Lesson 4 The Promised Seed of Abraham

 

Lesson 4

 The Promised Seed of Abraham

In our last lesson on Justification by Faith, we learned from Paul’s letter to the Romans that both Jews and Gentiles have sinned and come short of the glory of God and can only be justified through faith in Jesus Christ. 

Today we are going to track God’s promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob from Genesis to Acts and beyond.

 We who believe are called the children of Abraham

Gal 3:6-9 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. 7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. 8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

Let’s look at verse 8 more closely and notice that the promise made by God to Abraham is called the gospel. Now let’s go back to Gen 22 and read what Abraham did to cause God to make the promise:

Gen 22:16-18  And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; 18  And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

Furthermore, we saw in Lesson 3 that Abraham was justified initially by simply believing God, but the gospel message that brings the blessing of salvation to all nations couldn’t be preached until Abraham obeyed God by being willing to sacrifice Isaac, the child of promise.

Heb 11:17-19 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: 19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

Years after preaching the promise to Abraham, God preached the identical promise/gospel to Isaac and to Jacob:

Gen 26:4   And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and ill give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed(Isaac)

Gen 28:14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. (Jacob)

Paul explains that the “seed” or “offspring” that God was referring to was actually Christ Jesus who was a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob according to the flesh.  

Gal 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

Paul had much to say about the promise made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and explains that the promise was prophetically speaking of the promise of the Spirit. He also clearly shows us that the children of promise are not the natural  descendants of Abraham, but the spiritual children of Abraham.  

Rom 4:13‑16 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the Righteousness of faith. {14} For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: {15} Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. {16} therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not  to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith  of Abraham; who is the father of us all, 

Rom 9:7‑8 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. {8} That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.    

Gal 3:13‑14 {13} Christ hath redeemed us from  the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: {14} That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus  Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. 

What did Jesus Himself have to say about the promise? 

Luke 24:44‑49 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. {45} Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, {46} And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead  the third day: {47} And that repentance and  remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning  at Jerusalem. {48} And ye are witnesses of these things. {49} And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

Luke, the inspired writer of the book of Acts explains what the Promise of the Father is and of the power it would bring.  

Acts 1:1‑5 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all  that  Jesus began both to do and teach, {2} Until the day in which he was  taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments  unto the apostles whom he had chosen: {3} To whom also he showed  himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: {4} And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. {5} For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

The prophetic words of Jesus in Luke 24:49, that the disciples would be “endued with power from on high”, are fulfilled on the day of Pentecost:

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all  with one accord in one place. {2} And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where  they were sitting. {3} And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of  fire, and it sat upon each of them. {4} And they were all filled with the  Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1‑4)

It is also interesting to compare the words of Jesus in Luke  24:47 with Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost.

Verse 47: “And that repentance and remission  of sins  should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning  at  Jerusalem

Jesus prophetically says what would be preached and where it would begin being preached

Peter in his inspired sermon to the Jews on the day of Pentecost explains what must be done to fulfill God’s plan for the spiritual restoration of fallen man.  In fulfillment of Jesus’ words, Peter preached repentance and remission of sins.  We also learn from Peter that remission of sins is accomplished by being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. (“In His name”). Peter’s subsequent reference to the “gift of the Holy Ghost” corresponds to Jesus words, “Behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you”. In other words, the “Promise of the father” is the same as “the gift of the Holy Ghost”. In Acts 2:39, Peter refers to the gift of the Holy Ghost as “The Promise”. Also note that this message was first preached at Jerusalem, just as Jesus said it would be.

Acts 2:38‑39 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. {39} For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many  as the Lord our God shall call.

In order to receive the Holy Ghost our faith must produce obedience:

Acts 5:32 And we are His witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.

In the following accounts the first Gentiles are saved. These passages should be closely studied by every sincere person who is seeking to know the truth about the true plan of salvation. There is no reason to believe that God’s requirements for becoming a part of his Church will change anywhere between the birthday of the Church, Pentecost, and the day that we are all caught up to be with Jesus forever!

Acts 10:43‑48 to him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. {44} While Peter yet  spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which  heard the  word. {45} 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. {46} For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, {47} Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? {48} And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

Acts 11:13‑17 And he showed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which  stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call  for Simon, whose surname is Peter; {14} Who shall tell thee words, whereby  thou  and all thy house shall be saved. {15} And as I began to speak, the  Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. {16} Then remembered I the word  of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed  baptized  with water;  but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. {17} Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?

