By Admin, 2023-11-29
Is the Millennium next or never?
Do you know whether the Millennium is the next event in Divine history or do you think there will never be a millennium? This is an important question. Some people confidently assure us that a glorious earthly millennium is about to break upon this troubled world, while others are equally confident that the Bible teaches no such thing. Only one faction can be right because the views are based on entirely different interpretations of the Bible. Therefore, one must be an error. Only one can be truth. Are you positive you know which is right?
Some people say it doesn't matter which way you believe because this doctrine does not affect your salvation anyway. This is only partly true. The Jehovah's Witnesses and many Dispensationalists do teach a form of salvation AFTER the coming of the Lord and the socalled rapture of the believers. A theological controversy rages among professed Christians concerning which is the right interpretation of the Kingdom of God. Dispensationalists confidently assure us that the millennium is next. Amillennialists affirm with equal conviction that there will never be a millennium. You must decide which is right. Our task will be made easier if we know exactly what the basic issue is. This we shall proceed to reveal.
The Question Stated...
To begin with, there are two questions that must be asked and answered. The first is, "Where and when did Dispensationalism originate? The second is, "How will it end?" The first question directs us to the foundation on which the doctrine rests. The second causes us to ask what conditions entitle one to participate in its blessings, and what ultimately happens to the millennium itself. It should not be difficult to find a satisfactory answer to these valid questions.
Dispensationalism originated in England about the year 1840. Several prominent names such as Irving, Maitland and J. N. Darby were among the first ones to preach and publish articles and books on the subject. In America it engaged such outstanding men as Dr. C. I. Scofield, James M. Gray and Harry Ironside, all of whom were connected with Moody Bible Institute and who contributed tremendous influence to its propagation. A natural question at this point is, "Where did J. N. Darby and his group discover the doctrine?" Dispensationalists would have us believe that it came as a result of discovering new light on the Bible itself, but the facts lead us elsewhere.
The real source of the doctrine came from a book that was written much earlier by two Jesuit Priests by the names of Ribera and Alcaser. These men were commissioned by the Pope to publish a teaching that would counteract the prevalent Protestant belief that proclaimed the Pope as the Antichrist. Eventually this book fell into the hands of Irving and from its interpretation of the Bible Dispensationalism was born.
The Antichrist of the Reformation...
History makes it very clear that the very heart of the Reformation preaching attacked papal claims of supremacy and as a result of this onslaught they rocked Catholicism to its very foundation. Luther, Zwingli and Calvin, as well as countless other Reformation preachers opened up the Word of God and fearlessly proclaimed that the Pope was the Antichrist of prophecy, the Beast that overcame the saints mentioned in Revelation. As a result the strangle hold of Papal authority was gradually weakened and Papal power began to topple and crumble as multitudes embraced this liberating truth.
It is interesting to note the meaning of Antichrist in Webster's Unabridged Dictionary. It is described as: "pretender to Christhood; a false Christ." Webster also mentions the fact of history that Wycliffe and Luther identified the Pope as the Antichrist and that the real meaning of Antichrist is, "an OTHER Christ." In view of the fact that the Pope assumes the title of "Vicar of the Son of God," it gives further evidence that the Antichrist is a false Christ. Webster's meaning of Vicar is: "A substitute, a proxy or representative." He adds this illuminating information that "The Pope is the Man of Sin heralded by the Reformation preachers." The Antichrist not only means a false Christ, and an OTHER Christ, but also as one "Who takes the place of Christ as Head of the church."
It is easy to see the task that confronted Ribera and Alcaser. However, they cunningly conceived a plot to rival the interpretation by the Protestants. They sought to prove that Luther was wrong about the Antichrist being the Pope. To accomplish this they speculated on a future Antichrist who would oppose Christ with all the infernal powers under his control. Dispensationalism adopted the Futurist theory with its future Antichrist and future millennium. It should be pointed out that there is nothing in Dispensationalism that in any way identifies Catholicism with its place in prophecy. History labels their long tyranny over man as the Dark Ages. The Bible says "They made war on the saints." The Reformation was born with the proclamation of the Papal Antichrist. Dispensationalists have relegated all the Scriptures relating to the Antichrist to a mysterious creature of horror in some unknown future. When a substantial segment of the Protestant faith accepted this interpretation, the Jesuits accomplished their purpose far beyond their fondest hopes.
Dispensationalists maintain that God divided His government of the world into seven dispensations, each of approximately 1000 years duration. Five, they say, are already past. We are now in the sixth, namely the age of grace. According to their theory the millennium is next. However, there is no place in the Bible, or even in the Scofield notes, that scripturally indicates seven dispensations. Try to find them! Jesus Christ made no reference to seven dispensations. The Bible says there are two, namely the Old Testament and the New Testament. Where then did the teaching of seven dispensations originate? The first proponents of this novel interpretation came from these two Jesuit priests. Their purpose was to blunt the attack of the Reformers on the Papacy and direct it to some future mysterious Antichrist. In this subtle manner Satan accomplished his objective by infiltrating the ranks of Protestantism with the doctrine that offers a glorious earthly millennium filled with carnal delights and the possibility of getting saved under more favourable conditions, leaving a purgatory as an escape from hell for the Catholics.
The Acid Test of Truth...
Any doctrine based on an erroneous foundation cannot support its ultimate conclusions. The farther error is pursued, the more difficult it is to maintain. This is one reason for the multiplicity of different interpretations among Dispensationalists themselves. It also accounts for the necessity of introducing plural resurrections and judgments, and many other complications such as restoring the ancient animal sacrifices during the millennial age as well as the racial barrier between Jew and Gentile. Even a causal Bible reader will be well aware of these distinctions having been removed by the Cross. Truth is simple and profound. Error is complicated and mysterious. As we deal with the second question this will become more apparent.
Who Will Inhabit the Millennium?
