It’s our Throwback Thursday continuation of this previously published series Jesus Paid it All. Blessings and enjoy!
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
That, of course, is John 14:6. Those were the words of Jesus Himself and sum up His thoughts about how a person comes to a relationship with God. It seems like a fairly straight forward statement, really. Jesus did not say He was one of the ways, or one truth or that there was any life other than Him. He stated unequivocally that the only access to God the Father was through Him, God the Son. Nonetheless, we live in a time where truth is considered relative, any belief is okay as long as it is sincere; to say there is only one way is considered hateful and exclusionary.
Most people with any spiritual inclination whatsoever would tend to put some credence to words spoken by Jesus. Of course, an atheist would not, but this article is not really for them. This is really to address those who hold the idea that many paths lead to God. We can’t really say that Jesus was just a good man, good teacher and one of many ways to Heaven. If He was outright lying in that Scripture and knew He was not the only way to God, then we should never follow a man such as that. If He genuinely believed what He said, but was just monumentally wrong, then we should never follow a man such as that. In either of those two cases, Jesus was certainly not a good man, or good teacher or any path to Heaven whatsoever. The only real alternatives are to totally disbelieve or completely believe the words He said in that verse. That is simply C.S Lewis’ famous Liar, Lunatic or Lord argument and it remains a valid one.
We hopefully agree at this point that payment is due. See this article for discussion on that subject:
Belief in God, sincerely held, is also not enough. After all, James taught us that even the demons believe. (James 2:19). Not only do they believe, but they tremble in fear! Sincerity does not accomplish a thing. Jesus said in our verse above, that He is the Truth. Sincerely held belief in an untruth does not make it true, no matter how sincere the belief. Some examples follow. One can sincerely disbelieve in the Law of Gravity, but if that person steps off a building, he or she will soon discover they were wrong. The laws of physics trump sincerely held belief. One can sincerely believe auto theft is okay, but a Judge will quickly show that person the error of their ways. The laws of the land trump sincerely held belief. We could follow examples until the end of time. The bottom line is, law trumps sincerely help belief every time.
God is the Supreme lawgiver. His law is just and perfect. We fail to meet His standard, making us law breakers. The penalty for transgressions of God’s law is death. Death is both physical and spiritual. Spiritual death is separation from God eternally in a place of torment called Hell.
The reason Jesus is the only way to God is because only Jesus could pay the needed price. He was able to pay it because He was fully human. Humans broke the law and a human had to pay. He was able to pay it because He was sinless and perfect; Jesus never transgressed The Law. Only because He had nto penalty of His own to pay could He pay mine. He was able to pay it because He is God. Only God could pay the infinite penalty required on behalf of every person who had lived, was living in His day, is living now and will live into the future.
Just a quick counter to those who claim that Christianity’s statement that Jesus is the only way is exclusionary follows next. Jesus payment on the Cross for sin is not exclusionary; it is available to anybody. No one is denied access to it. Read the following for an explanation:
The payment Jesus made for us is not exclusionary, but it is extremely exclusive. Matthew 7:13,14teaches us that the path to destruction is wide but the path to salvation is narrow. No one is excluded, but many will decline the offer.
How does one accept? Understand how you have failed before a Holy God. Agree with Him that your sin is wrong and and an offense to Him and deserving of punishment. Believe that Jesus paid the price you could never pay and accept Him as your Savior and Lord. Repentance toward God and belief in Jesus Christ, it’s that simple.
We have been taking a look at the many times during His earthly ministry when Jesus told others to Not tell about the great works He was doing; many were instructed to keep the things He had done secret. I think we have all arrived at some very reasonable reasons why Jesus issued these instructions over the course of a couple of weeks.
It also seems clear that, at some point, Jesus changed this instruction and then commanded people to go out and tell as many as they could. Two questions seem to arise: 1. Why did this change, and 2. Who was instructed to go tell?
Obviously, the biggest thing that changed was the resurrection. This event established clearly just who Jesus was; it established clearly that He was, in fact, The Messiah. Before, seemingly to avoid too much attention on only His miracles, Jesus commanded that these things sometimes be kept quiet. Now, it was time to tell the world.
Peter clearly revealed the nature of who Jesus was during his famous sermon on the day of Pentecost:
Acts 2:32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.
Acts 2:36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Jesus, appearing to some disciples after His resurrection, taught them that they now knew all of Him they needed to know and that their teaching was complete:
Luke 24:44-48 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.You are witnesses of these things
His instructions soon became explicit to those who followed Him.
At the Last Supper Jesus informed those present:
John 15:27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.
At His Ascension, He told them:
Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
So, we can clearly see that Jesus’ instructions changed; now His followers were instructed to tell His message far and wide, and to everybody. Only one question remains.
Who is supposed to go? Are all believers to be witnesses?
That seems simple, right? Well perhaps it is, yet to some it is not. Allow me to explain. There seems some thoughts out there about just who is to tell the world about Jesus. This is not going to be deep theology here, just some simple thoughts as revealed in God’s Word to us.