Acts 19:1‑6 records yet another incident of disciples being born of the water and the Spirit as Jesus told Nicodemus

Acts 19:1‑6 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, {2} He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much  as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. {3} And he said unto  them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. {4} Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which  should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. {5} When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. {6} And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

 

I Cor 12:13 clearly reveals the fact that the norm for becoming part of the Body of Christ, the Church, is by being baptized into it!

1 Cor 12:13  For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into the Spirit.

Note the interchangeable use of Spirit of God and Spirit of Christ in the following:  

Rom 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

In the last two lessons we have seen how we are initially justified by our faith in the Gospel, but, like Abraham’s supreme act of obedience showed his initial faith to be genuine, so we also validate the justification that we received by believing the gospel – by obeying it.  This is accomplished through repentance, baptism in Jesus’ name, and receiving the Spirit of Christ, which is the Holy Spirit.

 

 

Next week – Lesson 5 “Baptism in Jesus’ Name”

 

 

Justification By Faith-How And When Does It Happen?

 

Lesson
3

 Justification
by Faith – How and When Does It Happen?

 

In our first 2 lessons we learned that all of us are born with Adam’s sin nature, and have an overpowering tendency to do what is contrary to God’s will; but God in His infinite grace and mercy has provided a way that His wrath can be appeased and we can be reconciled to Him. That way is through the sacrificial death of His Son, Jesus Christ, as the atonement or payment for sins. It is through faith in Jesus Christ as God’s perfect sacrifice, that we can be declared in right standing with Him. 

Rom 5:21 God  made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him  we would become the righteousness of God. (NET) 

Whereas, each of us came into this world in a state of condemnation caused by the disobedience of Adam, and passed on to the entire human race- this lesson will explore the source,  the grounds , and the means by which we receive a justified status in the eyes of God. 

 Biblical Justification Defined

 In Romans 4 Paul uses the term impute (d/th) – Greek logizomai eleven times in connection with righteousness. This Greek word is an accounting term which refers to the crediting of something to an account. It means to consider, to count towards, or to credit to one’s account. The believer has God’s righteousness credited to his account by means of his faith in the gospel message, and thus is considered to be in a right relationship to God’s law. Paul’s emphasis on the fact that righteousness is imputed – not imparted when we are justified disproves the claims of some theologians who teach that we are made righteous, as opposed to being declared righteous in the eyes of God when we are initially justified. In other words we are righteous as far as standing with God is concerned, but we aren’t necessarily righteous as far as our “works” are concerned. There is no change in our nature. God doesn’t eradicate our sin nature when He declares us righteous. —Dulle

What are the primary benefits of our Justification?

When we are considered righteous by God, He restores communication between us and Him; the communication that we were barred from while lost in sin.

Rom 5:1-2 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

 The grace that we receive after being justified is not only God’s unmerited favor towards man, but it is also the ability that God gives us to live for Him. (1 Cor 15:10; Philippians 2:13) One of the things that grace does for us is that it allows us to live holy before God (Titus 2:11-14). grace gives us the ability to live above sin, not indulge in it!   

1Co 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 

Php 2:12-13  Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (This is an example of grace at work in us). 

Tit 2:11-14 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the lorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

The Basis and Means of Justification

“Romans 3:19-31 (KJV) is the most definitive passage on this subject. Here it will be seen that the source of our justification is God’s grace; the grounds of our justification is Christ’s sacrificial death; and we receive justification by means of faith.” (Jason Dulle).

Rom 3:19-31 (KJV) Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God

Rom 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation* through faith in his blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the orbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. 27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. 29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: 30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. 31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

 *λαστριον (Jilasthrion) It refers specifically to the “mercy seat,” i.e., the covering of the ark where the blood was sprinkled in the OT ritual on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur).

The following scriptures illustrate the fact that our justification required the grace, the blood, and the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 Rom 3:24 (KJV) Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

Rom 5:9(KJV) Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

Rom 4:25(KJV) Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

 1 Cor 15:17-18 (NET) And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is useless; you are still in your sins. 18 Furthermore, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished.