Some years ago I posed the question, "Who will inherit the millennium?" to the editor of Our Hope Magazine. The answer given will be found on page 557 of the March 1957 issue and reads as follows: "The question doubtless concerns the people who will inhabit the earth during the millennial reign of Christ. The Scriptures clearly teach, we believe, that when the Lord returns in glory to this earth, THEN Israel as a nation WILL BE SAVED. (Caps mine). Rom. 11:2527. Preceding this, as the result of the preaching of the Jewish remnant saved at the beginning of the tribulation period, a great number of Gentiles will have been saved and will manifest that salvation by befriending the Jewish remnant, our Lord's brethren according to the flesh. Matt. 25:3146. This same passage shows that when the Lord returns, He will judge the nations then living upon the earth, and only the saved from among them will enter the kingdom, though, of course, children will be born to the inhabitants of the earth throughout Christ's thousand year reign. These, in order to be saved must be "born again," just as is the case in the present age. Now all of those born into the world during the millennium will receive the Lord Jesus, though fear of swift judgment will keep them from openly manifesting their hatred of the King. At the end of the thousand year reign of Christ, when Satan is loosed for a litter season, he will find a great multitude ready to follow him." (End of quote).
It is difficult to understand how this learned writer could impose so many errors in such a small compass of words. First, he misquotes Rom. 11:26, by saying that it teaches at the Lord's return, THEN, all Israel will be saved. The passage reads, "SO" shall all Israel be saved. "Then" is an adverb of time, but "SO" is an adverb of manner. Rom. 11:26 does not offer fleshly Israel a future salvation. "Then," by the ushering in of a glorious earthly millennium, but clearly says she will be saved "SO," as the context amplifies by being grafted into the true olive tree, which is Christ. On this basis of saving faith "So all Israel will be saved." While this writer has asserted that only saved Jews and Gentiles will enter the millennial kingdom, it should be observed that both classes get saved AFTER Christ's return to earth.
The above statements are too vital to go unchallenged. You must remember that the church is raptured to be with Christ"Forever with the Lord," prior to the millennial age. Only unbelieving Jews and unbelieving Gentiles are left. Now, if the righteous dead are resurrected in their glorified bodies, and if, the living are changed in the twinkling of an eye to their glorified bodies to be forever with the Lord, then the only way anyone can inhabit the millennium is to be an unbeliever when the Lord comes. This is crystal clear. The editor just quoted, is a leading exponent of Dispensationalism and he asserts that the unbelieving Jews are Christ's brethren according to the flesh. The Bible says the "Flesh profiteth nothing." "God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham." "Wherefore henceforth (from now
until all future time) know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now HENCEFORTH, know we Him no more." 2 Cor. 5:16. An abundance of texts will confirm this relationship and the severing of fleshly ties in Christ. Common human decency will cause a person to manifest friendship to Jewish people and does not indicate the fruit of salvation. A further statement from the quotation claims that the children born during the millennium will not all get savedin fact the unbelievers are described as a great multitude ready to follow Satan when He is loosed. This is an understatement for the Bible says the number is as the sands of the sea. Rev. 20:8. A millennium filled with unbelievers to this degree could scarcely be as glorious as some people would lead us to believe.
The Chosen People Are All Believers...
Quite obviously, this poses more questions than it does answers. In the first place, God has no CHOSEN people in UNBELIEF. The fate of unbelievers in the Bible is too well determined to require further substantiation. Furthermore, God has no special salvation for anyone except the atonement made on Calvary. "God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, (The Old Testament Covenant), hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son..." (The New Testament Covenant) Heb. 1:1. This is final. How could the Jews conduct such a successful worldwide revival without the aid of the Holy Sprit Who is taken out of the world with the church? Before the Holy Sprit came on the day of Pentecost the disciples all fled even with Jesus amongst them. If the devil is bound during the thousand years, how are the children born during that time tempted and deceived in such colossal numbers? Millennialists tell us that people will live to a great age, but some will die during that time.
If only those who are saved from "among the nations" enter into the millennial kingdom, what becomes of those still living, but have rejected this overture? Since the judgment of the wicked is deferred until after the millennial reign, what will these people do during that thousand years? Did not Christ say that those who do His will, are His brothers and sisters, rather than earthly kinship? Matt. 12:4850. Did not Christ assert that the unbelieving Jews were of their Father, the Devil? John 8:44.
Dismal Prospects for the Millennium...
Dispensationalists portray a very bleak millennium after all their efforts to make us believe in one. According to the writer just quoted, it will contain unsaved individuals who only subdue their hatred because of fear of swift judgment. There will be sickness for some and even death for the advanced in age according to their writers. Imagine if you can, Christ officiating at a funeral! To what lengths must error go? At the end of the millennium we are told that Satan will be loosed again and will marshal the enemies of the Lord who are described "as a great multitude ready to follow the Devil," even though they have been in the millennium for a thousand years under Christ's rule. To cope with this futile uprising, Dispensationalists portray Christ riding a white steed and plunging His unsheathed sword into human bodies until the blood reaches the horse's bridle. This bloodcurdling horror, which is to cause swirling rivers of blood, cannot be the act of the Christ Who said, "For all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword." Matt. 26:52. It merely shows the extreme to which error is driven to sustain its false interpretations. The Second Person in the Divine Trinity, does not have to rely on a carnal sword to achieve His victories. Did He not explicitly say, He had twelve legions of angels at His command? Is not the silent sleep of death to the armies of Sennacherib sufficient evidence of His power? Christ's triumph came at Calvary where He said, "It is finished."
The Simple Gospel of Christ's Kingdom...
Jesus gave us a simple gospel that even a child can understand. His kingdom requires the new birth in order to pass its portals. Then follows our walk of obedience and eventually the call of death or the Coming of the Lord, which will usher in eternity and the Judgment. None of the earliest creeds contain even a hint of a millennium. Without exception they state simply that: "Christ rose from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father, Almighty, from whence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead..." Since the Apostle Paul expounded the Scriptures to the Jews continually wherever he went, and heralded the message of God's kingdom all over the Roman Empire, does it not seem strange that the Dispensational interpretation only came to light more that eighteen hundred years later?
