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Christ’s Propitiation (Guest Post)

Christ’s Propitiation (Guest Post)

There seems to be some disagreement in Christianity on how Christ propitiates God the Father. We turn to our favorite Visiting Professor, James Quiggle for clarity…

Beginning some years after the Synod of Dort, 1618–1619 (whose purpose was to refute the five points of Arminianism), there began and has continued an ongoing discussion of the limits of Christ’s act of propitiation on the cross. The discussion is, was Christ’s propitiation limited in scope or unlimited in scope? Sometimes this question is framed as, “For whom did Christ die?”

Usually this discussion of propitiation is made using the Old Testament word, “atonement,” “Christ,” says this argument, “made a Limited Atonement,” meaning he died only for the elect. The New Testament calls the atonement Christ made on the cross, “propitiation.” Both the OT “atonement” and NT “propitiation,” when used in a religious context, mean a satisfaction made to God for sin.

The questions that will be asked and answered in this essay are: What was the purpose of Christ’s propitiation? To whom or for whom was Christ’s propitiation directed? What was the scope of Christ’s propitiation? “Scope” is where the “limited or unlimited” question comes in.

Before answering the questions, let us talk for a moment about the Old Testament atonement, which forms, for us, the biblical example of forgiveness through sacrifice. Look at any Old Testament sacrifice for sin. Atonement consists of four essential things: God’s grace; the sinner’s faith in God and God’s testimony as to the way of salvation; the sinner’s repentance and confession of sins to God; the sacrificial act to provide a substitutionary death for those sins. The OT sacrifice itself did not effect forgiveness. The offering must be accepted by God’s grace and its merit must be personally applied by the sinner’s faith, in order to effect forgiveness.

We see, then, the sinner’s faith was directed toward God, and the act of sacrifice, the atonement, was directed toward God. The purpose of the sacrifice was to satisfy God’s justice for the sinner’s crime of sin. The purpose of the sinner’s faith was to apply the merit of tat atonement to effect forgiveness of sin. God by grace accepted the sacrifice and the sinner’s faith.

So, let’s define Christ’s act of atonement, that is, his propitiation of God for sin. Propitiation is the satisfaction Christ made to God for sin by dying on the cross as the sin-bearer, 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 3:25; Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2; 4:10, for the crime of sin committed by human beings, suffering in their place and on their behalf. Christ’s propitiation fully satisfied God’s holiness and justice for the crime of sin, 1 John 2:2; Romans 3:25.

Question: What was the purpose of Christ’s propitiation? Answer: To fully satisfy God’s justice against human sin.

Question: To whom or for whom was Christ’s propitiation directed? Answer: Christ’s propitiation was directed toward God.

The purpose of Christ’s propitiation was to satisfy God’s justice for the crime of human sin, so God could justly act redemptively toward sinners. God’s justice having been satisfied, God could act to apply the merit of Christ’s propitiation to effect the redemption of sinners. (No not universal salvation. Keep reading.)

Last question. “What was the scope of Christ’s propitiation?” Scripture says the propitiation was, “for the sins of the world,” 1 John 2:2. No amount of linguistic acrobatics and manipulation can make “world” (the Greek kósmos), in that verse mean anything other than the world of sinners.

So, just like the OT atonement, the NT propitiation is both the sacrifice—Christ suffering for sin on the cross, and the application of that merit by God’s grace and the sinner’s faith to effect redemption for the sinner.

Christ’s propitiation is not itself redemption. His propitiation generated the limitless merit that effects redemption. The merit of the propitiation is applied according to the decree of election through God’s gift of grace-faith-salvation. The unlimited merit of Christ’s propitiation  for sin (1 John 2:2) is applied according to the decree of election (Eph. 1:4) through the gift of God (Eph 2:8). The merit of the propitiation is unlimited, its application particular and individual.

