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Duty of Believing in Jesus Christ: Offices of Christ: Conclusion- Book Fifth

Book Fifth

CONCLUSION

“What think ye of Christ?” We may now, with great propriety, consider this question solemnly addressed to us. We have contemplated the person, states, and offices of Christ. What impression does the contemplation leave in our minds? What emotions has it produced? Have the words of the prophets been fulfilled in our case: “He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him”? Or, can we say, “He is the chief among ten thousands, and altogether lovely”? According as Christ appears in our view, the evidence of our spiritual state is favorable or unfavorable; and by this test, we may try our hope of acceptance through him, and of reigning with him for ever.

In the ordinary experience of mankind, the affections are attracted most strongly by objects near at hand. To the imagination, distance may lend enchantment; but the affections of the heart play around the fireside, and fix their firmest hold on those with whom we converse most familiarly. In accordance with this tendency of our nature, the son of God attracted the hearts of men, by dwelling among them, and exhibiting himself in familiar intercourse with them, and in the endearing relations well known in human society. We see him, as the affectionate brother and friend, weeping in the sorrows of others, and alleviating their sufferings by words and acts of kindness. The tenderness with which, when hanging on the cross, he committed his mother to the care of his beloved disciple, is an example of filial love, which cannot be contemplated with an unmoved heart. In the simple narratives of his life, which have been given for our instruction, we trace his course in his daily walk as a man among men, going about doing good, and the traits of character exhibited in this familiar intercourse, call forth our love. The heavens have now received him out of our sight, but we know that, in fulfillment of his promise, he is always with us; and we are taught to regard him, not only as near at hand, but also as sympathizing with our infirmities, having been tempted in all points as we are. In the humanity of Jesus, we see the loveliness of the divine perfections familiarly and intelligibly exhibited.

It sometimes happens, in the experience of mankind, that persons of extraordinary merit remain for a time in obscurity, and that those who have been most intimate with them have been taken by surprise, when the unsuspected greatness of their character has been disclose. Writers of fiction know how to interest the feelings, by presenting great personages under disguise, and unveiling them at a fit moment, to produce impression. But incidents, infinitely transcending all fiction, are found in the true history of Jesus Christ, in which the concealed majesty of his divinity broke forth, and caused surpassing astonishment. The humble sleeper in the boat on the Lake of Tiberias, comes forth from his slumbers, and stills the raging water; and the beholders of the miracle exclaim: “What manner of man is this?” The weary traveller arrives at Bethany, and claims to be the resurrection and the life, and demonstrates the truth of his claim, by calling the dead Lazarus from the tomb. As a condemned malefactor, he hangs on the cross, and expires with such exhibitions of divinity, that the astonished Roman centurion cried: “Truly this man was the Son of God.” We have contemplated the divinity of Jesus Christ, not merely in these transient outbursts which occurred while he was on earth, but in the full demonstration which has been given since he ascended to heaven, and the impression on our hearts ought to be strong and abiding. The disciples who attended on his personal ministry loved and honored him; but when they saw him ascend to heaven, being more deeply impressed with his divinity, they worshipped him. Let us devoutly join in rendering him divine honor.

We read with interest the history of men who have passed through great changes in their condition, and who, in every condition, have displayed great and noble qualities. But no changes of condition possible to men, can equal those which the Son of God has undergone. Once rich in his original glory, he became so poor that he had not where to lay his head: and from his depth of poverty, he has been exalted to supreme dominion, and made proprietor and ruler of all worlds. Through these changes he has ever exhibited such moral perfections as have been most pleasing to God. In whatever condition we view him, let us delight in him, as did his Father.

The offices which Christ sustains toward us, are such as have been in highest repute among men. Prophets, priests, and kings have always been accounted worthy of honor. We should give the highest honor to Christ, who, as a prophet, is superior to Moses; as a priest, superior to Aaron; and as a king, the Lord of David. These offices, as exercised by Christ, deserve our honor, not only because of their excellence, but also because of their adaptedness to us. We are, by nature, ignorant, guilty, and depraved. As ignorant, we need Christ, the prophet, to teach us; as guilty, we need Christ, the priest, to make atonement for us; and as depraved, we need Christ, the king, to rule over us, and bring all our rebellious passions into subjection. These offices of Christ are also adapted to the graces which distinguish and adorn the Christian character. The chief of these, as enumerated by Paul, are faith, hope, and love; in the exercise of faith, we receive the truth, revealed by Christ, the prophet; in the exercise of hope, we follow Christ, the priest, who has entered into the holiest of all, to appear before God for us; and we submit to Christ, the king, in the exercise of love, which is the fulfilling of the law, the principle and sum of all holy obedience.

