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The Church - The Church's Leaders

There are a number of passages in the New Testament that teach about the who and the why of local church leadership. The New Testament speaks of only two leadership offices for local New Testament churches, one of which has a couple of designations.
Elders In the New Testament we find that the office of the elder is identified by two basic terms: (1) elder (presbyter, GR presbuteros), as a church leader (Acts 14:23; 15:2, 2, 4) and, (2) overseer (bishop, GR episkopos), one who “watches over.” When it comes to the office of “Elder,” the term presbuteros stresses its dignity and the term episkopos its work. An important point to make is that the terms “elder” and “overseer” are used interchangeably in the New Testament, clearly indicating that both terms refer to the same office (cf. Acts 20:17, 28 and Titus 1:5, 7). There are many passages of which only a few will be listed here, that teach us what the duties and responsibilities of an elder are (Acts 11:30; 15:2-6; 20:28; 1 Tim. 3:2; 5:1…

The Church - The Formation of the Church

The word translated church in the New Testament (ekklesia), means a “called out group” or “assembly.” It is most frequently used of those who are believers in Jesus Christ. In this sense, it is used in three ways: (1) Of all who have, do, and will believe in Christ during the Church age, the time between Pentecost and the Rapture. This is the Body of Christ. (2) Its also used of believers who lived during a particular time during the Church age, and (3) of believers in a particular locality during the Church age. 
A question often asked by individuals is, when did the church begin? While there are some who have suggested that the church existed in the Old Testament, the New Testament evidence clearly points to the contrary. In Matthew 16:18 Jesus stated, “I will build my church,” clearly pointing to a yet future event. His statement clearly indicated that the Church was not in existence when He made that statement.
We also find Jesus stating in Acts 1:5 that believer’s would be baptized “…

Salvation - Eternal Security

As with salvation, the eternal security of a believer does not rest on the individual but rather it is entirely a work of God. Just like we cannot save ourselves or even contribute to our own salvation, neither can we do anything in and of ourselves to stay saved. It is God who saves us and keeps us. Eternal security is a work of all three Persons in the Godhead. The Father’s work can be seen in passages like John 10:28-29; Eph. 1:4-5; Rom. 5:7-10; 8:28-30; Jude 24. The work of the Son can be seen in passages like John 6:39-40; 17:24; Rom. 8:33-34; Heb. 7:25 1 John 2:1. The work of the Spirit can be seen in passages like John 14:17; 1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 4:30; Titus 3:5.

Salvation - The Death of Christ (Part 2)

Regeneration
In the New Testament, the word “regeneration” appears only twice. In Matthew 19:28 it is used eschatologically, “at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne,” and in Titus 3:5, where it is speaking of the rebirth of the redeemed person, “…He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” Norman Geisler defines regeneration as “the impartation of spiritual life by God, to the souls of those who were ‘dead in trespasses and sins’ (Eph. 2:1 KJV) and who were ‘saved’ made alive by God ‘through faith’ in Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8 NKJV).”[1] Wayne Grudem, as “…a secret act of God in which he imparts new spiritual life to us. This is sometimes called ‘being born again’ (using the language from John 3:3-8).[2] Millard Erickson states, Conversion refers to the response of the human being to God’s offer of salvation and approach to man. Regeneration is the other side of conversion. It is God’s doing. It is God’s transformation of…

Salvation - The Death of Christ (Part 1)

Atonement
Cairns defines atonement as “The satisfaction of divine justice by the Lord Jesus Christ in His active and passive obedience (i.e., His life and death), which procures for His people a perfect salvation.”[1] Merrill Unger states, “…the atonement is the covering over of sin, the reconciliation between God and man, accomplished by the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the special result of Christ’s sacrificial sufferings and death by virtue of which all who exercise proper penitence and faith receive forgiveness of their sins and obtain peace.”[2] Paul Enns writes, “The foundational meaning of the death of Christ is its substitutionary character. He died in place of sinners that He might purchase their freedom, reconcile them to God, and thereby satisfy the righteous demands of a holy God.”[3]
In Scripture, we find other words that help us gain a better understanding of atonement, words that cast light upon its meaning. We will look at these words more closely in order to come to a better …

