Is Truth Relative? Greg Koukl at THRIVE Apologetics Conference 2013

See also

  1. Greg Koukl – Moral Relativism lecture to University students
  2. Apologetics PAGE

photo via http://rogueuniversity.com/musings

When you think about it, there are a lot of ways to show that christianity is false. Look at our story, it starts with „in the beginning God…”  If the atheists are right, we don’t get a beginning, we don’t even get started. Our case is based on Jesus of Nazareth. If He never existed we’re out of business. If He wasn’t the one reflected in the Scripture, if that’s just a bunch of legends, we’re up the creek as well. No soul. Why is that important? Because if there is no soul , there is no thing to go into the afterlife. And since the afterlife is an important part of christianity, we’re sunk again, if they can make the case there’s no soul. On the resurrection, Paul himself said that christians of all people should be pitied if there was no resurrection.

Christianity can be falsifiable in principle, and if it can be falsifiable and falsified, it can also be supported. It can be demonstrated that it can be true. But, the minute you say something like „can be demonstrated to be true”, you run into another obstacle, that is very popular and very in play in our culture. It’s also very unusual to me, because taken at face value, which strikes me as a pointless challenge. The other challenges that I mentioned, and by the way, every one of those areas I talked about- the existence of God, the existence of Jesus, the existence of the soul, the resurrection, and a whole bunch of others, there’s a full course press on all of those right now. And that’s why I’m glad you’re all in this conference. All of those, I would say, are intellectually noble ways of going after christianity.

Relative truth – pulling the rug from underneath the  christians

This next thing, that I want to spend my time talking about, I don’t think it is intellectually noble. I think it’s a foolish way of going after christianity, but it is very popular. Everybody’s fighting over what they think is true. Well, the truth of the matter is in this world truth doesn’t exist- it’s not unusual to go into a campus society in general and begin to talk about these kinds of things. And, as you advance christianity, if you’re doing it properly, you’re doing it as a picture of reality. This is true in the deep sense of the word. That’s our view; that’s our claim. That’s what we’re offering. And people want to dismiss it and say, „Well, there is none of that kind of stuff. Truth doesn’t exist in this world. Maybe it’s true for you, maybe it’s relative to your beliefs. Everybody has different beliefs that are true for them. But, no one can say that what they believe is true, that it applies to everyone.” In one sense it’s a kind of end around  all of the conflict. It’s a kind of a saying, :Well, everybody’s right.” It has a tolerant feel, but, at the same time it’s kind of like saying everybody’s wrong, too, „You are wrong in all your individual beliefs on what is actually so; you are just right for yourself.” And so, it’s an odd kind of „everybody’s right, but, in the background, everybody’s wrong, at the same time. A lot of folks haven’t thought about that particular point.

Truth on this view, then, is relative, is subjective, it is just up to individuals. And, I hope you can see how, when a culture is deeply convinced  of that idea, it’s a complete end around all the arguments. It’s a pulling the rug from underneath the christians. It’s a very clever move, in terms of spiritual warfare.

Notes continue under the video-

Professor Greg Koukl answers the question, „Is truth relative?” at the 2013 Thrive Apologetics Conference, held at Bayside Church in Granite Bay, California.thrivingchurches

…and I think of spiritual warfare in the area of ideas and how ideas are being used to dissuade people. That’s why Paul says that the weapons of warfare are divinely powerful of destruction of forces which are tearing down speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of  God, taking every thought captive through the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 The point here is this is an idea that is a fortress, that a lot of people can’t get past: The idea that christianity claims to be true, but are convinced there is no truth. I wanna deal with that challenge. If you’re a skeptic, I just wanna get you thinking about this. I think that the claim that there is no truth is obviously false, and I think that everybody in this room knows that it’s false.

The definition of what we mean by truth – If belief is what made something true, there would be no difference between belief and make belief. When we say a thing is true, we’re not saying we don’t mean by that that we merely believe it, because we could believe false things. We don’t say that we see it or we have discovered it to be so, because that’s just how you find out whether a thing is true. if we’re just working with the concept of truth, what we mean when we say a thing is true is that our statements match up with the way the world actually is. Or our beliefs match up, or our thoughts match up. The philosophers call this the correspondence theory of truth- or that christianity matches up to the real world. That is the standard definition of what is truth.

Does that kind of truth exist? Is it possible for us to make statements about the world, and have some confidence that our statements actually match up? Can we know things about theology, about ethics? Can you actually know these things? Is it just not a leap of faith or a mere assumption, or a mere assertion? Can we have good reason that this is something we can count on? My answer to all of those things is: Yes. And I wanna show you how that can be the case. (23:00)

How can we know that the claim: There is no truth is false?

and that therefore, the claim that there is truth is a true statement.

  1. First problem: It’s suicidal, self refuting. The first reason that I reject the idea that there is no truth is that it is obviously false. When I go on campus, I am actually mystified  that this has gained such favor among people at university campuses. The minute I want to acquiesce to their view I run into a problem. The problem is that I am being enjoined to believe that it is true, in the sense I just described it and defined it, that there is no truth. Somebody says, „There is no truth.” You say, „Really? Is that true?” You’ve got to tell me what you expect me to do with your statement. Accept or reject. This is the way people are: When they say there is no truth, they don’t see the inherent contradiction in their own statement. I actually had a debate on this issue with Marv Meyer. The debate was titled: Is truth true? Meyer was arguing that there is no truth, and I was arguing with this question: There’s no truth. Is that true? That’s one of the ways to show that the statement „There is no truth” is false, it’s just obviously self refuting, and there’s no way around that. There’s just no way out of that problem.
  2. Second problem: That every single person knows things to be true. And you know that because you took an idea that you had in mind, and you compared it to the world, and you matched it up to see that there was a fit, and when your thoughts matched the way the world is, that’s a truth relation. If we are able to take statements or beliefs and in some measure match them against the world, to see if our beliefs are accurate, well, then we can find out what the truth is there. And, indeed, we do this every single day. In fact, if we could not determine truth about a whole bunch of things, we’d be dead in a day. Our lives depend on our ability to determine whether there is truth or not.

Now, I have just given you 2 reasons to believe that the statement „There is no truth” is false. (34:00 there are still 15 minutes left of the video where Koukl gives 2 examples)

How do we know God exists? J P Moreland at Thrive Apologetics Conference 2013

See other lectures at the THRIVE Conference 2013 here – http://www.youtube.com/user/thrivingchurches

There is a public relations problem we are facing today, and it’s essentially the idea that Christians believe things for no reasons whatsoever. In fact, the idea that is widely promulgated is that what modern people have discovered has made belief in God an unreasonable thing to hold.

So, for example, the late William Provine, who is a biologist at Cornell University, made the following statement about the evolutionary theory, „Let me summarize my views on modern evolutionary theory: „Let me summarize my theory on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear. There are no gods, there are no purposes, there are no goal directed purposes of any kind. There’s no life after death. When I die, I’m absolutely certain that I’ll be dead. That’s the end of me. There’s no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life, and there’s no free will for human beings either.”

So, this idea is that intellectuals have discovered something, such, that if average people knew what it was, they wouldn’t be able to believe in God any longer. And so, we live in a time, when it is not only widely thought that belief in God is irrational, but, it is now widely thought that if you believe in Jesus Christ, you’re not only stupid, but you are a bigot. Recently, a novelist put our ‘bigotry’ in this way, „Here is how their ignorant bigotry works (referring to christians). First, they put the fear of God in you, if you don’t believe the literal word of the Bible, you’ll burn in hell. Of course, the literal word of the Bible was tremendously contradictory, and so, you have to abdicate all critical thinking to believe. And, you must accept a simple, but logical system of belief, but you’re not allowed to question. A corollary at this point is that they make sure you understand that Satan resides in the toils and snares of the complex thought. So, it’s best not to think at all.”

Now, this is not the christian religion as it’s been for 2,000 years. It was we that founded the universities of the western world, that produced art and literature, and some of the richest intellectual literature ever produced. What is being talked about here is a relatively recent phenomenon, and I am seeing signs that this is changing, over the last 20-25 years. I’d like to ask the question: How do we know that God exists? Is there a case that can be made for God’s existence?

Through the experience of God and the testimony of the Spirit. God’s Spirit bears witness with our spirit that God is there. However, as important as that way of knowing God is, that is not what the Bible suggests, when we come to the topic of ‘how do we know God is’? When we come to that topic in Romans 1, Paul says that the way we know God exists is not from an experience of God, and it’s not because the Bible says so, it’s because of the created world. Paul says that since creation, God’s existence and His invisible attributes are clearly seen through what has been made. Now, what this does is the idea that the creation, in some way or other signals the idea of a supreme being. That provides us with encouragement, that we might be able to formulate some arguments, based on the creation , for the conclusion that God exists.

Three arguments for the existence of God:

  1. The Universe began to exist and something supernatural was used to bring it into existence…. If God exists, He is the first cause. If He doesn’t exist, that’s fine. But, if there is a God, He’s the first cause. You can’t ask a first cause what caused it, because if you did, it’s no longer a first cause. The first cause, by its very nature is an uncausable kind of thing. (25:00)
  2. Biological information. Information only comes from an intelligent mind. The biggest discovery of biology in the 20th century is that living things are filled with libraries of information. There’s more information in one cell of your body than the entire library at University of California, Berkeley. If we’re gonna use the principle that information is explained by an intelligent mind, why can’t we explain the info. in the DNA as coming from a very intelligent mind?
  3. The moral law. There is an absolute moral law. This is what philosophers call self evident. It’s obvious. The idea that torturing little babies for the fun of it is wrong, is as obvious as  2+2=4. That there is an objective, absolute moral law is self evident to virtually all people. When I talk about an objective moral law, what I mean is: moral principles that are true, whether anyone believes them or not. So, on this sense of an objective moral law, we discover morality, we don’t invent it. It’s discovered, just like we’ve discovered the laws of nature, and the laws of logic and math, and so on.. So, there is an objective and moral order. And that moral law imposes duties and responsibilities on us. What if someone says, „I don’t believe in an objective moral law? I think everything’s relative?” What do you do? You find out something they care deeply about, and treat it as relative and see what happens. You’ll get an absolutist that will come out of the closet quickly. Where did moral absolutes come from? Matter can’t produce moral absolutes. As a matter of fact, the moral law imposes duties on us to be loving and kind. Now, what kind of a thing can impose duties on another thing? The answer is ‘A person with a will’. You have to have a will to impose duties on something else. And laws come from lawgivers. We know where the moral laws come from, they came from a moral law giver. Why, again? Because the moral law comes in command form  and it imposes duties on us, and the only kind of a thing that can impose duties on something else is a being with will. There is a willing behind the moral law that imposes duties on us. One important aspect of the moral order is that there are objective duties that are imposed on us. Everyone knows they’re there, and the most reasonable explanation for the origin of the objective moral law is that there is a legislator, or an imposer, someone who imposes moral duty on the human race.

While we’re talking about morality, there’s also the issue of evil. Here’s how I believe evil provides evidence that there is a God, not evidence that there isn’t. What exactly is evil? Throughout western culture, for at least 1600 – 1700 years, the most widely accepted definition of evil is this: Evil is when things are the way they are not supposed to be. Can you have a bad carburetor in a car? Of course you can. When you say it’s a bad one, what we mean is that it’s not working the way it’s supposed to work. That means it’s not working the way it was designed to work. Then, if there is a designer, then there is a way this object is designed and supposed to work. And, if it doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to work it’s evil, or bad, or defective. So, we can learn that there are bad things, if those things are not like they’re supposed to be and that can be true if there is a designer. So, evil, in the world indicates that things aren’t the way they’re supposed to be. But, that presupposes that there is a way that things are supposed to be. And that makes sense if there is someone who designed them to be a certain way.

If God does not exist and evolution is how we got here, I’m sorry, but things just happen, and there really is no way things are supposed to be, and there really can’t be any such thing as evil at the end of the day. And, if God exists, because of the origin of the universe, can’t cross infinity, ing bang, something supernatural that’s timeless, spaceless, invisible, had to bring the universe into existence… if the SETI scientists themselves that information is best explained by an intelligent line, why don’t we follow that reasoning when we come to the discovery of information in living things.

Finally, the absolute moral law is best explained by an absolute moral law giver. Everybody knows there is an absolute moral law. And evil itself is best explained if there is a designer for the world. How do you move to christianity from here? I appeal to fulfilled prophecy, miracles, and the resurrection of Jesus. And this is where I would appeal to historical evidence.

Professor JP Moreland answers the question, „Does God Exist?” at the Thrive Apologetics Conference, held at Bayside Church in Granite Bay, California. thrivingchurches

Infallibility vs. Inerrancy of the Bible (Essential Reading)

photo form news.tiu.edu

This is a very helpful article, written by Kevin J. Vanhoozer is currently Research Professor of Systematic Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illonois. The article is from http://www.theologynetwork.org Dr. Vanhoozer shows that the Word of God, as it is written in the Bible can use the common language of the day, (by employing metaphors) without committing to its literal truth. as he shows in the example of the ‘rising sun’ metaphor:

In speaking of the sun rising, does not the Bible make a scientific mistake? To this objection it may be replied that using the common language of the day is not the same as committing oneself to its literal truth. One must not confuse a social convention with a scientific affirmation. To say that the sun rises is to employ a metaphor – one, moreover, that is true to human experience. The objection proves too much: if the inspired authors have used ancient thought forms that led to scientific errors, would not these same thought forms have led to errors in matters of faith and practice too? After all, ‘To err is human’ – or is it? Though proverbial wisdom equates humanity with fallibility , the paradigm of Christ’s sinless life shows that the one concept need not follow from the other. God’s Word, we may conclude, can take on human form -incarnate, inscripturate – without surrendering its claim to sinlessness and truth.

Read the full article below the photo:

photo by godzdogz.op.org

The Inerrancy of Scripture

Whereas inspiration concerns the origin of the Bible’s authority, inerrancy describes its nature. By inerrancy we refer not only to the Bible’s being ‘without error’ but also to its inability to err (we might helpfully illustrate this point by comparing it to the distinction between Jesus’ sinlessness or being without sin, on the one hand, and his impeccability or inability to sin on the other). Inerrancy, positively defined, refers to a central and crucial property of the Bible, namely, its utter truthfulness.

The basis for the doctrine of biblical inerrancy is located both in the nature of God and in the Bible’s teaching about itself. First, if God is perfect – all-knowing, all-wise, all-good – it follows that God speaks the truth. God does not tell lies; God is not ignorant. God’s Word is thus free from all error arising either from conscious deceit or unconscious ignorance. Such is the unanimous confession of the Psalmist, the prophets, the Lord Jesus and the apostles. Second, the Bible presents itself as the Word of God written.

Thus, in addition to its humanity (which is never denied), the Bible also enjoys the privileges and prerogatives of its status as God’s Word. God’s Word is thus wholly reliable, a trustworthy guide to reality, a light unto our path.

If the biblical and theological basis of the doctrine is so obvious, however, why have some in our day suggested that the inerrancy of the Bible is a relatively recent concept? Is it true, as some have argued, that the doctrine of inerrancy was ‘invented’ in the nineteenth century at Princeton by B B Warfield and Charles Hodge and is therefore a novelty in the history of theology? In answer to this question, it is important to remember that doctrines arise only when there is need for them. Doctrine develops when something implicit in the faith is denied; false teaching provokes an explicit rebuttal. This is as true of inerrancy as it is of the doctrines of the Trinity, or of justification by faith. The notion of the Bible’s truthfulness was implicitly assumed throughout the history of the church.

Theologians were only reflecting the view of the biblical authors themselves. Jesus himself quotes Scripture and implies that its words are true and trustworthy – wholly reliable. The New Testament authors share and reflect this high estimate of the Old Testament. The question is whether this ‘high estimate’ of Scripture pertained to its reliability in matters of faith and salvation only or whether it involved a trust in all matters on which the Bible speaks, including science and history. One difficulty with this question is that it is anachronistic: it reflects the concerns of our times (including the dubious dichotomy between fact and value) rather than that of the Fathers and Reformers. With regard to the Fathers, we know that they held to the divine authorship of Scripture. Behind the many voices of the human authors is the voice of the Holy Spirit, the ultimate author of Scripture. While some used this as an excuse to search for hidden truths through allegorical interpretation, if anything the tendency was to ascribe too much truth to Scripture rather than too little. For the Fathers, to suggest that there were errors in the Bible would have been unthinkable. Augustine, for instance, wrote that biblical authority would be overthrown if the authors had stated things that were not true. Though Augustine warned Christians not to hide their ignorance of scientific fact by easy appeals to Scripture, he also believed that the biblical writers did not make any scientific errors. True scientific discoveries will always be capable of being reconciled with the Scriptures. Augustine is at pains to show that there are no contradictions, either between one part of the Bible and another, or between the Bible and truth gleaned from elsewhere. Whatever we think of such attempts, they are at least compelling evidence of the widespread Patristic presupposition of the Bible’s truthfulness.
The Reformers similarly affirmed the truthfulness of the Bible. There is some debate among scholars whether Luther and Calvin limited Scripture’s truthfulness to matters of salvation, conveniently overlooking errors about lesser matters. It is true that Luther and Calvin are aware of apparent discrepancies in Scripture and that they often speak of ‘errors’. However, a closer analysis seems to indicate that the discrepancies and errors are consistently attributed to copyists and translators, not to the human authors of Scripture, much less to the Holy Spirit, its divine author. Calvin was aware that Paul’s quotations of the Old Testament (e.g Rom 10:6 and Dt 30:12) were not always exact, nor always exegetically sound, but he did not infer that Paul had thereby made an error. On the contrary, Calvin notes that Paul is not giving the words of Moses different sense so much as applying them to his treatment of the subject at hand. Indeed, Calvin explicitly denies the suggestion that Paul distorts Moses’ words.