In the theology of the ancient Christians, Christ held a central and vital place. If we take away from the epistles of Paul all that is said about Christ, what mutilation shall we make? If, when we have opened anywhere to read, as at 1 Cor. ch. i., we expunge Christ, what have we left? Paul, while in ignorance and unbelief, thought that he did God service, by persecuting Jesus of Nazareth. But when his eyes were opened, to see that the despised Nazarene, whom his nation had crucified, was the Lord of Glory, when he learned that in him are the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, unsearchable riches, and the fulness of grace, the heart of the persecutor was changed, and he became devoted to the service of him whom he had sought to destroy. Henceforth, he counted all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus. Has our knowledge of Christ produced a like effect on us? If our hearts are in unison with that of the great Apostle, we are prepared to say, from the inmost soul, “Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel,” a gospel of which Christ is not the centre and the sum, “let him be accursed.”[1] “If any man love not our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be an anathema maranatha.”[2]

In our investigation of religious truth, we have found four sources of knowledge: our own moral feelings, the moral feelings and judgments of others, the course of nature, and the book of divine revelation. The first three of these can give us no knowledge of Jesus Christ and his great salvation. For this knowledge we are wholly indebted to the Bible. Yet, when we have learned our lost and helpless state by nature, the scheme of salvation which the Bible reveals is so perfectly adapted to our condition, that it brings with it its own evidence of having originated in the wisdom of God.

When Paul preached the gospel of salvation, he know nothing but Jesus Christ, and him crucified. He gloried in nothing, save the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have tarried long in our meditations on the doctrine concerning Jesus Christ; and, before we dismiss the subject, it may be profitable to linger yet a little time at the cross, that we may again survey its glory, and feel its soul-subduing power.

In the cross of Christ, all the divine perfections are gloriously and harmoniously displayed. Infinite love, inviolable truth, and inflexible justice are all seen, in their brightest and most beautifully mingled colors. The heavens declare the glory of God; but the glory of the cross outshines the wonders of the skies. God’s moral perfections are here displayed, which are the highest glory of his character.

The cross of Christ is our only hope of life everlasting. On him who hangs there, our iniquities were laid, and from his wounds flows the blood that cleanses from all sin. Our faith views the bleeding victim, and peacefully relies on the great atoning sacrifice. It views mercy streaming from the cross; and to the cross it comes to obtain every needed blessing.

In the cross, the believer finds the strongest motive to holiness. As we stand before it, and view the exhibition of the Saviour’s love, we resolve to live to him who died for us. The world ceases to charm. We become crucified to the world, and the world crucified to us. Sin appears infinitely hateful. We regard it as the accursed thing which caused the death of our beloved Lord; and we grow strong in the purpose to wage against it an exterminating war. By all the Saviour’s agonies, we vow to have no peace with it for ever. The cross is the place for penitential tears. We look on him whom we have pierced, and mourn. Our hearts bleed at the sight of the bleeding sufferer, murdered by our sins; and we resolve that the murderers shall die. The cross is a holy place, where we learn to be like Christ, to hate sin as he hated it, and to delight in the law of God which was in his heart. In the presence of the cross, we feel that omnipotent grace has hold of our heart; and we surrender to dying love.

The wisdom of man did not devise the wonderful plan of salvation. As well might we suppose that it directed the great Creator, when he spread abroad the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth. But as in the heavens and earth human reason may see the power and wisdom of God, so, to the Christian heart, Christ crucified is the power of God, and the wisdom of God. The doctrine of the cross needs no other demonstration of its divine origin, than its power to sanctify the heart, and bring it into willing and joyful subjection to Christ.

[1] Gal. i. 8.

[2] 1 Cor. xvi. 22.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

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Duty of Believing in Jesus Christ: Offices of Christ: Prophet- Book Fifth- Chapter 3- Section 1

Book Fifth

CHAPTER III.

OFFICES OF CHRIST.

JESUS CHRIST IS THE MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND MEN.[1]

A mediator is a middle person between two parties. The term is especially applied to one who interposes between parties at variance, with a view to effect a reconciliation. Men are under the displeasure of God, on account of their sins, and are in rebellion against him, and enemies in mind by wicked works. Christ appears as mediator, to effect a reconciliation.

The duty of a mediator differs, according to the relation of the parties. When the variance between them arises wholly from misunderstanding, an explanation is all that is necessary to effect a reconciliation. In this case a mediator is simply an interpreter. When an offence has been given, but such a one as may be pardoned on mere entreaty, the mediator becomes an intercessor. But when the circumstances are such as to require satisfaction for the offence , the mediator must render that satisfaction or become surety for the offender. On God’s part, as he has committed no wrong, nothing more is required than an Interpreter,[2] to show to man his uprightness. But, on the part of guilty man, it is necessary that the Mediator should be both Intercessor and Surety.

The union of two natures in Christ qualifies him for the work of mediation. As man, he sympathizes with us, is accessible, both when we desire to present petitions and to receive instruction; and he is capable of standing as our substitute or surety, and of making the requisite satisfaction of divine justice. As God, he understands fully the claims against us, has ready access to the offended Sovereign, has all the knowledge which it can be necessary to communicate to us, and can give dignity and value to the satisfaction offered in our behalf. These qualifications are found in no other person, and accordingly “There is none other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved.”[3]

In the one office of Mediator three offices are included, which need separate consideration: those of Prophet, Priest, and King.