Next we must understand what faith is if we are ever going to comprehend what it means to be justified by faith. The word translated “faith” is the Greek word pistis. This word means to trust, or rely upon something/someone. In our case we rely on, and trust in God for every aspect of our lives, especially our salvation. This eliminates the idea that we are saved by a mere confession that we believe in Jesus and that He died for our sins. To believe in Jesus to completely rely on Him for our salvation.  It is a lifetime of walking with Jesustrusting Him for our salvation everyday. It has to do with our commitment to Jesus. To be justified by faith, then, means that God considers us to be righteous when we place our complete trust in Jesus’ work on our behalf at Calvary, and continue to walk by the same faith that justified us when we first truly believed the gospel message.  Some denominations have the mistaken belief that our initial act of faith does more than justify us – they believe that this initial act of faith ushers us into the New Birth experience. Actually, Justification precedes regeneration, but must be followed by regeneration. The Bible clearly teaches that It is not enough to be pronounced right with God, but we must also be transformed by Him through regeneration i.e. the New Birth experience.  Even though we receive justification when we first believe, we continue to enjoy the merits of it throughout our entire lifelong walk of faith.  

Hebrews 11 is called “the faith chapter’ because it describes a great cloud of witnesses who by faith, and as a result of their faith, continued to obediently perform  acts of righteousness, in many cases even offering their lives as martyrs for the cause of Christ.

Jason Dulle says: It must not be conceived that God justifies us because of our faith in Him. He justifies us by means of our faith. The former teaches that faith is a work of man that God rewards. “Justifying faith does not do anything, but passively accepts what Christ has done for us. We are not justified on account of our faith, but by means of our faith. To believe in the former is to make faith the grounds of our justification, rather than Christ and His atoning work at Calvary.”

Scriptural
Examples of How and When Justification Initially Occurs

For this part of our study we will consult the apostle Paul and his writings on the subject of justification by faith, and also see what we can learn by closely following his use of Abraham and his experiences, especially in reference to Abraham’s faith and obedience throughout his life.

Justification in the Abrahamic Covenant

 At this juncture one might question at what point does a person first become justified? To answer this question let’s read what Paul has to say about it using Father Abraham’s experiences as our example: 

Rom 4:3-11 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. 4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. 9 Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. 10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. 11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised:that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: 

Rom 4:18-25 who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. 9 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: 20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

In other words, Abraham was initially justified, or put in right standing with God simply by believing what God told him, with no accompanying acts of obedience.

There were three significant events in Abram/Abraham’s life that we as Christians can use as examples for understanding the process of salvation: He received his initial justification when he first believed. (Gen 15). [And that justification would remain valid as long as he continued to believe]. God established a covenant with Abram/Abraham that was sealed by circumcision. (Gen 17). [This was to establish a people or nation, and a land].    Abraham displays his willingness to obey God’s command to sacrifice his son Isaac. (Gen 22)

 Let’s look at the passage in Genesis
where Abram was justified:

Gen 15:1-6 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. 2 And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? 3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. 4 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. 5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. 6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

Two chapters later, in Gen chapter 17, the LORD appeared to Abram, changed his name to Abraham and established a covenant with him that required Abraham and every one of his descendants to be circumcised; anyone who refused to do so would be cut off from his people because they had broken the covenant.

 God’s covenant with Abraham – the beginning of the Jewish nation: 

Gen 17:1-10 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect 2 and I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. 3 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, 4 As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. 5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. 6 And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. 7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. 9 And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. 10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. 

Abraham displays his willingness to obey God’s command to sacrifice Isaac:

 Gen 22:2  “And he (God) said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” 

 Heb 11:17-19 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: 19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

 COMMENT: Just as God provided a substitute to die in Isaac’s place, so Jesus, the Lamb of God became our substitutionary sacrifice.

 When and why did God “preach the gospel unto Abraham”? 

Gal 3:6 -9 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. 7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. 8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 9 So then they which are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

After Abraham passed the supreme test of being willing to offer Isaac as a sacrifice, God said, “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. (Gen 22:18).  

      Gal 3:16  Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. 

Gen 22:15-18  And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, 16 And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: 17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; 18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. (This is when God preached the gospel to Abraham).

The scriptures are clear that God didn’t “preach the gospel” unto Abraham until He obeyed God and was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac. Notice: God didn’t swear that he would make Abraham the ancestor of His son Jesus, the Lamb of God who would die for the sins of all men, until Abraham passed the test of being willing to offer his son in obedience to God!

 How does all this apply to us as Christians? 

Just as Abraham was willing to obey God’s command to sacrifice Isaac, his child of promise, on the altar, so we as Christians must be willing to obey the gospel (death, burial, resurrection) and crucify our fleshly nature by being buried with Jesus in baptism.  (a symbol of death from whence God was able to raise us up, in a figure).

Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Col 2:11-12  In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

Dear reader: I sincerely hope that this study of the biblical concept of justification by faith.will bless and enlighten you in your christian journey. 

I would also like to acknowledge Jason Dulle from whom I have learned much . His blog site can be found at Theosophical Ruminations

Donald W. Eames

 

 

Welcome to Our 12 Bible Lesson Series

 

My personal passion is to help people grow spiritually by His grace, through faith in His Word. The purpose of this 12-lesson series is for people to be rooted and grounded in the principles of God’s Word through systematic Bible study. The better understanding, we have of God’s plan for making true disciples, the better disciples we will become.

12-Lesson Series

  1. The Sin Problem
  2. Understanding Justice, Mercy, and Grace
  3. Justification by Faith – How and When Does It Happen?
  4. The Promised Seed of Abraham – Key Lesson

 

I have written a paper concerning the Oneness of God entitled In the Beginning Was the Word. It is a scriptural based alternative to the Trinity.

I will be adding a new lesson each week. Please check back regularly or follow my blog to get updates when I add new entries.

 

 

Understanding Justice, Mercy, and Grace

Lesson 2

In the previous lesson,  “The Sin Problem”, we learned that the entire human race inherited the sin nature of Adam because of his disobedience. The class agreed that it is not our fault that we were all born with a sin nature and an overpowering tendency to sin; but it is our problem, and we must deal with it, or else suffer terrible consequences.

 Isa 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

 

 Divine Justice

 Eze 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die.  

 Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is
death;
but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

For the purpose of explaining Divine Justice we’re only going to
consider the first part of this scripture.

Last week we learned that Sin is not merely the breaking of a law, but it is transgressing against the very nature of an infinitely good, pure, and Holy God, thus creating a personal attack on God Himself.  

 Albert Barnes
(
1798–1870) in his commentary on Rom 6:23 had this to say about it: 

“Death is thus called the wages of sin, not because it is an arbitrary, undeserved appointment, but because it is its proper desert. Not a pain will be inflicted on the sinner which he does not
deserve. Not a sinner will die who ought not to die.”
 

 

Another way to look at it is this: Because of the extreme seriousness of the crime – of a creature inflicting a rebellious attack on its Creator- the most extreme penalty is justly warranted. – DWE

 

Notice I use the words “justly warranted.”  

 

Abraham’s conversation with God while trying to get Him to spare Sodom and Gomorrah shows
us that he believed God to be  a just and righteous judge: 
 

Gen 18:25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the
Judge of all the earth do right? 
 

Divine Justice can then be summed up as- God acting in accordance with His own sense of rightness in meting out the appropriate judgment for specific transgressions. – DWE 

Some people look at various biblical examples of God’s wrath being poured out upon wicked, profane, and rebellious sinners in the Old Testament and wonder why He seemed to be so much harsher than He is in the New Testament age. 

The answer can be found in Isaiah 53, prophetically speaking of the crucifixion of Jesus 700 years before it happened: 

Isa 53:3-6 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  4
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
 

Isa 53:10-11 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.  11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities 

The crucifixion of Christ was the most violent expression of God’s wrath and justice this world has ever seen, and the most amazing thing about it is – the victim of the cross, the Lamb of God, Jesus, never committed a single sin!

 If you ever wonder if God really loves you, consider the Cross. The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the single most significant event that ever happened on planet earth!  He paid the death penalty for everyone who ever lived, so that you and I can freely receive the mercy and grace of God. 

  Mercy 

Mercy is when God chooses to withhold His righteous judgments for man’s transgressions against Him. 

Exo 33:17-19 And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.  (18)  And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. (19) And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be
gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. 
 

Here God informs us of His sovereign nature. He is the supreme ruler of the universe and everything that’s in it, and as such can do whatever He chooses, but the best part is that his sovereign decisions are rooted in His infinite love, goodness, wisdom, and power!  

 Psa 136 has 26 verses and every one of them ends with the phrase, “for his mercy  endureth for ever. 

Nowhere can we find a better example of God’s love and mercy than what He did for us at
Calvary’s cross!
 

Grace 

Grace is God’s supernatural way of demonstrating His love, guidance, and enabling power
to believers, so that we can live holy, godly lives.
 

“Without God man cannot – without man God will not.”  God has chosen to work in partnership with man in spreading the Gospel message. 

