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Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians fifteen make it clear that how we understand Christ’s death directly affects whether the “gospel” we believe is “in accordance with the Scriptures” (and saving) – or false (and damning). It is therefore (as Paul states) of “first importance”; a doctrine the Church cannot afford to get wrong. This unfortunately has been the plight of many within Evangelical or Reformed Christianity who espouse the false doctrine of Penal Substitution.
Penal Substitution = A theory which states that Jesus in His death was punished for our sins (penal) in our place (substitute) so that God could extend forgiveness (or justification) to us.
1.1. It is was invention of the Protestant Reformers to support their false gospel of Sola Fide.
Though several of the Early Church Fathers did preach Christ’s cross-work as substitutionary (e.g. Justin Martyr, Athanasius, Ambrose, Gregory the Great), they did not view it as penal (i.e. Christ taking our place in punishment). It isn’t until the Reformation – 1,500 years after the inception of Christianity, that such teaching emerges. And this to support their other invention: the Sola Fide gospel – or the notion that all a person needs to do in order to be saved is put faith in the person and work of Jesus. For such a gospel to be taken seriously, required that Jesus not only be the substitution for the sacrificial lamb, but also our substitution in relation to justice – to satisfy our obligation to serve the justice established by God’s Law.
“… Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Melanchthon and their reforming contemporaries were the pioneers in stating it [i.e. the penal substitutionary theory]…” – J.I. Packer (What Did The Cross Achieve? The Logic Of Penal Substitution)
“We may pause to sum up briefly the main points of teaching on Christ’s work of redemption to be gathered from the patristic literature of the first three centuries as a whole. And first, as to what it does not contain. There is no trace, as we have seen, of the notions of vicarious satisfaction, in the sense of our sins being imputed to Christ and His obedience imputed to us, which some of the Reformers made the very essence of Christianity; or, again, of the kindred notion that God was angry with His Son for our sakes, and inflicted on Him the punishment due to us ; nor is Isaiah’s prophecy [Isa 53] interpreted in this sense, as afterwards by Luther; on the contrary, there is much which expressly negates this line of thought. There is no mention of the justice of God, in the forensic sense of the word.” – H.N. Oxenham (The Catholic Doctrine of the atonement)
“The Early Church had no concept of God imputing the guilt of our sins to Christ, and he, in our place, bearing the punishment we deserve. Christ making payment for our sins, which satisfies the wrath and the righteousness of God so that He could forgive sinners without compromising his holiness, is a late addition to Christian thought.” -Dn. Thom (Live Orthodoxy)
“The question of historical pedigree has acquired a further significance in recent years, for increasing numbers of people are suggesting penal substitution is a novel doctrine, invented around the time of the Reformation by a church that was (it is alleged) drifting ever further from the biblical faith of the early church Fathers. This is a serious challenge. To put the matter bluntly, we ought to be worried if what we believe to be a foundational biblical truth remained entirely undiscovered from the days of the apostles right up until the middle of the sixteenth century. At the very least, such a discovery would undermine the idea that penal substitution is clearly taught in the Bible.” – Steve Jeffery, (Pierced for Our Transgressions)
1.2. Neither Christ’s sacrifice nor His predecessors – the OT sacrifices (for atonement), are ever identified as penal, the penalty for sins, the punishment for sins or as paying for sins.
It is not uncommon to hear people refer to Christ’s death as paying for our sins – or that He was punished for our sins, yet the Scripture never speaks this way when referring to the sacrifice of Christ or His predecessors – the animal sacrifices of the OT. This includes using words which communicate these ideas. How disappointing it is then, to discover the translators of the ESV using words that imply these sacrifices to be penal or compensatory – though once more, the original language doesn’t allow for it (e.g. Lev 5:6-7, 15, 6:6, 19:21; “compensation” [אָשָׁם = “guilt”]; See it usage/translation in Gen 26:10).
1.3. God doesn’t punish His food or abandon His sacrifice for atonement.
Based on their penal understanding of Jesus’ cross-work, Evangelical/Reformed Protestants therefore must also conclude that what the OT priests were doing in slaying the animal sacrifices was actually to punish and abandon them. As such, penal substitution creates a picture of God that is sadistic and twisted. He must abuse His food before He can eat it. He loves what must be abandoned as vile. According to Scripture however, God comes near and receives such sacrifices as good or precious food possessing a pleasing aroma. Hence the reason so much care is to be taken when considering the animals to be sacrificed and preparing them (Num 28:1-4 = Notice God’s attitude toward the sacrifice. It is one of care, concern for quality and holy pleasure. Notice also His concern for when the sacrifice take place. Animals are less alert in the morning and evening and therefore under less stress at the time of God’s appointed slaughter [See for example, How Cattle Stress Affects Tenderness and Flavor]. God desired His sacrifices to be treated humanely. Hence the reason Jesus was not pleased w/betrayal and murder as the method to accomplishing His sacrifice [Luk 22:42]; Pro 12:10; Lev 22:28; Deu 14:21 = kosher killing; Lev 16:1-16 = God doesn’t run from the sacrifice but just the opposite. It instead allows Him to come [again] into close proximity [to “meet”] w/His priest/people. Through it, He “breaks bread” or feasts in fellowship w/His people. Is this not the way Jesus communicates His Passover for us [Luk 22:15]?; Mat 27:46 w/Psa 22:1-31 = Jesus’ reference to the first verse of Psalm 22 is to be understood according to rest of what it says. Given the author’s current plight, it would seem as though God had abandoned him. However as the author reveals, such conclusions can only be drawn based on appearances. In reality, God is close at hand and accomplishing His servant’s deliverance. The author as a result, rejoices and calls for His people to do the same).
1.4. Identifying the atoning sacrifices of the Bible as penal in nature (i.e. punishment for sin) violates the Bible’s definition of sin.
In the OT, atoning sacrifices were required whenever a woman gave birth, or a person touched a dead body, had an emission or suffered certain illnesses (e.g. leprosy) (Lev 12:1-8 w/Luk 2:22-24 = Mary was a sinner for having Jesus if the sacrifice was penal; Num 31:48-50; Lev 15:16-32; Lev 14:1-20). If the sacrifices were meant to function as punishment for sin, then this implies that even good things – or events beyond of our control, can be sinful. Such thinking stands in direct opposition to what the Scripture defines as sin or sinful (1Jo 3:4).
1.5. Jesus’ substitution is in relation to the sacrificial lamb not us with respect to justice.
The Bible identifies Christ as “the lamb who takes away the sin of the world” (Joh 1:29) not “the patsy who paid our penalty.” If Jesus had intended to be our substitute for justice, then why did He continue to enforce the long-standing OT obligation of serving justice before presenting God w/our sacrifice for atonement (Mat 5:23-24)?
1.6. If God allowed another person to receive our punishment – or pay the penalty due to us in order to serve justice, it would not only violate His Law, but make Him a corrupt judge.
The Evangelical/Reformed view of Christ’s death as penal confirms the world’s criticisms of God as the “Cosmic Child-Abuser” and their religion as the West’s most unethical or immoral (e.g. Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins on scapegoating and Christ). According to Scripture, allowing somebody to take our place in punishment or pay the penalty for our sins is strictly and explicitly prohibited (Num 35:31-34; Deu 24:16). For God to allow Jesus to function in that way would therefore make Him a corrupt judge (Deu 27:25).