SECTION I.–PROPHET

JESUS CHRIST, AS PROPHET, MAKES REVELATION FROM GOD TO MEN.[4]

Among the revelations made by prophets, the foretelling of future events has held a conspicuous place: but this does not constitute the whole of the office. The word prophesy does not always refer to future events, as is apparent from an incident in the injurious treatment which our Redeemer received at his trial. When blindfolded he was struck by one of the attendants, who contemptuously demanded, “Prophesy who is he that smote thee.”[5] From this example we learn that the term was not exclusively used for the foretelling of future events, but was applied to the making of any declaration which required superhuman knowledge.

Jesus Christ, as a Prophet, was superior to all other prophets. Moses was so far distinguished above the rest, that it was said no prophet had arisen like him;[6] but Moses foretold the coming of Jesus Christ, in these words: “The Lord, thy God, will raise up unto thee, a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken.”[7] Elijah was a prophet, highly distinguished in his day, and was translated to heaven, without tasting death: but Moses and Elijah appeared on the mount of transfiguration, to lay down their prophetical office and honors at the feet of Jesus, when the voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, hear ye him.”[8] Moses and Elijah were to be heard in their day; but the voice from the excellent glory singled out Jesus as the superior prophet, whose instructions we are commanded to receive.

Not only was Christ superior to the prophets of the former dispensation, but it was he who qualified them for their office, and spoke through them.[9] This fact accords with his statement, “No man hath seen God at any time: the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”[10] He is, in this view, the only Prophet, the only Revealer of the mind of God. Before his personal ministry commenced, he made revelation by prophets whom he inspired; during his ministry, he spoke as one from the bosom of the Father; and after he left the world, he continued to make revelation, through his apostles and others, to whom he gave his Spirit. The last book of the Bible is a revelation which he gave to is servant John;[11] and the whole Bible is now to us as the word of Christ. His truth he still uses, as the Prophet of the Church, instructing his people into the knowledge of God.

God has sometimes been pleased to make known his will by the ministry of angels; but the prophets, whom he ordinarily employed, were men of like passions with ourselves. There was peculiar fitness, as well as condescending kindness, that the great Prophet of the Church should be one in our own nature. Though it was true, “Never man spake like this man,”[12] it was still true, that he spoke with the voice of a man; and, instead of the terrific thunders heard from Sinai, addressed those who were willing to receive his instructions, in the accents of tenderness, as an affectionate friend. But such affection might have existed, without the knowledge necessary to make known the whole mind of God. This qualification his divine nature supplied. Paul asks, on one occasion, “Who hath known the mind of the Lord? and who hath been his counsellor ?[13] But, it had been predicted of Jesus, that he should be called Wonderful, Counsellor.[14] He was the wisdom of God, from the bosom of the Father, and was therefore fully qualified to reveal the mind and counsel of God to men.

At the feet of this Prophet let us sit, that we may learn the knowledge of God. With Mary, let us take our place there, leaving the cumbering cares of the world, and opening our ears and our hearts to receive his heavenly instructions. Peter, James, and John, who saw his glorious form in the holy mount, when the bright vision had passed away, were left in possession of the divine command: “Hear ye him.” Let us take this direction as the guide of our way, until we shall be admitted to the brighter vision of his glory, of which the former was but a shadow.

[1] 1 Tim. ii. 5; 2 Cor. v. 18; Col. i. 20; 1 John ii. 1; Gal. i. 4.; iii. 13; Tit. ii. 14.

[2] Job xxxiii. 23.

[3] Acts iv. 12.

[4] Isaiah lxi. 1; Luke iv. 18, 23; Heb. ii. 3; 1 Pet. i. 11; Deut. xviii. 18; John iii. 34; xvi. 1; Rev. i. 1.

[5] Matt. xxvi. 68.

[6] Duet. xxxiv. 10.

[7] Deut. xviii. 15.

[8] Matt. xvii. 5.

[9] 1 Pet. i. 11.

[10] John i. 18.

[11] Rev. i. 1.

[12] John vii. 46.

[13] Romans xi. 34.

[14] Isaiah ix. 6.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

Answering An Arminian Objection-1

It always amazes me how Arminians will take one set of scriptures and use them to try and disprove the Biblical doctrines of the Reformers. By doing so they commit the either or fallacy. By using this fallacious method they are only cherry picking the particular scriptures which they feel support their doctrines. They do not use the method of interpretation known as analogia fides (analogy of faith) and the analogia Scripturae (analogy of scripture). These two hermeneutical principles guide the exegete in determining the right interpretation of any and all scripture. “In other words, there is clearer light to be shed on every aspect of Scripture which is difficult to determine in and of itself; i.e., Scripture interprets Scripture, and the overall theology of Scripture, being consistent in and of itself as that which determines our faith and practice, clarifies itself in consideration of the organic whole.” 1

In my post entitled: ‘Arminian Errors Pt 6,’ I quote from Max MacLean’s ‘Arminianism-Another Gospel.’ In this post MacLean is showing that Arminians err concerning the doctrine known as the ‘Perseverance of the Saints.’ On this post I received a comment from an Arminian who provides some scriptures that is supposed to refute this Reformed doctrine.