Doctrines are formulated in order to refute error and to preserve revealed truth. Just as biblical authority only became part of Protestant confessions in the sixteenth century to counter the idea that tradition is the supreme authority of the church, so the doctrine of biblical inerrancy was only explicitly formulated to counter explicit denials of the Bible’s truthfulness. These denials arose about the same time as did modernity and the distinctively modern way of interpreting the Bible: biblical criticism. Many so-called ‘enlightened’ thinkers of the eighteenth century accepted the Deists’ belief that the source of truth was reason rather than revelation. Increasingly, the Bible came to be studied like any other book, on naturalistic assumptions that ruled out the possibility of divine action in history. Accordingly, biblical critics grew sceptical of Scripture’s own account of its supernatural origin and sought to reconstruct the historical reality. Advances in knowledge and a changed view of the world were thought to necessitate a rethinking of biblical authority. Historical-critics argued that the authors of the Bible were children of their age, limited by the worldviews that prevailed when they wrote. It was against this backdrop of widespread suspicion of the supernaturalist appearance of Scripture, and the virtually taken-for-granted denial of divine authorship, that the doctrine of biblical inerrancy, implicit from the first, was explicitly formulated (e.g. by Warfield and Hodge). What is explicitly expressed in the doctrine of biblical inerrancy, however, is not a theological novelty so much as an articulation of what was implicitly, and virtually always, presupposed through most of church history.
What then does the doctrine of biblical inerrancy explicitly articulate? We can refine our provisional definition of inerrancy in terms of truthfulness as follows: The inerrancy of Scripture means that Scripture, in the original manuscripts and when interpreted according to the intended sense, speaks truly in all that it affirms. These specifications, by identifying the conditions under which Scripture speaks truly, do not hasten the death of inerrancy by qualification; they rather acknowledge two crucial limitations that enable believers to keep the doctrine in its proper perspective. Let us examine these two qualifications in more detail.

First: the Bible speaks truly ‘in the original manuscripts’. We have already seen that the Reformers were able to affirm the truthfulness of the Bible and to acknowledge errors due to faulty translation or transmission. To the objection that we do not now possess the original manuscripts, it must be pointed out that textual critical studies have brought us extremely close to the original text. The relatively small number of textual variations do not for the most part affect our ability to recognize the original text. At the same time, it is important not to ascribe inerrancy to the copies of the originals, since these are the products of an all-too human process of transmission.

The second qualification is just as important: ‘when interpreted according to the intended sense’. It is often tempting to claim the same authority for one’s interpretations as for the biblical text itself. The thrust of the doctrine of inerrancy, however, like that of sola scriptura, is to stress the distinction between the Word of God and the words of men. Interpretations of the Bible fall under the category ‘words of men’. It is thus important not to ascribe inerrancy to our interpretations. To the objection that we do not possess the correct interpretation, we must appeal not to inerrancy but to the perspicuity of Scripture. What conflicts there are about biblical interpretation ultimately must be ascribed to the fallible interpreter, not to the infallible text.

Does inerrancy do justice to the humanity of the Scriptures? Some critics of inerrancy have suggested that God had to ‘accommodate’ his message to the language and thought-forms of the day in order effectively to communicate. In taking on forms of human language and thought, does God’s communication simultaneously take on outmoded views of the world or of human nature? For example, could God speak truthfully of the sun ‘rising’ when he knows full well that the sun does not move? In speaking of the sun rising, does not the Bible make a scientific mistake? To this objection it may be replied that using the common language of the day is not the same as committing oneself to its literal truth. One must not confuse a social convention with a scientific affirmation. To say that the sun rises is to employ a metaphor – one, moreover, that is true to human experience. The objection proves too much: if the inspired authors have used ancient thought forms that led to scientific errors, would not these same thought forms have led to errors in matters of faith and practice too? After all, ‘To err is human’ – or is it? Though proverbial wisdom equates humanity with fallibility , the paradigm of Christ’s sinless life shows that the one concept need not follow from the other. God’s Word, we may conclude, can take on human form -incarnate, inscripturate – without surrendering its claim to sinlessness and truth.

Does inerrancy therefore mean that every word in Scripture is literally true? There has been a great deal of confusion on this point, both in the media and in academia. It should first be noted that mere words are neither true nor false; truth is a property of statements. Second, those who oppose biblical inerrancy have all too often contributed to the confusion by caricaturing the notion of literal truth. Critics of inerrancy typically speak of ‘literal truth’ when what they really mean is ‘literalistic truth’. Defenders of inerrancy must take great care to distinguish the notion of literal truth from the kind of literalistic interpretation that runs roughshod over the intent of the author and the literary form of the text.

Perhaps the best way to resolve this confusion is to begin at the other end. What counts as an error? If I say that my lecture lasts an hour, when in fact it lasts only fifty-nine minutes, have I made an error? That depends on your expectation and on the context of my remark. In everyday conversation round figures are perfectly acceptable; no one would accuse me of getting my figures wrong. In other contexts, however, a different level of precision is required. A BBC television producer, for instance, would need to know the exact number of minutes. The point is that what counts as an error depends upon the kind of precision or exactness that the reader has a right to expect. ‘Error’ is thus a context-dependent notion. If I do not claim scientific exactitude or technical precision, it would be unjust to accuse me of having erred.

Indeed, too much precision (‘my lecture is fifty-nine minutes and eight seconds long’) can be distracting and actually hinder clear communication. Let us define error, then, as a failure to make good on or to redeem one’s claims. The Bible speaks truly because it makes good its claims. It thus follows that we should first determine just what kind of claims are being made before too quickly ruling ‘true’ or ‘false’. If error is indeed a context-dependent notion, those who see errors in Scripture would do well first to establish the context of Scripture’s claims. To interpret the Bible according to a wooden literalism fails precisely to attend to the kinds of claims Scripture makes. To read every sentence of the Bible as if it were referring to something in the world, or to a timeless truth, may be to misread much of Scripture. Just as readers need to be sensitive to metaphor (few would react to Jesus’ claim in Jn 10:9 ‘I am the door’ by searching for a handle) so readers must be sensitive to literary genre (e.g. to the literary context of biblical statements).

Is every word in Scripture literally true? The problem with this question is its incorrect (and typically unstated) assumption that ‘literal truth’ is always literalistic – a matter of referring to history or to the ‘facts’ of nature. It is just such a faulty assumption – that the Bible always states facts – that leads certain wellmeaning defenders of inerrancy desperately to harmonize what appear to be factual or chronological discrepancies in the Gospels. In the final analysis, what was new about the Princetonians’ view of Scripture was not their understanding of the Bible’s truthfulness but rather their particular view of language and interpretation, in which the meaning of the biblical text was the fact – historical or doctrinal – to which it referred. Their proof-texting was more a product of their view of language and interpretation than of their doctrine of Scripture.

What if the intent of the evangelists was not to narrate history with chronological precision? What if the evangelists sometimes intended to communicate only the content of Jesus’ teaching rather than his very words? Before extending the Bible’s truth to include history or astronomy, or restricting to matters of salvation for that matter, we must first ask, ‘What kind of literature is this?’ The question of meaning should precede the question of truth. We must first determine what kind of claim is being made before we can rule on its truthfulness. The point of biblical apocalyptic is quite distinct from the point of Jesus’ parables, from that of the Gospels themselves, or of Old Testament wisdom. We must, therefore, say that the literal sense of Scripture is its literary sense: the sense the author intended to convey in and through a particular literary form. Inerrancy means that every sentence, when interpreted correctly (i.e. in accordance with its literary genre and its literary sense), is wholly reliable.

The older term to express biblical authority – infallibility – remains useful. Infallibility means that Scripture never fails in its purpose. The Bible makes good on all its claims, including its truth claims. God’s Word never leads astray. It is important to recall that language may be used for many different purposes, and not to state facts only. Inerrancy, then, is a subset of infallibility: when the Bible’s purpose is to make true statements, it does this too without fail. Yet the Bible’s other speech acts – warnings, promises, questions – are infallible too.

The Bible’s own understanding of truth stresses reliability. God’s Word is true because it can be relied upon – relied upon to make good its claim and to accomplish its purpose. We may therefore speak of the Bible’s promises, commands, warnings, etc. as being ‘true’, inasmuch as they too can be relied upon. Together, the terms inerrancy and infallibility remind us that the Word of God is wholly reliable not only when it speaks, but also when it does the truth.

John Piper at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary – The sadness & beauty of Paul’s final words

From February 17, 2013 at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Text 2 Timothy 4:9-22

 Make every effort to come to me soon; 10 for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service. 12 But Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. 13 When you come bring the cloak which I left at Troas with Carpus, and the books, especially the parchments. 14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. 15 Be on guard against him yourself, for he vigorously opposed our teaching.

16 At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. 17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

19 Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus remained atCorinth, but Trophimus I left sick at Miletus. 21 Make every effort to come before winter. Eubulus greets you, also Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brethren.

22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.

Here are a few notes from the message-

John Piper SBTS 17 feb 2013Piper: We’ll look at some of the most beautiful and some of the saddest words in the Bible, that are intended, I think, to establish you in your mission and your ministry… I think, the overall impact God wants you to have- to the Timothy’s in the room especially- is to inform you that ministry will be hard, and that in spite of all of its hardness, Jesus will stand you.

I have about 7 observations about the ministry in church and the ministry in missions. If you live long enough, you will find them all to be true in your life:

  1. Christian ministry is relationally hard
  2. Friends in ministry can let you down, and never care for you again. I want to give a warning to culture embracing Christians in the room, because you’ve got to embrace culture to be relevant. There is an embrace of culture- God ignoring, God denying, God demeaning, Christ distorting products of culture that is mutually exclusive with a deep love for Jesus. There is a love for the world that is irreconcilable with world exposing ministry, witnessing to world ministry. Rescuing from world ministry. If your heart is in love with the world, you just love what unbelievers love, you’ll either change your ministry to be compatible with that love, which happens all over the place, or you will leave the ministry, like Dimas did. More people leave Christ, more people leave church, more people leave the ministry, and more people leave the hope of heaven, out of love for the world, than anything else. (10:45)
  3. Good friends in ministry can let you down and still be your friend.
  4. Jesus never intended the enjoyment of His presence would replace the enjoyment of other Christians. In other words, when Christ died, so you would enjoy Him supremely, He did not nullify the enjoyment of other Christians. Christ always intended for your friendship with Him to be the centerpiece of your friendship with others. The joy of Christ centered friendship is meant to magnify the worth of Christ, as the common treasure of the friendship, and thus deepen the sweetness of the friendship, not eliminate it.
  5. Nevertheless, Jesus is the only totally reliable friend for sinners. He is the only flawless friend, and therefore the all satisfying friend, and therefore the only friend who can make other friendships eternal. As much as you may love your earthly friends and your earthly family, they can’t do this for you. They cannot rescue you from every evil deed, and bring you safely to the heavenly kingdom. Only one friend can do that (Jesus). Seek Christian friendships, but when they fail, when they don’t show up at your trial, don’t turn on your one Friend who will be there. Have you ever thought how insane it is, how many people, being let down by christian friends, use it as the reason to leave the one Friend  who will never let them down.
  6. Closeness to God at the end of your life does not remove the need or the desire to read or be spiritually nourished. (25:00)
  7. People with great influence and great authority don’t need great possessions. Paul handled a lot of money for his day and he kept very little for himself. Don’t lay up treasures on earth, lay up treasures in heaven. Keep it simple.

Let me close, by reading a quote form William Tyndale. This was written a year before he was strangled and burned at the stake in 1536. He was in prison, just north of Brussels. He had been arrested for putting the Bible into English. He’s gonna die for helping people read the Bible in English. And, as he’s in prison languishing, he writes this. It’s just a beautiful, powerful (in my mind, anyway, in my heart) illustration of what we’ve just said.

„I beg your lordship, that if I am to remain here through the winter, you will request the commissary to send me, from the goods of mine, which he has, a warmer coat, also. For, this which I have is very thin. A piece of cloth, too, to patch my leggings. But, most of all, I beg and beseech your clemency to be urgent with the commisary, that he will kindly permit me to have the Hebrew Bible, the Hebrew grammar, and the Hebrew dictionary, that I may pass the time in that study.”

The Sadness & Beauty of Paul’s Final Words

Piper: The Antichrist is here and not yet here

Romans 13:11 via http://hiswordinpictures.blogspot.com

Pastor and author John Piper says the antichrist is here and not yet here in a blog post on the Desiring God ministry website on Wednesday.

The well-known Minnesota pastor explained that the „spirit of antichrist is already in the world,” but the actual antichrist figure is „yet to come.” He supported his explanation by referring to the writings of Apostles John and Paul. John is the only one in the Bible who uses the term antichrist, but Paul refers to this figure as „the man of lawlessness.”

In 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 6-7, Paul says, „Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day [of Christ’s second coming] will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. . . . And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work”

Piper explained, „Paul says that a ‘man of lawlessness’ is coming. And he says that the ‘mystery of lawlessness’ is already at work. I take this to mean that a distinct figure of great satanic power (verse 9) is coming, but that his mysterious presence can already be felt in the present time. He is ‘already’ here, and he is ‘not yet’ here.”

He also referred readers to I John 4:3, where Apostle John says, „Every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.”

„So both Paul and John picture a final time just before the second coming when a person of great demonic power will rise up in rebellion against the true Christ and his people,” said Piper. „In the meantime, the satanic characteristics of that figure are always manifesting themselves in the world with greater or lesser dominance. The antichrist is coming and he is here already.”

The concept of already but not yet is not isolated to the antichrist, but also can be found in what the Bible says about the Kingdom of God, said Piper. „Perhaps most of you are accustomed to saying that the kingdom of God is ‘not yet’ here and is ‘already’ here. Not yet here in its consummation, but already here in significant fulfillments,” the well-known Minnesota pastor explained.

He cited the scandal of Jesus’ ministry as „fulfillment without consummation,” referencing Jesus’ words in Luke 17:21, which says, „…the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” This, Piper said, was the „secret kingdom” that was revealed to only „a few.” Of the secret kingdom, the preacher affirmed that the kingdom „is already present, but yet, not fully come.”

In the blog post, the pastor remarked, „But most of us are not accustomed to speaking of the antichrist as already here but not yet here. But consider the way the apostles John and Paul speak of this figure.”

In the closing of his blog post, Piper poses the question, „What does this mean for us?” He answers, „It is a call for us to live sober lives of alertness and faithfulness.”

He states that the aim of the „mystery of lawlessness” and the „many antichrists” is to „deceive us into the blinding slumbers of indifference and love of sin,” referring to Romans 13:11 that says, „The hour has come for you to wake from sleep.”

Piper reminds Christians that „we are the children of light. We are not of the night or of the darkness. „So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober,” according to 1 Thessalonians 5:4–6, he urged.
Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/pastor-john-piper-the-antichrist-is-here-and-not-yet-here-91074/#Ih8RkR30Eu92yqeK.99

John Piper – Holding Fast the Word of Life

from 2010. Message begins with John Piper reciting Philippians:

Holding Fast the Word of Life in 2010 from Desiring God on Vimeo. To listen to this message in audio format or to read transcript click here – http://www.desiringgod.org

Text: Philippians 2:14–16

Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.

As always, in the second message of Prayer Week, I am seeking with all my heart to call you, plead with you, inspire you, motivate you, encourage you, persuade you, lead you to give yourself to the word of God in 2010. To give yourself to the word of God in 2010. To give yourself to the word of God in 2010.

I mean something more than a few-minute snatch at it every few days. I mean give yourself to it  every day. Every day. Every day.

No Power Without the Promises

I would guess that almost everyone listening to me is dissatisfied with the spiritual power and consistency and fruitfulness of your life. And I do not consider that anything I say is simple remedy to that spiritual weakness. God is sovereign. He changes times and seasons. And that includes spiritual times and seasons—in cultures and in families and in individual lives.

But one thing I know: There is a spiritual diet without which no Christian can be strong and healthy and fruitful. And that is a diet of the word of God.

