Posts Tagged ‘Bible Doctrines’

Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 3-Chapter 29-The Baptism that Saves


At a banquet honoring some athletic celebrities, Helen Wills Moody was called on for a speech. She said something like this: “To be seen one has to stand; to be understood one has to speak distinctly; and to be appreciated one has to sit down.”

In this message I want to affirm something and then support that affirmation. I affirm that there is a baptism that saves. In this message we shall discover that baptism. What is baptism?


1. The baptism that saves is not the baptism of the sinner in water. It is not denied that water baptism saves figuratively and symbolically. Saul was already saved when he was told by Ananias to arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins. He was converted and called into the ministry when he met Jesus on the Damascus road. Water has cleansing properties and is a fit emblem of the blood of Christ that actually cleanses from all sin. It is also an emblem of the Holy Spirit and of the word of God.


1. The contention that water baptism saves is unreasonable as well as unscriptural. If water baptism is essential to salvation, then all who are unbaptized are in their sins and lost, regardless of how much evidence they may give of a birth from above. This theory shuts out all Quakers who do not believe in water baptism at all, but among whom can be found many people of evident spirituality. It also shuts out of heaven all unimmersed Presbyterians and Methodists. This view limits the number of the saved to a small denomination of professing Christians. The implication is narrow, carnal, and cruel.

2. Passages that may seem to teach baptismal remission can be fairly, honestly, and intelligently interpreted in the figurative sense. “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (#Joh 3:5). Water is here made by some to mean baptism. But it is a false and dangerous scheme of interpretation to make water and baptism interchangeable terms. Water is often used where there can be no possible allusion to baptism. “Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again” (#Joh 4:13); “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (#Joh 7:38); “Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me” (#Joh 13:8); Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you” (#Joh 15:3). All through the gospel of John water is used in a figurative and spiritual sense to make John 3:5 refer to literal water of baptism is to use the word water in a different sense in which it is used in all the other places. And besides, the word baptism is not in #Joh 3:5 and to introduce baptism here is to violate the meaning of water in the gospel of John.

3. Water baptism cannot save because of the subject to be baptized. Baptism is for believers only and the believer is a saved person. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (#Joh 3:16); “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (#Joh 3:36); “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (#Joh 20:31); “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (#Ac 16:31). The pastor is looking for people to baptize; where will he find them among the saved or lost? The answer is obvious.

4. Water baptism cannot save because baptism is no part of the gospel which is the power of God unto salvation. “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (#1Co 15:3,4). Paul thanked God that he had not baptized many of the Corinthians. “I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;” (#1Co 1:14). “For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel” (#1Co 4:15).

5. Water baptism cannot save because of the design of baptism. Baptism is not a saving sacrament but a symbol of what does save; namely the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Baptism speaks of the legal union between Christ and the believer. The believer is dead to the guilt of sin and alive unto God and to this, baptism testifies. Baptism is a burial and a burial testifies to the death of a person. Our old man was crucified with Christ. Old man does not mean our old nature, our old nature is still very much alive. The old man is the man of old the person I once was under law and cursed by it and awaiting the day of execution. As a believer in Christ I can look back at the cross and see the sentence of death against me executed in the death of Christ. Christ had my guilt upon Himself and died under it, then rose again, and as my Surety and substitute, I died and rose again in His death and resurrection. Now the purpose of baptism is to symbolize all this, to put it before our eyes in visible symbol.

This death and resurrection is not something to be felt, but something to be reckoned as so because God says so. “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (#Ro 6:11). Reason may argue, but I do not feel dead to sin. But feeling has nothing to do with it. What God says is the important thing. And God says that what Christ did on the cross and in coming out of the tomb is what saves us. The believer is declared to be dead to the guilt of sin and alive unto God on the ground of the death and resurrection of Christ.

2. The baptism that saves is not the baptism in the Holy Spirit.


1. Because of the design of Spiritual baptism. Spiritual baptism was not for salvation but for power. Holy Spirit baptism was associated with the miraculous. The disciples (who were already saved) were told to tarry in Jerusalem until the coming of the Holy Spirit who would empower them for witnessing. Holy Spirit baptism at Pentecost enabled the disciples to speak in tongues or languages they did not know. “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel” (#Ac 2:16). In Acts 8 the Samaritans who had been converted under Philip’s preaching and had been baptized in water received the Spiritual baptism through the laying on of the hands of Peter and John. “Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost” (#Ac 8:17). In Acts 10, Cornelius and others heard Peter say that whoever believed in Christ should receive remission of sins. And as Peter spake they believed and the Spirit fell on them and they spake in tongues. “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God” (#Ac 10:43-46). I do not believe we have Holy Spirit Baptism today; else we would have people speaking in languages unknown to them as well as performing other miracles as they did in the early church. “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (#Eph 5:18).

And so the baptism that saves is neither water baptism nor Spiritual baptism. It is not the baptism of the sinner in anything. The baptism that saves is the baptism of the Savior at Calvary. The Bible speaks of baptism in water, in the Holy Spirit, in fire, and in suffering. And the way to be saved is to trust in what Christ suffered on the cross.

John the Baptist was baptizing in the Jordan River. He was baptizing people who came to him confessing their sins. He refused to baptize anyone else. He turned down the Jews who wanted to be baptized as descendants of Abraham. Jesus walked from Galilee to the Jordan and asked John to baptize Him. John demurred, saying, “I have need to be baptized of thee and comest thou to me?” (#Mt 3:14). John was baptizing self confessed sinners and he could not think of Jesus as a sinner. But Jesus prevailed by saying. “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness” (#Mt 3:15). John then baptized Him. Jesus was not a sinner but He was in the sinner’s place and to save sinners He must work out a perfect righteousness for them. “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (#Php 2:8). And so John’s baptism of Jesus fulfilled all righteousness only typically and figuratively. It pointed to another baptism of Jesus when He would be baptized in suffering and thus provide righteousness for sinners. The baptism of Jesus was a prophecy and pledge of the cross.

