Lesson 30 - Four Aspects of Righteousness

December 9, 2017

Four Aspects of Righteousness

  • "A vital difference between God and man which Scripture emphasizes is that God is righteous (1 John 1:5), while the fundamental charge against man as recorded in Romans 3:10 is that “there is none righteous, no, not one.” So also, one of the glories of divine grace is the fact that a perfect righteousness, likened to a spotless wedding garment, has been provided and is freely bestowed upon all who believe (Rom. 3:22)."[1]

God is Righteous

     “This righteousness of God is unchanging and unchangeable (Rom. 3:25-26). He is infinitely righteous in His own being and infinitely righteous in all His ways.”[2]

The Self-Righteousness of Man

     Scripture reveals everyone is corrupted by sin and guilty before God (Gen. 6:5; 1 Kings 8:46; Ps. 130:3; 143:2; Prov. 20:9; Eccl. 7:20; Isa. 53:6; Rom. 3:9-23; 5:6-10, 12; Gal. 3:22; Eph. 2:1-3). 

The Imputed Righteousness of God

     Imputation is the Biblical teaching that one person can be charged/credited with something that rightfully belongs to another which is not originally his/her own. The word “imputation” is an accounting term used both in the Old Testament and the New Testament (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:3).  The Hebrew חָשַׁב chashab means “to impute, reckon to.”[3] The Greek λογίζομαι logizomai means “to determine by mathematical process, reckon, calculate, frequently in a transferred sense.”[4] Twice Paul uses the Greek word ἐλλογέω ellogeo (Rom. 5:13; Phm. 1:18), which means, “to charge with a financial obligation, charge to the account of someone.”[5] Paul tells his friend, Philemon, concerning his runaway slave Onesimus, “if he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge [ἐλλογέω ellogeo] that to my account” (Phm. 1:18). Here, Paul is saying that he will pay for any wrongful actions committed by Onesimus. 

     In Scripture there are three major imputations that concern our relationship with God:  First is the imputation of Adam’s original sin to every member of the human race (Rom. 5:12-13; cf. 1 Cor. 15:21-22). This means that every biological descendant of Adam is charged/credited with the sin he committed in the Garden of Eden which plunged the human race into spiritual death. Jesus is the only exception, for though He is truly human (Matt. 1:1; Luke 3:23-38), He was born without original sin, without a sin nature, and committed no personal sin during His time on earth (2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:22; 1 John 3:5). Second is the imputation of all sin to Jesus on the cross (Isa. 53:1-12; John 3:16; 2 Cor. 5:18-21; Heb. 2:9; 1 Pet. 2:21-24; 1 John 2:2). God the Father judged Jesus in our place (Mark 10:45; Rom. 5:6-10; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; 1 Pet. 3:18), cancelling our sin debt by the death of Christ (Col. 2:13-14; 2 Cor. 5:18-19). Third is the imputation of God’s righteousness to those who believe in Jesus for salvation (Rom. 4:3-5; 5:17; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:8-9). God’s imputed righteousness, not human works, is the basis for divine acceptance.

Righteousness Imparted by the Spirit

     “When filled with the Spirit, the child of God will produce the righteous works (Rom. 8:4) of the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ (Gal. 5:22-23) and will manifest the gifts for service which are by the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:7). These results are distinctly said to be due to the immediate working of the Spirit in and through the believer.”[6] The Christian is called to a life of righteousness, which means he/she thinks and lives in conformity with God’s commands (Tit. 2:11-14). Obedience to God is impossible in the energy of the flesh; however, the believer who surrenders his/her life to God (Rom. 12:1-2), learns His Word (2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16-17), is filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18), walks by the Spirit (Gal. 5:16), regularly confesses his/her sin (1 John 1:9), lives by faith (2 Cor. 5:9; Heb. 11:6), and uses time wisely (Eph. 5:15-16), will glorify God through a righteous life.  

 

[1] Lewis Sperry Chafer; John F. Walvoord; Major Bible Themes (Grand Rapids, Mich. Zondervan Publishing, 2010), 197.

[2] Ibid., 197.

[3] Ludwig Koehler, Walter Baumgartner, M. E. J. Richardson, et al., The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, 360.

[4] William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker, and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 597.

[5] Ibid., 319.

[6] Chafer; Walvoord; Major Bible Themes, 201

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Lesson 29 - Salvation From the Power of Sin

December 9, 2017

The Problem of Sin in the Life of a Christian

     The sin nature, sometimes called “the flesh” (Gal. 5:17, 19) or “old self” (Rom. 6:6; Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 3:9), is not eradicated from the believer during his time on earth, nor is it ever reformed, as though it can be made to love God. Because the sin nature is not removed from the believer after salvation, the believer experiences conflict within (Rom. 7:18-23; Gal. 5:16-26). Only the Christian has two opposing natures, and his spiritual growth guarantees internal conflict. The sin nature, though crippled at the moment of regeneration, does not give up control without a fight, and only the spiritually advancing Christian can overcome the power and habits of the flesh, as he devotes himself to learning and living Scripture and to walk by means of the Spirit.

Law as a Rule of Life

     The Mosaic Law functioned as the rule of life for God’s people living in a theocratic system. The Mosaic Law is typically viewed in three parts: 1) the moral law consisting of the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:2-17; Deut. 5:6-21), 2) the civil law which addressed slavery, property rights, economics, etc., (Ex. 21:1–24:18) and, 3) the ceremonial law which addressed the tabernacle, priests, worship and the sacrificial system as a whole (Ex. 25:1–40:38). The Mosaic Law has been fulfilled by Christ (Matt. 5:17-18) and rendered inoperative as a rule of life for Christians (Rom. 8:2-5; 10:4; 2 Cor. 3:7, 11; Heb. 8:13).

Grace as a Rule of Life

     Paul made clear that the Mosaic Law is not the rule of life for the Christian. He even referred to it as a ministry of “death” and “condemnation” (2 Cor. 3:5-11). Paul stated that it was intended to be temporary (Gal. 3:19), that it was never the basis for justification (Gal. 2:16, 21; 3:21; cf. Rom. 4:1-5), but was intended to lead men to Christ that they may be justified by faith (Gal. 3:24). “As a rule of life, the Law of Moses was temporary … [and] came to an end with the death of the Messiah.”[1]

     The church-age believer is “no longer under law, but under grace” (Rom. 6:14; cf. Gal. 5:1-4). Being under the grace-system does not mean the believer is without law and can therefore sin as he pleases (Rom. 6:14-16; Titus 2:11-12). The New Testament speaks of “the perfect law of liberty” (Jam. 1:25), “the royal law” (Jam. 2:8), the “Law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2), and “the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:2). 

     The Christian is commanded to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts” (Rom. 13:14). He must not only choose to live according to the new nature in conformity to the Spirit’s guiding, but must also learn to starve his sin nature. To “make no provision for the flesh” means the Christian is to stop exposing himself to the things of the world that excite the flesh and lead to sinful behavior. The positive action is to grow spiritually with biblical teaching, Christian fellowship, worship and prayer so that the believer grows to maturity (Acts 2:42; Eph. 4:11-16; 2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16-17; 1 Pet. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:18). It is only by spiritual growth and drawing closer to God that the Christian glorifies the Lord and learns to live in righteousness. It is a life of faith in God and His Word. 

 Victory by the Holy Spirit

     First, the victorious life starts with regeneration (1 Pet. 1:3, 23), as the believer is made alive in Christ and indwelt by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19). Second, the Christian must live in submission to God and be willing to seek His will above all else (Rom. 12:1-2). Third, he/she must be in continual study of God’s Word, applying it to every aspect of life (2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16-17; 1 Pet. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:18). Fourth, he/she must be filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18), and walking in dependence on Him (Gal. 5:16, 21). Fifth, he/she must restore broken fellowship with God through confession of personal sin (1 John 1:5-9). Sixth, he/she must see trials as opportunities to grow (Rom. 5:1-3; 2 Cor. 12:7-10; Jam. 1:2-4). Seventh, he/she must take advantage of the time God gives to learn and grow spiritually (Eph. 5:15-17; cf. Heb. 5:12; 1 Pet. 1:17; 4:1-2).

 

[1] Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology (Tustin, CA., Ariel Ministries, 2001), 373-374.

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Lesson 28 - Salvation From the Penalty of Sin

December 2, 2017

Salvation From the Penalty of Sin

     The most common word for salvation in the Hebrew OT is יָשַׁע yasha (sometimes as יְשׁוּעָה yeshua) which means “deliverance, rescue, salvation, also safety, [and] welfare.”[1] Salvation in the OT was primarily physical, as one might be delivered from his enemy in battle or from a plague (2 Sam. 22:3-4; 1 Chron. 16:23, 35; Job 5:4, 11; Ps. 3:6-8; 44:4-8; 85:7, 9; 89:26; Isa. 17:10; 45:8; Mic. 7:7). In the NT the Greek verb σῴζω sozo refers to the act of physical deliverance in some biblical passages Matt. 8:25; 14:30; Mark 13:20; Luke 6:9; John 11:12; Acts 27:20, 31), and spiritual deliverance in others (Luke 7:50; 19:10; John 12:47; 1 Cor. 1:21; Tit. 3:5; Heb. 7:25).

Salvation as God’s Remedy for Sin

  1. Sin is always equally sinful whether it be committed by the heathen or the civilized, the unregenerate or the regenerate (Rom. 3:9-10; Gal. 3:22).[2]
  2. Sin can be cured only on the ground of the shed blood of the Son of God (Eph. 1:7; Col 1:13-14).

Salvation Before and After the Cross

  1. The divine method of dealing with sin before the cross is said to have been by atonement, which word, in its biblical use, means simply “to cover.” The animal sacrifices were a temporary covering for sin, but did not remove sin (Heb. 10:4).[3]
  2. The divine method of dealing with sin since the cross is stated in Romans 3:26. Christ has died. Jesus death on the cross did not cover sin; but rather, took it away (John 1:29; 2:13-14; Heb. 10:4; 1 John 3:5).

The Three Tenses of Salvation

  1. The past tense of salvation is revealed in certain passages which, when speaking of salvation, refer to it as being wholly past, or completed for the one who has believed (Eph. 2:4-9). So perfect is this divine work that the saved one is said to be safe forever (John 5:24; 10:27-28; Rom. 8:1).[4]
  2. The present tense of salvation…has to do with present salvation from the reigning power of sin (1 Cor. 1:18; 2 Cor. 2:15; cf. 2:12-13).
  3. The future tense of salvation contemplates that the believer will yet be saved into full conformity to Christ (Rom. 13:11; 1 Pet. 1:3-5; cf. 1 John 3:2).

Salvation as the Finished Work of Christ

Jesus’ death is sufficient for all (John 3:16; Heb. 2:9; 1 John 2:2), but effective only for those who believe in Him as Savior (Acts 10:43; 13:38-39; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:13-14).

Salvation as the Saving Work of God

  • The saving work of God which is accomplished the moment one believes includes various phases of God’s gracious work: redemption, reconciliation, propitiation, forgiveness, regeneration, imputation, justification, sanctification, perfection, glorification. By it we are made fit to be partakers of the inheritance of saints (Col. 1:12), made accepted in the Beloved (Eph. 1:6), made the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21), made near to God (Eph. 2:13), made sons of God (John 1:12), made citizens of heaven (Phil. 3:20), made a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17), made members of the family and household of God (Eph. 2:19; 3:15), and made complete in Christ (Col. 2:10).[5]

Salvation as Related to the Sin of the Saved

  1. The forgiveness of sin is accomplished for the sinner when he believes upon Christ and is a part of his salvation.[6]
  2. In the divine dealing with the sins of the Christian, it is the sin question alone that is in view, and the Christian’s sin is forgiven, not on the ground of believing unto salvation, but on the ground of confessing the sin (1 John 1:9).

Salvation Conditioned on Faith Alone

  • "In the New Testament in about 115 passages, the salvation of a sinner is declared to depend only upon believing and in about 35 passages to depend on faith, which is a synonym for believing. By believing an individual wills to trust Christ. It is an act of the whole man, not just his intellect or his emotion. While intellectual assent is not of real faith, and merely a stirring of the emotions is short of faith, believing is a definite act in which the individual wills to receive Christ by faith."[7]

 

[1] Francis Brown, Samuel Rolles Driver and Charles Augustus Briggs, Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon, electronic ed. (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 2000), 447.