No Promises of Power

5PIPER12xx.jpgHear me carefully. I am making no promises that reading or memorizing the Bible will automatically make your life strong and healthy and fruitful. The Pharisees read and memorized the Scriptures more than any of us ever will. And most them, Jesus said, were cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 8:12).

I am not giving a guaranteed technique for power. The Spirit blows where and when he wills. I have known seasons of terrible barrenness in reading the Bible. Not in neglecting the Bible, but in reading the Bible. I am not God, and the Bible is not God. God is God. And we do well not to think we can manipulate him by handling his words like beads on a string or fingers on a ouija board.

Open the Eyes of Our Hearts

There is a spiritual receptivity that he alone can give. Why else would Paul pray inEphesians 1:18 that “the eyes of your hearts be enlightened,” that we may know the glory of what the word so plainly says?

He is praying. He is praying to God. The Bible is not God. The Bible is the infinitely precious and infallible word of God. But if the living God does not open our hearts to the word of God, we can read it a hundred hours a week and never see the glory of what it says and the one who gave it.

No Guarantee, No Magic

Paul prays that we would see what is in the word with the eyes of our hearts. This is the close of Prayer Week. And there’s the link between prayer and the word of God. If God does not act sovereignly to overcome our spiritual blindness and deafness and numbness, seeing we will not see, and hearing we will not hear, and reading we will not comprehend.

So I am giving you no guaranteed regimen or device or scheme or trick for spiritual power and health and fruitfulness. Bible reading is not magic. Bible memory is not mind control or divination. I don’t know if your reading the Bible and meditating and memorizing will give you power and health and fruitfulness.

Don’t Starve the Grace

What I do know is: Without it you starve every grace that God means for you to thrive on his world. There is a spiritual diet without which no Christian can be strong and healthy and fruitful. And that is a diet of the word of God.

So here I am, longing, praying, pleading that you give yourself to the word of God in 2010. Give yourself to the word of God. Give yourself to the word of God. It’s the word of God. It’s the word of God.

You Shine as Light in the World

Look at Philippians 2:14–16.

Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.

Take two phrases and notice their connection. Verse 15 at the end: “you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life.” This culture is crooked and perverse in many ways. And Paul says that Christians, whose citizenship is in heaven, shine in this dark world as lights, that is, like stars in the night sky. This is the word used for the sun and moon and stars in Genesis 1.

You are the light of the world, Jesus said (Matthew 5:14). Now Paul says that Christians shine as light in a crooked and perverse generation. How? How do we shed the darkness of our sin—our selfishness and pride and fear and lust and bitterness? Paul answers, “You shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life.” You shine by holding fast the word. Holding fast the word.

Holding Fast the Word of Life

“Holding fast” translates a word that means hold your position or hold your gaze. In 1 Timothy 4:16, it’s translated, “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching.” In Acts 3:5, it’s translated, “He fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them.” In Acts 19:22, it’s translated, “Paul himself stayed (held his place) in Asia for a while.”

So the idea is holding fast with your attention or with your person. Holding your gaze, or holding your position. So now back to Philippians 2:15: “you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life.” Holding your gaze on the word of life. Holding your position with the word of life. Not leaving the word of life. Staying with the word of life. Fixing your mind on the word of life. Giving yourself to the word of life.

Fuel for Your Lamp

The way you shine as lights in a dark culture is by holding fast to the word. Hold your gaze on it. Hold your position in it. Stay with it. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). We’re going nowhere away from your word. We’re staying with you and your words. We’re holding our position here. We’re holding our attention on your word. This is life.

Life and power and health and fruitfulness are mediated from God through his word. This is the way he has decided to do it. If we stay away from the word, the light will grow dim. The word is the fuel of our lamps. You shine, holding fast the word. You shine, holding fast the word. The word is the fuel of your lamp.

Don’t starve the wick of your lamp by not soaking it in the kerosene of the word. Keep your wick in the word. Hold it fast. Give yourself to it. Hold it in your mind and in your heart.

God’s Invitation

This is the only way to shine. I do not promise you that you will shine if you read the Bible and store it up in your heart. But I do promise you that if you don’t, you won’t. So whether you think of the word of God as fuel, without which your lamp cannot shine, or as food, without which your soul cannot live, the point is the same: If we don’t soak in the fuel and eat the food, our light dims and our soul languishes.

God has brought you here today so that he could tell you through my voice: I have an invitation for you. I have a gift for you. I give you my very word. It give it to you. Take it in 2010. Take it and hold fast to it. It is your life. Your light.

Hold Fast the Word

Hold fast to it for the sake of faith. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17).

Hold fast to it for the sake of your joy. “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11).

Hold fast to it for the sake of your freedom. “If you abide in my word . . . and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31–32).

Hold fast to it for the sake of your holiness. “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17).

Hold fast to it for the sake of the Holy Spirit. “Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith” (Galatians 3:5)?

Hold fast to it for the sake of life. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

Hold fast to it for the sake of strength and stability and fruitfulness. Your delight will be “in the law of the Lord, and on his law you will meditate day and night. You will be like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that you do you will prosper” (Psalms 1:2–3).

Give Yourself to the Word

God has a gift for you in 2010. An infinitely valuable gift—his word. Receive it. Hold it fast. Give yourself to it. Amen.

Tony Evans at Moody Founder’s Week – There is no more important place to know Christ than the struggles of life

Dr. Tony Evans begins by recounting that Moody Bible Institute was the first radio station to open it’s doors to his African American ministry. Moody also published Dr. Evans’ first book (he has published 60 books to date).

Dr. Evans: Far too many of us are addressing the wrong problem. We’re addressing the thing that the five senses grasp: What we see, and feel, and touch, and taste, the things that are the obvious. But, Paul says in Ephesians 6 that we are struggling, not against flesh and blood. That our battles, our struggles, our fight, our war is not fundamentally physical- „We do not struggle against flesh and blood, but, against the rulers and powers, against world forces … against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

He says, „Your primary problem is what you do not see”. It does not come form flesh and blood; it comes from an invisible influence in our world and in our lives, creating our struggle and our pain- a wrestling match. He says it emanates from a location he calls- heavenly places. This explanation, or use of verbage by Paul is unique to him. He says, for example, in Ephesians 1:3 „Your blessings are in heavenly places.” He says in chapter 1:20 „Jesus Christ is risen and is seated in a heavenly place.”He says in chapter 2:6 „We are seated with Him in heavenly places.” It says in chapter 3:10 that the angels operate out of heavenly places. He says in chapter 6:12 the demons operate in heavenly places.

One might get the impression ‘heavenly places’ is where all the action is. Heavenly places is a euphemism is for the spiritual realm. What he is saying is that the struggle you are dealing with in the earthly realm is emanating from the spiritual realm. It goes something like this: If all you see is what you see, you do not see all that is to be seen. And, that goes on to say that unless you and I learn to operate from that realm, we will be defeated in this realm. Because (Paul) says, your struggle, the thing causing your day to day angst and anguish does not emanate from the physical realm in which you’re feeling it throb. It emanates from a whole ‘nother sphere called heavenly places. And heavenly places has good stuff- Christ, we seated with Him, our blessing, angels, and bad stuff- he says, the demonic realm. And all that’s taking place in the unseen realm, working itself out in the realm that we see every single day.

Moody’s Founder’s Week Theme this year is „Knowing Christ”. And, there is no more important place to know Christ than the struggles of life. To know Christ in the beautiful music (that we heard tonight) and the great fellowship that we experience is wonderful. But, the reality is many have come here tonight dragging something behind them. And while they will be distracted for an hour or two, they will drag it back out that door, and they’re going to be in anguish and pain. And, the Christ I wanna know is the Christ, who not only gives me a great anticipation for heaven, but, who meets me in history. It is a Christ who has covered my eternity, but, doesn’t skip me in time.

Instructing these Christians in Ephesus, who are living in a pagan society, with a pagan goddess Diana, with a pagan orientation, they have to deal with the reality of a secular world, Paul writes his most comprehensive statement  on spiritual victory in all of the New Testament, because he introduces us to the armor of God. (From the first 12 minutes of a 48 min. message).

At Moody Bible Institute Founder’s Week February 7, 2013-

Armor of God – Truth is God’s view of any subject matter

1. Belt of Truth. Truth is reality in it’s original form, and since God is the originator of all reality- if truth is reality in it’s original form, and origination starts with God, then truth must be whatever God says on any subject you’re discussing.

Why do you need a truth belt? Because the person you’re fighting is a liar. He, not only is a liar, he is the father of lies. So truth must be used in your battle.

  • Truth transcends how you feel. Please do not misunderstand. You do not deny how you feel. If you’re happy, you’re happy. If you’re sad, you’re sad. That’s just how you feel. But, how you feel should never determine what you declare to be true. No matter what you’re battling today, you are to speak what God says about it, not speak merely how you feel about it.  If what you feel about it is not what God says about it, you have invited Satan to control the arena of your battle. You must speak the truth, you must declare what God says it is. (20:00)

armor-of-god-sword-of-spirit2. Breastplate of Righteousness – Righteousness is that standard that is acceptable to God. The reason that other world wants you in unrighteousness, in sin, is because once they have you in an unrighteous state, they can now occupy the environment. Demons are attracted to unrighteousness. The problem with sin is not just sin. The problem with sin is what sin attracts. So, you not only have the problem of the sin itself. If you’ve ever had occasion to have trash laying around your house, for any extra amount of time, you may wind up with some unwanted guests. Some ants, or some roaches, you may wind up with some folk you never formally invited. You just created an atmosphere that made them think they  were invited. So, by virtue of the trash, that is the unrighteousness, they have been allowed to come in, so that now you have a double problem. You have the problem of the trash, and the problem of the demons that have exacerbated the the trash. And, it is unfortunate today that New Testament Christians have lost the theology of demonology, to understand that the reasons why addictions exist is because the person who is addicted is not just addicted to the thing they are addicted to; they are addicted to the thing they are addicted to that has been exacerbated by demonic invitation. And, since demons have been invited to participate, because unrighteousness is a breeding ground for them, to invite themselves. The battle is deep.

So, the draw or motivation for righteousness of the heart is to make sure that we do not exacerbate the problem of sin with the unwanted guest- the demons, with whom we area actually wrestling.

3. Shoes of Peace. There is nothing that will confirm that you are in the place you ought to be, and doing what you ought to do than the practical confirming of the peace of God. But, look: Peace is number 3. Because you’ll never have peace, if you don’t have truth. And you’ll never have peace if you aren’t right with the Lord. But, if you have truth and you are right it gets confirmed with peace. Why peace, and why your feet? Because that’s what you’re moving with, and go in the direction you’re going. God confirms truth and righteousness with peace.

But, what is peace? It is not just calm, because people can have calm in any number of circumstances. The Bible refers to peace that surpasses understanding because I don’t understand why I have it in what I’m dealing with. The way God confirms that you’re right where you’re supposed to be, even though you struggle in life is He gives you calm in the midst of a storm. There is peace in the will of God, even if it’s raining. God confirms where you are based on truth and righteousness and confirmed peace.

4. Take up the shield of faith. This is a misunderstood word: Faith. How do you know that you have it? Is it a feeling called faith, and what happens if I don’t feel faith-ish? What is this thing called faith? Faith is acting like God is telling truth. Faith is acting like it is so, even when it’s not so, in order that it might be so, simply because God said so. You measure faith by the movement of your feet. If your feet are not moving, you don’t have faith, no matter how faith-ish you feel. Faith is the action of the feet, that activates the provision of God. People sit in their pews week after week, and say ‘I have faith’. But, their feet haven’t moved. If your feet haven’t moved, you don’t have faith. That’s why it’s called ‘walking by faith’… keep moving.

Paul says, „Take up the shield of faith, which is able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the evil one. Take up the shield of faith… what are these fiery darts? The Greek word for dart is arrow. But, he doesn’t just say arrow, he says fiery arrow. That is arrows whose tips have been set aflame. A fiery arrow is designed to create distraction, as the Indians shot arrows at wagons knowing that the cowboys could not fight fire and fight Indians at the same time. Your enemy wants to distract you from the truth of God, the righteousness of God, and the peace of God. And if he can distract you from acting on what God says, and keep you acting on what everybody else says, and even what you say to yourself, it will distract you from the provision of God. One of the main reasons we live in defeat is we don’t have faith, even when we feel full of faith is because we’re not moving on what God says. We’re just discussing it, debating it, philosiphy-ing about it. But, until there is movement, faith has not been exercised.  It is the movement that demonstrates faith.

5. Helmet of salvation. He’s talking to believers here, so he’s talking about the helmet of justification. These folks are already saved. He’s called them saints already. He’s talking about God’s ability to deliver. The word salvation means ‘to be delivered’. Justification delivers you from hell. He’s talking to people who’ve already been justified, that need to be delivered on earth. And if you’re struggling, you need to be saved, that is delivered through or around your situation, whatever it might be. The helmet covers your head, your brain. Whatever you do is because your head tells your body to do it. Paul says you must think differently.

Every time you take communion, the Bible says that you are to remember the new covenant. The New Covenant is that relationship or covering that comes to every new believer who belongs to Jesus Christ. A covenant is like an umbrella, it covers. If you have an umbrella, but it’s closed, you’re not doing what the umbrella’s been designed to do. A covenant is a covering. Then Jesus says, „I want you to proclaim My death, until I come.” The question is proclaim it to who, about what? Who am I proclaiming His death to, by taking the wafer, and taking the juice and proclaiming His death? It is to the devil. Every time you take communion, you are declaring to the spiritual world, „I am under the covenant covering of Jesus Christ, and you don’t own me anymore.” That’s why communion is the most powerful action of the church. It is more powerful than singing, it’s more powerful than preaching, because it’s your direct access to Christ, to tell hell  that it no longer has authority in your life. Jesus wants you to understand that what you have gotten yourself into with this helmet (of salvation) of what it means to be delivered.It comes from Him.

6. Finally, take the sword of the Spirit of God. The only offensive weapon, a sword. And it’s the only offensive weapon because it’s the only thing the Spirit uses. The Spirit doesn’t use what you think. He doesn’t use just stuff; He uses His word. The Greek word for word is the word rhema. You have the word ‘graphe’, and that is the Book- the Bible is the graphs- it is the record. You have the ‘logos’, the logos is the content of the record. It’s what the record says, and what the record means. Then you have the ‘rhema’. The rhema is the utterance. It is the declaring, It’s what Jesus did in the wilderness. Satan says, „You’re hungry, you need to eat.” Jesus says, „Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” He takes the Old Testament word and He speaks it to the devil. Jesus used the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. The greek word for sword is dagger, the short kind for an up close battle. So when the devil is all up in your face, you use the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Now, there’s 6 pieces of armor, but your theme is knowing Jesus.

  1. Jesus says, „I am the truth, the way, and the life.”
  2. Jesus says, „I am your righteousness.”
  3. Jesus says, „My peace I leave with you.”
  4. Jesus says, „I am the author, and the finisher of your faith.”
  5. Jesus says, „I am the captain of your salvation.”
  6. Jesus says, „I am the living word.”

So, you see, all you need to do is put on Jesus. And, when you put on Jesus, you have on the armor. The armor does not mean you will not have battles, this context is a struggle. It means that the enemy won’t have the last word.

Voddie Baucham – What the Gospel Is, and What it is Not

Click on photo to watch video on live stream

A big thank you to Manuela who alerted me to the G3 Conference video being posted.

In some ways the Gospel has become a fad…. there are those that speak much about the Gospel, but, when they say Gospel, they don’t mean what the Bible means by Gospel. There are those who love hearing so much Gospel talk, because to them, the Gospel is the means, to them, by which God levels the socio economic playing field in the world. And so, when they say Gospel, when they celebrate Gospel, they are celebrating the social Gospel.

There are other. When they hear Gospel, they are excited about that, because for them the Gospel is all the moral teaching of Jesus. And, so they celebrate a form of legalism. There are others who are more subtle in their form of legalism. Because, when they hear Gospel, they simplify the Gospel. There’s phrase, there’s a mantra that is going around now, that is presumed to be a simplification of the Gospel. And it is „Love God, Love People”. The irony here could not be greater. „Love God, love people” is actually an abbreviation of Jesus’s teaching on the greatest commandments.

Here’s the great irony. „Jesus, what is the greatest commandment?” It was a legitimate question, a legitimate argument, and some have argued that the first commandment was the greatest commandment. And then, all the others rested on the first commandment. Some have argued that the fifth commandment was the greatest, because it was the bridge between the first and second tables of the law. Others have argued that the tenth commandment, in, coveting, was the greatest commandment, because ultimately, all of your sins arises out of your coveting. So, „Jesus, what is your greatest commandment?” Is he going to say 1, is He going to say 5, or 10?” And, Jesus looks at them and says, „You shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind- which, by the way is your summary of the first table of the law. „Jesus, what is your greatest commandment?” „I’m going to have to say 1 through 4.” Then, the other shoe drops. He says, „The second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself,” which is the summary of the second table of the law.