Some say, that the Great Commission was only delivered to the Apostles. In other words, when Jesus said these words:
Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them inb the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
that He was only speaking to those directly assembled with Him, and that the instructions do not apply us today. Well, yes, technically Jesus was in fact speaking to the Apostles. Just because this message was given to the Apostles does not mean it was only for the Apostles. I would suggest we should be careful in applying that logic to things Jesus and other writers said to specific people; using that thinking we could lay claim large parts of God’s Word not being applicable to us, as “Well, that writer was only talking to ________ there, not us.” While directed at those present, there in nothing overall to indicate that we are released from this instruction today. In fact, if we place it into relation to some of the words we talked about earlier in the post, it is pretty evident there is no restriction on the “who,” here.
There seems to be some concern by some that we aren’t all evangelists, given the gift of Evangelism as put for in Ephesians 4:11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,
There are a couple of issues here. Sure, not all are called to occupy any official office or position as “evangelist.” So what? Nothing there says we are released from the obligation to practice evangelism, or to be witnesses for Jesus. This is true no more than saying not being given the gift of helps means we don’t have to help, or not being given the gift of prayer means we don’t have to pray.
In summary, the command for believers applies to us all. We don’t always like it, and sometimes would rather be exempt from it; nonetheless, we are all subject to it.
What are your thoughts on this?
Next: If the command to “go,” is for all of us, why don’t we?
Over the last week or so, we have been having an interesting conversation around here concerning the topic of why sometime during His Earthly ministry Jesus told some people to NOT tell anyone about His activities, and at other time He told people to proclaim it every where. The question of the hour is….Why?
Comments have been great, and really the question has been answered. I just wanted to sort of wrap things up in a tidy little package for reader perusal and thoughts. I am not really adding a thing to the many great ideas which have been presented.
Perhaps the most overriding point that was made in so many comments was something like this: “God knows what He is doing.” Simple huh? Simple but yet so very true. Like many things we don’t always see clearly exactly why or for what reason things may have occurred, but we can rest assured that God was working His plan in the best way possible to accomplish His plan. As I have heard said around the blog world, “Compared to God we are all morons.” In summation, theorizing is nice, and great study, but ultimately we may just not get it one hundred percent right this side of Heaven.
Let’s move on, then and look at some specifics and examples.
A lot of the injunctions to people not to say what had happened to them had to do with Jesus being able to stay on message.
Jesus’ message then is the same as it is now. Repentance, faith, and salvation. It was not about the healings and the miracles. Those were not the message; those were the proof that His message was real.
We can see in many of these accounts that people came from all over, not always to hear the actual message Jesus had, but simply for what He could do for them. Mark 1:45,Mark 6:54-56
Jesus seemed quite certain of this motivation in the words He spoke to the man seeking to see his servant healed. John 4:48
Jesus was constantly being followed and stalked by the pharisees, which may be why he instructed the leper He healed to go straight to the priests to be pronounced ceremonially clean by them, so that they could not dispute the nature and truth of what Jesus had actually done. Mark 1:41-42
What about the audience for His message? This I just toss out as food for thought and readers can draw their own conclusions. God knows who will respond to His message and who will not. It seems in the cases where Jesus told someone to spread the word, or allowed them to spread the word, there were differences in both the places and the audiences involved. Both the demon possessed in Gadara, Mark 5, and the woman at the well in Samaria, in John 4 seem to fit this thought. Just think about it and chime in if you feel like it!
That’s really all I want to say here, as it’s all been said well thus far in our talks. If you want to catch up on those, just pick the last few Monday’s or Wednesday’s and read up.
Next, we are moving on to Jesus’ clear instructions to us to get out there and spread the Word, and the unfortunate fact that, for the most part, we don’t.
It’s Thursday, and I am still reposting this older series, one of my favorites.
Aside from the obvious non religions like atheism, humanism and so forth, there are only two actual “religions” in the world.
The first is the religion of good works. Believers in this religion believe that there is something, somehow, that they can do to ensure their own entry in to Heaven. There are subsets of this religion: some believe sacraments and rituals, if done properly, ensure entrance into heaven. Some believe in the scale of justice theory of salvation, believing that if their good outweighs their bad they can ensure their entry into Heaven. Some believe that if they just do not do anything “really bad” they can ensure their entry into heaven. Adherents of this religion call themselves many different things: New Agers, spiritual, Catholic, Protestant, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Buddhist, and even Evangelical Christians. Some may call themselves Methodists, Baptists, or any other name one can call to mind.
On the other hand, there is the true “religion”. This is simply the Faith that teaches that absolutely nothing any human can do is sufficient to pay for the sin we have all committed. Our payment is no good here. In the first article in this series, Jesus Paid it All, we discussed the fact that we can each certainly pay our own way for our own sin. That article can be Read Here:
But, as that article shows, the only way we can pay for our own sin is by death, both physical and spiritual. Eternally we pay our debt by being forever separated from God in a place of torment called Hell. That is the ONLY way we can pay for our own sin.
In other words, we can pay our own debt, but we can never redeem ourselves from the penalty of what we have done.