1.7. If Christ is our penal substitute, then the Christian’s obligation to seek and serve justice is destroyed.
The reason there is so much confusion within Evangelical/Reformed Christianity regarding the issues of discipline, punishment for crime (or sin), forgiveness and repentance is b/c each of these are grounded in a robust obligation to seek and serve justice which is removed the moment one views Christ’s cross-work as penal. True Christianity however – the one defined by the pages of Scripture, knows no such problem. Jesus’ reaffirming of the Law’s continuing authority means that justice remains the foundation of not only God’s throne but also the practice of His people (Psa 89:14; Deu 16:20; Luk 13:1-5 w/Luk 3:8-14 and 18 = Repentance means seeking and serving justice and is at the core of the biblical gospel; Hence Luk 19:1-9 “salvation has come to this house!”).
1.8. If Christ is our penal substitute, then the Christian’s suffering and eventual death are not only unnecessary but also unjust.
The Bible teaches that we suffer (and die) b/c of our sins. In other words, those things represent (one of) the ways God punishes – or makes humanity serve justice, for what they have done (1Pe 4:16-19). This (then) also proves that Jesus’ did not serve as our penal substitute. If so, then all suffering – and even death, in relation to Christians is not only unnecessary but the injustice of double jeopardy (Deu 17:11; Mat 20:23).
CLOSING CONTEMPLATION: If Jesus’ death – or sacrifice for our sins, is not penal, how then does the Bible teach us to understand – or view it?
 The ESV is the only literal translation guilty of this (KJV –“trespass offering”; NAS – “guilt offering”). The closest comparison to the ESV in this respect is the very non-literal translation of the NIV (“penalty”) – a poor choice to follow.
 This is especially true as it relates to the issue of abandonment. Evangelical/Reformed Christianity teaches that the Father had to momentarily abandon (or “forsake”) the Son while on the cross. This reveals an incredibly poor (embarrassing?) understanding of Jesus’ words in Mat 27:46.
 Consider this statement by Matt Slick of CARM.org, “Jesus did what we could not. He took our place (emphasis mine) and bore our sins in his body on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24 – “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree”).” Notice however, Peter doesn’t say Jesus took our place on the cross (or “tree”), only our sins. There is a big difference.
1.1. Dividing the CDC’s total number of deaths (for C-19) by the total number of confirmed cases, produces a worldwide and US survival rate of 97% (749k/20.6m;167k/5.25m).
1.2. Considering that only 21% of the US population has been tested and that 9% test positive means that we should increase the total number of cases (in the US) to 23m ([328m Americans*.79]*.09) rendering a survival rate of 99.4%
1.3. In addition it sb mentioned that many of those recorded as C-19 had pre-existing health issues or their primary cause of death was something else.
1.3.1. On that note, consider this statement made by Professor Walter Ricciardi, an advisor to Italy’s Minister of Health regarding Italy’s reporting of C-19:
“The way in which we code deaths in our country is very generous in the sense that all the people who die in hospitals with the coronavirus are deemed to be dying of the coronavirus. On re-evaluation by the National Institute of Health, only 12 percent of death certificates have shown a direct causality from coronavirus, while 88 percent of patients who [were recorded as C-19 deaths] have at least one pre-morbidity (or pre-existing condition) – many had two or three.”
1.3.2. A recent newspaper headline in Central California posted as its title :“Local virus (COVID-19) casualty was…beloved cowboy (Ken Machado).” However, when one reads the article itself (the following is revealed about Mr. Machado):
“while Ken Machado tested positive for COVID-19 after his death… Ken Machado had a number of existing conditions, including Lyme Disease – which he contracted about 20 years ago – and heart disease. His sister and other family members think these underlying conditions were exacerbated by the COVID-19 illness.
1.3.3. We also learn that Mr.Machado had undergone two major heart surgeries and retired at age 40 due to his Lyme Disease. Additionally, he had been in several significant automobile accidents prior to his death. Yet again, the media posts his death as caused by C-19.
1.3.4. In similar fashion, a death in Lehigh County, WA reads as follows:
“A 61-year-old Warren County man who tested positive for COVID-19 died at a Lehigh Valley hospital. Lehigh County Coroner Eric Minnich confirmed the patient died Friday night at St. Luke’s University Hospital in Fountain Hill. He said the primary cause of the man’s death was a head injury from a fall at home, but that the virus was listed as a contributing factor to his death.”
1.4. All said what that means is that what we are actually looking at as the survival rate for C-19 is closer to 99.9% (since once more, many of the deaths being counted as C-19 were actually caused by other things).
1.5. Now, imagine you were America’s government – or had the power to act in such a capacity. Given the above facts, would you make the decision to place our entire nation in quarantine, not only encroaching on the freedoms of her majority, but doing irreparable damage to her economic infrastructure – as well as causing major civil unrest? Would you make that kind of a choice for something that has a survival rate of 99.9%? To put this in perspective, the survival rate for C-19 is the same as the rate of survival for women giving birth (99.9% survival rate). Do we stop women from having babies because less than one-tenth of a percent may die?
1.6. As I said, the hysteria surrounding this virus is based on feelings – NOT facts. If it were fact based, we would hardly even know C-19 existed (b/c nobody wb talking about it and few people are actually dying from it!).
1.7. The real threat (then) is not the virus but what the virus has revealed about the state of this nation (even the state of our world): We are a nation/world filled w/people who are controlled by their feelings. Hence the reason so many people have signs in their yard that say, “Love is love” (iow: if it feels like love it is love), or so many people claiming to be Christian b/c their hearts tell them they love Jesus [which is the same as saying, “I am a Christian b/c I feel I am a Christian”).
2.1. Feelings don’t think – which means they don’t attempt to discern whether the data/stimuli we are receiving is true or false, good or bad. They are instead like the indicator lights in your car. At their best, all they can do is simply indicate whether that data/stimuli we are receiving agrees or disagrees w/what we are currently (or used) believe to be true or false, good or bad (e.g. former Mormon in bible study who felt bad about having coffee at our bible study: he grew being taught that caffeine was evil).
2.2. At their worst (which can be a frequent occurrence for some people), feelings by-pass what we know (or think) and instead respond strictly according to the data/stimuli coming in at that moment. Someone tells us something is good and we get good feelings or someone tells us something is bad and we get bad feelings with no regard for whether what we are being told agrees or disagrees with what we believe. IOW: we don’t think, we just “feel” our way thru life (I have even met people whose feelings were guided by the weather – bad weather = things are bad; good weather = things are good).
2.3. The really dangerous thing about a person who is driven/living by their feelings is that is they have no (real) control over their life. Feelings don’t ask us before they respond or “feel” the way they do (they just do!). Which means a life of unpredictable havoc and disaster. It is a life characterized by being tossed to and froe; a life of massive instability and manic depressive states (extreme happiness or hope one minute —to extreme gloom and hopelessness the next).
2.4. Another indication that this is (indeed the world we live in today) = Since the late 90’s, manic and bipolar diagnoses have increased over 400%!