So, here’s how the conversation went, „Jesus, which commandment is the greatest commandment?” His response, „I’m going to have to say 1 through 4; followed closely by 5 through 10.” Folks. this ubiquitous saying „Love God, Love People” is actually a summary of the law. The whole law. It’s not the Gospel at all. It’s what the Gospel freed us from, and to.

So, when we talk about Gospel, we need to be clear, and as I think about clarity concerning the Gospel, and fighting for that clarity, defending that clarity, my mind is immediately drawn to 1 Corinthians 15, because that’s precisely what Paul does. He clarifies the Gospel and he does battle on behalf of the Gospel. But, he does more than this. I believe, if we look carefully, we discover that he outlines 3 different types of arguments.. Three different lines of argumentation:

  1. The first is an argument from authority.
  2. The second is an argument from evidence, and
  3. The third is an argument from logic.

All of them are important and useful in their own right. We know here that Paul is actually addressing, in one sense, a kind of mixed multitude. You’ll see that, as we get further along in 1 Corinthians 15, where he actually addresses those individuals who are arguing against the very concept of resurrection. As he does this, he both shuts the mouths of those who oppose the Gospel and emboldens and strengthens the arms of those who preach it and defend it. We need to be emboldened. We need to be encouraged. We need to see an example of what it looks like when a Christian squares his shoulders and plants his feet, and does battle on behalf of the Gospel, because we live in a culture that does not celebrate the 10 commandments. We celebrate the 11t commandment, which is the only commandment: „Thou shalt be nice”. (8:00)

And so, the idea of a vigorous defense is dismissed, regardless of its clarity or truth if it sounds „even ever so slightly, as if it’s not nice”. Because, if after all, none of the other commandments matter, the 11th commandment is the greatest commandment. „Thou shalt be nice. You have to be like Jesus, who was nice. He walked around with a lamb on His shoulders, had long flowing hair, like a model in a magazine, pretty hands that never did a day of work”. Paul would beg to differ.

1. The argument from authority

1 Corinthians 15- I would remind you brothers, of the Gospel I preached to you of the Gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved if you hold fast to the word I preach to you. Otherwise you have believed in vain. This is incredibly important. Paul is the sender, the Corinthians are the receivers, and the message is the Gospel that he preached to them. But, there’s something more here than just effective communication. He says, „I’m reminding you of the Gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand… In other words, they are standing in, standing on that Gospel that Paul preached tight now- and by which you are being saved.

I love that phrase. Paul didn’t say „by which you have been saved”, although you have. He didn’t even say „by which you will be saved”. Although you will. He says: by which you are being saved. This ongoing, sanctifying work of the Gospel. The Gospel is not just a message that you need to hear to get saved. The Gospel is a message you need to hear to stay saved, to be saved, to live saved.

But then, there’s this „if” clause. „If you hold fast to the word that I have preached to you, unless you believed in vain”. Couple of possibilities here. Possibility #1 is that Paul just introduced the idea of a christian losing his or her salvation. He says, if you keep holding on and you keep believing, and you keep standing you’ll be saved. But, if you stopped, then you won’t be saved. Here, I’ll give you a simple answer and then a more complex answer. The simple answer comes form John MacArthur, he says, „If you could lose your salvation, you would.” How arrogant does a person have to be, to believe that it’s possible for them to lose their salvation, but they haven’t? But, there’s a second idea, that’s the idea that such theology would put Paul at odds not only what he teaches in the rest of this passage, but, what he teaches everywhere else. He’s not ashamed of the Gospel. Why? Because the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. It is the Gospel that is the power of God unto salvation. Not me. Not my apprehension of a retention of the Gospel, that’s the power of God unto salvation, but the Gospel. And the God of the Gospel, to be more precise. (13:00)

But, there’s also this phrase that he puts in Ephesians 1, which I believe puts all of this to rest. We could talk about the fact that we have, as a present possession, eternal life. Jesus makes that clear. We could talk about the fact that Jesus gives us the promise that we’re in His hand, and that’s in the Father’s hand, and there’s nobody that’s gonna remove us from that. Ephesians 1:11-14

In Him 11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestinedaccording to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

So, Paul’s not arguing here that, somehow, we lose our salvation, if we are wavering on the Gospel. What he is doing here is an argument form authority: That we can’t have salvation if we don’t believe the right Gospel. You don’t get to reinterpret, or reinvent, or tweak the Gospel and have the hope of salvation. If what you believe is something other than that which was proclaimed, you have no hope of salvation. So, first and foremost, it’s important that we get the Gospel right. Because, if we don’t, there are people out there (including ourselves) who will be duped into believing that they are right with God, when in fact they are at enmity with Him. If you believe the wrong Gospel, it doesn’t matter how sincere you are in your belief. You are merely, sincerely wrong. So, his first argument is an argument form authority. As an apostle, he reminds them that he preached the Gospel to them clearly. That they are standing and are saved by the Gospel that he preached. Remember the context here- the resurrection is being brought into question. After this argument from authority he moves on to a second type of argument (16:00):

2. An argument from evidence

A. 1 st piece of evidence- According to the Scriptures.For, I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received. That Christ died for our sins, in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day, in accordance with the Scriptures.” So, first he couches this argument form evidence, not in the things around him, or even in himself, but in the Scriptures, in the prophecies of the Scriptures- that God foretold that He would send forth His Son, born of a virgin, born under the law. That He would come in due season. That he could live, that He would die, and He would raise again on the third day. One of my most favorite passages in the New Testament is in Luke 24, when Jesus is on the road to Emmaus. Jesus calls them ‘foolish one’ and ‘slow of hearts to believe’. What? Moses and the prophets. He doesn’t say: You should have believed those things that I told you. But, (he says) ‘you didn’t believe Moses and the prophets’. And because of that, you missed death, burial, and resurrection. That’s the first piece of evidence. It’s biblical evidence. We have the authority, inerrancy, sufficiency of the Scriptures. It always amazes me that we hang on to the authority of the Scriptures, inerrancy of the Scriptures and everything else, until we get to apologetics. Then it’s reason.

B. 2nd piece of evidence- Eyewitnesses. Then, he goes on, „and He appeared to Cephas, then to the 12, then he appeared to more than 500 brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then, he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.” Now you have eyewitnesses. First, we have the evidence of what the Scriptures have taught. The argument form authority is: This is what the apostles have told you. The argument from Scriptures begins with what the Scriptures have taught. And then, there is evidence that Christ has fulfilled what the Scriptures have taught, because there are these eyewitnesses who saw Him. Most of whom remain until now. Which means, that if you do the math, there are 300 eyewitnesses to the resurrection still alive during the time that 1 Corinthians was written. Which, by the way, demonstrates the early, not the late dating of the New testament.

Paul is not talking about some secret that he and a few others know, that nobody else knows. Paul is not speaking about men who are wielding their own personal authority, because of information that they have, to which others have no access. Paul is speaking about events that took place in public, in the open. The Gospel that we preach is a historical Gospel. The Gospel that we preach is a Gospel of things that actually took place. The Gospel is real, it is historical. Enough already with the idea that the Gospel doesn’t necessarily have to be true, if it just changes your life. These are historical events. In fact, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most well attested event in all of antiquity. If we can’t trust the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we can’t trust anything form antiquity. Over 300 eyewitnesses still alive at the time of his writing.

C. #3rd piece of evidence- Personal Evidence. he appeared also to me, for I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But, by the grace of God, I am what  I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder  than any of them. Though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me, whether it was I or they, so we preached , so you believed.” Connecting this argument from the argument of authority: What evidence? (1)Scriptural evidence. The Bible foretold these events that would occur. (2)Eyewitness evidence. That there are individuals who saw this resurrected Christ, after His resurrection. (3)Personal evidence. That I saw this resurrected Christ, after His resurrection.

Note, that Paul does not take his own, isolated experience, and argue solely from that isolated experience. That’s not the power of the Gospel. The power of the Gospel is not that I’ve been changed. What is the difference between you and the thousand other people who’ve been changed by a thousand other things. Be careful here. Her’s what Paul is not doing. Paul is not giving us a pattern whereby we argue first from those evidences, and then from our own testimony. His testimony is different form your testimony. Galatians 2. At the end of Galatians chapter 1, Paul goes back to the other apostles after 3 years of being instructed and confirms his Gospel. This is one of the most fascinating and overlooked pieces of the New Testament. „Then, after 14 years, I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. I went up because of a revelation and set before them (the apostles) the Gospel that I had proclaimed among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I had not run in vain.” (28:00)

3. The argument from logic

(33:00) Here’s where he gets right into the face of his opposition. „Now, if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead?” There’s the question. Here’s the problem. There are people who, evidently are hanging around the Corinthian church and like some aspect of what they’re experiencing. But, they don’t like this one aspect, where the Gospel that is being preached rubs up against their personal philosophy, that doesn’t allow for the concept of the resurrection. So, what they want is a resurrectionless Christianity. They want a Christianity that will fit within the context and confines of their presuppositions.

So, Paul says- argument form authority- „Here’s what I preached to you as an apostle. Argument from evidence- here’s what God has verified and validated historically in the open. Now, he gets to the argument from logic, and he says, „There are some of you, who on the one hand want to say that you are attached, but on the other hand want to say that your personal philosophy doesn’t allow for the concept of resurrection.” Now, we all question something. (Some) just don’t like the idea of hell…and so, we want a Christianity without hell. We don’t like the idea of judgmentalism. So we have a Christianity that doesn’t speak the truth to sin. We don’t like the idea of holiness or righteousness, so we have a christianity that doesn’t require it. We don’t like the idea of the church. So we have a christianity that’s absent of it. And so on, and so on… Watch what he does. There are 7 things that must follow, if the concept of the resurrection is not true (35:00).

But, if there is no resurrection of the dead:

  1. then, not even Christ has been raised. That is brilliant, because He just demonstrated form authority and form evidence that Christ has been raised.
  2. and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain and your faith is vain. There are people out there who want to pick the supernatural parts of the Gospel out. They don’t like the supernatural parts. And so, they don’t believe in the virgin birth, they don’t believe in the resurrection, But, at the same time they say, „But, your Christian faith is good. You do great things in the community. Good for you”. Paul says, if there’s no such thing as resurrection our preaching is vain. In other words, it’s empty and it’s useless.
  3. your faith is vain. Your faith is useless because the resurrection is central to the Gospel that we preach. You just gutted the Gospel. You’ve got a Gospel that’s another Gospel, which is no Gospel at all.
  4. we are even found to be misrepresenting God, that we are testifying about God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise. If it is true that the dead are not raised, for if the dead are not raised,  not even Christ has been raised. If there’s no such thing as a resurrection, you just called me a liar.
  5. and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, and you’re still in your sins. If Christ has not been raised, there is no justification. He died for our sins, He rose again for our justification. If Christ has not been raised, there is no penal substitutionary atonement. If Christ has not been raised, that means He went into the ground with something that would keep Him there. The only thing that would keep Him there is sin. If Christ has not been raised, He was a sinner and no one has satisfied the righteous wrath of God, on your behalf and mine. And, you and I are still in our sins, and we are only waiting, marking time until we face almighty God and are consumed by Him, the consuming fire. You have offended a Holy and a righteous God and you have no hope. He will crush you. He must. Justice cries out for it. From the time that you were a child, one of the first concepts you learned is „that’s not fair”. Because everything on the inside of you cries out for it. And for God not to consume you , would not be fair. For God to give you a pass, without the shedding of blood, and the remission of your sin through the person and work of Jesus Christ.
  6. And if those also who have fallen asleep in Jesus Christ have perished, if in Christ, we had hoped in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. „I want to hold on to christianity, but I don’t like this resurrection thing.
  7. You and I are the most pitiful lot in mankind because we believed the biggest lie that was ever perpetrated.

Here’s the wonderful thing that happens, because of the way Paul situates his argument: If there is no such thing as a resurrection from the dead, these 7 things are true. The first one has already been proven, which means, not only are you wrong, but all 7 of these things are flipped. There is such thing as resurrection from the dead, which means:

  • Christ has been raised
  • our preaching is not vain, but it is the power of God unto salvation
  • our faith is not vain. But by grace you are saved, through faith
  • which means I am not a liar, I am a truth teller
  • which means that you and I are still not in our sins. Christ died for sins, once for all. The just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us back to God. All, we like sheep had gone astray. Each of us had turned to our own way, but God had laid upon Him the iniquity of us all. I am not in my sins, I am redeemed form my sins. I am cleansed form my sins. Those who had gone on before me did not die vain, hopeless deaths. But, absent from the body, they are present with the Lord.

The Gospel matters. The content of the Gospel matters. It all matters. Do I have to know all there is about the Gospel? I’ll spend eternity  and not know everything there is to know about the Gospel. But, what does it mean to believe the Gospel savingly?  It means to believe what we have received and whatever it is that we’ll continue to receive.

Argument from authority- we believe because the apostles said it was so
Argument from evidence- We believe it because God did it in the open and there is evidence verifying what He did
Argument from logic- Why do we believe it? Because logically it makes absolutely no sense to believe otherwise. Because, there are things that not, only are we not willing to accept, but things that literally cannot be the case, because Christ indeed has been raised.

Ultimately the Gospel is the only thing that will matter when those of us will face a righteous God and will have to give an account. It is only through the Gospel, that the account we give is that our debt has been paid in full, by the One who lived, and died, and rose again. And is coming again, to judge the living and the dead. And to redeem that which was put on deposit.

Original video here – http://new.livestream.com(could not import this video)

David Platt – Don’t waste your life!

Pastor David Platt preaching on Paul’s reevaluation in Philippians 3

  •  If we want our lives to count we must treasure Christ above everything else this world has to offer.

The many treasures of a wasted life (these are all good things, but, these good things were the ones keeping Paul from Jesus. Paul said it is possible to be and do all these things and yet come to the end of your life and to be written above it „wasted”)

  1. Family heritage
  2. Social status
  3. Biblical knowledge
  4. Religious activity (zeal)
  5. A moral lifestyle

but there is one thing i life that counts and that is the surpassing  greatness of knowing Christ Jesus. The only treasure of the life that counts is Christ.

sermon starts at the 6:00 minute.

You have one life and you have one shot to make your life count for His glory on the landscape of human history.

  • We trust in Christ to provide everything we need

What do we gain by gaining Christ?

  1. His righteousness covers our sin
  2. His power guarantees our resurrection
  3. His satisfaction transcends our suffering
  4. God delights in showing His greatness through those who radically trust in Him

The Life that Counts:

  1. They treasure Christ
  2. They trust Christ
  3. They pursue Christ with obsessive passion

The question we ask, „Is why follow hard after Christ?”

A holy dissatisfaction with comfortable christianity which is dangerous. Paul, the planter of most of the New Testament churches states that he has so much more to do in pursuit of God and that is where our own christianity should stand today.

We need a fresh understanding of the degree to which Christ has followed hard after us.

Supernatural does not mean stupid…

John Piper writes/expounds on ‘professionalism’ as it relates to church ministry. Some points from his post, which you can and should read in its entirety here- http://www.desiringgod.org/brothers-supernatural-does-not-mean-stupid:

  • If somebody reads my last blog, “Brothers, the Ministry Is Supernatural” (not professional), and says, “So, then, you think it doesn’t matter if we sing off key, preach incompetently, and don’t provide parking?” my answer is, “That’s just stupid.”
  •  If the only way you have for urging excellence in your church is to urge “professionalism,” I suggest you need a bigger vocabulary.
  • The baggage attached to the word “professionalism” is not helpful, if you are trying to be a supernatural people of God. And that is what we want to be: Body of Christ, chosen race, royal priesthood, holy nation, people of God’s own possession, temple of the Holy Spirit, household of God, saints, called, Way, bride of Christ, and more. It is not helpful to aim at being a professional bride.

So when I renounce the pursuit of professionalism, does that mean I don’t aspire to excellence? No. But I do start my quest for excellence with the quest for excellent forgiveness. Excellent mercy. Excellent patience. Excellent kindness. Excellent humility. Excellent self-control. Excellent gospel-walking (Galatians 2:14).

That’s what Paul had in mind when he told us to imitate the infinitely excellent God. “Be imitators of God . . . And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us” (Ephesians 5:1–2). I don’t know if Jesus could sing on key, or if his tunic was wrinkle-free, but I do know his capacities for returning good for evil were beautiful beyond words. The radical quest for that excellence is where we begin.

Piper concludes:

Undistracting excellence means that content, language, tone, gesture, and demeanor will all serve the spiritual aims of the message: the quickening of the dead and the building up of faith in the saints by the power of God. There is no professional raising of the dead. And no professional building of the temple of the soul.

Therefore, brothers, we are (still) not professionals. Our aims are supernatural. Therefore, our means are stirred and shaped by the Spirit of God. The excellence we seek serves a spiritual communion with God. It is undistracting. But spiritual does not mean shoddy. And supernatural does not mean stupid.