Ephesians 2:8,9 8 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
That verse is really fairly self explanatory and says and means exactly what it says. It seems to say it with little ambiguity or room for alternate interpretations. Nonetheless, let’s expand a little on what it is really saying.
We are saved by God’s Grace, through our faith(and even that is given to us by God.) Grace is a free gift of God, not earned by us. No work we might ever do contributes one iota toward our eternal Salvation. We WANT our salvation to be by our works because we really, really like ourselves.
Grace plus nothing equals our Salvation. Jesus Paid it All. He doesn’t need our help to finish the project, His Grace is sufficient. Period and end of the story.
We can’t do enough good to cover our own sin.
We can’t avoid enough bad to cover our own sin.
We cannot do anything in our unsaved state to appear favorable in the sight of a Holy and perfect God.
Our Rituals, Sacraments and Ordinances, while not wrong by any means can never save us.
No sacrifice of any sort can ever save us.
What, then saves us? It starts with Grace. God’s gift of His son who COULD pay for our sin, and did. We simply have to accept the gift by Repentance toward God and believe in His Son Jesus Christ.
In Monday’s post, we introduced our topic for today. While Jesus ultimately told His disciples, and us, to go into all the world and tell His message of forgiveness and salvation. We also saw many cases where Jesus instructed people to NOT tell anyone else of the things He had done. On the surface, this seems odd, as we would think Jesus would have wanted the word spread far and wide about the things He was doing, such as healing the blind and so forth. What in the world was this about?
Since I fell somewhat lazy and pressed for time as I write this, and because some really great conversation was generated, today’s post is just going to be the thoughts of some of the nice brothers and sisters who dropped by to share their thoughts on this matter.
My own thoughts will just have to wait! Read what these commenters had to say; it was good stuff. Feel free to add your own to the mix. Finally, pop over to some great blogs for some great reading!
“Very interesting topic to ponder there Wally. My opinion is that whatever one was supposed to do, tell or not tell just had to do with the circumstances and people involved. Jesus always knew which action would best bring about His glory.”
“Ah, yes, the messianic secret. You are likely going this direction already, but I think the key passage is Matthew 16:13-23. When Jesus asks, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answers, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus congratulates Peter on having the right answer, but strictly tells the disciples to tell no one. Then he starts describing his mission as the Christ. Peter says, “Far be it from you, Lord! This should never happen to you.” Jesus rebukes Peter with very strong language, because Peter is trying to block Jesus from his mission, just as Satan wants to block Jesus from his mission. Conclusion: Jesus told those who did not understand his mission to keep silent because he knew they would be off-base in their witnessing. Jesus encouraged and commanded those who understood his mission to share what they knew. Of course it shows the waywardness of the human heart that those who “get it” remain silent while those who “don’t get it” fill the world with their misinformation about Jesus. (But not always– the Spirit of God still moves among his people.) J.”
“Hmm, this is an interesting discussion! I think I am with Tricia here, but we should put an adventuresome spin on it, something akin to being undercover, covert, like spies. We are called to be wise as serpents, but gentle as doves, sent out among wolves. People faced a lot of persecution in those days and so existed somewhat underground, covertly. I suspect part of the story has to do with advancing the kingdom and Christ is aware of when speaking is going to simply bring trouble upon their heads and when it is going to spread the message. The possessed man He heals begs to go with Jesus, but he is told to remain behind and spread the word. Jesus and the Disciples are leaving, so they are not going to be questioned, arrested, or attract attention.
I’m a bit like Peter, just lop the man’s ear off and be done with it, which of course is not part of the plan, not God’s will. It’s the right action perhaps, but just at the wrong time, in the wrong context. That is how I often see Christ leading, He is coordinating the timing and how it will influence other events.”
“Hey Wally – great discussion question. I also think part of it has to do with Jesus carrying out the Father’s will. He knew exactly the day and hour he was supposed to die, and probably did not want to hasten it. If others spoke too soon and too often of his miracles, his death may have occurred in a way that would not have been a public spectacle and would not have brought glory to God in his resurrection”
Good stuff huh? Thanks to my friends for chiming in, and invite the rest of you to do so. I could leave it at this, and the original question would be answered quite nicely. But, hey, I am a writer, so I have to say my piece too!
For the next several Thursdays I am rerunning something I have run numerous times, and which I will likely re run yet more times in the future. Blessings and enjoy!
Jesus paid it all. That is a very simple statement, with very profound implications. Today begins a multi part series on Jesus’ payment. A good starting point is for us to discuss exactly what Jesus paid for. We will end with a discussion of why we really don’t want to make that payment ourselves.
What did Jesus pay for? Well he paid the necessary payment for our sins, of course. That seems fairly simple, yet the vast majority of the world fails to truly understand exactly what that means. The non believing world, as well as a large part of the “Christian” world totally fails to really understand what the Bible teaches about this issue. Of course the non believing world simply dismisses the issue completely; and within the “Christian” world there are so many perversions and misunderstandings about this issue that they simply cannot be counted.
This series will be a close examination of some of the truths contained in the simple statement, “Jesus paid it all.” In this first part, we will simply discuss the nature of both our sin debt and the payment Jesus made on our behalf for that debt.