[2] These points are taken verbatim from Major Bible Themes, 182.

[3] These points are taken verbatim from Major Bible Themes, 183.

[4] These points are taken verbatim from Major Bible Themes, 184.

[5] Lewis Sperry Chafer; John F. Walvoord; Major Bible Themes (Grand Rapids, Mich. Zondervan Publishing, 2010), 185.

[6] These points are taken verbatim from Major Bible Themes, 186.

[7] Chafer; Walvoord, Major Bible Themes, 187.

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Lesson 27 - Sin: It’s Character and Universality

December 2, 2017

     The word sin is found throughout Scripture, and both the Hebrew and Greek share the same basic meaning. The Hebrew word חָטָא chata means “to miss the target, or to lose the way,”[1] and the Greek word ἁμαρτάνω hamartano is defined as “miss the mark, err, or do wrong.”[2] In Judges 20:16 the Hebrew word is used of skilled soldiers who do not miss their target, and in Proverbs 19:2 of a man who hurries and misses his way.[3] Sin is when we transgress God’s law and depart from His intended path. The apostle John states, “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). “The teaching of Scripture is that sin is any want of conformity to the character of God, whether it be an act, disposition, or state.”[4]

  • "The underlying idea of sin is that of law and of a lawgiver. The lawgiver is God. Hence sin is everything in the disposition and purpose and conduct of God’s moral creatures that is contrary to the expressed will of God (Rom. 3:20; 4:15; 7:7; James 4:12, 17). The sinfulness of sin lies in the fact that it is against God, even when the wrong we do is to others or ourselves (Gen. 39:9; Ps. 51:4)."[5]

     God permits sin, but is never the author of it. Sin is the expression of a creaturely will that is set against God. The sin we commit may be mental, verbal, or physical. It may be private or public, impacting one or many, with short or lasting results.

     Biblically, every person is a sinner in God’s sight. Jesus is the single exception.[6] We are sinners in Adam (Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:21-22), sinners by nature (Rom. 7:18-21; Gal. 5:17; Eph. 2:1-3; 4:22-24), and sinners by choice (1 Kings 8:46; Prov. 20:9; Isa. 53:6; Rom. 3:9-23). Sin separates us from God and renders us helpless to merit God’s approval. We are helpless to solve the sin problem and save ourselves (Rom. 5:6-10; Eph. 2:1-3).

 

[1] Ludwig Koehler et al., The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1994–2000), 305.

[2] William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 49.

[3] G. Herbert Livingston, “638 חָטָא,” ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 277.

[4] Lewis Sperry Chafer; John F. Walvoord; Major Bible Themes (Grand Rapids, Mich. Zondervan Publishing, 2010), 178.

[5] Merrill F. Unger and E. McChesney, “Sin,” ed. R.K. Harrison, The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1988), 1198.

[6] Jesus, because of His divine nature (John 1:1, 14; Col. 2:9), and the virgin conception (Isa. 7:14; Luke 1:30-35), is the only person ever born without sin and who committed no sin (2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; 1 Pet. 2:22; 1 John 3:5).

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Lesson 26 - Man: His Fall

November 11, 2017
  • "The early chapters of Genesis record the fall into sin by Adam and Eve. The various interpretations of this record either take it as a literal event explaining the sinfulness of the human race or attempt to explain it away as unhistorical or a myth. The orthodox interpretation, however, is that the event took place exactly as recorded in Scripture, and this is the way it is treated in the rest of the Bible."[1]

Adam Before the Fall

     Adam and Eve were created sinless and placed in the perfect environment God prepared for them. After their initial creation, God had declared everything “very good” (Gen. 1:31). The coupled represented the human race at that time. Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God introduced sin into the human race (Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:21-22).

     The record of Adam and Eve’s sin is set forth in Genesis 3:1-7. Satan, in the form of the serpent, approached Adam and Eve and enticed them to rebel against the only negative command God gave them, not to eat of the forbidden fruit (Gen. 2:17). Satan’s enticement started with a question about what God said (Gen. 3:1), which implied God was withholding some good thing from them. Eve’s reply modified God’s Word. “Eve in her reply fell into Satan’s trap by leaving out the word ‘freely’ in God’s permission to eat of the trees of the garden, and she left out also the word ‘surely’ in God’s warning. The natural tendency of man to minimize God’s goodness and to magnify His strictness are familiar characteristics of human experience ever since.”[2] Satan’s question to Eve turned to an outright contradiction in which he told her, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:4-5). The Bible then states, “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate” (Gen. 3:6).

Adam After the Fall

Adam and Eve’s sin resulted in far-reaching and long-lasting consequences.

  1. They became subject to both physical and spiritual death (Gen. 2:17).[3]
  2. God’s judgment also fell upon Satan, and the serpent was condemned to crawl on the ground (Gen. 3:14-15).
  3. A special judgment also fell on Eve, who would experience pain in giving birth to children and would be required to submit to her husband (Gen. 3:16).
  4. A special curse fell on Adam, and he was assigned to the hard labor of bringing forth from the soil, now cursed with thorns and thistles, the necessary food for his continued existence (Gen. 3:17-19). Sin also impacted the entire creation (Rom. 8:22).

The Effects of Adam’s Sin Upon the Race

     The sin of Adam and Eve brought immediate spiritual death, which means their relationship with God was severed. By grace, God restored their relationship by providing a sacrifice and covering, which they accepted (Gen. 3:21). However, Adam and Eve would live out their days with a fallen nature and in a fallen world. Adam’s sinful nature would pass to all his descendants and the effects of sin would become more and more obvious as time progressed. In Scripture we learn about several important imputations that concern our relationship with God: First is the imputation of Adam’s original sin to every member of the human race (Gen. 5:3; Rom. 5:12-14; cf. 1 Cor. 15:21-22). This means that every biological descendant of Adam is charged with the sin he committed in the Garden of Eden which plunged the human race into spiritual death. Jesus is the only exception, for though He is truly human (Matt. 1:1; Luke 3:23-38), He was born without original sin, without a sin nature, and committed no personal sin during His time on earth (2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:22; 1 John 3:5). Second is the imputation of all sin to Jesus on the cross (Isa. 53:5; 2 Cor. 5:18-21; 1 Pet. 2:21-24). Here, God the Father took every sin of every person and imputed it to Christ while He was on the cross (John 3:16; Heb. 2:9; 1 John 2:2). God the Father judged Jesus in our place (Mark 10:45; Rom. 5:6-10; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; 1 Pet. 3:18), cancelling our sin debt by the death of Christ (Col. 2:13-14; 2 Cor. 5:18-19). Third is the imputation of God’s righteousness to those who believe in Jesus for salvation (Rom. 4:3-5; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:8-9).

 

[1] Lewis Sperry Chafer; John F. Walvoord; Major Bible Themes (Grand Rapids, Mich. Zondervan Publishing, 2010), 171.

[2] Ibid., 173.

[3] These four points are taken verbatim from Major Bible Themes, pages 173-174.

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Lesson 25 - Man: His Creation

November 11, 2017

Man as a Created Being

  • "Discovering himself in the midst of a wonderful universe and being the highest order of its physical creatures, man would naturally seek to understand his own origin as well as the origin of all existing things. Because nature does not reveal the creation of man and tradition would not be a reliable source of information, it is reasonable to expect that God would reveal the essential facts about man’s creation in the Bible. In the early chapters of Genesis and elsewhere in the Bible, the creation of man is clearly taught in Scripture."[1]

     Apart from divine revelation, man has no ability to know his origin and speculations abound. The idea of evolution through natural selection—survival of the fittest—is the most prominent and prevalent theory today. Some hold to theistic-evolution, holding that God used the evolution of natural process to create man. But this denies the biblical record which plainly states God created the whole universe in six days (Gen. 1:1-31; Ex. 20:11; 31:17; Ps. 33:6; Neh. 9:6; Acts 17:24), and created man in His image (Gen. 1:26-27; 9:6; Deut. 4:32; Isa. 45:12; Matt. 19:4; Jam. 3:9). Mankind is God’s crowning creation, which He authorized to rule over His work (Gen. 1:26; Ps. 8:3-9). God created the universe and earth in six literal days and created everything with the appearance of age.

The Nature of Man

     The creation account reveals that man was created with both material and immaterial qualities (Gen. 2:7; Eccl. 12:7; Matt. 10:28; 2 Cor. 4:16). The immaterial parts of man—soul and spirit—are sometimes used interchangeably (John 12:27 and 13:21), and sometimes distinguished (1 Thess. 5:23; Heb. 4:12).

     There are two major views of the continued creation of man: 1) the Traducian theory believes that the body and soul are passed from parent to child at conception (Gen. 5:3; Heb. 7:9-10), and 2) the Creation theory argues that our body comes from our parents, but God creates each new human soul at conception and imputes it to the biological life in the womb (Ps. 100:3; Eccl. 12:7).

     The body is the residence of the soul (Gen. 2:7), which is removed at physical death (Eccl. 12:7; 2 Cor. 5:1-8). The body is also where the sin nature resides, in both saved and unsaved persons (Rom. 7:17-20). And, the body of the Christian is also the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19).

[1] Lewis Sperry Chafer; John F. Walvoord; Major Bible Themes (Grand Rapids, Mich. Zondervan Publishing, 2010), 165.

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Lesson 24 - Satan: His Work and Destinty

November 5, 2017

     “Two errors regarding Satan are current, and since he alone is benefited by them it is reasonable to conclude that he is the author of them.”[1]

  1. Many believe that Satan does not really exist and that the supposed person of Satan is no more than an evil principle, or influence, which is in man and in the world.[2] Scripture reveals Satan as a real person with all the capacities of personhood, such as intelligence, volition and feelings.
  2. Likewise, others believe the error that Satan is the direct cause of sin in every person. Scripture reveals people produce sin and are held responsible for it ( 2:16-17; 3:1-7; 6:5; Mark 7:20-23; Jam. 1:13-15).

The Work of Satan

     "Isaiah 14:12-17 is only one of the many passages bearing on the work of Satan. This passage reveals Satan’s original and supreme purpose. He would ascend into heaven, exalt his throne above the stars of God, and be like the most High. To this end he will use his unmeasured wisdom and power; he will weaken the nations, make the earth to tremble, make the world as a wilderness, destroy the cities thereof, and refuse to release his prisoners. Though every phrase of this passage is a startling disclosure, two in particular may be noted."[3]

  1. The expression “I will be like the most High” (v. 14) indicates the supreme motive that guides all his activities after the fall.[4] (Read page 162)
  2. The expression that He “opened not the house of his prisoners” (Isa. 14:17) seems to refer to Satan’s present power over unsaved people as well as his incapacity to help them in their eternal judgment. Those who are born into this world are born into Satan’s system, which is a place of slavery. It is a kingdom of darkness (Col. 1:13), where men are held captive (2 Tim. 2:26), and said to be blinded to the gospel (2 Cor. 4:3-4). (read page 162-163)

The Destiny of Satan

     “As the Word of God is explicit regarding the origin of Satan, so it is explicit regarding his career and destiny. Five progressive judgments of Satan are to be distinguished.”[5]

  1. Satan’s moral fall, with its necessary separation from God, is clearly indicated, although the time in the dateless past is not disclosed (Ezek. 28:15; 1 Tim. 3:6).[6]
  2. A perfect judgment of Satan has been secured through the Cross (John 12:31; 16:11; Col. 2:14, 15), but the execution of that sentence is yet future. This sentence with its execution was predicted in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:15).
  3. Satan will be cast out of heaven. In the midst of the coming Tribulation and as a result of a war in heaven, Satan will be cast out of heaven and be limited to the earth. He will then act in great wrath, knowing that he has but a short time to continue ( 12:7-12. Note also, Isa. 14:12; Luke 10:18).
  4. Satan will be confined to the abyss. For the thousand-year reign of Christ upon the earth, Satan will be sealed in the abyss, after which he must be loosed for a “little season” ( 20:1-3, 7). The purpose of putting him in the abyss is to make it impossible for him to be active and to continue deceiving the nations.
  5. Satan’s final doom will come at the close of the millennium. Having promoted an open rebellion against God during the “little season,” Satan is then cast into the lake of fire to be tormented day and night forever ( 20:10).