And so the baptism that saves was the baptism of Christ at Calvary. We find Christ speaking of another baptism after His water baptism. On His last trip to Jerusalem He told His disciples of His approaching death under the figure of a baptism. “Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able” (#Mt 20:20-22); “But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!” (#Lu 12:50).

On the cross our dear Savior was immersed in suffering. Hear Him in the prophetic word: “The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me” (#Ps 18:4,5).

The cross is the place to look for salvation. The way of the cross leads home. The water baptism of Christ typified His baptism of suffering; and our baptism in water symbolizes what He did in his death and resurrection. His water baptism looked forward to the cross and our water baptism looks back to the cross. The baptismal pool that actually washes away sin was filled at Calvary, filled with the blood of Christ.

“There is a fountain filled with blood,

Drawn from Emanuel’s veins;

And sinners plunged beneath that flood

Lose all their guilty stains.

“The dying thief rejoiced to see

That fountain in his day;

And there may I,

though vile as he,

Wash all my sins away.

“Ere since by faith,

I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,

Redeeming love has been my theme,

And shall be till I die.”


C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 3

Attributes of God- Omnipotence- Book 2- Chapter 2- Section 6

Book Second




Our first idea of power, is probably derived from the control which we possess over our muscles, and the use which we make of them, to produce effects on things about us. Our limbs and voice become the instruments of our power; and, in the using of them for effecting our purpose, the notion of power arises. We transfer this notion, and incorporate it into the conception which we form of other intelligent beings like ourselves; and it thus becomes an element in our conception of the deity. In the material world, causes are followed by their effects in a manner similar to that in which effects are produced by the motion of our limbs; and the material causes are said to have power. It is thus we speak of the power of steam, or of an engine.

We know well that our power is limited. Many things which we attempt we fail to accomplish. To conceive of omnipotence, we introduce, as in other cases, the negative idea, without fail. This however, does not exclude the idea of attempt, desire, or will. It derogates nothing from the omnipotence of God, that he does not accomplish what he has no desire or will to accomplish. It is impossible for God to lie, or to deny himself; but these are things which he does not please to do, because they are inconsistent with his moral perfections. Nor would the doing of these things be any indication of supreme power. It is also true, that God cannot do things which imply contradiction in themselves; as, to make a thing to be, and not to be, at the same time; to make a circle to be at the same time a square, &c. If finite power fails to accomplish such things, it fails not because it is finite, but because the things are impossible. No measure of power could come nearer to success. Impotence is as good as omnipotence for accomplishing impossibilities.

We are filled with awe in contemplating the omnipotence of God. When we hear the voice of his thunder in the heavens, or feel the earth quake under the tread of his foot, how do solemn thoughts of things divine fill our minds! From the rending cloud, and the quaking earth, let us look back to the power which brought creation into being, and forward to that display of his power which we are to witness on the last day. Such a being, who will not fear? Our minds exercise their power through our bodies, to which, therefore, the immediate exercise of it is limited; for we cannot add one cubit to our stature, or make one hair white or black. But God has everything in the universe under his immediate and perfect control. He needs no instruments, no mechanical aid, no series of contrivances; but, at his will the thing is done, whether it be the production of an animalcule, or the creation of a world. At our will, a finger moves; but at the volition of God, a planet is launched in its orbit, with a force of which the cannon-ball gives but a very faint conception. Hurricanes, which sweep the earth, and lift up the dwellings, and the very bodies of men, in the air, have their power. The ocean, which sports with mighty ships, has its power. The volcano, which bursts forth with such awful grandeur, has its power. But when we have combined the force of air, ocean, and subterranean fire, we must multiply it by the number of such agencies which are operating, through all the worlds in the whole of God’s vast empire, before we can begin to conceive adequately of his omnipotence. Lo, these are parts of his ways; but the thunder of his power, who can understand?[48]

[47] Gen. xvii. 1; Job v. 9; Jer. xxxii. 17; Matt. xix. 26; Rev. i. 8; xix.6.

[48] Job xxvi. 14.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 3-Chapter 27-Sacramentalism and Baptism

CHAPTER 27-SACRAMENTALISM AND BAPTISM #Mt 3:11 12:41 Ac 2:38 1Pe 3:21

It is the glory of Baptists that we have preached a non- sacramental gospel. We are about the only great denomination in the world that holds that baptism neither saves, helps save, or keeps us saved. We have consistently held to the symbolism of the ordinances over against the sacramental idea. Baptism symbolizes a salvation already obtained through faith and sets forth in beautiful picture the great redemptive acts which are its objective causes.

Catholics have seven sacraments, Protestants have two, and Baptists have none. W. C. Taylor says that sacrament is a word of pagan militarism, alien to the New Testament and to apostolic Christianity. It took centuries to get the false translation of the word out of the printed Bibles, but the idea has outlived the word, and many religionists have no other concept of the ordinances.

And the idea is still expressed in the sacramental translation of the preposition eis. Sacramentalists make the preposition look only to the future, expressing purpose and never backwards, expressing cause. It can look either way and the context determines whether it looks forward in the sense of purpose or backwards in the sense of cause. Dr. Robertson says that it is not Greek grammar that determines the translations, but whether a man is evangelical or not. The general idea of the preposition eis is with reference to the context determining what the reference is “I indeed baptize you with water unto (eis) repentance” (#Mt 3:11). Phillips, an Anglican, translates #Mt 3:11: “I baptize you as a sign that your hearts are changed.” Baptism is with reference to repentance; not in order to get a man to repent, but because he has repented.