Let’s talk about sin. In its simplest meaning, sin is the breaking of God’s law. By God’s Law, we aren’t talking about the Old Testament Law, such as dietary laws and so forth. We are talking about the moral codes of behavior which God has laid out for us to adhere to. God’s law comes out of the aspects of the nature of God. For example, God considers a lie to be a transgression of His law, because God himself cannot lie. God’s Law reflects His character and His Holiness. To not love others trangresses God’s Law, because God is love. God’s Law is not just some arbitrary list of rules, but a reflection of His character, holiness and perfection.
Do we sin? Well of course we do! The Bible teaches that clearly. Romans 3:23 is the most famous scripture verse on this issue, stating that .
All have sinned, and come short of the Glory of God
Not only do we all sin, but we were all born into this world as sinners. Because of the rebellion of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, all mankind has inherited a sin nature. Romans 5:12 teaches us that,
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:
But let’s get more specific. It’s easy to toss out the general idea about how we are all sinners by nature and by choice. But we should actually discuss some particulars of our sin. Most people would agree that the Ten Commandments are a major source of a great number of the specifics of God’s Law. We should give ourselves a test. By the way I fail this test miserably!
Have you ever told a lie? Any lie, small or large. Any lie, whether a little white lie or a big black one? What is a person who tells lies called? A liar of course
Have you ever stolen anything? Big or little. Have you stolen a pencil at work? Run copies on the company printer? Have you cut in line? Then you stole that person’s spot. What do you call someone who steals? A thief of course.
Have you ever used God’s name in vain? This doesn’t even have to be the most obvious one where we actually use His name as a curse word. Have you called Him “the Big Guy?” Any use of the Holy name of God in a flip way is considered blasphemy by God.
Ever looked at a member of the opposite sex with lust? Of course we all have, unless we like the same sex. Jesus taught that to look at a woman with lust is to commit adultery of the heart.
We really have not gotten through all of the Ten Commandments, which are His moral law, and we have established that for the most part we are all lying, stealing, blaspheming adulterers at heart! (Thanks to Ray Comfort for that little test by the way)
So, the only question that remains is: Someday when you stand before God will you be found innocent or guilty? Based on our test, the answer obviously seems guilty is the only possible answer. To really get this, we have to understand and try to look at the issue from God’s perspective. We might look at some of those things and just not consider them to be a big deal; however, God disagrees. The real issue is this: Do we get to rate ourselves, so to speak, against our own human thoughts about right and wrong, or are we subject to the evaluation of a Perfect and Holy God?
Let’s start with something basic. God hates sin. That is an uncomfortable truth, but a truth nonetheless. Why does God hate sin? There are many reasons, and we will cover a few of them. First and foremost, God hates sin because He is Holy and sin is unholy. Sin, simply put, is outside the character of God and it offends Him. Like we said before, the Bible teaches that God cannot lie and that God is love. It flows from His character naturally then, that He would hate liars and those who do not love. God hates our sin because it separates us from Him. Before they rebelled and ate the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve walked in the Garden of Eden daily with God, as we learn in Genesis 3:8. After The Fall, they were physically expelled from the Garden of Eden and the presence of God. The Prophet Isaiah was inspired to write the following:
Isaiah 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.
Our sin separates us from God, yet He created us to commune with and worship Him; therefore He hates anything which separates us from Him.
God hates sin because we will love our sin more than we love Him. God is love, loves us and wants our love. He hates anything which diminishes that love. James covered this in his epistle:
James 4:4Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
God hates sin because sin is a sign of our rebellion toward Him. In the Garden of Eden, God only made one rule for Adam and Eve, and that was that they not eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eve succumbed to the tempations presented to her by Satan, and she and Adam ate the fruit anyway. God’s plan was for Adam and Eve to live forever in harmony, in communion and in worship of Him. They chose, however, the things that appealed to them rather than the things that mattered to God. That is what our sin represents to God today. When we sin, we are simply saying to God that we think our way is better than His way.
So, God is the Creator of the Universe and the supreme law giver. He is entitled, by virtue of that position, to make the guidelines by which we live; falling short or refusing to comply with those guidelines offends God’s character and He hates it. Obviously, it seems, any violation of His law makes us guilty of being law breakers. Nonetheless, many come up with various defenses of their actions in attempts to say they really are not guilty. We are going to look at some of those defenses; and we are going to compare what God might think with what any judge in any courtroom in the world wpuld say if these defenses were presented to him or her. That seems fair; we would understand a human judge responding in accordance with the law. It seems we would expect no less of the Supreme Judge of the Universe! For this scenario, just envision being before a human judge, say for the crime of armed robbery and that the penalty for that is imprisonment. This is the law, no exceptions.
“Judge, it wasn’t really a big robbery. I didn’t even use a gun! And I only got a little bit of money anyway.” The law says the penalty for armed robbery is imprisonment, no exceptions. Off to jail says the judge. God likewise does not care about the size of our sin. God is perfect and Holy, remember? A small sin makes us just as guilty as a big on in they eyes of a perfect God. James 2:10 teaches us that a man can keep the whole law and yet offends in one point is still guilty of violation the entire law.
