therapy.
However, history has shown that the evil actions of humanity transcend mere mental disorders. Commenting on the Nazi atrocities, Catholic monk and priest Thomas Merton observed, “One of the most disturbing facts that came out in the Eichmann Trial was that a psychiatrist examined him and pronounced him perfectly sane. We equate sanity with a sense of justice, with humaneness, with prudence, with the capacity to love and understand other people. . . . And now it begins to dawn on us that it is precisely the sane ones who are the most dangerous.”
Various philosophers have also tried to either deny a sin nature or explain it away through various means. One example is Jean Jacques Rousseau, an 18th century philosopher, writer, and composer of Romanticism, whose political philosophy heavily influenced the French Revolution. He believed that mankind was naturally good and that each person was born an ‘innocent savage.’ If each person was born innocent, how did Rousseau explain humanity’s evil actions? Simply put, Rousseau claimed that society corrupted people, and that is why they end up exhibiting bad behavior. However, as various opponents of Rousseau’s claims soon pointed out to him, societies are comprised of people, and are therefore only a collective manifestation of individual wickedness.
Even some theologians have tried to deny an inherent sin nature in humanity, with the most famous being the Culdee Monk Pelagius who rejected the notion of a person being born anything but perfect and innocent. Pelagius’ theological wrestling matches with the famous Augustine resulted in the condemnation of Pelagius’ teaching in the early church, although it still lives on in various places today.
The fact is that the reality of a sin nature is clearly seen in human behavior. Such truth caused Reinhold Niebuhr to comment, “The doctrine of original sin is the only empirically verifiable doctrine of the Christian faith.” Expounding on Niebuhr’s statement in more detail, R.C. Sproul describes the situation this way: “If each one of us is born without a sinful nature, how do we account for the universality of sin? If four billion people were born with no inclination to sin, with no corruption to their nature, we would reasonably expect that at least some of them would refrain from falling. . . . But if everybody does it, without exception, then we begin to wonder why.”
The Bible provides the answer as to why every person sins. Scripture says that God created humankind originally good and without a sin nature: "Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. . . . God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:26-27). However, Genesis chapter 3 records the fall of Adam and Eve, and with that fall, sin entered into the two previously sinless creatures that God had made. And when they, in turn, had children, their sin nature was passed along to their offspring. That sin nature immediately manifested itself in the very first man born from Adam and Eve, a man named Cain who became a murderer (Genesis 4:8).
Instead of only the image of God being passed down through the human procreation process, a sin nature was passed as well: “When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth” (Genesis 5:3; emphasis added). The fact is that each and every person born from the beginning has inherited the sin nature of his parents, with both the Old and New Testaments speaking to this fact. For example, David says, "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5). In another Psalm, David states: “The wicked are estranged from the womb; these who speak lies go astray from birth” (Psalm 58:3). His son Solomon wrote: "Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins” (Ecclesiastes 7:20).
The Old Testament prophets also affirmed that a sin nature exists in everyone born of human parents. Jeremiah said, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). The prophet Isaiah stated: For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away” (Isaiah 64:6).
In the New Testament, Paul affirms an inherited sin nature when he says, "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). And the Apostle John says this to his readers: If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).
Students of Scripture have all reached the conclusion that the Bible teaches each and every person possesses a sinful nature, with Charles Spurgeon summing up the reality when he said: “As the salt flavors every drop in the Atlantic, so does sin affect every atom of our nature. It is so sadly there, so abundantly there, that if you cannot detect it, you are deceived.”
In one sense, Dr. Helen Morrison was right in her assessment of human nature. When children are conceived, they are predetermined—not to necessarily become a serial killer like John Wayne Gacy, but to sin in some form or fashion.
Misconceptions about the Sin Nature
Although the biblical teaching of a sin nature is clear, there are a number of misconceptions that both Christians and non-Christians have about it. First, some people think that a sin nature means that a person cannot tell right from wrong or behave in a ‘good’ manner towards someone else. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Jesus acknowledged that someone could perform good acts and yet still have an evil sin nature when he said, “What man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:9–11, emphasis added).
In fact, the Bible says each person is equipped by God with a conscience that instinctively knows right and wrong. Paul confirms this truth when he says, "For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them" (Romans 2:14-15).
Next, some believe that a sin nature means that every person will eventually end up a like a Ted Bundy or John Wayne Gacy. However, this isn’t the case at all. A sin nature does not mean that every person will be as bad as they can possibly be, but rather than each person is as bad off as they can possibly be from a spiritual standpoint. Every person is spiritually dead and cut off from God, but the degrees of wickedness in each person will vary.
Lastly, some Christians have been taught that they lose their sin nature once they receive Christ as their Lord and Savior. But Scripture says that the sin nature remains after a person becomes a believer in Christ and that a struggle with that sin nature will continue until they are glorified in eternity. Paul bemoaned his struggle when he said, “For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. . . . But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me” (Romans 7:15, 20).
The struggle between the sinful and regenerated spiritual nature in a Christian will be quite evident to a person who has been born again, but such a battle will not occur in a person who has not become a believer in Christ. They remain spiritually dead and are not sensitive to sin as a Christian is.
The story is told of a man who once came to a preacher and said, “You talk about how heavy sin is, but preacher, I don’t feel a thing.” The preacher thought for a minute and then asked, “If we put 400 pounds of weight on a corpse, do you think he’d feel it?”
The Consequences of the Sin Nature
The reality of the sin nature brings with it many disappointing consequences. The first effect is that each and every person in born spiritually dead. That is, they are devoid of any spiritual life or desire for the things of God. Jesus affirmed this condition when asked by a person if he could first go bury his father before following Christ. Jesus responded by saying, “Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead” (Matthew 8:22). In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul (describing his readers’ condition prior to being born again) says simply “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).
The lack of spiritual life in a person results in behavior that is both hostile toward God and mindfully ignorant of His truth. In Romans, speaking about the hostility and inability of spiritually dead people to respond to God, Paul says, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so” (Romans 8:6-7). The Apostle underscores the same fact in his first letter to the Corinthian church: “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
The final and natural consequence of the sin nature is eternal death—an eternal separation from God. God’s wrath remains on those who are not born again (John 3:36), and so their destiny is only one of judgment, which is spelled out in the book of Revelation: "Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:14-15).
The Cure for the Sin Nature
Fortunately, there is a cure for the sin nature and a way to escape the judgment of God. The cure is the new birth, which is described by the Apostle John in Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus: “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus said to 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?’ Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, You must be born again. The Spirit breathes where He desires, and you hear His voice, but you do not know from where He comes, and where He goes; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit’” (John 3:3–8).
The good news is that Christ’s sacrifice supplies spiritual life for any person who calls on the name of the Lord for salvation. Paul says, “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:10). The Apostle also highlights this spiritual regeneration when he writes, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
The Spirit of God takes up residence in each person who is born again and supplies the power to not only defeat the effects of the sin nature, but to supply strength to defeat the old sinful nature’s pull to do wrong in God’s sight. Paul says it like this: “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16–17).
The great news is that the sin nature can be defeated by the One who did not inherit a sin nature from His earthly parents (Jesus was born of a virgin). Through His finished work on the cross, Jesus, being sinless, satisfied God’s wrath for sinners and rose again to offer life to those devoid of spiritual life.
The fact that each person ever born possesses a sin nature is verified by human experience and the Word of God. The good news is that Christ provides a way of conquering the inherited sin nature and a victory that can be experienced both in this life and the next. No matter how bad off the person is, Jesus can defeat the sin that enslaves him. As John Calvin put it, “For certainly, Christ is much more powerful to save than Adam was to ruin.”
The Above Article is Taken From The Website “Got Questions?”
Recently, I read an article on the importance of individual Christians allowing their Savior, Jesus Christ, to be Lord of their life moment by moment, day by day. The article correctly asserted that it is only when Jesus is reigning as Lord over our lives that we are perfectly aligned with God's will.
In the article, the term Lordship salvation was used. For anyone who might not be familiar with the term, Lordship Salvation is the belief that God's perfect plan for every believer makes provision for Jesus Christ to be Lord over the believers life beginning at the very moment one trusts in Christ as Savior until they are in His presence in glory.
However, those who stand apposed to Lordship Salvation, and there are many, say, that at the heart of Lordship Salvation is the requirement that for one to receive Jesus as Savior one must accept the Lordship of Jesus at the time of conversion. This, opponents of Lordship say, is diametrically apposed to what scripture teaches. They believe that when Jesus said, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him....", means exactly that. One only has to believe in (accept) Jesus the man as their savior to be saved. They say that accepting Him also as Lord is not a requirement, since believing on or in Jesus is all the bible requires.