[1] Lewis Sperry Chafer; John F. Walvoord; Major Bible Themes (Grand Rapids, Mich. Zondervan Publishing, 2010), 161.

[2] Ibid., 161.

[3] Ibid., 162.

[4] These two points are taken verbatim from Major Bible Themes, page 162.

[5] Ibid., 163.

[6] These five points are taken verbatim from Major Bible Themes, pages 163-164.

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Lesson 23 - Satan: His Personality and Power

November 5, 2017

     The name Satan is derived from the Hebrew שָׂטָן Satan (Job 1:6) and the Greek Σατανᾶς Satanas (Matt. 4:10). Both words mean adversary. Other names include the shining one, or Lucifer (Isa. 14:12), the evil one (1 John 5:19), the tempter (1 Thess. 3:5), the devil (Matt. 4:1), the god of this world (2 Cor. 4:4), the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10), the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2), the serpent (Rev. 12:9), the great red dragon (Rev. 12:3), and the angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14).

The Personality of Satan

     Satan was a created person (Col. 1:16; cf. Ezek. 28:11-18).[1] Satan exercises all the functions of a person. 1) He has volition (Isa. 14:12-14), 2) he practices deception (Gen. 3:1-15; 2 Cor. 11:13-15), 3) he interacts with God (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-13; Luke 22:31-33; Rev. 12:10) and people (Eph. 6:10-12; 1 Pet. 5:8), 4) he interacts with Jesus (Matt. 4:1-11), 5) he has well developed strategies of warfare against Christians, which strategies display his personality (Eph. 6:10-12). “There is no mention in Scripture of a warfare by Satan against the unregenerate; they are his own and therefore under his authority (John 8:44; Eph. 2:2; 1 John 5:19).”[2]

The Power of Satan

     “Though morally fallen and now judged in the Cross (John 12:31; 16:11; Col. 2:15), Satan has not lost his position, and he has lost but little of his power. His power both as to personal strength and authority is disclosed in two forms.”[3]

  1. “His personal strength cannot be estimated. He possesses the kingdoms of the world (Luke 4:5-6), had the power of death (Heb. 2:14), which now belongs to Christ (Rev. 1:18). He had the power over sickness with Job (Job 2:7), and was able to sift Peter as wheat (Luke 22:31). He is said “to have weakened the nations, to have made the earth to tremble, to have shaken kingdoms, to have made the earth a wilderness, destroying the cities thereof, and not to have opened the house of his prisoners (Isa. 14:12-17).” Even Michael, the Archangel, does not contend with Satan (Jude 1:9), but the believer has victory through the Sprit and the blood of Christ (Eph. 6:10-12; Rev. 12:10-11).”[4]
  2. “Satan is aided by demons. As a creature, Satan is confined in his abilities and relies on numerous fallen angels who carry out his will.”[5] (Read pages 158-159)

[1] These abbreviated points are taken from Major Bible Themes (Grand Rapids, Mich. Zondervan Publishing, 2010), 156-158.

[2] Lewis Sperry Chafer; John F. Walvoord; Major Bible Themes (Grand Rapids, Mich. Zondervan Publishing, 2010), 158.

[3] Ibid., 158.

[4] Ibid., 158.

[5] Ibid., 158.

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Lesson 22 - The Angels

October 14, 2017

The Nature of Angels

     The word angel translates the Hebrew word מַלְאָךְ malak and the Greek word ἄγγελος aggelos, and both words mean messenger.  Thirty-four books of Bible teach the existence of angels. The word angel occurs approximately 275 times throughout Scripture. Angels are created beings (Col. 1:16), were present at the creation of the world (Job 38:4-7), have volition (Matt. 8:28-32), emotion (Mark 1:23-26), and intelligence (1 Pet. 1:12). Angels are spirit beings (Heb. 1:14), are distinct from humans (Mark 1:23-26), do not reproduce after their kind (Mark 12:25), have great power (2 Peter 2:11; cf. Dan. 10:1-21), and are innumerable (Heb. 12:22; Rev. 5:11).

     God has organized angels into different classes. Michael is the only one named as an Archangel (Jude 1:9), although some are classified as chief princes (Dan. 10:13), some as rulers (Eph. 3:10), and some as guardian angels (Matt. 18:10; Heb. 1:14). Seraphim—who have six wings—appear to be devoted to the worship of God (Isa. 6:1-3), whereas Cherubim—who have four wings—are devoted to protecting the Lord’s holiness (Ezek. 10:19-21).

Unfallen Angels

     Angels are classified as either fallen or unfallen. The former retain their holy state and service to God, whereas the latter have defected from their original place and continue in constant rebellion against God. The following categories of angels are noted in Scripture:

  1. Michael the archangel is the head of all the holy angels and his name means “who is like unto God” (Dan. 10:21; 12:1; Jude 9; Rev. 12:7-10).[1]
  2. Gabriel is one of the principal messengers of God, his name meaning “hero of God.” He was entrusted with important messages such as those delivered to Daniel (Dan. 8:16; 9:21), the message to Zacharias (Luke 1:18-19), and the message to the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:26-38).
  3. Most angels are not given individual names but are described as elect angels (1 Tim. 5:21). This introduces the interesting thought that like saved men who are declared to be chosen or elected, the holy angels likewise were divinely appointed.
  4. The expressions “principalities” and “powers” seem to be used of all angels whether fallen or unfallen (Luke 21:26; Rom. 8:38; Eph. 1:21; 3:10; Col. 1:16; 2:10, 15; 1 Pet. 3:22). There is unceasing warfare between the holy angels and the fallen angels for control of men in history.
  5. Some angels are designated “cherubim,” living creatures who defend God’s holiness from any defilement of sin (Gen. 3:24; Exod. 25:18, 20; Ezek. 1:1-18). Satan, the head of fallen angels, was originally created holy for this purpose also (Ezek. 28:14). Angelic figures in the form of cherubim were made of gold overlooking the mercy seat of the ark and the Holy of Holies in both the Tabernacle and the Temple.
  6. Seraphim are mentioned only once in the Bible in Isaiah 6:2-7. They are described as having three pairs of wings, apparently have the function of praising God and being God’s messengers to earth, and are especially concerned with the holiness of God.
  7. The term “angel of Jehovah” is found frequently in the Old Testament to refer to appearances of Christ in the form of an angel. The title belongs only to God and is used in connection with the divine manifestations in the earth, and therefore it is in no way to be included in the angelic hosts (Gen. 18:1-19:29; 22:11-12; 31:11-13; 32:24-32; 48:15-16; Josh. 5:13-15; Judg. 13:19-22; 2 Kings 19:35; 1 Chron. 21:12-30; Ps. 34:7).

Fallen Angels

     Fallen angels are commonly referred to in Scripture as demons. Some are imprisoned (Jude 6; Rev. 9:1-16), and others are free. Demons that are free are said to possess intelligence, emotion and volition.  During the time of Christ, they were able to identify Him as the Son of God (Matt. 8:29a), and they knew their future fate (Matt. 8:29b). Satan and demons attempt to frustrate the purpose of God (Matt. 4:1-11; cf. Dan. 10:10-14; Rev. 16:13-16). Demons can possess the bodies of men (Luke 11:24-26), and sometimes cause physical disease (Matt. 9:32-33). 

The Ministry of Holy Angels

Holy angels are those who have remained loyal to God and continue in His service.  (Read pages 154-155)

[1] These seven points are taken verbatim from Major Bible Themes (Grand Rapids, Mich. Zondervan Publishing, 2010), 152-153.

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Lesson 21 - The Covenants

October 14, 2017
  • "The Bible discloses the fact that human history is the fulfillment of an eternal purpose of God. God’s eternal plan is revealed in Scripture and centers in solemn covenants or promises which God has made. At least eight biblical covenants are recorded, and they incorporate the most important facts relating to God’s plan and purpose in the world. Most of these covenants are in the form of a declaration of divine purpose which will certainly be fulfilled. In addition to the biblical covenants, theologians have advanced three theological covenants especially relating to the salvation of man."[1]

The Theological Covenants

  1. The Covenant of Redemption. It is claimed this covenant was made between God the Father and God the Son in eternity past in which the Son agreed to provide redemption for those who would believe (Eph. 1:4, 11).
  2. The Covenant of Works. It is argued that God made a covenant with Adam in the Garden in which God promised eternal life and blessing if Adam remained obedient (Gen. 2:17).
  3. The Covenant of Grace. Here, God offers His Son as a solution for sin and provides salvation by grace to those who will believe (Gen. 3:15; Eph. 2:8-9).

     Covenant theology is a framework for making sense of Scripture. These three covenants are commonly held by Covenant Theologians who believe God’s primary purpose in history is to provide salvation for fallen people. (Read page 141).

The Biblical Covenants

     The Bible reveals several biblical covenants. The word covenant translates the Hebrew בְּרִית berith and Greek διαθήκη diatheke. The Hebrew בְּרִית berith means an “agreement, covenant, or contract.”[2] The Greek διαθήκη diatheke means “last will, covenant, contract.”[3] Both words refer to a binding agreement between two parties. There are six explicitly named covenants in Scripture (Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, Palestinian (Land), Davidic, and New Covenant), and two that are implied (the Edenic and Adamic).  These covenants are either bilateral or unilateral.  A bilateral covenant makes promises of blessing and cursing dependent on the obedience of the recipient (Gen. 2:16-17; Deut. 28).  A unilateral covenant meant that God blessed the recipient unconditionally.  These covenants are here listed:

  1. The Edenic Covenant (bilateral - Gen. 1:26-31; 2:16-17).
  2. The Adamic Covenant (unilateral - Gen. 3:15-19; cf. Hos. 6:7).[4]
  3. The Noahic Covenant (unilateral - Gen. 6:18; 9:1-18).
  4. The Abrahamic Covenant (unilateral - Gen. 12:1-4; 13:14-17; 15:1-7; 17:1-11; cf. Gen. 26:2-5; 28:10-15; Ex. 2:24; 3:6-8; Josh. 1:2-6; 2 Ki. 13:23; 1 Chron. 16:15-22; Ps. 105:3-15; Neh. 9:5-10).
  5. Mosaic Covenant (bilateral - Exodus 19:5, 8; 20:1-31:18; Deut. 4:13; Gal. 3:16-19).
  6. The Palestinian/Land Covenant (unilateral - Deut. 29:1; 30:1-10).
  7. Davidic Covenant (unilateral - 2 Sam. 7:14-16; 89:3-4, 28-29; Luke 1:30-33).
  8. The New Covenant (unilateral - 31:31-34; 32:37-41; Ezek. 36:26-27; 37:21-28; Luke 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25; 2 Cor. 3:6-7; Heb. 8:8-13; 9:15; 12:24).

     Some of the biblical covenants have signs.  For example, the sign of the Noahic Covenant has the sign of the rainbow (Gen. 9:13-16; Ezek. 1:28; Rev. 4:3; 10:1), the sign of the Abrahamic Covenant is circumcision (Gen. 17:11; cf. Gal. 5:1-4), the sign of the Mosaic Covenant is the Sabbath (Ex. 31:12-17), and the sign of the New Covenant is the red wine/juice (Jer. 31:31-34; cf. Luke 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25; 2 Cor. 3:6-7; Heb. 8:8-13; 9:15; 12:24).

[1] Lewis Sperry Chafer; John F. Walvoord; Major Bible Themes (Grand Rapids, Mich. Zondervan Publishing, 2010), 139.

[2] Ludwig Koehler et al., The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1994–2000), 157–158.

[3] William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker, and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 228.

[4] The word “covenant” is not used either for the Edenic or Adamic covenants; however, the language is similar to that of a covenant. 