We take issue with Dispensationalism because they maintain that unbelievers, that is, the unbelieving Jews, are God's chosen people. Jesus said, "The kingdom shall be taken from you and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof." Matt. 21:43. The Pharisees made no mistake of His meaning. V. 44. No one has the right to offer a kingdom different in kind or on different terms than what Jesus specified. Only Christ has the authority to establish a doctrine that is binding upon His Church. His words shall judge us in the last day. No one has the right to propound a doctrine that offers salvation AFTER Christ comes. His last will and testament was sealed at Calvary and the terms are clear. It is a mistake to suggest that Christ only partially fulfilled the promises in His first coming. The only way Christ could be the Messiah foretold in the Old Testament was to fulfill every prophecy concerning Himself. To have failed in any particular would have convicted Him as an imposter. Even a postponement of the promises would invalidate His claim according to Deut. 18:22. "When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously; thou shalt not be afraid of him." Invariably Christ substantiated His claims to being the Messiah by referring to how Scripture was fulfilled in His ministry. It is possible to conceive the hatred and persecution unto death against Christ and Paul if they were preaching a kingdom of Jewish preeminence with all the earthly carnal delights of Dispensationalism? Was not the opposition generated because Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world?" Has the Christ Who is "the same, yesterday, today and forever," changed?
The millennium is not next. Why was Christ silent about such a kingdom in His messages? Why is there no hint of a thousand year reign from Genesis to Jude? Why was something so important as this interpretation of the kingdom discovered until 1840? Revelation 20 is the only place in the Bible that mentions a thousand year reign and it does not say it will be on earth, but that souls of the martyrs will be with Christ. There is no reference to the Jews in this passage; nor, to an earthly millennium. Then what is next? Peter removes all doubt when he said, "Looking for and hastening unto the coming of the day of God..." The entire third chapter of Second Peter should be read to get the full impact of coming events. These include the Coming of the Lord, the resurrection of the dead, the Day of Judgment and the eternal rewards meted out to both believers and unbelievers. Then, eternity in the place to which Jesus has gone to prepare.
Surely this truth is more attractive than a temporary millennium that ends in such terrifying carnage as Dispensationalists propound. "Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, ALL power is given unto Me in heaven AND IN EARTH." Matt. 28:18. Jesus reigns now at the right hand of God over the universe. Instead of a band of
unbelieving Jews receiving the kingdom when Jesus comes, our Lord's final irrevocable ultimatum was, "Therefore say I unto you, the kingdom of God shall be taken FROM you..." Matt 21:43. Instead of God regarding them as the Chosen People marked for Divine favours we read, "Behold your house is left unto you desolate." Matt. 23:38. To be desolate means to be forsaken by God. Far from the bright future prospects which Dispensationalists anticipate, Paul said, "They please NOT God and are contrary to all men...For WRATH is come upon them to the UTTERMOST," meaning to the end of time. 1 Thess. 2:15, 16b.
Instead of Jesus postponing His kingdom to some mysterious future under more favourable circumstances, He said, "Fear not little flock (of believers) it is your Father's good pleasure to GIVE YOU the kingdom." Luke 12:32. We need to be born again to SEE it and to ENTER it. John 3:3, 5. Jesus said His kingdom comes NOT with observation and that it is NOT of this world. How can you reconcile these plain statements with the type of kingdom portrayed by Millennialists? Jesus has a kingdom NOW. When He comes again it is not to SET up His kingdom but to DELIVER it up to God the Father. 1 Cor. 15:24. Dispensationalists say the Millennium is next. The Lord Jesus Christ said He is coming again to JUDGE the world and take His own to the place He has gone to prepare. Jesus offers us heaven. He commissioned His followers to "Go into all the world and preach the GOSPEL." The urgency of this evangel is stressed by these words, "Behold now is the accepted time, behold, now is the day of salvation." 2 Cor. 6:2b. This is the last time and it will end on the LAST day with the sound of the LAST trump. There is no day after the LAST day. God offers salvation today and eternity next. Millennium? NEVER!
By Admin, 2023-11-27
The Scripture Way of Salvation. John Wesley
"Ye are saved through faith." -- Ephesians 2:8.
1. Nothing can be more intricate, complex, and hard to be understood, than religion, as it has been often described. And this is not only true concerning the religion of the Heathens, even many of the wisest of them, but concerning the religion of those also who were, in some sense, Christians; yea, and men of great name in the Christian world; men who seemed to be pillars thereof. Yet how easy to be understood, how plain and simple a thing, is the genuine religion of Jesus Christ; provided only that we take it in its native form, just as it is described in the oracles of God! It is exactly suited, by the wise Creator and Governor of the world, to the weak understanding and narrow capacity of man in his present state. How observable is this, both with regard to the end it proposes, and the means to attain that end! The end is, in one word, salvation; the means to attain it, faith.
2. It is easily discerned, that these two little words, I mean faith and salvation, include the substance of all the Bible, the marrow, as it were, of the whole Scripture. So much the more should we take all possible care to avoid all mistake concerning them, and to form a true and accurate judgement concerning both the one and the other.
3. Let us then seriously inquire,
I. What is Salvation
II. What is that faith whereby we are saved And,
III. How are we saved by it
1. I. And, first, let us inquire, What is salvation The salvation which is here spoken of is not what is frequently understood by that word, the going to heaven, eternal happiness. It is not the soul's going to paradise, termed by our Lord, "Abraham's bosom." It is not a blessing which lies on the other side death; or, as we usually speak, in the other world. The very words of the text itself put this beyond all question: "Ye are saved." It is not something at a distance: it is a present thing; a blessing which, through the free mercy of God, ye are now in possession of. Nay, the words may be rendered, and that with equal propriety, "Ye have been saved": so that the salvation which is here spoken of might be extended to the entire work of God, from the first dawning of grace in the soul, till it is consummated in glory.
2. If we take this in its utmost extent, it will include all that is wrought in the soul by what is frequently termed "natural conscience," but more properly, "preventing grace"; --all the drawings of the Father; the desires after God, which, if we yield to them, increase more and more; --all that light wherewith the Son of God "enlighteneth every one that cometh into the world;" showing every man "to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with his God"; --all the convictions which His Spirit, from time to time, works in every child of man--although it is true, the generality of men stifle them as soon as possible, and after a while forget, or at least deny, that they ever had them at all.
3. But we are at present concerned only with that salvation which the Apostle is directly speaking of. And this consists of two general parts, justification and sanctification.