Christ died on the cross to propitiate God for all sin, so God could act in justice, holiness, and righteousness to save sinners. Salvation, then, is the application of Christ’s infinite merit to overcome the demerit of sin and save a soul, as specifically applied according to God’s sovereign decree of election, through God’s gift of grace-faith-salvation, which is then personally applied by each sinner through his/her saving faith in Christ, in response to having received God’s gift of grace-faith-salvation.

There are three reasons the limitless merit of Christ’s propitiation is not universal salvation. Each is equally important. The first reason is God acts in harmony with all his decrees and all his attributes. The limitless merit of Christ’s propitiation is applied according to God’s decree in election, Ephesians 1:4, through God’s gift of grace-faith salvation, Ephesians 2:8. Thus the application of Christ’s limitless merit is limited when it is applied for salvation. The merit of Christ’s propitiation is applied to particular individuals according to the decree of election.  This is known as Particular Redemption.

The second reason is the salvation principle, Ephesians 2:8. That principle is “saved by God’s grace through the sinner’s faith.” Salvation is always dependent on faith in God and God’s testimony. Without personal faith there is no salvation.

The OT teaches us. The sinner brought the sacrifice with faith in God and God’s testimony. The sinner laid his hands on the sacrifice and confessed his sins, in faith believing God and God’s testimony the animal now bore his sins. The sinner killed the animal with faith in in God and God’s testimony that the animal died in the sinner’s place, bearing the penalty for the sinner’s sins. God in grace accepted the sinner’s faith and forgave the sinner’s sins. The sacrifice was then offered on the altar to God. Salvation by God’s grace through the sinner’s faith.

Today we have faith in God and God’s testimony that the proper sacrifice, Jesus Christ crucified buried, resurrected, and ascended, when presented to God through our faith in God and God’s testimony as to the way of salvation, with our repentance for our sins, will result in forgiveness of all our sins. Salvation by God’s grace through the sinner’s faith.

The third reason is Christ’s limitless merit is applied toward the whole world in ways other than salvation. Because his justice was satisfied, God can act in mercy toward the world by delaying the immediate justice sin requires, which is the endless punishment of the unforgiven sinner. In mercy God gives the sinner a lifetime to believe and be saved. In love God’s kindness and goodness can act to disperse his blessings upon the good and evil alike, for as Jesus said, God makes his rain falls on both the good and the evil. Because God can justly act in blessing toward the world, his common grace disperses the good news to all. In blessing, God prevents every unsaved sinner from being as bad as he or she could be.

In the matter of salvation, Christ’s propitiation/atonement is not in itself redemption, it powers redemption. Christ’s propitiation was not directed toward sinners, but toward God. The purpose of Christ’s propitiation was to fully satisfy God’s justice so God could justly act to redeem sinners and act in common grace, kindness, and goodness toward the world. The application of Christ’s propitiation for salvation is according to election through God’s gift of grace-faith-salvation and the sinner’s personal faith.

Spiritual Warfare: The Biblical Perspective (Guest Post)

Spiritual Warfare: The Biblical Perspective (Guest Post)

Is there really a war between God and Satan? Visiting Professor James Quiggle brings us, as usual, a most excellent answer….

Never believe the fiction there is a war between God and Satan. Satan and his angels do not have even a fraction of the power necessary to oppose God.
Satan is a vicious dog on an unbreakable leash: he and his followers—unsaved human and fallen angel—can only do what God allows. God allows only those things that fulfill God’s purpose and plans and processes: for the spiritual good of his people; for the judgment of the world and the worldling. The belief there is an ongoing spiritual war with God is a fiction created by Satan to exalt himself in the eyes of fallen humanity. Don’t be deceived by Satan’s propaganda.
There is an ongoing conflict between good and evil, but not in the world or the worldling, who are willingly sold out to sin. The conflict between good and evil is within the believer. The believer is constantly tempted from within by the sin attribute still resident in their born-again human nature, 1 John 1:10, and constantly tempted from without by the world and the devil. That constant temptation has one goal: to persuade you to forsake good for evil; sometimes you allow it succeed, 1 John 1:8.
Christian, be wise in the war Satan and the worldling wage against the righteousness you possess in Christ, which you are required to practice every moment of your life. God in Christ has given his saved people the spiritual power to deny every temptation. But when you do not deny, then confess your sins, 1 John 1:9, depending on Christ and his merit for forgiveness of your sins, 1 John 2:1–2. Grow strong in the righteousness and holiness and authority and power you have in Christ.