Read the post in its entirety here- http://www.desiringgod.org/brothers-supernatural-does-not-mean-stupid:

  • Is there professional praying?
  • Professional trusting in God’s promises?
  • Professional weeping over souls?
  • Professional musing on the depths of revelation?
  • Professional rejoicing in the truth?
  • Professional praising God’s name?
  • Professional treasuring the riches of Christ?
  • Professional walking by the Spirit?
  • Professional exercise of spiritual gifts?
  • Professional dealing with demons?
  • Professional pleading with backsliders?
  • Professional perseverance in a hard marriage?
  • Professional playing with children?
  • Professional courage in the face of persecution?
  • Professional patience with everyone?

A W Pink – The Law and the Saint (Part 3)

READ Part 1 here

READ Part 2 here

Arthur and Vera pink July 20, 1928 (via amazon.com)

The Positive Side
   What is the relation of the Law (the Ten Commandments) to Christians?
   In our previous chapter we pointed out how that three radically
   different answers have been returned to this question. The first, that
   sinners become saints by obeying the Law. This is Legalism pure and
   simple. It is heresy of the most dangerous kind. All who really believe
   and act on it as the ground of their acceptance by God, will perish
   eternally. Second, others say that the Law is not binding on Christians
   because it has been abolished. This is, we are fully assured, a serious
   error. It arises from a mistaken interpretation of certain passages in
   the Epistles. The inevitable tendency of such an error is toward
   Antinomianism, the "turning of the grace of God into lasciviousness"
   (Jude 4). Third, others affirm, and the writer is among the number,
   that the Ten Commandments are an expression of the unchanging character
   and will of God: that they are a moral standard of conduct which we
   disregard at our peril: that they are, and will ever be, binding upon
   every Christian.

   In our last chapter we sought to prepare the way for the present one.
   There, we dealt with the negative side; here, we shall treat of the
   positive. In the former, we sought to give the true meaning of the
   principal passages in the New Testament appealed to by those who deny
   that the Ten Commandments are now binding on Christians. In the present
   chapter, we shall endeavor to expound some of the many passages in the
   New Testament which affirm that the Ten Commandments are now binding on
   Christians. We, therefore, invite the reader's most diligent and
   prayerful attention to the scriptures cited and our comments upon them.

   1. "Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the Prophets: I am
   not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till
   heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass from
   the Law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of
   these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called
   the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach
   them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (Matt.
   5:17-19). It might appear to the disciples of Christ that their Master
   intended to set aside Moses and the Prophets, and introduce an entirely
   new standard of morality. It was true indeed that He would expose the
   error of depending on the work of the Law for acceptance with God (as
   Moses and the prophets had done before Him); but it was no part of His
   design to set aside the Law itself. He was about to correct various
   corruptions, which obtained among the Jews, hence He is careful to
   preface what He has to say by cautioning them not to misconstrue His
   designs. So far from having any intention of repudiating Moses, He most
   emphatically asserts: first, that He had not come to destroy the Law;
   second, that He had come to "fulfill" it; third, that the Law is of
   perpetual obligation; fourth, that whoso breaks one of the least of the
   Law's commandments and teaches other so to do, shall suffer loss;
   fifth, that he who kept the Law and taught men to respect and obey it
   should be rewarded.

   "I am not come to destroy the Law"--the Prophets simply expounded the
   Law, and rebuked Israel for their failure to keep it, and forwarned
   them of the consequences of continued disobedience. "I am not come to
   destroy the Law." Nothing could be more explicit. The word "destroy"
   here means "to dissolve or overthrow". When, then, our Lord said that
   He had not come to destroy the Law He gave us to understand that it was
   not the purpose of His mission to repeal or annul the Ten Commandments:
   that he had not come to free men from their obligations to them. And if
   He did not "destroy" the Law, then no one had destroyed it; and if no
   one has destroyed it, then the Law still stands with all its Divine
   authority; and if the Law still abides as the unchanging expression of
   God's character and will, then every human creature is under lasting
   obligation to obey it; and if every human creature, then the Christian!

   Second, the Son of God went on to say "I am not come to destroy, but to
   fulfill". The word "fulfill" here means "to fill up, to complete".
   Christ "fulfilled" the Law in three ways: first, by rendering personal
   obedience to its precepts. God's Law was within His heart (Psa. 40:8),
   and in thought, word and deed, He perfectly met its requirements; and
   thus by His obedience He magnified the Law and made it honorable (Isa.
   42:21). Second, by suffering (at the Cross) its death-penalty on behalf
   of His people who had transgressed it. Third, by exhibiting its fulness
   and spirituality and by amplifying its contents. Thus did Christ, our
   Exemplar, "fulfill the Law."

   So far from Christ having repealed the Law, He expressly affirmed,
   "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass
   from the Law, till all be fulfilled." In these words He announces the
   perpetuity of the Law. So long as heaven and earth shall last, the Law
   will endure, and by necessary implication, the lasting obligations of
   all men to fulfill it.

   But this is not all that our Lord here said. With omniscient foresight
   He anticipated what Mr. Mead has aptly termed "The Modern Outcry
   against the Law", and proceeds to solemnly warn against it. He said,
   "Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and
   shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of
   heaven".

   2. "Do we then make void the Law through faith? God forbid: yea, we
   establish the Law" (Rom. 3:31). In the previous part of the chapter the
   apostle had proven that "there is none righteous, no not one" (v. 10);
   second, he had declared "By the deeds of the Law there shall no flesh
   be justified" (v. 2); then in vv. 21-26 he had set forth the Divine way
   of salvation--"through faith in Christ's blood". In v.28, he sums up
   his argument by affirming "a man is justified by faith without the
   deeds of the Law". In vv. 29, 30 he proves that this is true for Jew
   and Gentile alike. Then, in v.31, he anticipates an objection: What
   about the Law, then? This was a very pertinent question. Twice had he
   said that justification was apart from the deeds of the Law. If, then,
   the Law served no purpose in effecting the salvation of sinners, has it
   no office at all? If we are saved "through faith" is the Law useless?
   Are we to understand you to mean (Paul) that the Law has been annulled?
   Not at all, is the apostle's answer: "We establish the Law."

   What did the apostle mean when he said "we establish the Law"? He meant
   that, as saved men, Christians are under additional obligations to obey
   the Law, for they are now furnished with new and more powerful motives
   to serve God. Righteousness imputed to the believer produces in the
   justified one a kind and an extent of obedience which could not
   otherwise have been obtained. So far from rendering void or nullifying
   the authority and use of the Law, it sustains and confirms them. Our
   moral obligation to God and our neighbor has not been weakened, but
   strengthened. Below we offer one or two brief excerpts from other
   expositors.

   "Does not the doctrine of faith evacuate the Old Testament of its
   meaning, and does it not make law void, and lead to disregard of it?
   Does it not open the door to license of living? To this the apostle
   replies, that it certainly does not; but that, on the contrary, the
   Gospel puts law on a proper basis and establishes it on its foundation
   as a revelation of God's will" (Dr. Griffith-Thomas).

   "We cancel law, then, by this faith of ours? We open the door, then, to
   moral license? We abolish code and precept, then, when we ask not for
   conduct, but for faith? Away with the thought; nay, we establish law;
   we go the very way to give a new sacredness to its every command, and
   to disclose a new power for the fulfillment of them all. But how this
   is, and is to be, the later argument is to show" (Dr. Handley Moule).

   "Objection. If man is justified by faith without works, does not that
   do away with law entirely, i.e. teach lawlessness? Answer:By no means.
   It establishes the law. When a man is saved by grace, that does not
   make him lawless. There is a power within him which does not destroy,
   but it strengthens the law, and causes him to keep it, not through
   fear, but through love of God" (H. S. Miller, M.A.).

   3. "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man...with the
   mind I myself serve the Law of God" (Rom 7:22-25). In this chapter the
   apostle does two things: first, he shows what is not and what is the
   Law's relation to the believer--judicially, the believer is emancipated
   from the curse or penalty of the Law (7:1-6); morally, the believer is
   under bonds to obey the Law (vv. 22, 25). Secondly, he guards against a
   false inference being drawn from what he had taught in chapter 6. In
   6:1-11 he sets forth the believer's identification with Christ as "dead
   to sin" (vv. 2, 7, etc.). Then, from v. 11 onwards, he shows the effect
   this truth should have upon the believer's walk. In chapter 7 he
   follows the same order of thought. In 7:1-6 he treats of the believer's
   identification with Christ as "dead to the law" (see vv. 4 and 6).
   Then, from v. 7 onwards he describes the experiences of the Christian.
   Thus the first half of Rom. 6 and the first half of Rom. 7 deal with
   the believer's standing, whereas the second half of each chapter treats
   of the believer's state; but with this difference: the second half of
   Rom. 6 reveals what our state ought to be, whereas the second half of
   Rom. 7 (vv. 13-25) shows what our state actually is. [6]

   The controversy which has raged over Rom. 7 is largely the fruitage of
   the Perfectionism of Wesley and his followers. That brethren, whom we
   have cause to respect, should have adopted this error in a modified
   form, only shows how widespread today is the spirit of Laodiceanism. To
   talk of "getting out of Rom. 7 into Rom. 8" is excuseless folly. Rom. 7
   and 8 both apply with undiminished force and pertinence to every
   believer on earth today. The second half of Rom. 7 describes the
   conflict of the two natures in the child of God: it simply sets forth
   in detail what is summarized in Gal. 5:17. Rom. 7:14, 15, 18, 19, 21
   are far short of the standard set before him--we mean God's standard,
   not that of the so-called "victorious life" teachers. If any Christian
   reader is ready to say that Rom. 7:19 does not describe his life, we
   say in all kindness, that he is sadly deceived. We do not mean by this
   that every Christian breaks the laws of men, or that he is an overt
   transgressor of the laws of God. But we do mean that his life is far,
   far below the level of the life our Saviour lived here on earth. We do
   mean that there is much of "the flesh" still evident in every
   Christian--not the least in those who make such loud boastings of their
   spiritual attainments. We do mean that every Christian has urgent need
   to daily pray for the forgiveness of his daily sins (Luke 11:4), for
   "in many things we all stumble" (James 3:2, R.V.).

   The second half of Rom. 7, then, is describing the state of the
   Christian, i.e. the conflict between the two natures within him. In v.
   14 the apostle declares, "We know that the Law is spiritual". How
   different is this language from the disparaging way that many now refer
   to God's Law! In v. 22 he exclaims, "I delight in the Law of God after
   the inward man". How far removed is this from the delusion that the Law
   has been abolished, and that it no longer serves any purpose for the
   Christian! The apostle Paul did not ignore the Law, still less did he
   regard it as an enemy. The new nature within him delighted in it: so,
   too, did the Psalmist, see Psa. 119:72, 97, 140. But the old nature was
   still within him too, warring against the new, and bringing him into
   captivity to the law of sin, so that he cried, "O wretched man that I
   am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death" (v.24)--and we
   sincerely pity every professing Christian who does not echo this cry.
   Next the apostle thanks God that he shall be delivered yet "through
   Jesus Christ our Lord" (v. 25), not "by the power of the Holy Spirit"
   note! The deliverance is future, at the return of Christ, see Phil.
   3:20, etc. Finally, and mark that this comes after he had spoken of the
   promised "deliverance", he sums up his dual experience by saying, "So
   then with the mind I myself serve the Law of God; but with the flesh
   the law of sin". Could anything be plainer? Instead of affirming that
   the Law had nothing to do with him as a Christian, nor he with it, he
   expressly declared that he served "the Law of God". This is sufficient
   for us. Let others refuse to "serve" the Law of God at their peril.

   4. "For what the Law could not do, in that it was weak through the
   flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for
   sin, condemned sin in the flesh. That the righteousness of the Law
   might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh but after the
   spirit" (Rom. 8:3, 4). This throws light on Rom. 3:31, showing us, in
   part, how "the Law is established". The reference here is to the new
   nature. The believer now has a heart that loves God, and therefore does
   it "delight in the Law of God". And it is ever at the heart that God
   looks, though, of course, He takes note of our actions too. But in
   heart the believer "fulfills" the holy requirements of God's Law,
   inasmuch as his innermost desire is to serve, please, and glorify the
   Law-giver. The righteous requirements of the Law are "fulfilled" in us
   because we now obey from the heart (Rom. 6:17).

   5. "He that loveth another hath fulfilled the Law. For this, Thou shalt
not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou
shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any
other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely,
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his
neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilling of the Law" (Rom. 13:8-10).
   Here again, the apostle, so far from lending the slightest
   encouragement to the strange delusion that the Ten Commandments have
   become obsolete to Christians, actually quotes five of them, and then
   declares, "Love is the fulfilling of the Law". Love is not a
   substitution for Law-obedience, but it is that which prompts the
   believer to render obedience to it.Note carefully, it is not "love is
   the abrogating of the Law", but "love is the fulfilling of the Law".
   "The whole Law is grounded on love to God and love to man. This cannot
   be violated without the breach of Law; and if there is love, it will
   influence us to the observance of all God's commandments" (Haldane).
   Love is the fulfilling of the Law because love is what the Law demands.
   The prohibitions of the Law are not unreasonable restraints on
   Christian liberty, but the just and wise requirements of love. We may
   add that the above is another passage which serves to explain Rom.
   3:31, for it supplies a practical exemplification of the way in which
   the Gospel establishes the Law as the expression of the Divine will,
   which love alone can fulfill.



   6. "For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant
unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a
Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the Law; as
under the Law, that i might gain them that are under the Law; to them
that are without Law, as without Law, (being not without Law to God,
but under the Law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without
Law" (1 Cor. 9:19-22). The central thought of this passage is how the
   apostle forewent his Christian liberty for the sake of the Gospel.
   Though "free" from all, he nevertheless, made himself "the servant" of
   all. To the unconverted Jews he "became a Jew;" Acts 16:3 supplies an
   illustration. To those who deemed themselves to be yet under the
   ceremonial law, he acted accordingly: Acts 21:26 supplies an example of
   this. To them without Law: that is, Gentiles without the ceremonial
   law, he abstained from the use of all ceremonies as they did: cf. Gal.
   2:3. Yet, he did not act as "without Law to God", but instead, as
   "under the Law to Christ"; that is, as still under the moral Law of
   God. He never counted himself free from that, nor would he do anything
   contrary to the eternal Law of righteousness. To be "under Law to God",
   is, without question, to be under the God. Therefore, to be under the
   Law of Christ, is to be under the Law of God, for the Law was not
   abrogated but reinforced by Christ. This text, then, gives a plain and
   decisive answer to the question, How the believer is under the Law of
   God, namely, as he is "under the Law to Christ", belonging to Christ,
   as he does, by redemption.

   7. "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not
liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
For all the Law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love
thy neighbor as thyself" (Gal. 5:13, 14). Here the apostle first
   reminds the Galatian saints (and us) that they had been called unto
   "liberty", i.e., from the curse of the moral Law (3:13). Second, he
   defines the bounds of that liberty, and shows that it must not
   deteriorate to fleshly license, but that it is bounded by the
   requirements of the unchanging moral Law of God, which requires that we
   love our neighbor as ourselves. Third, he repeats here, what he had
   said in Rom. 13:8-10, namely, that love is the fulfilling of the Law.
   The new commandment of love to our brethren is comprehended in the old
   commandment of love to our neighbor, hence the former is enforced by an
   appeal to the latter.

   "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty
   for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another" (Gal.
   5:13). We quote here part of the late Dr. George Bishop's comments on
   this verse: "The apostle here emphasizes a danger. The believer before
   believing, relied upon his works to save him. After believing, seeing
   he is in no way saved by his works, he is in danger of despising good
   works and minifying their value. At first he was an Arminian living by
   law; now he is in danger of becoming an Antinomian and flinging away
   the law altogether."

   "But the law is holy and the commandment holy, and just, and good. It
   is God's standard--the eternal Norm. Fulfilled by Christ for us, it
   still remains the swerveless and unerring rule of righteousness. We are
   without the law for salvation, but not without the law for obedience.
   Angels are under the law doing God's commandments, hearkening to the
   voice of His word' (Psa. 103:20). The law then is immutable--its reign
   universal and without exception. The law! It is the transcript of the
   Divine perfection: the standard of eternal justice: the joy and rapture
   of all holy beings. The law! We are above it for salvation, but under
   it, or rather in it and it in us, as a principle of holiness" (Grace in
   Galatians).