Salvation - Repentance

Repentance is a prominent doctrine in the Bible. The importance of this doctrine cannot be overstated and the New Testament provides us with the reasons for why repentance should be central in the preaching of the Gospel: (1) John the Baptist and Jesus both began their ministries with a call to repentance (Matt. 3:1, 2; 4:17). (2) When Christ dispatched the twelve, as well as the seventy messengers to proclaim the Gospel, He commanded them to preach repentance (Mark 6:12; Luke 24:47). (3) When it came to apostolic preaching, repentance was central (Acts 2:38; 20:21). (4) God’s desire and command to all men is that they repent (Acts 17:30; 2 Pet. 3:9). Failure to do so will guarantee man’s condemnation (Luke 13:3).
True repentance touches man’s: (1) Intellect. By this we mean that repentance causes man to change his mind, views, and/or attitude towards a matter, be it, the Person of Christ, sin, etc. (Luke 15; 18; Acts 2:14-40). (2) Emotions. (Ps. 38:18; 2 Cor. 7:7-11). (3) Will. The idea here…

Salvation - Faith

Cairns defines faith “as the work of the Holy Spirit, His gift to God’s elect, enabling them to believe as true whatever God has revealed in His Word and to accept, receive, and rest upon Christ alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life. It is never alone, being always accompanied by repentance and producing good works.”[1] Charles Ryrie states, “Faith means ‘confidence, trust, holding something as true.’ Certainly, faith must have some content. There must be confidence about something or in someone. To believe in Christ for salvation means to have confidence that He can remove the guilt of sin and give eternal life. It means to believe that He can solve the problem of sin which is what keeps a person out of heaven.”[2] When writing about faith in relation to salvation, Charles Hodge states, “That faith, therefore, which is connected with salvation, includes knowledge, that is a perception of the truth and its qualities; assent, or the persuasion of the truth of the obje…

Sin - Sin and the Believer

Even though Christians have died to the sin nature and are no longer slaves to sin (Rom. 6:2, 14), as Christians we know that we are still able to sin and do sin, 1 John 1:8-10 makes this clear.  John also indicates that the believer has three enemies in this life, three areas in which the believers conflict with sin arise in (1 John 2:16): (1) The world. This is not to be understood as God’s creation (nature), but rather the ordered system of this age which is dominated by Satan, the world that is hostile to God. 1 John 2:15 tells us that we are not to love the world (this ordered system) (2) The Flesh (Rom. 7:17-20; Eph. 2:3). (3) The devil (1 Pet. 5:8).
In spite of the fact that we have the world, the flesh, and the devil as enemies in this life, God, by His grace and mercy, has made ample provision so that as Christians, we might experience true victory over sin: (1) The Scriptures (Ps. 119:9-16; John 15:7; 17:17; Eph. 5:26; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). (2) Christ (John 17; Heb. 7:25; 1 John 2:1). (…

Sin - Imputed Sin

From the Latin word imputare, which means “to reckon,” “to charge to ones account.”[1]Imputation relates to how every person is charged with sin. The whole debate of imputation of sin revolves around the meaning of Romans 5:12, particularly around the words “all sinned.” About those two words Charles Ryrie states, “Do they mean that all are sinners (which is essentially saying that all have a sin nature) or do they mean that in some way all mankind sinned when Adam sinned? If the latter, then this is imputed sin.”[2]
The two most widely held interpretations are: (1) The Federal view which in essence states that sin is imputed to all men because of Adam’s sin. It was Adam alone who sinned but all men are affected. Sin and guilt are imputed which result in total depravity. Paul Enns states, “Through the one sin of Adam, sin and death are imputed to all humanity because all humanity was represented in Adam.”[3]This view was held and taught by theologians such as Charles Hodge, Louis Berkho…

Sin - Original Sin

Louis Berkhof states that original sin is “The sinful state and condition in which men are born…This sin is called ‘original sin,’ (1) because it is derived from the original root of the human race; (2) because it is present in the life of every individual from the time of his birth, and therefore cannot be regarded as the result of imitation; and (3) because it is the inward root of all the actual sins that defile the life of man.”[1]  Charles Hodge defines original sin as “The corruption of our whole nature.”[2]
The first result is man’s total depravity. Charles Ryrie states, “Total depravity does not mean that everyone is as thoroughly depraved in his actions as he could possibly be, nor that everyone will indulge in every form of sin, nor that a person cannot appreciate and even do acts of goodness; but it does mean that the corruption of sin extends to all men and to all part of all men so that there is nothing within the natural man that can give him merit in God’s sight.”[3]
The …