In this present world you will always have conflict between your desire for good and temptation to evil. Put on the armor God has given you, Ephesians 6:10–18. Trust in the authority and power given you by the indwelling Holy Spirit to say “No!” to temptation, and enforce that decision. Because our Lord and Savior is holy, and we are in him, you be and live and think as holy.

The Harvest is Ripe (guest post)

The Harvest is Ripe (guest post)

A timely call from visiting professor David Park

Matthew 9:35-38
“And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

God has made it clear what we as believers are called to do, especially with the advent of Christ Jesus – His Son. The author of Hebrews confirms this in the first chapter where he says:

“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son…” (Hebrews 1:1-2b).

Therefore, we have no excuse, for the Lord has revealed His will to us; He did so not only by His words, but His very life served to be an example for us to follow. And what did Christ do? Christ went throughout the Ancient Near East proclaiming the “Good News” of His Heavenly Kingdom. He also went around and healed the sick of every type of disease and affliction (both physical and spiritual). And the last commandment Christ left us with, which is commonly referred to as the “Great Commission,” were instructions to go and baptize people from all nations in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and also to teach [all] people from every nation [without discrimination] to obey everything He [Christ] had commanded…” (Matthew 28:18-20a, emphasis mine). Henceforth, we see that His disciples did exactly just that.

Scripture tells us in Acts 2 that Peter called those who were present to “Repent and to be baptized,” for the “forgiveness of their sins,” and explained to them that they would then receive the promised Holy Spirit. This was an offer and promise to not only the children of those who were present [the Children of Israel], but also to those who were far off [sinners and gentiles]. And we are told that “With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them” (Acts 2:40a), and told them to “save themselves from the corrupt generation” (Acts 2:40b, emphasis mine).

As such, as Peter and the other disciples followed in the footsteps of Christ, we too must follow in the footsteps of Christ, that is, if we truly want to be His disciples. We must also be filled with and exhibit the same type of love and compassion that Christ had for the crowds mentioned in Matthew 9:36 where it says that “he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Christ saw how weary and exhausted the people were from being burdened by the many [613] man-made religious commandments and rites that were being imposed on them by the hypocritical Pharisees and their man-made traditions.

Christ saw the people as sheep without a Shepard – people who were abandoned, neglected, and hungry, who were unfortunately at the mercy of ravenous wolves. For this reason, Christ was compelled to feed them, not with just physical manna, but with the Bread of Life which He Himself is. And this is no different today in the 21st Century.

Recently, on September 22nd, I had another opportunity to do Open-Air Preaching on Vermont and Wilshire near the Metro Station with two brothers in Christ. And while I was preaching the Word of God, I was able to sense that their was a deep hunger and yearning within those who passed by us. There were several people who encouraged us by honking and giving us thumbs up. However, there were many more onlookers who simply looked lifeless. But this should not come as a surprise being that without Christ, there really is no life, or any real hope.

Now we, who have been entrusted with the Gospel, have a duty to proclaim repentance and the forgiveness of sins. We are told that “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37). God does not lie, so when Christ tells us that the Harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few, He is telling us the truth.

Thus, how can we claim to love God and our neighbors when we do not obey the Lord’s commands, and when we just sit back and watch those around us headed for hell and do nothing about it? What’s worse is that God tells us that the Harvest is ripe, meaning that there are many people who are ready to receive the Word, but not enough workers to share it and proclaim it.

Withholding the “Good News,” is no different than watching someone about to walk off a cliff and being silent. It is no different than seeing someone about to get hit by a car and not even say a word. And in reality, not sharing the “Good News” with the lost is actually much worse since physical death is only temporal, but spiritual death and separation from God is eternal. For these reasons, let us pray to God each day and ask him to send workers into the Harvest. Let us ask Him for greater boldness and also ask Him to give us greater love and concern for the lost.