   8. "Children obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour
thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;
That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth"
(Eph. 6:1-3). Once more we have a direct quotation from the tables of
   stone as the regulator of the Christian conscience. First, the apostle
   bids children obey their parents in the Lord. Second, he enforces this
   by an appeal to the fifth commandment in the Decalogue. What a proof
   this is that the Christian is under the Law (for the apostle is writing
   to Christians), under it "to Christ". Third, not only does the apostle
   here quote the fifth commandment, but he reminds us that there is a
   promise annexed to it, a promise concerning the prolongation of earthly
   life. How this refutes those who declare that our blessings are all
   spiritual and heavenly )Eph. 1:3). Let the ones who are constantly
   criticizing those who press on the children of God the scriptures which
   have to do with our earthly walk, and who term this a "coming down from
   our position in the heavenlies" weigh carefully Eph. 6:2, 3 and also 1
   Tim. 4:8--"For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is
   profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and
   of that which is to come"; and let them also study 1 Pet. 3:10. In the
   administration of His government, God acts upon immutable principles.
   [7]

   9. "But we know that the Law is good, if a man use it lawfully" (1 Tim.
1:8). The Law is used unlawfully, when sinners rest on their imperfect
   obedience to it as the ground of their acceptance by God. So, too,
   believers use it unlawfully, when they obey its precepts out of servile
   fear. But used lawfully, the Law is good. This could never have been
   said if the Law is an enemy to be shunned. Nor could it have been said
   if it has been repealed for the Christian. In that case, the apostle
   would have said, "The Law is not binding upon us". But he did not so
   say. Instead, he declared "The Law if good". He said more than that, he
   affirmed, "We know that the Law is good". It is not a debateable point,
   rather is it one that has been Divinely settled for us. But the Law is
   only "good" if a man (Greek, any one) use it lawfully. To use the Law
   lawfully is to regard it as the unchanging expression of the Will of
   God, and therefore to "delight" in it. To use the Law lawfully is to
   receive it as the corrector of our conduct. To use the Law lawfully is
   to "fulfill" it in love.

   10. "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new
covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah...this is
the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those
days, saith the Lord; I will put My laws into their mind, and write
them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to
Me a people" (Heb. 8:8, 10). Let it be carefully noted that this
   passage unmistakably demonstrates two things: first, it proves
   conclusively that the Law has not been "abolished"! Second, it proves
   that the Law does have a use and value for those that are saved, for it
   is saved Israel that is here in view! Nor is there any possible room
   for doubt as to whether or not this applies to Gentile Christians now.

   The passage just quoted refers to "the new covenant". Is the new
   covenant restricted to Israel? Emphatically no. Did not our Saviour say
   at the Holy Supper, "This is My blood of the new covenant, which is
   poured out for many for the remission of sins" (Matt. 26:28, R.V.)? Was
   Christ's blood of the new covenant limited to Israel? Certainly not.
   Note how the apostle quotes our Lord's words when writing to the
   Corinthians, see 1 Cor. 11:25. So, too, in 2 Cor. 3:6 the apostle Paul
   declares that God has made us (not is going to make us) "ministers of
   the new covenant". This is proof positive that Christians are under the
   new covenant. The new covenant is made with all that Christ died for,
   and therefore Heb. 8:8-10 assures us that God puts His laws into the
   minds and writes them upon the hearts of every one of His redeemed.

   But so anxious are some to grasp at everything which they imagine
   favors their contention that in no sense are believers under the Law,
   this passage is sometimes appealed to in support. It is argued that
   since God has now (by regeneration) written the Law on the believer's
   heart, He no longer needs any outward commandments to rule and direct
   him. Inward principle, it is said, will now move him spontaneously, so
   that all need for external law is removed. This error was so ably
   exposed fifty years ago by Dr. Martin, we transcribe a part of his
   refutation:

     How was it with our first parents? If ever outward law, categorical
     and imperative, might have been dispensed with, it might in Adam's
     case. In all the compass of his nature, there was nothing adverse to
     the law of God. He was a law unto himself. He was the moral law unto
     himself; loving God with all his heart, and his neighbour as
     himself, in all things content, in nothing coveting. Was imperative,
     authoritative, sovereign commandment therefore utterly unnecessary?
     Did God see it to be needless to say to him, Thou shalt, or, Thou
     shalt not? It was the very thing that infinite wisdom saw he needed.
     And therefore did He give commandment--Thou shalt not eat of it'.

     How was it with the last Adam? All God's law was in His heart
     operating there, an inward principle of grace; He surely, if any,
     might have dispensed with strict, imperative, authoritative law and
     commandment. I delight to do Thy will, O God; Thy law also is within
     My heart'. Was no commandment, therefore, laid upon--no
     obedience-statute ordained--unto Him? Or did He complain if there
     was? Nay; I hear Him specially rejoicing in it. Every word He
     uttered, every work He did, was by commandment: My Father which sent
     me, He gave Me commandment what I should say and what I should do;
     as He gave me commandment therefore, so I speak'.

     And shall His members, though the regenerating Spirit dwells in
     them, claim an exemption from what the Son was not exempt? Shall
     believers, because the Spirit puts the law into their hearts, claim
     a right to act merely at the dictate of inward gracious principle,
     untrammeled, uncontrolled by outward peremptory statute? I appeal to
     Paul in the seventh chapter of the Romans, where he says: The law is
     holy', and adds, as if to show that it was no inward actuating law
     of the heart, but God's outward commanding law to the will: the law
     is holy, and the commandment is holy, and just, and good'. And I
     appeal to the sweet singer of Israel, as I find him in the 119th
     Psalm, which is throughout the breathing of a heart in which the law
     of God is written, owning himself with joy as under peremptory
     external law: Thou hast commanded us to keep Thy precepts
     diligently'.

   11. "If ye fulfill the royal Law according to the scripture, Thou shalt
love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well" (James 2:8). The immediate
   purpose of the apostle was to correct an evil--common in all climes and
   ages--of which his brethren were guilty. They had paid deference to the
   wealthy, and shown them greater respect than the poor who attended
   their assembly (see preceding verses). They had, in fact, "despised the
   poor" (v.6). The result was that the worthy name of Christ had been
   "blasphemed" (v.7). Now it is striking to observe the method followed
   and the ground of appeal made by the apostle James in correcting this
   evil.

   First, he says, "If ye fulfill the royal law according to the
   scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: but if
   ye have respect of persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the Law
   as transgressors" (vv. 8, 9). He shows that in despising the poor they
   had transgressed the Law, for the Law says, "Thou shalt love thy
   neighbour as thyself". Here then, if proof positive that the Law was
   binding upon those to whom James wrote, for it is impossible for one
   who is in every sense "dead to the Law" to be a "transgressor" of it.
   And here, it is probable that some will raise the quibble that the
   Epistle of James is Jewish. True, the Epistle is addressed to the
   twelve tribes scattered abroad. Yet it cannot be gainsaid that the
   apostle was writing to men of faith (1:3); men who had been
   regenerated--"begotten" (1:18); men who were called by the worthy name
   of Christ (2:7), and therefore Christians. And it is to them the
   apostle here appeals to the Law!--another conclusive proof that the Law
   has not been abolished.

   The apostle here terms the Law, "the royal Law". This was to empathize
   its authority, and to remind his regenerated brethren that the
   slightest deflection from it was rebellion. The royal Law also calls
   attention to the supreme dignity of its Author. This royal Law, we
   learn, is transcribed in the Scriptures--the reference here was, of
   course, to the Old Testament Scriptures.

   Next, the apostle says, "For whosoever shall keep the whole Law, and
   yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For He that said, Do not
   commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no
   adultery, yet if thou kill, thou are become a transgressor of the Law"
   (vv. 10, 11). His purpose is evident. He presses on those to whom he
   writes that, he who fails to love his neighbour is just as much and
   just as truly a transgressor of the Law as the man who is guilty of
   adultery or murder, for he has rebelled against the authority of the
   One who gave the whole Law. In this quotation of the 6th and 7th
   commandments all doubt is removed as to what "Law" is in view in this
   passage.

   Finally, the apostle says, "So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall
   be judged by the Law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without
   mercy, that hath showed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment"
   (vv. 12, 13). This is solemn and urgently needs pressing upon the
   Lord's people today: Christians are going to be "judged by the Law"!
   The Law is God's unchanging standard of conduct for all; and all alike,
   saints and sinners, are going to be weighed in its balances; not of
   course, in order to determine their eternal destiny, but to settle the
   apportionment of reward and punishment. It should be obvious to all
   that the very word "reward" implies obedience to the Law! Let it be
   repeated, though, that this judgment for Christians has nothing
   whatever to do with their salvation. Instead, it is to determine the
   measure of reward which they shall enjoy in Heaven. Should any object
   against the idea of any future judgment (not punishment but judgment)
   for Christians, we would ask them to carefully ponder 1 Cor. 11:31, 32:
   2 Tim. 4:1; Heb. 10:30--in each case the Greek word is the same as here
   in James 2:12.

   It should be noted that the apostle here terms the Law by which we
   shall be judged "the Law of liberty". It is, of course, the same as
   "the royal Law" in v. 8. But why term it the Law of liberty? Because
   such it is to the Christian. He obeys it (or should do) not from fear,
   but out of love. The only true "liberty" lies in complete subjection to
   God. There was, too, a peculiar propriety in the apostle James here
   styling the Law of God "the Law of liberty". His brethren had been
   guilty of "respecting persons", showing undue deference to the rich;
   and this was indeed servility of the worst kind. But to "love our
   neighbour" will free us from this.

   12. Other passages in the New Testament which show more directly the
bearing of the Law on believers might be quoted, but we close, by
calling attention to 1 John 2:6: "He that saith he abideth in Him ought
himself also so to walk, even as He walked" (1 John 2:6). This is very
   simple, and yet deeply important. The believer is here exhorted to
   regulate his walk by that of the walk of Christ. How did He walk? We
   answer, in perfect obedience to the Law of God. Gal. 4:4 tells us, "God
   sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the Law." Psa. 40:8
   declares that God's Law was in His heart. Everything recorded about the
   Saviour in the four Gospels evidences His complete subjection to the
   Law. If, then, the Christian desires to honor and please God, if he
   would walk as Christ walked, then must he regulate his conduct by and
   render obedience to the Ten Commandments. Not that we would for a
   moment insist that the Christian has nothing more than the Ten
   Commandments by which to regulate his conduct. No; Christ came to
   "fulfill" the Law, and as we have intimated, one thing this means is
   that, He has brought out the fulness of its contents, He has brought to
   light its exceeding spirituality, He has shown us (both directly and
   through His apostles) its manifold application. But whatever
   amplification the Law has received in the New Testament, nothing has
   been given by God which in any wise conflicts with what he first
   imprinted on man's moral nature, and afterwards wrote with His own
   finger at Sinai, nothing that in the slightest modifies its authority
   or our obligation to render obedience to it.

   May the Holy Spirit so enlighten our sin-darkened understandings and so
   draw out our hearts unto God, that we shall truthfully say, "The Law of
   Thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver...O how
   love I Thy law! it is my meditation all the day" (Psa. 119:72-97).
     __________________________________________________________________

   [6] Vv. 8-12 are more or less in the nature of a parenthesis.   [7] That some obedient children are short-lived no more belies the Word
   of God than that some diligent men are poor, yet Prov. 10:4 says, "The
   hand of the diligent maketh rich:" The truth is, that these promises
   reveal the general purpose of God, but He always reserves to Himself
   the sovereign right to make whom He pleases exceptions to the general
   rule.
 

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Articole in Limba Romana

 

A W Pink – The Law and the Saint (Part 1)

This is part 1 of 3 from A. W. Pink’s book ‘The Law and the Saint’ which is now in the public domain. In this first part Pink contrasts OT and NT law:
The Old Testament saints and the New Testament
saints are both saved in the same way, and that is, by the grace of
God through Jesus Christ alone.
.
„Of course the people did not keep the law. It only brought sin to
light and proved that righteousness could not come that way, as Paul
points out in the Epistle to the Romans. It made all the more
evident that there was a need for the work of Christ. But Christ
came not to put the law aside and introduce another plan. I came not
to destroy’, He declared, but to fulfill’; not to dissolve the
obligations of the law and release us from them, but to substantiate
the law and make good all that it required. In the Sermon on the
Mount He expounded and expanded the law, in all its depth and
breadth, and in all its searching sweep. This Sermon spoke to His
disciples; it was His law for them. It was not intended for another
age and another people; it set forth the kind of life He expected
His own people to live in the present age.

Arthur and Vera pink July 20, 1928 (via amazon.com)