Nineveh repented eis the preaching of Jonah; not in order to get Jonah to preach but because of his preaching.

“Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (#Ac 2:38) :etc. C. B. W.: “You must repent and, as expression of it, let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ that you may have your sins forgiven.” W. C. Taylor: “Be baptized on the basis of the remission of sins previously obtained by repentance.”

“The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (#1Pe 3:21). R. S. V.: “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience.” In the Greek, the word for body is sarx, meaning the old sinful nature and the word for dirt is the word that means moral defilement. What Peter is saying is that Baptism saves only in figure and is not the washing away of the moral turpitude of depravity. “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still” (#Re 22:11); “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls” (#Jas 1:21): James is not prescribing a physical bath for salvation. He is speaking of moral filth.

Sacrament: “In classical usage means an oath, especially a military oath, and also a gauge in money laid down by two contending parties in court, is not strictly a Scriptural term, but occurs repeatedly in the Latin Vulgate as a translation of the Greek mysterion (mystery). It was first loosely employed for all sacred doctrines and ceremonies, and then more particularly for baptism and the Eucharist, and a few other solemn rites connected with Christian worship.” Schaff Hyphen Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge.

“The word was used in two senses

1. as a legal term to denote the sum of money deposited by two parties to a suit which was forfeited by the loser and appropriated to sacred uses;

2. as a military term to designate the oath of obedience taken by newly enlisted soldiers.” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 3

Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 3-Chapter 26-The Meaning of Baptism



Christendom seems to be hopelessly split over the ordinances. It is split over ordinances because split over the way of salvation. The ordinances are closely related to the gospel and the way of salvation. Christendom not even agreed on how many ordinances there are. Some say three, some two and some none. To me it is obviously true there are two, baptism and the Lord’s supper. Not the gospel, but picture or represent the gospel. Do not save, but testify to what does save.

Baptism is not an empty ceremony. It has a deep and blessed meaning. It was given for a purpose and when we find the purpose, we find the mode or act. The mode was changed because the design or purpose was perverted. This is easy to see: when men began to think that baptism saves they naturally changed the mode. Here is a lost man; he is sick and can not be immersed but he must be baptized to be saved, so he is sprinkled. Novatian, 250 A. D.

In most of our English translations of the Bible, the word for baptize is not translated, it is anglicised. King James I ordered the translators to keep the old ecclesiastical words without translating them. Baptize is not a translation. The Greek verb is baptizo. It is anglicised by changing the last letter from o to e. The Greek word for sprinkle is rhantizo and it is rightly translated sprinkle. If they had dealt with that word like they did baptizo they would have anglicised it and call it rhantize. Those who have been sprinkled have been rhantized, not baptized.

John Calvin: “But whether the person who is baptized be wholly immersed, and whether thrice or once, or whether water be only poured or sprinkled upon him, is of no importance; churches ought to be left at liberty, in this respect, to act according to the differences of countries. The very word baptize, however, signifies to immerse; and it is certain that immersion was the practice of the ancient church.”


It is not for the purpose of saving the sinner. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation, but baptism is not any part of the Gospel. The three gospel facts are the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Paul: “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect” (#1Co 1:17); “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:” (#1Pe 3:21); “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (#Ac 22:16).


1. Baptism is to commemorate the death and burial of Christ. It commemorates by symbol the three facts of Gospel. Baptism testifies to the death of Christ. To commemorate His death we take a sinner who is dead to sin and plant him in the likeness of Christ’s death and raise him up in likeness of his resurrection. We take a sinner trusting in Christ and bury him in the liquid grave and then lift him out of it.

2. Baptism illustrates the believer’s position before the law of God. What is the believer’s legal status or station? He is dead to sin and alive unto God through Jesus Christ. It is not something to be felt but to be reckoned. “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (#Ro 6:11). I must take this by faith. I do not feel as if I am dead to sin, but God says I am, and I take it on faith. Now if I am dead I must be buried and then raised up out of the grave. I must symbolize my own burial and resurrection. As a believer in Christ I have been crucified, buried and raised, and this is what is symbolized in my baptism. I did not know this when I was baptized. You believers here tonight have this advantage over me. I can see the meaning of my baptism now, but I did not see it then. You have a new life to walk in, and this new life is symbolized by the resurrection part of baptism.

So your baptism testifies to the faith you have in Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. By faith you are united to Him and occupy His position before God in the legal sense. As the old man you have sinned and the sentence of death has been executed on your surety Jesus Christ. And now before the law as a new man you are to walk in the new life. This new life is to be lived by faith, faith that you have been crucified with Christ, faith “that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (#Php 1:6). “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (#Col 3:1).

3. Baptism anticipates the believer’s bodily resurrection from the dead. “Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him” (#Ro 6:8); “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” (#1Co 15:29).


Baptism commemorates the resurrection of Christ. It illustrates the believer’s death to sin and resurrection to walk in a new life he has in Christ. It anticipates the resurrection of His people.

C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 3

Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 3-Chapter 25-The Office of Deacon


In our English Bible the word deacon occurs in only five places: “Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons” (#Php 1:1); “Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre” (#1Ti 3:8); “And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless…Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus” (#1Ti 3:10,12,13). But in the Greek New Testament the word occurs many times and is translated minister or servant. And the word is applied to all kinds of ministers or servants: political, ecclesiastical, angelic, and Divine.