A Clearer Understanding of the Will (Guest Post)

A Clearer Understanding of the Will (Guest Post)

Today we welcome visiting professor and Evangelist David Park, who gives us an excellent article on the doctrine of the will

Do People Have Freewill?
December 27, 2021
Brother David Park
Servant of Jesus Christ
Jonah 1:1-3; 1:17; 4:1-11
Jonah 1:1-3
“Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord… “

Jonah 1:17
“And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.”

Jonah 4:1-11
“But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry… Now the Lord God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant. But when dawn came up the next day… God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered. When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint…”

Most of us know the famous story of Jonah the prophet who was swallowed up by a giant fish. It is a story about a selfish and compassionless prophet who tries to run away from the Lord and what God had called him to do. But this story provides us with great insight into how freewill and predestination can co-exist, and not contradict, but be complementary.

Man may have freewill, but God’s sovereign will and him having predestined all things supplants our freewill. We may have the right to write our own stories, but God desires to teach us along the way how to become better writers. He may give us suggestions and certain guidelines and will accept what we write as long as what we are writing fits his rubric. However, if we deviate from the rubric and or fail to include the things needed, or make errors, he will correct our stores and add-in His own edits. He will continue to do this until we have written the perfect story that aligns with His assignment.
But we need not to fret or be dismayed, for the Lord’s will being perfect and always for our own good and His Glory, is much better in every possible way. Therefore, we ought to be grateful in all circumstances, especially when things don’t go the way we want them to go and instead go the way that God has prepared things to go, which are always for our benefit and our own good; He is the master of rhetoric, the master of all literary devices, the master poet, and the master playwright. This is a most wonderful thing and not something we should be bickering about, accusing God of being a puppet master.

No, He is much better than that, He is the good shepherd who guides his children on the right path, disciplining us with his rod when needed, and dragging us out of danger with his staff to save us from the fire we would have walked into. So although man has freewill, God has predestined that His will would supercede our will for our own good. Therefore, there is no contradiction in man having his own freewill, and God having predestined all things according to His perfect and much more glorious will.
Imagine what a nightmare our lives would be like if everything happened according to what we would have willed. If Jonah had gotten what he had wanted, he would of drowned. Not only that, if it had been up to Jonah, the entire population of 120,000 Ninevites would have been destroyed. But God knows what is best for us, and He is a loving, kind, and patient God who cares for His creation, especially us human-beings who were created in His image.

What we can see from this story is that every single thing, every act, and every event is a result of God’s providence. He cares deeply for us and provides us with comforts even when we do not deserve them. What’s interesting is that this past year, one of the things I began doing was thanking God for even the breeze I would feel on hot and sunny days. I would often times be sitting down, but would witness a shade appear out of nowhere, followed by a cooling breeze. When this would happen, I would always thank the Lord thinking that He was providing the shade and the breeze for me intentionally, and this story confirms my suspicions; nothing happens by accident, there are no coincidences, God has foreordained all things for His good pleasure and our well-being.

But we must remember that the things that are good for us may not always feel like it at the time, especially such things like pain. However, pain is essential for us to feel as it keeps us safe, and is a mechanism that warns us of danger, or serves as an indicator for growth. And although God may provide us with even a thing like a gourd to provide us with shade from our discomfort, these comforts can as easily disappear and get destroyed by the smallest of evils, just like the withered leaves of Jonah’s gourd were a result of a tiny unseen worm which wrought great havoc. But even events like these too are God’s providence and serve as lessons for us, to teach us not to place our faith in created things, but rather in the Creator of all things, who controls all things.