God’s grace and sanctification are both necessary for a healthy Christian life. These two components can be thought of as dependence and discipline; reliance and effort. 

1Co 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 

We need to learn to depend on God and His grace, and not on our own feeble efforts.

2Co 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

We are saved by the operation of God (grace) through, or by means of our faith.

Our good works are, then, the result, not the cause of our salvation: 

Eph 2:8-10 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.   (10)  For we are his
workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
 

Heb 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. 

2Co 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 

Our next lesson will be “What is Justification by Faith and When Does it Happen?” I believe this is very important for us to understand the concept of  justification and I also believe it will help us to have a greater appreciation and assurance of our position or standing in Christ. 

 

The Sin Problem

Lesson 1

Gen 6:5: And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Isa 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

 These verses illustrate the depraved condition of man after the fall of Adam. I once heard a man complaining that if he could have known before he was born, that he would be entering into this world with a spiritual death sentence hanging over his head caused by the disobedience of his distant ancestor, Adam; and also, that there was a possibility that he might wind up spending forever in a place called Hell, he would have declined the invitation to be born. It simply wouldn’t be worth the risk!

The fact is, however, that none of us were given a choice about our birth, and we all come into this world faced with the problem of a sin nature which we inherited.

Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered  into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

 Jeremiah declares mankind’s sin to be a heart issue:

 Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Sin is not something that we have to learn – it’s more like an instinct.  For example, a two-year old child runs through the house and knocks a vase off of a table and it falls to the floor and shatters.  Mom hears the noise, rushes in and sees what happened. She asks her tiny daughter, “Did you knock momma’s vase over? The child puts on her most angelic face and with a look of pure innocence slowly shakes her head from side to side and points accusingly toward their pet poodle. 

This same kind of behavior goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden, when the LORD God asked Adam, “Did you eat of the tree, whereof I commanded you that you shouldn’t eat?  And Adam said, “The woman you gave me, she gave it to me and I ate it.”

And the LORD God said unto the woman, “What is this that you have done? And the woman said, the serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.”

It seems that it just comes naturally for humans to always blame others rather than accept the
responsibility for their own actions. 

I’d like to ask you a question. Is it our fault that we were born with a sinful nature; having such
an overpowering tendency to sin?

I believe the answer is: No! It’s not our fault…. but it is our problem!  It is our problem in same way that new born babies of drug addicts come into this world as drug addicts themselves. 

One thing we need to understand about Sin is that it is not merely the breaking of a law, but transgressing against the very nature of an infinitely good, pure, and Holy God, thus creating a personal attack on God Himself.  Breaking God’s law, then, blocks any possibility of a relationship between us and Him.

God’s plan, ordained from eternity, was and is being carried out in time, and involves many necessary steps to bring it to completion. This plan was carried out with divine precision, in such a way as to make it possible for this infinitely pure and holy God to be united with wicked and sinful man.

We might wonder why God is so concerned with something as wretched and wicked and rebellious as man.The psalmist David had the same question:

 Psa 8:4-5 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?  5  For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.

 Albert Barnes (1798–1870) had this to say about this passage:

We may ask the question here, Why was man so honored as to be united to the Deity? Why did
the God appear in human form? What was there in man that should entitle him to
this honor of being united to the Divinity, and of being thus exalted above the
angels?’ The wonder is not yet solved; and we may well suppose that the angelic
ranks look with amazement – but without envy – on the fact that “man,” by his
union with the Deity in the person of the Lord Jesus, has been raised above
them in rank and in glory.

When we consider how much God hates sin, it is amazing to me that He has such unconditional love for sinners that he willingly submitted Himself to the agonizing and shameful death of the cross.

 Rom 5:6-8 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. Rom 5:7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. Rom 5:8  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

 

In my next post, we’re going to take a close look at the role that God’s Mercy and Grace played in taking us out of Adam and putting us into Christ!

 

 

 

 

 

This Great Salvation

 This Great Salvation_2

TEXT:

 

 

TEXT:

(Heb 2:1 KJV)  Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. (drift away from it) 2 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; 3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;

 

Introduction

Many years ago I heard a disturbing account about a Oneness preacher who, during his message, asked those who were absolutely confident of their salvation to stand and come to the front.  Remarkably, no one got out of their pew!  Since hearing this story I have had numerous conversations with my brothers and sisters in the Lord and found that many have feelings of guilt, condemnation, and a sense of unworthiness and concerns about their spiritual security.  This has prompted me to spend a good bit of time and study preparing this message and by the grace of God and the power of His Spirit I want to go back to the basics of God’s word in order to clarify some things that we desperately need to understand.  I want to share with you this evening some scriptural principles about the plan of salvation that I believe just might cause some of you to shift your focus from you and your efforts, to God and His amazing grace!!!!!   My title for this message is:

 

This Great Salvation

The most important aspect of the process of salvation can be found in:

(Heb 10:38 KJV)  Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

Since justification comes through faith, it occurs when a person fully exercises saving faith, which includes obedience to the gospel.