My daily routine is to start the day with bible study around six a.m. Then I eat breakfast and afterwards I go walk along the country roads near my home for forty five minutes or so. While walking I focus on praying, singing praise and worship songs and meditating on scripture or spiritual matters that come to mind. During my walk I try my best to refrain from thinking on events of the world, I try to keep my thoughts on issues and matters of spiritual value. Recently, as I walked, the article I had read came to mind. As I thought about the issues of being, pro or con, relative to the Lordship of Christ, the question came to mind: How can a Christian believe that one can accept only that part of Christ that pleases them at the moment of their salvation? I honestly can't remember ever thinking of Jesus as being dichotomous, or perhaps to coin a word, multichotomous. Yet, to believe that at salvation every sinner has the choice of accepting one part or another, or as many parts as they believe makes Jesus who He is, or at least, who they believe He to be, is ludicrous.
I believe Jesus to be all those things the bible reveals Him to be, yet indivisible. To me He is Savior, Lord, master, king, shepherd, Messiah, God, Spirit, redeemer and friend, to name just a few of the entities the Bible declares Him to be.
As I walked, other questions came into focus. Does scripture teach that the resurrected Son of God is Lord? Is He Savior? Is He God? Does scripture teach that the resurrected Son of God is ever, even in the minutest amount, less than 100% Lord, Savior and God?
Immediately one scripture came to mind that gave me the answer to the first question and proved to me that Jesus is Lord. Acts 2:36, "God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." Please note that it is not I, nor you, nor anyone else who makes Jesus Lord. God made Him Lord. Therefore, He is not Lord according to our choosing, He is Lord according to God's decree.
As I thought on the last question, Is Jesus ever less than 100% Lord, Christ and God, I knew in my heart the answer was emphatically NO! Here again, one scripture came to my mind and it was all that the Holy Spirit needed say to reveal to me the truth about whether or not Jesus has ever been less than 100% Lord, Savior and God.
"For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" Col. 2:9. I take from this scripture, this assurance, that from the moment God made Jesus Lord, He has been Lord in the fullest sense and never less than that.
Therefore, when one believes in Jesus unto salvation, he or she is believing in the whole person. We don't get to pick and choose what part of Him we want to believe in. Christians like to use the term, "accept the Lord", as meaning, have faith in Him or believing in Him unto salvation. Whether we "choose" to believe in His Lordship, doesn't in any way affect who He is and what He has done on our behalf. However, it may affect our salvation as will be revealed later.
So, it isn't a question of whether one believes consciously in the Lordship of Christ at conversion, but will they allow Him to work in and through their lives as Lord after they have been saved.
We all know, whether we acknowledge it or not, there are many, among the countless millions in the body of Christ, who at any given time, refuse to allow the Lord Jesus to be Lord in their lives. Yet, His Lordship, regardless how many of us, His followers, rebel and take Him off the throne of our lives at any moment, is not diminished one iota, However, we can't say the same for the lives of those of us who refuse to allow Him Lordship in our lives, even for the briefest moment. For our lives are diminished! And some of us will suffer physically, mentally, emotionally, financially and otherwise for our prolonged disobedience. Yet, the area in which we suffer the most when we refuse to surrender to His Lordship, is in the spiritual realm. At those times when we are out of His will, the Holy Spirit's work in us comes to a stand still.
Now part of the work of the Holy Spirit is to guide us into all truth just as Jesus said it was in John 16, "When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth." However, I don't think the Holy Spirit will ever over rule a believer's free will. If I am not willing to be guided into spiritual truth, then I will not be guided.
Surrendering to the Lordship of Jesus Christ is synonymous with living in obedience to God's will. One never grows spiritually when they are living in disobedience.
As Christians we daily we make choices and whether we make right or wrong choices is determined by whether He is allowed to be Lord in our life at any given moment or not. Let me give you and example of what I mean.
As I live, move and exist each day, I try filling my heart moment by moment with thoughts that are pleasing to the Lord. However, I can be having the most glorious thought imaginable and in the twinkling of an eye, an unwanted, sinful thought may flood my mind. Immediately I have a choice. I can take the thought captive to the obedience of Christ, or I can let my heart and mind be filled with sinful thoughts for a season. If I choose to ignore the first option, I will immediately destroy my fellowship with the Lord. And, if I was in the midst of prayer, I will destroy the blessings that might have come to those for whom I was praying. Now, if my decision is to allow the sinful thoughts to occupy my mind, until I choose to end the thoughts, confess and be forgiven for my disobedience, I will be out of fellowship with, and out of the will of, my heavenly Father for that period of time. So, help me God, I want always to take my thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ.
Many years ago the Holy Spirit guided me to a truth that has served me faithfully every since. I had just memorized 2 Corinthians 10, verses 4 – 5, "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ." At the time I was a Xerox technician and I was in a customers office working on their Xerox copier. As I worked, I was singing under my breath and having pleasant, wholesome thoughts about what God was doing in my life. Suddenly out of nowhere came this hideous thought. I pushed it out of my mind and continued thinking on the goodness of the Lord. Again came this hideous thought that had to have originated in the depths of hell. I quickly shot a prayer up to the throne room. "Lord, I don't want these thoughts. Why am I suddenly besieged with them?" That still small voice said something like, 'Pray your memory verse.' I obeyed and began to pray, "Lord, 2 Corinthians chapter ten verse four and five says that the weapons of my warfare are not carnal, but mighty in You for the pulling down of strongholds, casting down of arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and I am to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ."
A little light came on, or perhaps the Holy Spirit thumped the inside my head, for it became very clear to me at that moment, I did not have to put up with any of that junk in my life. If Satan tried to build a stronghold in my life, I was to pull it down. If Satan, or anyone, tried to raise up an argument, a lofty thought, or idea as an attempt to exalt anything over or against the word and knowledge of God, I was to cast it down by refusing to entertain it, even for a moment. And, I was not to put up with my own sinful thoughts, instead I was to immediately do three things: 1). pray; 2). take them captive; and 3). give them to the Lord Jesus. To this day, that is the way I deal with sinful thoughts that come into my mind. I have this little prayer that I have prayed a million plus times. "Jesus, I don't want this thought that just came into my mind, I am taken it captive to Your obedience. So, please take it and do what You will with it. Amen".
Now, to me this is an example of how the Lordship of Christ, that God wants to see in all our lives, is to be manifested in our lives, moment by moment. Jesus wants to be Lord in all things. Be they little things, big things, difficult things, the wonderful things and the mundane things, as well as all the other things in our lives. He wants to be Lord of all! And we need to want Him to be Lord over all.
Of this one thing I am 98% sure, if it were possible for a person to accept Jesus as Savior, but not accept Him as his Lord at salvation, he or she probably won't ever accept Him as Lord. That is until that day when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord. Here is truth as I see it: rejecting the Lordship of the Son of God is rejecting the Son of God Himself. You cannot accept Jesus as your Savior, while rejecting Him as your Lord.
You are welcome to share your thoughts on this matter. Just email me from our contact page.
Why would anyone ask that question? I'm glad you asked. One reason for asking is so that the many Christians who have a very limited understanding of the size and scope of the grace of God will be motivated to know more about His grace. Another reason is so that others who have no concept of God's grace at all will be exposed in a tangible way to His grace and begin to hunger for more knowledge of the same. You see grace has the great potential of being the most important factor and gift in the life of every person on earth. Without a doubt it is the greatest factor, blessing, and component in the life of every believer. I say that because of what it cost the Lord Jesus for my salvation. I, as a guilty sinner worthy of death, was spared the horrors of hell because Jesus God's only Son died in my place. That was God's grace in action. I received the blessings of God at Christ's expense. It was the suffering and dying of Jesus on the cross that released God's grace and saved me. Even if I had tried, there was nothing that I could do to gain the salvation that God now offers every person on earth as a gift through the death of His Son. Look at what the apostle Paul says in Ephesians, chapter two, verses eight and nine.
"For by grace you have salvation (been saved) through faith, and that is not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."
Based on this verse alone, I say that grace is the chief and only important component of salvation and it is gift that comes from God. Oh sure, as one can readily see in this verse, there are actually two requirements/components for salvation: the most important one is grace, that is God's part; the other component is faith, that is man's part. Now some folks will argue that this very short list of requirements is much too narrow, to exclusive, that there are many other things that are necessary for ones salvation. So, for those who want to argue that there has to be more components to salvation than grace and faith, let me pose the question: On whose part? Is more required of God than His grace? I hope you said no! Because salvation is God's doing! Not yours, not mine. It was God's plan and idea and no one else's. And if I might use this terminology, it is God's game plan, not ours. So, if there are only two components according to the Holy Spirit speaking through the apostle Paul, and God's list is complete though it only has one item on it. It must be man's side of the equation that some would insist that there is something lacking.