“Judge, I may have committed that robbery, but I never killed anybody!” The law says the penalty for armed robbery is imprisonment, no exceptions. Off to jail says the judge. God is not going to look at all the things we could have done, but did not do. Once again, a violation of the law is a violation of the law.
“Judge, I may have committed that robbery, but did you know I have been working down at the food kitchen helping the homeless for years? What about all the money I gave to charity?” The law says the penalty for armed robbery is imprisonment, no exceptions. Off to jail says the judge. No matter how many good things we may do, they do not make up for our violation of God’s law. We cannot cover our penaly due by doing anything good.
“Judge, look what THAT guy has done!” The law says the penalty for armed robbery is imprisonment, no exceptions. Off to jail says the judge. God is not comparing us to each other to decide our innocence of guilt. He only compares us the the standard of His perfection and Holiness. It only matters what we have done, not what anyone else has done.
“Judge, I’m really, really sorry for committing the armed robbery.” The law says the penalty for armed robbery is imprisonment, no exceptions. Off to jail says the judge. The idea that we could tell a judge we are sorry and expect to be released is really absurd. The law says what the penalty is, and the penalty must be paid. Why would God be any different?
Let’s get serious for a few moments now. Based on the standard of the law, we are all guilty of breaking it. I am; you are, every single one of us is. Someday we will all stand before God and the only possible verdict is a resounding GUILTY! This however, is not armed robbery, and the penalty is not simply imprisonment. What, then is the penalty? God’s Word tells us the answer to that question:
Romans 6:23 The wages of sin is death………
That’s right, the penalty prescribed in God’s Law for violation of that law is the death penalty. The penalty is not pennance, or purgatory, or a monetary fine or any sort of good works to make up for what we have done. The penalty for our sin is death. What does this mean? Well, after the first sin, it meant physical death. If Adam and Eve had not sinned, they would have lived forever in their physical forms, in harmony with God. Their sin brought into the world all the sickness and death as we know it today. Death also means spiritual death. Even though we all eventually die physically, we are are all eternal in our spirits. Our spirit, or soul will exist for all eternity. So, again, what is it to spiritually die? Spiritual death is eternal separation from God in a place of toment we call Hell. It’s really that simple. When God says the wages of sin is death, that is the death of which He speaks.
The penalty is due; we all owe it, for we have all sinned and transgressed God’s law. And each and everyone of us can pay that penalty ourselves if we want to. We each owe it, and we can each pay it. I could have payed for my own sin; you can pay for yours if you wish. But that’s the point of this article. We don’t really want to pay our own way; we don’t want to suffer eternal death in a place called Hell.
Although we can certainly pay our own way, we do not have to. The title of this article is Jesus Paid it All, and He did. The Good News of the Gospel is that even though a penalty is was due and payable, it has already been paid! We need to go back to Romans 6:23 and look at the rest of that verse, as we only showed part of it earlier:
Romans 6:23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
God has given us a gift. Even though we owed the penalty of death for our sin, He have us His Son, Jesus Christ as a way for that debt to be satisfied. God became flesh, in the form of Jesus Christ and became incarnate on this Earth for that very reason. Jesus Christ was fully human, so He could pay the price humans owed for their sin; He was also fully God, so He could pay the infinite price of the sin of all humanity past, present and future. Despite how He hates sin, God loves us deeply and completely.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
It is a gift, we do not pay a thing for it; Jesus paid it all. We do not deserve it and we do not earn it. All we have to do is accept it. How do we do this? Let’s look at what the Bible teaches about this:
Romans 10:9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Romans 10:13For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
It’s simple really. We have to confess Him. Basically we have to agree with Him that our sin is wrong and understand we should have paid for it. We agree with God that our sin is wrong and turn away from it. We call that repentance. We also need to believe that Jesus paid the price we should have paid ourselves, and to trust Him as our Savior and Lord. And finally, we do have to call on Him. Romans 10:13 teaches that. The gift is available, and it is free; however God will not force it on anybody. He does require that we call on Him and ask for that gift.
Jesus paid it all. Four words full of meaning. We all have a choice. We can pay our own way or we can accept that Jesus has already paid our way, if only we repent toward God and believe in Jesus Christ.
What does it mean to be created in the image of God? We learn in Genesis 1:26that God made the decision to create man “in our image, after our likeness.” So, it is important to discuss what it means, really, for us to be in the image and likeness of God. Theologians and scholars have spent years trying to discern precisely what it means to be in the image of God, and use many words and complex explanations to explain it. This explanation will hopefully be far from complex, and will be a description we can all follow and understand.
First of all, to be created in the image and likeness of God does not mean that we are formed in His physical image. God Himself does not have a physical body, as John 4:24 teaches us. There, we learn that “God is a spirit…..“, not a physical body. We also see in Luke 24:39 that “…… a spirit hath not flesh and bones….” Of course, God did become incarnate as a man in the form of Jesus Christ, but God the Father is not flesh and bones.