 

(Rom 10:16 KJV)  But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

 

(2 Th 1:7-8 KJV)  And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

 

So then, the full work of justification comes by faith at each step in obeying the plan of salvation.  i.e. faith as one repents, faith as we are baptized in Jesus’ name, and faith to believe God for the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  The following scriptures support that this
is God’s plan: (Acts 17:30 KJV)  And t he times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

 

(Acts 2:38 KJV)  Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

“And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (I Cor 6:11).

This passage could be understood as “washed in the name of the Lord Jesus”, and “sanctified by being filled with the Holy Ghost.” Another passage illustrating how
God saved us is:

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”  (Titus 3:5 KJV) 

Now after we have obeyed God’s plan, we are justified in God’s eyes. And what is Justification? “Justification is the act by which God declares the sinner to be righteous. The sinner doesn’t actually become righteous within himself at this point, but God considers him as righteous, without regarding his past sins.”

“God’s grace is the source of justification, Christ’s blood (death, burial, and resurrection) is the basis or ground for justification, and faith is the condition upon which we receive justification.”

God does not impute sin to those who are justified by obeying the Gospel:

“To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

Another scripture that teaches that God does not charge sin to our account is:

(Psa 32:1-2 KJV)  A Psalm of David, Maschil. Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.

In other words, Jesus makes us an offer we dare not refuse.  By exercising our faith and trust in the finished work of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection He took our sins upon himself and imputed His righteousness to our account.  What a great transaction!!!

Now hear me closely.  If Jesus would not impute our sins to us when we first came to Him, why would He impute our sins to us now? God knows full well that we still have a carnal nature and we mess up every once in a while. The question is did you repent? When you sincerely repent and turn from your sin, God forgives you and you remain justified in His sight.  Here again, the reason God is able to maintain your right standing in His eyes is because of your faith that God will forgive you when you confess your sins and turn from them.  God always responds to faith. 

 (1 John 2:1 KJV)  My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:  

Next we need to see how Grace and faith work together in our lives.

 

Grace and Faith

 (Eph 2:8-9 KJV)  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 

 

(Titus 2:11 KJV)  For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

 

**Not only does the grace of God teach us how to live, it also enables us to do so.**   

One aspect of grace is defined by Joseph Thayer as, “The merciful kindness by which God exerts His holy influence upon souls…strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.”

The grace that saved us when we believed and obeyed the Gospel is the same grace that will keep us saved until that day when we finally receive our inheritance Thank God for His wonderful grace!

(1 Pet 1:4-5 KJV)  To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

(Phil 2:13 NRSV)  for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

(Eph 3:20 KJV)  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,

 

Sanctification

Even though sin is not imputed to us Paul prayed:

“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”   (1 Th 5:23 KJV) 

Sanctification literally means separation. It is equivalent to holiness, which means separation from sin and consecration to God. Sanctification is the process of becoming righteous – actually becoming more and more  like Christ.

 

(1 Th 4:3 KJV)  For this is the will of God, even your sanctification…

Continuing Faith

We are not saved by a single act of faith at one point in time.  Colossians 2:6 says, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.” Just as we received Him in faith, so must we continue to exercise faith in Him. Salvation is not just a past tense experience; it is a present tense relationship that will lead to eternal salvation. We must live daily by faith in order to be saved in the end. It is much easier to see the close relationship between faith and works when we realize this fact.

 

Col 1:21-23 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled {22} In the  body  of  his flesh  through death, to present you holy and  unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: {23} If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye  have  heard, and which was preached to every  creature  which  is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

1 Tim 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them:  for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to  continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

 

Unsaved, Elect, or Reprobate?