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Lesson 20 - The Dispensations

October 7, 2017

The Meaning of Dispensations

     The word dispensation (in the KJV) is a translation of the Greek word οἰκονομία oikonomia which means a stewardship or administration (Luke 16:2-4; 1 Cor. 9:17; Eph. 1:10; 3:2, 9; Col. 1:25; 1 Tim. 1:4), and may be generally defined as a “state of being arranged, arrangement, order, plan.”[1] The Greek word οἰκονόμος oikonomos refers to a steward who manages household affairs (Luke 12:42; 16:1, 8; Rom. 16:23; 1 Cor. 4:1-2), Pastors who supervise the local church (Tit. 1:7), and Christians who supervise their spiritual gift (1 Pet. 4:10). “A dispensation can be defined as a stage in the progressive revelation of God constituting a distinctive stewardship or rule of life.”[2] There are seven commonly identified dispensations in the Bible:

  1. Innocence (Adam and Eve – Gen. 1:28-3:6).
  2. Conscience (Fall to Flood – Gen. 3:6-8:22).
  3. Government (Noah to Abraham – Gen. 9:1-11:32).
  4. Promise (Abraham to Moses – Gen. 12:1-Ex. 19:25).
  5. Law (Israel to Church – Ex. 20:1-Acts 2:1).
  6. Grace (Church to Rapture – Acts 2:1-Rev. 3:22).
  7. Millennial kingdom (reign of Jesus to eternity – Rev. 19:11-20:6).

     The sine qua non[3] of dispensational theology includes: 1) a doxological view of history in which the manifestation of God’s glory is primary, 2) a distinction between Israel and the Church, and 3) a consistent literal method of interpretation in which the Christian reads the Bible in a plain manner.[4]

     With each dispensation, God gave specific commands to His people that they might live in righteous conformity to His expectations. The commands God gave to Adam and Eve are different than the ones He gave to Noah, and Abraham, Moses, and the Christian. God established laws for His people in each dispensation. Sometimes there was continuity of law from one dispensation to the next (i.e. 9 of the 10 commandments are restated in the NT), and sometimes discontinuity (i.e. Christians are not obligated to keep the Sabbath). 

  • "Adam lived under laws, the sum of which may be called the code of Adam or the code of Eden. Noah was expected to obey the laws of God, so there was a Noahic code. We know that God revealed many commands and laws to Abraham (Gen. 26:5). They may be called the Abrahamic code. The Mosaic code contained all the laws of the Law. And today we live under the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2) or the law of the Spirit of life in Christ (Rom. 8:2). This code contains the hundreds of specific commandments recorded in the New Testament."[5]

     Though both are the people of God, there are biblical distinctions between God’s expectations to Israel and His expectations to the Church.  For example, Israel had a priesthood that was specific to Aaron and the tribe of Levi (Num. 3:6-10), whereas in the Church age, all Christians are priests to God (Rev. 1:5-6).  Israel’s worship was tied to the Tabernacle and later the Temple (Ex. 40:18-38; 2 Chron. 8:14-16), but Christians gather locally, wherever they wish, and their body is the temple of God (1 Cor. 6:19-20; cf. Col. 4:15).  Israel was required to offer animal sacrifices to God (Lev. 4:1-35), but Christians are called to offer spiritual sacrifices (1 Pet. 2:5; cf. Rom. 12:1; Heb. 13:15).  Israelites were required to tithe from the produce of their land (Deut. 14:22-23; 28-29; Num. 18:21), but God requires no tithe from Christians, only a joyful attitude when giving, “for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7).  Under the Mosaic Law, God demanded punishment for sin and some sins were punishable by death.  Sometimes God Himself executed the punishment (Lev. 10:1-3; 2 Sam. 6:1-7), and other times it was carried out by Israel’s leaders (Ex. 32:19-28).  In the Church age, God does not call Christians to put anyone to death, but has delegated that authority solely to the governments of this world (Rom. 13:1-4), or He does it Himself (Acts 5:1-11; 1 Cor. 11:30; 1 John 5:16).

 

[1] William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 697.

[2] Lewis Sperry Chafer; John F. Walvoord; Major Bible Themes (Grand Rapids, Mich. Zondervan Publishing, 2010), 126.

[3] The sine qua non refers to that which is essential or indispensable.

[4] Plain interpretation means the Christian interprets the words and phrases of Scripture according to the normal rules of grammar, identifying the meaning of words and phrases according to their contextual and historical usage, and considering each verse in the light of its immediate context, as well as the larger context of the book and the Bible as a whole.

[5] Charles Ryrie, Basic Theology (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1999), 351.

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Lesson 19 - God the Holy Spirit: His Filling

October 7, 2017

     Certain works of the Holy Spirit occur at the moment of salvation and are never repeated (i.e. regeneration, indwelling, sealing and baptizing). However, the filling of the Holy Spirit is a repeated experience to empower the Christian to live in God’s will. The word filled means to be under the guiding influence of something/someone. It is used of the guiding influence of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4; 4:8; 7:55; 9:17), but is also used of Satan and sinful attitudes (Acts 5:3, 17; 19:28-29). “The filling of the Spirit may be defined as a spiritual state where the Holy Spirit is fulfilling all that He came to do in the heart and life of the individual believer.”[1] All Christians are commanded to be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18). Being filled does not mean we have more of the Spirit at one time and less at another; rather, it means the Spirit has more of us. The filling of the Holy Spirit is accomplished when the believer is yielded to Him and walking according to Scripture. (Read pages 115-116)

Conditions for the Filling of the Holy Spirit

  1. Do not quench the Holy Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19). The Greek word for quench is σβέννυμι sbennumi and has the basic idea of extinguishing a fire. Quenching the Spirit means suppressing His guidance by saying No.[2] Rather, the Christian is to yield himself to God in everything (Rom. 6:13; 12:1-2). (Read page 119-120)
  2. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30). The Greek word for grieve is λυπέω lupeo and the word means to distress or cause sorrow. The Spirit is grieved when the believer commits sin and continues in a state of unconfessed sin. Fellowship is restored when the Christian confesses his sin (1 John 1:9) and resumes his life of faith and walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16). The believer who continues in a lifestyle of sin, continually quenching and grieving the Spirit, may find himself subject to divine discipline (Heb. 12:5-6).
  3. Walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16). The word walk is a translation of the Greek word περιπατέω peripateo which has the idea of conduct or behavior. To walk in the Spirit means the Christian depends on the Spirit to guide his behavior according to Scripture. The Christian who walks in the Spirit will, over time, manifest the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23), and have a general attitude of praise and thanksgiving (Eph. 5:19-20; 1 Thess. 5:18). The growing Christian will face attacks from the world (Col. 2:8; Jas. 1:27; 4:4; 1 John 2:15-16), the flesh (Gal. 5:17, 19-21a; Rom. 6:6; Col. 3:9), and the devil (2 Cor. 11:3; Jam. 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:8).

The Results of the Filling of the Spirit

The Christian who is filled with the Spirit and walking in the Spirit will, over time, manifest certain characteristics in his/her life. Some of these characteristics include:

  1. An increase in the knowledge of God and His Word (John 16:12-14; cf. 1 Cor. 2:9-3:2).
  2. An advance toward spiritual maturity (Eph. 4:11-16; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 1 Pet. 2:2).
  3. A regular display of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).
  4. A strong assurance of his/her salvation (Rom. 8:16).
  5. An attitude of praise and thankfulness to God (Eph. 5:18-20; 1 Thess. 5:18).
  6. An active prayer life (1 Thess. 5:17; Eph. 6:18; Col. 4:2).
  7. The use of his/her spiritual gift for the benefit of others (1 Pet. 4:10; cf. Rom. 12:4-8; 1 Cor. 12:4-10).
  8. A life marked by faith (Rom. 1:17; 10:17; Heb. 11:6).
  9. The continual giving of the body for service to the Lord (Rom. 12:1-2). 
  10. The sacrifice of praise for worship (Heb. 13:15).
  11. The doing of good works and sharing with others (Heb. 13:16; cf. Phil. 4:18).
  12. The sacrifice of personal life for the benefit of others (Phil. 2:17; cf. Phil. 1:21-26; 2:3-4).
  13. The walk of sacrificial love (Eph. 5:1-2; cf. 1 Pet. 1:22).
  14. Confession of personal sin to God for restoration of fellowship (1 John 1:6-9).

 

[1] Lewis Sperry Chafer; John F. Walvoord; Major Bible Themes (Grand Rapids, Mich. Zondervan Publishing, 2010), 115.

[2] Sometimes the Spirit will forbid a Christian from doing something that He later permits (Acts 16:6-7; 19:10).

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Lesson 18 - God the Holy Spirit: His Baptism

September 30, 2017

The Meaning of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit

There are several references to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in Scripture (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:5; 11:16; 1 Cor. 12:13). The Greek word βαπτίζω baptizo means to place into, immerse, or identify with.

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit Before Pentecost

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not found in the Old Testament. The first mention of it occurs in the four Gospels (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33), and those occurrences, along with Acts 1:5, reveal the baptism of the Holy Spirit as future.

All Christians Baptized by the Spirit in the Present Age

All Christians are baptized by the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation. Paul reveals, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13; cf. Eph. 4:5; Gal. 3:26-28).

The Baptism of the Spirit Into the Body of Christ

“By Spirit baptism the believer is placed into the body of Christ in the living union of all true believers in the present age.”[1] The Lord adds to the church (Acts 2:47; 1 Cor. 12:12-14; Eph. 4:4-6). (Read page 111)

The Baptism of the Spirit Into Christ

The believer is baptized into Christ and identified with His death, burial and resurrection (Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-28; Col. 2:12). This is an identification truth.

The Baptism of the Spirit Related to Spiritual Experience

The believer’s identification with Christ, by means of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, is universal to all Christians, occurs instantaneously at the moment of faith in Christ, and is accepted by faith in God’s Word. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a fact and not a feeling.  

[1] Lewis Sperry Chafer; John F. Walvoord; Major Bible Themes (Grand Rapids, Mich. Zondervan Publishing, 2010), 110.

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Lesson 17 - God the Holy Spirit: His Indwelling and Sealing

September 30, 2017

The Holy Spirit was with and in a few believers in the Old Testament (1 Sam. 10:6; 16:13; Ezek. 2:2). However, His indwelling of every believer is a new activity of the church age. Jesus announced the Spirit’s indwelling during the Upper Room discourse, where He said of the Holy Spirit, “He abides with you and will be in you” (John 14:17).

A New Feature of the Present Age

There were instances in the book of Acts in which believers received the Holy Spirit after conversion (Acts 8:14-17; 19:1-6; cf. 2:1-4; 11:15-16). However, these were unique situations that reflected a transition from the dispensation of Israel to the dispensation of the Church. 

The Universal Indwelling of the Holy Spirit in Believers

God the Holy Spirit indwells every Christian from the moment of salvation onward. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is evident in several passages in the New Testament (Rom. 8:9-11; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19).

Problems in the Doctrine of Indwelling

Some have protested the doctrine of the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit on a few biblical passages (1 Sam. 16:14; Ps. 51:11; Luke 11:13).

The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit Contrasted With Other Ministries

The indwelling of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19) seems to be the same as His sealing (2 Cor. 1:21-22; Eph. 1:13; 4:30); however, it is distinct from His regenerating work (John 3:3-6; 1 Pet. 1:3, 23), as well as His baptizing (1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27).

The Sealing of the Spirit

The Holy Spirit is given as a seal (σφραγίζω sphragizo), which is a pledge (ἀρραβών arrabon) of future blessing (Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30).

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Lesson 16 - God the Holy Spirit: His Regeneration

September 23, 2017

Regeneration is a fundamental teaching in the doctrine of salvation. It is a work of God on behalf of man and in man. The word “regeneration” occurs only twice in the Bible (Matt. 19:28 and Titus 3:5). In both places the Greek word used is παλιγγενεσία paliggenesia, which means the “the state of being renewed… [the] experience of a complete change of life, rebirth of a redeemed person.”[1]

  • On the basis of this text [Tit. 3:5], the word “regeneration” has been chosen by theologians to express the concept of new life, new birth, spiritual resurrection, the new creation, and, in general, a reference to the new supernatural life that believers receive as sons of God. In the history of the church, the term has not always had accurate usage, but properly understood, it means the origination of the eternal life which comes into the believer in Christ at the moment of faith, the instantaneous change from a state of spiritual death to a state of spiritual life.[2]

Regeneration by the Holy Spirit

Regeneration is accomplished by God for those who believe in Jesus as Savior (John 1:12-13; 3:16; 2 Cor. 5:17; Tit. 3:5). Though God the Father and God the Son are involved in our new life (John 5:21; Jam. 1:17-18), Scripture directs us to view it also as a work of God the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-7; Tit. 3:5).

