Light Bulbs and Lenses #5

Friday, September 29, 2017

“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalm 119:130 KJV).

Light… bright… lenses… sight!

Unless one is a Calvinist or a Dispensationalist, Matthew 20:28 is quite alarming: “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” How could Jesus Christ say that He had come to “give his life a ransom for many?” For “many?!” Did He not die for the whole world? At the time of His earthly ministry, He came to pay the redemption-price for the nation Israel.

As the angel of the Lord told Joseph in Matthew 1:21 about the virgin Mary: “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Surely, “his people” excluded Gentiles. How do we know? Isaiah 53:8, written 700 B.C., predicted of Messiah: “He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.” Who would be Isaiah’s people? Israel. No Gentiles are in view here.

Returning to 1 Timothy 2:5-7, noting very carefully the final words of verse 6 and all of verse 7: “[5] For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; [6] Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. [7] Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; ) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.

Through the Apostle Paul, the Holy Spirit here makes a startling claim. Jesus Christ did not die for Israel only; He paid the sin-debt of the whole world (“all”). Notice the first word of verse 7—“whereunto” (“to which purpose”). In order for Jesus Christ to be declared a ransom for all nations, God appointed Paul “a preacher, and an apostle,… a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.” Paul is the “due-time testifier” of this unrestricted, worldwide grace message. Now we are branching off into the second part of God’s will… “come unto the knowledge of the truth….”

Our latest Bible Q&A article: “What is the ‘temptation’ in 1 Corinthians 10:13?

Light Bulbs and Lenses #4

Thursday, September 28, 2017

“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalm 119:130 KJV).

Light… bright… lenses… sight!

First Timothy 2:4 says, “[God our Saviour] Who will have all men to be saved,….” Then, we read, “…and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” Verse 5 begins with “for,” a particle of further explanation or amplification: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;….” So, “the man Christ Jesus” is “the one mediator between [the one] God and men….” Verse 6 issues additional information: “Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” Finally, verse 7 expands verse 6, as we see: “Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; ) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.”

So, there are the matters of (1) “salvation” and (2) “the knowledge of the truth.” “Salvation” involves the Lord Jesus Christ, the one Mediator between God and men, He “who gave himself a ransom for all.” The word “ransom” means “redemption-price.” From birth, we are naturally slaves to sin, descendants of Adam. Jesus Christ shed His blood to pay the price to deliver us from sin’s slave market. Romans chapter 3: “[23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption [payment of the price to free us] that is in Christ Jesus: [25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation [fully-satisfying payment] through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;….”

Sin brings death, but life is in the blood (Leviticus 17:10-14). “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Through faith in Jesus Christ’s shed blood, we can be united with Father God. (Christ is “the mediator,” remember.) So, God’s first desire is for all people to be “saved”—freed, delivered—from sin’s dominion. The spiritual deliverance at Calvary once reserved for Israel is now available to all people, Jew and Gentile. This all-people message is interwoven with “com[ing] unto the knowledge of the truth….”

Jesus Accused of Blasphemy

Friday, March 31, 2017

But Jesus held his peace, And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye 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, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy (Matthew 26:63-65 KJV).

Did Jesus ever claim to be “God?” (Why, yes, He did!)

While various denominationalists vehemently reject the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, they still have today’s Scripture in their Bible versions (and they cannot deny it!). During Jesus’ trial, the high priest commanded Him to declare once and for all if He was “the Christ, the Son of God” (verse 63). Jesus replied, “Thou hast said” (verse 64)—paraphrased, “You have said it!” Still, Jesus added: “Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven” (verse 64). The high priest was immediately outraged: he tore his garments and twice pronounced a charge, “Blasphemy!”

Evidently, what flustered the high priest was not so much Jesus’ reply “Thou hast said.” No, what deeply rattled him was that Jesus took it a step further: “Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” The Lord did not have to say, “I am the Son of God,” to be accused of blasphemy. No, He merely had to declare, “You will see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”

“Sitting on the right hand of power” was surely Messianic, as Psalm 110:1 predicted many centuries earlier that Christ would sit at the LORD’s right hand. Moreover, the “coming in the clouds of heaven” was especially inflammatory, as the high priest recalled Psalm 68:4: “Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH [JEHOVAH], and rejoice before him.”

Bible Q&A #365: “Is Matthew 26:59-61 contradictory?

Given Versus Came #5

Sunday, February 26, 2017

“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17 KJV).

One is distant; the other is near.

Notice Isaiah 7:14: “Therefore the LORD himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” When Jesus Christ came to Earth, specifically to Israel, He was their greatest sign. The JEHOVAH God who had dealt so frighteningly with Moses on Sinai when delivering the Law, had now revealed Himself by taking on a human body! Jesus, living among other Jews, was indeed “Emmanuel, God with us” (Matthew 1:23).

John 1:11 says, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” JEHOVAH God came to His own people, Israel, but they rejected Him. Moreover, they conspired with the Gentiles to kill Him (Psalm 2:1-3; Acts 4:23-28). Still, it was in God’s design to use man’s free will to accomplish His end. With man crucifying Christ, there would be shed blood, allowing the implementation of a new covenant for Israel. Please see Hebrews 8:8-13: “For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah….” “For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins(Romans 11:27—verse 26 identifies this as Christ’s Second Coming, yet future from our day).