2.5. The man building his house on the sand in Mat 7 could be said to be a person who lives according to their feelings since what they reject living by – according to that parable, are the facts. In this case, the most important facts, the facts found in God’s/Jesus’ Word – the Scriptures (and consider the results = His life ends in disaster – eternal disaster).
2.6. This is the reason the Apostle Paul includes in his summary of salvation the attribute of “self-control” – or control over one’s feelings (Act 24:25) since people who lack that – i.e. people who are driven/live by their feelings, will not make it to heaven. Hence the reason also Paul says what he does in 1Co 9:24-27 about “beating his body” into submission so that he is not “disqualified”. He is talking about the fight one must wage against their feelings if they are to get to heaven.
2.7. Making decisions or discerning things via how we feel is like using a spoon to cut your steak. A spoon is great when used for what it was made for (e.g. eating soup), but becomes worthless (even dangerous!) when used for something it was not made for (like cutting a steak!). Which means the old mantra, “follow your heart” is among the worst advice anyone could give (it’s like telling someone to cut their steak w/a spoon).
2.8. All of the above reasons, are why (then) God never tells us to use our feelings to make decisions or discern things in life. The word Scripture uses to describe such actions (making decisions or discerning via our feelings) is “folly”. The Hebrew word means “senselessness” or “mindlessness”. It refers directly to a person operating according to their feelings versus the facts. Hence the reason those exercising folly are oftentimes juxtaposed against those using “knowledge” or “instruction” or “truth” (all words used in the Bible to identify what I am calling “facts”) (e.g. Pro 5:23 = No discipline in re: to a person’s mind – or “minding the facts” means a life of folly or living by our feelings and being “led astray”; Pro 9:13 and 15:2, 14, 21 = Notice the contrast w/knowledge [or facts]; Pro 14:1, 8, 19:3; B/C of the FALL this is where we start life and what will continue to live by if it is not disciplined out of us – Pro 22:15).
3.1. Satan’s first (and most devastating) con against mankind was a play on Eve’s feelings (Gen 3:1-6):
3.1.1. Satan’s first attack against Eve fails to land bc she responds according to the facts (1-3) = Notice she corrects him. God did not (as the serpent implies) say that “any” (or every) tree was off limits, just “the tree in the midst (or middle) of the garden”. Notice (btw) that living according to the facts means precision (it wasn’t all the trees – just one).
3.1.2. Satan (then) changes his strategy. This time he plays to her emotions/feelings (4-5) = The statement, “you will not surely die” followed by “For God knows when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” is an appeal to the woman’s emotions/feelings (he is attempting to elicit the feeling of doubt – and ultimately entitlement – God is keeping from her and the man what should be theirs – the right to also be God!).
3.1.3. The woman follows suit by making the decision to rebel (based not on fact) – but feeling (6) “When the woman saw that the tree…was a delight to the eyes…and was to be desired to make one wise” = These last two statements tell us that what prompted the woman’s action in taking the fruit and giving some to her husband, was motivated entirely by how she felt. In this case, how she felt about the appearance of fruit itself (“a delight to the eyes” is an idiomatic phrase referring to the feeling of pleasure one can experience when looking at something/someone – e.g. “you are a sight for sore eyes” ; the phrase “was to be desired to make one wise” is functioning as superlative to the former phrase. What (then) we are being told is that the feeling of delight – or pleasure the woman was experiencing when looking at the fruit and thinking about the possibility of being wise – or more specifically wise like God, was incredibly strong. Like that of sexual attraction – SoS 2:3 – “w/great delight” = Literally, w/strong sexual desire) And b/c of such intense feelings, she makes the worst decision in all of human history – one that plunges mankind into a world of sin and death.
3.1.4. This (btw) is one the reasons God says women are never to be shepherds/pastors in the church (1Ti 2:14 = The woman’s potential to be deceived thru her feelings is higher than the man’s. Hence the reason Peter calls her the “weaker vessel” in 1Pe 3 and commands husbands to understand and help her w/this).
3.2. So committed is Satan to preying on us (and manipulating us) in this way (thru our feelings) that he even tried to do so in relation to Jesus (Mat 4:1-10) = Each of the things that Satan does are meant to push Jesus emotionally or pressure Him to act according to how He was feeling in each of those moments – whether it be to make bread when he felt hungry, or to be delivered by God when He felt in danger, or to compromise when He felt the power of being king of the world. Yet (notice) how Jesus responded – He fought Satan off by standing on the facts found in God’s Word (v4, 7, 10).
3.3. It is therefore no understatement to say that our feelings are our greatest enemies – the thing that will plunge us into a life of destruction (now) – as well as – for all eternity (2Pe 2:12 = Living by feelings [or “instinct”] is living like animals who are “born to be caught and destroyed”).
4.1. This is Paul’s instruction in Romans 12:1-2 and it is some of the most important in all of the Bible on this subject (Rom 12:1-2)
As mentioned in the main point, there are two parts or steps:
4.1.1 Sacrifice (or die to) our feelings
(1) “Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God…” = What Paul is getting at by offering or sacrificing our bodies is our feelings. We are to die to them as that which controls our lives. This understanding of the word “bodies” is consistent w/how the term is understood elsewhere (in the Scripture). The “body” (or our “flesh”) is often associated w/emotions or feelings whereas the mind – or our soils/spirits are associated w/facts.
The first step to survival (then) is (again), to die to our feelings (or that way of living). This is also how we become NOT ONLY “holy and acceptable to God” but also ABLE TO operate (or live) according to facts.
“which is your spiritual act of worship” (See Fn) = “Your rational service” [definition of rational] = Operating according to reason – or the facts]. Paraphrasing (then) everything Paul is saying in this verse: Die to your feelings since this is how you serve God in a pleasing way and (are able to) operate according to the facts.
Such instruction by Paul (btw) is why Christianity (at least biblical Christianity) should never be viewed as escapism – or against science. Which means statements made against Christianity like, “science is real” are asinine.
The problem is not our denial of science or what is called general revelation – the evidence found in the physical universe. It is instead the lens we choose to view/interpret it thru. We choose a God-centered lens, whereas the world’s is godless or man-centered. Which is Paul’s next point/step of instruction. TO become people of fact, we must NOT ONLY sacrifice (or die) to feelings as that which guides us (which btw is a moral choice that we wb judged according to – did we do it – or not?), BUT ALSO…
4.1.2. Make sure that what we hold as the facts are consistent (or being transformed) by God’s Word
(2) “Do not be conformed to this world” = Do not let the world determine truth/reality for you. That is NOT the lens we are to be using to interpret our lives or the world around us (e.g. your view marriage, your view of parenting, your view of stress or how to handle it, your view of sex or what is appropriate, your view of vacation and why you should go; your view of self or the idea of self-value, your view of happiness or fulfillment, your view of how we or the universe came into existence!).
Oftentimes what the world communicates as fact in re: to those things is PURE FICTION (and more often than not, propaganda to push an anti-god, satanic agenda -one that people living according to their feelings are blind to see – e.g. evolution, date nights w/your kids, stress-relievers).
