Posted by Pastoral Musings on 6th February 2013
…it has never been shown that texts are always or necessarily misinterpreted when they are used as proofs for doctrines.
The Doctrine Of The Knowledge Of God
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 6th February 2013
…it has never been shown that texts are always or necessarily misinterpreted when they are used as proofs for doctrines.
The Doctrine Of The Knowledge Of God
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 21st August 2012
Protestants do not depreciate the value and necessity of the new life derived from Christ, because, in obedience to the Scriptures, they insist so strenuously upon the satisfaction which He has rendered by his perfect righteousness to the justice of God. Without the latter, the former is impossible.
Hodge, Charles. Systematic Theology. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997. vol 3, chp 17.9
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 18th August 2012
Those who focus much on the kingdom and decry the forensic aspect of justification forget that the King rules and judges by the law He has established.
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 6th July 2012
“I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (John 14:16-18 ) KJV
God Is Spirit
As we study the person of the Holy Spirit we must, at the outset, remember the truth that God is spirit. It is imperative that we recall the fact that God does not of necessity have a body. With this in mind it will not be difficult for us to conceive of a person in the Godhead who is God the Spirit. The questions we must ask of the Scriptures are: who is the Spirit, what is His nature, and how is He related to the Father and the Son?
One With Father and Son As Shown in The Creation
First of all, we find that the Spirit of God is one with the Father and the Son. We see this from the account of the creation of the worlds. The Word of God tells us that “In the beginning God created the Heaven and the earth.” (Gen 1:1) KJV We also read that “ God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.” (Heb 1:1,2) KJVThese two passages of Scripture tell us that the Father and the Son are one, and that both of them were active in the creation of the worlds. In the same place where we find that God created the heavens and the earth we also find that the Spirit was present and active. “ And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Gen 1:2) KJV In fact, the power of life that belongs only to God is said to also be the power of the Spirit. “It is the spirit that quickeneth…” (John 6:63) KJV We also find that Job attributed creative power to the Holy Spirit (See Job 26:13;27:3;33:4). All of these show us that the Holy Spirit is one with the Father and the Son.
Spoken of As Having The Divine, Incommunicable Attributes
Another thing that leads us to understand that the Holy Spirit is more than just an influence or ethereal willow-the-wisp is the fact that He is spoken of as having the divine incommunicable attributes. That is, the Holy Spirit has attributes that belong only to God.
He is eternal as God is eternal. “ Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” (Ps 90:1,2) KJV “If the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb 9:13,14) KJV
The Holy Spirit is also spoken of as being omniscient. All knowledge belongs to God and no one else. “The word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” (Heb 4:12,13) KJV This attribute also belongs to the Spirit of God. “The Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” (1 Cor 2:10) KJV
The Spirit of God is also spoken of as being omnipresent, which is also a divine attribute. “Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord.” (Jer 23:23,24) KJV “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.” (Ps 139:7-12) KJV
We also find that to lie to the Holy Spirit is to lie to God (Compare Acts 5:3 with Acts 5:4).
Finally, the Holy Spirit is spoken of as being omnipotent just as God is omnipotent. “I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” (Rev 19:6) KJV “The angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.” (Luke 1:35-37) KJV
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 5th July 2012
The Word of God John 1:1-4,14
See also Rev 19:13
logos – The word of outward form by which the inward thought is expressed and made known: also the inward thought or reason itself.
A saying, speaking, that which is said or spoken
logos never mans a word in the grammatical sense, as the mere name of a thing…but rather as the thing referred to, the material, not the formal, part.
The power of the mind, which is manifested in speech, reason…
Liddell & Scott Lexicon
Logos is common for reason as well as speech. RWP
It therefore signifies both the outward form by which the inward thought is expressed, and the inward thought itself… Vincent’s Word Studies in The New Testament
It is interesting to note that words are the expressions of the heart. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” (Matt 12:34) KJV
Logos is also translated as follows:
intent (Acts 10:29)
matter (Acts 15:6)
shew (Col 2:23)
The above things speak of a substance, essence, and personality. This shows that the Word is the expression of the heart of God, the matter of God, shewing the substance of God, is thus the essence of God and is in every way God.