Justification is another word for pardon. It is the forgiveness of all our sins; and , what is necessarily implied therein, our acceptance with God. The price whereby this hath been procured for us (commonly termed "the meritorious cause of our justification"), is the blood and righteousness of Christ; or, to express it a little more clearly, all that Christ hath done and suffered for us, till He "poured out His soul for the transgressors." The immediate effects of justification are, the peace of God, a "peace that passeth all understanding," and a "rejoicing in hope of the glory of God" "with joy unspeakable and full of glory."
4. And at the same time that we are justified, yea, in that very moment, sanctification begins. In that instant we are born again, born from above, born of the Spirit: there is a real as well as a relative change. We are inwardly renewed by the power of God. We feel "the love of God shed abroad in our heart by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us"; producing love to all mankind, and more especially to the children of God; expelling the love of the world, the love of pleasure, of ease, of honour, of money, together with pride, anger, self-will, and every other evil temper; in a word, changing the earthly, sensual, devilish mind, into "the mind which was in Christ Jesus."
5. How naturally do those who experience such a change imagine that all sin is gone; that it is utterly rooted out of their heart, and has no more any place therein! How easily do they draw that inference, "I feel no sin; therefore, I have none: it does not stir; therefore it does not exist: it has no motion; therefore, it has no being!"
6. But it is seldom long before they are undeceived, finding sin was only suspended, not destroyed. Temptations return, and sin revives; showing it was but stunned before, not dead. They now feel two principles in themselves, plainly contrary to each other; "the flesh lusting against the Spirit"; nature opposing the grace of God. They cannot deny, that although they still feel power to believe in Christ, and to love God; and although His "Spirit" still "witnesses with their spirits, that they are children of God"; yet they feel in themselves sometimes pride or self-will, sometimes anger or unbelief. They find one or more of these frequently stirring in their heart, though not conquering; yea, perhaps, "thrusting sore at them that they may fall"; but the Lord is their help.
7. How exactly did Macarius, fourteen hundred years ago, describe the present experience of the children of God: "The unskilful," or unexperienced, "when grace operates, presently imagine they have no more sin. Whereas they that have discretion cannot deny, that even we who have the grace of God may be molested again. For we have often had instances of some among the brethren, who have experienced such grace as to affirm that they had no sin in them; and yet, after all, when they thought themselves entirely freed from it, the corruption that lurked within was stirred up anew, and they were wellnigh burned up."
8. From the time of our being born again, the gradual work of sanctification takes place. We are enabled "by the Spirit" to "mortify the deeds of the body," of our evil nature; and as we are more and more dead to sin, we are more and more alive to God. We so on from grace to grace, while we are careful to "abstain from all appearance of evil," and are "zealous of good works," as we have opportunity, doing good to all men; while we walk in all His ordinances blameless, therein worshipping Him in spirit and in truth; while we take up our cross, and deny ourselves every pleasure that does not lead us to God.
9. It is thus that we wait for entire sanctification; for a full salvation from all our sins, --from pride, self-will, anger, unbelief; or, as the Apostle expresses it, "go unto perfection." But what is perfection The word has various senses: here it means perfect love. It is love excluding sin; love filling the heart, taking up the whole capacity of the soul. It is love "rejoicing evermore, praying without ceasing, in everything giving thanks."
II. But what is faith through which we are saved This is the second point to be considered.
1. Faith, in general, is defined by the Apostle, elegcos pragmatvn ou blepomenvn. An evidence, a divine evidence and conviction (the word means both) of things not seen; not visible, not perceivable either by sight, or by any other of the external senses. It implies both a supernatural evidence of God, and of the things of God; a kind of spiritual light exhibited to the soul, and a supernatural sight or perception thereof. Accordingly, the Scripture speaks of God's giving sometimes light, sometimes a power of discerning it. So St. Paul: "God, who commanded light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." And elsewhere the same Apostle speaks of "the eyes of" our "understanding being opened." By this two-fold operation of the Holy Spirit, having the eyes of our soul both opened and enlightened, we see the things which the natural "eye hath not seen, neither the ear heard." We have a prospect of the invisible things of God; we see the spiritual world, which is all round about us, and yet no more discerned by our natural faculties than if it had no being. And we see the eternal world; piercing through the veil which hangs between time and eternity. Clouds and darkness then rest upon it no more, but we already see the glory which shall be revealed.
2. Taking the word in a more particular sense, faith is a divine evidence and conviction not only that "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself," but also that Christ loved me, and gave Himself for me. It is by this faith (whether we term it the essence, or rather a property thereof) that we receive Christ; that we receive Him in all His offices, as our Prophet, Priest, and King. It is by this that He is "made of God unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption."
3. "But is this the faith of assurance, or faith of adherence" The Scripture mentions no such distinction. The Apostle says, "There is one faith, and one hope of our calling"; one Christian, saving faith; "as there is one Lord," in whom we believe, and "one God and Father of us all." And it is certain, this faith necessarily implies an assurance (which is here only another word for evidence, it being hard to tell the difference between them) that Christ loved me, and gave Himself for me. For "he that believeth" with the true living faith "hath the witness in himself": "the Spirit witnesseth with his spirit that he is a child of God." "Because he is a son, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into his heart, crying, Abba, Father"; giving him an assurance that he is so, and a childlike confidence in Him. But let it be observed, that, in the very nature of the thing, the assurance goes before the confidence. For a man cannot have a childlike confidence in God till he knows he is a child of God. Therefore, confidence, trust, reliance, adherence, or whatever else it be called, is not the first, as some have supposed, but the second, branch or act of faith.
4. It is by this faith we are saved, justified, and sanctified; taking that word in its highest sense. But how are we justified and sanctified by faith This is our third head of inquiry. And this being the main point in question, and a point of no ordinary importance, it will not be improper to five it a more distinct and particular consideration.
III. 1. And, first, how are we justified by faith In what sense is this to be understood I answer, Faith is the condition, and the only condition, of justification. It is the condition: none is justified but he that believes: without faith no man is justified. And it is the only condition: this alone is sufficient for justification. Every one that believes is justified, whatever else he has or has not. In other words: no man is justified till he believes; every man when he believes is justified.