Since all the scriptures are true and all scripture should be used to formulate our doctrines, then Arminians commit the hermeneutical fallacy known as eisegesis when they approach the scriptures. The hermeneutical fallacy known as eisegesis does not seek to draw out of scripture what scripture is saying, but instead reads into scripture what isn’t there. This is due to the fact that they hold a particular bias concerning scripture, before they ever approach scripture. Since they hold a particular bias before they approach scripture, they tend to pit scripture against scripture. The scripture that plainly states that an individual will be given eternal life and shall never perish, isn’t true in their minds. Only those scriptures, that they feel teach that a believer can fall away, are true in their minds. Arminianism holds to and teaches that a true saved individual can come to know Christ and then one day decide to give up, after which they lose their salvation.

Before I list and answer the scriptures that I received, I want to quote from some scriptures that teach the opposite of what Arminians believe.

 

Mat 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Mat 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Mat 7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
Mat 7:18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Mat 7:19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Mat 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

 

There is no way that Christ could have told individuals, that he once knew, “depart from me for I never knew you;” if in fact at one time he did know them. But notice the context of verse 15 and one will easily see that Christ is speaking to false prophets.

Joh 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Everlasting life is eternal, just as everlasting death is eternal. An individuals past sins did not keep God from electing that individual. Neither shall his future sins remove God’s gracious hands from him. If the believer falls into sin, God will chasten him. If he is without chastisement, then he never was a true believer. Hebrews tells us this:

Heb 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
Heb 12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
Heb 12:8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

And Christ stated:

Rev 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

Again Jesus said in John:

Joh 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life

Again Jesus said:

Joh 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
Joh 10:29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
Joh 10:30 I and my Father are one.

Here Christ is claiming to be God. He is just as powerful as the Father. (This is proof for the doctrine known as the Trinity). No man can pluck a believer out of his hands. No man is able to pluck them out of the Father’s hands. Arminianism teaches that God and Jesus wish that individuals would stay with them, but that they are powerless to keep their own saved.

Notice that the Father gives individuals to the Son. Christ prays for those that are given to him by the Father:

Joh 17:9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.

Joh 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word

Christ intercedes for those the Father gives him:

Rom 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

The book of James chapter 5 teaches us that the fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much, but Arminianism wants us to believe that the one who is the very definition of righteousness, is weak in his prayers and accomplishes nothing by praying.

Php 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

God begun the work in his elect and will continue that work till Christ come.

Jud 1:1 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:

Finally Jude writes his letter to those that are sanctified by God and preserved in Jesus Christ. The word ‘preserved’ means ‘to prevent escaping from full military lines, to detain, withhold, holdfast, and keep.

Many other scriptures could have been given to show that all those who have been given to Christ, by the Father, shall never fall away.

Now here are the scriptures, that were sent to me, that are supposed to teach that true believers can lose their salvation:

 

Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. (Peter)

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;

17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.

2 Peter 2:20-22 ESV / 15 helpful votes

For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”

Romans 11:19-22 ESV / 10 helpful votes

Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.

Matthew 24:10-13 ESV / 7 helpful votes

And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

 

Now which set of scriptures are true? Are the scriptures that I gave true or are the scriptures that were sent to me true? Both sets of scriptures are true and are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Nevertheless, we have shown that Christ himself stated that he will lose none of those given to him by the Father. No man can pluck them out of his hand. When Arminians tell us that believers can lose their salvation, then they are basically denying Christ’s Prophetic office, Priestly office, and Kingly office. They are saying that Christ is a prophet who lies, that Christ is a Priest whose prayers and sacrifice are ineffectual, and they are denying that he as King, can so rule and govern his kingdom, that his elect stay safe from apostasy in his kingdom.

So our presupposition, when approaching all other scriptures, has to be that Christ prophesies of the loss of non of his elect, that his prayers and sacrifice are effective in keeping his elect, and that Christ rules his elect so that none ever perish.

When cherry picking scriptures, those of the Arminian persuasion, ignore the context that surrounds the scriptures; of which they use to try and prove the doctrine of the ‘Perseverance of the Saints’ false.

Remember when we approach the scriptures, in order to interpret them, we must focus on context, context, context. So let’s now examine the scriptures that were sent to me:

 

Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. (Peter)

 

My response: This scripture can be found in the second epistle of Peter, chapter 3, verse 17. Here it is plain that Peter is not saying that we can lose salvation, but is admonishing his readers to beware of not falling from the steadfastness of the truth on which they have been clinging. There is always the danger of falling into error and not holding to the sound doctrines of which the scriptures teach us. Notice that Peter’s very words were that they should beware not to fall into the error of the wicked.

The second scripture is:

 

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

 

My response: Notice that the term ‘the faith’ is used constantly throughout this epistle. 1 Tim 1:2, 3:9, 3:13, 4:1, 5:8, 6:10, and 6:21.