God restraining us from getting the things we want are acts of mercy; they are acts of grace. No mother in the world would allow their child to only consume sugar because they like it. No father would ever allow their five year old child to drive the car because they keep crying. And that is what we are, we are children of God, and will always remain being His children no matter how old we may get. God will always watch over us and try to teach us the things that we must learn so that we would live the right way. But he will also always protect us, and make certain, whether we like it or not, that our stories are completed with perfect canonized endings

Did Christ only die for the elect? (guest post)

Did Christ only die for the elect? (guest post)

Many times we see the debate over the Atonement and the effectiveness of Christ’s death. Some say He died only for the Elect and some say He died for all men. In this guest post, Visiting Professor James Quiggle offers excellent insight as well as a balanced scriptural view. Let use consider…

Even Calvin believed and taught while Christ’s death was efficient to salvation only for the elect, that Christ’s death also had benefits to all humankind. Or as Dort said, Sufficient for all, efficient for the elect.

For both Calvin and Dort recognized that God’s delay of justice (his mercy), and his goodness, and his kindness toward all humankind, both elect and non-elect, was a benefit of Christ’s death toward all humankind.

The doctrine Christ only died for the elect is not Calvinism but the supralapsarianism developed by Beza, and is a doctrine held by only a very vocal few in Calvinism.

The Christ died to propitiate God’s justice for the crime of all sin. That propitiation applies to all humankind in diverse ways that agree with all of God’s decrees and all of God’s attributes, and was designed by God to meet all of God’s purpose, not only his purpose in salvation toward the elect.

 

In a future essay, Professor Quiggle will expand on the Doctrine of the Atonement

7 Promises and a Call to Personal Holiness

7 Promises and a Call to Personal Holiness

Our world is in trouble and the bulk of that trouble stems from a lack of holiness. The words of Paul the Apostle, in his letter to the Church at Rome, ring true of America, perhaps more so than when Paul penned them, “There is no fear of God before their eyes (Romans 3:18). If we continue to read that letter we find that there is no one who seeks after God (Chapter 3 and Verses 10-17)  but we do not need to recap the entire epistle.

God has raised up His Church as a bulwark against wickedness. There is a particular message that is needed from the Church more than ever before, a call to personal holiness. What I mean by that is a disciplined set apartness to the Lord God and working toward His glory among the people we encounter every day.  There is frequently the question of what holiness looks like in practicality; I have found that the 7 Promises from Promise Keepers to be a good example.

PROMISE 1 HONOR GOD

A Promise Keeper is committed to honoring Jesus Christ through worship, prayer and obedience to God’s Word in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.

Hebrews 12:28-29

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,  for our God is a consuming fire.

 

PROMISE 2 BROTHERHOOD

A Promise Keeper is committed to pursuing vital relationships with a few other men, understanding that he needs brothers to help him keep his promises.

Ecclesiastes 4:12

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.

Proverbs 17:17

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

 

PROMISE 3 INTEGRITY

A Promise Keeper is committed to practicing spiritual, moral, ethical, and sexual purity.

Psalm 119:9-11

How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

Proverbs 11:3

The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.

 

PROMISE 4 FAMILY

A Promise Keeper is committed to building strong marriages and families through love, protection and biblical values.

Proverbs 22:6

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Psalm 127:3-5
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

 

PROMISE 5 SERVING

A Promise Keeper understands that Jesus calls him to be His hands and feet, serving others with integrity. He purposely lifts up the leadership of the church and his nation in prayer.

Philippians 2:3-4

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 

Matthew 5:16

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

 

PROMISE 6 UNITY

A Promise Keeper is committed to reaching beyond any racial, denominational, generational, and cultural barriers to demonstrate the power of biblical unity.

1 Corinthians 1:10
I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.
Ephesians 4:1-3
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

 

PROMISE 7 OBEDIENCE

A Promise Keeper is committed to influencing his world, being obedient to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.

Mark 16:15

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation…”

1 Peter 3:15

…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. 