   
                                Introduction

   It has been said that every unregenerate sinner has the heart of a
   Pharisee. This is true; and it is equally true that every unregenerate
   sinner has the heart of an Antinomian. This is the character which is
   expressly given to the carnal mind: it is "enmity against God"; and the
   proof of this is, that "it is not subject to the law of God, neither
   indeed can be" (Rom. 8:7). Should we be surprised, then, if we find the
   underlying principles of Phariseeism and Antinomianism uniting in the
   same mind? Surely not. There is no more real opposition between these
   apparently opposing principles, than there is between enmity and pride.
   Many a slothful servant has hated his master and his service, and yet
   had he pride and presumption enough to demand his wages. Phariseeism
   and Antinomianism unite, like Herod and Pilate did, against the Truth.
.
   The term Antinomian signifies one who is against the Law, hence, when
   we declare that ours is an age of lawlessness, it is only another way
   of saying that it is an age characterized by Antinomianism. There is
   little need for us to pause and offer proof that this is an age of
   lawlessness. In every sphere of life the sad fact confronts us. In the
   well-nigh total absence of any real discipline in the majority of the
   churches, we see the principle exemplified. Not more than two
   generations ago, thousands, tens of thousands, of the loose-living
   members whose names are now retained on the membership rolls, would
   have been dis-fellowshipped. It is the same in the great majority of
   our homes. With comparatively rare exceptions, wives are no longer in
   subjection to their husbands (Eph. 5:22, 24); and as for obeying them
   (1 Pet. 3:1, 2, 5, 6), why, the majority of women demand that such a
   hateful word be stricken from the marriage ceremony. So it is with the
   children--how could it be otherwise? Obedience to parents is almost
   entirely a thing of the past. And what of conditions in the world? The
   abounding marital unfaithfulness, Sunday trading, banditry, lynchings,
   strikes, and a dozen other things that might be mentioned, all bear
   witness to the frightful wave of lawlessness which is flowing over the
   country.
.
   What, we may well inquire, is the cause of the lawlessness which now so
   widely obtains? For every effect there is a cause, and the character of
   the effect usually intimates the nature of the cause. We are assured
   that the present wide-spread contempt for human law is the inevitable
   outgrowth of disrespect for Divine Law. Where there is no fear of God,
   we must not expect there will be much fear of man. And why is it that
   there is so much disrespect for Divine Law? This, in turn, is but the
   effect of an antecedent cause. Nor is this hard to find. Do not the
   utterances of Christian teachers during the last twenty-five years go
   far to explain the situation which now confronts us?
.
   History has repeated itself. Of old, God complained of Ephraim, "I have
   written to him the great things of My Law, but they were counted as a
   strange thing" (Hosea 8:12). Observe how God speaks of His Law: "The
   great things of My Law"! They are not precepts of little moment, but to
   be lightly esteemed, and slighted; but are of great authority,
   importance, and value. But, as then, so during the last few years--they
   have been "counted as a strange thing". Christian teachers have vied
   with each other in denouncing the Law as a "yoke of bondage", "a
   grievous burden", "a remorseless enemy". They have declared in trumpet
   tones that Christians should regard the Law as "a strange thing": that
   it was never designed for them: that it was given to Israel, and then
   made an end of at the Cross of Christ. They have warned God's people to
   have nothing to do with the Ten Commandments. They have denounced as
   "Legalists" Christians of the past, who, like Paul, "served the Law"
   (Rom. 7:25). They have affirmed that Grace rules the Law out of the
   Christian's life as absolutely as it did out of his salvation. They
   have held up to ridicule those who contended for a Christian Sabbath,
   and have classed them with Seventh-Day Adventists. Having sown the
   wind, is it any wonder that we are now reaping the whirlwind?
.
   The characters of the cause determinates the character of the effect.
   Whatsoever a man sowth that (the same in kind) shall he also reap. Unto
   them who of old regarded the great things of God's Law as a strange
   thing, God declared, "Because Ephraim hath made many alters to sin,
   alters shall be unto him to sin" (Hosea 8:11). And because many of our
   Christian leaders have publicly repudiated Divine Law, God has visited
   us with a wave of lawlessness in our churches, homes, and social life.
   "Be not deceived; God is not mocked"!! Nor have we any hope of stemming
   the onrushing tide, or of causing Christian leaders to change their
   position. Having committed themselves publicly, the examples of past
   history warn us that pride will keep them from making the humbling
   confession that they have erred. But we have a hope that some who have
   been under the influence of twentieth century Antinomianism will have
   sufficient spiritual discernment to recognize the truth when it is
   presented to their notice; and it is for them we now write.
   In the January 1923 issue of a contemporary, appeared the second
   article from the pen of Dr. McNichol, Principal of Toronto Bible
   School, under the caption of "Overcoming the Dispensations". The
   purpose of these articles is to warn God's children against the perils
   which lie "in the way of much of the positive pre-millennial teaching
   of the day". Quoting, Dr. McNicol says:
.
     "1. There is danger when the Law is set against Grace. No scheme of
     prophetic interpretation can be safe which is obliged to represent
     the dispensations of Law and Grace as opposing systems, each
     excluding the other and contrary to it. If this were the case, it
     would mean that God had taken opposing and contradictory attitudes
     towards men in these two different ages. In the last analysis this
     representation of the relation of law and grace affects the
     character of God, as everything which perverts the Scriptures,
     disturbing thereby the mirror of His mind, ultimately does.
.
     "So far from being opposing systems, law and grace as revealed in
     Scripture are parts of one harmonious and progressive plan. The
     present dispensation is spoken of as the age of grace, not because
     grace belongs to it exclusively, but because in it grace has been
     fully manifested. When John declared that the law was given by
     Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ', he was contrasting
     law and grace, not as two contrary and irreconcilable systems, but
     as two related parts of one system. The law was the shadow, Christ
     was the substance. The law was the pattern, Christ was the reality.
     The grace which had been behind the law came to light through Jesus
     Christ so that it could be realized. As a matter of fact, grace had
     been in operation from the beginning. It began in Eden with the
     first promise of redemption immediately after the fall. All
     redemption is of grace; there can be no salvation without it, and
     even the law itself proceeds on the basis of grace.
.
     "The law was given to Israel not that they might be redeemed, but
     because they had been redeemed. The nation had been brought out of
     Egypt by the power of God under the blood of the slain lamb, itself
     the symbol and token of His grace. The law was added at Sinai as the
     necessary standard of life for a ransomed people, a people who now
     belonged to the Lord. It began with a declaration of their
     redemption; I am the Lord thy God who brought thee out of the land
     of Egypt, out of the house of bondage' (Ex. 20:2). It rested on the
     basis of grace, and it embodied the principle that redemption
     implied a conformity to God's moral order. In other words, the very
     grace that redeemed Israel carried with it the necessity of
     revealing the law to Israel. The law was given that they might walk
     worthy of the relation in which they now stood to God, worthy of a
     salvation which was already theirs. The covenant of the law did not
     supersede the covenant of promise, but set forth the kind of life
     which those who were redeemed by the covenant of promise were
     expected to live.
.
     "The law was not a covenant of works in the sense that Israel's
     salvation depended upon obedience to it. The devout Israelite was
     saved by faith in the promise of God, which was now embodied in the
     tabernacle services. He looked forward through the sacrifices to a
     salvation which they foreshadowed, and by faith accepted it, as we
     look back to the Cross and by faith accept the salvation which has
     been accomplished. The Old Testament saints and the New Testament
     saints are both saved in the same way, and that is, by the grace of
     God through Jesus Christ alone.
.
     "Of course the people did not keep the law. It only brought sin to
     light and proved that righteousness could not come that way, as Paul
     points out in the Epistle to the Romans. It made all the more
     evident that there was a need for the work of Christ. But Christ
     came not to put the law aside and introduce another plan. I came not
     to destroy', He declared, but to fulfill'; not to dissolve the
     obligations of the law and release us from them, but to substantiate
     the law and make good all that it required. In the Sermon on the
     Mount He expounded and expanded the law, in all its depth and
     breadth, and in all its searching sweep. This Sermon spoke to His
     disciples; it was His law for them. It was not intended for another
     age and another people; it set forth the kind of life He expected
     His own people to live in the present age.
                                     Photo - Tissot's Sermon on the Mount
.
     "Of course we cannot fulfill the law of the Sermon on the Mount                                    
     as an outward standard of life. Our Lord did not leave it at 
     that. He was Himself going to make it possible for His 
     disciples to fulfill it, but He could not yet tell them how.      When He died and rose again and ascended into heaven, and His 
     Holy Spirit--the same Spirit which had fulfilled and                
     exemplified that law completely in His own life--came flowing 
     back into the lives of His disciples, then they
     had to keep it. The law was written on their hearts. Their 
     lives were conformed to the law, not by slavish obedience to an     
     outward standard, but by the free constraint of an inward 
     spirit. The ordinance of the law was fulfilled in them when 
     they walk not after the flesh but after the spirit.
.
     "It is this very feature of grace which seems to make it an entirely
     different and separate system from the law, for it did not exist in
     the Old Testament dispensation. It could not be realized before the
     redemptive work of Christ was done and the Holy Spirit came. The
     Israelites occupied a different position toward the law from that
     occupied by the Christian now. The law demanded an obedience which
     the natural heart could not give. In its practical working,
     therefore, the law necessarily came to stand over man as a creditor,
     with claims of justice which had not been satisfied. These claims
     Christ met on the Cross and put out of the way. More than that, by
     virtue of our union with Him in His death and resurrection, He has
     brought us out of the sphere where the law as an outward authority
     demands obedience of the natural man, into the sphere where the law
     is written upon the heart by the power of the Holy Spirit. He has
     created us a new man' whose nature it is to fulfill the law by an
     inward power and principle. This is what Paul meant when he said, I
     through the law died unto the law that I might live unto God' (Gal.
     2:19), and when he wrote to the Romans, Sin shall not have dominion
     over you, for ye are not under the law but under grace' (6:14).
.
     "This new revelation to the law has been created by the grace of God
     through the work of Jesus Christ. But the law still remains. It is
     the reflex of His own character and the revelation of His moral
     order. He cannot set it aside, for then He would deny Himself. The
     wonder and glory of grace consists in this, that it came in, not to
     oppose the law and substitute another plan, but to meet and satisfy
     all its claims and provide a way of fulfilling all its obligations.
     It has pleased the Lord by His grace to magnify the law and make it
     honorable."
.
   With the above remarks we are in hearty accord. [1] It is a superficial
   and erroneous conclusion that supposes the Old and New Testaments are
   antagonistic. The Old Testament is full of grace: the New Testament if
   full of Law. The revelation of the New Testament to the Old is like
   that of the oak tree to the acorn. It has been often said, and said
   truly, "The New is in the Old contained, the Old is by the New
   explained"! And surely this must be so. The Bible as a whole, and in
   its parts, is not merely for Israel or the Church, but is a written
   revelation from God to and for the whole human race. It is indeed sad
   to see how little this elementary truth is grasped today and what
   confusion prevails.
.
   Even the late Mr. F. W. Grant in his notes on Exodus 19 and 20 was so
   inconsistent with himself as to say, First, "It is plain that
   redemption, as bringing the soul to God, sets up His throne within it,
   and obedience is the only liberty. It is plain too, that there is a
   righteousness of the law' which the law itself gives no power to
   fulfill, but which is fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but
   after the spirit' (Rom. 8:4). What is merely dispensational passes, but
   not that which is the expression of God's character and required by it.
   Nothing of that can pass ... grace still must affirm this, therefore,
   not set it (obedience) aside; but it does what law does not--it
   provides for the accomplishment of the condition. First of all, the
   obedience of Another, who owed none, has glorified God infinitely with
   regard to those who owed but did not pay. Secondly,--for this even
   could not release (nor could there be blessing in release) from the
   personal obligation,--grace apprehended in the heart brings back the
   heart to God, and the heart brought back in love serves of necessity"
   (italics ours).
.
   With the above quoted words from The Numerical Bible we are in entire
   accord, and only wish they might be echoed by Mr. Grant's followers.
   But second, and most inconsistently, and erroneously, Mr. Grant says:
   "In the wisdom of God, that same law, whose principle was do and live',
   could yet be the type of the obedience of faith in those who are
   subjects of a spiritual redemption, the principle of which is live and
   do'. Let us remember, however, that law in itself retains none the less
   its character as opposed to grace, and that as a type it does not
   represent law any longer: we are not, as Christians in any sense under
   the law, but under grace" (italics his). This is a mistake, the more
   serious because made by one whose writings now constitute in certain
   circles the test of orthodoxy in the interpreting of God's Word.
.
   What has been said above reveals the need for a serious and careful
   examination of the teaching of Holy Scripture concerning the Law. But
   to what do we refer when we speak of "The Law"? This is a term which
   needs to be carefully defined. In the New Testament there are three
   expressions used, concerning which there has been not a little
   confusion. First, there is "the Law of God" (Rom. 7:22, 25, etc.).
   Second, there is "the Law of Moses" (John 7:23; Acts 13:39, 15:5,
   etc.). Third, there is "the law of Christ" (Gal. 6:2). Now these three
   expressions are by no means synonymous, and it is not until we learn to
   distinguish between them, that we can hope to arrive at any clear
   understanding of our subject.
.
   The "Law of God" expresses the mind of the Creator, and is binding upon
   all rational creatures. It is God's unchanging moral standard for
   regulating the conduct of all men. In some places "the Law of God" may
   refer to the whole revealed will of God, but in the majority it has
   reference to the Ten Commandments; and it is in this restricted sense
   we use the term. This Law was impressed on man's moral nature from the
   beginning, and though now fallen, he still shows the work of it written
   in his heart. This law has never been repealed, and in the very nature
   of things, cannot be. For God to abrogate the moral Law would be to
   plunge the whole universe into anarchy. Obedience to the Law of God is
   man's first duty. That is why the first complaint that Jehovah made
   against Israel after they left Egypt was, "How long refuse ye to keep
   My commandments and My laws" (Ex. 16:27). That is why the first
   statutes God gave to Israel were the Ten Commandments, i.e. the moral
   Law. That is why in the first discourse of Christ recorded in the New
   Testament He declared, "Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or
   the Prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill" (Matt 5:17),
   and then proceeded to expound and enforce the moral Law. And that is
   why in the first of the Epistles, the Holy Spirit has taught us at
   length the relation of the Law to sinners and saints, in connection
   with salvation and the subsequent walk of the saved: the word "law"
   occurs in Romans no less than seventy-five times, though, of course,
   not every reference is to the Law of God. And that is why sinners (Rom.
   3:19) and saints (Jas. 2:12) shall be judged by this Law.
.
   The "Law of Moses" is the entire system of legislation, judicial and
   ceremonial, which Jehovah gave to Israel during the time they were in
   the wilderness. The Law of Moses, as such, is binding upon none but
   Israelites. This Law has not been repealed. That the Law of Moses is
   not binding on Gentiles is clear from Acts 15.
.
   The "Law of Christ" is God's moral Law, but in the hands of the
   Mediator. It is the Law which Christ Himself was "made under" (Gal.
   4:4). It is the Law which was "in His heart" (Psa. 40:8). It is the Law
   which He came to "fulfill" (Matt. 5:17). The "Law of God" is now termed
   "the Law of Christ" as it relates to Christians. As creatures we are
   under bonds to "serve the Law of God" (Rom. 7:25). As redeemed sinners
   we are " the bondslaves of Christ" (Eph. 6:6), and as such we are under
   bonds to "serve the Lord Christ" (Col. 3:24). The relation between
   these two appellations, "the law of God" and "the Law of Christ" is
   clearly intimated in 1 Cor. 9:21, where the apostle states, that "he
   was not without Law to God," for he was "under the Law of Christ". The
   meaning of this is very simple. As a human creature, the apostle was
   still under obligation to obey the moral Law of God his Creator; but as
   a saved man he now belonged to Christ, the Mediator, by redemption.
   Christ had purchased him: he was His, therefore, he was "under the Law
   of Christ". The "Law of Christ", then, is just the moral Law of God now
   in the hands of the Mediator and Redeemer--cf Ex. 34:1 and what
   follows!
.
   Should any object against our definition of the distinction drawn
   between God's moral Law and "the Law of Moses" we request them to
   attend closely to what follows. God took special pains to show us the
   clear line of demarcation which He has Himself drawn between the two.
   The moral Law became incorporated in the Mosaic Law, [2] yet was it
   sharply distinguished from it. The proof of this is as follows: -
.
   In the first place, let the reader note carefully the words with which
   Ex. 20 opens: "And God spake all these words." Observe it is not "The
   Lord spake all these words", but "God spake". This is the more
   noticeable because in the very next verse He says, "I am the Lord thy
   God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt", etc. Now the
   Divine titles are not used loosely, nor are they employed alternately
   for the purpose of variation. Each one possesses a definite and
   distinct signification. "God" is the creatorial title (see Gen. 1:1).
   "Lord" is God in covenant relationship, that is why it is "Lord God"
   all through Gen. 2. In Gen. 1 it is God in connection with His
   creatures. In Gen. 2 it is the Lord God in connection with Adam, with
   whom He had entered into a covenant--see Hos. 6:7, margin. The fact,
   then, that Ex. 20 opens with "And God spake all these words", etc.
   prove conclusively that the Ten Commandments were not and are not
   designed solely for Israel (the covenant people), but for all mankind.
   The use of the title "God" in Ex. 20:1 is the more forceful because in
   vv. 2, 5, 7, 10, 11, 12 "the Lord" is named, and named there because
   Israel is being addressed.
.
   In the second place, the Ten Commandments, and they alone, of all the
   laws Jehovah gave to Israel, were promulgated by the finger of God,
   amid the most solemn manifestations and tokens of the Divine presence
   and majesty.
.
   In the third place, the Ten Commandments, and they alone, of all
   Jehovah's statutes to Israel, were written directly by the finger of
   God, written upon tables of stone; and written thus to denote their
   lasting and imperishable nature.
.
   In the fourth place, the Ten Commandments were further distinguished
   from all those laws which had merely a local application to Israel, by
   the fact that they alone were laid up in the ark. A tabernacle was
   prepared by the special direction of God, and within it an ark was
   placed, in which the two tables of the Law were deposited. The ark,
   formed of the most durable wood, was overlaid with gold, within and
   without. Over it was placed the mercy-seat, which became the throne of
   Jehovah in the midst of His people. Not until the tabernacle had been
   erected, and the Law placed in the ark, did Jehovah take up His abode
   in Israel's midst. Thus did the Lord signify to Israel that the moral
   Law was the basis of all His governmental dealings with them.                                                  
   Thus it is clear beyond any room for doubt that the Ten Commandments,
   the moral Law of God, were sharply distinguished from "the Law of
   Moses." The "Law of Moses," excepting the moral Law incorporated
   therein, was binding on none but Israelites, or Gentile proselytes. But
   the moral Law of God, unlike the Mosaic, is binding on all men. Once
   this distinction is perceived, many minor difficulties are cleared up.
   For example: someone says, If we are to keep the Sabbath day holy, as
   Israel did, why must we not observe the other Sabbaths--the Sabbatic
   year, for instance? The answer is, Because the moral Law alone is
   binding on Gentiles and Christians. Why, it may be asked, does not the
   death penalty attached to the desecration of the Sabbath day (Ex.
   31:14, etc.) still obtain? The answer is, Because though that was a
   part of the Mosaic Law, it was not a part of the moral Law of God, i.e.
   it was not inscribed on the tables of stone; therefore it concerned
   none but Israelites.

Articole in Limba Romana

 

Moral Purity in Marriage

Dr. Russell Moore – You will encounter sexual temptation in your marriage. It is not a question of whether you will encounter sexual temptation, you will encounter sexual temptation when the satanic powers see two who become one flesh, what they see is a living, breathing,  organic display of what they hate the most, which is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Whatever sexual temptation will come into your marriage is not about you, it is about something that has been going on for millennia and something that was purposed and planned in the mind of God before the cosmos ever was. Your struggle and your battle is precisely what the serpent offers in the garden when he says to the woman, simultaneously, „See yourself as an animal”. She’s been given dominion, the Bible says, over all the beasts of the fields and now she is taking direction from a beast of the field. And also, „See yourself as a god. You can decide what is good and evil”. You will face this throughout your marriage because this is exactly what the apostle Paul is talking about when he says the issue with sexual purity is not simply about self control, although it is about self control. It is about a kind of self control that is doing warfare against the temptation of Satan.

Paul has been going through this entire letter, talking to them about the dangers out there, in the spiritual world. He talks about sexual morality, he talks about sexual fidelity and he says, „Don’t you understand that there is something spiritual happening here?

ADULTERY – Almost anybody in this room can look around and see the kind of carnage that takes place in the lives of even the people that you know. Some of you have pastors who preached the Gospel to you , or baptized you and were later destroyed because of an adulterous affair. Sexual immorality is not something that suddenly happens to you, sexual immorality is part of a conspiracy and a plot to work with you in your sin in order to, as the book of proverbs says, trap you like an animal who is caught.  Paul says, „Flee from sexual immorality. Be warned about joining yourself in adultery”. And why is that the case?  It’s because this warning applies to all of the people of God. We typically think that sexual temptation and sexual opportunity happen to sexy people. That is not the way that it happens. And I have seen so many men who have left beautiful, godly wives for women that you would not even notice if you passed them in the hallway. This is not a matter of how sexy someone is. The Satanic powers are noticing you. They are watching you. Especially those of you who have stood up and said, „I am pursuing God’s call upon my life, to stand and to speak for Christ, in proclaiming the oracles of God.” They will do anything to see to it that the Gospel is discredited by your animalistic impulses. Most people who find themselves drawn into adultery, are not drawn into adultery because they are so oversexed. Most of them, instead find them selves in that place because marriage is a mission, it’s an economy. It’s an order that has been put together and it is hard labor together to bring forth the bread from the earth and to be fruitful and multiply, and to raise up the next generation and to get along with one another through all of these sufferings and all of this strife.  Notice what the apostle Paul says here, it is shockingly radical „You belong to each other”. He does not simply say, „Flee adultery”. He says something significant here. He says, „Husbands, your body belongs to your wife. And wives, your body belongs to your husband”. Do you realize what a shocking statement that is?