Closely associated with Christ being the Word is the statement “ I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” (Rev 22:13) KJV “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” (Rev 1:8) KJV Words are always associated with the alphabet. Jesus is the beginning and ending of the expression of God. There is no pre-alpha or post-omega. He alone is God’s perfect, eternal thought and expression of Himself. Christ is the eternal expression of the Almighty, eternal God. From A to Z, Jesus is such a perfect expression of God that He is indeed God in person, character, and essence.
It is thus no surprise that we read, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” (Heb 1:1-3) KJV The Son is of the exact nature, or substance, or essence of God the Father. He is the radiance of the glorious brilliance, majesty, and beauty of the Father. Those who see Him see the Father (John 14:9). Why is this so? It is so because the Son is of the same essence and character as the Father. He is the perfect representation of God, because He is God.
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 2nd July 2012
The Eternal Sufficiency Of Jesus’ Death For Our Sins
“Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein: which are offered by the law; then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the vail, that is to say, his flesh; and having a high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our hope without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:8–25)
When we consider the eternal security of the believer we must always consider it in relationship to Christ. It is not the person who believes in anything that is secure, but it is the person who believes in Jesus Christ who is eternally secure. This is especially true when we think about the fact that our security is based upon what Christ has done on our behalf: He was the sacrifice for our sins. Our eternal security is based upon the fact that the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins is of eternal worth.
Our text tells us that Jesus died once for all, in contrast to the Old Testament sacrifices being offered every day. Why is this so? It is so because Jesus’ death was all that was necessary to satisfy God and give us eternal life. Notice that we are told that God did not desire sacrifices and offerings, but had prepared Jesus to come, do the will of God, and take away our sins. Jesus’ death was sufficient to satisfy God, and after he died for our sins He ascended to Heaven and will remain there until He comes in glory to subdue His enemies. As we are told these things, we are also told that when sins are forgiven there is no need for another sacrifice for sins. This simply means that the sacrifice of Christ for our sins was all that was needed; our sins are forgiven, God is satisfied, and there is no need to add to that perfect sacrifice that was forever good enough for God and for us.
Our text also tells us that God is faithful, so we can have confidence in His promises. What does this mean? There are three important things we need to see about the faithfulness of God and His promises to us in Christ: 1) All of God’s promises are fulfilled in Christ. 2) God’s faithfulness is seen in that He is faithful to His righteous demands in Christ’s death for our sins. 3) God is faithful to forgive our sins because Jesus died for our sins.
All of God’s promises are fulfilled in Christ. Every promise that was made to God’s people pointed to Christ. Jesus spoke to the Jews and told them, “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” (John 5:39) What Jesus meant was that they did search the Scriptures, because they thought that they would find certain rules to live by that would give them eternal life. Instead of searching for rules, however, they should have recognized that the promises and prophecies of the Scriptures pointed to Jesus. Jesus is the fulfillment of the promises of God. Paul told the Galatians (Galatians 3:16) that Jesus is the seed which was promised not only to the woman (See Genesis 3:15), but also to Abraham (See Genesis 12:1-3;15:1-6;22:18). Paul also told the Corinthians that God faithfully fulfilled His promises in Christ, saying, “But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” (2 Corinthians 1:18–22) Note that God not only has fulfilled His promises in Christ, but has given us His Spirit in our hearts to assure us that there are more promises yet to be fulfilled in Him (See Ephesians 1:13-14). God’s faithfulness in Christ assures us of eternal life, because it assures us that God keeps all of His promises, including the promise to raise us up at the last day (See John 6:40-44).