“But be transformed by the renewal of your mind” = What Paul is referring to (here) is what happens when we use God’s Word to interpret/determine reality/truth in our every area of our life. All of sudden we are “transformed” into people of fact (versus fiction). We (for the first time) , understand the world the way God made it – and according to how He sees it. Which gives us the additional ability to test and “discern” what “His will” is (His “good and acceptable and perfect” will). Which means also (then) we can live the kind of lives that not only bring Him glory – but avoid the pitfalls and snares laid by our feelings. Since He is the One Who made it and knows best how to live in it, following His WORD for determining reality/truth/facts means (for the first time) possessing not only the ability – but the wisdom, to navigate thru its treacherous waters (since the map we have is from it maker!). Hence the reason he calls it a “renewal of the mind.” Before such ability and wisdom, our minds we (once more) tied to our feelings (and ready for shipwreck).
So then as our CLOSING CONTEMPLATION for TODAY,
How do my conclusions (or the math I did in the first point) demonstrate the instruction found in Rom 12 – OR that I am (by such conclusions) operating by (not just facts) – but facts consistent w/God’s Word?
B/C math is from God. Understood thru the lens of Scripture, it is how He made everything. John 1 says He spoke it into existence. But what He spoke (according to its design) are mathematical equations. As a matter of fact, everything (including words themselves!) are math. Which means that one of the best (God-given) tools we have for discerning fact (versus fiction) is math (Hence the reason one of my old bosses used to say, “numbers don’t lie”). It is therefore a part of how we live as people of fact – or people who are pleasing to God; a people who are no longer guided by feelings.
***The POINT (however) NOT TO MISS: God calls us to live (not by our feelings) but the facts. And that includes making sure that whatever we believe to be “the facts” is consistent w/the testimony of God’s Word (Isa 8:20!)
I would assume that if you were to take a poll, most Americans (Christian or not) would tell you that if there is a God, then all people are welcome to Him (IOW: He loves everybody). And for the ones claiming to be Christian, the Scripture they would appeal to as their support wb (Joh 3:16).
Here however is the problem w/that: God loving (or opening the way of salvation to all races of people – versus only the Jews) – which is what Joh 3:16 is talking about when it mentions God loving “the world”, is not the same thing as saying all people are welcomed to God.
There is criteria for coming to God beyond just your ethnic background. In this case, there is the requirement of also believing – or receiving the gospel message, which begs this important question, who are those people? or (better yet) how do we identify them? How do we identify those who are truly believing?
Before we pursue this any further, allow me to share w/you why this matters (or should matter to you) = B/C Jesus doesn’t want you wasting your time attempting to make disciples out of people who are not welcomed by God (Mat 7:6) = w/o getting into who exactly represents hogs and dogs (we will do that here in a minute), notice that – at the very least – there are people (those fitting this description) who Jesus instructs us not to “give what is precious/valuable” to – no doubt referring to salvation; IOW: there are certain people Jesus doesn’t want us wasting our time on (as it re: to salvation).
In similar fashion, Jesus instructs His disciples before sending them out to evangelize (Mat 10:1-7, 14).
John the Baptist also understood this and it affected the way he treated those who came to him for baptism (Luk 3:4-7).
Does this mean we don’t evangelize people? NO. But it does mean we understand that not everyone who says they believe when they hear the gospel is welcomed by God – or truly believing (even though they may say otherwise).
BTW: if you haven’t noticed, I am using these two terms synonymously – to truly believe is to be welcomed by God and vice versa. And when we identify that somebody is NOT – we move on; we stop wasting our time (until they are).
SO HOW do we identify WHO that is? WHO are those welcomed to God – to receive His salvation by coming into covenant relationship w/His Son? What makes them something other than “hogs” and “dogs”? What identifies them as those truly believing and ripe for salvation?
HERE is the criteria (and therefore who we sb focusing our attention and time on versus “kicking the dust off our sandals and moving on”) In its antithesis, this list (therefore) also identifies who Jesus is referring to as the hogs and dogs (meaning if they don’t meet this criteria – even though they may claim to believe or want to be saved, then they are the spiritual hogs/dogs of this world who we are NOT to continue wasting our evangelistic efforts on). The CRITERIA wb delineated as FOUR ATTRIBUTES (and all are necessary – iow: they need to be possessing all four to be welcomed by God and ripe for His salvation – otherwise what you wb selling to them is a fire insurance policy that will NOT pan out).
*The remaining 3 are not only also necessary (but also) what it means to be repentant – which is quite often the way being welcomed by God is summarized in Scripture. Repentance also represents the prerequisite to believing (Mar 1:15). Keep that (therefore) in mind as we go thru these remaining points (they are what must define repentance if it is to be true and welcomed by God).
QUESTION: What about Paul before he was converted? Wasn’t he a person hating righteousness in his persecution of Christians? NO – 1Ti 1:12-15 = Jesus came to save sinners – even the worst! BUT (as Paul makes clear from his own life) that still requires being a sinner whose heart seeks to be righteousness or not opposed to God’s Law. This too was Paul – Phi 3:6; Paul’s problem was Christological not Soteriological – i.e. he didn’t possess a problem w/the mechanics of God’s salvation – which has always been about righteousness/law. He failed to recognize Jesus as the Messiah – which was fixed by Jesus on the Damascus Road – Act 9).
The point NOT to miss = People who are welcomed to God are only those who (again) are not opposed to righteousness or His Law. They are people who long (“hunger” and “thirst”) for such things in their life (they desire to live a righteous life though that may not be how they are currently living).
(Luk 22: 39-43) = The thief that Jesus is willing to take to heaven is the one who embraces the justice he is receiving as confirmed not only by his confession (“we justly are being punished, for we are receiving the due reward for our deeds”) but also his rebuke of the other thief (“Do you not fear God?”…This man has done nothing wrong”). As w/the other points/examples, notice he is also the one seeking Jesus (of his own volition) – versus Jesus seeking him – or attempting to convince him. No doubt, this man’s embrace of justice and willingness to pay for his sins was a position he had come to before his actual execution. And like Zacchaeus, it made him welcomed to God (for salvation).
Those welcomed by God are (therefore) NOT those always playing the victim – or making excuses for their bad behavior. They are (instead) those demonstrating (of their own volition!) ownership for their actions.
Paul reveals his authority as God’s leader (or to dispense salvation) to be the reason he was legitimate and the Corinthians could have (real) comfort/confidence in their salvation (2Co 3:1-4). People welcomed by God are not only thankful for such authority on earth, but comforted by it. They see and happily embrace that God has established such authority. Hence the reason they are (also) not turned off by His Law. Only rebels – those not welcomed by God, hate authority and laws.
This is what James is referring to in (Jam 5:14-15) = Notice those eligible to be “forgiven” and “raise[d] up” on the last day – i.e. those welcomed by God for salvation – who are on their deathbeds (“sick” as in dying), are only those who understand that such authority has been given to God’s people – or more specially, the church’s “elders” versus something they can do by themselves (or their Christian friend/family member) thru prayer (the evangelical view = you save yourself).
If we meet people who bock – or are offended at the church (or her leaders possessing such authority), then this sb a sure sign they are not those God wants us wasting any more time w/. They are not welcomed by Him (2Pe 2:10 – false teachers and false professors “despise authority”).