“The Greek word here – ἀποστήσονται apostēsontai – is that from which we have derived the word “apostatize,” and would be properly so rendered here. The meaning is, that they would “apostatize” from the belief of the truths of the gospel. It does not mean that, as individuals, they would have been true Christians; but that there would be a departure from the great doctrines which constitute the Christian faith. The ways in which they would do this are immediately specified, showing what the apostle meant here by departing from the faith. They would give heed to seducing spirits, to the doctrines of devils, etc. The use of the word “some,” here τινες tines – does not imply that the number would be small. The meaning is, that “certain persons” would thus depart, or that “there would be” an apostasy of the kind here mentioned, in the last days.-Barnes”

In other words, there will be a great defection, in these last days, from the doctrines that constitute the Christian faith. Multitudes would go out and preach things that are contrary to the Christian faith. We have been in the last days since Christ’s coming into this world and this defection from ‘the faith’ had begun even during the days of the apostles. Paul rebuked the Galatian Church because they had allowed teachers to come in and preach to them ‘another gospel,’ which was not the gospel of which he preached. These teachers were the Judaizers. Those who came into the Galatia Church with the doctrine that the Galatian Christians must keep the law of Moses and be circumcised had departed from the faith. They were probably the “false apostles,” persons “brought in unawares,” etc., so often mentioned by Paul, and are known in history.

This is why Paul warned Timothy of the fact that many would depart from ‘the faith’ in their preaching of Christianity. Paul did not say that true believers would depart from ‘their faith,’ but that false teachers would depart from the sound doctrines of Christianity. Notice that Paul just gave Timothy an admonish to charge some that they teach no other doctrine, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. 1 Tim 1:3-7 Paul told Timothy that Bishops should be blameless and not new converts, so that they would hold fast to sound doctrine, in order to lead their congregations. Paul explained the qualifications of Bishops and deacons, so that men who were faithful to the doctrines of ‘the faith’ would be in leadership.

The third scripture is:

 

Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

 

My response: This scripture can be found in Hebrews 3:12. Let’s quote a few more scriptures in order to have some context in which to interpret the scripture given:

Heb 3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
Heb 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
Heb 3:14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;

The writer to the Hebrews was given them a warning that they should not be as Israel was in the wilderness. He goes on to say that they should exhort or warn one another daily, seeing that they had been made partakers with Christ if they hold fast the faith of which they had been given. A little insight on why the epistle to the Hebrews was written is needful at this point. Here is a comment from the introduction to Hebrews found in the Reformation Study Bible, edited by R. C. Sproul:

“Hebrews offers a fair amount of information about the original recipients and their situation, while leaving questions of date and destination without certain answers. The original readers spoke Greek and used the Greek translation of the Old Testament. They could follow arguments drawn from the Old Testament and were interested in the Old Testament sanctuary, sacrificial system, and priesthood. They had not heard the gospel directly from Jesus, but from apostles (2:3), had faced previous persecution (10:32-34) and were facing present persecution, including expulsion from Jewish institutions (13:12,13). They were in danger of falling away, perhaps fearing death (2:14-18), although their faith had not yet led to martyrdom (12:4). In addition, they may have been undergoing a transition in church leadership (13:7, 17), and were therefore concerned about security and permanence (6:19; 11:10; 13:8, 14). Finally, they receive greeting through the author from “those of Italy” (13:24).

Drawing these features together, we conclude that the recipients were Jewish Christians of the Dispersion (the scattering of Jews outside Palestine), probably in Italy. This would take 13:24 to be a greeting sent “home” by expatriates…..

Subject to suffering and shame for their confession of Jesus, stripped of the familiar and visible institutions of organized Jewish religion, and confused by the hidden character of Jesus’ glory (veiled in suffering when he was on earth and now hidden in heaven), the readers are tempted to turn from the faith (10:38, 39), to fall into unbelief and so to give up their pilgrimage toward God’s rest and God’s city (4:1, 2, 11; 11:10, 14-16; 13:14). “

The introductory note to Hebrews here shows that the Jewish Christians were tempted to turn from the faith. So being tempted to give up, they were given warning by the author of this epistle. But just because they were tempted and were given warning does not mean that Christ would lose those that belong to him. Jesus told the disciples that on the foundation of his being Lord, that he would build his church and the gates of Hell would not prevail against it. Arminians want us to believe that the gates of Hell can prevail against the church.

The fourth scripture given to me was:

 

16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;

17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.

 

My response: These verses come from Mark 4. If one would take and read Matthew 13:1-16 (this portion of scripture also deals with the same parable) they would see that Jesus was teaching a multitude of people. Some were elect and some were not. The disciples asked Christ why he spoke to them in parables? Jesus stated that he spoke to them in parables so that they couldn’t hear and understand, so that they couldn’t see nor perceive what he was saying (Matthew 13:13-15). The mysteries of the kingdom of heaven is only given to the elect (Matthew 13:11). If Christ were trying to convert everyone in this multitude, then he wouldn’t have used the genre known as a parable in order to teach. We see that in this parable only those who brought forth fruit were they who had the knowledge of the kingdom and who were truly born again. The rest were mere professors for a while and then fell away. This is why Christ stated that: “they have no root.” Are we to believe the Arminian who claims that these were individuals who were “rooted and built up in Christ” (Col 2:7) and then one day they just lost their salvation, or are we going to believe Jesus when he declared that they had no root in themselves and so endured for a while? I am going to believe Christ, not the Arminian.