In #Ro 13:4, it is applied to the civil magistrate who is called “the minister” or “deacon of God to thee for good”. The apostles are often called ministers, the very word used for deacon. In Acts 1, Peter says in speaking of Judas, that “he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry” or deaconship (#Ac 1:17). And in electing Matthias to succeed Judas, the disciples prayed thus: “Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two men thou hast chosen, that he may take part of this ministry” or deaconship (#Ac 1:24,25). Paul, speaking of himself and Apollos says, that they were ministers or deacons by whom the Corinthians believed the gospel. In #Eph 6:21,22 Tychicus is called “a beloved brother and faithful minister” or deacon. The angels of God are declared to be deacons in #Heb 1:14: “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister” or to deacon “for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” And our Lord Jesus Christ is called a deacon in #Ro 15:8 where Paul says “that Jesus Christ was a minister” or deacon “of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises.”

So you see the word itself has no religious connotation; it simply means a minister or one who serves. It is the context in every case which determines the application.

Now this word of general use and varied application is applied to a specified class of officers in the church. And our English version translates the word “deacon” to designate this class of officers. In #1Ti 3:1-16, they are mentioned along with the pastors or bishops and their qualifications are given. In the Philippian letter they are addressed along with the bishops, indicating that they hold office in the same church with the pastors or bishops.

In the letter to Timothy the duties of deacons are not given but only their qualifications. And this must be because their duties were already well known. Paul is simply telling Timothy what kind of men to ordain to the office. To discover their duties, we must go back to the beginning of the office and see why they were appointed. And this takes us back to Acts Sixth chapter, where a division of labor was necessary.


1a) It did not originate with the fo unding of the church. The church at Jerusalem existed some time before the office of deacon was instituted. A church can exist without deacons but it cannot function properly without them.

1b) It originated in a crisis. The days of persecution for the early church were naturally days of poverty. There were a few well to do but most of the members were poor. In the interest of the whole body a common fund was created to which contributions were voluntarily made by those able to contribute. Barnabas sold a piece of property on Cyprus and put the proceeds into this common fund. Ananias and Sapphira sold some property and kept back part of the price, pretending and claiming they had placed all of it at the apostle’s feet. And for lying to the Holy Spirit, they were killed on the spot.

This liberality on the part of the rich greatly increased the labors of the apostles who were giving out rations daily to those in need. The foreign born Jews complained that their widows were being neglected in this daily ministration. They charged that the apostles were showing partiality to the home born members. When the apostles heard of the complaint, they neither admitted or denied the charge. They suddenly realized the need of a division of labor, and recommended that the church search “out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business” of feeding the poor. To use their own words, they said, “It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables” (#Ac 6:2). And the word “serve” here is the word for deacon. “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry” or deaconship “of the word.” In other words, they said, We will deacon or minister the word while these seven men deacon or serve tables. Here is a clear distinction between two kinds of official service or ministry, the one in spiritual matters and the other in material things.

Look at the results of this division of labor: “And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith” (#Ac 6:7).

The church of Christ is a spiritual institution in a material or physical world. And while in the physical world it will have material or physical needs. We have many needs today the Jerusalem church did not have and its one major need is a minor need today. They had a multitude of poor people to be fed, while we have a comparable few. They had no church house to build and maintain, for they still used the synagogue as a place of worship and when they were put out of the synagogue, for many years they met in the homes of their people. Today we have church buildings for which there is no direct Scriptural sanction. But it is reason that we should have them. So this matter of serving tables covers all the material needs of a church: feeding the poor, feeding the pastor, feeding the janitor, feeding the furnace, feeding the light meter, and what not. Some things are left to sanctified human reason.

The reason given for deacons in the Jerusalem church was the necessity of a division of labor so the ministers of the word should not be hampered and encumbered with the material side of the church’s life. God calls His spiritual servants to a spiritual ministry, and this is to be a life of prayer and preaching the word.

2. It is interesting to see how other denominations regard this office.The Roman Catholic and Episcopal denominations make deacons a lower rank of the clergy who may preach and baptize. Baptists are not supposed to have any ranks in the ministry. The title “Assistant Pastor” is to be objected to because it is practically a recognition of rank. The early churches had a plurality of elders and were paid according to their work and not rank. “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine” (#1Ti 5:17).

“Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things” (#1Ti 3:11). Does this justify women deacons or deaconnesses, or is the reference to the wives of the deacons. This is a mooted point. Dr. Carroll thinks it justifies deaconnesses and in his church in Waco, Texas, he used women as deaconnesses to look after certain matters that deacons could not well attend to, such as preparing women candidates for baptism, making inquiries into the homes, etc.

It is also thought by some that Phoebe was a deaconness in the church at Cenchrea. The Williams translation renders the word deaconness. It is exactly the same word rendered deacon in #Php 1:1 and #1Ti 3:1-16, gender and all.

A literal translation of #1Ti 3:11 reads thus: “Women in like manner grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.” It is argued that this could not refer to women generally, nor to the wives of the deacons because the pronoun “their” is not in the Greek. And also because the context is dealing with official classes in the church. But the next verse says when literally translated, “Let those who serve or deacon be men of one woman.”

3. Duties of Deacons:

3a) Not a board of directors to run the church.

3b) Not a jury to discipline members.

3c) Not a pulpit committee to hire and fire the pastor.

Deacons may serve on the pulpit committee as individuals when the church is without a pastor. Nobody has any authority over the pastor but the church acting under the Lord. Let the deacons stick to their work which is that of serving tables, looking after the temporal and material affairs of the church.

4. Qualifications of deacons:

4a) Men of good report men with a good name in the community.

4b) Full of the Holy Spirit and of wisdom. Spiritually minded men and men of judgment.

4c) Grave or serious minded men not given to levity and frivolity. This is not to be taken as being grouchy or mean and sour faced.

4d) Sincere in speech, not double tongued, saying one thing to one person and another thing to someone else.

4e) Not given to much wine. In the light of the present distress, I would say, a total abstainer.