God is faithful to Himself in satisfying the demands of His righteousness in Jesus’ death for our sins. Paul told the Romans that we are “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” (Romans 3:24–26) God forgives our sins, but His righteousness demands satisfaction. Sin must be punished. Paul tells us that Jesus’ death for our sins demonstrates how that God can righteously forgive our sins. He does so by punishing our sins in Jesus. That is how God is both just and justifies those who believe in Jesus. As Jesus walked this earth He faithfully fulfilled the law. Having satisfied God by living a perfectly sinless life, Jesus died, not for His own sins, but for ours. God punished Jesus for our sins. He became sin for us (2Corinthians 5:21). Isaiah stated that God was pleased with Jesus’ death: “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, He shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; For he shall bear their iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:10–11) Not only was the Father pleased to punish Jesus for us, but He is satisfied to accept His offering on our behalf. God was pleased with what Jesus did, because He faithfully upheld the law and secured the forgiveness of sins for all who believe Jesus.
Because Jesus died for our sins God is faithful to forgive our sins. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) Not only does God forgive our sins in Christ, but never will the believer commit a sin that will not be forgiven, but the blood of Jesus daily cleanses us from sin (See 1John 1:7) so that we will need never fear. Jesus promised that “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37) Jesus’ one sacrifice for sins was forever. Never will our sins be brought up again. Never will they be remembered again by God. Never will God cast us away. We are accepted in the beloved (Ephesians 1:6), so we do not stand before God in our own merit, but in the merits of Jesus who died for our sins.
Because of Jesus’ eternally sufficient sacrifice and offering of Himself to God we can have boldness and assurance.Those who reject the eternal security of the believer do so in part because they do not understand the great truth of the sufficiency of Jesus’ death for our sins. The reality is that in Jesus Christ we have eternal life. Jesus was sent and given by the Father that we might have eternal life (See John 3:16-17). Every believer can be assured that their salvation is eternally secure in Christ because Christ’s offering is eternally acceptable and pleasing to God.
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 24th June 2012
The Baptism with The Holy Spirit
Matt 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.
John the Baptist came as a herald of the Christ. His preaching was filled with promise of the Messiah’s coming. As he preached to the people and baptized those who repented, John told them that the Christ was coming to baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire. What is this baptism with the Holy Ghost?
One thing we must notice is that this baptism is a baptism with the Holy Ghost, or in the Holy Ghost. Many times people speak of the baptism of the Holy Ghost as if the Holy Spirit did the baptizing. In reality, Jesus does the baptizing. “He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.” (Matt 3:11) The work of the baptism of the Holy Ghost is the work of Christ.
As John spoke to the people, his preaching was a familiar theme. That theme was concerning the coming King of Israel. John told the people that he came in fulfillment of Isa 40:1-8. John’s ministry was in accord with Old Testament prophecy. Part of the prophecy concerning John’s ministry was that he would tell the people that only God and His word would endure. Included in this message was the fact that the Spirit of the LORD would blow upon men and they would perish. With this in mind we can see that John’s preaching about Jesus baptizing with the Holy Ghost was preaching that pointed men to the Scriptures and promises about the work of the Christ.
As we read the word of God we find that the Spirit is spoken of as “that holy Spirit of promise.” (Eph 1:13) The Holy Ghost came according to the promise of God. We find this promise several times in the writings of Isaiah the prophet:
Isa 32:13-18 Upon the land of my people shall come up thorns and briers; yea, upon all the houses of joy in the joyous city: Because the palaces shall be forsaken; the multitude of the city shall be left; the forts and towers shall be for dens for ever, a joy of wild asses, a pasture of flocks; Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest. Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field. And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places. (KJV) This prophecy speaks of the fact that God would pour out His Spirit on the people and that it would have an amazing effect upon the whole of creation. The effects of the pouring out of the Spirit would be seen in the reign of righteousness in the lives of men and in the earth. When John the Baptist preached that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Ghost, the people knew that he was speaking of the work of the promised Messiah who would come to rule the earth in righteousness and give peace to His people.