(2) FORNICATION – When you change the biblical name ‘fornication’ which is something that is evil, to ‘premarital sex’ you are changing it to something that signifies it is just a matter of timing. There are some ways that fornication mimics the conjugal union of sex. When you have two that are joining themselves together, outside of that life long covenant, you are picturing something other than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The fornication is not simply something that is timed badly. The fornication is a spiritual act that is joining you and attaching you in some mystical way to another person, in a way that communicates a ‘Christ who is not faithful to His bride’. That is not just immoral, that is blasphemy. One of the significant issues that we face in our churches is that we have an entire generation of young people who are able to cover over and to callous their consciences by being technical virgins, by justifying to themselves acts of rebellion against God as somehow being acceptable and somehow being justifiable in a way that not only stores up sin, but also devastates the functioning christian conscience. And often, even those teenagers and young single adults in our churches, who are remaining faithful in sexual purity are doing so more out of risk avoidance than out of a commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God has revealed that fornicators will not enter the kingdom of God. One of the things we have in our church and possibly in your marriage is that we don’t really believe that. And we really do not see the spiritual war that is going on at this point, because we assume it’s premarital sex, so once the marriage takes place, the issue is now resolved. Some of you in your marriages right now are experiencing deadness and mistrust, and conflict because you, husband led that woman into fornication and you have never gotten to the point of repentance before God for evil. Everything that you said to her, to convince her that this was justifiable, every act of hiddenness that you took to manage your own hiddenness and to cover over your sin, yo will be able to do just as easily, again with some other woman. „She’s the love of my life!” You’ll feel that way about some other woman some day. „We were just so carried away”. You’ll be carried away again, like that. „The timing was so wrong, we were so young”. „My wife just doesn’t understand me and I’m at a time in my life when I really need this relationship”. Until you get to the point, specifically men, where you, as a former fornicator get on your knees with your wife and say, „I am guilty of not protecting you, of not exercising Godly headship over you, of not loving you as Christ loved the church, and I repent before God and I repent before you”. You will never understand what the scripture is talking about when it says, „you were washed, you were freed”. The problem is that we assume that because the problem is in the past, that the issue is over, but, nothing drives 2 people further apart than sinning together. Your wife, men, may not trust you right now because she knows her parents couldn’t trust you then. Until that is dealt with, with the kind of heart that cries out, „Lord have mercy and free me and wash me”, you will never find the kind of spiritual power and freedom in your marriage that  you so desperately need.

(3) PORNOGRAPHY. The apostle Paul doesn’t speak to pornography directly here, but he speaks to porneia, to sexual immorality. And this issue has become almost ubiquitous to such a degree that pornography in terms of spiritual warfare has been weaponized, including in our churches. Now, when a couple comes into my church and says, „We don’t know what’s wrong in our marriage, we just don’t have any intimacy, we don’t have sex with each other anymore, we just feel cold, I immediately say, „How long has the porn been going on? ” Husband usually looks at me like I’m an Old Testament prophet or a new age psychic. It is because it happens so often and with such regularity and it always has the same satanic results. PORNOGRAPHY IS UNIQUELY SATANIC BECAUSE IT DRIVES YOU TOWARDS INSATIABILITY. Nobody in the history of the world has said, „Ok Ive seen my porn”. Porn, by definition drives you further and further and further towards intimacy . WHy? Because it is an occultic pull upon you that is driving you towards the kind of mystery  and the kind of intimacy  that you are designed to find in the one flesh union and it severs that away from real life, covenant, flesh and blood love in such a way that you become numbed over to the joy of sexual intimacy itself. PORNOGRAPHY LURES YOU IN WITH SEXINESS, and then TOTALLY EVISCERATES YOUR CAPACITY  FOR SEXUAL INTIMACY. So much so, that there may even be men in this room  who are so captured by pornography that you are not even able to have sex with your wife without retrieving for yourself images that you have archived from porn. If you do not see how desperate and how sad and how pathetic and how pitiful that situation is, you will never find freedom. When you put yourself in the orbit of pornography, you are not just viewing material, you are joining yourself with a digital prostitute. Someone who is paid to create a sexual arousal in you, you are doing exactly what the apostle Paul is warning about in Corinth, when he says, „Don’t go up there to the temple prostitutes. What will happen when you get there, no matter how you cover over it, no matter how you keep it hidden, something spiritual has happened in the most wicked sort of way. Pornography will move in and destroy you because it will start to create you into the kind of person for whom intimacy is simply body parts rubbing together, not one flesh. And you will ultimately find yourself, when you have seen every image you want to see, when you have read every word you want to have read, like Esau, vomiting up the red stuff that he craved so badly. Pornography has some of you enslaved, precisely because the satanic powers love to work by helping you to hide your sin.

The power that Satan has over you is only two fold. Satan’s power is to take those things the God has created for good in your life, including the impulse towards intimacy and to twist it slightly away from its intended object, so that you become more and more entrapped and enslaved in your own deception. That you are exactly in the situation the apostle Paul speaks of as unbelievers, „Following after the prince of the power of the air, through the passions of the body and of the mind”. The only other power he has is Revelation 12- to accuse the brothers. Some of you are staying in hiding right now when you are at the place in your life where if there is enough of the sense of the urgency of the situation, you can save your life. , you can save your marriage, but you are hiding in the bushes back there where our prehistoric parents are. But, there is a voice through the word of God speaking as it does in every generation that asks the question, „Adam, where are you?”

The only way that you will break yourself free from the pull toward immorality is to come out of hiding. „Lord have mercy upon me, the sinner”.  And the only way that the power of Satan can be defeated is first of all, by recognizing that the goodness that God has given you in that one flesh union in your marriage is to point you to something that is even better news than that. So that the very act of holding that husband, holding that wife, crying and weeping in repentance together, that very act is a physical picture of what the apostle Paul says to the church at Colossae, when he says, „All of that legal record of our condemnation, that list of thoughts and intents, and archived internet histories has been nailed to His cross, disarming the principalities and powers by making a public display  of them.

RC Sproul – The Bible and the Life of the Mind

From the 2010  Desiring God 2010 National Conference  – Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God. For audio file and notes click here – http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/conference-messages/thinking-deeply….

Scripture: Acts 17:22–28

Sermon on Mars Hill

22 So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23 For while I was passing through and examining theobjects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. 24  The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one manevery nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined theirappointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;28 for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’

 

Why the historicity of Adam is important

Adam and Eve Are Driven out of Eden by Gustave...

Adam and Eve Are Driven out of Eden by Gustave Dore. Picture portrayed over passage in Genesis. And he placed at the east of the Garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life (Gen. 3:24). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

via Christian Post By Kevin DeYoung , CP Guest Contributor (article 2/9/12)

In recent years, several self-proclaimed evangelicals, or those associated with evangelical institutions, have called into question the historicity of Adam and Eve. It is said that because of genomic research we can no longer believe in a first man called Adam from whom the entire human race has descended.

I’ll point to some books at the end which deal with thescience end of the question, but the most important question is what does the Bible teach. Without detailing a complete answer to that question, let me suggest ten reasons why we should believe that Adam was a true historical person and the first human being.

1. The Bible does not put an artificial wedge between history and theology. Of course, Genesis is not a history textbook or a science textbook, but that is far from saying we ought to separate the theological wheat from the historical chaff. Such a division owes to the Enlightenment more than the Bible.

2. The biblical story of creation is meant to supplant other ancient creation stories more than imitate them. Moses wants to show God’s people „this is how things really happened.” The Pentateuch is full of warnings against compromise with the pagan culture. It would be surprising, then, for Genesis to start with one more mythical account of creation like the rest of the ANE.

3. The opening chapters of Genesis are stylized, but they show no signs of being poetry. Compare Genesis 1 with Psalm 104, for example, and you’ll see how different these texts are. It’s simply not accurate to call Genesis poetry. And even if it were, who says poetry has to be less historically accurate?

4. There is a seamless strand of history from Adam in Genesis 2 to Abraham in Genesis 12. You can’t set Genesis 1-11 aside as prehistory, not in the sense of being less than historically true as we normally understand those terms. Moses deliberately connects Abram with all the history that comes before him, all the way back to Adam and Eve in the garden.

5. The genealogies in 1 Chronicles 1 and Luke 3 treat Adam as historical.

6. Paul believed in a historical Adam (Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15:21-22, 45-49). Even some revisionists are honest enough to admit this; they simply maintain that Paul (and Luke) were wrong.

7. The weight of the history of interpretation points to the historicity of Adam. The literature of second temple Judaism affirmed an historical Adam. The history of the church’s interpretation also assumes it.

8. Without a common descent we lose any firm basis for believing that all people regardless of race or ethnicity have the same nature, the same inherent dignity, the same image of God, the same sin problem, and that despite our divisions we are all part of the same family coming from the same parents.

9. Without a historical Adam, Paul’s doctrine of original sin and guilt does not hold together.

10. Without a historical Adam, Paul’s doctrine of the second Adam does not hold together.

Christians may disagree on the age of the earth, but whether Adam ever existed is a gospel issue. Tim Keller is right:

[Paul] most definitely wanted to teach us that Adam and Eve were real historical figures. When you refuse to take a biblical author literally when he clearly wants you to do so, you have moved away from the traditional understanding of the biblical authority. . . .If Adam doesn’t exist, Paul’s whole argument-that both sin and grace work ‘covenantally’-falls apart. You can’t say that ‘Paul was a man of his time’ but we can accept his basic teaching about Adam. If you don’t believe what he believes about Adam, you are denying the core of Paul’s teaching. (Christianity Today June 2011)

If you want to read more about the historical Adam debate, check out Did Adam and Eve Really Exist? by C. John Collins.

For more on the relationship between faith and science, you may want to look at one of the following:

John C. Lennox, God’s Undertake: Has Science Buried God?
Should Christians Embrace Evolution: Biblical and Scientific Responses, edited by Norman C. Nevin
God and Evolution, edited by Jay Richards
Vern S. Poythress, Redeeming Science: A God-Centered Approach
C. John Collins, Science and Faith: Friend or Foes


Pentecost (3) Gifts may vary in strength

by Wayne Grudem – Paul says that if we have the gift of prophecy, we should use it “in proportion to our faith” (Rom. 12:6), indicating that the gift can be more or less strongly developed in different individuals, or in the same individual over a period of time. This is why Paul can remind Timothy, “Do not neglect the gift you have” (1 Tim. 4:14), and can say, “I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you” (2 Tim. 1:6). It was possible for Timothy to allow his gift to weaken, apparently through infrequent use, and Paul reminds him to stir it up by using it and thereby strengthening it. This should not be surprising, for we realize that many gifts increase in strength and effectiveness as they are used, whether evangelism, teaching, encouraging, administration, or faith.

Texts such as these indicate that spiritual gifts may vary in strength. If we think of any gift, whether teaching or evangelism on the one hand, or prophecy or healing on the other, we should realize that within any congregation there will likely be people who are very effective in the use of that gift, perhaps through long use and experience, others who are moderately strong in that gift, and others who probably have the gift but are just beginning to use it. This variation in strength in spiritual gifts depends on a combination of divine and human influence. The divine influence in the sovereign working of the Holy Spirit as he “apportions to each one individually as he wills” (1 Cor. 12:11). The human influence comes from experience, training, wisdom, and natural ability in the use of that gift. It is usually not possible to know in what proportion the divine and human influences combine at any one time, nor is it really necessary to know, for even the abilities we think to be “natural” are from God (1 Cor. 4:7) and under his sovereign control.

But this leads to an interesting question: how strong does an ability have to be before it can be called a spiritual gift? How much teaching ability does someone need before he or she could be said to have a gift of teaching, for example? Or how effective in evangelism would someone need to be before we would recognize a gift of evangelism? Or how frequently would someone have to see prayers for healing answered before he or she could be said to have a gift of healing?

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Pentecost (4) Discovering and seeking spiritual gifts

by Wayne Grudem – Paul seems to assume that believers will know what their spiritual gifts are. He simply tells those in the church at Rome to use their gifts in various ways: “if prophecy, in proportion to our faith…he who contributes, in liberality; he who gives aid, with zeal; he who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness” (Rom. 12:6-8). Similarly, Peter simply tells his readers how to use their gifts, but does not say anything about discovering what they are: “As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10).

But what if many members in a church do not know what spiritual gift or gifts God has given to them? In such a case, the leaders of the church need to ask whether they are providing sufficient opportunities for varieties of gifts to be used. Though the lists of gifts given in the New Testament are not exhaustive, they certainly provide a good starting point for churches to ask whether at least there is opportunity for those gifts to be used. If God has placed people with certain gifts in a church, when these gifts are not encouraged or perhaps not allowed to be used , they will feel frustrated and unfulfilled in their Christian ministries, and will perhaps move to another church where their gifts can function for the benefit of the church.

Beyond the question of discovering what gifts one has is the question of seeking additional spiritual gifts. Paul commands Christians, “Earnestly desire the higher gifts” (1 Cor. 12:31), and says later, “Make love your aim, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy (1 Cor. 14:1). In this context, Paul defines what he means by “higher gifts” or “greater gifts” because 1 Corinthians 14:5 he repeats the word he used in 12:31 for “higher” (Gr. Meizon) when he says, “He who prophesies is greater than he who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified” (1 Cor. 14:5). Here the “greater” gifts are those that most edify the church. This is consistent with Paul’s statement a few verses later when he says, “Since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up of the church” (1 Cor. 14:12). The higher gifts are those that build up the church more and bring more benefit to others.
But how do we seek more spiritual gifts? First we should ask God for them. Paul says directly that “he who speaks in a tongue should pray for the power to interpret” (1 Cor. 14:13; cf James 1:5, where James tells people that they should ask God for wisdom).

Next, people who seek additional spiritual gifts should have right motives. If spiritual gifts are sought only so that the person may be more prominent or have more influence or power, this certainly is wrong in God’s eyes. This was the motivation of Simon the Sorcerer in Acts 8:19, when he said, “Give me also this power, that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit” (see Peter’s rebuke in vv. 21-22). It is a fearful thing to want spiritual gifts or prominence in the church only for our own glory, not for the glory of God and for the help of others. Therefore those who seek spiritual gifts but “have not love” are “nothing” in God’s sight (cf. 1 Cor. 13:1-3).

After that, it is appropriate to seek opportunities to try the gift, just as in the case of a person trying to discover his or her gift, as explained above. Finally, those who are seeking additional spiritual gifts should continue to use the gifts they now have, and should be content if God chooses not to give them more. The master approved of the servant whose pound had “made ten pounds more,” but condemned the one who hid his pound in a napkin and did nothing with it (Luke 19:16-17, 20-23)—certainly showing us that we have responsibility to use and attempt to increase whatever talents or abilities God has given to us as his stewards. We should balance this by remembering that spiritual gifts are apportioned to each person individually by the Holy Spirit “as he wills” (1 Cor. 12:11), and that “God arranged the organs in the body, each one of them, as he chose” (1 Cor. 12:18). In this way Paul reminds the Corinthians that ultimately the distribution of gifts is a matter of God’s sovereign will, and it is for the good of the church and for our good that none of us have all of the gifts, and that we will need to continually depend on others who have gifts differing from ours. These considerations should make us content if God chooses not to give us the other gifts that we seek.

Pentecost (2) How many gifts are there?

from Wayne Grudem’s  BIBLE Doctrine – Essential Teachings of the Christian Faith.

In Part 1 We read regarding Spiritual Gifts in general- 1)Spiritual gifts in the history of redemption and 2) The purpose of gifts in the New Testament age. You can read part 1 here.

The New Testament lists specific spiritual gifts in six different passages. See table here –1 Corinthians 12:28 , 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, Ephesians 4:11, Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 7:7, 1 Peter 4:11.

Gifts of the Holy Spirit:

  1. apostle   – (1-8 from 1 Cor. 12:28)
  2. prophet
  3. teacher
  4. miracles
  5. kinds of healing
  6. helps
  7. administration
  8. tongues
  9. word of wisdom   – (9-13 from 1 Cor. 12:8-10)
  10. word of knowledge
  11. faith
  12. distinguishing between spirits
  13. interpretation of tongues
  14. evangelist        –   (14-15 from Ephesians 4:11)
  15. pastor-teacher
  16. serving    –  (16-20 from Romans 12:6-8)
  17. encouraging
  18. contributing
  19. leadership
  20. mercy
  21. marriage     – (21-22 from 1 Cor. 7:7)
  22. celibacy

1 Peter 4:11 whoever speaks (covering several gifts) and whoever renders service (also covering several gifts). Click to read more…

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