CLOSING CONTEMPLATION = Evangelism and making disciples is about finding those people welcomed by God – not keeping people out of hell. As such, the only people we sb endeavoring w/after our gospel communication (to them) or evangelism of them are those who demonstrate the “soil of a right heart”. A person whose life manifests those attributes just discussed.
1.1. (Isa 2:1-3) = Among other things, these verses tell us that in a time future to Isaiah (“the latter days”), there will again be a “house of the LORD (or God)”. What will make it distinct from the previous ones is that: 1) it will be “established as the highest of the mountains and shall be lifted up above the hills” –meaning it will possess more authority than the former house of God, AND 2) “all the nations [or “many peoples”] shall [“come” or] flow to it” – meaning its membership will include not just Jews –but Gentiles as well (nations/peoples = Gentiles).
1.2. According to the Apostle Paul, this prophecy has been fulfilled in the New Covenant church (Eph 2:11-3:10) = “Gentiles” are now “fellow citizens” and “members” of God’s new house (or “household”) – i.e. “the church”, whose superior authority – i.e. “the manifold wisdom of God”, is “now be(ing) made known” to God’s former house, “rulers and authorities” (see also Eph 1:21b-23 “gave Him as head over all things to the church” = Jesus’s superior authority resides in the church as God’s new house).
1.3. Paul directly calls the church, God’s house in (1Ti 3:15 “household” [Grk. oikos] = House).
2.1. Under the Old Covenant , God’s house was the physical building where His Spirit resided (e.g. the Tabernacle and Temple).
2.2. Under the New Covenant, God’s Spirit resides in His church – not a physical building, but the physical assembly of His ordained pastors and people gathered together for the purpose of carrying out His prescribed duties: corporate praise and prayer, sermons, sacraments and judgments. When we gather in that physical way for those sacred purposes, we become God’s house and that place becomes sacred space.
2.3. As it re: to a physical assembly vs a virtual assembly (e.g. ZOOM or YouTube church): The paradigm in Scripture is a physical assembly in a geographic location (e.g. Act 5:12 – “all together”) = Physical assembly”; This was true even under the Old Covenant. Though God resided in a physical building (or on a mountain top), His presence was only witnessed in that place when the people were physically assembled together (1Ki 8:1-11; Exo 19:10-17; Psa 50:1-5); (1Co 14:24-25) = It is the impact of the physical assembly in corporate proclamation, praise and prayer that causes the unbeliever to acknowledge God and His power among His people. Such tangible and personal experience cannot be replicated in a virtual setting. The physical assembly is therefore absolutely critical to the expansion and advancement of God’s kingdom (i.e. evangelism/making disciples).
2.4. As it re: a physical assembly vs a physical building: (1Co 3:16-17 – “you” [pl.] = refers to the Corinthian assembly) = The physical assembly are considered the “temple”/house of God. Same idea is communicated in (Eph 2:22 and 1Pe 2:5); (Rom 16:5 w/1Co 16:19 w/Col 4:15 – “the church in their/her house”) = What constitutes the “church” is separate from the house where the people met. It is instead associated with their physical assembly in that place; (1Co 14:34-35) = If the church – or God’s house under the NC is a physical building or permanent sacred space (versus it becoming sacred space only when there is the physical assembly of God’s people doing God’s business) then this verse becomes problematic for any family whose home doubles as the church since that would mean women could never speak of spiritual matters while in their houses!
2.5. As it re: a physical assembly that includes an ordained pastor (Act 11:19-26) = The “great number who believed” only become a “church” after the arrival of “Barnabas” an ordained pastor from the Jerusalem church (Barnabas was an apostle. Apostles were all ordained men – Act 14:14 w/Joh 20:21-23). This paradigm traces its roots back to the OT and the sacerdotal system established by God (Exo 19:5-6 w/Rev 1:6 and 5:10) = A kingdom that possesses ordained/anointed priests – i.e. those able to mediate relationship between God and humanity. This is also what designates a people as a holy nation – the fact that they possess ordained/anointed priests. Christ is the church’s high priest (or chief/covenant mediator – Heb 3:1 w/9:15, 12:24; also 1Ti 2:5 = He is the “one” or only high priest thru which people can be saved – see Col 2:15). However, consistent w/the OC priesthood, Jesus has (under the NC) ordained/anointed other priests to be His personal mediators or representatives for the people (Mat 16:19, 18:20; Joh 20:21-23; Heb 13:17). Hence the reason, there can be no legitimate church – or house of God w/o legitimate ordained/anointed priests (i.e. teaching elders/pastors).
2.6. As it re: God’s physical assembly for the purpose of carrying out God’s prescribed duties: (Act 15:4, 6, 12, 22 – “all the assembly” w/1Co 5:4 – “assembled in the name of the Lord”) = Physical assembly for the purpose of judgment; (Act 20:7 – “we were gathered together” w/1Co 11:17-22 – “when you come together”) = Physical assembly for the purpose of sacraments. Notice Paul makes a distinction between the sacred eating of the LT and regular eating revealing that not all assemblies constitute “church” – but only those gathering to carry out God’s prescribed duties; (1Co 14:26 – “when you come together”) = Physical assembly for the purpose of corporate praise and a sermon; (Act 4:31 – “were gathered together”) = Physical assembly for the purpose of corporate prayer (Act 2:42-44 – “were together…attending the temple together”) = Physical assembly for the purpose of sermons, sacraments and corporate prayer.
2.7. How many people constitute a “church” or God’s house? As little as two or three where there is also an ordained pastor and their physical assembly together is to carry out God’s prescribed duties (Mat 18:17-20) = This assembly (though small – “two or three gathered in My Name”) is called “the church” b/c they are carrying out the prescribed duty of judgment w/ordained pastors (the only ones who can “bind and loose” – see again Mat 16:19 and Joh 20:21-23).
3.1. IOW: It is to be integrative vs segregated worship (e.g. of segregated – COVID 19 restriction of “no more than ten people”).
3.2. (Exo 10:9; Deu 31:12-13; Lev 23:3; Neh 8:1-2 w/Act 1:14, 2:42-47, 5:12, 20:7 w/Heb 10:25; Also 1Co 1:10 w/11:17).
4.1. As it re: God’s command for worship in (or as His house): (Psa 135:1-3; Psa 96:7-9, 99:1-5, 9 w/Isa 60:13 and Eze 43:6-7; Psa 100:1-4, 150:1-6).
4.2. As it re: the blessings and salvation associated with His house: (Psa 20:1-9, 23:6, 24:3-5, 26:8, 12, 27:4-5, 36:7-9, 50:2, 56:12-13, 65:1-4, 68:17-18,26, 35 w/Eph 4:8-16; Psa 73:12-17, 27, 84:1-12, 92:12-15, 98:2-3, 143:1-5).
5.1. (Heb 10:25-26)
5.2. This is why the church during times of persecution has always sought to meet – even secretly. For example, during Decius’ persecution in the 3rd century, the church met secretly in the underground tombs of others, because they knew the importance of physical assembly (of being the church) in order to be in God’s house and continuing to receive His blessings/salvation.