 

We will examine these further in the future. For now, I encourage you to meditate on these promises

Review of A Private Commentary on Scripture

Review of A Private Commentary on Scripture

There are many good commentaries out there, though not as many are written from a Dispensational Standpoint as I would like. One answer to that problem comes from our favorite guest teacher, James D. Quiggle, Th.M. It is a very helpful commentary series written from a Dispensational Standpoint. Why is such a thing important? In Dispensationalism we focus on a consistent interpretation and understanding across all segments of theology. You might be tempted to say does not everyone do that, but some do not. That, though, is for another day.

 Why is this commentary set important? This commentary is very practical- that is to say that it is not full of lofty words and  ideas, which my grandfather used to call four dollar words. It is clear and concise, easily accessible to any Christian, from the gentleman who came to Christ this morning all the way to the grandmother who has prayed for countless hosts of missionaries.  This is what I enjoy most about when James provides lessons for my readers- he writes not only as a teacher but as an Elder who has walked the Scripture for decades and calls the reader to be his student and to understand the Bible in a way that might have not been before. The Bible is meant to be understood and James excels in opening the Scripture to the reader.

Which translation does James use here? Like many commentators, James does his own translation. His translation reads very close to the English Standard Bible, which if memory serves correctly, is the translation he uses for teaching, His translation is what is called essentially literal, meaning that it is as close to a word for word translation as possible without it being unintelligible.

The translation is the most important choice when studying the Bible; the first question to address in study is, simply, what does it say? I would like to point out that James uses a number of excellent translations in addition to his own so that the reader might get the broadest possible meaning of the text.

What is included and is anything missing? Besides the verse-by-verse commentary, there is a fairly in-depth introduction. James treats several of the things unique to John and his Gospel Account.  He also gives considerable background information regarding the audience etc.

I do have two items that I wish were included but the fact that they are missing is neither bad nor good. It is just a fact. I would like to see a much more detailed outline and specifically with regard to teaching through the Bible. The simple fact is that most commentary users are pastors, Sunday school teachers etc. Most commentaries are lacking in giving a teaching outline.  Further, I would like to see a section on Interpretive Challenges.  Any teacher attempting to prepare helpful lessons will doubtlessly encounter points of view that attack the Scripture and it would he very helpful to have even a small treatment of these issues.

This commentary series is very well footnoted. There is so much to learn about each book and James has given us a tremendous number of footnotes not just for the purposes of citing references but primarily to provoke further study.

Overall Impression/thoughts

In personal study, I have found the material provided to be quite helpful. The most common question which I receive is “Who should use it?” I will tell you very simply and pointedly, this should be used by any person who is going to teach the Bible. If you have a wife, you should be teaching her the Bible and you should have this commentary set. Same goes if you have children. Do you teach Sunday School? This commentary series is for you. Are you a missionary? You guessed it; you should have this commentary set. Bible college students, seminarians, teaching elders, Sunday School teachers it’s a good fit for you. In fact, I will go this far…there are only two reasons this would not be a helpful commentary set- if you are unsaved or if you are dead but I repeat myself.

God’s Whole Armor

God’s Whole Armor

Visiting Professor Matt Bassford had treated us to a great article on the Armor of God. May you be blessed by it…

God’s Whole Armor

Ephesians 6:13-17 is perhaps the most familiar passage in the entire epistle. Most Christians have heard at least one sermon about the whole armor of God, complete with a helpfully labeled illustration of a Roman soldier. Certainly, there is much to be gained from considering the importance of salvation, righteousness, and so forth to our spiritual lives!

However, there’s another point in this well-known text that is worth considering, and it comes from the phrase that usually only supplies the title for the sermon. We read, “the whole armor of God,” and we think, “OK; this is the armor that God gives us.” That’s true, but it’s incomplete. The whole armor of God isn’t only the armor that God gives. It’s also the armor that He wears.

This is evident from Paul’s use of the Old Testament. He didn’t invent any of the items of the Christian’s armament. Instead, he took passages describing the armament of God and cited or adapted them.

This is most obvious when it comes to the helmet of salvation and the breastplate of righteousness. Both come from Isaiah 59:17, in which Isaiah says of God, “He put on righteousness like a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head. . .” (NASB95, and throughout). Paul clearly adapted that language for his own purposes, and the adaptation gives us the key to his whole approach.