Isa 44:1-8 Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen: Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen. For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses. One shall say, I am the LORD’s; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the LORD, and surname himself by the name of Israel. Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them. Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any. (KJV)
Again, in this passage, we have a promise of the outpouring of the Spirit of God upon the people of Israel. The promise from God is a promise that in that day He will deliver and bless His people, and the people would take the name of the LORD unto them. That is, they would declare Him to be their God and their spiritual husband. (Compare this with Acts 2:38 and the command to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. This is nothing more than a call for them to identify themselves with the Christ who had poured out the Spirit in fulfillment of the above prophecy. What a marked contrast between this simple truth and the heresy of “One-ness” believers!) John was telling the people that the promised redeemer was coming to save Israel. The baptism of the Holy Ghost is a fulfillment of God’s promise.
Ezek 11:19-20 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God. (KJV) Ezek 36:25-26 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. (KJV)
Note that once again we have before us a promise of God giving His Spirit. This promise is to the end that men would be changed to ones who would love and worship God instead of idols.
Ezek 37:12-14 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD. (KJV)
Here, too we have a prophecy that God will restore Israel and pour His Spirit out upon them. This promise speaks of the future of Israel when the LORD returns to raise the dead and to rule in the earth.
Zech 12:9-10 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. (KJV)
Here, too, we have a promise of God pouring out His Spirit upon His people at the time of the end. At this time they shall be delivered, restored, and saved.
It is abundantly evident from the Scriptures which are before us that John’s preaching was preaching that would resonate with the people. It was doctrine that they would recognize because they were familiar with it. The King was coming. Their deliverer and Savior was near. The Kingdom of Heaven was indeed at hand. The promise of the outpouring of the Spirit was an Old Testament promise that was indeed gospel (good news) to the people. When the Messiah poured His Spirit upon the people, sin would be forgiven, captives would be set free, and the world would be changed into a righteous habitation.
The Promise Fulfilled
Acts 2:1-4 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (KJV)
Acts 2:16-21 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (KJV)
Acts 2:36-38 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (KJV)
After many years of expecting God to send His blessing and John declaring that the blessing was at hand, Jesus stated that the blessing of the outpouring of the Spirit was near. Jesus stated before He ascended to Heaven, Acts 1:4 wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. (KJV) Luke 24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. (KJV) Jesus let His disciples know that God was soon to fulfill the promise that He had given them so many years before. Finally, on the day of Pentecost, it came. The Holy Spirit fell upon the people and they were baptized in the Spirit. As the saints began to praise God, some observers mocked and stated that the saints were drunken. Peter’s defense was two-fold: it was too early in the morning to be drunken, and this was the fulfillment of the Old Testament promise that God had given. The PROMISE had arrived!
The wonderful thing about this blessing is the fact that it is a universal promise. The promise is available to all who call upon the name of the Lord. This statement is a quote of Joel 2:28. Peter mentioned that the outpouring of the Spirit was in fulfillment of the promise in Joel 2. He also told those men to call upon the name of the Lord to be saved. This is especially interesting to note when you contrast the present day misrepresentation of Acts 2:38 which people use to teach baptism in Jesus’ name in order to obtain the forgiveness of sins. One thing is certain, Acts 2:38 does not contradict the plain statement “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” When Peter said, Acts 2:38 Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (KJV) he was simply stating that men must receive Jesus as the Christ and embrace Him as the true King of Israel. Not only so, but one of the things that is characteristic of those upon whom the Spirit is come is the fact that they identify themselves with the Lord who poured out His Spirit (See Isa 44:5). If this is characteristic of those who have received the promise, is it any wonder that Peter would tell the Jews who rejected Christ that they must repent, accept Jesus as their Messiah, and identify themselves with Christ to be saved? Salvation is not through the identifying, but those who deny the Lord are denied of Him (See Matt 10:32,33). No one need think himself to be forgiven of sin if he will not confess Jesus as the Christ and as his savior. This is simply another part of Scripture being fulfilled which says, Isa 44:3-5 I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses. One shall say, I am the LORD’s; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the LORD, and surname himself by the name of Israel. (KJV)
Another place where we see the promise fulfilled is Acts 10. In this chapter Cornelius had sent for Peter to come and preach for them. He and his family needed the Gospel, and God arranged for Peter to go and preach to them. Peter preached and told them that Jesus was the one who would forgive them of their sins and justify them.Acts 10:44-48 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days. (KJV) At this time the church was still a Jewish church. Peter was called into question about having fellowship with Gentile people. His defense was this, Acts 11:15-18 As I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life. (KJV) At this point we simply need to see that the Gentiles received the same promise that the Jews received. God had kept His promise to pour out His Spirit upon His people and to save all those who call upon Him.