Eternal Life Imparted by Regeneration

The believer who trusts in Jesus as Savior is given eternal life (John 3:16; 10:28; 20:31). This means the lost person is transferred from a place of spiritual death to spiritual life (John 1:13; Rom. 6:13; 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 2:1-5). (Read page 99)

The Results of Regeneration

Our regeneration as born again persons is the foundation upon which all other Christian experiences are based. (Read pages 99-100)

 

[1] William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 752.

[2] Lewis Sperry Chafer; John F. Walvoord; Major Bible Themes (Grand Rapids, Mich. Zondervan Publishing, 2010), 97-98.

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Lesson 15 - God the Holy Spirit: His Advent

September 23, 2017

Under the Mosaic Law the Holy Spirit indwelt and empowered only a few believers such as Artisans (Ex. 31:1-5), Judges (Num. 11:25-29; Jud. 3:9-10), Prophets (Ezek. 2:2), and Kings (1 Sam. 10:6; 16:13). Also, the Holy Spirit could be taken from a believer as an act of discipline (1 Sam. 16:14-16; cf. Ps. 51:11).

The Coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost

During the ministry of Jesus, the Holy Spirit was promised to come into the world in a special way (John 14:16-17, 26; 16:7). The Holy Spirit began His special ministry in the world on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:5; 2:1-4).

The Holy Spirit works in the hearts of unbelievers to convict them concerning their unbelief in Jesus as Savior, that Jesus is righteous and has been accepted by the Father, and that Satan has been judged and condemned (John 16:8-11; cf. John 3:18). The Holy Spirit also restrains sin and evil in the world (2 Thess. 2:7).

The Holy Spirit works in the life of the believer

At salvation:

  1. Regeneration (John 3:3-6; cf. 2 Cor. 5:17; Col. 2:13).
  2. Indwelling each believer (John 14:16-17; Rom. 5:5; 8:9; 1 Cor. 6:19-20).
  3. Baptizing into union with Christ (1 Cor. 12:13; 3:27).
  4. Sealing each believer with Himself ( 4:30).
  5. Blessing with every spiritual blessing ( 1:3).
  6. Providing spiritual gifts for the edification of the church (1 Cor. 12:4-11).

After salvation:

  1. Teaching through the Word and glorifying Jesus (John 16:12-15).
  2. Recalling Scripture to mind (John 14:26; 16:13).
  3. Filling (empowering and guiding) ( 5:18).
  4. Sustaining a spiritual walk ( 5:16, 25).
  5. Illuminating the mind and making Scripture understandable (1 Cor. 2:11-13).
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Lesson 14 - God the Holy Spirit: His Personality

September 16, 2017

The Personality of the Holy Spirit in Scripture

"The Spirit is said to do that which is possible only for a person to do. a) He reproves the world (John 16:8), b) He teaches (John 14:26), c) the Spirit speaks (Gal. 4:6), d) the Spirit intercedes (Rom. 8:26), e) the Spirit leads (Gal. 5:18), f) the Spirit appoints men to specific service (Acts 13:2; cf. Acts 20:28), g) the Spirit is Himself subject to appointment (John 15:26), h) the Spirit ministers: He regenerates (John 3:6), He seals (Eph. 4:30), He baptizes (1 Cor. 12:13), He fills (Eph. 5:18). He is affected as a person by other beings. a) The Father sends Him into the world (John 14:16, 26), and the Son sends Him into the world (John 16:7). b) Men may vex the Spirit (Isa. 63:10), they may grieve Him (Eph. 4:30), they may quench (resist) Him (1 Thess. 5:19), they may blaspheme Him (Matt. 12:31), they may lie to Him (Acts 5:3), they may disrespect Him (Heb. 10:29), they may speak against Him (Matt. 12:32). All Bible terms related to the Spirit imply His personality. a) He is called “another Comforter” (Advocate), which indicates that He is as much a person as Christ (John 14:16-17; 26; 16:7; 1 John 2:1-2), b) He is called a Spirit in the same personal sense as God is called a Spirit (John 4:24), c) the pronouns used of the Spirit imply His personality. In the Greek language the word “spirit” is a neuter noun which would naturally call for a neuter pronoun, and in a few instances the neuter pronoun is used (Rom. 8:16, 26); but often the masculine form of the pronoun is used, thus emphasizing the fact of the personality of the Spirit (John 14:16-17; 16:7-15)."[1]

God the Holy Spirit Is Co-equal with the Father and the Son

  1. He is called God. This fact will be seen by comparing Isaiah 6:8-9 with Acts 28:25-26; Jeremiah 31:31-34 with Hebrews 10:15-17. (Note also 2 Cor. 3:18 ASV, and Acts 5:3, 4—“Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost?… thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God”.)
  2. He has the attributes of God (Gen. 1:2; Job 26:13; 1 Cor. 2:9-11; Heb. 9:14).
  3. The Holy Spirit performs the works of God (Ps. 104:30; Luke 12:11-12; Acts 1:5; 20:28; 1 Cor. 6:11; 2:8-11; 2 Pet. 1:21).
  4. The Holy Spirit is presented in Scripture as a personal object of faith (Ps. 51:11; Matt. 28:19; Acts 10:19-21). As an object of faith, He is also One to be obeyed. The believer in Christ, walking in fellowship with the Spirit, experiences His power, His guidance, His instruction, and His sufficiency, and confirms experientially the great doctrines concerning the personality of the Spirit which are revealed in Scripture.[2]

[1] Lewis Sperry Chafer; John F. Walvoord; Major Bible Themes (Grand Rapids, Mich. Zondervan Publishing, 2010), 88-89.

[2] Ibid., 89-90.

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Lesson 13 - God the Son: His Coming with His Saints

September 16, 2017

The Second Coming of Christ to establish His kingdom on earth (Dan. 2:44; 7:13-14; 2 Sam. 7:16; Ps. 89:3-4, 34-37; Isa. 9:6-7; Jer. 23:5-6; Luke 1:31-33; cf. Matt. 6:9-10; 19:28; 25:31; Rev. 19:11-16; Rev. 20:4-6) is distinguished from the Rapture of the Church where He takes Christians to heaven (John 14:1-3; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; cf. 1 Cor. 15:51-53).

Important Events Preceding the Second Coming of Christ

  1. A period of preparation will follow the rapture in which ten nations will be formed into a confederacy in a revival of the ancient Roman Empire. Out of this will emerge a dictator who will control first three then all ten of the nations.
  2. A period of peace will be brought about by the dictator in the Mediterranean area, beginning with a covenant with Israel planned for seven years (Dan. 9:27).
  3. A time of persecution for Israel and for all believers in Christ will be brought about when the dictator breaks his covenant after the first three and one half years.[1]

Vital Facts Related to the Second Coming

  1. The Bible teaches that the Lord Jesus Christ will return to the earth (Zech. 14:4), personally (Matt. 25:31; Rev. 19:11-16), and on the clouds of heaven (Matt. 24:30; Acts 1:11; Rev. 1:7). According to all biblical passages, it will be a glorious event which the entire world will see (Rev. 1:7).
  2. According to the revelation given by Christ Himself recorded in Matthew 24:26-29, His glorious appearing will be like lightning shining from the East to the West.
  3. In His second coming to the earth, Christ is accompanied by saints and angels in a dramatic procession (Rev. 19:11-16).
  4. At His coming, Christ will first judge the armies of the world deployed in battle (Rev. 19:15-21). As He sets up His kingdom, He will regather Israel and judge them (Ezek. 20:34-38) relative to their worthiness to enter the millennial kingdom. In a similar way He will gather the Gentiles or “the nations” and judge them (Matt. 25:31-46).[2]

[1] Lewis Sperry Chafer; John F. Walvoord; Major Bible Themes (Grand Rapids, Mich. Zondervan Publishing, 2010), 82.

[2] Ibid., 83-84.

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Lesson 12 - God the Son: His Coming for His Saints

September 9, 2017

     There is Bible prophecy concerning Jesus’ return to earth. However, a distinction must be drawn between Jesus coming for His saints at the Rapture, and Jesus coming with His saints at His Second Coming to reign for a thousand years (Dan. 7:13-14; Matt. 19:28; 25:31; Rev. 19:11-21). Jesus is now in heaven preparing a place for us to be with Him there (John 14:1-3). Paul describes Jesus’ return for the church in which we shall be caught up (Grk. ἁρπάζω harpazo; Lat. Rapturo - to seizecatch up) to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thess. 4:13-18). Paul explains to the church at Corinth (1 Cor. 15:51-53) that the changing of our bodies at the Lord’s return is a mystery (μυστήριον musterion – something not revealed in the OT, but is revealed here for the first time). Below are the various views on the rapture of the church:

  1. Pre-Tribulation Rapture: The church is taken out of the world before the Tribulation begins (1 Thess. 1:9-10; 5:9; Rev. 3:10).
  2. Partial Rapture: Only believers who faithfully watch for the Lord’s return will be raptured out of the world before the Tribulation (Matt. 24:40-44). This view confuses the Second Coming of Christ with the Rapture of the Church.
  3. Mid-Tribulation Rapture: The church is taken out of the world in the middle of the Tribulation (Rev. 11:1-15). This view—and the Pre-Wrath Rapture view— ignores the biblical passages that teach God will spare the church from wrath and tribulation (1 Thess. 1:9-10; 5:9; Rev. 3:10).
  4. Pre-Wrath Rapture: The church is taken out of the world just before God’s wrath is greatest (Rev. 14:10; 16:1).
  5. Post-Tribulation Rapture: The church is raptured up as Christ is returning to earth at His Second Coming (John 16:33). This view seeks to merge the rapture of the church with the Second Coming of Christ.

Five_Views_on_the_Rapture.jpg

 

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Lesson 11 - God the Son: His Ascension and Priestly Ministry

September 9, 2017

     After His resurrection, Jesus ascended bodily to heaven (Mark 16:19; Luke 24:50-51; Acts 1:9-11). The biblical record is that Jesus is now in heaven (Acts 2:32-35; 7:55-56; Eph. 1:20-22; Phil. 3:20; 1 Thess. 1:9-10; 4:16). Jesus went up to heaven bodily and will return the same way when He comes back to establish His kingdom on earth (Rev. 19:11-21).

     The ascension of Jesus into heaven signaled the end of His ministry on earth. Jesus had come to earth to offer the Davidic kingdom to Israel (2 Sam. 7:12-13; Ps. 89:3-4, 34-36; Luke 1:30-33; Matt. 4:17; 10:5-7), but after they rejected Him, the Davidic kingdom was postponed until His Second Coming (read pages 71-72). The prominent work of Christ in heaven is that of High Priest in which He accomplishes the following:

  1. As High Priest over the true tabernacle on high, the Lord Jesus Christ has entered into heaven itself there to minister as Priest in behalf of those who are His own in the world (Heb. 8:1-6).[1]
  2. As our High Priest Christ is the bestower of spiritual gifts (Eph. 4:7-11).
  3. The ascended Christ as Priest ever lives to make intercession for His own (Heb. 7:25).
  4. Christ now appears for His own in the presence of God (Heb. 9:24; 1 John 2:1).

     Jesus Christ is currently at work on earth both with and in believers (Matt. 28:18-20; John 14:20; Gal. 2:20; Col. 1:27). He is the One who imparts life to those who believe in Him (John 10:10; 1 John 5:12). He also strengthens us to do His will (Eph. 6:10; Phil. 4:13).

[1] These four points are taken directly from Major Bible Themes, pages 72-74.

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Lesson 10 - God the Son: His Resurrection

September 2, 2017

     The Bible speaks of a general resurrection (Job 19:25-27; Dan. 12:2), as well as the resurrection of Christ (Ps. 16:9-10; cf. Acts 2:24-31; 13:34-37). Jesus predicts both His own death and His resurrection (Matt. 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19; 26:12, 28-29, 31-32; Mark 9:30-32; 14:28; Luke 9:22; 18:31-34; John 2:19-22; 10:17-18).