The fifth scripture I was given was:

 

2 Peter 2:20-22 ESV / 15 helpful votes

For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”

 

My response: Again I re-emphasize that we are to leave every verse in context, context, context, while interpreting scripture with scripture. The whole chapter, beginning at verse 1, is dealing with false prophets. It is the false prophet who reforms his outward acts while not being truly reformed within. Certainly a false prophet cannot have been converted and then lose his salvation. This is why he is called false. He appeared to have had salvation and then finally gave up his hypocrisy by turning from Christ. Since all scripture is to be interpreted with scripture, then we see in Matthew 7 that Christ warns us of false prophets and states that by their fruits we shall know them. These are they who appear before him and claim to have done many things in his name and he tells them to depart, for he never knew them. Again, if Christ once knew them, then he could never say that he never knew them. So as the scriptures in 2 Peter 2: 1-22 declare, these false prophets outwardly reform themselves and then they turned and went back to their vomit of living.

 The sixth scripture I was given was:

 

Romans 11:19-22 ESV / 10 helpful votes

Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.

 

My response: Here is another proof of ripping scripture from context. Paul is expounding on what he had been saying since Romans 9. Election is not based on one’s affiliation with a person (Abraham Romans 9:7), nor a nation (Israel Romans 9:6), but is given to whomsoever God chooses. Paul states that it is not of him that willeth or runneth and that God has a right to show his power in vessels already fit for destruction, in order that he might show his glory towards those of whom he prepared (ordained) to glory. This includes all that are called, both Jews and Gentiles Romans 9:24. Paul then begins to explain why natural Israel was cut off and continues this on up through Romans 11. They were cut off due to unbelief. All natural men have unbelief and God is not obligated to give them faith. Notice in Deuteronomy 29:4-5 Moses tells Israel that even though they had been lead through the wilderness for forty years, nevertheless God has not given them a heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day. Since faith is a gift from God (Eph 2:8), then no natural man will believe unless God intervenes and gives him a new heart. Therefore Paul warns the Romans about boasting against natural Israel. Just as the Jews went around boasting against the Gentiles, having the mindset that since they were Abraham’s descendants and part of the nation of Israel, then they had God’s favor. Even so Paul warns the Roman Gentiles against having this same mindset. Paul warns against the same unbelief of which natural Israel possessed. The warnings of scripture are spoken to the church and keep the true saints of God on the path of righteousness. Nevertheless, they shall bring greater judgment on the professors who hear them and yet continue in their hypocrisy of play acting as a Christian.

Finally the last scripture I was given is:

 

Matthew 24:10-13 ESV / 7 helpful votes

And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

 

My response: This final scripture is like the rest that were sent to me, in that it fails to show that Christ’s elect will fall away. Certainly many will fall away, from their professing of faith, of which faith they never truly possessed. The Hebrews had many among them who professed Christ and then when persecution came along they were offended or feared death and fell away. Even so many more will do this during the entire church age before Christ’s second coming.

 

Well this was just a quick response to an Arminian who ripped scripture from context and set out to prove that Christ will lose his elect. Nevertheless, his scriptures, when left in context, prove no such thing. I will leave you with this scripture.

 

Eph 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
Eph 3:21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

 

 

Soli deo Gloria

 

 

1 Used this definition from an article by my friend Bill Hier. This a great article. Be sure to check it out. http://gracemeans.wordpress.com/2014/05/20/the-everlasting-covenant/

Chapter 27-The Offices of Christ

The Offices of Christ

 

THREE offices are ascribed by the Scriptures to Christ–those of prophet, priest and king.

I. CHRIST AS PROPHET.

This word is to be taken in its wider sense of inspired teacher.

It is frequently confined, in common language, to one who foretells future events. But it literally means one who speaks for his God, and denotes a divine teacher merely. Thus Moses is spoken of as a prophet, and Christ was foretold as a prophet who should he like unto Moses.

It is in connection with this that the term Logos, or Word, applied to Christ in the 1st chapter of John is appropriate.

With the office of teacher, Christ united, as was common with the prophets, the prediction of future events and the working of miracles. But the office of teacher was his special work as prophet.

This work is discharged in the following ways:

1. In the personal revelations which he made, before the days of his incarnation, to our first parents, to the patriarchs and to others of their day, to Moses and the people of God in the wilderness, and to various others, as Manoah, the children in the furnace, etc. These were made in appearances of human form, in the burning bush, in the pillar of cloud and fire, in the Shechinah, etc., etc.

2. In the inspired revelations which he made through holy men of old, who spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. The Old Testament Scriptures are composed of a portion of these.