4f) Not covetous, not greedy of filthy lucre.

4g) Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. Sound in the faith with conviction. Not official teachers but have opportunity for private witnessing.

4h) Men who have proved themselves faithful as members of the church.

5. Reward of Deacons:

Purchase to themselves a good degree and great boldness in the faith” (#1Ti 3:13). “For those who render good service win a good standing for themselves in their faith in Christ Jesus.” (Williams).

C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 3

Attributes of God: Immensity, Omnipresence- Book 2- Chapter 2- Section 3

Book Second




Every material thing in the universe is somewhere. The sun has its place; the earth also, and every grain of sand, and every drop of water. The drops of water may change their place perpetually, but every drop has, for each moment, its own place, to the exclusion of all other matter in the universe.

In our conceptions of the human mind we assign place to it also, though in a different manner. We do not attribute to it length, breadth, and thickness, as to a block of marble, which can be measured by feet and inches; but we conceive of it as present in the human body, with which it is connected, and absent from another, with which it is not connected. Each mind is operated on by impressions made on the organs of sense which belong to its own body; and operates by its volitions on the muscles of motion which belong to that body. In this view, we conceive of each mind as present in its own body, and not elsewhere; and we conceive of changing the place of the mind, while its connection with the body continues, only by a change in the place of the body.

When we conceive of finite spiritual beings as angels, we assign to each some place; because his operation, though not confined like that of the human mind, to a particular material body, is nevertheless limited. Such conception accords with the teaching of Scripture, in which angels are represented as moving from place to place, to execute the will of their Sovereign. So the angel came to Daniel,[19] and to Peter;[20] and so one is represented as flying through the midst of heaven.[21]

We must not conceive of God’s omnipresence as if it were material. We say that the atmosphere is present at every part of the earth’s surface; but this is not strictly true. It is not the whole, but merely a small part of the atmosphere, which is present at each place; God is indivisible. We cannot say, that a part of his essence is here, and a part yonder. If this were the mode of God’s omnipresence in universal space, he would be infinitely divided and only an infinitely small part of him would be present at each place. It would not be the whole deity, that takes cognizance of our actions, and listens to our petitions. This notion is unfavorable to piety, and opposed to the true sense of Scripture: “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.”[22] “The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers.”[23]

There are passages of Scripture which speak of God’s removing from one place to another; of his approaching and departing; of his dwelling in heaven, and of his coming near to his people, and taking up his abode with them. These are manifestly accommodations of language; just as when eyes or hands are attributed to him. They refer to the manifestations of his presence in his various works, and dispensations, in which such changes take place, as are appropriately and impressively expressed by this language.

When we deny a material omnipresence of God, as if his essence were divided and diffused; and when we maintain that the whole deity is everywhere present by his energy and operation, it is not to be understood that we deny the essential omnipresence of God. In whatever manner his essence is present anywhere, it is present everywhere. What the mode of that presence is, we know not. We know not the essence of the human mind, nor the mode of its presence in the body; much less can we comprehend the essence of the infinite God, or the mode of his omnipresence. To that incomprehensible property of his nature, by which he is capable of being wholly present at the same moment, with every one of his creatures, without division of his essence, and without removal from place to place, the name immensity has been given. The essence of God is immense or unmeasured, because it is unmeasurable. It is unmeasurable, because it is spiritual, and therefore, without such dimensions as may be measured by feet and inches; and because, in whatever sense dimensions may be ascribed to it, these dimensions are boundless. Time has a dimension not to be measured by feet and inches: and we may say of time, that it is omnipresent. The same moment exists in Europe and America, at Saturn, and the centre of the earth. The omnipresence of time does not explain the omnipresence of God, but it may help us to admit the possibility of omnipresence without division of essence, or removal of place. But the omnipresence of time is not immensity; for time has its measure, and a moment is not eternity.

It is not derogatory to the dignity and glory of God, that he is present everywhere. There are foul places where human beings would prefer not to be; but they do not affect the Deity as they affect men. The sun-beams fall on them without being polluted; and the holy God cannot be contaminated by them. There are scenes of wickedness from which a good man will turn away with abhorrence, and, in the figurative language of Scripture, God is “of purer eyes than to behold evil:”[24] yet, in another place of scripture, language no less figurative teaches us that the eyes of God behold the evil as well as the good.[25] He witnesses, while he abhors.

A man who sincerely believes the omnipresence of God, cannot be indifferent to religion. To realize that the moral Governor of the universe is ever near, in all his holiness and power, and as much present as if he were nowhere else, must awaken solicitude. When a sense of guilt oppresses, the presence of such companion becomes intolerable. The guilty man strives to flee from the presence of God, as Jonah did; but the doctrine of God’s omnipresence teaches him that the attempt is unavailing. The power conscience tormenting the guilty man, wherever he goes, is terrible; but the presence of the God against whom he has sinned, and whose wrath he dreads, is still more terrible. To the soul, reconciled to God, the doctrine is full of consolation. In every place, in every condition, to have with us an almighty friend, a kind father, is a source of unspeakable comfort and joy. We need not fear, though we pass through fire or flood, if God be with us. Even in the valley of the shadow of death, we may fear no evil. In every circumstance and trial, it conduces to holiness, to know that God is present.

[18] 1 Kings viii. 27; Ps cxxxix. 7: Jer. xxiii. 23.

[19] Dan. ix. 23.

[20] Acts xii. 7.

[21] Rev. xiv. 6.

[22] Prov. xv. 3.

[23] 1 Pet. iii. 12.

[24] Hab. i. 13.