The idea of mankind being created in the image and likeness of God begins with the very way God created man. God, when He created all other living creatures, simply created them from nothingness. They were not there; God spoke, and they existed. Genesis 2:7tells us something very important about the creation of man.
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
When God created man, He formed us with His hands, so to speak, from the dust of the ground. God then personally breathed life into the nostrils of the first man, Adam. Adam then became a living soul, eternal in existence. When God created animals, they were just spoken into existence; when God created man, He breathed life directly into His first human creation. David recognized this difference between humanity and the animal world when he wrote Psalm 8: 4-6.
“What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:”
Being created in the image and likeness of God does not mean that we possess God-like attributes. We are not omniscient, omnipresent or omnipotent. We do not possess other attributes normally associated with a Divine nature. We already covered that we are not in God’s image physically, because God is spirit and not flesh. We understand that we are not gods, and do not possess Divine natures. How, then are we in the likeness of God?
Our creation in the image and likeness of God, then, refers to the immaterial, not physical, parts of our nature. In many of these immaterial attributes we have things in common with God’s nature. In a nutshell, we are in the likeness of God mentally, morally and socially. We also share God’s image in the sense that we are eternal beings. Below, we will break those ideas down some.
We bear the image of God mentally. This is critical in understanding the one of the key differences between mankind and the animal world. Although many animals appear quite intelligent, they are not in the image of God mentally. Man possesses the ability to engage in reason and highly complex thought. Man possesses the ability to come up with ideas independent of instinctive compulsions, and then the ability to put those ideas into action through creation of things, inventions and so on. Art, language and literature are all manifestations of some of the ways we were created in the image of God mentally.
Mentally, we are in the image of God in the sense that we make volitional decisions. The animal world certainly makes decisions, but they are primarily driven by biological imperatives, not true volition.
Mentally, God clearly made man to be superior to and rule over the world and all other life in it. Genesis 1:28 teaches us God created us in His image, to then have dominion over all the earth.
“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”
We see both this dominion and man’s superior mental nature when Adam named all the animals in Genesis 2:19.20.
“And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.”
God created man in His image mentally in the sense that we have free will and the ability to go in whatever direction we choose, just like Him. We are not simply bound to go in whatever direction our biology and instincts drive us; we can choose to do whatever we choose to do, even if it is contrary to our biological natures. The best example of this is the fact that we were created without sin and in innocency. Adam then made the choice to disobey and rebel against God. Even though God created us sinless and perfect, the free will He had given us enabled us to make that choice.
We bear the image of God morally. Despite what many would claim, animals do not possess a moral compass of any sort. While they certainly appear to love us and even desire to please us, this not due to a moral nature of any sort. Animals will always simply act in accordance with what supplies their biologically driven need to live and propagate themselves. Man, on the other hand was created as a moral being; we all have within ourselves the moral nature that God both possesses and that He instilled in us when He created us.
God is Holy and perfect. God has certain standards which we call the Law of God. Not the law, in the sense of the Old Testament Law, but the Law of God. These are things that God clearly sees as wrong and sinful. God Himself always lives by His own standards, as He is perfect and holy. Additionally, God created us in the beginning in a state of holiness and perfection.
Adam chose to exercise the free will God had given him and disobey and rebel against God. As a result, all of us are sinners and no longer measure up to God’s standard. Romans 3:23 teaches us this; “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. “However, our free choice to rebel and reject God does not mean that our basic God instilled morality has gone away. It may be deadened by sin almost to the point that it seems as if it is gone, but it still remains. In every society and culture that has ever existed, there are seemingly universal moral standards people adhere to. Murder, stealing, and other things are considered wrong no matter where one wanders in the world. People may not adhere to these standards, but they know they are there.
We all are born with a conscience and knowledge of morality. Romans 2:14-16 shows us the concept that we all know morality, even if we do not have the specifics.
“For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.”
Here Paul was making the point that while the Gentiles did not have the law, they still knew the law, because it is written on their consciences and hearts from birth. That passage clearly shows that we all understand moral standards. Our understanding of universal moral standards also leads to the conclusion that we each also know that there is a moral law giver, which is God. Romans 1:18-20shows us clearly that we all know God exists, because He created us that way, to have an understanding of His existence.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:”
We bear the image of God socially. God Himself in His triune form, has existed since eternity past as a social being. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit have always existed in fellowship with one another. The decision to create humanity was made as a community effort by the persons of the Trinity. We can see this in Genesis 1:26 when the Triune God said He would create man in “our image, according to our likeness.”
God created us for His joy and His glory. He also created us to love and fellowship with Him. One thing to clearly understand is that God did not create us because He was somehow lonely just sitting around in eternity past with nothing to do. God is self contained and self sufficient and has no needs whatsoever. He does, however, enjoy being loved, worshipped and fellowshipped with.
A reading of Genesis 3:8 shows that in all likelihood God had a habit of walking in the Garden and fellowshipping with Adam and Eve.
“And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.”
Genesis 2:18 shows us that God understood that He had created man to be a social creature as well; He created Eve for Adam because He could see it was “not good” for Adam to be alone.