The Baptism With The Holy Ghost Today
The final question that needs to be asked is, “What is the relevance and significance of this doctrine for us today?”
Paul said, Eph 1:13-14 after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (KJV) What is the sealing of the Spirit? Often we think of the seal in the terms of a seal on a jar, or on an envelope. We think of it in terms of security. The context speaks to us of security. We must, however, take Biblical terms and use them in the manner for which they are intended and not go halfway with them. The seal is the Spirit. There is security provided by the Spirit being our seal. The Spirit seals us until Christ comes to redeem our vile bodies and make them like His glorious body (See Php 3:20,21; 1Pet 1:3-9; Rom 8:23). The seal is something that is enduring, however, it is not a seal of the jar lid sort. The seal is a sign of authenticity. It bespeaks of the genuine nature of that which is sealed. For instance, if I were to buy a car, I would receive a bill of sale. The bill of sale needs to be notarized before I go register the car in my name. When I get the bill of sale notarized, it is stamped with the “Great Seal of The State of _____________.” The seal is placed on the bill of sale to authenticate that it is a document that is genuine and not a forgery. In Jesus’ day, the seal was usually made in wax by impressing it with a signet ring. That ring had a particular motif that was unique to the authority who owned it. Thus, when a seal was set on the tomb of Jesus, it was declared off limits by the authorities. The seal declared that the order to not open the tomb was an official government order. So, when a child of God believes the gospel and is saved, he is sealed with the baptism of the Spirit which God promised in the Old Testament. Remember, Paul stated that the seal was with the Holy Spirit of promise. The Spirit within us testifies to the authenticity of our faith.
As the great apostle Paul spoke to the Galatian churches, he reminded them of this same truth. His aim was to defend the truth of justification by faith. For this reason he asked the question, Gal 3:2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? (KJV) Paul reminded the Galatians that their receiving of the Spirit and blessing came through faith, not works of the law. He also told them that the reason Jesus died was that we could receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Gal 3:13-14 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (KJV) Finally, Paul lets us know that this receiving of the Spirit was not an indwelling alone, but a baptism. Gal 3:26-29 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (KJV) It is important to note that the baptism in Gal 3:27 is of necessity a Spirit baptism. The word “for” is a word that joins the statement to be made with the foregone statements. We have believed in Christ and have put on Christ when we were baptized with the Spirit into Christ. This baptism happens when we become children of God by faith in Christ. In Christ there is equality and no distinctions. (This would not be so if the baptism were water baptism into the local body, for we know that God has placed different people in different positions of authority in the local body.) This baptism is part and parcel of our belonging to Christ and being of Abraham’s seed. In short, the baptism of the Spirit comes to everyone who believes in Christ to the saving of his soul: and that according to the promise of God of which we have already studied.
Finally, this baptism with the Spirit is a great assurance to the child of God. Paul told the Roman church, Rom 8:9-11 ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (KJV) All of God’s children have the Spirit of God in them. The presence of the Spirit of God, in whom we were baptized upon believing in Jesus, is our assurance of our salvation. Remember, it is our seal of authenticity. Rom 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. (KJV) Because we have the Spirit of Christ in us, we know that we are partakers of the promise. This is not simply a subjective feeling. God lives within us and testifies to us of the fact that we are true believers. When we read the Scriptures about God’s promises coming to those who believe we have assurance that we are partakers in that promise, because we have trusted Christ, have been baptized with the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit dwells within us giving us the knowledge of salvation according to God’s promise (See Luke 1:77).