     Jesus’ resurrection is an essential part of the gospel message (1 Cor. 15:3-4).  If Jesus is not raised from the dead, then His death on the cross was not effective, and we have believed in a false Messiah (1 Cor. 15:17).  However, the Scriptural testimony is very clear: Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day after His crucifixion and forty days later ascended to heaven.  Here are several biblical facts about Jesus resurrection:

  1. It was predicted by Jesus (Matt. 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19).
  2. It showed Jesus overcame death (Acts 2:23-24).
  3. It was central to the gospel message (Acts 26:22-23; 1 Cor. 15:3-4).
  4. It had many eyewitnesses (1 Cor. 15:5-8).
  5. It was argued as true against those who disbelieved (1 Cor. 15:12-19).
  6. It reveals Jesus as the first among many to be resurrected (1 Cor. 15:20).
  7. It reveals Jesus as the Son of God (Rom. 1:3-4).
  8. It is the basis for our new life (1 Pet. 1:3).
  9. Resurrected believers will not know the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:6).

     Jesus’ resurrection from the dead guarantees our future. His life is our life, and His victory is our victory. We will be raised because He has been raised. In the resurrection, our new bodies will be like Jesus’ new body, which will never know sin or decay (Phil. 3:20-21; 1 John 3:2).

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Lesson 9 - God the Son: His Substitutionary Death

September 2, 2017

     The death of Jesus is an important doctrine in Scripture. At a point in time, God the Son came into the world and added humanity to himself, becoming fully God and man at the same time (John 1:1, 14). Scripture reveals Jesus was born under the Mosaic Law (Gal. 4:4), fulfilled the Law perfectly (Matt. 5:17-19), and committed no sin during His life on earth (2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; 1 John 3:5). His sinless life qualified Him to die a substitutionary death in our place, “the just for [ὑπὲρ huper] the unjust, so that He might bring us to God” (1 Pet. 3:18; cf. Rom. 5:8; 1 Cor. 15:3-4). Jesus died to redeem us who are marked by sin and death (Mark 10:45), for “In Him we have redemption [ἀπολύτρωσις apolutrosis – the payment that frees a captive] through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7; cf. Col. 1:13-14; 1 Pet. 1:18-19). His death on the cross forever satisfied [ἱλαστήριον hilasterion – an acceptable sacrifice that satisfies] every righteous demand God had toward our sin (Rom. 3:24-25; Heb. 10:10-14; 1 John 2:2; 4:10), and is the basis for forgiveness [ἄφεσις aphesis – forgiveness, dismissal, release] and reconciliation [καταλλάσσω katallasso – to reconcile ] to God (Rom. 5:10; 2 Cor. 5:18-21; Col. 1:13-14; 20-22). The death of Christ was sufficient for everyone (Heb. 2:9; 1 John 2:2; 4:10), but is effectual only for those who believe (John 3:16, 20:31; Acts 4:12; Eph. 1:7).

     Salvation is a work of God alone. It is never accomplished by what we do for God, but rather, what God has accomplished for us through the Person and work of Jesus Christ who died for our sins (John 3:16), and who freely gives us eternal life and the gift of righteousness (John 10:28; Phil. 3:9).

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Lesson 8 - God the Son: His Incarnation

August 26, 2017

God the Son: His Incarnation

"When considering the Incarnation, two important truths should be realized: (1) Christ became at the same time and in the absolute sense very God and very man, and (2) in becoming flesh He, though laying aside His glory, in no sense laid aside His deity. In His incarnation He retained every essential attribute of deity. His full deity and complete humanity are essential to His work on the cross. If He were not man, He could not die; if He were not God, His death would not have had infinite value."[1]

  1. The Son, Who was with God and is God, took upon Himself humanity (John 1:1; 14; Phil. 2:6-7; 1 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 1:3, 8) .

The Fact of Christ’s Humanity

  1. The humanity of Christ was purposed before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4-7; 3:11; Rev. 13:8).[2]
  2. Every type of prophecy of the Old Testament concerning Christ was an anticipation of the incarnate Son of God (i.e. Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:21-23 & Isa. 53:6; John 1:29 & Zech. 9:9; Matt. 21:1-5).
  3. The fact of the humanity of Christ is seen in His annunciation and birth (Luke 1:31-35).
  4. His life on earth revealed His humanity. “(1) by His human names: “The Son of man,” “The man Christ Jesus,” “The Son of David,” and the like; (2) by His human parentage: He is mentioned as “the fruit of the loins,” “her firstborn,” “of this man’s seed,” “seed of David,” “seed of Abraham,” “made of a woman,” “sprang from Judah”; (3) by the fact that He possessed a human body, soul, and spirit (Matt. 26: 38; John 13: 21; 1 John 4: 2, 9); and (4) by His self-imposed human limitations.”[3]
  5. The humanity of Christ is seen in His death and resurrection. It was His humanity that suffered and died on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24), and resurrected bodily from the grave (Luke 24:39; John 20:27).
  6. The fact of the humanity of Christ is seen in that He ascended to heaven and is now, in His human glorified body, ministering for His own (Acts 1:9; Heb. 7:25).
  7. When He comes again it will be the “same Jesus” coming as He went, in the same body (though glorified) in which He became incarnate (Acts 1:11).

Reasons for the Incarnation

  1. He came to reveal God to men (Matt. 11:27; John 1:18; 14:9; Rom. 5:8; 1 John 3:16). By the incarnation the incomprehensible God is translated into terms of human understanding.[4]
  2. He came to reveal man. He is God’s ideal man and as such is an example to believers (1 Pet. 2:21); but He is never an example to the unsaved, since God is not now seeking to reform the unsaved, but rather to save them.
  3. He came to provide a sacrifice for sin. For this reason He is seen thanking God for His human body and this in relation to true sacrifice for sin (Heb. 10:1-10).
  4. He came in the flesh that He might destroy the works of the Devil (John 12:31; 16:11; Col. 2:13-15; Heb. 2:14; 1 John 3:8).
  5. He came into the world that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God (Heb. 2:16-17; 8:1; 9: 11-12, 24).
  6. He came in the flesh that He might fulfill the Davidic covenant (2 Sam. 7:16; Luke 1:31-33; Acts 2:30, 31, 36; Rom. 15:8). In His glorified human body He will appear and reign as “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS,” and will sit on the throne of His father David (Luke 1:32; Rev. 19:16).
  7. As incarnate, He becomes Head over all things to the church, which is the new creation, the new humanity (Eph. 1:22).

 

[1] Lewis Sperry Chafer; John F. Walvoord; Major Bible Themes (Grand Rapids, Mich. Zondervan Publishing, 2010), 56.

[2] These seven points are taken directly from pages 57-8.

[3] Ibid., 58.

[4] These seven points are taken directly from pages 58-59.

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Lesson 7 - God the Son: His Deity and Eternity

August 26, 2017

Direct Statements of the Eternity and Deity of the Son of God

  1. God the Son exists eternally (Isa. 7:14; 9:6; Micah 5:2; John 1:1-2; 5:18; 8:58; 10:33; 17:5; 20:28; Phil. 2:5-7; Heb. 1:1-3, 8; 13:8).

Implications that the Son of God is Eternal

  1. The works of creation are ascribed to Jesus (John 1:3; Col. 1:16). He must, therefore, exist before all creation.
  2. Jesus is the Angel of Jehovah that appears in the Old Testament. “Though He appears at times as an angel or even as a man, He bears the unmistakable marks of deity. He appeared to Hagar (Gen. 16:7), to Abraham (Gen. 18:1; 22:11-12; 11-12; note John 8:58), to Jacob (Gen. 48:15-16; note also Gen. 31:11-13; 32:24-32), to Moses (Exod. 3:2, 14), to Joshua (Josh. 5:13-14), and to Manoah (Judg. 13:19-22). He it is who fights for, and defends, His own (2 Kings 19:35; 1 Chron. 21:15-16; Ps. 34:7; Zech. 14:1-4).”[1]
  3. Jesus holds titles of deity. “The titles of the Lord Jesus Christ indicate His eternal being. He is precisely what His names imply. He is ‘The Son of God,’ ‘The Only Begotten Son,’ ‘The First and the Last,’ ‘The Alpha and Omega,’ ‘The Lord,’ ‘Lord of All,’ ‘Lord of Glory,’ ‘The Christ,’ ‘Wonderful,’ ‘Counsellor,’ ‘The Mighty God,’ ‘The Father of Eternity,’ ‘God,’ ‘God With Us,’ ‘Our Great God.’ These titles relate Him to the Old Testament revelation of Jehovah-God (cp. Matt. 1:23 with Isa. 7:14; Matt. 4:7 with Deut. 6:16; Mark 5:19 with Ps. 66:16; and Matt. 22:42-45; with Ps. 110:1).”[2]
  4. Jesus possesses the attributes of God. “The preexistence and eternity of the Son of God are implied in the fact that He has the attributes of God— life (John 1:4), self-existence (John 5:26), immutability (Heb. 13:8), truth (John 14:6), love (1 John 3:16), holiness (Heb. 7:26), eternity (Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:11), omnipresence (Matt. 28:20), omniscience (1 Cor. 4:5; Col. 2:3), and omnipotence (Matt. 28:18; Rev. 1:8).”[3]
  5. Jesus is worshipped as God. “In like manner the preexistence and eternity of Christ are implied in the fact that He is worshiped as God (John 20:28; Acts 7:59-60; Heb. 1:6). It follows that since the Lord Jesus Christ is God, He is from everlasting to everlasting.”[4]

 

[1] Lewis Sperry Chafer; John F. Walvoord; Major Bible Themes (Grand Rapids, Mich. Zondervan Publishing, 2010), 54.

[2] Ibid., 54.

[3] Ibid., 54-55.

[4] Ibid., 55.

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Lesson 6 - God the Father

August 19, 2017
  1. The Trinity is observed in the Old Testament, and clearly seen in the New Testament. God the Father is presented as the first Person among the members of the Trinity. Each Person is observed in Scripture as having certain characteristics and activities. “The Father is presented as electing, loving, and bestowing. The Son is presented as suffering, redeeming, and upholding the universe. The Holy Spirit is presented as regenerating, indwelling, baptizing, energizing, and sanctifying.”[1]
  2. In a general sense, the first Person of the Godhead is the Father of all creation ( 2:10; Acts 17:24-29; 1 Cor. 8:6; Eph. 3:14-15; Heb. 12:9). This is not to be confused with universal salvation, which teaches that everyone goes to heaven.
  3. The first Person of the Godhead is Father by intimate relationship ( 4:22; 2 Sam. 7:14; Ps. 103:13).
  4. The first Person of the Godhead is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ ( 9:6; Matt. 3:17; 17:5; John 1:14; 3:16; 17:1; Eph. 1:3). “Obviously the terms “father” and “son” are used of God to describe the intimate relationship of the First and Second Persons without necessarily fulfilling all the aspects that would be true in a human relationship of father and son. This is especially evident in the fact that both the Father and the Son are eternal.”[2]
  5. The Father of all who believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord (John 1:12-13; Gal. 3:26). In contrast, those who are not children of God belong to Satan (Matt. 13:38; John 8:44).

 

[1] Lewis Sperry Chafer; John F. Walvoord; Major Bible Themes (Grand Rapids, Mich. Zondervan Publishing, 2010), 45.

[2] Ibid., 47.

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Lesson 5 - The Trinity

August 19, 2017

     The doctrine of the Trinity simply teaches that there is one God, who exists as three Persons who are co-equal (they share the same attributes), co-infinite (not bound by time or space), and co-eternal (have eternally existed).  The Bible does not teach tritheism (three absolutely separate gods), nor does it teach modalism (that there is one person who manifests himself in three forms as Father, Son, and Spirit).  Though there are difficulties in understanding the Trinity, the Biblical evidence is clear that God exists as thee distinct Persons.

     The three Persons of the God-head are one in essence (Deut. 6:4; Isa. 44:6-8; John 10:30; 17:11). The use of the Hebrew numeral dx’(a, echad reveals, in some contexts, the idea of a complex one (cf. Gen. 2:24; Ezra 3:1; Ezek. 37:17). There is one God who exists as three distinct Persons within the Trinity (Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Pet. 1:2): God the Father (Gal. 1:1; Eph. 6:23; Phil. 2:11), God the Son (Isa. 7:14; 9:6; John 1:1, 8:58; 20:28; Col. 2:9; Heb. 1:8), and God the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4; 1 Cor. 2:11-12; 2 Cor. 13:14).

     The primary names of God are: Yahweh (hw<h.y:), which is the proper name of God and most often translated LORD, Adonai (yn”doa]), which is commonly translated Lord, and Elohim (~yhil{a/) which is commonly translated God. God’s name is used in combination with other Hebrew words that reveal His character.