[25] Prov. xv. 3.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 3-Chapter 23-Rewards Possible For Every Saint


We need not be afraid that the doctrine of rewards will give some people advantage over others, the rich over the poor or the strong over the weak. God’s rewards are such that the poorest and weakest of His children may secure rewards. God’s rewards are based upon faithfulness and not upon wealth and strength. There is reward for secret prayer. “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly” (#Mt 6:6). And for giving a cup of cold water. “And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward” (#Mt 10:42).


There are many institutions in the world that are doing good. They help the poor and relieve the afflicted. I have no fight to make against them for so doing. I would rather commend them, various fraternal organizations like the Masons, IOOF, and others. Our American Legion boys sent baskets of fruit and other food to the sick and afflicted, and all this was good in itself considering that it brought happiness to the recipients. But there will be no reward in heaven for all the good done by these various institutions. And of course the lost people in these organizations would not argue the question. The man who will not take Christ to be his Savior and Lord will not want any reward or expect any reward from Christ. Every man will first have to be accepted in Christ before he can be rewarded in Christ. It is only those saved by Christ who will be rewarded by Christ. If the saved in these various organizations think they ought to be rewarded in heaven by Christ for what they do through these organizations, they need to be told in words of scripture that Christ is to get the glory in His church. That His church is the institution He founded through which His people are to honor Him and work for rewards. “He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward” (#Mt 10:40-42).

How can we do good in the name of a disciple? First, you must be a disciple of Christ. None but disciples can do the work of a disciple.

Then, he must do it through the church. If I give something in my own name, I will get the praise for it. If I do something through a lodge, the lodge will get the praise for it. If I do good through the church, then the church will get the praise for it. And if the church gets the praise for it, Christ is being honored, for He is head of the church.

Here are two questions of great importance: What place has Christ in your hope of salvation? He must have the preeminence here. He must be the one and only hope of salvation. Then what place has Christ in your hope of rewards? Whatever good you do must be done in His name as His disciple if you are to get any rewards for it.


As to the nature of rewards, there is not much that can be definitely stated. Whatever they are we will be pleased with them. Whatever they are, they will be worth working for. It may be only a “well done, thou good and faithful servant:…enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (#Mt 25:21). But whatever it is I want it. It will not be something to be snickered at, and to lose it will be a great loss.

The time of rewards will be when Christ comes. “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (#Re 22:12). If we have to have our rewards today for the good we do, we can do them to get human praise and that will be our only reward. That will end it and there will be no further reward when Christ comes. It is a blessed thing to work for pay if we are willing to wait for our pay until He comes. The place of rewards will be in heaven. “Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (#Mt 5:12). The only place we can put our treasure where it will be safe is in heaven.


Brethren, let us not live and act as if we are wasting our time in the service of God. Let us not live and act as if Christ’s rewards for faithfulness were of small value. Let us not live and act as if His promises were mere sound.

C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 3

Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 3-Chapter 22-Salvation and Rewards



There is a necessary distinction between salvation and rewards. To ignore this distinction will lead to confusion and perversion of the gospel. Salvation is for the lost; rewards are for the saved. Salvation is for believers; rewards are for workers. Salvation is by grace through faith; rewards are for faithful service. Salvation is common to all the saints; one will be no more saved than another, rewards are proportioned to the work done. “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be (#Re 22:12). Salvation is a present possession; rewards are a future blessing. Salvation is received on earth; rewards are to be received in heaven. “Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (#Mt 5:12). Salvation is based on the sufferings of the Savior; rewards are based upon the suffering of the saint. Salvation is the result of Christ’s suffering for us; rewards are based upon our suffering for Him.

I have been both surprised and disappointed at the little literature on the subject of rewards. I searched here and there for some book in my library dealing with the subject and found practically nothing. I think first of all that we need the RIGHT ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE SUBJECT of rewards.

Some deny the doctrine, claiming all Christians will be equal in heaven. One will have no more than another. But this is to flatly deny the scriptures. If rewards are based on works, and they are, then the works of all would be the same if there is no difference in rewards. If rewards are based on works and suffering, what believer is there today who can expect the reward of the apostle Paul?

Some ignore the doctrine, do not deal with it, simply neglect to say anything about it. This is evident from the small amount of literature on the subject. Some despise the doctrine, having no interest in rewards. Salvation is all they want. Keeping out of hell is as far as their interest goes. They will be satisfied to be saved by the skin of their teeth.

Others say the doctrine of rewards is inconsistent with the motive of love in our works. They say we should work from love and not for pay. But if our Lord promises pay or reward we would not love Him much if we did not appreciate and strive for the reward he offers. Is it inconsistent with love for its father, for the child to appreciate and strive for reward offered by its father? I think not. Is the father afraid the child will not love him if he offers reward for faithful service? I think not.

C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 3

Existence of God- Book 2- Chapter 1

Book Second




The doctrine that God exists, is not now to be demonstrated as a new truth. It has been supposed in all the preceding pages; and the proofs of it have been brought to view, in various ways. But, for the sake of systematic arrangement, it will be proper to collect these proofs under one head; and a clearer statement of them will tend to the confirmation of our faith.

1. Our moral nature demonstrates the existence of God.

Our moral nature is adapted to moral government. We find this government within us administered by conscience, and it meets us from without in the influence which we experience from the moral judgments and feelings of others. It restrains our appetites and passions; and, however unwelcome this restraint may be to our vicious propensities, every one knows that it is conducive to his well-being.

We are social as well as moral beings. The circumstances in which we enter the world, and the propensities which we bring with us, unite to render the establishment of society necessary. The birds congregate in flocks, and the bees in swarms, and their instincts are adapted to the social relations which they form. To man in society, moral principles are indispensable. Banish from every member of human society the restraints which his conscience and the moral sense of the community impose on him, and you will desolate the earth or convert it into a hell. Brute-force and diabolical cunning, under the dominion of lawless passions, will take the mastery of the world, and fill it with wretchedness.