Let us thank God that He has given us such a promise and such a blessing. We can live our lives with full assurance that we belong to the Lord Jesus Christ and are forgiven of our sins. We have this assurance because He has given us the seal of the Spirit of God who has surrounded us, joined us to Christ, and lives within us.
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 10th June 2012
There seems to exist a number of misconceptions and errors in the minds of people today regarding what it means to be saved. Among those errors is the idea that a person could lose the salvation which is freely given to them by God the Father in Jesus Christ.
The doctrine of the eternal security of the believer in Christ is a precious doctrine to those of us who know Jesus. It is a great comfort to us. It is an encouragement in the darkest of trials, and a comfort to us when we fail God. It is a joy to know that the grace of God is super abundant where sin is abundant (See Romans 5:20-21).
This article is intended to be an introduction to a series of articles about the eternal security of the believer in Christ. As such, it will be an outline of the coming series which gives the reasons why the believer in Christ can be assured of having eternal life.
The first reason that we can be assured that our salvation is eternally secure is that Jesus’ death for our sins on the cross is of eternal worth. The price paid by Jesus on Calvary is sufficient for the eternal salvation of all who believe. Isaiah said, “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, He shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; For he shall bear their iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:10–11) We can rest assured that our salvation is eternally secure because God was, and will forever be, satisfied with the price paid by Jesus for our sins.
The resurrection of Jesus gives us assurance of eternal life as well. Our Savior lives! Jesus conquered death when He rose from the dead (See Romans 6:9-10). The fact that Jesus lives gives us assurance that those who trust Him shall be saved forever. “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25) Because Jesus rose from the dead He is able to intercede for us forever and to save us forever.
Because salvation is by grace and through faith we can have confidence that our salvation is forever secure in Jesus. Paul said, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8–10) Salvation is in no way dependent upon our works, but upon the work of God in Christ. Because I am saved by the work of God I can be assured that my salvation is secure. If salvation depended on our works we would be in great trouble. Since salvation is the work of God, we can be “confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ”. (Philippians 1:6)
Though there are many other reasons that could be given for why the believer is eternally secure in Christ, the last which we shall consider is that of the indwelling Spirit of God. Scripture tells us that, “after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13–14) Notice that the Spirit which dwells within the believer is not only the promised Spirit, but also that He is the Spirit who promises. In the Old Testament God promised that He would send the Spirit to His people, so we call Him the Spirit of promise. He is not only the promised Spirit, but the Spirit who promises something to us. That promise is the promise of the redemption of our bodies (Cf Romans 8:23). The Spirit of God within the child of God is the assurance that God will give all of us eternal, glorified bodies at the resurrection.
As we live we often face trials, hardships, heartaches, and discouragement. In spite of all of these things we can rest assured that our salvation is secure in Christ. We can be confident that we are “kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:5)
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 9th June 2012
The Filling With The Holy Spirit
“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” (Eph 5:18 ) KJV
Be Filled With The Spirit
As we study the filling with the Holy Spirit it is essential that we recognize that the Scripture never commands us to seek the baptism with the Spirit of God. The command of this passage is to be filled with the Spirit. In fact, what we do notice as something that is the norm throughout the book of Acts is the fact that men were spoken of as being filled with the Spirit instead of experiencing the baptism with the Spirit as a sort of second blessing. It is especially important for us to notice that, for the New Testament Christian, the filling with the Spirit is subsequent to the baptism with the Spirit. “When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:1-4) Immediately upon being baptized with the Holy Ghost the early Christians were filled with the Spirit. From this time forward they are spoken of as being filled with the Spirit. When they were in need of God’s grace, the Scriptures tell us that they were blessed to be filled with the Spirit (See Acts 4:8-12,31;6:3,5;7:55 as examples.), not baptized anew with the Spirit.