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Lesson 4 - The Bible as Divine Revelation

August 12, 2017

Forms of Divine Revelation

  1. The revelation of God in creation (Ps. 19:1-2; Rom. 1:18-20).
  2. Revelation in Christ (John 1:18; 14:9). Jesus is a revelation of the Father to mankind; yet, we know about Jesus only from Scripture.
  3. Revelation in the written Word (1 Thess. 2:13; cf. 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20-21).

Special Revelation

  1. God the Holy Spirit illumines the Christian mind to know the Bible (1 Cor. 2:10-13).
  2. The natural man (i.e. the unbeliever) cannot know the things of God (1 Cor. 2:14).

Interpretation of the Bible

  1. Individual passages of Scripture must be viewed within the context of the whole Bible, within the context of the book in which it appears, and within the immediate context of chapter and paragraph.
  2. Each passage must be interpreted according to the person(s) to whom it was written. Primary and secondary application must be considered.
  3. Because God is the divine Author behind each human author, there will be theological continuity in Scripture. This means that when we interpret a passage, we must seek to do so in light of other theological statements in Scripture.
  4. Knowledge of the original languages of Scripture (Hebrew and Greek) helps shed light on the meaning of words and phrases. Where such knowledge is lacking, the student must rely on lexicons and commentaries for help. “In addition to determining the actual meaning of the words, proper interpretation assumes that each word has its normal literal meaning unless there are good reasons for regarding it as a figure of speech.”[1]
  5. The Christian must guard against prejudice. “While it is proper for any interpreter of Scripture to approach a passage with theological convictions arising from a study of the entire Bible, care should be taken not to twist a text into what it does not say in order to harmonize it with preconceived ideas. Each text should be allowed to speak for itself even if it leaves temporarily some unresolved problems of harmonization with other Scripture.”[2]

 

[1] Lewis Sperry Chafer; John F. Walvoord; Major Bible Themes (Grand Rapids, Mich. Zondervan Publishing, 2010), 35.

[2] Ibid., 35.

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Lesson 3 - The Subject and Purpose of the Bible

August 12, 2017

Jesus Christ as the Subject

  1. Jesus Christ as the Creator (Gen. 1:1; John 1:3; Col. 1:16-17).
  2. Jesus Christ as the supreme ruler of the world. It is the Father’s will that every knee shall bow in submission to Jesus (Phil. 2:9-11). Jesus Christ will establish His kingdom on earth (Dan. 7:13-14; Luke 1:31-33) when He returns at His second coming (Rev. 19:11-21; 20:1-6). Jesus is also the sovereign head of the church (Eph. 1:22-23). As supreme ruler, Jesus Christ is the judge of all men (John 5:22, 27; Acts 10:42; 17:30-31; 2 Cor. 5:10; 1 Pet. 4:5).
  3. Jesus Christ as the Incarnate Word (John 1:1, 14; Heb. 1:3).
  4. Jesus Christ as Savior (Gen. 3:15; John 3:16; 20:30-31; Acts 4:12).

The Purpose of the Bible

  • "According to the written Word of God, one supreme purpose is revealed in all that God has done or will do, from the beginning of creation to the farthest reaches of eternity. This supreme purpose is the manifestation of the glory of God. For this one purpose angels were created, the material universe was designed to reflect that glory, and man was created in the image and likeness of God. In the inscrutable wisdom of God, even sin was permitted and redemption was provided with a view toward the realization of this supreme purpose."[1]
  1. God’s creation glorifies Him (Ps. 19:1).
  2. The nation of Israel is for the glory of God (Isa. 60:21; Jer. 13:11).
  3. Salvation is unto the glory of God (Rom. 9:22-23).
  4. All service should be unto the glory of God (Matt. 5:16; John 15:8; 17:1, 5). “The Bible itself is God’s instrument by which He prepares the man of God unto every good work (2 Tim. 3: 16-17).”[2]
  5. The Christian’s new passion is that God may be glorified (Rom. 5:2).
  6. Even the believer’s death glorifies God (John 21:19).
  7. The saved one is appointed to share in the glory of Christ (John 17:22; Col. 3:4).

 

[1] Lewis Sperry Chafer; John F. Walvoord; Major Bible Themes (Grand Rapids, Mich. Zondervan Publishing, 2010), 28.

[2] Ibid., 29.

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Lesson 2 - The Inspiration of Scripture

August 5, 2017

     Major views of inspiration: 1) The dictation view which says the entire Bible was dictated directly from God to man.  2) The neo-orthodox view which teaches the Bible contains errors, but can still be used by God to reveal Himself and Jesus.  3) The concept theory which holds the concepts of the Bible are inspired but not the very words.  4) The partial inspiration view which argues that only parts of the Bible are inspired, but contains errors concerning history, geography and science.  5) The naturalistic inspiration view which says the Bible is just a human book with nothing divine in it.  6) The verbal plenary inspiration view which teaches every word of the Bible is divinely inspired and without error.

     Verbal plenary inspiration is the evangelical view.  Though the Bible was written by fallible men, each was superintended by God the Holy Spirit, Who guided them in such a way that what they wrote, without compromising their personal choices of words and literary style, penned God’s inerrant Word.  There is a parallel between the written Word and the Living Word.  Just as God took a sinful woman, Mary, and supernaturally produced a sinless and perfect Person, Jesus; so God took sinful men and used them to produce a perfect book that accurately reflects His thoughts and will for mankind.  The human authors—without forfeiting their personal literary style—wrote under the direction and superintending care of God the Holy Spirit (Ex. 17:14; 34:27; Isa. 30:8; Jer. 30:2; Luke 1:3; 1 Cor. 14:37; Rev. 1:11), so that what is written is the inerrant and infallible “word of God” (1 Thess. 2:13; cf. Ps. 12:6-7; Rom. 15:4; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20).  Some of the various literary styles include historical narrative, law, poetry, psalms, proverbs, parables, and symbolism.  The Bible is a dual authorship.

  • "By the term Dual Authorship, two facts are indicated, namely, that, on the divine side, the Scriptures are the Word of God in the sense that they originate with Him and are the expression of His mind alone; and, on the human side, certain men have been chosen of God for the high honor and responsibility of receiving God’s Word and transcribing it into written form. Granting that it is God’s purpose to place His Word in written form into the hands of men, the method He has employed to do this is the natural way in which it would be done."[1]

     The Bible is God’s Word penned by men who wrote under the inspiration and superintending guidance of God the Holy Spirit.  The end result is that the Bible is perfect in all it reveals about God, nature, mankind, history, prophecy, and our most excellent salvation provided by our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

[1] Lewis Sperry Chafer, “Bibliology” Bibliotheca Sacra, 94 (1937): 398-399.

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Lesson 1 - The Bible as the Word of God

August 5, 2017

     The word “Bible” comes from the Greek word βίβλος biblos which means scroll or book. The Bible is a library of sixty six books, composed by approximately forty human authors spanning nearly fifteen hundred years.  “The purpose of God in providing the Bible is that man, to whom the Bible is addressed, may be possessed of dependable information regarding things tangible and intangible, temporal and eternal, visible and invisible, earthly and heavenly.”[1] 

     Internally, the Bible claims to be the word of God (Ex. 17:14; 34:27; Dan. 7:1; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 1 Pet. 1:23-25).  Paul equated the writings of Moses and Luke as Scripture (1 Tim. 5:18), as Peter did the writings of Paul (2 Pet. 3:15-16).  It reveals there is one God who exists as three distinct Persons within the Trinity (Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Pet. 1:2): God the Father (Gal. 1:1; Eph. 6:23; Phil. 2:11), God the Son (John 1:1, 14, 18; 8:58; 20:28; Col. 2:9; Heb. 1:8), and God the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4; 1 Cor. 2:11-12; 2 Cor. 13:14).  All three are co-equal, co-infinite, co-eternal, and worthy of all praise and service.  The Bible also reveals the origins of the universe (Gen. 1:1), mankind (Gen. 1:26-27), sin (Gen. 3:1-8), salvation (John 3:16), and the future (Rev. 21-22), just to name a few.  The Bible does not reveal all there is to know about God or His plans and actions, but only what He deems important (Deut. 29:29; cf. John 21:25). 

     Externally, the Bible has a wealth of manuscript evidence (13,000 manuscript copies & portions of texts), has been translated into more languages than any other book, has perfect continuity regarding what it reveals about God and creation (Job 26:7; Isa. 40:22), has transformed countless lives, and served as a basis for law and morality. 

     In Summary, the Bible is God’s Word to man, revealing what He deems important, and those who are positive to God accept and live by it.

 

[1]Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, Vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, Mich. Kregel Publication, 1993), 105.

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What it Means to Follow Jesus

July 15, 2017

     To follow Jesus means we follow Him for who He is and not who we want Him to be. There is a biblical Jesus and a worldly Jesus. The worldly Jesus is the one the world sets forth. He is the ecumenical Jesus who never judges, never offends, never stands up for truth, never divides, embraces other religions, wants to improve the world rather than convert the heart, and lets everyone into heaven. There are many moral people who follow this Jesus, and the world loves them for it. In the end, this is a Jesus of their making who fits their agendas. It’s a Jesus who serves them.

     But what does the Bible reveal about Jesus? The Bible reveals Jesus is God who added humanity to Himself (John 1:1, 14; 5:18; 10:33; 20:28), and that He is worthy of worship (Matt. 2:11; 14:33; 28:9). He lived a sinless life (2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; 1 John 3:5), willingly went to the cross and died in our place (John 3:16; 10:14-18), and was buried and rose again on the third day (1 Cor. 15:3-4). Concerning salvation, Jesus is the only Savior (John 14:6), and it is only by grace through faith in Him that one is eternally saved (Eph. 2:8-9). There is no salvation apart from Jesus (Acts 4:12).

     During His incarnation, there was a time when Jesus was popular with the masses because He fed them (John 6:1-14), but when they wanted to take Him by force and make Him king, He withdrew from them (John 6:15). The same crowd later pursued Jesus, not because they embraced Him or His teaching, but because they wanted another free meal (John 6:24-26) and He corrected their selfish motives (John 6:27). Jesus was kind to the sick and helpless (Matt. 8:1-3; 20:34; Luke 5:13), yet He did not hesitate to condemn the religious and powerful (Matt. 23:13-36). For the most part, Jesus was rejected by the majority of those who heard and saw Him (John 3:19; 12:37; 15:24). At times He caused division (John 7:43; 9:16; 10:19), even among His own disciples (John 6:66), as well as members of a family in the same household (Luke 12:51-53).

     Jesus called men to follow Him (Matt. 4:18-19; 9:9; John 1:43), and He had many female followers as well, several of whom funded His earthly ministry (Luke 8:1-3). To follow Jesus means to learn His teaching, obey His commands and model our life after Him. Followers of Jesus were to share the gospel (Matt. 4:19), not be bound by the world’s values (Matt. 8:19-22), treasure Jesus above one’s profession (Matt. 9:9), be committed to Jesus above family (Matt. 10:34-38; cf. Mark 1:20), and deny self and take up one’s cross daily (Matt. 16:24; cf. Luke 9:23). There is no place for personal glory or selfishness in serving the Lord, as one’s life is given for His glory and the benefit of others (1 Cor. 10:32-33; Phil. 2:3-4). To follow Jesus is a lifelong pursuit.

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John 21:1-25

July 15, 2017

In John 21:1-25 Jesus appears to seven of His disciples and encourages Peter to shepherd God’s people. Peter and six other disciples had been fishing all night but had caught nothing (John 21:1-3). Jesus appeared on the beach and asked if they’d caught anything, and was told “no” (John 21:4-5).  Jesus then commanded they cast their net again, on the right side of the boat, and they caught a huge amount of fish (John 21:4-6). John realized it was Jesus and told Peter, who jumped out of the boat and swam to Him (John 21:7). The other disciples brought the boat and fish to shore where Jesus had already built a fire and cooked breakfast (John 21:8-13). This was Jesus’ third appearance to the disciples (John 21:14). After breakfast, Jesus then talked with Peter and restored him to ministry, commanding him three times to care for God’s people (John 21:15-17). This was done in contrast to Peter’s comments that he would never deny the Lord and would be faithful to death (Matt. 26:33, 35; John 13:37). Of course, Jesus knew Peter would fail (John 13:38), and when the test came, he denied the Lord three times (John 18:17, 25, 27). For this reason, Jesus spoke with Peter about his love for Him, and restored him to service. Jesus then revealed to Peter that he would, some day, be faithful to death, and would thus glorify God as a martyr (John 21:18-19). John then corrects a common misunderstanding in which people thought He said the apostle John would not die before the Lord returned (John 21:20-23). John then provides a final statement that his testimony about Jesus is true (John 21:24), and if all that Jesus said and did were recorded, there would not be enough books to record it all (John 21:25).