2. "But does not God command us to repent also Yea, and to `bring forth fruits meet for repentance'--to cease, for instance, from doing evil, and learn to do well And is not both the one and the other of the utmost necessity, insomuch that if we willingly neglect either, we cannot reasonably expect to be justified at all But if this be so, how can it be said that faith is the only condition of justification" God does undoubtedly command us both to repent, and to bring forth fruits meet for repentance; which if we willingly neglect, we cannot reasonably expect to be justified at all: therefore both repentance, and fruits meet for repentance, are, in some sense, necessary to justification. But they are not necessary in the same sense with faith, nor in the same degree. Not in the same degree; for those fruits are only necessary conditionally; if there be time and opportunity for them. Otherwise a man may be justified without them, as was the thief upon the cross (if we may call him so; for a late writer has discovered that he was no thief, but a very honest and respectable person!); but he cannot be justified without faith; this is impossible. Likewise, let a man have ever so much repentance, or ever so many of the fruits meet for repentance, yet all this does not at all avail; he is not justified till he believes. But the moment he believes, with or without those fruits, yea, with more or less repentance, he is justified. --Not in the same sense; for repentance and its fruits are only remotely necessary; necessary in order to faith; whereas faith is immediately necessary to justification. It remains, that faith is the only condition, which is immediately and proximately necessary to justification.
3. "But do you believe we are sanctified by faith We know you believe that we are justified by faith; but do not you believe, and accordingly teach, that we are sanctified by our works" So it has been roundly and vehemently affirmed for these five-and-twenty years: but I have constantly declared just the contrary; and that in all manner of ways. I have continually testified in private and in public, that we are sanctified as well as justified by faith. And indeed the one of those great truths does exceedingly illustrate the other. Exactly as we are justified by faith, so are we sanctified by faith. Faith is the condition, and the only condition, of sanctification, exactly as it is of justification. It is the condition: none is sanctified but he that believes; with out faith no man is sanctified. And it is the only condition: this alone is sufficient for sanctification. Every one that believes is sanctified, whatever else he has or has not. In other words, no man is sanctified till he believes: every man when he believes is sanctified.
4. "But is there not a repentance consequent upon, as well as a repentance previous to, justification And is it not incumbent on all that are justified to be `zealous of good works' Yea, are not these so necessary, that if a man willingly neglect them he cannot reasonably expect that he shall ever be sanctified in the full sense; that is, perfected in love Nay, can he grow at all in grace, in the loving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ Yea, can he retain the grace which God has already given him Can he continue in the faith which he has received, or in the favour of God. Do not you yourself allow all this, and continually assert it But, if this be so, how can it be said that faith is the only condition of sanctification"
5. I do allow all this, and continually maintain it as the truth of God. I allow there is a repentance consequent upon, as well as a repentance previous to, justification. It is incumbent on all that are justified to be zealous of good works. And there are so necessary, that if a man willingly neglect them, he cannot reasonably expect that he shall ever be sanctified; he cannot grow in grace, in the image of God, the mind which was in Christ Jesus; nay, he cannot retain the grace he has received; he cannot continue in faith, or in the favour of God. What is the inference we mist draw herefrom Why, that both repentance, rightly understood, and the practice of all good works, --works of piety, as well as works of mercy (now properly so called, since they spring from faith), are, in some sense, necessary to sanctification.
6. I say, "repentance rightly understood"; for this must not be confounded with the former repentance. The repentance consequent upon justification is widely different from that which is antecedent to it. This implies no guilt, no sense of condemnation, no consciousness of the wrath of God. It does not suppose any doubt of the favour of God, or any "fear that hath torment." It is properly a conviction, wrought by the Holy Ghost, of the sin which still remains in our heart; of the jronhma sarkos, the carnal mind, which "does still remain" (as our Church speaks) "even in them that are regenerate"; although it does no longer reign; it has not now dominion over them. It is a conviction of our proneness to evil, of an heart bent to backsliding, of the still continuing tendency of the flesh to lust against the spirit. Sometimes, unless we continually watch and pray, it lusteth to pride, sometimes to anger, sometimes to love of the world, love of ease, love of honour, or love of pleasure more than of God. It is a conviction of the tendency of our heart to self-will, to Atheism, or idolatry; and above all, to unbelief; whereby, in a thousand ways, and under a thousand pretenses, we are ever departing, more or less, from the living God.
7. With this conviction of the sin remaining in our hearts, there is joined a clear conviction of the sin remaining in our lives; still cleaving to all our words and actions. In the best of these we now discern a mixture of evil, either in the spirit, the matter, or the manner of them; something that could not endure the righteous judgement of God, were He extreme to mark what is done amiss. Where we least suspected it, we find a taint of pride or self-will, of unbelief or idolatry; so that we are now more ashamed of our best duties than formerly of our worst sins: and hence we cannot but feel that these are so far from having anything meritorious in them, yea, so far from being able to stand in sight of the divine justice, that for those also we should be guilty before God, were it not for the blood of the covenant.
8. Experience shows that, together with this conviction of sin remaining in our hearts, and cleaving to all our words and actions; as well as the guilt which on account thereof we should incur, were we not continually sprinkled with the atoning blood; one thing more is implied in this repentance; namely, a conviction of our helplessness, of our utter inability to think one good thought, or to form one good desire; and much more to speak one word aright, or to perform one good action, but through His free, almighty grace, first preventing us, and then accompanying us every moment.
9. "But what good works are those, the practice of which you affirm to be necessary to sanctification" First, all works of piety; such as public prayer, family prayer, and praying in our closet; receiving the supper of the Lord; searching the Scriptures, by hearing, reading, meditating; and using such a measure of fasting or abstinence as our bodily health allows.
10. Secondly, all works of mercy; whether they relate to the bodies or souls of men; such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, entertaining the stranger, visiting those that are in prison, or sick, or variously afflicted; such as the endeavouring to instruct the ignorant, to awaken the stupid sinner, to quicken the lukewarm, to confirm the wavering, to comfort the feeble-minded, to succour the tempted, or contribute in any manner to the saving of souls from death. This is the repentance, and these the "fruits meet for repentance," which are necessary to full sanctification. This is the way wherein God hath appointed His children to wait for complete salvation.