3. While on earth in his incarnation.

(1) Personally as, (a) he set forth by his own acts the divine attributes, omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, eternity of existence, etc., and (b) as he exhibited God’s love for man, his hatred of sin, and his love of holiness and righteousness in the work of man’s salvation.

(2) By his instructions, as he taught (a) in words to his disciples and others what he exhibited in his person as to the matters above stated, and (b) the truths relative to the kingdom he was to establish, its nature, its subjects, the relations they should bear to each other, to him and the Father, and their future destiny and glory as well as the condition and fate of those who should reject him.

4. By the instructions he gave through his apostles and other inspired men after his ascension.

5. By the revelation of himself in the lives and character of his true disciples in all ages.

6. By the instructions given through his preached word in all ages.

7. By the revelations of glory he shall make to the church of first-born ones in the world to come.

8. By the revelation which through these, he shall make of the glory of God to the universe of created intelligences.

 

II. CHRIST AS PRIEST.

The office of “Priest” is one of divine appointment. That of Christ corresponds to that of the High Priest under the Mosaic economy, and is foreshadowed by it. The Epistle to the Hebrews sets this forth very plainly and explicitly. The priesthood of Christ, however, varies from that of the High Priest in several particulars. Christ’s priesthood is perpetual, is in one person, without predecessor or successor, making one offering, once for all; an offering actually not symbolically effective, deriving value not from appointment alone, but from its nature also. In this case, also, the victim is the same person as the High Priest. Consequently Christ’s office as priest is to be contemplated in the twofold aspect of priest and victim.

1. As Priest, he offers up the sacrifice, laying it upon the altar of oblation, and through it appeasing the wrath of God, making reconciliation between God and man, and securing, in its proper presentation, the removal of guilt and punishment from man.

As Priest he also intercedes with God for pardon or justification or other blessings for all for whom he died, in all the respects in which his death is available for each.

The first of these priestly offices was discharged upon earth, the second is discharging in heaven. It does not cease with his life on earth, but he is represented as continuing as an ever-living High Priest to make intercession for us, Heb. 7:23-25; sitting down at the right hand of’ God, Acts 2:33-36; Heb. 8:1; 9:12-21. (See the law as to the Jewish High Priest entering in once every year in Heb. 9:27; also in the law laid down in Ex. 30:10; Lev. 16:2, 11, 12, 15, 34; see also Heb. 7:27; 10:10. 1 Pet. 3:18, confines it to their sufferings and does not include the offering.) It is not for the purpose of offering the sacrifice that he is there, Heb. 9:24, 25; but to make intercession for those for whom the sacrifice has already been offered, Heb. 10:11, 12, 14-18. These passages show it was such an offering as actually sanctified (v. 10), and purified (v. 14) them that are sanctified.

While we are not to suppose that he is engaged in actual spoken prayer before God, we are also not to understand by this a mere influence of his sacrifice continued without further activity on his part, but some real activity corresponding fully to the essence of prayer and petition, to which is due all the blessings to which his people attain.

This intercession is made for his people, Luke 22:32, John 14:16; 17:9, 15, 20, 24; Eph. 2:18; Heb. 4:14-16. The passages in Isaiah 53:12 and Luke 23:34 have been adduced as indicating intercession which avails in some respect for all men. But such benefits are not the result of intercessory prayer, nor of Christ’s atoning work conferring general benefits; but they come from the necessary co-existence of the persons thus benefited with those to whom the resulting benefits of the atoning work belong.

2. Christ as the victim.

(1) His qualifications.

(a) His sinlessness; for this position he needed to be pure, holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and one in whom there was no sin. He must be a spotless Lamb.

(b) His humanity; that he might be of common nature with those for whom he died, and that he might be capable of suffering, and of such suffering as man may endure.

(c) His divinity; that his successful Prosecution of the work might be assured, and that his offering might have merit sufficient to ransom those for whom he died.

(d) His federal relation; that he might he a proper substitute for sinners, not any securing righteousness by obedience, but bearing and removing their guilt by making satisfaction for it.

(2) The offering. Thus qualified he was offered up as a victim; his body to the suffering which culminated in his death on the cross, and his soul to the anguish due to the realized presence of imputed sin, to the wrath endured from God, and to the separation from God’s favor while bearing that wrath.

 

III. CHRIST AS KING.

Christ announced to his disciples just before his ascension, “All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth.” Math 28:18. Peter at Pentecost declared, “that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified;” Acts 2:36.

Constant references had been previously made to his kingdom. It was not simply spoken of as the kingdom of God, and kingdom of heaven, but as closely connected with Christ. Luke 22:29, 30; 23:42; John 18:37.

1. Christ as the God-man is Mediatorial king.

As Son of God he had the right of rule over the universe. Of this he emptied himself and became man, that he might become Mediator and do the work of salvation. Having become man he died on the cross. On this account he has been exalted, so “that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, * * * and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God, the Father.” Phil. 2:6-11. Compare Acts 2:22-36, especially verse 36. “God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified.” Also 1 Cor. 15:24-26.