From the combined influence of our moral and social principles, civil governments have originated, and their existence has been found by experience indispensable to the well-being of society. These governments have differed very widely in their degrees of excellence; and some of them have been most unrighteously and cruelly administered; yet the very worst of them has been considered preferable to wild anarchy.

The notion of moral government, and the feeling of its necessity, spring up naturally in the human mind; but no earthly form of it satisfies our desires, or meets our necessities. Conscience restrains us; and, when we have disregarded its monitions, stings us with remorse; but men are still wicked. Public sentiment stamps vice with infamy; but, in spite of public sentiment, men are vicious. Civil government holds out its penalties, and the ruler brandishes his sword; but men persevere in wickedness, and often with impunity. The voice of nature within us calls for a government free from these imperfections. If, from the idea of a petty ruler over a single tribe or nation, we ascend to that of a moral governor over all intelligent creatures; if instead of the imperfect moral judgments and feelings which we find in men, we attribute to this universal ruler, all possible moral perfections, if we invest him with knowledge sufficient to detect every crime, and power sufficient to manifest his disapprobation of it in the most suitable and effectual way; and if this exalted sovereign, instead of being far from us, is brought into such a relation to us, that in him we live, move, and have our being; we shall have the most sublime conception of moral government, of which our minds are capable. This conception is presented in the proposition, THERE IS A GOD. The idea of God’s existence, as the moral ruler of the universe, accords precisely with the tendencies and demands of our moral nature; and, without admitting it, our moral faculties and the phenomena which they exhibit, are totally inexplicable.

The moral principles of our nature find occasion for development and exercise, in the relations which we sustain to our fellow-creatures. But, for their full development and exercise nothing furnishes opportunity, but the relation which we bear to God, and his universal dominion. This exercise of them constitutes religion. Religion is, therefore, the perfection of morality; and the fundamental doctrine of religion is the existence of God.

2. The existence of the world and the contrivances which it contains, demonstrates the existence of God.

While our moral nature leads us to the conception of God, as the moral governor of the universe, and to the belief of his existence, our intellectual nature approaches him, as the Great First Cause. Reason traces the chain of cause and effect throughout its links. It finds every link dependent on that which precedes it; and it asks on what does the entire chain depend? It obtains no satisfactory answer to this question, until it has admitted the existence of an eternal, self-existent, and independent being, as the first cause of all things. Here, and here only, the mind finds repose.

The argument which has been most relied on in natural religion, to prove the existence of God, is derived from the indications of contrivance, with which Nature abounds. The adaptation of means to ends, and the accomplishment of purposes by contrivances of consummate skill, are everywhere visible. Contrivance implies a contriver. The intelligence displayed is often found in creatures that have no intelligence; and in other cases, when found in intelligent creatures, it is manifestly not from themselves; because it exists without their knowledge, and operates without their control. The contrivance must be referred to an intelligent First Cause. This argument for the existence of God, is of great practical value, because it is presented to our minds daily, and hourly, in all the works of Nature. We meet it in the sun-beams, which impart to plants and animals, the warmth necessary to life; and to every eye, the light without which eyes would be useless. It presents itself in the eyes of every man, beast, bird, fish, insect, and reptile, and is most convincingly exhibited in the arrangements for receiving and refracting the light, and employing it for the purposes of vision; a contrivance as truly mechanical, and conformed to the laws of optics, as that which is seen in the structure of the telescope. We behold it in the descending shower which fertilizes the earth, and causes the grass to grow; and in the bursting germ, the spreading blade, the rising stalk, and the ripening grain, in all which a skilful contrivance is displayed, that infinitely transcends all human art. We discover it in the instincts by which the parent hen hatches her eggs, and takes care of her young; and in the adaptation of every species of animals on land, in air, or in water, to their mode and condition of life. It is seen in the return of day and night, the revolution of the seasons, the wind that sweeps the sky, and the vapor that rises from the ocean, and floats through the atmosphere. We find it in the bones of the body, fitted for their respective motions, and in the muscles which move them; in the throbbing heart, the circulating blood, the digesting stomach, and the heaving lungs. In every thing which the eye beholds, or the mind contemplates, we discover the manifestations of the Creator’s wisdom and power. The devotional heart is struck with the evidence of God’s existence, so abundantly displayed in all his handiworks, and is incited to admire and adore. The whole universe becomes a grand temple, pervaded with the presence and glory of the deity; and every place becomes an altar, on which may be offered to him the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.

3. The doctrine that there is a God, is confirmed by the common consent of mankind.

There have been tribes of men without literature, and, to a great extent, without science and arts; but the notion of an invisible, overruling power, with some form of religious worship, has been nearly, or quite universal. In this particular, man is distinguished from all other animals that inhabit the globe; and if there has been any portion of our race in whom no idea of God and religion has appeared, it may be said of them, that they have so far brutalized themselves, as to hide from view the characteristic distinction of human nature. Now, however it may be accounted for, that a belief in the existence of God has prevailed so generally among mankind; the fact of its prevalence is an argument for the truth of the opinion. If it is an ancient revelation handed down by tradition, that revelation proceeded from God, and therefore proves his existence; and if it springs up naturally in the human mind, in the circumstances in which we are placed, what Nature universally teaches, may be received as true.

4. Divine revelation dispels all doubt as to the existence of God.

In the Bible, the existence of God is from the very first assumed. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”[2] The doctrine, though formally declared in scarcely a single passage, is represented as fundamental in religion. “He that cometh to God, must believe that he is;”[3] and the denial of it is attributed to folly; “the fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.”[4] The volume of revelation is a light emanating from the Father of lights, and is, of itself, an independent proof of his existence. As we study its pages, in his light we shall see light; and a more realizing and abiding conviction that he, the great Source of light, exists, will occupy our minds.