The unsaved are those who those who for one reason or another have not obeyed the gospel message and been justified in the sight of God.  The Elect are all those who in the foreknowledge of God will ultimately be saved.  The reprobate are those who, according to Adam Clarke “…deliberately, for fear of persecution or from any other motive, renounce the profession of the Gospel and the Author of that Gospel, after having received the knowledge of the truth so as to be convinced that Jesus is the promised Messiah, and that he had sprinkled our hearts from an evil conscience; for such there remaineth no sacrifice for sins; for as the Jewish sacrifices are abolished, as appears by the declaration of God himself in the fortieth Psalm, and Jesus being now the only sacrifice which God will accept, those who reject him have none other; therefore their case must be utterly without remedy. This is the meaning of the apostle, and the case is that of a deliberate apostate – one who has utterly rejected Jesus Christ and his atonement, and renounced the whole Gospel system.

 

How Can We Neglect So Great Salvation?

(Heb 2:3 KJV)  “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation…”

The great commentator Albert Barnes in his commentary of our text said:

“If we allow this great salvation to be neglected, and do not embrace the wonderful gift of eternal life that God has offered us, the sense is, that there is no other way of salvation, and the neglect of this will be followed by certain destruction.

It is not merely if we commit great sins. Not, if we are murderers, adulterers, thieves, infidels, atheists, scoffers. It is, if we merely “neglect” this salvation – if we do not embrace it in continual faith.

By neglect of education children grow up in ignorance; by neglect a farm grows up to weeds and briars; by neglect a house goes to decay; by neglect of sowing, a man will have no harvest; by neglect of reaping, the harvest would rot in the fields. No worldly interest can prosper where there is neglect; and why may it not be so in religion? There is nothing in earthly affairs that is valuable that will not be ruined if it is not attended to – and why may it not be so with the concerns of the soul?

 

Just as we are justified by our faith, we can lose this great salvation by having an unholy, irreverent, unthankful spirit that will, through neglect and unconcern eventually lead us into unbelief.  The writer of Hebrews used the types and shadows of what happened to the Israelites on their 40- year journey from Egypt to the promised land to admonish the
brethren:

Heb 3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.  13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.  14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; 15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.  16 For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. 17 But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?  18  And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?  3:19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.  4:1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.

 

(Their primary sin was the sin of unbelief that caused them to depart from the living God and His wonderful salvation!) Ultimately it is always unbelief that causes anyone who once was saved to be lost!

 To summarize what the scriptures have taught us tonight: We shouldn’t live in constant dread and fear of the wrath of God like we’re trying to walk a tight rope wire across the Lake of Fire.  God simply wants us to know that we need to be on guard against neglecting this great salvation and drifting into a state of unbelief.

As long as we walk humbly before God with a repentant heart, we can rest secure in this great salvation not because of what we’ve done or not done, but because of His wonderful, amazing Grace! Amen!   

 

 

If we could grasp what Paul is actually saying in Romans 8 it would liberate us from  the fear that many of us have of failing God:

 

Rom 8:1-4 (NASB) 1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.  3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh 4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

 

(Gal 5:13 KJV)  For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love, serve one another.

 

Have You Believed And Obeyed the Gospel

Have You Believed AND Obeyed the Gospel

 


 

Have You Believed And Obeyed
the Gospel?

Brother Don Eames

3-26-08

 TEXT

 

(Mark 1:14-15 KJV)  Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

 

(Rom 1:16 KJV)  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

 

INTRODUCTION

 

There’s an old saying that says, “The devil is in the details”, and it is often used to point out that if we don’t pay attention to all the details, we’ll have the devil to pay!  There are multitudes of preachers in pulpits, and on radio and television, and internet sites that don’t seem to have much of a passion for details, and as a result they serve up a salvation message that I call Piccadilly style: You know how that goes, “I’ll take some of this, but don’t like that!” It’s as though they want to make the “Plan of Salvation” even more simple than it really is.  They’ve boiled it down to a concise statement: “All it takes is simple faith plus nothing and minus nothing!”

 

What I want to demonstrate through scripture is that when it comes to salvation “God is in the details” and if we ignore them, we won’t have the devil to pay, we’ll have a Holy God to answer to.

   

 

Have You Believed And Obeyed
the Gospel?

 

First of all, what is the gospel? It literally means: “Good News”, but Paul explains it fully in 1 Cor 15:1- 4:

 

1 Cor 15:1- 4 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I
preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By
which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

(That is the gospel in a nutshell)!

 

So the first thing we must do is to obey what Jesus told us to do: “…repent ye, and believe the gospel.  According to what we just read, that means we must believe that Jesus die for our sins, was buried, and was resurrected from the dead on the third day.