2. Christ reigns over his spiritual kingdom, securing the final result of the establishment of that kingdom in the persons of all his people when he shall “present the church to himself, a glorious church.” Eph. 5:27.

3. He reigns over his visible churches on earth through the laws he has given, through the Spirit by which he dwells in them, and by his providences, overruling, controlling, and accomplishing all his purposes.

4. The rules over this world as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, causing all things to work together for his ends.

5. He rules over the universe. His sway is not limited to earth.

6. His Mediatorial reign is not confined to human subjects, but extends also to angelic. The angels of heaven are his attendants and his messengers.

7. He even rules over Satan and his evil angels. Their exercise of power for evil is permitted only for a time. Even during that time it is controlled by Christ; so that it is limited by his will, and is, therefore, truly subjected to him.

 

Rev. James Petigru Boyce, D. D., LL. D.,–Abstract of Systematic Theology–First published in 1887

Moses was in truth a messenger sent forth from God

December 25, 2013 1 comment

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015This antiquity contrasted with the dreams of the Egyptians.

II. The majesty of the Books of Moses.

4. Some perhaps may choose to credit the Egyptians in carrying back their antiquity to a period of six thousand years before the world was created. But their garrulity, which even some profane authors have held up to derision, it cannot be necessary for me to refute. Josephus, however, in his work against Appion, produces important passages from very ancient writers, implying that the doctrine delivered in the law was celebrated among all nations from the remotest ages, though it was neither read nor accurately known. And then, in order that the malignant might have no ground for suspicion, and the ungodly no handle for cavil, God has provided, in the most effectual manner, against both dangers. When Moses relates the words which Jacob, under Divine inspiration, uttered concerning his posterity almost three hundred years before, how does he ennoble his own tribe? He stigmatizes it with eternal infamy in the person of Levi. “Simon and Levi,” says he, “are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly mine honor be not thou united,” (Genesis 49:5, 6.) This stigma he certainly might have passed in silence, not only that he might spare his own ancestor, but also save both himself and his whole family from a portion of the disgrace. How can any suspicion attach to him, who, by voluntarily proclaiming that the first founder of his family was declared detestable by a Divine oracle, neither consults for his own private interest, nor declines to incur obloquy among his tribe, who must have been offended by his statement of the fact? Again, when he relates the wicked murmuring of his brother Aaron, and his sister Miriam, (Numb. 12:1,) shall we say that he spoke his own natural feelings, or that he obeyed the command of the Holy Spirit? Moreover, when invested with supreme authority, why does he not bestow the office of High Priest on his sons, instead of consigning them to the lowest place? I only touch on a few points out of many; but the Law itself contains throughout numerous proofs, which fully vindicate the credibility of Moses, and place it beyond dispute, that he was in truth a messenger sent forth from God.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 8-Henry Beveridge Translation

A Brief Catechism of Bible Doctrine-8-The Mediator

December 12, 2013 1 comment

The Mediator

 

1. What is a Mediator?

One who leads persons who are at enmity to become friends, or to be reconciled to each other.

2. Why is Christ called the Mediator?

Because He comes between man and God, and reconciles them to each other.

3. What offices does Christ discharge as Mediator?

The offices of Prophet, Priest and King.

4. Why is Christ called a Prophet?

A Prophet is one who speaks for God, and Christ is the Great Teacher of Divine Truth.

5. Why is He called a Priest?

It was the duty of the Priest to offer sacrifice for sin, and to pray to God to pardon the sinner. Christ is in both these respects the High Priest of His people.

6. In what sense is He a King?

He has no earthly kingdom; but He reigns in the hearts of saints and angels.

7. Is He not King of the universe?

He is and hence is called the King of kings and Lord of lords.

8. Will this reign ever be acknowledged by all?

It will at the judgment day.

James P. Boyce-A Brief Catechism of Bible Doctrine

Confession statement 35

Published in 1646

The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts.

CONFESSION OF FAITH of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London. which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.

XXXV. AND all His servants of all estates (are to acknowledge Him to be their prophet, priest, and king;) and called thither to be enrolled among His household servants, to present their bodies and souls, and to bring their gifts God hath given them, to be under His heavenly conduct and government, to lead their lives in this walled sheepfold, and watered garden, to have communion here with His saints, that they may be assured that they are made meet to be partakers of their inheritance in the kingdom of God; and to supply each others wants, inward and outward; (and although each person hath a propriety in his own estate, yet they are to supply each others wants, according as their necessities shall require, that the name of Jesus Christ may not be blasphemed through the necessity of any in the Church) and also being come, they are here by Himself to be bestowed in their several order, due place, peculiar use, being fitly compact and knit together according to the effectual working of every part, to the edifying of itself in love.

Acts 2:41,47; Isa.4:3; 1 Cor.12:6,7, etc.; Ezek.20:37,40; Song of Sol.4:12: Eph.2:19: Rom.12:4,5,6; Col.1:12, 2:5,6,19; Acts 20:32, 5:4, 2:44,45, 4:34.35; Luke 14:26; 1 Tim.6:1; Eph.4:16.

The First London Baptist Confession 1644/46