Israel accumulated much wrath under the Old Covenant, but grace would cover it. Jeremiah 31:2 speaks of Israel’s redemption and restoration: “The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.” Zechariah 12:10 describes this Second Coming: “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications….” As does Acts 3:19,20: “[Israel] Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. And he shall send Jesus Christ….”

With Jesus Christ coming once to Israel to shed His blood, He will return to ratify the covenant that typifies for them “grace and truth….”

The Daysman #5

Thursday, January 26, 2017

“For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment. Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both” (Job 9:32,33 KJV).

What is a “daysman?” Who is it?

Sacred Scripture could not be clearer when it says, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:5,6). Apart from Jesus Christ’s crosswork on Calvary, we have no access to God. Therefore, for us to appeal to some other “mediator” is to have no mediator whatsoever! Such an outcome will be worse than had we not approached God at all.

Dear friends, there will come a day when Christ-rejecters will stand before the God-Man they ignored. He will be their Judge, ready to punish them for their evil. It would have been far better for them not to know about Him, than for to know about Him and instead appeal to “patron saints” and “Mother Mary.” He will not take it lightly that they counted His perfect sacrifice at Calvary as insufficient, lacking in some way, needing supplemental enhancements. That they had the audacity to substitute the favor He offered them freely, with “good” works they and others did to merit that favor! We shudder to think of that dreadful day when He pronounces upon them those terrible words found in Matthew 25:41: “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels!”

The Bible says God wants His Son, Jesus Christ, to have the “preeminence in all things” (Colossians 1:18). He is the central figure in creation, and He will not share His mediatorship with anyone. For which reason, no room is left for distracting characters such as “Mother Mary,” “Father Joseph,” “Saint” Jude, “Saint” Francis of Assisi, “Saint” Teresa, et cetera. All the religious speculation aside, friends, the Scriptures say we Christians are accepted in the beloved [Christ]” (Ephesians 1:6). God has bestowed upon us divine favor because of the Lord Jesus. He is enough for us, and we are enough in Him. After all, He is the Daysman!”

The Daysman #4

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

“For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment. Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both” (Job 9:32,33 KJV).

What is a “daysman?” Who is it?

Hebrews chapter 10 talks about how Jesus Christ’s sacrifice of Himself on Calvary fulfilled the type depicted in Judaism’s animal sacrifices. God became a Man that He might have blood to shed and pay for man’s sins: “[4] For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. [5] Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he [Jesus] saith [to the Father], Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: [6] In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. [7] Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.”

If Jesus Christ, by virtue of His crosswork, is the one mediator between God and men (1 Timothy 2:5), then there is no more need for other good works to please God. What have “patron saints” done to merit God’s favor that Jesus Christ has not already done? If they were human like we are—and they were—they failed God just as much as we do. What advantage do they have that we do not? The answer is no advantage. The fellowship that God the Son has with God the Father is the same relationship all we Christians have with Him: “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9). We cannot get any closer to God, gain any more access to God, than what we already have by virtue of our position in Christ!

We “give thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20) because we are approaching God according to Christ’s merits not our own or someone else’s merits. Whenever we must seek help from some other person to access God, we are saying that the cross is not enough….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is ‘the foolishness of God’ in 1 Corinthians 1:25?

The Daysman #3

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

“For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment. Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both” (Job 9:32,33 KJV).

What is a “daysman?” Who is it?

Those desperately defending religious tradition say the “intercession of saints” in “no way” diminishes Jesus’ role as the only mediator between God and man. (Heretically, though, they call the virgin Mary “co-mediatrix,” a female mediator who, according to her very title [prefix “co-,” “with”], shares a mediatorship. Whose mediatorship would she be sharing?!) They say we pray and influence the “saints” in our favor, the “saints” influence Jesus in our favor, and Jesus influences Father God in our favor. In other words, God is manipulated to do what we by ourselves could not persuade Him to do!

Friends, all the mental gymnastics and speculations of men aside, we look at Sacred Scripture to see no one exists between Jesus Christ and us. Holy Writ, in today’s Scripture, defines a mediator (or “daysman”) as someone who lays one hand on one party and the other hand on another party. If there is one mediator—one who can identify with both parties—a third-party is completely unnecessary. We do not need a mediator between Jesus Christ and us: He is the mediator. Again, “For there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). Jesus Christ is God, so He can take God by the hand. He is also Man, so He can take man by the hand. He thus joins man and God together. According to the very concept of “mediator” in Scripture, there is no room for some interceding “saint!”

The fact is, every single person on earth today has the same opportunity to access Father God through Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, most do not take advantage of it. They ignore Jesus Christ’s crosswork; they want nothing to do with Him. Rather, they want to substitute their own works, and/or substitute the works of other religious people (namely, “patron saints”). Friends, God is not impressed; in fact, by pushing aside the sole mediatorship of Christ, they are treasuring up wrath! Oh, dear friends, how foolish are they….