We bear the image of God socially in terms of the emotions we feel towards each other. God loves, God hates, and God gets angry. The most obvious reference to how God loves is, of course, found in John 3:16 where we learn just how God loved us. God hates sin; the Biblical references to God being angry, jealous or hurt are too numerous to even mention.
We are in God’s image spiritually. God is Spirit, and in an eternal sense, so are we. Obviously we are not eternal from eternity past, only God has existed forever. On the other hand, God created us to exist eternally after our creation. This was true from the very beginning when God formed us from the dust of the earth. We became a “living soul.” Some might debate the difference between soul and spirit, but for the intent of that particular verse, the implication is that we are a soul which lives forever. Scripture clearly teaches that we will all exist somewhere for eternity.
Many words have been written about how man is in the image and likeness of God, and they are well worth more study. The above few words, however, capture the essence of how we were created in the image of God.
Today I am running a special post for Wednesday. Usually I repost my post from over at the Isaiah 53:5 Project, but not today. I didn’t actually post one there yesterday, and I want to leave this coming Monday free for the start of a new series.
So, today I will be providing a summary with links to the recent series:
Was Jesus God?
There will be a short excerpt from the post and a link to follow. Blessing and Enjoy!
When we state that we believe in the Deity of Jesus Christ, we are simply saying that we believe that Jesus Christ is God. That may seem odd in light of the fact that Biblical Christianity also believes Jesus to have been human. One may wonder and be curious how both statements can possibly be true. We believe Jesus Christ to have been both 100% human and 100% God. Jesus is the God-Man. Jesus is as much God as if He had never been human, and as much human as He had never been God. If that sounds hard to understand, that is because it is hard to understand!.…read the rest here:Was Jesus Really God? Part 1-Does It Really Matter?
Okay, first of all I do not mean anything irreverent or insulting by the title of this post, The Hypostatic Union For Dummies. As I have said before I am not a theologian, nor are most of my readers. I know some are, and if you are feel free to chime in with some deep theology in the comments. I would love to learn something in the process of this post. For now, though, we are going to take a hopefully simple look at an extremely complicated topic: The Hypostatic Union.…..read the rest here: Was Jesus Really God? Part 2- The Hypostatic Union For Dummies
Like almost any doctrine considered to be central and core to traditional orthodox Christianity, the Doctrine of the Divinity of Jesus Christ has been under assault almost from the beginning of the New Testament church age. Yet, there is almost no Doctrine more tied to the core of true Christian faith than this one. Without it, there basically is no Christian faith as it has been traditionally known.
I had said we would discuss some of the more major assaults on this concept, and we will. Rather than me spending the next 20 years developing the ability to relay some of these thoughts and then representing them in some coherent form, my plan today is to briefly describe some of them and provide some links for further reading by readers…..read the rest here: Was Jesus Really God? Part 3-Attacks On the Divinity of Jesus Christ
We have been working our way through a study on the Deity of Jesus Christ. Simply put, this is one of the most basic and essential beliefs of orthodox Christian faith. Without belief in the Divine nature of Jesus, it can be seriously questioned if one is actually a Christian or, in fact, something else. We have discussed why it matters, a brief explanation of the Hypostatic Union, and some of the major attacks and assaults both historically and today on this essential doctrine.
As we move along in our study, I want to take a look at the whys, or the motivations, that may be driving those who doubt this doctrine to doubt in in the first place. Irritation warning here, and an intolerance advisory has been issued. Many will disagree with some of what I say here, but that’s really not my problem.….read the rest here: Was Jesus Really God? Part 4-Why Don’t We Believe In Jesus?
That is the common argument made to support the contention that Jesus never claimed divinity. Hmm..ok..yeah He never said those words. I guess I am done here.
Ok, not really.
If you are reading this, and are a doubter of Jesus’ claims, other people’s claims, and the claim of God’s Word as a whole, then a lesson in proper Bible interpretation is coming. First, the Bible is not a collection of verses with no relationship to each other which can be plucked out and hurled at random to prove whatever a person want. The Bible is a STORY. It is the story of the creation, fall, and ultimate redemption of God’s creation through Jesus Christ. Any doctrine supported, or not supported, always has to be looked at through the lens of the redemption narrative which runs from the first verse in Genesis to the last verse in Revelation…..read the rest here: Was Jesus Really God? Part 5-Hey Man, Jesus NEVER said He was God
Part 6. We have been studying in some detail this very critical central doctrine of the Christian faith, and are working our way towards a conclusion. Before we dive into the meat of the post, I want to establish the parameters of how this is being approached to cut off, before they begin, certain arguments which might be made.