We Are Called to Follow After Christ, Not to Seek A Second Blessing or Fresh Baptism With The Holy Ghost
Many who believe in the baptism with the Holy Spirit as a second blessing give a great emphasis to the Holy Spirit. While we certainly should not downplay the important work of the Spirit, we must understand that this is not the command of God for a Christian’s life. We are, rather, commanded to seek Christ. “ If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Col 3:1-3) KJV Not only so, but the Holy Ghost was sent for the express purpose of glorifying Christ. Jesus said, “When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” (John 16:13,14) KJV The Spirit was sent to glorify Christ by guiding us into the truth of Christ Jesus our Lord. For this reason we should focus upon learning more of Jesus and seeking grace that we might honor Him with our lives. In so doing we shall find ourselves enjoying the work of the Spirit in our lives.
What Does It Mean to Be Filled With The Spirit?
What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit? That is what we must finally determine. After all, of what use is it to us to know that we must seek this blessing if we do not recognize it for what it is? First of all, our text gives us the key to understanding the filling with the Spirit. “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” (Eph 5:18 ) KJV When one is drunken with wine they are controlled by the effects that the alcohol has on their system. In the same manner, one who is filled with the Spirit is under the control of the Spirit. (This analogy is also seen in Acts 2:13 where the Jews thought that the Spirit-filled Christians were drunken.) This means that we are willfully yielding to the influence and power of the Spirit of God as He works in our lives. At the same time, this means that we are not powerless pawns in the hands of one who is greater than we are. We are, rather, more in control than we were ever before. Why? Because the fruit of the Spirit is temperance. Thus, when one is filled with the Spirit they are able by His power to control their life, affections, attitudes, and actions.
When we are filled with the Spirit we will live in a spiritual manner. The Spirit testifies of Christ and will teach us the things of Christ (See John 16:12-15). By the aid of the infilling Spirit we can conquer sin and live godly lives. “ This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” (Gal 5:16) KJV The Spirit-filled person is one who is constantly doing battle with sin and winning the victory over it. The one who is filled with the Spirit is trusting God to help him with his life. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Gal 2:20)KJV Finally, when we are filled with the Spirit of God, we will have the Christian attributes that show that we have been changed from merely fleshly people into spiritual people. That apostle Paul told the Galatians, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past,that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Gal 5:19-25) KJVWhen we are filled with the Spirit we will be filled with the fruit of the Spirit instead of conducting ourselves according to the ugly and sinful manner of the flesh.
How To Be Filled With The Spirit
How is one filled with the Spirit? First of all, we must realize that this is done by faith. “Without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Heb 11:6) KJV There is absolutely no way that we can honor God, or get anything from God without faith (See Rom 14:23;Jas 1:5-7). As was stated before, the one who is filled with the Spirit is trusting God to help him with his life. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Gal 2:20) KJV Let us also come to the Word of God that we might learn more of what the Spirit has to teach us about Christ (See John 16:12-15;2Pet 1:16-21). Having learned what God has to say to us about Christ, and meditating upon the glories of Christ will fulfill the purpose of the Spirit of God in our lives, which purpose is to make us like Jesus. Paul said, “We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Cor 3:18 ) KJV Again, the one who is filled with the Spirit is one who has yielded to His power and influence in their hearts and lives. That means that we must submit to God’s will, power, and His Word as He uses the Spirit to communicate Himself to us through His Word.
In conclusion, let us seek to be filled with the Spirit of God that our lives would be transformed and we would grow to be more and more like Jesus.
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 17th May 2012
The Reformed theologians take the middle ground between the extremes of making the image of God to consist exclusively in man’s rational nature, or exclusively in his moral conformity to his Maker. They distinctly include both… While, therefore, the Scriptures make the original moral perfection of man the most prominent element of that likeness to God in which he was created, it is no less true that they recognize man as a child of God in virtue of his rational nature. He is the image of God, and bears and rejects the divine likeness among the inhabitants of the earth, because he is a spirit, an intelligent, voluntary agent; and as such he is rightfully invested with universal dominion. This is what the Reformed theologians were accustomed to call the essential image of God, as distinguished from the accidental. The one consisting in the very nature of the soul, the other in its accidental endowments, that is, such as might be lost without the loss of humanity itself.
Hodge, Charles. Systematic Theology, vol2, pg 98-99. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997.
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