CLOSING CONTEMPLATION: Consider how far adrift America’s current sanctions against the church are from her founding fathers and their stated desire for this nation as communicated in the Bill of Rights and the First Amendment of our Constitution,
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…or the right of the people to peaceably assemble…”
CLOSING CHALLENGE: Pray for our government! That they (like our American forefathers) would again see the church (or God’s New Covenant house) as “First Amendment essential business” (essential even to them!) and give us back our freedom to assemble as one.
IOW: we need God’s forgiveness (to get to heaven) which requires us practicing forgiveness.
(Mat 6:12-15, 18:21-35)
(Mat 6:12-15 – “debt” = our sin; “deliver us from evil” = sin’s curse/God’s wrath; Rom 5:1; Col 1:20-22; Eph 2:11-17; Gal 6:1-10; 2Co 2:5-8; Isa 55:7; Num 14:19-24; Mat 18:21-35).
(Col 3:12-13; 2Chr 7:14; Luk 13:3, 5; 1Jo 1:9; Mat 18:21-35; Luk 17:1-10)
Hence the reason we don’t forgive the apostate and separate from false Christians (1Co 5:11; 2Jo 1:9-11)
Such things can require other things/criteria (e.g. marriage = trust; eldership = being above reproach) that no longer make the recovery of those things possible in the near future or ever (e.g. pastor guilt of infidelity – Pro 6:32-33; 1Ti 3:2).
Hence the reason there is still a judgment according to deeds awaiting God’s people—and the Apostle Paul (though forgiven) lived striving to be faithful –b/c he knew that if his record (after coming to Christ) was not characterized by faithfulness (but instead sin and repentance) then he would still be condemned as guilty of another crime (apostasy/unrepentance). IOW: He knew our justification/pardon/forgiveness does not remove what we did from our record. It is not expungement (1Co 9:24-27 w/2Co 5:9-10; Col 1:20-23; Deu 29:18-20; “pardon” – Isa 55:7; Num 14:19).
What I desire = Wanting more/less that what justice (God’s law/justice) requires (e.g. wanting a mercy that negates justice; wanting personal retaliation versus pursuing justice thru the system established by the governing authorities – Rom 12:19-13:4; deciding to be angry after justice has been served according to God’s law).
What we have learned (over the years in relation to the subject of) church polity (i.e. how the leadership of the covenant community/church is to be structured):
1.1. Though there were other elders in the OCC (e.g. heads of each tribe/clan), God established the entire clan/tribe of Levi to be His “sacred elders” in two offices: priests and Levites (Exo 19:6, 28:1 w/29:1, 32:26-29 and Num 8:14//Two sacred offices during the reign of David and the kings: priests and Levites – 1Chr 15:11, 23:2, 24:5, 31; 2Chr 8:14-15, 11:13, 17:8, 23:4-6, 18, 24:5, 29:4, 11//Hence Num 12:1-12, 16:1-4, 35; 2Chr 26:16-21).
1.2. God’s plan for the NCC/Church would be the same: priests and Levites (Isa 66:20-21; Rev 1:6, 5:10 w/Exo 19:6; Since the CC would no longer be tribal, these distinctions would be distributed as “gifts” – Eph 4:4-11).
1.3. God also established a sacred king for the OCC who functioned as the chief elder/shepherd/pastor of the people and overseer of the priests and Levites (1Chr 11:1-3 = David).
1.4. The same would likewise be true for the NCC (1Pe 5:1-4 – “chief shepherd” = Jesus).
In the NCC/Church, the priests and Levites are identified (biblically) as “teaching shepherds/pastors” and “shepherds/pastors”. Historically, this distinction has been known as teaching elders and ruling elders (Eph 4:11-12).
Like the priests, the teaching elders are anointed, whereas the Levites are (only) appointed:
3.1. Anointed (Ordained) = The authority of the Holy Spirit has been placed on that person by God (e.g. Moses, Jesus, the apostle Paul – Gal 1:15-24 w/Act 9:15) directly or through the laying on of hands by another anointed person (e.g. Moses to Aaron and His sons – Num 29:1-7) (Hebrew word for “ordain” means, “to fill the hand w/divine authority for atonement and judgment” – Exo 28:41, 29:7-9 w/Exo 30:10 and Deu 17:8-13// Exo 30:31-33; Lev 8:1-5, 12, 22, 33//1Ti 4:14 w/2Ti 1:6, 2:22 w/Tit 1:5 w/Act 14:23 w/Act 13:1-3 w/Luk 4:1-14 = fasting and prayer is another sign of anointing [along w/laying on of hands -see again Num 29:1-7]).
3.2. This (again) is the designation of the OC/NC priest (or teaching elder) (Rom 15:16 = Paul refers to himself as a priest; Act 21:18 = Notice that James is identified as separate from the other elders [It does not say “James and the other elders were present” but “James and all the elders…” identifying him as among the elders yet somehow separate/distinct]. This distinction strongly implies that James was the church’s anointed/teaching elder and the rest were simply ruling elders).
3.3. Those teaching elders who are good “examples” to the flock are promised a king’s “crown” (1Pe 5:1-4 w/Rev 3:1 – “angel” = pastor of Sardis w/11 – “you…your” is singular; see Rev 4:4 = Elders are the ones w/”crowns”; “If you have been called to be a king, do not stoop to anything less”).
3.4. The OC/NC priest’s (or teach elder’s) official duties in re: to the Church/CC (teaching, judgments, blessings, prayers, issuing of salvation/loosing of sins through the sacraments, binding of sins/declarations of apostasy) are to be viewed as backed by Christ in heaven and therefore effectual on earth (Lev 10:10-11, 17, 16:24 and 30; Num 6:24-27, 29:1-7; Deu 17:8-13, 31:9-13; 1Chr 17:6, 9 w/23:4, 26:29; 2Chr 6:41, 19:11, 31:4; Mal 2:1-9//1Ti 1:3-11, 4:13-16; 2Ti 2:25, 4:2; Act 6:4; Psa 132:13-16 = NC priests w/Mat 16:18-19, 18:17-20 w/Joh 20:21-23; 1Pe 3:21 w/Jam 5:14-16// Num 15:30-31 w/Mat 12:22-32). They are the CC’s representative to God and Christ’s representative to the CC (Exo 28:29-30; Heb 13:17).
“[The priest] it is that must put up prayers for you to God, who will readily hear them, because God will receive them as offered by one that he hath himself chosen to this office.” – Josephus
3.5. Appointed (Deputized) = Commissioned by the CC to function as authorities under the authority (or oversight) of/in submission to the OC/NC priests (Num 8:9-10//Num 3:9, 32, 4:19 = The priests “appoint” them to their duties; Num 4:27-28, 8:1; 1Pe 5:5-6 – “younger” = Ruling elders [see again context in vv1-4]).
3.6. The duties of the OC/NC Levite (or ruling elder) are to:
1) help in teaching, judgment, and administering of the sacraments (Neh 8:1-8//2Chr 31:4//Num 18:2, 6; 1Chr 23:3-4; 2Chr 19:1-11 = Though the final judgment belongs to the anointed priest, the Levites help as judges; Act 21:19-25 = Though James is the official rep for the church, the judgment is viewed as collective [v20 – “they said to him…v24 – “Do therefore what we tell you…v25 – we have sent a letter with our judgment”]. The teaching elder’s decision is not w/o the support/help of his ruling elders; See Act 15:4-22 = Though James is the final decision maker, his decision has the support of the elders [ruling] and CC – Consider again 2Chr 19:8 = Lay leaders can assist in judgments for the CC – but always under the authority of God’s sacred elders//Act 8:12 w/2Chr 29:34 and 30:16-17),
2) protect the Church, the CC and OC/NC priests (or teaching elders) from harm (Num 1:53, 3:6-8, 18:3-4),
3) provide for the non-spiritual needs of the CC/Church (1Chr 26:20-32; 2Chr 31:11-19 w/Act 6:1-3).