Alright, so let us take the responsibility out of the hands of the Holy Spirit and let us place the responsibility of producing a new more extensive list of requirements for man on Jesus himself. It was Jesus who mentioned a requirement of some kind in John chapter three and verse 16 ff. Now, I am 99999.9 % sure we can trust this verse because Tim Tebow had this verse printed under his eyes almost every Sunday during the pro football season this year and millions of fans saw it. But first let me call your attention to the phrase in the quote above, "it is the gift of God". You see, it is crucial that we remember this phrase! Now to what Jesus said.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting (eternal) life."
Here, perhaps we can, without stretching the imagination too far, see that the chief component in this verse is God's love. Now wouldn't you just know it. That is one of the definitions of God's grace. So, does that lead us to accept that God's grace is the chief component in the issue of salvation? Come on. Think about it. It's a verse out of His book. He is God. It is His only begotten Son. So let's agree. God's love, which is His grace, is the most important thing in this paragraph and in Salvation and in the whole wide world. Thank you for agreeing.
Now then, to the lesser component, which is man's part or parts. Since some would argue, with the Holy Spirit and others, that man must be required to have more in the game. Let's see what Jesus said is required of man. Remember the Holy Spirit only listed one requirement for man and that was faith. So what does Jesus unequivocally say is the requirement from man to enjoy the blessings of salvation. Jesus, in this verse, says that whoever believes in God's only begotten Son has eternal life. This is the Lords final answer. There is Only one condition or requirement on the part of man. He must believe.
Of course I am expecting those of you who believe man must do other things for his salvation to at least agree that to believe is synonymous with faith in this verse. That being the case, can you read into this verse any other components that is necessary for salvation? No you can not. It comes down to God's grace and man's believing or faith in His Son. Nothing is to be added, insinuated or hypothesized. To do so is heretical.
However, since I know there are many who are desirous of pulling out their hair and foaming at the mouth because I would dare say that man is saved by grace and faith alone, let us look at verses following verse sixteen of John three. Specifically, verse eighteen.
"He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
A major point found in the first part of this verse, is that any person who believes is not condemned by God. Not being condemned means: 1.) they will never perish; 2.)They will never go to hell; 3.) They will never suffer the loss of their salvation; 4.) they will never suffer the loss of God's grace. Now these additional blessings of grace, come as part of the free gift of eternal life. Do you see why it was crucial for you to remember about "the gift of God"? Everything about God's grace is free to you and me. But let us never forget what it cost our blessed redeemer, Jesus Christ. Keep reading.
However, I know that many of you reading this can not accept the reality that a sinner can get off so easily. In your heart or head there is a voice that says that something is wrong with theology that would let the grossest of sinners off with what seems no more than a simple slap on the wrist. Except, God's grace is so magnanimous, the guilty sinner doesn't even get a slap on the wrist! Jesus paid it all. All to Him we owe. Sin had left a horrible stain. God washed it white as snow with the blood of His precious son.
Let me give you an idea of the magnitude of God's grace. If all the sins of all mankind for all time was piled up, rolled around, pressed down upon until these sins became a huge ball of sins the size of the earth we live on, how large would God's grace have to be to destroy that ball of sins? To make it simple for our limited imagination, God's grace would have to be represented by the known universe.
Now think about this. To get all the power of God unleashed on your behalf, all you have to do is believe in His Son. Yeah, what I am saying is: "All that a person has to do is confess with their mouth and heart that they believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Savior of mankind and they will in essence apply the total power of almighty God to their lost condition, saving their souls from Satan's grasp. This is what it means to receive the free gift of eternal life. Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye! Mans only part in salvation is to believe. And here is where most people's understanding of the totality of the cost of man's salvation gets wimpy.
Let us look at God's part of salvation, that is, the component of grace. To help us see the heavenly view of salvation we will define grace specifically for the moment as: God's Riches At Christ's Expense. It costs man nothing to be given the free gift of eternal life. But it cost the Lord Jesus Christ everything. He not only died, but He was rejected by His Father. He was banished for a time from even the sight of God. For all intents and purposes, Jesus Christ was banished from the very heart and mind of God for a moment in time. You see, God can not even allow the thought of sin into his presence, much less into his being. Yet, Jesus became your and my sin while hanging on that cross. Read it for yourself, 2 Cor. 5:21.
Those who pontificate about how man must do more than "just believing" in the finished work of Jesus Christ to be saved have entirely missed the boat. There is nothing that man can or needs to do except believe. Jesus accomplished the salvation of every human being who every lived or will every live when He bled and died on that cross. It is all about Him and what He did on our account. To insist on adding baptism, or keeping a Sabbath day, or keeping even a smidgen of any of the Ten Commandments, or attending a specific denomination, or any other Tom foolery of man is Blasphemous! It isn't about you are me. It is about Who the Son of God is and what He has done on our behalf.
I must speak to you plainly at this point. It is the haughty pride of man that claims that man knows better than God what is necessary on the part of man for salvation. It is this same haughty pride of man that causes the greatest revulsion in the heart of the Almighty! When a person adds anything to the one requirement of man that Jesus gave, which is to believe, they are shaking their fist in the face of God and they are screaming, "NO! NO! NO! It is not enough. Man must do something on his own!" And they are proclaiming with their hearts that the sacrifice of God's Son is not sufficient to save man from hell.
The next time anyone tries to tell you that he or she knows better than God, don't listen to them. Anything added to God's grace and mans faith for one to experience salvation is not from scripture. Here is the wisdom you need from 2 John to instruct you in what you must do.
"If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, (that salvation is by grace through faith and nothing else) do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds" 2 John 1:10-11. And if proclaiming a lie while shouting, "Thus, sayeth the Lord", is not an evil deed, I don't know what is. Grace and peace.
If you have any comments or questions, contact me through the contact page.
When God sent His Son to earth around 3 B.C., He sent Him with a duel purpose. Knowing that those whom He had labeled His chosen people would reject His first purpose, God had purpose number two ready to be revealed upon Israel’s rejection of their Messiah.
God’s first purpose was to reveal His Son to Israel through His teachings and miracles as their Messiah. Upon their accepting Him, God would install His Kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven, upon the earth. Israel chose to reject their Messiah.
Purpose number two was, upon Israel’s rejection of their Messiah and their condemning Him to death by crucifixion, God would willingly allow His Son to go to the cross, upon which, He would die for the sins of all mankind. Through His vicarious death on the cross and His overcoming death by arising from the grave and ascending to His Father in Heaven, Christ instituted the Dispensation of Grace, the age of the church and the time of the gentiles.
The Apostle Paul states very clearly this truth in Romans 3: 21-26, “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe….. being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Vine’s Expository Dictionary in the definition for propitiation has this to say: “God, who is propitiated by the vindication of His holy and righteous character, whereby, through the provision He has made in the vicarious and expiatory sacrifice of Christ, has so dealt with sin that He can show mercy to the believing sinner in the removal of his guilt and the remission of his sins.”
When God sent His Son to set up His Kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, He knew that Israel would denounce and reject His Son. However, He had to give Israel every opportunity to repent of their past unfaithfulness and return to Him and embrace the Savior He had promised them He would send. Once Israel rejected God the Son and had Him put to death on the cross, God the Father set Israel and the Kingdom of Heaven aside for a period of time and turned His attention to the gentile world. Beginning at Pentecost, mankind now lives under grace, Christ having fulfilled the law. God’s desire for sinful man today is that they believe in His Son unto salvation and begin living the rich and abundant life under the teachings of Christ. In the teachings of Christ, therein is found, all the gifts of the riches of grace that are given freely to every one who believes the moment they believe. In addition, super-abounding grace issues forth when we obey the commands of Christ found in His teachings. If you are not reading this on the internet, Go to www.hislightshining.com and read my article titled, “Living Under the Commands of Christ and Enjoying the Blessings of Grace”. Grace, joy and peace.
The Great Mistake of Israel: Embracing the Law and Shunning God’s Grace
The law was never imposed upon any people or generation before it was given to Israel at the hand of Moses. "And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak to your ears this day, that you may learn them, and keep, and do them. The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. The Lord did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day" (Deut. 5:1-3). When the law was proposed, the children of Israel deliberately forsook their position under the grace of God, which had been their relationship to God until that day, and placed themselves under the law. The record is given thus:
And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: 'You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel." So Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before them all these words which the Lord commanded him. Then all the people answered together and said, "All that the Lord has spoken we will do." So Moses brought back the words of the people to the Lord (Ex 19:3-8).