Similarly, we find the shield of faith in the last part of Psalm 91:4, which tells us, “His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.” The same Greek word is translated in our Bibles as both “faithfulness” and “faith”.

The other items in the panoply are a bit trickier. The sword that is the word of God is taken from Hosea 6:5, where God says of His unfaithful people, “Therefore I have hewn them in pieces by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of My mouth. . .” The passage doesn’t say straight up that God’s word is a sword; it merely describes His words as a hewing, slaying implement. However, from “hewing, slaying implement” to “sword” isn’t much of a leap.

The belt of truth also takes a little bit of digging to figure out. In the Old Testament, it appears in the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 11:5, which reads, “Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, and faithfulness the belt about His waist.” The link becomes clearer when we realize that the Hebrew word for “faithfulness” also can be translated “truth” and is so translated in the Septuagint, which Paul used in his writing.

Finally, we come to the preparation of the gospel of peace. This comes from Isaiah 52:7, which says in part, “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace. . .” If we look only at the verse, the antecedent of “him” is unclear, but the previous verse, Isaiah 52:6, is about God speaking. In Isaiah 52:7, “him” probably should be “Him”.

Paul, then, isn’t merely telling us to use the equipment that God offers us. He’s telling us to fight like He does, with all of His weapons and His virtues. If that’s the way we enter into spiritual warfare, the devil scarcely can hope to defeat us.

Forgiven

Forgiven

One of the most important concepts to the Christian Faith is that we are forgiven in Christ and by Christ. It is our privilege, as the redeemed, to feel secure in our salvation and have peace in, with, and from the Lord Jesus,  Let us look at some points  from the Scripture

  1. Joseph, who foreshadows Christ, forgives his brothers without condition, (Genesis50:1-21)

  2. In the Old Covenant, sacrifices were integral to forgiveness (Leviticus 5:1-19)

  3. God forgives His rebellious peoplen(Jeremiah 50:1-20)

  4. God forgives spiritual unfaithfulness (Hosea 14:1-9)

  5. The Son of Man forgives sins and heals from the consequences of our sin (Matthew 9:1-8)

  6. The Lord Jesus show s compassion to sinners (Luke 7:36-50)

 

Keep the words of the old hymn in your mind daily: “Jesus sinners doth receive.” Forgiveness is available to all the believing (John 3:16) Simply confess that Jesus is Lord, that God raised Him from the dead and you will be forgiven (Romans 10:9-10). Afterall, if we will confess our sin, the Lord Jesus, who is faithful and just, will forgive our sins and cleanse us from the filthiness of our sin.

 

Until next time, Grace to you.

Where is God when I am suffering

Where is God when I am suffering

The following Pathfinder Discipleship Guide focuses on one of the most commonly asked questions that people bring to pastors: Where is God when I am suffering? Does He even care?  I pray that the points which follow will bless you and be of help and comfort.

 

  1. A possible explanation for suffering: Suffering can help us to identify sin in our lives and also avoid it. (Job 36:1-21)

  2. A prayer in time of anguis (Psalm 22)

  3. God’s Compassion: Via the Prophet Isaiah, God tells all of his people througout all time that He will have compassion on them and bring their suffering to a close. (Isaiah 49:8-1)

  4. Jesus promises us both suffering and peace, we will overcome the world because He did first (John 16:33)

  5. God promises us that we will share in future glory with Him (Romans 8:15-20)

  6. Help in our times of need: Since Jesus has come to Earth and lived among us, he understands our struggle and we can come to Him for help in our suffering (Hebrews 4:15-16)

  7. God is sovereign, cares for us, and will see us thtough (1 Peter 5:6-10)

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, you have given us your Holy Spirit to be with us until you come. When we suffer, will you have Him bring your Scritpture to our minds and let us feel His comforting presence. Most importantly, when we suffer, help us to use that suffering to bring glory to Your Name. Amen