11. Hence may appear the extreme mischievousness of that seemingly innocent opinion, that there is no sin in a believer; that all sin is destroyed, root and branch, the moment a man is justified. By totally preventing that repentance, it quite blocks up the way to sanctification. There is no place for repentance in him who believes there is no sin either in his life or heart: consequently, there is no place for his being perfected in love, to which that repentance is indispensably necessary.
12. Hence it may likewise appear, that there is no possible danger in thus expecting full salvation. For suppose we were mistaken, suppose no such blessing ever was or can be attained, yet we lose nothing: nay, that very expectation quickens us in using all the talents which God has given us; yea, in improving them all; so that when our Lord cometh, He will receive His own with increase.
13. But to return. though it be allowed, that both this repentance and its fruits are necessary to full salvation; yet they are not necessary either in the same sense with faith, or in the same degree: --Not in the same degree; for these fruits are only necessary conditionally, if there be time and opportunity for them; otherwise a man may be sanctified without them. But he cannot be sanctified without faith. likewise, let a man have ever so much of this repentance, or ever so many good works, yet all this does not at all avail: he is not sanctified till he believes. But the moment he believes, with or without those fruits, yea, with more or less of this repentance, he is sanctified. --Not in the same sense; for this repentance and these fruits are only remotely necessary, --necessary in order to the continuance of his faith, as well as the increase of it; whereas faith is immediately and directly necessary to sanctification. It remains, that faith is the only condition which is immediately and proximately necessary to sanctification.
14. "But what is that faith whereby we are sanctified, --saved from sin, and perfected in love" It is a divine evidence and conviction, first, that God hath promised it in the holy Scripture. Till we are thoroughly satisfied of this, there in no moving one step further. And one would imagine there needed not one word more to satisfy a reasonable man of this, than the ancient promise, "Then will I circumcise thy heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord they God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." How clearly does this express the being perfected in love! --how strongly imply the being saved from all sin! For as long as love takes up the whole heart, what room is there for sin therein
15. It is a divine evidence and conviction, secondly, that what God hath promised He is able to perform. Admitting, therefore, that "with men it is impossible" to "bring a clean thing out of an unclean," to purify the heart from all sin, and to till it with all holiness; yet this creates no difficulty in the case, seeing "with God all things are possible." And surely no one ever imagined it was possible to any power less than that of the Almighty! But if God speaks, it shall be done. God saith, "Let there be light; and there" is "light"!
16. It is, thirdly, a divine evidence and conviction that He is able and willing to do it now. And why not Is not a moment to Him the same as a thousand years He cannot want more time to accomplish whatever is His will. And He cannot want or stay for any more worthiness or fitness in the persons He is pleased to honour. We may therefore boldly say, at any point of time, "Now is the day of salvation!" "To-day, if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts!" "Behold, all things are now ready; come unto the marriage!"
17. To this confidence, that God is both able and willing to sanctify us now, there needs to be added one thing more, --a divine evidence and conviction that He doeth it. In that hour it is done: God says to the inmost soul, "According to thy faith be it unto thee!" Then the soul is pure from every spot of sin; it is clean "from all unrighteousness." The believer then experiences the deep meaning of those solemn words, "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin."
18. "But does God work this great work in the soul gradually or instantaneously" Perhaps it may be gradually wrought in some; I mean in this sense, --they do not advert to the particular moment wherein sin ceases to be. But it us infinitely desirable, were it the will of God, that it should be done instantaneously; that the Lord should destroy sin "by the breath of His mouth," in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. And so He generally does; a plain fact, of which there is evidence enough to satisfy any unprejudiced person. Thou therefore look for it every moment! Look for it in the way above described; in all those good works whereunto thou art "created anew in Christ Jesus." There in then no danger: you can be no worse, if you are no better, for that expectation. For were you to be disappointed of your hope, still you lose nothing. But you shall not be disappointed of your hope: it will come, and will not tarry. Look for it then every day, every hour, every moment! Why not this hour, this moment Certainly you may look for it now, if you believe it is by faith. And by this token you may surely know whether you seek it by faith or by works. If by works, you want something to be done first, before you are sanctified. You think, I must first be or do thus or thus. Then you are seeking it by works unto this day. If you seek it by faith, you may expect it as you are; and expect it now. It is of importance to observe, that there is an inseparable connexion between these three points, --expect it by faith; expect it as you are; and expect it now! To deny one of them, is to deny them all; to allow one, is to allow them all. Do you believe we are sanctified by faith Be true then to your principle; and look for this blessing just as you are, neither better nor worse; as a poor sinner that has still nothing to pay, nothing to plead, but "Christ died." And if you look for it as you are, then expect it now. Stay for nothing: why should you Christ is ready; and He is all you want. He is waiting for you: He is at the door! Let your inmost soul cry out,
Come in, come in, thou heavenly Guest! Nor hence again remove;
But sup with me, and let the feast Be everlasting love.
[Edited by Anne-Elizabeth Powell, Librarian at Point Loma Nazarene University, San Diego, California with minor corrections and formatting by Ryan Danker and George Lyons of Northwest Nazarene University (Nampa, Idaho) for the Wesley Center for Applied Theology.
Copyright 1999 by the Wesley Center for Applied Theology. Text may be freely used for personal or scholarly purposes or mirrored on other web sites, provided this notice is left intact. Any use of this material for commercial purposes of any kind is strictly forbidden without the express permission of the Wesley Center at Northwest Nazarene University, Nampa, ID 83686. Contact the webmaster for permission.}
By Admin, 2023-11-18
After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) And he blessed him and said,
“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
Possessor of heaven and earth;
and blessed be God Most High,
who has delivered your enemies into your hand!”
And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
A King of Salem (later Jerusalem) who was priest of the God Most High, existed before the “ministry”, such that it was at this point, of Abram. This Melchizedek (from Hebrew Malchi “king” and Zedek “righteous”) presents Abram with bread, wine, and a blessing. Abram responds with a tithe. The richness of this passage is betrayed by the paucity of time given to it in modern evangelicalism.