While it is certain that Jehovah knew the choice the people would make, it is equally certain that their choice was in no way required by Him. His description of the relation they had sustained to Him until that moment is most tender and pleading: "You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you to Myself." Such is the character of pure grace. By it the sinner is carried on eagles' wings and brought to God. It is all of God. Until that hour they had been sustained in the faithfulness of Jehovah and without the slightest reference to their wickedness; but His plan and purpose for them had remained unchanged. He had dealt with them according to the unconditional covenant of grace made with Abraham. The marvelous blessedness of that grace-relationship should have appealed to them as the priceless riches of the unfailing mercy of God, which it was. The surrender of [to] the blessings of grace should [would] have been allowed by [God for] these people on no condition whatever, had they said at the hearing of the impossible law, "None of these things can we do. We crave only to remain in that boundless mercy of God, who has loved us, and sought us, and saved us from all our enemies, and who will bring us to Himself," it is evident that such an appeal would have reached the very heart of God. And the surpassing glory of His grace would have been extended to them without bounds; for grace above all else is the delight of the heart of God. In place of the eagles' wings by which they were carried unto God, they confidently chose a covenant of works when they said: "All that the Lord hath spoken we will do." They were called upon to face a concrete choice between the mercy of God, which had followed them, and a new and hopeless covenant of works. They fell from grace. The experience of the nation is true of every individual who falls from grace at the present time. Every blessing from God that has ever been experienced came only from the loving mercy of God; yet with that same blasting self-trust, people are now turning to a dependence upon their works. It is far more reasonable and honoring to God to fall helpless into His everlasting arms, and to acknowledge that we rely on His grace alone.
From Lewis Sperry Chafers, “Grace: An Exposition of God’s Marvelous Gifts”
by Lewis Sperry Chafer
The several great covenants into which God has been pleased to enter with human beings are either conditional covenants, or unconditional covenants. A covenant is conditional whenever it is made to depend at any point on the faithfulness of people. The law as given by Moses was a conditional covenant. Its terms might be stated in the words, "If you will do good, I will bless you." On the other hand, a covenant is unconditional when it stands as a simple declaration from God as to what He purposes to do, and without relation to the faithfulness, or unfaithfulness, of people.
The New Covenant which is made in Christ’s blood, and by which every Christian is now related to God, is an unconditional covenant. It is God's declaration of what He proposes to do for the one who places his faith in Christ alone. Belief in Christ, it should be noted, is not a condition within the covenant; it is the one condition of entrance into the covenant. Turning to the great promises of the keeping of God through grace, it will be discovered that they are always unconditional. These promises are made to depend only on the goodness and faithfulness of God. As fruit of the saved life, good works are closely related to the Christian's life under God, and are the ground of all future rewards; but human works, as important as they are, do not enter as a condition into either the divine plan of salvation by grace, or of divine keeping through grace. This, too, may be verified from the Word of God. Three very brief and unconditional promises of eternal security are here given: "I will in no way cast out" (John 6:37); "They shall never perish" (John 10:28); and, "shall not come into condemnation" (John 5:24). Under such unconditional promises the eternal purposes of God in grace may be received with unwavering confidence.
Certain passages, it should be noted, have been interpreted by some writers to teach that the Christian who is truly saved might be lost again, in spite of this overwhelming body of revelation concerning the purpose and power of God in grace,. The passages are worthy of careful consideration but such consideration cannot be entered into here. Scripture does not present a contradiction, and, as must be concluded from what has gone before, it will be found upon careful examination of these Scriptures, considering their context and dispensational character, that there is no Scripture which lessens the force, or discredits the revelation, concerning the eternal purposes of God in grace.
Salvation by grace is, then, the indivisible whole of God's redeeming purpose in Christ and that which rescues a sinner from the lowest depths of human standing, and transforms, preserves, and presents that sinner in the highest eternal glory. At infinite cost, God has made Himself free to do all of this. His unmeasured love will suffer Him to do no less in behalf of every one who comes to Him through His Son. Divine grace is God's all. It is the expression of the last degree of His love. In no sense could He exercise a part of His grace. It must be all or none. He must save perfectly for all time and eternity, or not at all. There is no other salvation offered in the Word of God.
Failure to trust in Christ alone is disclosed when salvation is supposed to depend on anything other than believing in Christ, and when security is made to depend at any point whatsoever on human faithfulness. Men and women are saved and kept in sovereign grace through simple faith in Christ alone. This is the heart of the gospel of divine grace. If any other gospel than this be preached, it must fall under the unrevoked anathema of God (Gal. 1:8-9).
The zeal engendered by modern religious movements, which are even accompanied with signs and wonders, is no guaranty of sound doctrine. The enthusiasts responsible for these movements almost universally deny that salvation is by simple faith in Christ, and that the grace of God will keep those who are saved as His own forever. Those who discredit the absolute reign of grace in the salvation and keeping of a soul should ponder well the fact that there is no other way of salvation.
We have thus complete evidence that the eternal purposes of God in grace are unalterable, since His keeping power through grace is included in every consideration of the principles of grace, His keeping power is implied in every revelation in which is presented the truth that grace reaches into the coming ages for its consummation, and His keeping power is indicated by the manifold provisions and safeguards which He has made to that end. Should His eternal purpose fail by the slightest degree, the object of salvation, the object of the death and resurrection of Christ, and the object of creation itself, will have failed. It shall not fail; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.
—Grace: An Exposition of God's Marvelous Gift
Living by The Power and Under the Control of The Holy Spirit – Grace Life
I am convinced that the major problem in the life of most believers today is that they have never been taught correctly or completely about God’s grace, the empowering supernatural element in the life of every believer. If you ask the average believer what grace means to them they will probably say that they were saved by grace. If you ask them what part grace plays in their every day walk in the Spirit, they would most likely say that they can’t live without it. Both answers are factually true answers but these are only two grains of sand on the seashore of God’s grace. Yet, this is about the extent of what most believers really know about grace. There seems to be very little awareness that grace should be the preeminent, living, powerful, supernatural component in every believers relationship with God the Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit. Grace is the driving force in everything we accomplish in our spiritual life.
Out of the many truths into which the Holy Spirit desires to guide every child of God, there are two that stay in the forefront of my spiritual realm of knowledge and understanding. I am talking about the two fundamental truths concerning life under grace that every believer should include in the preface of their “Life’s Story” that they should be writing on the tablet of their heart.
The first fundamental truth is: Under grace, a separate, complete, and wholly independent rule of life is purposed for the child of God. The second fundamental truth is: The new manner of “grace life”, which first originates as a purpose in the heart by the Spirit, is then lived out in the power of the same Spirit, accompanied by joy, gladness and peace, that comes through the realization of heavenly desires.
Everything in our walk under grace should contemplate and long for an overflowing, Spirit-filled life. God has made no provision for any other life, but a Christ centered life, for believers. The lost person should never be urged to try to live a spiritual life, for they can not! Rather they should be implored to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ unto salvation, apart from which, there can be no Spirit-filling with its realization of power.
This supernatural power, which is nothing less than the power of God, is provided for the exact and perfect execution of the superhuman rule of life under grace. There is no aspect of the teachings of grace which is more vital than this, or which so fully differentiates these teachings from every other rule of life in the Bible. Under grace, the all powerful, abiding, indwelling and all sufficient Holy Spirit of God is given to every saved person. This statement is abundantly established by revelation found in these following scriptures: (John 7:37-39), “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. “But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified””; (Romans 5:5 and 8:9), “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he [or she] is not His [Christ’s]”; (1 Cor. 2:12 and 6:19), “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we [believers] might know the things that have been freely given to us by God” “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?”; (Gal. 3:2), “This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”; (1 Thess. 4:8), “…but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.”; (1 John 3:24 and 4:13), “…And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.” “By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit”.
That believers possess the Holy Spirit is assumed in every teaching of grace. The superhuman manner of life, under grace, is not addressed to some spiritual group, company, or select individuals within the whole body of Christ; it is addressed to all believers alike. The imposition of this superhuman manner of life upon all believers alike carries with it the revelation that all have the supernatural power by which to live according to the superhuman standards. This, it is evident, is according to the teaching of the Word of God.
The character of pure grace is destroyed when the reception of the Spirit into the individual heart is made to depend on any human merit, goodness, or personal consecration whatsoever. In 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20 we read: “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.” The law [of Moses] element [in it’s totality] is excluded here. Under the law, it would have been written: "Glorify God in your bodies and spirit and ye shall become temples of the Holy Spirit." Under grace, believers are temples of the Spirit without reference to merit, and this is true of every aspect of their salvation. The fact that they are temples of the indwelling Spirit is the basis of this appeal for holy lives. A consideration of 1 Corinthians 5:1-2, 13 and 6:1-8 will give abundant evidence of the meritless condition of the Corinthian saints at the time the Spirit addressed this appeal to them through the apostle Paul. The earnest supplication is for a daily life, which corresponds to the wonderful fact that they are already temples of the Spirit.