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Biblical Facts About the Resurrection of Jesus

July 8, 2017

Jesus’ resurrection is an essential part of the gospel.  If Jesus is not raised from the dead, then His death on the cross was not effective, and we have believed in a false Messiah.  However, the Scriptural testimony is very clear: Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day after His crucifixion and forty days later ascended to heaven.  Here are several biblical facts about Jesus resurrection:

 

  1. It was predicted by Jesus (Matt. 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19).
  2. It showed Jesus overcame death (Acts 2:23-24).
  3. It was central to the gospel message (Acts 26:22-23; 1 Cor. 15:3-4).
  4. It had many eyewitnesses, including: Mary Magdalene and other women (John 20:10-18; Matt. 28:8-9), two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-32), the disciples without Thomas (John 20:19-25), the disciples with Thomas (John 20:26-29), the disciples by the Sea of Galilee (John 21:1-23), Peter, James, and more than 500 brethren at one time (1 Cor. 15:5-7), Stephen (Acts 7:56), Paul (Acts 9:1-6; 1 Cor. 15:8), the disciples at Jerusalem before His ascension (Acts 1:3-9), and John on the island of Patmos (Rev. 1:9-18).
  5. It was argued as true against those who disbelieved (1 Cor. 15:12-19).
  6. It reveals Jesus as the first among many to be resurrected (1 Cor. 15:20).
  7. It reveals Jesus as the Son of God (Rom. 1:3-4).
  8. It is the basis for our new life (1 Pet. 1:3).
  9. Those who are raised with Christ will not know the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:5-6).
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John 20:1-31

July 8, 2017

The Central Idea of John 20:1-31 is that Jesus is resurrected from the dead and revealed Himself to Mary and the eleven disciples.  On the first day of the week after Jesus’ crucifixion, Mary came to the tomb and found it empty (John 20:1).  She ran and told Peter and John, who came and found the tomb as she had described (John 20:2-5).  Upon looking into the tomb, they saw Jesus’ burial wrappings lying there and His face-cloth rolled up by itself in a different place (John 20:6-8).  Not yet understanding the Scripture concerning Jesus’ resurrection, the disciples went home (John 20:9-10).  Mary remained at the tomb and encountered two angels sitting where Jesus had been laying and briefly conversed with them about the location of Jesus’ body (John 20:11-13).  Then Mary encountered Jesus and spoke with Him, assuming He was the gardener, and again asked about the location of Jesus’ body (John 12:14-15).  Jesus then revealed Himself to her and in excitement she grabbed Him (John 12:16).  Jesus then told Mary to go tell the disciples He is alive and will ascend back to heaven, which she did (John 12:17-18).  When it was evening, Jesus appeared to the disciples and showed them His wounds (John 20:19-20).  He spoke peace to them and gave them the Holy Spirit, explaining their right to declare whose sins have been forgiven or retained (John 20:21-23).  Thomas was not among the disciples when Jesus appeared (John 20:24), and he did not believe their report (John 20:25).  Jesus revealed Himself again eight days later specifically for Thomas’ benefit, and he believed (John 20:26-28).  Jesus then pronounced a blessing on those who believe in Him, even though they have not personally witnessed His resurrected body (John 20:29).  John then states the purpose of his book is a written deposition concerning Jesus’ miracles, which prove He is the Son of God, and the Savior of those who believe in Him (John 20:30-31).

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The Biblical Foundation for Christian Faith

July 1, 2017

John’s Gospel is a written deposition concerning the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.  It is written with a bias to persuade the unsaved person to believe (πιστεύω pisteuo) in Jesus as Savior (John 19:35; cf. 20:30-31).  The Greek word πιστεύω pisteuo is a transitive verb, which means it takes a direct object, which is Jesus Christ.  If one accepts John’s report as true concerning the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, the logical result is to look to Jesus as our Savior and reap the benefit of eternal life (John 3:16; cf. John 10:28).  It is important that we realize our faith is based on objective truth and not subjective experiences or feelings.  Paul, when sharing the gospel, based his message on the historical reality of Jesus and the eye witnesses of those who knew Him (1 Cor. 15:3-8).  For us, as Christians living long after the events of the cross, we accept the biblical testimony as true, believing Jesus died for our sins, was buried in a grave and was resurrected on the third day.  More so, we understand that salvation is by grace (we don’t deserve it), through faith (a rational response to the gospel), in Jesus Christ (the One who saves us from our sins and gives us eternal life; see John 3:16; 20:30-31; Acts 4:12; 16:31; Eph. 2:8-9; Tit. 3:5).  Once saved, we continue to live by faith in God and His Word (Rom. 10:17; Heb. 4:2), applying it to our lives (Rom. 14:23; James 1:22), and realizing it is the only thing that pleases God (Heb. 11:6). 

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John 19:31-42

July 1, 2017

The Central Idea of John 19:31-42 is that Jesus’ dead body is laid in a tomb.  The Jewish authorities who had pressured Pilate to crucify Jesus requested His legs be broken, along with the other two men, so that their bodies might not hang on the cross overnight (John 19:31).  To expedite death, Roman soldiers would break the legs of those crucified which would prevent the victims from using their legs to push upward, leading to asphyxiation.  It is a twist of irony that the Jewish leadership sought to obey Moses’ teaching concerning not leaving a body on a cross past sunset (Deut. 21:22-23), yet had no hesitation to crucify the One of whom Moses spoke and commanded obedience (Deut. 18:18).  The Roman soldiers broke the legs of the men on either side of Jesus but did not break His legs; rather, a Roman soldier pierced His side with a spear, and blood and water came out, showing Jesus was already dead (John 19:32-34).  John declares He witnessed these events and that his testimony is true, and also that Jesus’ death fulfilled Scripture (John 19:35-37).  Joseph of Arimathea—a secret disciple of Jesus—requested the body of Jesus from Pilate who granted his request (John 19:38).  Joseph, along with Nicodemus, took the body of Jesus and prepared it for burial with linen wrappings and spices and placed it in a new tomb near the place of crucifixion (John 19:38-42).  Several women apparently watched these men hastily transport Jesus’ body and prepare it for burial (Matt. 27:61), and later planned to return and finish what had been started (Luke 24:1).   

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The Benefits of the Cross

June 24, 2017

The death of Jesus was an atoning sacrifice that paid the price for our sin (Mark 10:45; Rom. 3:24; 1 Pet. 1:18-19).  This means our sin, which offends God, is actually removed from us (i.e. expiated) and put on Christ (John 1:29; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 9:26), and He was judged in our place, the innocent for the guilty (Rom. 5:6-8; Gal. 3:13; 1 Pet. 2:24; 3:18).  The death of Christ was a voluntary act of love, as Jesus gave His life for us (John 10:14-18).  As a result, the Father is forever satisfied (i.e. propitiated) because Jesus paid for our sin (Rom. 3:24-26; Heb. 2:17; 1 John 2:2), and the Christian will never be condemned (Rom. 8:1).  The blood of Christ is the coin of the heavenly realm that pays our sin-debt and forever satisfies God’s righteous demands for sin.  In addition, the death of Christ removes God’s wrath (Rom. 5:9), reconciles us to the Father (Rom. 5:10; 2 Cor. 5:18-19), produces lasting peace (Rom. 5:1; Col. 1:20), forgiveness of sins (Col. 1:13-14), eternal life (John 10:28), the gift of righteousness (Rom. 5:17; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:9), a life of purpose in serving Him (Col. 3:23-24), and a future in heaven (John 14:1-3; 1 Thess. 4:13-18). 

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John 19:17-30

June 24, 2017

The Central Idea of the John 19:17-30 is that Jesus is crucified and died.  After being condemned by Pilate, Jesus was made to carry His own cross (John 19:17).  Jesus was crucified with two other men (John 19:18) who were identified by the other Gospel writers as criminals (Matt. 27:38; Luke 23:32-33).  Pilate wrote an inscription that was placed atop the cross that read “The King of the Jews.”  The Jewish leadership protested and asked it be changed, but Pilate refused (John 19:19-22).  The Roman soldiers who crucified Jesus then divided His garments and unwittingly fulfilled prophecy (John 19:23-24).  John mentioned four women at the cross (John 19:25), and the unnamed woman was perhaps Salome, John’s mother.  “John was Jesus’ cousin on his mother’s side. As such, he was a logical person to assume responsibility for Mary’s welfare.”[1]  Jesus then requested John care for Mary, which he did (John 19:26-27).  Jesus, knowing His atoning work was finished, stated He was thirsty and was given wine (John 19:28-29).  Jesus then declared “It is finished” and gave up His spirit and died (John 19:30).  The Greek word τετέλεσται tetelestai was common in Jesus’ day.  “Papyri receipts for taxes have been recovered with the word tetelestai written across them, meaning ‘paid in full.’”[2]  The idea is that Jesus’ death paid the price for our sins. 

 

[1] Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository NotGes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), John 19:25.

[2] Edwin A. Blum, “John,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 340.

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Dealing with Injustice

June 17, 2017

God the Father was in complete control of the circumstances surrounding the trials and crucifixion of Jesus (Acts 2:23; 4:27-28).  Though unjustly attacked, Jesus knew He was doing the Father’s will (John 6:38; 10:14-18; 12:27; 18:11) and did not retaliate against His attackers (1 Pet. 2:21-23).  Unlike Jesus, Christians are capable of sin (Eccl. 7:20; 1 Pet. 4:15), and we should accept our punishment when we do wrong (Acts 25:11).  But like Jesus, there are times when we will experience unjust persecution (1 Pet. 3:14-17; 4:12-19).  We must start with the realization that there are times when God sovereignly permits His people to suffer or die (see Acts 5:40-41; 7:54-60), and other times allows them to escape (Acts 9:23-25).  If possible, the believer can avoid unjust suffering such as when Jesus walked away from His attackers (John 8:59; 10:31, 39), or when Paul avoided stoning (Acts 14:5-6) or an unjust trial (Acts 25:1-12).  However, when there is no escape, the Christian must bear up under such hardships with an attitude of faith, trusting the Lord sees what’s happening and will act as He determines best.  Stephen is a good example of a believer who trusted God when being violently attacked (Acts 7:58-60).  Certainly God will avenge the innocent (2 Thess. 1:6-7); however, there may be times when He surprises us by showing grace and mercy to those don’t deserve it, such as the grace shown to Paul when he was persecuting the church (Acts 9:1-6; Gal. 1:15-16).  By faith, the Christian who suffers unjustly is not to retaliate (Rom. 12:17-19; 1 Pet. 2:21-23), but is called to love and pray for his enemies (Luke 6:27-29), and to bless them (Rom. 12:14; 1 Pet. 3:8-9), if perhaps God may grant them saving grace (2 Tim. 2:24-26). 

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John 19:1-16

June 17, 2017

Pilate had Jesus scourged, perhaps to evoke an emotional appeal from the unbelieving Jews who wanted Him killed (John 19:1-5).  However, they were not moved to pity, but erupted in further hostility, demanding Jesus be crucified because He made Himself out to be God (John 19:6-7).  An emotional appeal is never enough to turn the sinful heart to Christ.  It is faith in Jesus (and not feelings) that leads one to salvation and a life of service to the Lord.  Pilate became afraid at what he heard and took Jesus into the Praetorium for further questioning, but Jesus gave no answer (John 19:8-9).  Pilate then sought to challenge Jesus, saying he had the authority to release or crucify Him (John 19:10), to which Jesus answered that he would have no authority except it had been given to Him by God (John 19:11).  Pilate sought to release Jesus, but was threatened by the Jews who said they’d report him to Caesar as a traitor to Rome (John 19:12).  Pilate yielded to their unjust demands and handed Jesus over to be crucified (John 19:13-16).

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