What do we take away? One, the priestly ministry of the God Most High was not exclusive to Abram. There were believers in God before, and these believers did not simply exist in a state of family devotions. They had priests, if it is assumed Melchizedek was not the only one in the world at that time, that in some sense shepherded them in their worship. What was the worship of the One True God under the guidance of Melchizedek like? We may never know, except that it was distinct from the calling of Abram.
Secondly, we see the liturgical pattern of bread, wine and offerings is not innovative in the least. We see later that wine, when it replaced the “strong drink” libation offering in the Tabernacle cultus, is a kingly drink, suitable for rule and rest. A symbol of peace brought by victory.
Lastly, we later learn in Genesis 17:23 that all the men, not just Abraham, who were of his household were circumcised. God had said,
Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.
This means that the Abrahamic people were never exclusively a genetic group, defined by bloodline. Bloodlines, like families, provided the “scaffolding” as it were to the structure, but did not define the boundaries. The Hebrews were from the beginning a covenantal people of allied assimilation united under the calling of Abram to draw the peoples of the world to the One True God. Similarly reflecting the covenantal nature of the “nation”, Jacob later went down to Egypt, and so many “Hebrews” went that they needed the whole land of Goshen, yet the bible only lists 70 actual “blood” relatives of Abraham.
From the beginning, the Hebrews were a people of COVENANT, not of race. The “family princes” formed a scaffolding in a way to build a priestly people. This was true of the tribes as well, as house servants were considered tribal members. These few thousand became over 2 million by the time of the Exodus. Only a few would have direct Abrahamic lineage. Caleb the Kenizzite, a gentile, is sent by Moses and accompanies Joshua on the famous mission to the land of Canaan.
Later, in the time of David and Solomon, many gentile converts to the God of Israel were added. Uriah the Hittite is a memorable example. Were these special cases? No, for the Psalms include these exhortations from Psalm 115:
O Israel, trust in the Lord;
He is their help and their shield.
O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord;
He is their help and their shield.
You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord;
He is their help and their shield.
The Lord has been mindful of us;
He will bless us;
He will bless the house of Israel;
He will bless the house of Aaron.
He will bless those who fear the Lord,
Both small and great.
This passage includes three distinct groups; the people of Israel, the priests specifically, and the Gentiles who are God-fearers (believers who don’t convert to Judaism but are “saved” in our parlance).
Furthermore, we see in Psalms 128 the same idea when it says
Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in His ways.
This is not exclusive to the circumcised. Consequently, we can see, Israel was not exclusive to those of Abraham’s DNA, and salvation continued to be available to anyone who trusted in the One True God, Yahweh / (Jehovah).
From: Just what is Israél? (An extract)
By Admin, 2023-01-14
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. Rom 1:20.
God’s creation reveals God through that which He created. Some years ago whilst being driven by a friend through an area of South Wales, he recalled his grandmother saying “how could anyone not believe there is a God when they see all this?” The “invisible things” of God are “clearly seen” by the things “that are made”, not vaguely seen (although cites together with their pollution may well obscure them to some degree).. Even His “eternal power and Godhead”.
Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. Col 1:15-17
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. 1Ti 1:17
By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. Heb 11:27
By Admin, 2023-01-11
Let us love one another
Belovèd, let us love: love is of God;
In God alone hath love its true abode.
Belovèd, let us love: for they who love,
They only, are His sons, born from above.
Belovèd, let us love: for love is rest,
And he who loveth not abides unblest.
Belovèd, let us love: for love is light,
And he who loveth not dwelleth in night.
Belovèd, let us love: for only thus
Shall we behold that God who loveth us.
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. John 13:34
This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. John 15:12
How can we love one another as Jesus loves us? We cannot unless and until the "love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost" - Romans 5:5
Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another. Romans 12:10
Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8
With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love. Ephesians 4:2
But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. I Thessalonians 4:9
And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works. Hebrew 10:24
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently. I Peter 1:22
Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen. I Peter 5:14
For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. I John 3:11
And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. I John 3:23
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. I John 4:7
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. I John 4:11
No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. I John 4:12
And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. II John 1:5
By Admin, 2023-01-12
Father of everlasting grace,
Thy goodness and Thy truth we praise,
Thy goodness and Thy truth we prove;
Thou hast, in honour of Thy Son,
The gift unspeakable sent down,
The Spirit of life, and power and love.
Send us the Spirit of Thy Son,
To make the depths of Godhead known,
To make us share the life divine;
Send Him the sprinkled blood to apply,
Send Him our souls to sanctify,
And show and seal us ever Thine.
(Charles Wesley. Hymns of Petition and Thanksgiving for the Promises of the Father - 1746).
John Baptist declared at the very outset of Jesus’ ministry that Jesus was He who “baptises in the Holy Ghost and in fire”. But Jesus could not baptize with the Holy Ghost until He’d fulfilled all His Father’s will and undergone all that He experienced and suffered as a Son - “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him”. (Hebrews 5:8-9)
As the Baptiser in the Holy Ghost it was imperative that the Son Himself should first overcome sin and death. “Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Hebrews 2:9-15)
“Being found in fashion as a man” Jesus took upon Himself and experienced all that was common to man, and having overcome all returned to His heavenly glory to receive the Promise of the Father. Through His obedience as a Son to the will of His Father, Jesus became the baptiser with the Holy Ghost. The out-pouring of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost was the culmination of the Son’s life and ministry. “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.” Acts 2:32-33.
The Father and the Son, are made known by the Spirit in the baptism. In which consists the life of God and the salvation His Son has wrought, which salvation the Spirit makes known by revelation in those who receive the baptism. It is not possible to know the Father, the Son, or salvation, except through the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
Jesus "received" the Promised of the Father, and could not pour out the Spirit until He had received the Promise.
His disciples waited in expectancy and earnest for that promise of the Father. "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. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
...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." (Acts 1:4-8)
Peter declared on that glorious day - “For to you belongs the promise, and to your children, and to all who are far off, whoever the Lord our God may call." (Weymouth)
During the time of persecution of the Church in Jerusalem, Philip (one of seven who were appointed to “serve at tables”), went to Samaria and “preached Christ unto them”. “Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. And there was great joy in that city….they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.”
“Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.”
Those who had believed the word Philip preached were baptised in water, but not baptised in the Holy Ghost until Peter and John laid hands on them “and they received the Holy Ghost”.
“I cannot rest in sins forgiven, where is the earnest of my heaven?” Charles Wesley.
In the Book of Acts we see clearly that the baptism in the Holy Spirit brought the Church of Jesus Christ to birth, and that all believers after the Day of Pentecost had their own baptism in the Spirit. What occurred in Samaria and in Cornelius’ household is set forth as a pattern. In Acts 19 we see this truth clearly demonstrated.
“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, 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. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. 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.
When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And all the men were about twelve.” (Acts 19:1-7)
The Apostle Paul, detecting that something was amiss with these believes, enquired of them if they had received the Holy Spirit. For Paul it was quite obvious they had not. The twelve men had been baptized with John's baptism - a baptism of water to prepare Israél for their coming Messiah who would baptise them in the Holy Ghost.
John Baptist said that “A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.” John 3:27.
But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified. John 7:39
Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. John 14:17
He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. John 16:14
We are beginning to see a pattern here…
Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. John 16:24
And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost. John 20:22
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. Acts 1:8
Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. Acts 2:33
The Greek word translated receive in our English Bible, is the active verb λαμβάνω (lambanō) and means “to take”, “to get hold of”. The Holy Ghost is to be received, not merely believed about.
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
Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost. Acts 8:15
And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. Acts 9:17
Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. Acts 8:17
Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? Acts10:47
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. Acts 19:2
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. Romans 8:15
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. I Corinthians 2:12
This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Galatians 3:2
Have you received the Holy Ghost?
By Admin, 2023-01-02
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is" (I John 3:2).
From the Epistle to the Hebrews (2:14-15) we learn that the devil, who had the power of death, kept people in bondage throughout their entire life through fear of death; from which death and fear Jesus came to deliver us. The reality of that deliverance is known through baptism in the Spirit, who Jesus referred to as the Comforter [paraklētos παράκλητος] of orphans [orphanos ὀρφανός] (John 14:18,26). In his Epistle to the Romans, Paul writes, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear [Heb. 2:14-15]; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Roman 8:14-16). The Spirit of adoption, or more accurately - of sonship, is none other than the Comforter who comforts orphans by bringing them into sonship with the Father. Because we were the offspring of fallen Adam, we were all orphans before God, until such time as we receive the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of sonship).
Israel an adopted nation
God was a Father to Israél, for God adopted them to be His own “peculiar people”, but none were born of God in Israél - God was a Father in type only. Desiring to be a real Father to them He made a New Covenant with them. “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Jeremiah 32:31). The writer to the Hebrews reminds them of this in his epistle (Hebrews 8:8-13).
A Chosen Generation and Holy Nation
When we are born of the Spirit and become the children of God, we become foreigners in this world and amongst our kith and kin (Matthew 10:34-36). We disown the world and are drowned by it (Galatians 6:14). We are now God’s “chosen generation”, “the people of God” - “ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy” (I Peter 2:9-10), of which Israél of old was the type.
The only begotten Son of God, through His spotless obedient life, His death on Calvary and His resurrection, created in Himself “one new man” - a new generation - children of God. None of the old generation of Adam can be in this new race of people, only those who are “born of the Spirit”, from “Jerusalem which is above”. Earthly ethnicity has neither baring nor part in this new heavenly generation - “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ* have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:26-29). "Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the LORD: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God" (Isaiah 66:7-9).
“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. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.” (Galatians 3:16-18). God retrospectively by-passed the law which came by Moses, in order that we may be born into the generation of Him who brought grace and truth, who is the seed of Abraham - “Before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58)
Beware of those preaching another Israél, and not the “Israél of God” (Galatians 6:16). Remember we are all the children of God “by faith in Christ Jesus”, not by works (Galatians 3:26). “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:11-22). The “one new man” has no part with the old man, neither with types of the true which are now abolished. He is of the new creation which is in Christ.
If we are born of God, we are no longer “orphans”, but the sons (children) of the Living God. “…because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6). “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (II Corinthians 6:17-18 [quoting Isaiah 52:11. LXX]).
*by the Spirit.
By Admin, 2022-09-06
The Bible and the Holy Ghost
One of the first to add commentary to the New Testament Scriptures was the Roman Catholic papacy. They didn’t want members of their “church”, whether priest or laity, believing anything other than what the Church of Rome taught. In doing so they rejected the authority of the Scriptures and the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. But it is not just the Church of Rome who have taken it upon themselves to interpret the Scriptures for their own gain; the Scribes and Pharisees had done the same.
Cults like the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses have their own ways of safeguarding their followers from the truth. Those wanting to influence others with their “interpretation” of Scripture have found that the easiest way to do so is to include their own commentary alongside scripture. A prime example of this was the Scofield Bible. From the very beginning that “old serpent” has sought to corrupt the word of God - “Hath God said?” Satan, unable to corrupt the Living Word, came after the written word; interspersing his venomous lies here and there in the hope that unguarded souls wouldn’t notice.
The Scriptures need no commentary other than that supplied by the Holy Ghost, for He is both the inspirer and interpreter of Scripture. Those who imagine that the Holy Spirit needs their help to correctly interpret Scripture have never submitted to the authority of scripture, indeed, have never submitted to its Author.
Trusting in someone’s interpretation, especially a commentary on the pages of Scripture, may lead the reader into error, even into heresy. At best it will fix in the mind a specific “interpretation” of those passages and may hinder revelation from the Holy Spirit. Non-reliance on the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth is by far the greatest danger of in-line Bible commentaries.
“It is the Inward Master that Teacheth, it is Christ that Teacheth, it is Inspiration that Teacheth: Where this Inspiration and Unction is wanting, it is in vain that Words from without are beaten in.” - Augustine.
“Nevertheless our full Persuasion and Assurance of the Infallible Truth thereof [the Scriptures], is from the inward Work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness by and with the Word in our Hearts.” - Westminster Confession of Faith (Chap. 1. Sect. 5).
“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
II Peter 1:21
“O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.”
“Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”
“God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.”
I Corinthians 2:9-11