There is an important distinction to be noted between the indwelling and the infilling with the Spirit. No Scripture asserts that all believers are filled with the Spirit.[However, after receiving the Holy Spirit we are commanded to be filled with the Spirit for special purposes]. The filling with the Spirit, which is the requirement for an experience of blessing and the exercise of divine power, is an issue, which should be considered wholly apart from the revelation concerning the indwelling Spirit. An example of scripture that commands believers who have the Holy Spirit residing in them to be filled with the Holy Spirit for special purposes is: Eph. 5:18 - 21, “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God”.
The fact that the Spirit indwells every believer is peculiar to the age of grace. In the law dispensation [the time of Israel under the Law of Moses], for particular divine purposes, certain individuals were, at times, filled with the Spirit; but there is no revelation stating that every Israelite, being under the law, was a temple of the Spirit. In like manner, under the law, there was no abiding character to the relationship between the Spirit and individuals upon whom He came (Ps. 51:11). The Spirit came upon them, or departed, according to the sovereign purpose of God. Under grace, the Spirit is not only given to every believer, but He never withdraws. This assurance is based on the unfailing prayer of Christ recorded in John 14:16, “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever.” This is in precise accordance with the conditions embodied in the covenant of grace. Should human merit determine His abiding presence, then, under that relationship, the basic principle of grace would be superseded by the principle of law-works. The entrance of the Spirit into the heart, and His abiding presence there, is a part of the saving and keeping power of God, which is by grace alone. The revelation of the New Testament with regard to the indwelling, abiding Spirit in every believer is in full agreement with the doctrine of pure grace.
So vital is the fact that the enabling Spirit is now given to every believer as a part of salvation by grace, that it is presented as a fundamental characteristic of this age. This is the dispensation of the indwelling Spirit. We read: “But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter” (Romans 7:6). Thus the new enabling power of the Spirit characterizes this age, just as the "oldness of the letter" characterized the age that is past. Likewise circumcision is now "of the heart," in the Spirit, and not in the "letter" (Rom. 2:29) or as it was in the flesh under the law. Again, "Who also has made us able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter [of the Law], but of the Spirit: for the letter [the law] kills, but the Spirit gives life" (2 Cor. 3:6). Reference in this passage is not made to different methods of interpreting Scripture—a spiritualizing, or a literal method; but to two dispensations with their different methods of divine rule. "The letter kills"—such is the inevitable ministry of the law; "But the spirit gives life"—such is the ministry of the Holy Spirit under grace there by providing the divine life, spiritual vitality, energy, and power for the believer under grace, and for every believer alike. Thus it is revealed that the blessing of the indwelling Spirit is an essential characteristic of this age.
If the manner of life under grace is superhuman, so, also, the provided enablement is supernatural, and is as limitless as the infinite power of God. Since God has proposed a humanly impossible manner of life, He has, in full consistency, provided the Spirit who gives life. Too much emphasis cannot be placed on the fact that, since God has proposed the impossible rule of life and provided the sufficient Spirit, the believer's responsibility is thereby changed from being a struggle of the flesh to being a reliance on the Spirit. Grace thus introduces a new problem for the believer's life, which is wholly foreign to every aspect of the law. It is the problem of the adjustment [surrender] of the heart to the holy presence of the Spirit, and of maintaining the unbroken attitude of dependence on the Spirit.
[This] new principle of achievement consists in getting things accomplished in the believer's daily life and service by trusting the power of Another, rather than by trusting the energy of the flesh. The revelation concerning this new problem of life under grace constitutes the major part of the teaching of the Epistles. Not only is the faith principle directly taught in the Epistles, it is implied and assumed in every injunction under grace. The unfolding of the precise relationship between the personality of the Spirit, and the personality of the believer, is not omitted. Experimentally, the believer, when empowered by the Spirit, will be conscious only of the exercise of his own faculties. The Spirit does not disclose His presence directly; His ministry is to reveal and glorify Christ. His presence will be evidenced, however, by the victory that is wrought [produced], which victory could be wrought only by the Spirit.
Thus, either the by-works principle of the law, or the by-faith principle of grace, may be chosen by the believer as a method of achievement even within the deepest issues of Christian conduct and service. If these heaven-high demands are undertaken in the energy of the flesh, they become purely legal in character; if they are undertaken in full reliance on the provided energy of the Spirit, they are purely gracious in character. One is wholly within the scope of the covenant of the law, which covenant is based on works; the other is wholly within the scope of the covenant of grace, which covenant is based on faith. Thus the teachings of grace, when attempted in the energy of the flesh, become a legal code, the demands of which are the most impossible to meet. How very many Christians are under this aspect of law, even those who give some attention to the actual precepts of grace!
There are two inseparable revelations given in the grace teachings of the New Testament. Each one is the counterpart, complement, and supplement of the other, and untold violence is done to the whole revealed purpose of God in this age when either one of these themes is made to stand alone. One theme is presented in that body of Scripture which sets forth the character of conduct that is becoming to the one who is already saved and safe in the grace of God; the other theme is presented in that body of Scripture which sets forth the fact that the life in grace is to be lived in sole dependence on the enabling power of the indwelling Spirit. The latter body of Scripture includes all the details and instructions concerning the life of faith, and the walk in the Spirit. It is obviously imperative that these two revelations shall not be separated. Otherwise, on the one hand, the teachings of grace will seem to be an impossible law-code, or, on the other hand, the walk in the Spirit will seem to be an uncharted, aimless procedure.
In the grace teachings of the New Testament, these two aspects of truth are never separated. In adducing proof of this, it is impossible in a work of this length to review every Scripture bearing upon this truth. Proceeding from the fact that the superhuman manner of life under grace is taught in all the New Testament books beginning with the gospel by John, there is space for only one quotation from each of these up to, and including, the epistle to the Colossians. This body of Scripture discloses the truth that the life in grace is to be lived only by the enabling power of God:
John 7:37-39. “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” Here the superhuman outflow of rivers of living water is distinctly said to be the result of the energy of the Spirit.
Acts 1:8. “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” The revelation here is that, apart from the power of the Spirit, there can be no vital witness to Christ.
Romans 6:14. “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” No enabling power was provided for the doing of the law; but such power is provided under grace, as seen in Romans 8:4, "That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." No passage in the teachings of grace is more decisive than this. "The righteousness of the law," referred to is evidently no less than the whole will of God for His child under grace [not the keeping of any part of the Mosaic Law]. This divine will is to be fulfilled in the believer, but never by the believer.
1 Cor 12:4-7. “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one [who believes] for the profit of all.” As all Christian service is by the exercise of a spiritual gift, these gifts are wholly realized by the energy of the power of God.
2 Cor 10:3-5. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” For this superhuman manner of life, the believer is to be "mighty through God."
Galatians 5:16. "This I say then, Walk in [the power of] the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh." This promise is as sure as it is far-reaching.
Eph 6:10-11. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might, put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” True overcoming strength is none other than the imparted "power of God."
Phil. 2:13. “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Here the divine enablement reaches to the very molding of the desires of the heart, and to the full accomplishment of those desires.
Colossians 2:6. "As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him." In this Scripture the very same faith principle, by which alone a soul can be saved, is continued as the principle by which alone he is to walk.
The whole aspect of grace, which provides a supernatural sufficiency for the superhuman, heavenly conduct, and which is the believer's reasonable life and service, is summed up in two great doctrines of the New Testament:
. The superhuman manner of life is to be Christlike. He is the pattern: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2:5); "As he is, so are we in this world" (1 John 4:17); "Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow his steps" (1 Pet. 2:21); "For to me to live is Christ" (Phil. 1:21); “To those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ ), that I might win those who are without law” (1 Cor 9:21). To be under the law toward Christ is to be committed to the very standard of which He is the ideal. Therefore the Christian's standard is superhuman, and beyond the power of human achievement.
. It is the supreme purpose of the indwelling Spirit to reproduce the likeness of Christ in the believer. The most comprehensive statement of the reproduction of Christ in the believer is found in Galatians 5:22-23: "But the fruit of the Spirit [fruit produced in a believer by the Spirit] is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control." Every word, as here used, represents a superhuman quality of life. It is an exact description of the life of Christ; but Christ likeness is never gained by the energy of the flesh. These virtues are not found in human nature; they are the "fruit of the Spirit." Under the law, the degree of love that is required is that which is possible to the natural man; under grace, the divine love is produced in the heart by the Holy Spirit. This is true of all the superhuman demands under grace. They are produced in the life of a Christian by the Spirit. The heavenly standard requires: "Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice" (Phil. 4:4). This is humanly impossible, but the fruit of the Spirit is "joy," and the Lord has said, "That they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves" (John 17:13). The standard of grace requires that "The peace of God" shall "rule in your hearts" (Co. 3:15). Man has never achieved this, but the fruit of the Spirit is "peace," and Christ has said: "My peace I give unto you" (John 14:27). The ninefold fruit of the Spirit represents the true Christian graces, since under grace, this fruit is produced in the heart and life by the Spirit.