 

Paul explains that the full Gospel message had to be fulfilled, i.e. the death, burial, AND resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ:

 

1 Cor 15:12-22  Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of the that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

 

 

These scriptures tell us that if Christ were not resurrected from the dead we could believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as much as we want, but we wouldn’t be saved.

 

As Paul adds, “if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.”

This means also that if Christ wasn’t resurrected, even the precious blood of the Lamb of God couldn’t atone for our sins, and those who had “fallen asleep” in Christ had perished. Verse 19 says, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” “In this life only” means “on this side of the grave”

 

As I said a few moments ago, it takes all three elements of the gospel: the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ to procure our salvation; not just the shedding of His blood and His death.

 

Rom 4:20-25 (Speaking of Abraham) He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered (unto His executioners) for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification.

And before we can be justified in the sight of God, we must first believe in the fact that God raised the man Christ Jesus from the dead.

 

(Rom 5:9-11 KJV)  Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. (Restoration to God’s favor).

 

The question arises, “How do we access the atonement, the sanctification and the justification that Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection procured for us?

 

This is where obeying the gospel comes in ……

 

 

Obeying the Gospel

 

 

(Phil 2:5-7 KJV) 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

 

Paul gives us the key to understanding how we are to follow His example by humbling ourselves and being obedient to the doctrine he describes in Romans Chapter 6:

 

 

(Rom 6:1-5 KJV)  What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness* of his death, we shall be also in the likeness* of his resurrection:

 

*homoioma, hom-oy’-o-mah; from G3666; a form; abstr. resemblance:–made like to, likeness, shape, similitude.

 

IMPORTANT*** – Paul is telling us that Just as the man Christ Jesus had to experience all three elements of the gospel: the death, the burial, and the resurrection in order to complete what was required by God to purchase the salvation of mankind, so we too have to experience the likeness or similitude of dying, being buried, and being resurrected to walk in newness of life.

Then in Romans 6 verse 17 Paul summarizes by expressing his thanks that we obeyed the doctrine that was delivered to us:

 

Rom 6:17 (KJV) But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 

 

Now we can look at the “details” of the doctrine which we “obeyed from the heart” or should obey. (These are important “details”, and remember “God is in the details”). 

 

1 Cor 6:9-11 (NIV) Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed**, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

 

 

**628. apolouo, ap-ol-oo’-o; from G575 and G3068; to wash fully, i.e. (fig.) have remitted (reflex.):–wash (away).

 

What do you suppose Paul is referring to when he says, you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God?

 

He’s referring to baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ AND receiving the Spirit of our God, just as Peter preached in Acts 2:38 on the day of Pentecost!

 

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38)

 

In Titus 3:5, Paul clarifies some “details” concerning how God saved us:

 

 (Titus 3:5 KJV)  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by (means of) the washing*** of regeneration (new birth), and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

 

***3067. loutron, loo-tron’; from G3068; a bath, i.e. (fig.) baptism:–washing.

 

Obviously Paul taught exactly the same doctrine as Peter since Acts 2:38, 1 Cor 6:11, and Titus 3:5 are all describing the same process!

 

Titus 3:5 makes it clear that when we obey the command to be buried with Jesus in baptism, this is not considered a work of righteousness!!

 

Next let’s look at the story of Peter preaching the gospel to the first gentiles and see what happened. (Imagine if you can, listening to the words of the Apostle Peter as he preaches to these people):

 

Acts 10:42- 46 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. 43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. 44  While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 45 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.  46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord (Jesus).  (Just as he commanded the people on the day of Pentecost)!
  

 

Now let’s see to whom God will give the Holy Ghost: (Fill in the blank)

 

Acts 5:32 KJV And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.

 

What does the Bible have to say about those who don’t obey the gospel?

 

(1 Pet 4:17 NIV)  For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

 

(2 Th 1:7-8 KJV)  And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

 

 

CONCLUSION

 

What does the Bible really means when it says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved? The fact is, that to “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” means to believe He is who He says He is, accomplished what the gospel message says he accomplished, AND  that we should obey whatever He commands us to do!

 

The renowned Greek scholar Joseph Henry Thayer in his Greek Lexicon defines Bible faith as “a conviction, full of joyful trust, that Jesus is the Messiah – the divinely appointed author of eternal salvation in the kingdom of God, conjoined (joined together) with obedience to Christ.”

 

Genuine Bible faith always inspires obedience to God’s plan and purpose!