The objective here is to teach what the Bible teaches about the deity of Jesus Christ. We are going to look at things Jesus said, and we will look at things He did. We will look at what others had to say, including Jesus’ enemies and other writers of the Bible. By the time we finish this series we will clearly understand that those who teach counter to to the true Biblical position on the Deity of Jesus, and claim to base their position on the Bible, are simply wrong and have no case to make. That may sound harsh, but it is true. Stay with this study for the duration, and that point will be made quite clear….read the rest here: Was Jesus Really God? Part 6
Last week we discussed some of the statements Jesus made which, while not being the statement “I am God,” were certainly claims of being equal to and of the same substance as God the Father. We also discussed his claims of son-ship with The Father and how, in that day and time, to be someone’s son was to basically be equal with them; obviously a claim equality with God is in practicality the same as a claim of being God.
Today we are going to cover some instances where we see Jesus’ actions indicate He understood His own divine nature……read the rest here: Was Jesus Really God-Part 7
Today we will be wrapping up our study on the Deity of Jesus. We will close with what others had to say about this subject, or the thoughts they expressed concerning it. We won’t just talk about what those friendly to our Lord said, thought, and wrote; Jesus’ enemies also expressed themselves concerning the claims Jesus made.
The Writers of the Bible Clearly Describe Jesus as Being Divine
Time and time again, various writers of Holy Scripture describe the Divinity of Jesus Christ. We are working under the premise here that The Bible as we have it today is, in fact, inspired by God. Therefore if the writers of Scripture call Jesus God, then it is just as if God the Father called Jesus God. The only way to escape this conclusion is to deny that ,as Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.”…read the rest here: Was Jesus Really God-Part 8
Today we will be wrapping up our study on the Deity of Jesus. We will close with what others had to say about this subject, or the thoughts they expressed concerning it. We won’t just talk about what those friendly to our Lord said, thought, and wrote; Jesus’ enemies also expressed themselves concerning the claims Jesus made.
The Writers of the Bible Clearly Describe Jesus as Being Divine
Time and time again, various writers of Holy Scripture describe the Divinity of Jesus Christ. We are working under the premise here that The Bible as we have it today is, in fact, inspired by God. Therefore if the writers of Scripture call Jesus God, then it is just as if God the Father called Jesus God. The only way to escape this conclusion is to deny that ,as Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.”
One of the most clear descriptions of the Deity of Jesus Christ is contained in the opening words of the John Chapter 1. In this passage, The Word clearly refers to Jesus, as context makes clear. In Verse 1, we are told “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” That clearly states that Jesus is Eternal and that He is also God. On into Verse 14 we see “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
God Himself said Jesus was God in Hebrews 1:8. That entire chapter is a good summation of God comparing Jesus to anything else He created, and how Jesus is superior to all created beings..
Isaiah said the child born would, in addition to all the other things He would be called, would also be called “Mighty God” and “Everlasting Father” in Isaiah 9:6.
John 5:23 teaches we should worship the Son just like the Father.
Writing to Titus, Paul said in Titus 2:3that we are “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ”
So it goes on, time after time, numerous passages clearly show that the writers of Holy Scripture considered Jesus Christ to be Divine. And if we believe in the inspiration of the Bible, we can only come to the conclusion that God the Father is clearly informing us that Jesus the Son is also divine.
Jesus enemies clearly understood that He was claiming to be God
In this section, we will discuss briefly the concept of Jesus’ own claims to deity. Earlier, we talked about what our Lord Himself had to say about it; now we will discuss how others, specifically His enemies, perceived some of the things Jesus said and did. They had no doubt whatsoever just what Jesus was claiming. In fact, they often wanted to kill Him for claiming to be God, since that claim was considered blasphemy and punishable by death.
In John Chapter 10 Jesus was walking and teaching with the Jews in the Temple and gave them His teaching where He made the claim “I and My Father are one“,: and the Jews wanted to stone him. When Jesus asked then why they wanted to kill him they replied in Verse 33, “For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.”
In fact, blasphemy was the only crime for which Jesus was actually convicted at his various “trials” before His Crucifixion. In Mark 14:61-64 Jesus and the High Priest had the following conversation.
“But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death.”
The Jews of the day understood that to forgive sins was a claim to be God, since only God could forgive sin. In Mark Chapter 2 we can again see the story of the paralyzed man who was lowered through the roof of the house where Jesus was preaching so that Jesus could heal him. In Verse 5 note, “When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.” The scribes quickly realized just what Jesus was saying here and though in their minds, “Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God only?” in Verse 7. Actually Jesus’ ability to read their thoughts was also a claim to Divine nature, as who is omniscient, or all knowing, but God?
If we use the Bible as our source of information, and of course we should, of we believe the Bible is the all sufficient rule of faith and practice, then we can only come to one conclusion on this issue. And that conclusion is that Jesus was, and is, 100% fully God.
The only way we, or anybody else, can deny that conclusion is to simply toss out as untrue vast sections of the Holy Scriptures. Then we head down that slippery slope we have discussed before, of disregarding portions of the Word of God because they do not fit with our pre-conceived notions of God which we each have in our minds.
This is yet another case of us having the choice to accept God as He has revealed Himself to us in His Word, or continue trying to create a god which we find appealing in our own minds.
More importantly we can choose to accept salvation on God’s terms, in the way He has stated it must occur: repentance and belief on His Son Jesus Christ, or our own feeble efforts to somehow be good enough to earn our way in to God’s Grace.