The perfect harmony between natural and revealed religion, with respect to this doctrine, confirms the teaching of both. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge.”[5] While heaven and earth, day and night, speak for God, he speaks for himself in his inspired word, confirming the testimony which they give, and completing the instruction which they convey. Revelation never contradicts or sets aside the teachings of natural religion. God affirms, that “the invisible things of him are from the creation of the world clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; even his eternal power and Godhead”[6] It is no derogation from the authority or perfection of the Scriptures, that we study natural religion. The Scriptures themselves direct us to this study. “Ask the beasts, and they shall teach thee, and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee.”[7] The same God who speaks to us in his word, speaks to us also in this works; and in whatever manner he speaks, we should hear, and receive instruction.

It is a lamentable proof of human depravity, that men should deny or disregard the existence of God. We read of the fool who says in his heart, there is no God; of nations that forget God; and of individuals who have not God in all their thoughts. Such persons do not delight in God; and therefore they say, “Depart from us; we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.” Of such atheism, the only effectual cure is a new heart. For the occasional suggestion of atheistic doubts, with which a pious man may be harassed, the remedy is, a diligent study of God’s word and works, a careful marking of his hand in Providence, and a prayerful and confiding acknowledgment of him in all our ways. If we habitually walk with God, we shall not doubt his existence.

The invisibility of God is one of the obstacles to the exercise of lively faith in his existence. It may assist in removing this obstacle, to reflect that the human mind is also invisible; and yet we never doubt that it exists. We hear the words, and see the actions of a fellow-man, and these indicate to us the character and state of his mind, so as to excite in us admiration or contempt, love or hatred. If, while we listen to his words, and observe his actions, we clearly perceive the intelligence from which these words and actions proceed, why can we not, with equal clearness, perceive the intelligence from which the movements of nature proceed? If we can know, admire, and love, an unseen human mind, it is equally possible to know, admire, and love an unseen God.

[1] Gen. i. 1; Ps. xiv. 1; Mark xii. 32; 1 Cor. viii 6; Heb. iii. 4.

[2] Gen. i. 1.

[3] Heb. xi. 6.

[4] Ps. xiv. 1.

[5] Ps. xix. 1, 2.

[6] Rom. i. 20.

[7] Job xii. 7.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 3-Chapter 21-Church Discipline


I was asked awhile back if I believed in church discipline. I promptly replied that I do and that I have tried to practice it in my ministry over the years. I know of no doctrine that has been so ignored and neglected on the one hand, or has been so distorted and abused on the other hand. Usually when discipline is mentioned the sole thought is that of turning someone out of the church. This is only a small part of discipline the serious and final part.

There are several aspects of discipline and these must be distinguished. Our text book must be the Bible.

1. Self discipline. This involves the whole of Christian living to the end of life. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (#Ro 12:1); “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (#1Co 6:19); “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (#2Pe 1:5-8).

In #1Co 9:24-27, Paul uses the figure of an athlete to tell how he disciplined himself. “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” He says the athlete strives for a fading crown, but Paul was striving for an unfading crown. The athlete, whatever the contest, disciplines himself; he watches his diet, he abstains from certain kinds of drink and food, he gives up a lot of delicacies and fleshly delights to fit himself for the contest. And Paul says, I watch my body with its fleshly desires; I keep it in subjection, I keep it fit for the service of God, lest when I have preached to others I myself might be a castaway or disapproved or fail to get the prize. And so every child of God must by all means discipline himself, put away fleshly lusts that war against the soul.

2. Discipline by the word. This involves the work of the pastor. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (#2Ti 3:16). He is to use the word of God for teaching, for reproof, for correction and instruction in righteousness or right living. The test of my preaching is not whether you enjoy it, but whether or not it makes you better Christians. And so the purpose of discipline is to make people better, not richer or happier. Webster: “To train in self- control or obedience to a given standard.” The noun: “Training which corrects, molds, strengthens, or perfects.”

3. Discipline by our Heavenly Father. “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:” (#Heb 12:5). Webster: “To chastise; to punish.” Discipline by our Heavenly Father is called chastisement and is for our good, to make us better.

4. Restorative Discipline. “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted” (#Ga 6:1). This is to be done by Christians who are spiritual, close to the Lord and living above reproach. The Greek word for RESTORE is used of a dislocated limb put back in place. And so the sinning brother is like a limb out of place and must be dealt with tenderly and in meekness, remembering that we, though spiritual, might also be tempted and do wrong.

We see another example of restorative discipline in “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us… And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother” (#2Th 3:6,14,15).

And still another example of this kind of discipline in settling personal differences. “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican” (#Mt 18:15-17). This is very plain. And in such a case there is evidently exclusion from the church.

The next and last case of discipline is found in #1Co 5:13 “But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.” Here is the case of a man living in unholy wedlock, a sin that would hardly be found among the heathen, the case of a man living with his father’s wife, who must have been his stepmother. And so Paul does not mince words, but tells the church to exclude him, put that wicked man away from among yourselves. RSV: “Drive out the wicked person from among you.”

Even in this extreme case the good of the sinner was in the mind of Paul. “For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (#1Co 5:3-5).

In his second letter, Paul seems to refer to this man. Read #2Co 2:1-10.

All this adds up to the solemn truth that we ought to take our Christian profession seriously. Salvation is free but service to God is costly. And as members of the same body of Christ we are tied together and belong to each other and are responsible for one another. What I do, not only as your pastor, but as a member, is of importance to every one of you. And we should not see one another sin and do nothing about it.

C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 3