3.7. This (once more) is the designation of the OC/NC Levite (or ruling elder). Like the teaching elders, those who “serve well” are promised a reward (1Ti 3:13).
The designations in 1Timothy 3:1-12 refer to teaching elders (vv1-7, See especially v2) and ruling elders (vv8-10, 12) with verse 11 in reference to the wives’ of all sacred elders. This (then) in contrast to our prior understanding which viewed the latter section (vv 8-12) as referring to a category among members – both men and women referred to as “diakonos” (literally, “ministers” or “ministering members”). The new understanding is more congruent w/God’s established church polity which includes two sacred offices versus one (as previously understood). As further support, it should be noted that the term “minister” is used exclusively of the priests and the Levites in the OT when referring to those who serve/minister in God’s house (the context of 1Ti 3:1-12 – see vv 14-15; e.g. Deu 18:5-7).
What does practicing the justice of Jesus look like in our lives? Practicing equity. You can’t have justice without equity.
Equity = to make fair/level (e.g. level the playing field). Luke 3:3-6; Equity is what makes justice truly just. Psalm 99:4
The Laws that Create or Achieve Equity (or Fairness)
3 questions to be answered about this text.
Question #1 – What is going on?
Question #2 – What exactly are these three virtues?
Question #3 – Why should they be important to us today?
Answer #1 – God’s people (covenant community) are on the brink of divine disaster. (Micah 1:1-9; 2:3-4; 3:12; 5:15; 6:13-15).
Why is this the case?
Answer #2 – The Three Virtues
2.1 – The Practice of Justice – protecting the innocent / punishing the guilty / no partiality (Deut 16:18-20; 25:1). God is seen in judgement against His own people (Micah 6:2); He is impartial (1 Peter 1:17); Practicing justice is equated with being spirit-filled (Micah 3:8); This would define the ministry of Jesus (Isaiah 1:27; 9:6-7); (Pro 21:3; Amo 5; Matthew 5:23; Micah 6:6-7); never passing judgement on someone without the necessary evidence (Deut 17:6; Mat 18; 2 Cor 13; Num 35:30)
2.2 – The Provision of Mercy – love kindness (Mic 6:8); compassion = mercy (Lam 3:22); Loving Justice in order to provide mercy (Mat 9:13); Strong protected the week – no needy among them (Acts 4; Deut 15:11; Prov 31:9); Justice and Mercy go hand in hand (Psa 82:3-4)
2.3 – The Preaching of Faithfulness (Micah 6:8; Zep 2:3; Jam 4:6; Mat 18:1-4; Phi 2:8); The Gospel requires faithfulness in order to be saved. Evangelism is telling others about the end-game. Where does everything end, as the means for motivation (Luke 13). Every person will be judged according to their deeds. Fear that is necessary for motivation is what we are most hesitant to share with others; A pulpit where obedience to, and understanding of, God’s Law is central. (Deut 4; Mat 5:19 – careful to ALL of God’s Law; 1 Tim 1:7; Mat 28:20); Part of Jesus’ Messianic ministry (Micah 4:1-2; Acts 20:26-27); Neglect nothing – be careful to all of it (Deut 5:31-32); Who are the righteous? Those who do what is just and right – acting faithfully. (Ezekiel 18:5-9)
Answer #3 – These three virtues represent what is to define God’s house/family in the New Covenant. They are to most visibly characterize us as Christians and a church today. (Mat 23:23). These three virtues are the same as what is listed in Micah 6:8 and are to be considered the litmus test for any Christian/Church today.
Although existing as one of the Bible’s most important topics, God’s grace is also one of its most misunderstood. This is due in large part to Evangelical Christianity, the predominant false version of Christianity in the United States.
1.1. That it never negates justice or is extended to the undeserving.
“Anytime God withholds justice, he is giving grace.” – R.C. Sproul
“Grace is getting what you don’t deserve.” – Stuart Briscoe
Though God’s grace is unmerited (or a gift), this in no way means it is given to those ineligible to receive it (either b/c they refuse to do what justice requires or justice in their case, cannot be fulfilled). In the Bible, the only time grace is extended is when justice has been fulfilled and those receiving it are deserving/eligible (i.e. they fear God/are seeking righteousness or justice/are repentant/can repent or fulfill justice) (Dan 9:1-17; Amo 5:14-15; Act 10:34-35; Isa 66:2; Luk 3:3-14, 13:1-5; Psa 33:5 w/Exo 23:7; Pro 3:34 w/Jam 4:6 and 1Pe 5:5; Eph 6:24; Heb 12:15-17 – “no chance to repent”; e.g. Luk 19:1-10).
1.2. That salvation is (or always has been) by grace.
Jesus extending to eligible individuals to whom He owes no prior obligation, the favor/gift of entering into a (marriage) covenant relationship w/Him for the purpose of receiving His blessed promises – including the blessing of salvation and covenant legacy (i.e. certain descendants gaining salvation/covenant relationship w/God upon their creation). We receive such grace (or Jesus’ gracious offer of covenant relationship) through faith (our first act of trust and submission) (Joh 1:14, 16-17; Act 11:23, 13:43, 14:3, 26, 15:11, 18:27, 20:24, 32; Rom 3:24; Eph 2:8-9; Heb 4:16; 1Pe 1:10, 13).
|SALVATION HISTORY & GRACE|
|1. Adam|| N/A (created in covenant)
|2. Noah||GRACE (faith in God/Christ)
(Gen 6:8 – “favor”/grace; Heb 11:7; 1Pe 3:19-20 w/2Pe 2:5 – “preacher” [1Ti 2:7; 2Ti 1:11)
Clean laws/covenant signs (sacrifice) & Moral commands (Gen 8:20-9:7)
|3. Abraham||GRACE (faith in God/Christ)
(Gen 15:6; Joh 8:56; Rom 4:1-3)
Clean laws/covenant signs (sacrifice, circumcision) & Moral commands (Gen 17:1-14)
|4. Descendants of Abraham: Jews (Old Covenant)||N/A (covenant legacy/created in covenant)
Jews’ “boast” or claim was being the descendants of Abraham and therefore those grandfathered into covenant relationship w/God b/c of his works (Gen 17:7-8 w/Gen 22:16-18; Lev 26:44-455; Deu 4:31, 7:6-9; Joh 8:33a, 39a; Rom 9:4; Psa 22:10)
Codified by Moses: Clean laws/covenant signs (sacrifice, circumcision, Sabbaths, separation; Lev 1-16) & Moral commands (Deu 5:32-33, 28:1-2, 30:11-16; Lev 18:5 w/Gal 3:12 and Rom 4:4) (Exo 24:7-8)
|5. Jews/Gentiles (New Covenant)||GRACE (faith in God/Christ)
In re: to Gentiles (Eph 2:8-13 = No claim/boasting for 1st generation Gentile Christians since we have no covenant legacy)
In re: to the Jew: though they still possess covenant legacy, they must put faith in Christ to be saved since the prior means of justification (thru the Law) were temporary/insufficient (Gal 2:15-21, 3:15-29; Act 15:11; Rom 11:28-29)
In re: to Jews/Gentiles (Rom 4:5-16 w/3:24-31; Mat 3:9)
Qualified by Christ: Clean laws/covenant signs (sacrifice, circumcision, Sabbaths and separation = baptism and the LT, Col 2:11-13; 1Co 5:6-8) and moral commands (Mat 5:17-20 – e.g. cap crimes = 1Co 5:1-5) (1Pe 1:1-2 w/Exo 24:7-8)
|6. Descendants of Christ: Jews/Gentiles (New Covenant)||N/A (covenant legacy/created in covenant)
(Act 2:38-39 w/Gen 17:7-8 w/Col 2:11-12)
SAME AS ABOVE (Phi 2:12-16)