Likewise, Christian service is to be superhuman. It is the outflow of "rivers of living water"; but "this He spoke concerning the Spirit" (John 7:37-39). It is the full proof of "that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Rom. 12:2); but, "it is God who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Phil 2:13). It is all supernaturally produced; for it is the work of the Holy Spirit." As Christian character is the composite of the Holy Spirit produced graces, so Christian service is an imparted "grace." "But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ" (Eph. 4:7); and, "The manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all" (1.Co. 12:7).
Divine grace, produced and imparted by the indwelling Spirit, results in a manifestation of the very graciousness of God in and through the heart of the believer. It is in no sense an imitation of God's graciousness; it is a reproduction by the indwelling Spirit of God’s graciousness in the life and service of the believer. This truth is one of the most extensive doctrines of the New Testament (Cf. Rom. 12:3-6; 15:15; 1 Cor. 1:4; 3:10; 15:10; 2 Cor. 1:12; 4:15; 6:1-3; 8:1,6-7,9; 9:8, 14; 12:9; Gal. 2:9; Eph. 3:2-8; 4:7, 29; Phil. 1:7; Col. 3:16; 4:6; 2 Thess. 1:12; 2 Tim. 2:1; Heb. 4:16; 12:15; James 4:6; and 2 Pet. 3:18).
It may be concluded, then, that there are three major distinctions between law and grace: (1) They are unlike because they impose separate and sufficient rules of life, which are, in their character, either wholly legal or wholly gracious; (2) They are unlike because there are in these systems opposite orders between the human obligation and the divine blessing; and (3) They are unlike because the requirements of these systems of divine rule differ, with corresponding revelations concerning divine enablement provided in each.
Editors Note: These words and the truths embedded in these words, came from the heart of Lewis Sperry Chafer's lifes work. All credit for any spiritual insight and recognition of God given talents goes to him and others who inspire me. This article is taken almost verbatem from his wonderful work, "Grace: An Exposition of God's Marvelous Gifts
The List of The Blessings of Grace in Christ
Given to a Believer the Moment They Believe
1. Adoption as God's sons (Romans 8:15) (Ephesians 1:5)
“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father”” (Romans 8:15).
“…having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will” (Eph. 1:5).
Adoption – “This term as used in a theological sense commonly denotes that act of God by which He restores penitent and believing men and women to their privileges as members of the divine family, and makes them heirs of heaven.” Unger's Bible Dictionary, The
2. Accepted in the Beloved Son (Ephesians 1:6)
“.......to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:6).
Accepted - Meaning: The true God of all creation, receives every believer with pleasure and kindness. There is no condition or circumstance under which He will or can reject us. In the Beloved – The basis on which God does this is through and because of what Jesus Christ the Beloved accomplished through His death, burial and resurrection.
3. Redemption Through the Blood of Christ (Ephesians 1:7) (Colossians 1:13-14) (Romans 4:22-24)
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7).
“......the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Col 1:13-14).
“And therefore "it was accounted to him for righteousness." Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead” ( Romans 4:22 – 24).
Redemption - Meaning: a loosing away, a loosing, particularly by paying a price; a comprehensive term employed in theology with reference to the special intervention of God for the salvation of mankind. Its meaning centers in the atoning work of Christ as the price paid for human redemption.” Unger's Bible Dictionary, The
4. Understanding of God's Eternal Purpose for Believers (Eph 1:4) (Eph 1:5)
“Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (Ephesians 1:4).
“Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will” (Eph 1:5).
Understanding - to know thoroughly, grasp and perceive accurately God's Eternal - without beginning or end, through all time Purpose - intention, aim, resolution, determination for us - God's children.
5. Forgiveness of our sins (Ephesians 1:7) (Colossians 1:14)
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph 1:7).
“In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Col 1:14).
Forgiveness of sins – Meaning: “The forgiveness of sins, through the finished work of Jesus Christ is one of the most widely misunderstood doctrines of Scripture. It is not to be confused with human forgiveness that merely remits a penalty or charge. Divine forgiveness is one of the most complicated and costly undertakings, demanding complete satisfaction to meet the demands of God's outraged holiness. The great foundational truth respecting the believer in relationship to his sins is the fact that his salvation comprehends the forgiveness of all his trespasses past, present, and future so far as condemnation is concerned (Romans 8:1; Col. 2:13; John 3:18; John 5:24). Since Christ has, as mankind's substitute, borne all sin and since the believer's standing in Christ is complete, he is perfected forever in Christ. When a believer sins, he is subject to chastisement from the Father, but never to condemnation with the world. (1 Cor. 11:31-32). By confession the Christian is forgiven and restored to
fellowship (1 John 1:9). It needs to be remembered that were it not for Christ's
finished work on the cross and His present intercession in heaven, the least sin would result in the sinner's banishment from God's presence and eternal ruin.” Unger's Bible Dictionary, The
6. Understanding of God's Eternal Purpose In Christ (Ephesians 1:9-10)
“Having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth--in Him” (Eph 1:9-10).
Understanding – Meaning: to know thoroughly, grasp and perceive accurately God's Eternal - without beginning or end, through all time Purpose - intention, aim, resolution, determination for and in, His Son, Jesus Christ - through His death, burial, resurrection and His present ministry at the right hand of God of intercession for His Own.
7. Inheritance that we will have in Jesus to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:11-12)
“In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory” (Eph 1:11-12).
The Inheritance is Spiritual – Meaning: “The metaphor of spiritual ‘inheritance' is peculiarly, though not exclusively, Pauline. Peter employs it
twice (1 Peter 1:4; 1 Peter 3:9), James once (James 2:5, KJV; NASB, "heirs"), but Paul in a multitude of instances. It is closely interwoven with the substance of the longest and most intricate arguments in his epistles; it appears in the reports of his sermons in the Acts; he alone of all the sacred writers employs it in what may be described as the most daring of all theological conceptions-that which is embodied in the celebrated definition of believers as ‘heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.' It is through and because of the finished work of Christ on behalf of lost mankind that we are made co-heirs with Christ of all that is the Fathers and have an equal inheritance in the Kingdom of God with Christ and all the other adopted Children of God.” Unger's Bible Dictionary, The
8. Sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13)
“Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise” (Eph 1:13).
Sealed with the Holy Spirit - “The term sealed is used for that which is permanent, confirmed (John 6:27; Romans 4:11), impenetrable to men but known to Christ (Rev. 5:2), approval (John 3:33). The "seal of the living God," on which is supposed to be engraved the name of Jehovah, impressed upon the foreheads of the faithful, symbolizes safety and deliverance from judgment (Rev. 7:2-8). A seal also denotes the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians. 1:13; Ephesians. 4:30; 2 Cor. 1:22; The seals upon the "foundation of God" (2 Tim. 2:19) are inscriptions upon this mystical building, proper to be impressed upon the minds of all professing Christians, both for
encouragement and for warning.” Unger's Bible Dictionary, The
9. Eternally alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:5)
“Even when we were dead in trespasses, (God) made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:5).
Eternally alive in Christ means the moment we believe in Christ Jesus as our Savior we become a brand-new creation, thus born again. We will ever, throughout all eternity, time without end, live and move and have our being in Him. (Acts 17:28)
10. Buried and Resurrected in Christ (Ephesians 2:6) (Col 2:12)
“(You were) buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead” (Col 2:12).
“And (God) raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:5-6).
Buried and Resurrected in Christ- Meaning: Christian baptism is, according to the Bible, an outward (physical) testimony of what has occurred spiritually and inwardly in a believer's life. Christian baptism illustrates a believer's identification with Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. The Bible declares, "Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was
raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life" (Romans 6:3-4). In Christian baptism, the action of being immersed in
the water symbolizes dying and being buried with Christ. The action of coming out of the water pictures our resurrection with Christ.
11. Seated with Christ in the heavenlies, present tense (Ephesians 2:6)
“and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:6).
Seated with Christ in the heavenlies, present tense - Meaning: Christ is presently seated at the right hand of God the Father. Their abode is in the heavenlies, where the throne room occupied by God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit exists. It is apparently the same place identified by Paul as the third heaven. Christians apparently occupy two separate realms at the same time. The realm of the natural, the earthly, the flesh is here on earth, where scriptures says that we are aliens and strangers. The spiritual realm where Paul says that we are seated with Christ Jesus, is more real than the earthly realm, yet it is unknown to mortal man . We cannot touch it, feel it, hear it or experience it in any physical sense as long as we are in our earth suit which we will wear until we die, or Christ comes to take His bride to heaven. At the present, the reality of the heavenlies existence is known and experienced only through faith in Jesus Christ.
12. Created for good works which God has foreordained for us (Ephesians 2:10)
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10).
Created for good works which God has foreordained for us - Meaning - The moment we believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior we are born from above as new spiritual creations. As new creations in Christ, we are, via the Holy Spirit that lives in us, to begin growing toward spiritual maturity. As we grow, God has prepared (foreordained) for us an unlimited number of good things we can do on behalf of others and the Kingdom of God, of which we are now a part.
13. Brought near to God (Ephesians 2:13)
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off (from God) have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Eph 2:13).
Brought near to God - Meaning: Before believing in Christ and becoming a new creation, we were covered in, infected by and rotten to our core with sin. Therefore, we were unworthy to come into the presence of a perfectly Holy and Righteous God. The moment we believed in Jesus Christ we were changed. We were washed in His blood, cleansed of all our filth and unrighteousness, declared Holy, righteous and acceptable in God's sight. Thus through Jesus Christ, we were reconciled and brought near to God.
14. At peace (in total harmony) with God (Ephesians 2:14-16) (Colossians 1:20) (Romans 5:1
“For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in
ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity” (Eph 2:14-16).
“And (God) by Him (Jesus) having reconciled all things to Himself, ....... having made peace (for us) through the blood of His cross” (Col 1:20).
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ Romans” (5:1).
At peace (harmony) with God - Meaning: Before believing in Christ every man has a strong, settled feeling of hatred, whether concealed, displayed, or latent toward God. Therefore, there is no way for peace to exist between unsaved man and a holy, just and righteous God. The moment we believe in Jesus Christ as Savior, we have a new being living in us in the person of the Holy Spirit. No longer are we under the Law which condemns us. Where the Spirit is allowed free reign, there is peace with God for we have been made one with Christ
15. Bold and confident access to the Father (Ephesians 2:18, 3:12)
“For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father” (Eph 2:18).
“in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him” (Eph 3:12)
Bold and confident access to the Father - Meaning: Upon believing and being indwelt by the Spirit of God/Christ, the new believer has the Holy
Spirit boldness, confidence and assurance of God that he or she can come to his or her heavenly Father at anytime, anywhere for any reason without fear of being turned away or denied access into God's holy presence. Our access is guaranteed by the Life of the One who indwells us.
16. Fellow citizens with all saints (Ephesians 2:19)
“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Eph 2:19).
Fellow citizens with all saints - Meaning: When one becomes a child of God through faith in Jesus Christ, he or she also becomes either a brother or sister to each and every saint of all time. As children of God they are also citizens of the Kingdom of God.
17. Members of God's household (Ephesians 2:19) (Hebrews 2:11)
“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Eph 2:19).
“For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Heb 2:11).
Members of God's household - Meaning: Our place in God’s forever family is one of kinship and intimacy because we are the adopted brothers or sisters of Jesus Christ, God's only begotten Son. When one becomes a child of God through faith in Jesus Christ, he or she also becomes either a brother or sister to each and every saint of all time in God's
Family. The Saints of all time starting with the very first Old Testament believer and ending with the last person to believe during Christ's Millennial Kingdom will make up the household of God.
18. We Were Chosen in Christ Jesus Before the Foundation of the World Eph. 1:3-4
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” Eph. 1:3-4
Chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world – Meaning: In biblical terms this means to be singled out for some special service or position. The Israelites were a “chosen” people, because God set them apart to be the recipients of His Law and to receive His blessings through their worship of Him through their keeping of His Law. Likewise, Christ was chosen by God to be the Savior of mankind. As part of God’s eternal plan, He chose those who would be born into this world and who would by faith, believe in His Son as their Savior, to be the His own special people also.
19. Equipped for the building up of the body of Christ (the church) Ephesians 4:11-12
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Eph 4:11-12).
Equipped for the building up of the body of Christ (the church) - Meaning: As we live in obedience to the known, revealed will of God, the Holy Spirit is doing the work of growing us up in
Christ. Part of the growing and maturing process of all believers is the equipping that the Holy Spirit will do in us to enable us to minister and serve in the body of Christ, the church. Most every person upon natural birth is given a predisposition to learning and developing skills and talents as they grow. Upon being born from above, God gives every new believer at least one spiritual gift. He intends for His children to use their natural talents and skills and their spiritual gifts to bless their family, the church, in whatever way He calls, instructs, encourages and leads.
20. Made light Instead of darkness. Ephesians 5:8
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” (Eph 5:8).
Made light Instead of darkness - Meaning: The moment we believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord we move from darkness to light. We are no longer children of darkness. We are children of light because our Savior and Lord is the Light. With the Holy Spirit living in us we have a constant source of
light dwelling in us. We need therefore to let our light so shine that it lights the way for others living in darkness to come to the Light of Jesus Christ. We are to walk in His Light not in darkness.
21. Qualified to share in the inheritance of saints in light. Colossians 1:12
“giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light” (Col 1:12).
Qualified to share inheritance of saints in light – Meaning: The moment we believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord we are qualified to share in the inheritance of all that is our heavenly Father's which now belongs to Christ. That is why we are known as co-heirs with Christ. All saints are co-heirs with Christ in all that belongs to our heavenly Father.
22. Reconciled to God (Colossians 1:20)
“and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross” (Col 1:20).
Reconciled to God - Meaning: The moment we believe in Jesus Christ as Savior, all the wonderful work that He did on behalf of fallen man is appropriated to our lives, thus all the enmity between us and God is done away with and we are acceptable through Christ in the sight of God and brought near to Him and reconciled with Him through the blood of the Lord Jesus.
23. Assurance of our becoming perfected (Hebrews 10:14)
“For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (Heb 10:14).
Assurance of our becoming perfected - Meaning: The moment we believe in Jesus Christ as Savior we are sanctified positionally, that is we are declared and set apart as holy, spiritual beings in the
sight of God and that is the status we will carry through all eternity by His decree. And daily as we live in obedience to the will of God, the Holy Spirit living in us continues the process of shaping and molding us into the image of the Lord Jesus. This is experiential sanctification. God has assured each believer that this process will be completed when we enter the presence of Jesus at death or the rapture for scriptures says we will then be as He is.
24. Lacking nothing (complete) (Colossians 2:10)
“and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power” (Col 2:10).
Lacking nothing (complete) - Meaning: In Christ, we are positionally complete, from the moment we believed in Him. We have been made complete and we will always be complete, lacking nothing as Spiritual beings for now and through all eternity.
25. Spiritually circumcised (the flesh cast away) (Colossians 2:11)
“In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ” (Col 2:11).
Spiritually circumcised (the flesh cast away) – “Meaning: This is a spiritual reality and not a physical rite. Christian circumcision is "removal of" not a part, but the entire "body of the flesh." "The body of the flesh" is the physical body controlled by the old fallen nature that all possess, saved as well as unsaved. The "removal of" is positional truth, that is, divine truth that arises as a result of the believer being
placed in Christ by the Spirit's baptizing work. Because the sin nature was judged by Christ in His
death, so the believer by virtue of his organic union and identification with his Lord shares that "removal" that Christ accomplished, just as he shares Christ's fullness and is declared to be "complete" in Him. (Col. 2:10).” Unger's Bible Dictionary, The
26. Buried with Christ (Colossians 2:12)
“(You are) buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead” (Col 2:12).
Buried with Christ - Meaning: Just as every believer can say with the Apostle Paul, “Spiritually, I have been crucified with Christ, yet I live…” We can also proclaim that we have spiritually been buried in that tomb with Him and that with Him we have risen from the dead!
27. Resurrected with Christ (Colossians 2:12)
“buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised (resurrected) with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead” (Col 2:12).
Resurrected with Christ - Meaning: We are a new creation in Christ - something never known before. We are new born sons and daughters of God, spiritual beings who have, scripture testifies, been spiritually crucified, buried, and resurrected with Christ.
28. Debt of sin fully paid (Colossians 2:14)
“having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us (the law), which was contrary to us. And He has taken it (the law) out of
the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Col 2:14).
Debt of sin fully paid - Meaning: “To comprehend how our sins debt could be fully paid, we must understand the great doctrine of Justification. Justification is a divine act whereby an infinitely Holy God judicially declares a believing sinner to be righteous and acceptable before Him because Christ has borne the sinner's sin on the cross and has become "to us . . . righteousness" (1 Cor. 1:30; Romans 3:24). Justification springs from the fountain of God's grace (Titus 3:4-5). It is operative as the result of the redemptive and propitiatory sacrifice of Christ, who has settled all the claims of the law (Romans 3:24-25; Romans 5:9). Justification is on the basis of faith and not by human merit or works (Romans 3:28-30; Romans 4:5; Romans 5:1; Galatians 2:16).” Unger's Bible Dictionary, The
29. Made righteous in God's eyes (Romans 3:21) (2 Cor 5:21)
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph 1:7).
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:21).
Made righteous in God's eyes - Meaning: “The moment a person believes in Jesus Christ as Savior, they are declared "right" forevermore in the eyes of God by the righteous judge of all humankind, God the
Father, based upon what Jesus Christ accomplished on their behalf through His death on the cross.” Unger's Bible Dictionary, The
30. Justified before God by faith in Jesus (Romans 3:26) (Romans 3:24)
“to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26).
“being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).
Justified before God by faith in Jesus - Meaning: “In this marvelous operation of God the infinitely holy Judge judicially declares righteous the one who believes in Jesus (Romans 8:31-34). A justified believer emerges from God's great courtroom with a consciousness that another, his Substitute, has borne his guilt and that he stands without accusation before God (for all eternity) (Romans 8:1, 33-34).” Unger's Bible Dictionary, The
31. Made a new creation in Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17)
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor 5:17).
Made a new creation in Jesus - Meaning: "New" in the Greek implies a new nature quite different from anything previously existing. In the spiritual realm, or sense, having been born from above, we are a new spirit, a new creation. Therefore, applying the spiritual realities to the earthly realm, we
allow Christ to live His live through us as we walk through this world, remembering that we are crucified with Christ, buried into his death, and are risen to walk in a newness of life. The old life ended when we died and were buried in Christ. Born anew, we are new creatures who must live a new life.
32. Introduced to grace by faith (Romans 5:1-2)
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1-2).
Introduced to grace (God's power working through Jesus) by faith - Meaning: The moment we believe in Jesus Christ as Savior we experience, for the very first time, God's amazing grace working with and through our faith. God’s grace working in us save us from hell, from the penalty of sin, from the wrath of God toward those who do not believe and places us into His forever family for all eternity. This initial experience of grace is to be followed endlessly by the riches of grace purchased for us by Jesus Christ, because God's grace continues to work in believer's
lives throughout eternity.
33. Confidence and joy in spite of circumstances (Romans 5:2-5)
“Through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope will never disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:2-5).
Confidence and joy in spite of circumstances - Meaning: The moment we believe in Jesus Christ as Savior, the Holy Spirit enters our being and with Him comes the infinite power and the wonderful promises of God that are ours to be used by the Holy Spirit to fill us, protect us, empower, enlighten us and to nurture us as we begin our journey as a babe in the Lord and continues until we see Jesus. At that time we will be glorified and we will be as Christ Jesus is. Jesus promised abundant, fulfilling life to all who come to Him. This abundant life belongs to the believer in spite of any trials and tribulations.
34. Baptized into Jesus' death (Romans 6:3)
“Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore, we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3).
Baptized into Jesus' death - Meaning: The moment the Holy Spirit enters a new believer upon their believing in Christ as Savior they are baptized in and by the Holy Spirit into Christ. To be baptized into Christ means to enter into a vital union with him, so as to be found in him. Also, to be baptized into Christ means that every new believer is baptized into the death of Christ. This reality is through grace (the desire and power to do God's will), working in the spiritual realm, the Holy Spirit enables new believers to die to sin. He also enables us to experience in the
spiritual realm being buried with Christ and also being raised with Him in newness of life. Water baptism in the physical world is the picture of what takes place in us spiritually the moment one believes in Jesus Christ as Savior.
35. Released from the demands of the Law (Romans 10:4) (Galatians 3:23-25)
“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4).
“But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor” (Gal 3:23-25).
Released from the demands of the Law - Meaning: “Through the death of Christ as an atoning sacrifice and by His taking our place on the cross and by His suffering for us sufficiently to meet the demands of the law He has released us from the law
as a way of justification or becoming righteous. Christ has freed us from the penalty of the law, and saved us from its curse. Therefore, having been released from the demands of the law, we are at liberty to be united to Him who has bought us with His blood.” ----Barnes' Notes on the New Testament
36. Joined to the resurrected Christ (Romans 7:4)
“Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another--to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God”
Joined to the resurrected Christ - Meaning: The moment we believe in Christ Jesus as our Savior we are released from necessity of obeying the law as a means of sanctification, justification, being accepted by God and are spiritually joined to Him as individual believers who, upon believing, become part the bride of Christ.
37. Eternally free from condemnation (Rom 8:1)
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit”. (Romans 8:1).
Eternally free from condemnation - Meaning: The moment we believe in Jesus Christ as Savior we are set free from the penalties of all our sins. God has punished His Son, Jesus Christ, for all our sins - past, present and future. Therefore, since He has suffered the pains of hell resulting from sins. There is no condemnation, no wrath, no eternal suffering for any sins - past, present or future, for those who believe in Jesus Christ as Savior, once we enter His presence at
death or the rapture. While living here on earth there may result great suffering for ourselves and others because of our sinful choices. No matter how severe our suffering from the consequences of sin here on earth, this is never the wrath of God being visited upon us because of sin.
38. Righteous requirements of Law fulfilled in those who live by faith (Romans 8:3d-4)
“For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin:
He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:3-4).
Righteous requirements of Law fulfilled in those who live by faith - Meaning: “The new 'law of the Spirit of life,' is the Holy Spirit operating in the sphere of the believer's new position. Christ, condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. In Christ there is a higher principle, counteracting and overcoming the lower 'law of sin and death,' producing righteousness and life. What the law of Moses, or any legal principle, was unable to do because of human sin, God accomplished through the incarnation of His Son, He, through His sinless humanity, condemned sin as a master criminal and secured a judicial sentence against it. Accordingly, God has met the righteous requirements of the law in us.” Unger's Bible Dictionary, The
39. Joined to all other believers to make one body In Christ (Rom. 12:4-5)
“For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another” (Romans 12:4-5).
Joined to all other believers to make one body In Christ. Meaning: The moment we believe in Jesus as our Savior, we are baptized into Him and we become a member of the church of Jesus Christ, His betrothed, the bride of Christ. There is coming a day
when the Church, the Bride of Christ, will be spiritually united to Him at the marriage supper of the Lamb of God in heaven. However, so long as we are on this earth we are to remember and live out Romans 12:4-5.
40. Judged In Christ (John 3:18)
“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe in Him has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." John 3:18
Judged In Christ - Meaning: Since Christ died in our place, paid all the penalties of our sins, we are eternally justified in God's eyes. “God pardons sin, and delivers us from deserved punishment, because we believe on Jesus Christ. Jesus died in our stead; He suffered for us, and by His sufferings our sins are expiated, and it is consistent for God to forgive (and forget).” ----Barnes' Notes on the New Testament
41. Indwelt by Christ (Galatians 2:20)
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal 2:20).
Indwelt by Christ - Meaning: The moment we believe in Jesus Christ as Savior we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ God’s Son and God the Father are one. As co-equals (in all
the attributes of God) in the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit of both God the Father and God the Son. Thus, via the Holy Spirit, God the Father and Christ Jesus the Son lives in us.
42. Inheritors of spiritual blessings of Abraham Galatians 3:13-14)
“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us .... that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Gal 3:13-14).
Inheritors of spiritual blessings of Abraham - Meaning: The greatest blessing which Abraham enjoyed was that of being justified by faith. However, God promised that He would pour His Spirit upon Abraham's descendants (Isaiah 44:3 and God promised to put His Spirit in future children of his (Ezekiel 36:26-27). In Joel 2:28-29, God promised that He would pour out His Spirit on all flesh. Some of the blessings which God promised Abraham that were specifically for Israel, therefore Christians never partake of these.
43. Indwelt by God's Spirit (Galatians 4:6)
“And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”” (Gal 4:6).
Indwelt by God's Spirit - Meaning: The moment we believe in Jesus as Savior the Holy Spirit enters and indwells us and we become God’s children by faith. “The spirit is bestowed not to make us sons and daughters, but because we have become His children by the faith.” - The People's New Testament
44. We are the temples of the living God (1 Corinthians 3:16 &19)
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor 3:16).
“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” (1 Cor 6:19).
We are the temples of the living God - Meaning: The total physical being of every believer becomes a sacred temple in which the Holy Spirit dwells immediately upon a person believing in Jesus as Savior, thus a believer becomes the dwelling place for God's presence.
45. Heirs of the riches of Jesus (Galatians 4:14-5, Romans 8:16 - 17)