Sin - Defining It

In Scripture we find many words that refer to sin. In the Old Testament there are eight principal words and in the New Testament twelve. These words convey a number of ideas such as missing the mark, disobedience, transgression, lawlessness, rebellion, unrighteousness, etc. In Romans 4:15, Paul teaches that the law was given in order that we may better understand both God’s standard and the seriousness of transgressing that standard.
We must carefully consider a number of passages if we are going to properly define sin. Based on those passages, sin is: (1) A transgression of the law of God (Rom. 2:23; 5:14; Gal. 3:19). Murder is a sin because it is a transgression of God’s law in which He stated “Thou shalt not kill” (Ex. 20:13 KJV). (2) Missing the mark and falling short of God’s standard (Rom. 3:23). We can miss the mark or fall short of God’s standard by either things we do or things we fail to do (cf. Rom. 14:23). (3) A principle that dwells in man. There are a number of passages tha…

Man - His Fall

In Genesis 3 we see the entrance of sin into the human realm. The test Adam and Eve would face was a test of obedience. Of all that God had provided for them in the Garden of Eden, the only prohibition given to them was that they were not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:16-17). The command of God not to eat of that tree was a test that would determine whether they would believe and obey God. Keeping or breaking the command of God would show their obedience or disobedience to the will of God.
Scripture clearly indicates that Satan was the one who tempted them (Gen. 3:1; cf. Rom. 16:20; Rev. 12:9; 20:2). His strategy was threefold: (1) to create doubts in their minds about God’s Word as well as His motives. (2) To make them believe that death would not really result if the ate, and (3) to convince them that if they did eat, they would be like God. Eve succumbed and Adam followed.
This sin resulted in judgment on the serpent (Gen. 3:14), on Satan (Gen. 3:15), on …

Man - His Nature

The Material Part of Man In Genesis 1:26 we are told that God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…” and in Genesis 2:7 that God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being.” Lewis Sperry Chafer states that, “These distinctions classify man above all other forms of life which are upon the earth and indicate that man is a moral creature with intellect, capacity for feeling, and a will.”[1]
It was when man was made that he became alive; he did not become a living creature after already being a living creature. Genesis 2:7 also teaches that the material part of man was made of the dust of the ground and the immaterial part made of the inbreathing of God (cf. Job 33:4; Eccl. 12:7). Chafer states that, “The sixteen elements of the soil are said to be present in the human body: calcium, carbon, chlorine, fluorine, hydrogen, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, sodium, sulfur. These minerals comp…

Man - His Origin

The facts concerning the origin of man can be known only because God has revealed those facts to us in Scripture. It is through special revelation that we discover something about where we came from. Attempting to answer the question of mans origin apart from Scripture has only served to demonstrate that man has been incapable to ascertain these facts elsewhere. Only God, as Creator, can provide a complete and accurate account of man’s origin, and this account can only be found in His Word.
There are many passages in Scripture that clearly indicate that man was created (Gen. 1:1-2:25; John 1:3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 11:13). In the first chapter of Genesis alone, God is referred to as Creator about seventeen times, and about fifty other references can be found elsewhere in the Bible.
There are a number of biblical arguments that clearly support the immediate creation of man and the literal twenty-four hour day’s view of creation: (1) A number of passages clearly teach that man was created direc…

The Holy Spirit - His Works

In Creation This has to do with His work in relation to the universe. While Scripture does teach that the Son created all things, there are a number of references that indicate that the Spirit did have a part in the work of creation. The references include His part in regard to the creation of man (Job 33:4) and animals (Ps. 104:30). Job 26:13 tells us that the Spirit participated in “garnishing the heavens” (KJV) and according to Gen. 1:2, in the restoration of the earth.
In Revelation and Illumination This is His work in relation to Scripture. Although the central theme of the Bible is Jesus Christ, the Bible’s inspiration is by the Holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:21; 2 Sam. 23:2, 3; Acts 1:16; 28:25; John 14:26; 16:13; 1 Cor. 2:10; 1 Tim. 4:1). He is also the illuminator of Scripture. It is that ministry of the Holy Spirit in which He helps Christians understand the truth of Scripture. Our minds are enlightened and the text of Scripture becomes clear to the believer.
In the Incarnation This is His…