“Anytime God withholds justice He is giving grace” – R.C. Sproul
How we know it is indeed myth: (B/C)…
1.1. It encourages the toleration of evil versus the pursuit of justice as the key to human flourishing.
1.2. It makes both grace and justice arbitrary and partial.
1.3. It infers that God had to compromise His throne, witness and gospel in order to fill heaven.
1.4. It teaches that a person’s moral behavior will not ultimately determine their eternal destiny at the final judgment.
1.5. It promotes the most sinister and popular false gospel identified in New Testament.
1.6. It creates an obstacle for the rest of the world in viewing the Christian religion as the truth.
“Grace is getting what you don’t deserve.” – Stuart Briscoe
2.1. Names of several (other) well-known evangelicals who have propagated this particular myth:
2.1.1. Adrian Rogers
2.1.2. Skip Heitzig
2.1.3. A.W. Tozer –“Grace is the good pleasure of God that inclines him to bestow benefits on the undeserving.”
2.1.4. Matthew Henry – “Grace is the free underserved goodness and favor of God.”
2.2. Why this erroneous view of grace creates an obstacle for the Evangelical to accepting the biblical gospel of Christ•Covenant•Church (i.e. we gain salvation by faith in Christ, but must maintain it by faithfulness to His covenant laws and church) =
Like the previous point, this myth communicates that salvation (or Jesus’ saving grace) comes w/o conditions – including the condition of faithfulness. It teaches that the reason Jesus chooses to initially extend grace – or continue extending grace, is never based on that person’s behavior/character. Accordingly, all those receiving grace bear no distinction from those who don’t (since once more – no one deserves it). Texts used to support this view would include (Eph 2:8-9; this view is a corollary to the equally mythical belief/doctrine known as “unconditional election” – i.e., those God chooses to save is based on nothing He sees in them prior to His choice).
2.3. How we know this understanding of grace is also a myth: (B/C)…
2.3.1. The Bible teaches that grace is unmerited – but never undeserved.
Unmerited favor = favor given BY someone who is under no obligation to give it; e.g., a gift
Undeserved favor – favor given TO someone who was not eligible to receive it; e.g., recent college scam
2.3.2. Biblical grace always has conditions.
By faith in Christ we gain a covenant relationship w/Him that must be maintained thru faithful obedience to all of His laws and His church in order to be saved.
MYTH #1. Grace means we or God are withholding judgment/justice.
1.1. Examples of this understanding of grace in the teaching of well known evangelicals:
“Justice is getting what you deserve…grace is getting what you don’t deserve.” – Stuart Briscoe
“We live in a world of earning, deserving, and merit, and these result in judgment. That is why everyone wants and needs grace. Judgment kills. Only grace makes alive.” – Justin Holcomb
“Anytime God withholds justice He is giving grace” – R.C. Sproul
“Grace short circuits God’s wrath [or judgment]…so that only the light of his love remains for believers.” – A.W. Tozer
1.2. The primary source of the Evangelical’s understanding of grace? Martin Luther.
“The Law [or justice] works wrath in its accusing and judging role… [whereas] the gospel [or] grace forgives…[and] makes alive.”
1.3. Why this erroneous view of grace creates an obstacle for the Evangelical to viewing the message of Christ•Covenant•Church as the biblical/saving gospel =
B/C it teaches that Christ can (and does) unconditionally pardon people of their sins. IOW: That faithfulness is not a condition of salvation but rather, Christ can (and does) forego the justice/judgement that should be served against the unfaithful and instead sends (or “graces”) them to heaven (provided they have faith) (texts misinterpreted to support this thinking would include 2Ti 2:13).
1.4. The consequences of this erroneous view of grace as unconditional pardon/withholding of justice (or) How we know its unbiblical (1Th 5:21; Act 17:11):
1.4.1. It establishes the toleration of evil versus the pursuit of justice as the key to human flourishing (Isa 26:9 10; Isa 5:15 20; Deu 16:20, 19:21; Ecc 8:11; Amo 5:14 15)
1.4.2. It makes both grace and justice arbitrary and partial (When do we show one and when the other? How do we show one and not become guilty of partiality in relation to those we do not show the same to?)
1.4.3. It infers that God had to compromise His throne, witness and gospel in order to fill heaven Psa 89:14, 97:2; Exo 23:7; Pro 11:21; Gal 6:7 10; Jer 46:28; Psa 98:9, Psa 99:1 9; Isa
1.4.4. It teaches that a person’s deeds will not ultimately determine their eternal destiny at the final judgment (Rev 20:11 15; Rom 2:6 11; 2Co 5:9 10; Jer 32:19)
1.4.5. It promotes the most sinister and popular false gospel identified in the New Testament (Jud 1:4).
1.4.6. It creates an obstacle for the rest of the world in viewing the Christian religion as the truth (How can a religion so capricious and ultimately unjust be the answer? One of the biggest reasons people reject Christianity is b/c the evangelical version of heaven means spending eternity in a place filled w/unjust people the same people who made their lives a living hell while on earth!) (1Jo 3:10).
CLOSING CHALLENGE/CONTEMPLATION = Do you really want to serve a God or live in a world where there is the withholding of justice?
Hebrews 12:7-29; Psalm 15
Every Christian is expected to use WHATEVER potential, abilities and opportunities Christ has given them, to ADVANCE His glory and His kingdom in this world.
However, there are lies that we use to convince ourselves that we possess lives that count (when in reality we don’t), or excuses we think will be accepted by Jesus for why we didn’t live for impact (when in reality they won’t).
THE LIES/EXCUSES WE BELIEVE ABOUT IMPACT THAT WILL SEND US TO HELL:
Every Christian is expected to use WHATEVER potential, abilities and opportunities Christ has given them, to ADVANCE His glory and His kingdom in this world.
However, there are lies that we use to convince ourselves that we possess lives that count (when in reality we don’t), or excuses we think will be accepted by Jesus for why we didn’t live for impact (when in reality they won’t).
THE LIES/EXCUSES WE BELIEVE ABOUT IMPACT THAT WILL SEND US TO HELL: