Time to Think
by Pastor Ron Snyder
A. Gospel of Salvation #1-15
B. Godhead - Trinity #16-40
C. Attributes of God #41-77
D. Titles of Jesus #78-102
E. Sin and Satan #103-140
F. Bible - God’s Word #141-178
G. A Christian #179-222
H. Graces #223-257
I. The Church #258-296
J. Christianity #297-345
K. End Times #346-371
A. Gospel of Salvation [#1-15] (back to the top)
1. Salvation: In Acts 16:30 the Philippian jailer asked Paul,"What must I do to be saved?" Most people think"My works (baptism, alms, keeping the commandments) earn salvation" (Mk.10:17-22). Salvation, or deliverance from sin's bondage, is not of works, but all of grace, God's unmerited favor (Rom.11:6; Eph.2:8-9). Paul, as saved man, said it right,"By the grace of God I am what I am" (I Cor.15:10) - by a Spirit-given faith union with Christ.
2. Gospel: There is only one Gospel (I Cor.15:1), but 4 accounts of the Gospel (The Gospel according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). Gospel means "good news." The Gospel has 2 pillars, the death of Christ and the resurrection of Christ (I Cor.15:3-4). The death of Christ is the victory over sin, and the resurrection of Christ is the victory over death (Rom.5:12). There is no salvation without belief in both pillars (I Cor.15:1-2).
3. Justification: Luther said "Justification is the doctrine by which the church stands or falls" (Gal.2:16). In the order of salvation, justification follows born again (John 3:3,5,7), and goes before sanctification (1 Thess. 4:3,7). It can be summarized in two doctrines: forgiveness of sins (Eph.1:7) and the imputation of Christ's righteousness (2 Cor.5:21). Praise God for His free grace to us in justification (Rom.3:24).
4. Forgiveness: The greatest mercy we receive from God is forgiveness of sins - God's gracious removal of a believing repentant sinner from the guilt of all his sin for Jesus' sake. Jesus alone, His blood shed on the cross, give all the glory (merit) to Him (Eph.1:7; 4:32; Heb 9:22). Forgiveness alone, not regeneration or repentance, blots out or cancels our sin (Ps.51: 1,9). God never forgets, but forgiven sin is never brought up (Ps.103:12).
5. Imputation: In justification the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us (2 Cor.5:21; Phil.3:9). Imputation means "to credit to one's account" (Gen 15:6). If I put a hundred dollars into your bank account, that's imputation. You did not do anything for the money. It was gratis, a gift, pure grace (Zech.3:1-5; Philemon v.18). "Clothed in righteousness divine, bold I approach the eternal throne, and claim the crown, through Christ my own."
6. Promises: There are over eight thousand promises of God in the Bible. Promises are divine intentions for the future that are sure as to God's actions and they bring comfort to His people. "Only a God who has spoken promises to mankind can be thought of as faithful" (Maclaren; Isa 14:24; 46:9-11; 55:11; 2 Cor.1:20). "Standing on the promises that cannot fail, when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail," only then will we prevail.
7. Hope: Biblical hope is certain and not wishful thinking. The early church symbolized it as an anchor (Heb 6:18-20). It is based on God's certain promises and prophecies are all fulfilled in Jesus (2 Cor.1:20; John 13:19; 14:29). All fulfilled promises and prophecies proclaim the deity of Christ, our solid Rock (1 Cor.10:4; Duet.32:4; Ps.18:46). "In times like these, we need an anchor. Be sure your anchor holds and grips the solid Rock, Jesus."
8. In Christ: Regeneration is the implantation of the soul into Christ, of being united to Christ. 'In Christ' is a theme of Ephesians (27 times). Paul defines a Christian in Eph.1:1 as saints, faithful, and in Christ, by God's will. Life in Christ is threefold: legal (no condemnation, Rom.8:1), spiritual (vital, a corpse made alive; Eph 2:1-5), and eternal (permanent, never lost). Disciples, being in Christ, do not join Christ to sin (1 Cor.6:15-20).
9. Regeneration: Why must regeneration (new birth, being in Christ) precede faith? Because a spiritually dead person cannot believe; a person must have spiritual life before he can believe (Eph 2:1-5; John 3:1-8; I Cor.2:14). "Regeneration precedes faith" (R.C. Sproul) summarizes the Reformation. Otherwise, to believe is a humanistic gospel that glorifies man and his ability, not God; it destroys grace (Rom.11:6; I Cor.1:30).
10. Conversion: Regeneration is a changed heart (John 3:6; 2 Cor.4:6; Ezek.36:26) and conversion is the awareness of a changed heart. Regeneration is immediate, whereas conversion is either immediate or gradual. Genuine conversion does not begin with making a decision for Jesus or accepting Him, but with real repentance (2 Cor.7:10). It makes one a disciple of Jesus who follows His example (Eph.5:1).
11. Repentance: In the Greek, repentance is not simply a change of mind, but a grace of God in which a sinner is inwardly humbled and visibly reformed. In the Hebrew, repentance means "turn" (eighteen times in Jer.3 and vs.22- 25 is a prayer of true repentance). True repentance (contrition) is a 180 degree turn to the right, to God (I Thess. 1:9). The need is for forgiveness and the door to it is repentance (Rev. 3:19).
12. Doctrine: Doctrine is key Bible truths or what the Bible teaches. Many Christians don't like doctrine; "Just give me Jesus, that's all I need." We only know Jesus from what the Bible teaches. "All in the Bible is Christ in all" (Ryle). Doctrine is God's means to His ends - to His people becoming like Jesus (Rom 8:29). Doctrine without duty (becoming like Christ) is dead (Eph 5:1; John 13:17). Duty without doctrine is blind.
13. Life: "O taste (experience) and see that the LORD is good" (Ps. 34:8). Many today have divorced life (experience) from doctrine (what the Bible teaches). Life without doctrine is mere emotions, feelings and leads to falsehoods (2 Tim.4:3-4; Eph. 4:14). God's revelation of who He is and what He wills is foundational to real Christianity. Doctrine in the head (mind) precedes heat in the heart, which fosters true willful Christian living.
14. Love: Is there a difference between "I love you" and "I love You (Jesus)"? The first is sensual, the second originates with God (agape love, unique Christian love; I John 4:19), and is primarily an action word (I John 3:17-18). Agape love is THE mark of a Christian (John 13:34-35) and puts others' interests and welfare above our own (I John 3:14). We are to act just like Jesus did for us on the cross (John 3:16; 15:13; I John 3:16).
15. Sanctification: In Roman Catholicism sanctification precedes justification; hence salvation is falsely by works. In the biblical order of salvation, sanctification follows justification. Sanctification means increase in holiness (1 Pet.1:15-16), increase in pleasing God (2 Cor.5:9), increase in Christlikeness (1 Cor.11:1), and increase in knowledge (2 Pet.3:18). Sanctification is God's will for us (1 Thess.4:3; Phil.2:12-13).
B. Godhead – Trinity [#16-40] (back to the top)
16. Eternal: Eternal is existing forever, timeless, everlasting, immortal. Eternality is an incommunicable attribute of God. There never was a time when God was not."Before the hills in order stood, Or earth received her frame, From everlasting Thou art God, To endless years the same." The"I Am" exists in eternal present (Ex.3:14; Acts 15:18)."Holy, holy, holy! all the saints adore Thee… Who wert, and art, and evermore shalt be" (Ps.90: 2).
17. Creator: Only God is the Creator (a person who creates, an author, originator, designer)."In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Gen.1:1)."Heaven and earth" is a Hebrew merism (take two extremes to comprise the whole); God is the Creator of everything. The Hebrew"creates" (three times in Gen.1, vs.1,21,27, for supreme emphasis) means to bring something out of nothing (Ps.33:9; Rom.4:17). Praise Him!
18. Providence: Providence is from the Latin pro ("before") and video (“to see"), but it means more than to see beforehand. God not only watches all things, but He watches over us; He provides for us, and rules and governs all things, including our affairs (Ps.57:2; John 15:5; Isa.26:12; Eccl.7:14). In 19th century Providence was capitalized to refer to God, not just God's activity. Thanksgiving makes visible the invisible hand of God's providence.
19. Trinity:"How many persons are in the Godhead? There are three persons..., the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory" (WSC Q6). God has revealed some things in nature and to conscience, but not the Trinity. It is revealed only by supernatural revelation. The word is not in Scripture, but the mysterious teaching is (Mt.3:13-17; 28:19; 2 Cor.13:14; 1 Pet.1:2).
20. Living God: In Isa.41:21-24 and 44:9-20, Isaiah mocked the dead gods or idols of the apostate Jews; idols cannot speak or hear, nor do anything or predict anything. As Jesus reminded the scribes and Pharisees, only God is the living God and those in Christ live also (Mk.12:26-27)."That God lives is at once the simplest and most profound thing to be said of Him, for it comprises all His sovereign being and activity" (Carl Henry).
21. Revelation: Because God is a living God, He reveals Himself. The Bible is God's self-revelation to us."Revelation denotes any immediate informative communication from God, disclosing things that would not otherwise have been known" (J. Owen). The clearest definition of divine revelation is in Mt.16:16-17. The end or goal of all revelation is sola dei gloria ("To God alone the glory"), the theme of the Reformation (John 17:3).
22. Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4), a member of the Trinity (2 Cor.13:14), and He glorifies the Son, Jesus (John 16:14; 2 Cor.3:17). He is the author of Scripture (2 Pet.1:20-21), and always works with Scripture (John 14:26; 16:13). He supernaturally regenerates the elect (John 3:6,8), indwells believers (1 Cor.12:13), seals (secures) believers (Eph.1:13-14; 2 Cor.1:22), and enables them to live the Christian life (Phil.2:12-13).
23. I AM: When Moses asked God His name, He replied"I AM WHO I AM" (Ex.3:14;15,"The LORD"). It means: God is self-existent (Doctrine of Aseity; He has life in Himself and is not answerable to anybody;"He who causes to be"; John 5:26; Ps.115:3; Dan. 4:35); God is self-sufficient (He has no needs; Acts 17:25), and God is eternal (He has no beginning and no end; Ps.102:27) and unchangeable (Mal.3:6). God's name is sacred.
24. I AM - Jesus:"Before Abraham was, I AM" (John 8:58), meaning"I AM Who I AM" (10:30; 14:9; Ex.3:14). Seven times in John's Gospel Account Jesus said"I AM":"I am the bread of life” (6:35,48);"I am the light of the world" (8:12; 9:5); “I am the gate" (10:7,9);"I am the good shepherd" (10:11,14);"I am the resurrection and the life" (11:25-26);"I am the way, the truth, and the life" (14:6); and"I am the true vine" (15:1,5). Jesus is God.
25. Condescension: To condescend is to stoop, lower, humble or demean oneself."No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven" (John 3:13). The degree of stoop of the Lord Jesus from the highest (third) heaven to earth is beyond human ability to grasp (Ps.113:6). For the Son of God to be born in a manger is the highest of highs as to humiliation. Why?"The Savior came from glory to save a wretch like me."
26. Incarnation: The incarnation means two natures in one person, hence the God-Man. Jesus came to this earth and added human flesh (Gal.4:4-5; John 3:13). He was 100% human (yet without sin; 1 John 3:5; Heb.4:15) and 100% God (John 1:18; 10:30); He had to be God to have the power to save us, and He had to be Man to be our perfect sacrifice (Mt.1:21). This has been called the hinge underlying all Christianity (John 1:14; Isa.7:14).
27. Kenosis: The hymn writer errored,"[Jesus] Emptied Himself of all but love." This is a false theory of kenosis ("emptying"). The question is,"What were the limits of the incarnate Christ on earth (Phil. 2:7; John 14:10; Rom.8:3)? A correct doctrine of kenosis involves veiling of the divine attributes in Jesus' condescension to earth ("veiled in flesh the Godhead see") and their voluntary nonuse (humility precedes exaltation; Phil.2:6-11).
28. Miracle: Liberals deny the miraculous or supernatural; they deny God and worship an idol (Acts 26:8; Luke 1:37; Gen 1:3)."A miracle is a direct act of divine intervention in which God overrules His creation to display His glory" (Ex.15:11; Acts 2:22). It is a display of supernatural (above nature) power. It does not operate by the laws of nature; if it did it would not be a miracle."Miracles are meant to be believed not understood" (Lloyd-Jones).
29. Miracles - Jesus: The Bible records 34 of Jesus' miracles (John 20:30; 21:25). He did miracles of healing (John 4:46-54; Mk.5:25-34) including raising the dead - the ultimate healing; Mk.5:21-24,35-43; Luke 7:11-17; John 11:1-44); miracles of casting out demons (Mt.8:28-34); and miracles of nature (Mt.14:22-33; Mk 6:30-44; 45-52;). The miracles Jesus did were a witness to His deity; Jesus was the Son of God (John 5:36; 20:31).
30. Mediator: A mediator is a go-between (umpire, referee) to bring agreement or reconciliation. The incarnate Jesus, the God-Man, is the perfect Mediator between God and Man (1 Tim.2:5). He executes His office of Mediator as Prophet, Priest, and King. As Prophet Jesus came to reveal God to us (Heb.1:1-3). As Priest He came to ransom us (Heb.4:14-16; 7:24-25; 9:28; Col.1:20). As King He came to reign over us (John 18:37).
31. Crucifixion - Blood-shedding: Shed blood is a figure of speech for death. In the Old Testament God established the sacrificial system where unblemished lambs were scapegoats and altar sacrifices for sin remission (Heb 9:22; Lev.16). The sinner placed his hands on the scapegoat and his sins were transferred. The lamb was sacrificed as the sinner's substitute for sin remission. Jesus was God's Lamb (John 1:29; Heb.10:5-14;1 Pet.1:19).
32. Crucifixion: Roman crucifixion was the most cruel, painful punishment ever concocted for the worst of noncitizen criminals. Nailed to a cross where one had to lift oneself to breathe was excruciatingly painful. Buzzards would peck at the eyes and body. It was a public spectacle with people mocking the dying criminal. Death by asphyxiation would normally take several days. Crucifixion shows the vileness of sin (Rom.3:9-18).
33. Crucifixion - Jesus: The type (figure) is the bronze serpent (Num. 21:4-9). The arch-type (fulfillment) is the crucifixion of Jesus (John 3:14- 15). As Moses lifted up the serpent, so Christ was lifted up (crucified; John 12:32). The serpent-bitten people looked to the bronzed serpent and were healed, so those who look to (put faith in) the crucified Jesus are saved from their sins. God was reconciling His people to Himself (2 Cor.5:18-21).
34. Resurrection: A resurrection is not a resuscitation - a reviving from unconsciousness or apparent death. Rather, it is the actual restoration of life after real death (John 19:34; Luke 24:36-43; Rom.1:3-4). Liberals falsely say resurrection is merely the permanent influence of Jesus in the world. That saves no one. To Christians the resurrected Jesus has authority over death (Rev.1:18), and because He lives we too shall live (John 14:19).
35. Ascension: The ascension is the visible rising of the resurrected, glorified, God-Man Jesus from earth to heaven (Acts 1:2; 9-11; Luke 24:50- 53). Looking backward the ascension completes the resurrection (both are
God's stamp of approval on Jesus' cross work). Looking forward it leads t Christ enthroned in heaven (Heb.1:3; 12:2). Jesus had to ascend before the Spirit came (John 16:7), and our hearts gravitate upward (Col.3:1-4).
36. Heavens: The Jews had three heavens (Ps.19:1; Job 38:31-33). The first heaven was the earth's atmosphere up to two hundred miles (Job 38:34-37). The second heaven was all the stars, planets, and galaxies (Ps.147:4; Isa 40:26). The third heaven, the highest heaven, is where God dwells, the Most High God (Gen.14:18-22)."The High and Lofty One" (Isa. 57:15) humbles Himself to behold the other heavens & earth (Ps 113:6).
37. Session: The enthronement of Jesus is His ascension (ascend plus session). The session of Jesus is His exaltation to the throne of heaven, His being seated at the Father's right hand (Heb.1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2). The right hand is figuratively the place of honor, dignity, and authority. Being seated means He is ruling (Col.1:17) as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev.19:16). His"seating" is interrupted by His second descent (Heb. 9:28).
38. Exaltation: Exaltation means to go from meanness (lowliness, humiliation) to greatness (Ps.145:3). The focal text for Christ's exaltation is Phil.2:9-11. The name which places the exalted Christ above all is"Lord" (Rev.19:16; 1 Tim.6:15). His exaltation consists of the following events: His resurrection (Mt.28:6), His ascension (Acts 1:9-11), His session (Heb.1: 3; 12:2); and His second coming (the climax of His exaltation; Mt.16:27).
39. Trinity - Economic: The three persons in the Trinity are one God, but for salvation They divided the work. The Son humbled Himself, took on human flesh, and subordinated Himself to the Father (John 4:34, 10:17-18; 14:10). The Holy Spirit subordinated Himself to both the Father and the Son (John 16:13-14) - all this to save a single soul. The Father authored redemption, the Son accomplished it, and the Spirit applies it (Eph.1:3-14).
40. Worship - Worth:"Worship has become a laboratory of frivolities and acircus of creativities" (Mohler). Nothing evokes the true worship of God like the Word of God. As the understanding of God goes deeper, the worship of God goes higher; it becomes transcendent wonder (Isa 57:15; Ex.34:6-8). In the 16th century worship was called"worth-ship.""Savior, You are worthy and wonderful; worthy of worship and praise" (Rev.5:8-14).
C. Attributes of God [#41-77] (back to the top)
41. Name - God: God does all things for the glory of His name (Isa.42:8; 48:11; Ezek.20:9,14). God's name is the sum of His character (Isa.57:15; Ex.34:6-7; this has been called the definition of God). It is the reputation God deserves (Isa.46:9). In God's self-revelation, the Bible, He is telling us His name."There's a wondrous power about the character of God, for the more you regard it, the more you'll be conformed to it" (Spurgeon).
42. Attributes: Teaching the truth about God requires teaching about His attributes as revealed in the Bible. Attributes are characteristics affirmed by God as belonging to His nature or being."Attributes are the letters of His name" (Spurgeon). If one attribute is removed (wrath, anger, holiness), His name is changed; in God's case, He is changed into an idol (a false god). His attributes are not abstract. God saves sinners (Acts 4:12; John 1:12).
43. Praise: Praise means to exalt, adore, revere, glorify, worship, hallow. Biblically, praise means: to exalt God's attributes, to exalt God's works, and to thank Him for both His attributes and works. For Christians praise of God is to be a continual activity (Ps.34:1; Heb.13:15). The Book of Psalms was the Hymnbook of Israel. It ends with the theme"Hallelujah, praise Jehovah" (Psalm 146-150)."Let everything that breathes praise the Lord" (150:6).
44. Spirit:"God is a Spirit" (John 4:24), which means He has no body (corporeal, material, physical substance). God is invisible (1 Tim. 1:17), and has never been seen by any human being (1 John 4:12; Ex. 33:20). Jesus, the eternal Spirit, added human flesh (Gal.4:4) and made God visible (John 1:18). In worship the human spirit communes with God, the Spirit. It takes spiritual sight to worship what is not seen (1 Pet.1:8-9).
45. Infinite: Infinitude is an incommunicable attribute of God. God only is without limit, boundless, measureless in all His attributes."Your mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds," and"His strength is in the clouds" (Ps.36:5; 68:34); it means God's attributes of mercy, faithfulness, and strength are infinite."Can you find out the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than heaven, what can you do? (Job 11:7-8).
46. Aseity: Mankind's existence, life, is derived from outside of self, namely from God. God's existence, life, is derived from within Himself. God alone is self-existent. The doctrine of aseity is the self-existence of God; The"I Am Who I Am" is not answerable to anybody (Ex 3:14-15; Ps.115:3; Dan.4:35; Ps. 135:6). Jesus, as the second person in the Godhead, has life within Himself (John 5:26). We owe everything to God (1 Cor.6:19-20).
47. Holiness: The holiness of God is His only attribute that is repeated three times in Scripture for supreme emphasis (Isa.6:3; Rev.4:8). God alone is absolutely holy as to His being or essence (Rev.15:4); holiness of believers is delegated and relative (1 Pet.1:15-16). Holiness means: purity, opposition to all evil, and positive moral excellence. There are four elements to God's holiness: His majesty, wrath, will, and righteousness.
48. Sovereignty: No doctrine excites the hatred of mankind more than the absolute sovereignty of God (Rom.8:7; 1 Sam.2:6; Ps.103:19; 115:3). His sovereignty is threefold: He is supreme, He is independent, and He has optional power, that is, the ability to act or not to act in any given situation (Shedd). Divine sovereignty makes us all secure (Spurgeon). It is the basis of all humility. All the why questions end at the sovereignty of God.
49. Decrees: The decrees of God are His eternal purposes, plans, what He has from eternity determined to do (Ps.33:11; Isa.14:24,27; Acts 15: 18). He works out His decrees in creation (Rev.4:11) and providence (Eph 1:11). "Whate'er the mighty Lord decrees, shall stand forever sure. The settled purpose of His heart to ages shall endure." Nothing is left to chance."My Father Planned It All." To believers this is comforting (Rom. 8:28).
50. Omniscience: God alone is omni ("all") knowing ("science"). God sees and knows all things (Heb.4:13; Ps.33:13; 139:1-6; Prov.15:11; 1 Kgs.8:39; Jer.23:24). Only a being who is infinite and eternal is capable of knowing everything. God knows all thoughts (Amos 4:13), and words on the tongue before they are ever spoken (Ps.139:4). This is a threat to unbelievers, a comfort and correction to believers. The Teacher never leaves the room.
51. Wisdom - God:"God only wise" is three times in Scripture (raised to the superlative emphasis; 1 Tim.1:17; Rom.16:27; Jude v.25). God's wisdom is absolute (essential to His being; Rom.11:33). God's wisdom is His ability to devise perfect plans and ends, and His ability to arrange perfect means to achieve both His plans and ends. Its basis is His omniscient goodness (Ps.119:68), tied to omnipotence; it cannot fail.
52. Remember - God: God as omniscient, never forgets and always remembers (Ps.139:1-6). Samson prayed,"God, remember me" (Judg. 16:28). The Hebrew verb means"to take note of,""to act on behalf of." God "remembers His covenant forever" (Ps.105:8;"a thousand years" - endless or without limit, 2 Pet.3:8). It means God acts according to His covenant promises in a way that's evident to His people (Gen.8:1. Ex.2:24-25).
53. Good - God: The rich young ruler called Jesus"Good teacher" (Mk. 10:17-22). Jesus replied,"No one is good, but One, that is God." The rich young ruler was blind as to Jesus being the"Good God." The goodness of God refers to the perfection of His nature (Mt.5:48; Ps.119:67-68). God is eternally, infinitely, immutably, and continually good without defect (52:1). Man's good is not innate; it’s given from God (John 3:27), and but a drop.
54. Omnipresence: Many Christians believe that hell is separation from God's presence. That denies God's omnipresence, His"all, everywhere presence," and Scripture (Ps.139:7-12; Prov.15:3,11; Job 26:6; Heb.4:13). Sin separates us from God spiritually, but not spatially."And everywhere that man can be, Thou, God, art present there." A sober thought from Jonathan Edwards, “Hell is God's wrathful presence forever” (Rev.1:18).
55. Omnipotence: Omnipotence means God is all powerful (Ps.68:34; His strength"is in the clouds" means infinite, without limits; Ps. 62:11; 90:11; 115:3; Dan.4:35). Biblically, the order of power from greatest to least is God, Satan, Michael (the archangel, Jude v.9), other angels (holy and unholy), and humans. Christians can overcome Satan (1 John 4:4; James 4:7). The order is very important: Submit to God first, then resist the devil.
56. Power: The sinful world prizes power, abuses it, and employs it in its bent on evil and corruption (Prov.4:16-17; Jer.9:3). Power is the ability to do something. Biblically, God is all powerful (omnipotent); His power is infinite. It is the effective energy of His perfect nature by which he is able to do immutable being and divine character. God's power is most seen in creation (Ps.19:1) and salvation (Eph.1:19-20).
57. Finger of God: The finger of God is an anthropomorphism (to ascribe human features to God to aid our understanding). The hand of God symbolizes His power; His finger accentuates omnipotence (being all- powerful; Ps.62:11; 68:34). Humans use fingers for construction. The finger of God is seen in creation (Ps.8:3), revelation (Ex.31:18), and in salvation (Ex. 8:19, Luke 11:20). A mere touch of God's finger brings change.
58. Impossible:"Nothing is impossible with God" (Luke 1:37) needs to be qualified. God has ordered power; He can do anything He wills (Ps. 115:3). God does not have absolute power; He cannot do everything. It is impossible for God to die, lie (Titus 1:2), or make a rock so big He cannot move it. The power of God's perfect nature is able to perform only that which accords with His unchangeable being and attributes (Ps.62:11).
59. Immutable: Immutability or unchangeable is an incommunicable (in God alone) attribute of God. It is impossible for God to change (Mal. 3:6; Heb.13:8; James 1:17). That comforts believers, but it is a terror to unbelievers. In “Man Naturally God's Enemy” (Rom. 8:7), J. Edwards said, "There are four things about God that make men hate Him: His holiness, His sovereignty, His omniscience (all knowing), and His immutability.”
60. Unchangeable: Unchangeable means immutable and invariable (Mal.3:6; Jam.1:17). Mormons believe a false law of progression that both god and man change. False belief: God was a man who progressed to god and men can change to become gods. Biblically, God is unchangeable; man changes [but not as gods]."Change and decay in all around I see: O Thou who changest not, abide with me.""Jesus Never Fails" (Heb.13:8).
61. gods: Word of Faith's Kenneth Copeland falsely believes Christians are little gods citing 2 Peter 1:4 [through God's promises"you may be partakers of the divine nature"]. That is blasphemy (Ex. 20:7). Christians partake of God's communicable attributes (love, joy), but not His incommunicable attributes (omniscience, omnipotence). Scripture is clear, God is jealous of His glory, uniqueness, aloneness, and oneness (Isa. 42:8, 46:9; 48:11).
62. Absolute - Relative: Biblically, the difference between absolute and relative spells the difference between God and man (Isa.46:9; Ps.50:21; Isa.55:8-9; Deut.29:29). Absolute means complete, perfect, unlimited - a standard not relative or comparative. Relative means proportional, and implies comparison. Believers’ holiness is relative, delegated (1 Pet.1:15-16). God's holiness is of His essence; He alone is absolute (Rev.15:4).
63. Faithfulness: Hudson Taylor's life motto was Mark 11:22,"Hold onto the faithfulness of God." This attribute of God means He will do what He says (2 Tim.2:13; 1 Thess.5:24; Isa.55:11). Believers live each day feeding on God's faithfulness (Ps.37:3). This nourishes commitment and hope. "Morning by morning new mercies I see; All I have needed, Thy hand hath provided; Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me" (Lam.3:22-23).
64. Immortal - God:"The man Jesus is dead, forever dead" (Russell, founder of Jehovah Witnesses)."God is Dead" is the false mantra of cults and those who desire no accountability for sin. It is impossible for God to die (John 3:13, 5:26, 8:58; Rev.1:18; Ex.3:14; Gen.1:1; Acts 15:18). God is immortal, meaning imperishable, incorruptible, existing outside of time. He will never know decay or lose strength. This merits doxology (1 Tim.1: 17).
65. God's Love: God's love is an act of His will, apart from human emotions, that evidences undeserved, self-sacrifice on behalf of others. The greatest act of God's love was on the cross of Jesus (John 3:16; 15:13). Jesus died for His people when they were yet ungodly (Rom.5:6), sinners (5:8), and enemies (5:10)."Died He for me, who caused His pain?" (Mt.1:21)"Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all."
66. "God is Love":"God is love" is the mantra today, based on 1 John 4:8. "God is love" is interpreted as a tautology (a needless repetition of an idea; "God is love" and “Love is God"). It is used to either exclude God's other attributes or give them relative insignificance. What about 1 John 1:5,"God is light"? Do they say that's an equal tautology or not? Emphasizing love, they falsely assume a God of love would never send anyone to hell.
67. Wrath: The wrath of God is shunned by Christians today; they say a loving God would never send people to hell. Wrath is an attribute of God. It is cited throughout the Bible (over 600 times in the O.T.; John 2:13-17, Book of Rev.). Wrath is God's holy, resolute action in punishing sin (Ex. 34:7; Rom.1:18-32). Unpunished sin means God ceasing to be God. Christians don't fear God's wrath (John 5:24; 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Cor. 5:21).
68. Unity of Essence: Christians have falsely debated which attribute of God is most important - holiness, sovereignty, love. God has unity of essence, meaning He is a simple, not a composite being. God's attributes cannot be separated or one acting above another. Neither can the fruit of the Spirit, Gal.5:22-23. They are singular. God's love is a holy love and God must punish sin or He would cease to be the God of the Bible (John 3:16).
69. Immanence: On Sesame Street, Glover illustrates near and far. Biblically, near is the immanence of God, and far is the transcendence of God. Immanence means God is here (more personal than saying every- where; Ps.139:7-10; Acts 17:27-28). It means God is indwelling ("the inside God"; John 17:24), near, omnipresent, walks together (Amos 3:3), never leaves (Heb.13:5), with us (Isa. 7:14), Shekinah of God (Ex.13:20-21).
70. Transcendence:"When transcendence ("the outside God") melts into immanence ("the inside God"), the church loses its identity" (Wells). To maintain true worship of God, the tension between immanence (nearness) and transcendence (farness) must be maintained. Fear of God cannot melt into friend of God. His transcendence is His otherness (Ex.15:11; Isa 46:9; 57:15; Ps.50:21). He is knowable, but still beyond comprehension! (113: 6).
71. Self-sufficient: God is the"I AM," He is self-sufficient, independent; He has no needs (Acts 17:25; Ps.50:9-12). God is the Creator, Sustainer, and Life-giver over all things (Col.1:17). The Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) did not need to create. They did so out of their goodness and pleasure (Gen.1:31; Ps.115:3). It is not that we provide for Him; He provides for us (Phil.4:19)."I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord."
72. Personality:"The Spirit itself" (KJV Rom.8:16) is wrong; other translations (NAV, ESV) are right,"The Spirit Himself." All three members of the Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) are persons referred to by personal pronouns in Scripture. They have personality, which exists where there is: mind, intelligence, will, reason, individuality, self-consciousness, and self-determination. Personalities are relational (John 17:3; 2 Cor.6:18).
73. Pantheism: The girl sang"God is wind and God is rain." Everyone in ignorance clapped for pantheism! That God has personality is important in denying the error of pantheism, which falsely says everything is God and God is everything - God is wind and rain. Pantheism denies that God has personality; it says God is simply a force ("May the force be with you") or He is an unconscious energy. God as a person is vital for any true worship.
74. Greatness: Antiochus Epiphanes ("the greatest"), the Seleucid King (d.164 BC), was called by the Samaritans,"the great God." Muhammed Ali, the boxer, said,"I am the greatest." Man has sinful delusion before God, whose"greatness is unsearchable" (Ps.145:3), who will not give His glory to another (Isa.42:8; 48:11-12). Greatness can refer to size (1 Kgs. 8:27), but it refers to the exclusive preeminence, worthiness of God (Col.1:18).
75. Exclusivity: It means to exclude all other things, to be all alone. The God of Scripture is exclusive (Isa.45:22; 46:9-11). In Exodus 20:3 the first of the Ten Commandments demands exclusivity. God is jealous of His Name, glory, and worship; He tolerates no rivals (Ex.34:14; Isa. 42:8; 48:11; Mt. 4:10). Exodus15:11 asks a rhetorical question,"Who is like unto God, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?" Answer,"No one!"
76. Glory: Glory is the visible display of the essence (attributes) of God’s divine character or the outward shining of His inward Being. The Hebrew word is kabod ("weight"), the outward display of light, Shekinah (Ex.33:18- 23; 40:34; 1 Kgs. 8:10-12; Luke 2:9). The Greek word is doxa, the display of the inner character of God (John 2:11). God does everything for His glory."The more God's glories strike your eyes, the humbler you will lie."
77. Silence: Silence is the absence of sound, speech or music. In modern culture,"Where will the word resound? Not here, there is not enough silence" (T.S. Eliot). Silence is the highest way to express the inexpressible. When God's name (the sum of His revealed character) has weightiness (value, Ex 33:18), silence in worship abounds (Hab.2:20) and true humility is found (Job 40:4; Isa. 57:15; Mt.5:3; James 4:10). Be silent before Him.
D. Titles of Jesus [#78-102] (back to the top)
78. Christ: Christ is the most common title for Jesus in Scripture (over one thousand times; I Cor.1:1-9); it is not His name (which is Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus bar, "son of," Joseph; Mt.1:21). Christos is Greek and Masiah (Messiah) is Hebrew (Dan.9:25; John 1:41). It means one anointed by God for a task. The Jews were looking for a political warrior in David's line, not a suffering servant (Isa.53:3-6). "All in the Bible is Christ in all" (J.C.Ryle).
79. Messiah: In Hebrew "Messiah" means "anointed one (with oil)." In Greek "Christ" means "anointed." Anointed ones in Israel (prophets, priests, and kings) had specific God-given tasks. In the Old Testament Messiah was: a Davidic king (2 Sam.7:12-16); a suffering servant (Isa. 53); and a heavenly being who descends from heaven to judge the world (Dan. 7). These strands all meet in heaven in Jesus, the Lion and Lamb (Rev.5:5-6).
80. Messianic Secret: "The Messianic Secret" is Jesus purposely concealing His being the Messiah (MK.1:41-45). The reason He did so was the Jewish misconception of their Messiah. They were looking for a human descendent of King David, a political warrior, who would come and overthrow the Roman interlopers (invaders), so they could reside in peace (Mt.20:20-21). Thus, Jesus said He was the Son of Man (Dan.7:13-14).
81. Messianic - Unveiling: Jesus' first disclosure as Messiah was in his first sermon (Luke 4:16-30) in Nazareth, his hometown. His text was Messianic (Isa.61:1-2; "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing"). He also confessed He was the Christ (Messiah) to Caiaphas, the High Priest, who put Jesus under oath (Mt.26:63-64). The moment of true Messianic unveiling was Jesus’ revelation as the Suffering Servant (Mt.16:13-23).
82. Son of David - Jesus: Jesus did not use this title because people did not understand its true nature (a cross before a crown). Like Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus (Mt. 1:1-17), Paul used the term (Rom.1:3) as a sign of Jesus' full human nature. Jesus was the son of David, but also more (Mt.1; Ps. 110:1): in His humanity He was David's son, and in His deity, David's Lord; Jesus does not just occupy David's throne, but God's (Rev.3:21).
83. Son of David - People: In the first century the people’s most common messianic title was Son of David (Mk.10:46-52). To Jesus’ question "Whose Son is He [the Christ]?” (Mt.22:42), the Pharisees said “Son of David”, meaning an earthly king who would destroy Rome, not their sins. They thought He would bring material hope, not spiritual. The masses concurred (Mt.21:9); they called for an earthly conqueror over Roman rule.
84. Begotten: The Jehovah Witnesses Bible, the New World Translation, translates the Greek, monogenes theos (John 1:18) as "The only-begotten god." They falsely change the Greek to suit their belief - that Jesus is a created being. The Greek accurately translated means "One and Only," "The only Son," "The divine and only Son," and "God the only Son." Jesus, the Creator, God-Man, alone reveals and interprets God to us (Mt.11:27).
85. First-born: The Greek for ‘first-born’ is used of Jesus as being virgin born (Luke 2:7). It also expresses Jesus' preeminence over creation, not of being first to be born, but of His position of superiority. Jesus, Creator, produced creation (Col.1:16-18). The Jehovah Witnesses falsely believe Jesus is a created being. In their bible, the New World Translation, in Col.1:16, they add "By means of him all [other] things were created."
86. Son of God: Son of God is the fourth most common title for Jesus; eighty times in the New Testament. It is a divine title, but it also refers to Jesus' sonship. In the New Testament sonship emphasizes obedience (John 4:34; 8:29; 10:17-18; 17:4; Heb. 5:8). The theme of the Gospel According to John is Jesus as the Son of God (20:31). "Jesus is the Son of God, a metaphysical designation asserting equality with God" (Warfield).
87. Son of Man: Son of Man is the third most common title for Jesus; eighty-four times in the New Testament, eighty-one times from the lips of Jesus (Mt.11:19; John 3:14; 6:53; Mk.3:28). Most people error in thinking Son of Man refers to Jesus' humanity. Son of Man has a twofold meaning: a divine being (Jesus took the title from Daniel 7:13-14), and representative Man (the perfect, sinless human being; John 8:46; Heb.4:15).
88. Rabbi: Forty-one times in the gospel accounts Jesus was called "Teacher." The Greek term is didaskalos, and the Hebrew term is rabbi (John 3:2; 11:8). It was a title of honor and respect. In the ancient near east a son must rise when his father entered the room, but the order was reversed if the son was a rabbi. As the disciples learned more about Jesus, they moved from calling Jesus "Rabbi" to calling Him "Lord" (21:15-19).
89. Rabbi - Scripture: The Jewish rabbis taught Scripture. When they read it, they stood with the congregation as a sign of respect (Luke 4:16; Neh. 8:5). After reading, the rabbi sat down to teach, taking the position of authority (Luke 4:20; Mt.23:2). Over time the rabbis addended notes to Scripture. Eventually the notes crowded out Scripture and quotes of rabbis became their authority. Rabbi Jesus' authority was God (John 7:14-18).
90. Savior: Jesus is "the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe" (1 Tim.4:10; meaning people from all classes and nationalities, Eph.2:14-22, Rev.7:9; namely the elect or chosen, Eph.1:4, 2:1-5). Jesus, as Savior, saves His people from their sins (Mt.1:21, Luke 2:11, 1 Tim.1:1, Phil.3:20). Jesus is not a universal Savior (John 10:26-27). "Many want salvation. Few want a Savior" (A. Bonar). Disciples glorify the Savior (John 6:68-69).
91. Sinlessness: Homer Simpson was right, "Everybody is a sinner except this guy, Jesus." Jesus was sinless: by His virgin birth (Isa.7:14; Mt.1:18-25); by His divine nature (James 1:13); by His perfect obedience to God's Word (Mt.5:17-18); by the protective power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35); and by His perfect Father (John 14:10). Jesus had to be God to have the power to save us; He had to be sinless Man to be our perfect sacrifice.
92. Lord: Lord is the second most common Scripture title for Jesus (Rom. 1:3-4; 2 Cor.1:3). Titles for Jesus give glimpses of His glory. Lord in Greek, kurios, has three usages: polite usage (‘Sir’; John 4:11,15,19); master usage (men who had slaves were called Lords or Masters; 2 Tim.2:21); and imperial usage (scribes translated Yahweh, the Hebrew ineffable name in Ex.3:14, to the Greek Adonai, adon with the superlative ending ai, Lord of Lords). Jesus is Lord of Lords (Rev.19:11-16). Ponder ‘Lord’ in Luke 6:46.
93. Lordship: The Lordship Salvation Controversy was the 1990s topic. The Ryrie Study Bible states, "Surrender to Christ's personal lordship is not a condition for salvation" (p.1950, like repentance and faith). That is false. "Those who refuse Jesus as Lord cannot use Him as Savior" (John MacArthur). "As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord; so walk in Him" (Col.2:6; Acts 2:36). Jesus is Lord over His bond-slaves (1 Cor.6:19-20).
94. Shepherd: In the Old Testament God was primarily known to His people as a Shepherd, a tender of sheep (Ezek.34). "God is my Shepherd, I shall not want" (Ps.23:1); that is contentment for God's people. They do not lack rest (v.2), life (v.2) guidance (v.3), safety (v.4), provision (v.5), and a heavenly home (v.6). Jesus is His people's Good Shepherd (John 10:11,14), Great Shepherd (Heb. 13:20), and their Chief Shepherd (1 Pet.5:4).
95. Rock: In Psalm 18:1-2 David cites seven metaphors for God: He is David's strength, rock, fortress, deliverer, stronghold, shield, and the horn of his salvation. David declares "The LORD is my Rock" (vs.2, 31, and 46). In Scripture the image of a rock is for: protection (18:46), refuge (46:1), and a sure foundation (40:1-2). Jesus is our Rock (1 Cor.10:4). "Be very sure your anchor holds and grips the solid Rock…Jesus, yes, He's the One."
96. Jesus - Prophet: The Greek word for prophet, a man who proclaimed the Word of God, includes both forthtelling and foretelling. Jesus was a Prophet in both senses (Luke 24:19). He spoke the Words of God (John 7:16; 14:10; 17:8). Those same Words will someday judge people who refuse Jesus (12:48). Jesus was also a foreteller; He prophesied, predicted the future (John 13:19; 14:29). Reverence and love Jesus' Word as Jesus.
97. Jesus - Priest: A biblical priest is a minister who led people in worship through sacrifices (Lev. 16). His function was to offer sacrifice and make intercession. To be a priest Jesus had to take on human flesh (Heb. 5:1). Sinless Jesus did not need to offer sacrifice for Himself (5:3), but He could be our perfect sacrifice (Heb.10:11-22). As our intercessor He eternally secures our salvation and prays for us (Heb. 7:24-25; Luke 22:31-32).
98. Jesus - King: The sign in the New England museum read, "We serve no monarch (king) here." American democracy has no history of serving under a king. Christians are bondslaves under King Jesus (Rom.1:1; Ps.10:16; 1 Cor.6:19-20; Rev.19:16). Jesus is King of His church (Mt.16:18; Col.1:18), and every believer should crown Him as such. "Crown Him with many crowns; The Lamb upon His throne" (John 1:29). All hail, King Jesus!
99. Intercessor: To intercede is to plead or intervene on behalf of another (Gen. 20:7,17; Ex.32: 31-32; Num.14:11-19). A priest's function was to perform the sacrifice and to intercede. Jesus, as our Great High Priest (Heb.4:14), is Himself the sacrifice (John 1:29) and our praying intercessor (Rom.8:34; Heb. 7:24-25; Luke 22:31-32). His intercession is both curative (1 John 2:1) and preventive (John 17:15). Wanderers need an Intercessor.
100. Jesus - Example: On earth Jesus lived the perfect human life (1 John 3:5). His life always pleased His Father and obeyed His will (John 4:34; 8:29; 17:4). He left His followers the perfect example to follow, imitate (Eph. 5:1; 1 Pet.2:21; 1 Cor.11:1). The question arises, why did Jesus say His Father did the works or the Spirit within Him, and not use His divine (veiled) attributes? (John 3:34; 14:10) With Spirit enabling, we can be like Jesus.
101. Shekinah: Shekinah in Hebrew means "dwelling," "the presence of God." The shekinah is God dwelling among His people. When Jesus ascended into heaven He went up in a cloud, the Shekinah glory cloud (Acts 1:9). Its radiance exceeds any ordinary cloud. It is a manifestation of God's radiant glory (Ex.3:2; 13:20-21; 16:10; 33:18-20; 40:34; 1 Kgs. 8:10-11; Luke 2:9; Mk.9:3,7). Jesus is the shekinah glory (John 8:12).
102. Jesus - Name: Jesus (Lord is salvation) signifies Savior (Mt.1:21). Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus bar (son of) Joseph would have been His name growing up. Christ is a title of Jesus. It is thought to be His name because a grateful Apostle Paul used it so much in his epistles (1 Cor.15:1-23). In each of Jesus' titles - Lord, Shepherd, Lamb, I AM, Son of Man, Son of God - we catch glimpses of His glory. Praise the name of Jesus!
E. Sin and Satan [#103- 140] (back to the top)
103. Kingdom: A kingdom is a territory ruled by a king. Everyone is either in Satan's kingdom (darkness) or King Jesus' kingdom (light). By God's bounding permission, Satan rules this world (2 Cor.4:4; Eph 2:2). Jesus' kingdom is currently spiritual and seen only through His disciple's lifestyle (John 18:36; Rom.14:17; Eph 5:8). With the Second Coming, King Jesus and His disciples will forever rule over His kingdom (Rev.11:15; 1:6; 5;10).
104. Darkness: Metaphorically in Scripture darkness refers to two things: falsehoods (lies) and evil (opposed to good, disobedient to God). Born in Adam everyone is in the kingdom of darkness, Satan's kingdom. He is their father; they lie, are spiritually blind, and hate Jesus (John 8:44-47; Rom. 8:7; Titus 3:3). Followers of Satan are in bondage to sin. Only God can break this bondage through faith in Jesus (Eph. 2:1-10; 5:8).
105. Satan: Satan means "adversary" (enemy, opponent of God). The Bible has twenty-nine titles for Satan (Mt.4:3; Rev.12:9). He is a creature, a fallen angel (Isa.14:12-17; Ezek.28:14-17), a supernatural being who rules by the bounding permission of the sovereign, creator God (John 14:30; 2 Cor. 4:4; Eph.2:2; Job 1&2). Satan desires to destroy Christians (1 Pet. 5:8.9). Christians can confidently overcome him if they obey (1 John 4:4, Jam.4:7).
106. Demons: Demons are unclean spirits, fallen angels, the army of Satan. As "the devil is God's devil" (Luther), so the devil and demons are Jesus' devil and demons (meaning they are subject to Jesus authority; Mt.8:29; Mk.1:24; 3:11; Jam.4:7). They are innumerable, but their number is less than the holy angels (Rev.12:4, ratio is one-third unholy to two-thirds holy). The Screwtape Letters by Lewis is the classic read on this topic.
107. Satan and Salvation: Many well-meaning Christians mistakenly say, "Pray for the salvation of Satan." Hebrews 2:16 clearly states, "For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham." The incarnate Lord Jesus shed His blood to save His people from their sins (Mt.1:21; Heb. 9:22). Both Satan and the unholy angels are beyond the scope of salvation; they are fixed in their evil state for eternity.
108. Free Will: Pre-Fall Adam had free will (Gen.3:1-5); he had equal ability to choose good or evil. After the Fall he had a bondage of the will, his bent was for evil (Jer.13:23; Rom.7:18). All mankind descending from Adam are born in sin (Ps.51:5), and are under the dominion of sin (John 8:34) and Satan (1 John 5:19). They are "free" to act according to their own desires, which are only evil. They cannot turn themselves to good (Rom.3:10-12).
109 Fall: The Fall is the first sin (Gen.3:1-5). The first Adam was our federal representative; thus, in Adam's fall, we sinned all. In Adam, we are born with a sin nature, inclined to evil, and headed for hell. We all need a Savior. "Man falls according to God's appointment, but falls by his own fault" (J. Calvin). Many think that when Adam fell, he only broke his little finger and can heal himself. Instead, his fall broke his neck and ruined his race in sin.
110. Original Sin: Original sin (Rom.3) is the corruption of man's whole nature that resulted after the first Adam's fall (Gen.3:1-5). This radical corruption affecting every aspect of man's being (mind, heart, body, will, affections, conscience). Original sin has two parts: original guilt (Rom.5:12-19) and original pollution (Ps. 51:5). It doesn’t mean original to man (Adam was created without sin, but capable to sin). We deserve God's wrath.
111. Depravity: The doctrine of total depravity states that fallen human nature, including the will, is completely enslaved to sin, and is not able to choose good (Jer.13:23; Rom.3:10-12). Total depravity doesn't mean fallen man is as sinful as he can be, but that every aspect of his being (mind, heart, emotions, will, body) was corrupted by the fall and bent to sin. Jesus assumed human depravity (Luke 11:13). Crows are black the world over.
112. Will of Man: The will of man is his mind choosing (J. Edwards). Man in sin has a bondaged will; he will choose evil over good (Jer.13:23; Rom. 8:7-8). One guarantee that a sinners will die in their sins is to be willingly ignorant or obstinately ignorant (John 8:25). In the end there are only two kinds of people: those who say to God, "Thy will be done" (Mt.6:10), or those to whom God says in the end, "Thy will be done" (They chose hell).
113. Sin: Everyone sins (1 John 1:8; Rom.3:23). Sin is not a mistake; it is "cosmic treason" (Sproul). It is rebellion against God and deserves death (Gen. 2:17; 3:1-5; Rom.5:12; 6:23). By the law of God is the knowledge of sin (Rom.3:19-20; 7:7). Sin means going against God's will, straying, and not fearing God (1 John 3:4; Isa.53:6; Rom.3:18). Sin brings separation from God morally and spiritually, but not spatially (Eph. 2:13; Hos.7:2).
114. Sin - Guarantees: John 8:22-25 has four guarantees that sinners will die in their sins; "the wages of sin (what the sinner earns) is death" (Rom. 6:23a). 1) Be self-righteous (v.22 - The Jews assumed they were righteous and heading for heaven, so Jesus must be going to kill Himself and go to hell); 2) Be worldly (v.23); 3) Be unbelieving (v.24); and 4) Be willingly or obstinately ignorant (v.25). God will ‘by no means clear the guilty’ (Ex.34:7).
115. Self-righteous: Self-righteous people "trust in themselves and despise others" (Luke 18:9). Therefore, they do not submit to God's righteousness (Rom.10:3). They "justify themselves before men" (Luke 16:15). Self-righteousness is the greatest hindrance to accepting the gospel and it finds repentance offensive. Our own righteousness does not qualify us to come to Christ (Isa. 64:6), only our sin does (Luke 18:13-14).
116. Blasphemy: In Israel the penalty for blasphemy was death by stoning (Lev.24:10-16). The Israelites had three levels of blasphemy: 1) speak evil of God's law (Acts 6:13, 21:27-28); 2) slander, speak evil of or curse God Himself (Lev 24:11; Ex.20:7; Luke 23:39); and 3) the most severe kind, to assume the rights and attributes of God, to seize His role (the Pharisees accused Jesus of doing this blasphemy, John 5:18; 8:58-59; 10:33; 19:7).
117. Unbelief: Unbelief is corrupted faith that trusts dying man, not God (John 5:39-40). The sin of unbelief is not just an error in judgment, disobedience, or not accepting salvation; it is rebellion of the heart (Acts 4:16-17). It is the greatest offense against God (1 John 5:10), and the most damning sin (2 Thess.1:8-9). Believers are all partly unbelievers because of the sin nature (the flesh) that remains, though no longer reigns (Gal.5:17).
118. Spiritual Warfare: Unbelievers do not experience spiritual warfare because their sin nature agrees with Satan. Spiritual warfare begins with regeneration. The new nature in Christ battles the remaining sin nature (Gal.5:17; Rom.7:18-25). God's Kingdom opposes Satan's Kingdom, which now attempts to destroy the believer (Eph.6:12; 1 Pet.5:8-9; Rev.12:10-11). "Where the battle rages, there the soldier is proved" (Luther).
119. Repentance - Penitent Thief: Repentance is turning from sin to God (Jer. 3; 1 Thess.1:9). The penitent thief on the cross is an example of repentance (Luke 23:39-43): 1) concern for his fellow thief's sin in taunting Christ (vs.39-40); 2) admitting his own sin (v.41); 3) confessing Christ's innocence (v.41); 4) declaring his faith in the Lord (v.42); and 5) praying ("remember me"; v.42). He died in the Lord (v.43; 2 Cor.5:8; Phil.1:21).
120. Sheep: Sheep are a metaphor for believers, the elect (Mt.1:21; John 10:1-30). The unbelieving Pharisees (9:40; 10:26) were not sheep because they were not elect, but goats (Mt.25:33,41). Sheep are the most prone to wander of all animals. They will not lie down unless they are: full of food, free from flies, free of foes, and free of friction. "Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, … Here's my heart, Lord, take and seal it, … for Thy courts above."
121. Lie: To lie is fast becoming a cultural norm. A lie is an intentional falsehood or deception. Lying is a mark of the kingdom of Satan (John 8:44), not the Kingdom of God. "It is impossible for God to lie" (Titus 1:2; Heb.6:18). Christians model Christ (John 8:46) and tell the truth, just like the Apostle Paul - "I am speaking the truth and not lying" (1 Tim.2:7; 1 Cor.11:1). The Christian ethic is James 5:12, "our yes is yes, and no is no."
122. Anger: Many people believe Christians should never get angry, that anger (strong displeasure) is always a sin. Biblically, there is righteous anger (Ps.4:4) and unrighteous anger (Mt.5:22). Both Paul (Gal.2:11-14) and Jesus (John 2:13-21) model righteous anger, while Cain (Gen.4:5-8) and Moses (Num.20:10-11) model unrighteous anger. Christians are to put off unrighteous anger (Eph.4:31) and put on righteous anger (Eph.4:26).
123. Greed: J.P. Getty, once the richest man in the world, was asked, "How much money is enough?" He replied, "One dollar more." That is the sin of greed, the excessive desire for more. King Ahab murdered Naboth to fulfill his desire for yet more land (1 Kings 21). Getty and Ahab served and worshiped the creature (Rom.1:25). Greed is a damning form of idolatry (Col. 3:5). Historically, greed is recognized as one of the seven deadly sins.
124. Complaint: To complain is to express dissatisfaction, to murmur, grumble (Jude v.16). To complain and blame God is to take God's name in vain (Ex.20:7). Israel, during the Exodus, was guilty of murmuring, sinning against Moses, God's representative (Ex.15:24; 16:2; 17:3). "Lord, I would clasp Thy hand in mine, Nor ever murmur nor repine (be discontent), Con-tent, whatever lot I see, Since tis Thy hand that leadeth me" (Phil.4:11-13).
125. Worry: To worry is to be anxious, fearful, and not trust in God. For a Christian, worry is sin (Mt. 6:25-33). When prone to worry, pray and cast (an act of the will) all burdens on God and He will give peace (Phil.4:6-7; 1 Pet. 5:7; Ps.55:22). Christians should not worry because their sovereign God cares and controls all things (Rom.8:28). "Day by day… trusting in my Father's wise bestowment, I've no cause for worry or for fear."
126. Procrastination: "Procrastination is my sin. It brings me naught but sorrow. I know I should stop it. In fact, I will tomorrow." To procrastinate is to delay or put off doing something, on purpose or as a habit. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Disobedience and unbelief are two sides of the same coin. What God delights in is unreserved, prompt obedience that manifests a heart that truly loves Him (Mt.22:37; Ps.40:8; John 4:34, 8:29).
127. Procrastination - Felix: Felix, the Roman governor, could well be called "The Procrastinator" (Acts 24:22-27). His mind was enlightened to God's truth (v.22), his emotions were stirred (v.25), but his will would not yield (v.25). Procrastination is the enemy of discipleship. "After I do my thing, I will do God's thing." That procrastination becomes hardened evil. Felix sought the world (Mt.16:24-26) and procrastinated himself into hell.
128. Sin - Believer's Response: Believer's identify with Paul in Rom.7:18-25. They know "sin no longer reigns, but still remains" (J. Murray). John’s writing in 1 John 3:6,9 does not contradict Paul. He says believers fight against their remaining sin nature. Their heart's desire and passion is to not sin. Believers sin less as they progress in Christlikeness (1 Thess.4:3,7), until glorification (1 John 3:2). Believers daily repent of sin (Luke 18:13).
129. World: The Apostle John uses "world" as an ethical term meaning everything and everybody in opposition to God (John 1:10; 8:23; 16:33). James agrees; to be a friend of the world is to be an enemy of God (James 4:4-5). A test of assurance of being saved is to not love the world (1 John 2:15-17), not conform or adopt its standards (Rom.12:1-2). Bunyan in Pilgrim's Progress depicted the world as Vanity Fair. They killed Faithful.
130. Temptation: Temptation is not sin. The Greek means to try, test, or prove with nothing negative. If temptation is not resisted, it is sin (Gen.3:1-5). If resisted, it is righteousness. Models of how to resist temptation are Joseph (Gen.39:6b-10) and Jesus (Mt. 4:1-11). Jesus had a Bible verse for each temptation. God tests us, but never tempts us to sin (James 1:13). Satan tempts us to sin (James 4:1-11; 1 Pet. 5:8). Remember Mt. 26:41.
131. Patience - God: Why doesn't God immediately judge sin? Because He is patient ("the God of patience"; Rom.15:5). God's patience is the power or control which He exercises over Himself, causing Him to bear with the wicked and forbear so long in punishing them (Ex. 34:6-7; Nahum 1:3). Biblically, synonyms are: forbearance, longsuffering, "slow to anger," and persistence. Beware, God's patience has limits (Gen. 6:3; Ps. 50:21).
132. Chastisement: Punishment of the wicked differs sharply from chastisement (corrective discipline) of believers. In punishment God acts as a righteous Judge (Ps.2:10-12; 50:21; Hos.7:2; John 5:22,27; Mt.13:36-43) in vengeance against His enemies, in angry retribution (Deut. 32:35). In chastisement God acts as a Father, as a parental disciplinarian of His children. His chastisement works for our sanctification (Heb.12:6-11).
133. Backslider: To backslide is to relapse or go back into error or sin. For real Christians the sin nature no longer reigns, but still remains. Sin in the body still tries to dominate, and when it does, backsliding results (Rom.6:11-14). Only possessing (real) Christians can backslide, professing Christians only (pretenders) apostatize. David was a backslider (2 Sam. 12:7-14; Ps.51,32). Judas was an apostate (John 6:70-71; 1 John 2:19).
134. Unforgivable Sin: The unforgivable or unpardonable sin is unique; it is blasphemy (unholy speech) against the Holy Spirit (Mt.12:31-32; Mk.3: 20-30). Unbelieving Jews had taken what was clear, the miracles and teaching of Jesus which showed the Kingdom of God had come, and ascribed it to Satan (Mk. 3:22,30). That was willful and final rejection of the Holy Spirit who reveals Jesus (John 16:13-14; Heb. 6:4-6, 26-31).
135. Unforgivable Sin - Believers: The question arises from distraught believers, "Have I committed the unforgivable sin?" If they were ever left to their own ways, the answer would be yes (Heb.13:5; John 15:5; Phil.2: 12-13). True believers by God's grace are restrained from committing such a sin. Those who commit the sin are once enlightened to who Jesus is, but then reject Him from a hardened, unquestioning heart (Heb.6:4-6; 26-31).
136. Evil - Permission: Critics say, "The problem of evil is the Achilles heel (the weak point) of Christianity." They fail to understand the absolute sovereignty of God (Gen 18:25; Dan.4:35; Ps.115:3; 119:67-72; Ps.135:6). Rom.9:22-24 states God's reasons for permitting evil: 1) to show His wrath (Rom.1:18); 2) to make His power known (Ps.62:11); 3) to make known the riches of His glory on true believers (the vessels of mercy, His elect).
137. Theodicy: A theodicy is an explanation (justification) of God’s ways with man; it attempts to exonerate God (free Him) from any blame for permitting evil and suffering (Book of Job, Book of Habakkuk, and Romans chapters 9-11). For a Christian evil and suffering all center on the cross - Jesus is the Christian's theodicy. The "even so Father; for so it seemed good in Your sight" (Mt.11:26) is to Jesus, an all-sufficient theodicy.
138. Pure: The Greek word for pure means to be free from contamination, corruption, or filth (Phil.4:8; Jam. 3:17; 1 Tim.5:22; 1 John 3:3). It has the same root word as holy. With two glasses of water, one pure and one impure, just one drop of impure added to pure will make the pure water become impure. It is much harder to make the impure become pure. Spiritually, it takes God’s divine power to purify a sinner (Eph.2:1-5).
139. Come: Jesus said, "Come to Me" (Mt.11:28-30). These words are a call to saving faith and discipleship. It is for those who are burdened by sin (Isa.5:18), need a Savior (Isa.43:11), and need to repent (Luke 13:3). In the Gospel Accounts synonyms for "come" are believe (John 5:24), follow (Luke 5:27), faith (Mk.11:22); and to eat of Jesus (John 6:51-57). "Come to the Savior, make no delay; Here in His Word He's shown us the way."
140. Look: "Look unto Me and be saved" (Isa.45:22) was the verse God used to save C.H. Spurgeon. He said he could have looked until he looked his eyes away. "Looking unto Jesus" (Heb.12:2) means looking away from everything else, only to Jesus. Peter walked on the sea as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, but when he looked away and saw the waves he began to sink. Only when he looked again to Jesus was he saved (Mt.14:22-33).
F. Bible - God’s Word [#141-178] (back to the top)
141. Bible: The Bible was written over 1,800 years by 40 writers who were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Pet.1:20-21); 39 writers are Jewish and only doctor Luke's ethnicity is not known. The total number of words is 31,174. The middle verses of the Bible are Psalm 118:8-9. The Bible is the most published book in the whole world. It is God's self-revelation to man and is thus "The Holy Bible" (Rom.1:2). "Holy Bible, Book Divine."
142. Inspiration: In the beginning Satan attacked the doctrine of inspiration (Gen.3:1 "Has God said?"). The Bible is God's Word written through human authors (2 Pet.3:2,16; 1:20-21). It is not dictation; each author maintains his own personality and writing style. Inspiration is the process by which God gets written what He wants written. All Scripture is "God breathed out" (2 Tim.3:16). Scripture's words are a product of God's mind (1 Thess. 2:13).
143. Scripture - Inerrancy: To say the Bible is inspired (2 Tim.3:16) means it is inerrant and infallible. Infallibility means something is not capable of making a mistake. Inerrancy means simply a mistake has not been made. Humans can do an inerrant task, but they are never infallible. Jesus said the Bible is truth and inspired (John 17:17; Mt. 5:18). Jesus as God cannot lie, so the Bible is totally trustworthy unto salvation (2 Tim. 3:15).
144. Sola Scriptura: Sola Scriptura is Latin for "Scripture alone." It was a watchword (motto, guiding principle) of the sixteenth century Protestant Reformation. Today, it is denied by saying "the audience, not the message is sovereign." Sola Scriptura means only Scripture has the authority to bind our conscience absolutely, because only God has the authority to set obligations upon us absolutely (Luke 6:46; 2 Tim.3:16-17; Ps.40:8; 119:35).
145. Scripture - Authority: There are three basic views of the authority of Scripture: all words of man (Liberalism); a mixture of words of God and man (Emergent Church; Neo-orthodoxy), all words of God (Ps.119:160; 2 Tim. 3:16). In Christianity the one ultimate authority is God (Heb. 6:18; Dan. 4:35; Ps.115:1-3; Isa.55:11). His Word is as authoritative as He is; it has the power or right to enforce obedience, a Christian's rule and practice for life.
146. Bible - Theme: Biblical scholars debate the Bible's theme, whether it is the Kingdom of God or Jesus. The Lord Jesus Christ is the King of the Kingdom. "All in the Bible is Christ in all" (J.C. Ryle). "Christ is all and in all" (Col.3:11); that is the essence and substance of Christianity (2 Cor.1:20). To the disciples on the Emmaus Road Jesus said all Scripture was about Him (Luke 24:27,44). Jesus and the Bible are inseparable (John 12:48).
147. Bible - Summary: If you had to summarize the Bible's 31,174 words in just a few words, what would you say? J.M. Boice said, "The Bible (its message) can be summarized in ten words: man's complete ruin in sin; God's perfect remedy in Christ." J.C. Ryle said, "The leading mark of Christianity is the remedy it provides for sin" (Rom.3:21-26). J.I. Packer is even more concise in his Bible summary: "God saves sinners" (John 3:16).
148. Scripture: The word "Scripture" has a capital ‘S’ (John 10:35; Gal.3:8; 1 Pet.2:6; 2 Pet.3:16). Why? Because it is the Word of God (2 Tim.3:16). What Scripture is cited? The Old Testament (Rom.15:4) because the New Testament was not yet written. The Scripture is "holy writings" (Rom.1:2), thus it is the Holy Bible, capital ‘B’. It was declared to be God's Word by Jesus (Mt.4:4,7,10). God's Word is to be reverenced as God is reverenced.
149. "Thus says the LORD": "Thus says the LORD" is three thousand eight hundred and eight times in Scripture (Ex.5:1; Jer.7:8; Zech.8:2).
It declares unequivocally (clearly, unquestionably) that sovereign God has spoken, that Scripture is God's Word, that what God has spoken will be accomplished (Isa. 55:11), and that what is spoken is not optional. "God said it. That settles it. Whether you believe it or not" (Sproul).
150. Anagoleia Scriptura: "The analogy of Scripture" is an important principle of Scripture interpretation. It states that no Scripture passage, when correctly interpreted, will teach something contradictory to the rest of Scripture. Compare Scripture with Scripture, and let the clear help interpret the unclear. Man is not God, and is finite with limited understanding (Ps.147:5). Pray for understanding (2 Tim.2:7; Ps.119:34; 1 John 5:20).
151. Seeing: What does it mean, "seeing they see not" (Isa. 6:9,10)? It means they are spiritually blind. They have understanding of biblical truths intellectually, but not spiritually. Unless God opens their eyes spiritually, gives spiritual understanding (2 Tim. 2:7; Ps.119:34) and illumines them, they remain spiritually blind (Mt.15:14; Luke 24:16,31). "Open my eyes that I may see, glimpses of truth Thou hast for me" (Ps.119:18).
152. Meditation: "Meditation is a holy exercise of the mind whereby we do bring the truths of God to remembrance and do seriously ponder upon them and apply them to ourselves" (T. Watson; 1 Tim.4:15-16; Ps.119:48; 1:1-3). The reason we often come away so cold from reading the Word of God is that we do not sit by the fire of meditation. "Bunyan was saturated with God's Word, prick him anywhere and his blood is Bibline" (Spurgeon).
153. Think: Many are so busy they seem to have no time to think. To think is to contemplate, be thoughtful, reason, and exercise the mind. The highest created faculty in man is the mind. It is to be used to know and relate to God (Mt. 23:37; 1 Cor.2:16). Augustine said "A Christian thinks in believing and believes in thinking." He is not to be a babe in understanding (thinking), but mature (14:20). A non-thinking Christian is an oxymoron.
154. Mind: Biblically, the mind is part of the heart, the inner being of man; it includes the intellect, consciousness, thought, and reason. The will is the mind choosing. "The mind is the highest created faculty in man" (M. Lloyd-Jones). All of God's revelation is rational revelation; thus the importance of the mind is understanding and relating to God (Mt.22:37; Phil.2:5; 2 Tim. 2:7). "May the mind of Christ my Savior live in me from day to day."
155. Truth: "God has not a richer jewel to trust us with than His truth" (Watson; 2 Tim.1:13-14). Truth today is deemed relative; you have your truth and I have mine. There is only one truth. "Truth is the self-expression of God. Because the definition of truth flows from God, truth is theological. It is also ontological – it is the way things really are" (J. MacArthur). Truth is not relative to any other thing because God's truth is perfect (Ps.119:142).
156. Definition: "It is impossible to maintain truth unless it is sharply differentiated from error…Definition proceeds by way of exclusion" (J.G. Machen). The devil's lie today is that language is not adequate to convey meaning; that happens if words have no definitions to give them meaning. The Bible is truth (Ps.119:160; John 17:17). It has a language of doctrinal words that must be defined, known, and loved. Then Bible words feed faith.
157. Theology: Many think Theology (the study of God) is for theologians and seminary professors, but not Christians per se. Theology is the knowledge of God derived from the biblical revelation. Every Christian is to be a theologian! (2 Tim.2:15; 1 Tim.5:17; John 17:17). "Theology is the task of thinking God's thoughts after Him and tracing their unity" (H. Bavinck). "Great is the mystery of godliness" is the aim of theology (1 Tim.3:16).
158. Conscience: The conscience is the self-judging, God-created faculty in man that either accuses or affirms him (Rom.2:14-15). It is one's sense, consciousness of what is right and wrong. The conscience is not infallible. It is like a sundial that only operates right when the light is shining on it. The conscience is only right when informed by God's Word and convicted by His Spirit. "My conscience is captive to the Word of God" (M. Luther).
159. Wisdom - Man: "Wisdom in Scripture always means knowledge of the course of action that will please God and secure life" (Packer). Godly wisdom is to be sought (Prov.4:7; Jam.1:5); the only true wisdom is from God (Prov.2:6; Jam.3:17). The wise man is contrasted with the fool (Eph. 5:15-17). The wise man resides with Lady Wisdom (Prov.8:1-12), but the fool with Dame Folly (8:13-18). Wisdom is tied to discernment (Heb.5:14).
160. Discernment: Pray for discernment in this non-discerning age. Discernment is the ability to judge between good and evil (Heb. 5:14). Theologically, discernment is the cognitive ability to understand, interpret, and apply biblical truths skillfully (1 John 4:1; 1 Chron.12:32). People with spiritual understanding, who seriously study the Bible, develop mindsets that think in contrasts, or opposites (John 7:24; Prov. 2: 3-5).
161. Illumination: Illumination is the application of God's revealed truth to our hearts by the Holy Spirit, so we grasp what the Bible says as reality for ourselves. The Spirit must give understanding for the Bible to be under- stood spiritually (Eph.1:17-18; 1 John 5:20; Ps.119:34). An intellectual understanding alone will not save. The Bible alone you'll dry up. The Holy Spirit alone you'll blow up. Both together you'll grow up (John 17:17).
162. Feelings: German theologian Schleiermacher (d.1834) changed religion from rational thinking to feelings or experience. Many today put feelings more important than finding God (Jer.29:13; 1 Chron. 28:9). The objective (truth, doctrine) is fixed and foundational to the subjective (feelings, experience). "How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word" (Ps.119:104-105; 1 Pet.1:22-23).
163. Repetition: Biblical repetition is a clue to the theme of the context, and the writer's (ultimately the Holy Spirit's) emphasis. When a name is repeated twice, it indicates intimacy and emphasis (1 Sam.3:10; Luke 22:31). When something is repeated three times, it is raised to the super- lative, the highest emphasis (Isa.6:3; Rev.4:8; 8:13). Creatures of decay need repetition; the essence of good preaching and teaching is repetition.
164. Repetition - Threefold: Biblically, when something is repeated three times, it is raised to the highest emphasis. In that light, consider the following repeats: "God alone is wise (Rom.16:27; 1 Tim.1:17; Jude v.25); "God laughs" (Ps.2:4; 37:13; 59:8); "in the heavenly places" (Eph.1:3; 2:6; 3:10); "who keeps the words of this prophecy" (Rev.1:3; 22:7,9); "…there is none who does good, no not one" (Ps.14:1-3; 53:1-3; Rom. 3:10-12).
165. Apostle: Charismatics believe there are apostles today, like Peter or Paul. Roman Catholics believe in apostolic succession - the pope is an apostolic successor to Peter (Mt.16:18; Protestants believe the rock upon which the church is built is Peter's confession about Jesus, v.16, not Peter). "The Twelve" (Mt.10:2) are foundational (Eph. 2:20, past), saw the risen Lord (Acts 1:22), and received a direct call and revelation from Jesus.
166. Apostle - Revelation: Those who argue for continuing revelation fail to realize the apostles are the only divine sanctioned link to genuine revelation. Jesus confirmed that truth before His ascension (John 14:26; 16:13-14; 17:20; 2 Pet.1:20-21; Jude v.3). Paul is also an apostle (Gal.2:6,9); Peter and James confirmed Paul spoke what they spoke. Revelation stopped after the death of the apostles; they saw the risen Lord.
167. Revelation - Propositional: Today many say revelation is personal, not propositional (in truth statements); they say God revealed Himself in Jesus (Heb.1:1-2), so focus on Jesus, not doctrine (Bible truth statements). The two are compatible, not exclusive. Truth statements about Jesus are necessary (Heb.11:6; John 17:3). Only propositional revelation can define heresy, and clarify the state of a sinner before a holy God (Rom. 6:23).
168. Revelation - Closed: Roman Catholics believe revelation is ongoing when the pope, the vicar of God, speaks ex cathedra ("from the chair"; in matters of faith and morals the papal pronouncement is deemed infallible). Biblical revelation is closed. In this church age there are no "Thus says the Lord" additions to the Bible (John 10:35; 14:26 - note past tense; Rev. 22:18-19). Revelation will resume when Jesus Christ returns (1 Pet.1:13).
169. Geography: Even geography descriptions (earth's physical features, topography) in the Bible are totally accurate (Ps.119:160). In His Ascension, Jesus was "taken up" (Acts.1:9-11). The Jews went up to Jerusalem to worship at the temple (Isa.2:3). Jericho is down from Jerusalem (Luke 10:30). Heaven is the highest high (John 3:13) and hell is the lowest low (Isa.14:15). Which direction are you headed? Up or down?
170. Scripture - Fulfillment: Matthew wrote his gospel account mainly to a Jewish audience. A theme is "that it might be fulfilled…" (Mt.1:22; 2:5, 15, 17; 4:14). By God's Spirit, Matthew was pointing the Jews to Jesus. The meaning of "that it might be fulfilled" is: God is in control; everything is headed to a final consummation (finish, climax); Jesus is the theme of all Scripture (Col. 3:11); and Jesus is the Messiah (the Christ; Mt. 26:63-64).
171. History: History is the study or record of past events. History is God's story (Acts 15:18; Isa. 46:9-10; 55:8-9). Today, history is being revised to fit a worldview without God (Ps.14:1-3). If there is no God, then everything is permitted. In Hebrew the word for parent is related to the word for teacher (Duet.6:20-25). History is the teacher's teacher. "Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it" (Santayana; Jer. 3:10-11).
172. Heritage: A heritage is one’s past, birthright, anything that may be inherited. "To destroy a people you must first sever their roots" (A. Solzhenitsyn). "A people without a heritage are easily persuaded " (K. Marx). The Egyptian plagues were to inspire faith in future generations in Israel (Ex.13:8; Deut.6:20-24; John 4:21-14; Heb.11:1,23-29) - so too in us (Rom.15:4; 1 Cor.10:1-12). History will not teach us if the Bible doesn't.
173. Prophecy: Foretelling the future separates Christianity from all other religions (Isa. 41:23). The Bible as written was two-thirds prophecy. What God foretells is truth and always comes to pass (Isa. 55:11; Titus 1:2; Ps. 119:160). Fulfilled prophecy proves: 1) divine sovereignty (Isa.14:24; 46:9-11), 2) divine prescience (foreknowledge; Ex.3:18-20), 3) divine inspiration of Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16), 4) the deity of Jesus (John 13:19; 14:29).
174. Creation Ordinance: A creation ordinance is God’s eternally binding principle from before the Fall of man (Gen.3) that is above all cultural customs. The 7 creation ordinances are: 1) procreation of offspring (1:28); 2) replenishing the earth (1:28); 3) subduing the earth (1:28); 4) dominion over creatures (1:28); 5) labor of man (2:15); 6) weekly seventh day (2:2,3); 7) marriage of a man to a woman (2:24). These are core Biblical ethics.
175. Resurrection - the Key Doctrine: The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the Bible truth on which all other Bible truths hang. It proves: 1) God exists and that the God of the Bible is the true God (Acts 5:30,31; 26:8); 2) the deity of Jesus (Rom.1:3-4; John 10:17-18,30); 3) that all who believe in Jesus are justified from all sin (Rom.4:24-25); 4) that death is not the end of life (John 3:16,14:19); 5) that there is a final judgment coming (Acts 17:31).
176. Will of God: Defining the will of God is difficult. It includes His plan, His pleasure, His providence, and His particular choices in perplexing situations (Dan.4:35; Isa.14:24; 55:11). Christians identify with Christ and obey God's will (John 4:34; 8:29; Ps.40:8; Mt.12:50; Luke 6:46). God's will (what He desires to be done) is: 1) dispositional (Ezek.33:11; Mt.23:37); 2) preceptive (human obligation; John 14:15); 3) sovereign (Eph.1:11).
177. Truth - Love: Unbelievers hate God (Rom.8:7) and do not love God's truth (2 Thess.2:10). A mark of true believers is love for God's Word (Ps. 119:97,162; Jer.15:16). It serves as a test of faith (2 Cor.13:5). Questions to ask are, "Do I love the study, preaching, and teaching of God's Word?” and "Do I delight in quiet time in God's Word and prayer?” Beware, you can have the truth and not love it. It's only those who love the truth that obey it.
178. Reverence: "Reverence is the astonished awe that comes to the human heart when God is clearly seen" (A.W. Tozer; Heb.12:28; Ps.89:7). Reverence for God and reverence for His Word (God's self-revelation to man) go hand in hand. Love for God and love for the Word of God cannot be separated (2 Thess.2:10; Ps.119:97). Reverence (godly fear) is the very soul of true thoughts about God; true worship is the inescapable result.
179. Christian: At Antioch in Syria the name "Christian" was first used for disciples of Jesus (Acts 11:26) and is used only three times in the New Testament (26:28; 1 Pet.4:16). In Latin ‘ian’ means ‘to be of the tribe of.’ A Christian is of the tribe of Christ. When Adoniram Judson walked in Burma among the Karen people, they said, "There goes Jesus Christ's man." "Keep telling the story, be faithful and true, let others see Jesus in you."
180. Faith: "Regeneration precedes faith" is a summary of the Reformation (Sproul). Faith is a gift of God (John 6:29; 1 Cor.3:5; Eph. 2:8; 2 Pet.1:1). Once received we must use it (Luke 17:5; Mk.11:22; 1 Pet.1:5). Faith is the grace that connects us to Jesus. It is both objective (Jesus) and subjective (trust in Jesus). The best way to increase our faith and trust in Jesus is to keep looking to Him and be immersed in His Word (Heb.12:2; John 5:39).
181. Saving Faith: The Reformers acronym for saving faith was C.A.T.: Consensus (believe the Bible as truth; Ps.119:160), Assensus (that belief moves you; Ps.119:97,162,165), and Trust (the Bible is obeyed; John 14:15,21). Saving faith requires all three. Demons know God and tremble, but don't obey Him (Jam. 2:19) - so are not saved. Diana worshipers are emotionally obedient, yet miss the truth - so are not saved (Acts19:34).
182. Blood: Some cry, "What a bloody religion!" Christians reply, "How precious is the blood of Jesus" (1 Pet.1:19). "Would you be free from your burden of sin? There's power in the blood." There is cleansing power in the blood from sin (Heb. 9:22). Christ's blood atones, redeems, and sanctifies efficaciously (Heb. 9:14; shed blood signifies death; Eph.1:7; Heb.10: 10,14). "Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it! His child, and forever I am."
183. Slave: Doulos in Scripture is translated "servant," but it should be translated "slave" (Mt.10:24-25; Luke 17:7,9; John 8:34-35). Slavery in the first century was different from what slavery later became, as during the Civil War. In Jesus' time some duties overlapped, but differences were: slaves were owned and servants were hired; slaves were bought with a price and servants were hired for a price (1 Cor. 6:19-20; Luke 6:46).
184. Submission: Submission is a mark of discipleship (Luke 9:23; 1 Peter 2:13; James 4:7). "Submit" comes from 2 Latin words: sub ("under") and mitto ("to put"). Submission means putting oneself under the authority of another. The Christian as a doulos, "slave," actively and responsibly submits to the authority of the Master or Lord, Jesus Christ (Luke 6:46; John 13:13-17). "Christ is my Master… wherever He leads I’ll go."
185. Grace: Grace is getting what is undeserved and not known until sin is known (Rom.7:18-25). Luther said, grace is "God's favor to us on account of Christ" (John 3:16; 15:13). Salvation is all of grace: past (Eph. 2:8-10), present (2 Pet.3:18), and future (1 Pet.1:13). Our spirituality is measured by our amazement at God's ‘Amazing Grace’ to sinners. Apostle Paul knew grace (Gal.2:20; 6:14; 1 Cor.15:10). Grace is needed daily (Heb. 4:16).
186. Peace - Source: Grace is the ultimate source of everything, peace is the end (Rom.1:7). Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isa.9:6) and the giver or source of peace (John 14:27; 16:33; Luke 2:14; Eph. 2:14). The Word of God (Jesus is the theme) is also a giver or source of peace (Ps.119:162). The Christian's peace is maintained by concurrence: "You [God] will keep him [believer] in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You (Isa.26:3-4).
187. Mercy: Mercy is getting less than we deserve. God is the Father of mercies (2 Cor.1:3); He does not retain His anger against sinners forever because of His mercy (Micah 7:18). Mercy is the goodness of God that confronts and relieves man's misery and guilt as fallen creatures. It knows all people sin (1 John 1:8,10; 3:4; Rom.3:23) and that sinners deserve hell (Rom.6:23; Mt.25:46). "Everything this side of hell is mercy" (Goodwin).
188. Justice: Justice is getting what we deserve. Think of 2 circles: justice and non-justice. Non-justice has 2 categories: mercy and injustice. If we say, "God isn't fair!" that is charging God with injustice and that is sin (Rom.9:11-24). We get either justice or mercy from God, never injustice. Justice is God's eternal, immutable commitment always to do what is right (Gen.18:25; Ps.50:21). Don't pray for God's justice, you might get it!
189. Merit: Merit means deserving credit, reward, and thanks. In Mt.19:27 Peter thought we relate to God on the basis of merit and we earn salvation (Rom.4:4 - context: Abraham and David were not justified by works, but by God-given faith). Jesus answered Peter in Mt.20:1-16. The Kingdom of God is all of grace; the merit is in Jesus alone (Rom.3:21-26). "None can trust the merits of Christ until they have renounced their own" (Wesley).
190. Image of God: God said, "Let us make man in Our image…Our likeness" (Gen.1:26-27). This does not mean God is simply a magnified man (Isa.40:18-31). There is likeness, not exact copy. The catechism says man was created "in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness." At the Fall man lost God's moral image, holiness. He still retains his memory, under-standing, and will. Full image restored is Christ formed in us (Gal.4:19).
191. Flesh: Flesh in Scripture has three meanings: 1) physical sense (Mt.16:17); 2) whole person, personality (1 Cor.1:29); 3) whole nature lost in sin and an enemy of God (Gal.5:17, the flesh is always at war against the Spirit). The flesh yields only flesh (John 3:6). The flesh profits nothing (spiritual death, 6:63). The something that overcomes the nothing (moral inability of the flesh) is divine initiative, "but God" (Eph. 2:1-5). God acts.
192. Peace - Meaning: The wicked have no peace (Isa.57:20-21). Peace means reconciliation, bringing together after separation; this is peace with God, the first result of justification (Rom.5:1; no justification, no peace). It also means an end of war, rest, and quiet; this is peace of God (Phil.4:7). Peace with God (objective) precedes peace of God (subjective). A perfect definition of peace is ‘being in the same boat with God’ (Mk.4:35-41).
193. Peacemaker: A Christian is a peacemaker (Mt.5:9). The marks of a Christian are found in the eight Beatitudes (5:3-12). A peacemaker is not merely one who keeps the peace (Rom.12:18; Heb.2:14), but one who brings peace where it is not. A person who is continually divisive, disruptive, and quarrelsome is either a disobedient Christian or a non-Christian. Peacemakers are called sons (in Greek means ‘the honored’) of God.
194. Children of God: John calls Christians "children of God", whereas Matthew says "sons of God." John uses two Greek words in 1 John that emphasize the dependence, weakness, immaturity (subordination) of the child, and the need to be under instruction or direction (2:1,12,28; 2:13,18; 3:7,18; 4:4; 5:21). Matthew uses a Greek word that stresses the honor and dignity of those called sons (Mt.5:9). Before honor is humility (Prov.15:33).
195. Adoption: The climactic blessing of justification (sins forgiven) is adoption, being made a member of the family of God. It is the result of God's love in election, being predestined to adoption as sons (Eph.1:4-5). In ancient Rome, a son's adoption meant his past was wiped out, his name was changed, also his clothes. He got his new father's signet ring and was his legal heir (Rom.8:16-17; Gal.4:4-6). Adoption by God is permanent.
196. Election: To the saved this doctrine is precious; to the unsaved it is repulsive. Why? Because it has no place for human pride. Greek means to choose out of a number. Some are saved (chosen, elected - God's positive decree of salvation; 1 Cor.1:30; Eph.1:4). Some are left to their own sinful desires (reprobation - God's permissive decree of damnation; Rom.9:10-23). The proof of election to salvation is sanctification (Mt.7:18-20).
197. Spirit Indwelt Believers: Ways believers know the Spirit is in them: 1) they are aware of a power within (Phil.2:12-13); 2) they hate sin and desire to not sin (Rom.7:18-25; 1 John 3:6-9); 3) they love God, things of God, and His children (Mt.22:37; Ps.119:97; 40:8; 1 John 3:14); 4) they practice (live) the fruit of the Spirit (Gal.5:22-23; Eph.2:10). To achieve this life in Christ believers must pray to be Spirit filled (controlled; Eph.5:18).
198. Evil: Evil is the opposite of good (Isa. 5:20). It is rebellion against God (1 Sam. 15:22), failure to do what God commands or doing what He forbids. In Scripture evil is both a condition and an action. Christians still do evil because of the sin nature that remains (Rom.7:19-21). To overcome evil desires, be Spirit-filled (Eph. 5:18), associate with the righteous (2 Tim. 2:22), and use the means of grace (Luke 18:1; Mt. 26:41; Ps. 119:97).
199. Condemnation: "The LORD has departed from you and become your enemy" (1 Sam. 28:16). These are words of condemnation, judgment, and hell for unrepentant sin (Rom.6:23). Condemnation is the opposite of justification. Only in Jesus is forgiveness of sins, a royal robe of righteous-ness (2 Cor.5:21; Phil.3:9), and glory. "No condemnation now I dread (Rom. 8:1); Jesus, and all in Him is mine!... Clothed in righteousness divine."
200. Righteousness: Holiness is what God is and righteousness is what God does. God's righteousness, like His holiness, is an element of His purity. God's righteousness is His holiness in action and is the basis of His justice. There is no justice without God's righteousness. In 1 John 2:29-3:10 is the seventh test of eternal life, assurance that we're saved - the practice of righteousness (1 Cor.1:30). It is a proof of being born again.
201. Assurance: Assurance of faith (1 John 5:13) is conviction that by God's grace a person belongs to Christ, has full forgiveness of all sins, and will inherit eternal life. Full assurance is not necessary to salvation (Heb. 10:22), but some is (11:6). Five pillars of assurance are: Spirit's internal witness (Rom.8:16); God's promises (Isa. 55:11); His prophesies (46:9-10); abiding love (Rom.5:5-10), and ongoing obedience (1 John 2:29).
202. Doubt: The Greek means to be without a way or not know how to proceed. Doubt is the unstable, open-minded, middle position between belief and unbelief (Jam.1:8). In thinking, a believer can be buzzed by a mosquito of doubt. It’s alright to doubt your beliefs, as long as you don't believe your doubts. "Doubt no more, but just believe. Question not, but just receive. Artful doubts and reasonings be, nailed with Jesus to the tree."
203. Obedience: Obedience is faith in exercise (action), directed by God’s authority, responding to God’s will. Salvation is by faith alone, but by a faith that works (Eph. 2:8-10). Faith without works is dead faith (James 2:14-26). "To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin" (James 4:17). For a Christian to know and not to do, is not to know at all. Jesus said the motivation for obedience is love for Him (John 14:15; Luke 6:46).
204. Light: In Scripture light refers to two things: truth and purity (holiness, separation from sin). It is opposed to darkness (lies and evil). God's kingdom is light and Satan's kingdom is darkness. Jesus is light, truth and holiness in the world. Whoever believes in Him goes from darkness into light (John 1:9; 8:12; 12:46; 14:6; Eph. 5:8). The aim of obedience for Jesus' disciples is Mt.5:16 - Let Jesus' light shine through them to His glory.
205. Christianizing: "Sanctification is the Christianizing of the Christian" (Gerstner). Meaning, the follower of Jesus is to become more and more like Him. In progressive sanctification (Phil. 2:12-13) a Christian is to show an increase in: holiness (1 Pet.15:16); pleasing God (John 8:29); and knowledge (Col.2:3; 2 Pet.3:18). "The most sanctified Christian is only five percent sanctified, but he's more sanctified now than before" (Gerstner).
206. Disciple: After Pentecost, "the 12" were called apostles, not disciples; other converts were called disciples. The Greek means "learner." Jesus' disciples are more than converts. They submit to God's authority, know God's Word, and delight in doing what Jesus commands (Col.2:6; Ps.40:8; Luke 6:46). The false disciples in John 6:66 did not count the cost. True disciples forsake everything to live for Jesus (Luke 5:11; Mk.10:17-22).
207. Self-denial: The first mark of a disciple of Jesus and chief sacrifice God desires is self-denial (Luke 9:23). We disown both our plans and our works for salvation (Eph. 2:8-9). Self-denial is opposite of the individualism of our day, "I have my rights." The greatest example of self-denial was Jesus' death on the cross (John 3:16; 10:11,14;15:13); His motive was love. Disciples then live to imitate their Master (Phil.2:5-11; 2 Cor.5:15).
208. Follow: Jesus said "Follow Me" 13 times (Mt.4:19; Luke 5:27). Follow is a command, not an invitation. From Jesus' lips it was an effectual call (Luke 5:11,28). "Follow Me" is the most basic explanation of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. It means to take up your cross daily (live sacrificially), to listen to God's small voice (sermons, Spirit illumined Bible study), deny self (Luke 9:23), serve (John 12:26), and suffer (1 Pet. 2:21).
209 Filling - Spirit: British pastors discussed inviting D.L. Moody to their city for a crusade. One pastor asked, "Why Moody? Does he have a monopoly on the Spirit?" Another replied, "No, but the Spirit has a mono- poly on Moody." Baptism of the Spirit occurs at regeneration (1 Cor.12:13). The filling of the Spirit must be repeated daily (Eph.5:18). The Greek means "to control." Be filled with the Spirit and walk in the Spirit (Gal.5:16).
210. Walk: "Let's take a walk" for some exercise is not what the Bible means by a walk. Biblically, a walk is a lifestyle, a way of life. It is progressive, not stationary. A Christian walk is ongoing sanctification, increasing in Christlikeness and distinct from the ungodly (Eph. 4:17-19, 4:1; 1 John 2:6). It means living in union with Christ (Amos 3:3) in a lifestyle patterned after His (Eph. 5:1). "O to be like Thee! blessed Redeemer."
211. Fear of God: No fear of God is the essence of sin (Rom.3:18). The fear of God is the controlling sense of the holiness and sovereignty of God. Such an understanding results in reverence or awe of God. "It is the soul of godliness" (J. Murray). The highest increase in holiness, sanctification, is realized only in the fear of God (2 Cor.7:1). True worship is based on fearing God and being humbled by sin that still remains (Heb.12:28-29).
212. Eternal Security: Can a believer ever lose eternal life (John 3:16)? Biblically, no; God forever keeps believers. Eternal security is based on who God is and His Word (John 10:28-29). This truth gives a Christian assurance of salvation. Not believing in eternal security blasphemes God (Ex 20:7). Pillars are: intention of God the Father (Rom.11:29); intercession of God the Son (Heb. 7:24-25), indwelling of God the Spirit (Eph.1:13-14).
213. Perseverance of the Saints: Christians persevere because God preserves them. Perseverance of the saints is one of the five solas (alones) of the Reformation, also called the keeping of the saints or eternal security. God is sovereign (ruler over the end and means) and we are responsible (Mt.7:13-14; 10:22; 11:12; 24:13; Phil.2:12-13; Luke 13:24; Heb. 3:14). Effort receives great reward, but idleness does not (2 Pet.1:10-11).
214. Abide: In Greek abide means to reside, continue, or dwell. Abiding in Christ is a theme of 1 John (2:6; 2:28; 3:6; 3:14; 4:16). Sanctification is the habit of abiding in Christ. Those who abide have assurance of salvation. The words "Abide in Me" make it clear the responsibility is man's, but he does so with the Holy Spirit's empowering, enabling (Phil.2:12-13; John 15:7,9). "In life, in death, O Lord, Abide with me!"
215. Failure: Failure is being unsuccessful. It is accompanied by misery, loneliness, and personal weakness. The Apostle Peter is the model of those who feel like failures (Mt.16:16-23; 26:33-35; Luke 22:54-62). "Take all the failures, each mistake of our poor human ways. Then, Savior, for Thine own dear sake, make them show forth Thy praise." "Jesus Never Fails"; He can turn failures into blessings (John 21:15-17; 1 Pet.5:5-10).
216. Heart and Mind: Professing Christians emphasize experience and neglect doctrine. This results in blind emotionalism, feelings over facts. The Bible distinguishes the emotional (heart) from the rational (mind). The heart has first priority in importance (Prov.4:23). But the mind has first priority in sequence (Prov.23:7; John 17:3). We cannot have God in our heart if He is not first in our head. Faith without an object, Jesus, is mere feelings.
217. Heart: The heart is the physical body organ (Lev.17:11). Heart also refers figuratively to the whole inner man, the center of the personality (Jer.17:9; Mt.22:37; Luke 6:45). "The heart includes the conscience, will, mind, and affections" (Pink). The Bible says human sinfulness arises in the heart, in the inner man, and then defiles [corrupts] the outer man’s actions (Mk.7:21-23). How's your heart? (Prov.4:23; 23:7; Luke 6:45; Ezek.36:26).
218. Book - Cover: The saying "You can't tell a book by its cover" means the real person or thing may be different from the visible person or thing. Biblically, this saying is true from a human perspective, but false from a divine perspective. Men cannot read the heart, but only the fruit of holy living (Mt.7:18-20; Eph.2:10; Jam.2:18,26). God alone is omniscient and reads hearts (1 Sam.16:7; 1 Kgs 8:39; 1 Chron.28:9; John 2:23-25).
219. Steward: Steward in Greek is composed of two words, ‘house’ and ‘to arrange’; a steward is a manager of a household or an estate. He could be a freedman, but usually was a slave (Gal.4:2; Luke 12:42; 16:1-8; 1 Cor. 4:1-2). Christians are bondslaves of King Jesus (1 Cor.6:19-20); everything they have is from the Lord. With accountability (2 Cor.5:10) Christians care, manage wisely and faithfully, all that belongs to the Lord for His glory.
220. Remember - Duty: Creatures of decay are prone to forget and need an occasional, "Do you remember?" (2 Thess.2:5). In Scripture the word has various meanings: when a believer remembers all that God is and has done for him, it calls for reverence, submission, and obedience (Eccl.12:1); it implies retaining what has been received (Deut.9:7; 1 Cor. 15:2); it means to recall and meditate on what had been forgotten (John 2:22; Deut.8:2).
221. Zeal: "Zeal is a burning desire to please God, to do His will, and to advance His glory in the world" (Ryle). That was true of Apostle Paul after the Damascus Road (Acts 9). Before that Saul of Tarsus had zeal for God, but was based on bad theology and under God's judgment (Acts 26:9-11). The same was true of the Jews (Rom.10:2). Those with zeal and bad theology think they are saved, but are often the last to be saved. Terrifying!
222. Naming: Bible names have real significance and reflect character (Gen.25:26; 1 Sam.25:3; Mt.1:21). When an individual is named, biblically the one who does the naming has superiority (Gen.32:22-32). Upon saving faith in Jesus, believers become Christians (‘of the tribe of Christ’) and carry His name with them. Is Christ's name honored or profaned (Mt.5:16)? Faithful believers have a "new name" written down in heaven (Rev.2:17).
223. Numbers: Does God have to number things? No, because He is omniscient, all knowing. He knows everything instantly, comprehensively, and universally. Yet, Scripture records God numbers things: the stars (Ps.
147:4), the very hairs on our head (Luke 12:7), and the lowly sparrows (12:6). Why does God put His language at the level of finite beings? Then we know God cares for us individually in all things (1 Pet.5:7).
224. Care: "God knows, He loves, He cares; nothing this truth can dim. He gives the very best to those who leave the choice to Him" (Ex.33:14; 1 Pet. 5:7). In pride our flesh (sin nature) is prone to worry and anxieties. It is pride because the god trusted for solutions is ourselves. Believers who know God as all-seeing, sovereign, and compassionate do not worry (Ps.55: 22; Mt.6:25-34; Phil.4:6-7; Rom.8:28). "God will take care of you.".
225. Godliness: The related words godliness, zeal, and piety are not used much in Christianity today. Godliness is the theme of 1 Timothy (2:2,10; 3:16; 4:7,8; 6:3,5,6,11). It means: 1) the heart of truth, 2) the Spirit's work of sanctification, 3) the worthy walk (harmony between doctrine and duty). The Greek means to exhibit a holy zeal, an intense devotion to God that is bent on doing what is well-pleasing to Him (2 Cor.5:9; John 8:29).
226. Humility: The opposite of pride is humility (Jam.4:6,10; Mt.23:11-12). "The top three graces (virtues) of the Christian life are firstly, secondly, and thirdly, humility" (Augustine). The Beatitudes are the main Bible text on humility (Mt.5:3-12, a list of eight characteristics of a Christian). The first one is humility (Mt.5:3). The proud are humbled when they first know who God is and then know who they are in their sinful state (Job.40:4; 42:5-6).
227. Commandment: The Ten Commandments are not optional (Ex 20:1-17). They are commands, formal orders from God, who controls all things (Col.1:17). God's authority is absolute (Dan.4:35; Ps.115:3; Isa.46:9-11); He has the power and right to enforce obedience. "The commands of God do not imply the ability to obey God. God tells us our duty, not to prove to us we can do it, but to humble us to admit we can't" (Luther; John 15:5).
228. Concurrence: Concurrence means "flowing together with." The Bible teaches both human responsibility and divine sovereignty (Isa.45:7; Gen. 45:5; 50:20; Prov.16:33; Ps.63:8; Acts 2:23; Col.1:29). To bring His decrees to pass God works in and through everything that goes on in the universe, including human actions, without violating man's will. American Revolutionary soldiers said, "Pray and keep your powder dry" (Neh.4:9).
229. "Let go and Let God": This popular saying denies the doctrine of concurrence (#228); it has unbiblical passive [do nothing] sanctification. Justification is passive. Sanctification is concurrent [synergistic] (Phil.2: 12-13); God works (He is sovereign) and we work (we are responsible). Dependence on God is never passive or doing nothing. In 2 Tim.2:1-13 Paul defines the Christian life as being a soldier, an athlete, and a farmer.
230. Prayer: "Prayer is an offering up of our desires to God, for things agreeable to His will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgement of His mercies" (WSC #98). Prayer is one of the first marks of conversion (Acts 9:11), and unceasing, regular prayer is a mark of all true believers (Luke 18:1,7; 1 Thess.5:17). "When the Spirit gets into the heart, then there is prayer indeed, and not until then" (J. Bunyan).
231. Prayer - Unanswered: Does God always hear and answer our prayers? Sometimes our prayers seem to stop at the room’s ceiling. Some reasons for unanswered prayers are: 1) sin (John 9:31; Isa. 59:1-2; Lam.3:44); 2) spiritual warfare (Dan.10); and 3) God’s sovereign will. God knows what's best, sometimes that means "No." For God to accept our prayers when we are delighting in sin would make Him the God of hypocrites.
232. Delay: Our instant culture is impatient over delays. Answered prayer is often slow (Song of Sol.5:6). Daniel waited three weeks for his answer due to spiritual warfare (Dan.10:10-13). Delays are not denials. "Though He asks us to wait, God is never late" (Hab.2:3). The flesh (sin nature) is impatient of all delay (1 Sam.13:8-14). God's waiting room strengthens faith. "Wait on the Lord " is an Old Testament metaphor for faith (Isa.40:31).
233. Wait on the Lord: Often Christians find themselves in God's waiting room. "Though He asks us to wait, God is never late" (Hab.2:3). The wait is the test of faith: if real, to strengthen it (Rom. 4:20-21), if false, to reveal it (1 Sam.13:1-15). In the Old Testament "wait on the Lord" is a metaphor for faith. "They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength" (Isa.40:31). The only motive strong enough to cause true waiting is love (1 John4:8-10).
234. Comfort: Biblical comfort is not sympathy, but strength. Comfort is in 2 Cor.1:3-11 ten times. It means ‘with strength together’ and ‘to come alongside to help.’ The only true comfort is theological comfort. Comfort comes from: the triune God (2 Cor.1:3,5; John 14:26; Isa.40:1), fellow Christians (2 Cor.1:4), and God's Word (Ps. 119:50). "When other helpers fail, and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, O abide with me" (Ps.48:14).
235. Patience: Patience is a steady persistence in duty that is not side- tracked by opposition or suffering. Actively it's expressed in perseverance; passively in a meek and quiet spirit that endures frowning providences without complaining. "The God of patience" (Rom.15:5) is imitated by His people (Eph.5:1). Longsuffering or patience is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal.5:22). To build patience God sends difficulties (Rom.5:3; Jam. 1:3-4; 5:7-11).
236. Rest: "To be content with God's will and way is rest " (H. Taylor). God is our rest (Ps. 116:7). To rest in Him means to put our confidence in Him (Phil.1:6), trust Him (Ps. 34:8; Prov. 3:5-6), and to walk before Him in obedience (John 14:15,21; 1 John 3:3-6). "There's no rest for the soul like being in God's love" (R.M. M'Cheyne). "Jesus, I am resting in the joy of what Thou art; I am finding out the greatness of Thy loving heart."
237. Work: In studying Gen.1:26 Reformer Zwingli said, "There is nothing in the universe so like God as the worker." Work is the application of mental or physical effort to a purpose. Work is a creation ordinance (Gen.1:28; 2:15). Paul says a Christian should work so that: 1) he is not a burden to others (1 Thess.2:7-12; 2 Thess.3:10; Acts 20:33-35); 2) he may be able to give to those in need (Eph.4:28); and 3) he can glorify God (Eph.6:5-7).
238. Rest and Work: Biblically, rest is not stopping labor to relax and become "a couch potato." Christ's rest is not stopping work, but His rest is satisfaction, contentment in work using all our faculties and affections for His glory (Eccl.5:20; Col.3:23; 1 Cor.10:31). The "Sabbath rest" (Mt.11:29) is not stopping work, but doing works on the Lord's day (the Christian Sabbath) for His glory - works of necessity, mercy, and piety (Mt.12:1-14).
239. Love - Matthew 22:37: This verse from Jesus' lips summarizes the First Table of the Ten Commandments that deals with man's relation to God. It also defines perfect righteousness. Holiness is what God is and righteousness is what God does (Mt.5:48; Eph.5:1). The command "to love with all your heart…" calls for exclusivity, ultimate allegiance, and supreme devotion, evidenced diligently in word and deed (Ex.34:14; John 14:15).
240. Love Applied - Matthew 22:37: The husband always gave his wife birthday and anniversary cards that said, "I love you with all my heart." Then one day he was convicted by the Holy Spirit of the truth of Mt.22:37. The love with all my heart is for God alone; to give it to another is idolatry. "The greatest gift you give your wife is loving God above her life. And thus, I bid you now to bless: go love her more by loving less" (J. Piper).
241. Love - Hollywood: Hollywood’s worldly love is not Christian love. The romantic love of Hollywood falls in love and falls out of love, like picking the petals off a daisy - "She loves me. She loves me not." Its basis is feelings. It is fickle; it comes and it goes. Whereas, Christian love (agape) is an act of the will (the mind chooses). It is an action word, and acts whether it feels like it or not. It follows Jesus' example (Eph. 5:1; 1 John 3:16; 15:12-14).
242. Guidance: Guidance is counsel, helpful direction, to lead the way (John 16:13). "The cloudy pillar" in the Exodus was God's guidance for Israel (Ex.13:21); they were "under the cloud" (1 Cor.10:1). In contentment, David did not lack guidance (Ps.23:2). Sheep need to follow their Shepherd Guide (Jesus) always or else they will wander astray (John 10:4-5). "Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah…I am weak…Hold me with Thy powerful hand."
243. Trouble: Troubles (afflictions, distresses, difficulties) are like breathing, they're a part of life (Job.5:7). This is a sin cursed world. "Nobody knows the trouble I've seen; nobody knows my sorrow" (Negro spiritual) is not biblical (Heb.2:16-17). The all-knowing Jesus knows all about our troubles better than we do; He knows - immediately, exhaustively, and universally (John 2:23-25), and He cares (1 Pet.5:7; Ps.55:22).
244. Fear: Fear is dread, terror, alarm, fright, and anxiety. Faith is the anchor of the soul. Fear is the panic of the soul. Man is prone to fear as fire sparks fly upward. God said "Do not be afraid" or "Fear not" 365 times in the Bible (Mt.10:31; Luke 12:32; Acts 18:9). In Christ, believers should be fearless (2 Chron.20:15, Ps.55:22). "Fear not, I am with you; O be not dismayed, For I am your God. I will strengthen you…help you" (Isa.41:10).
245. Trust: Many equate trust and faith. It is partly true; it's getting the cart in front of the horse. Faith is both objective and subjective. "The shortest distance to faith is to consider the object of faith, Jesus Christ" (Spurgeon). The objective, Jesus, is foundational to the subjective, trust. Without the
object, Jesus, faith has no foundation (1 Cor.3:11). This leads to error and heresy. Biblically, "trust and obey" are inseparable (James 1:22; 4:17).
246. Enemies: An enemy is a person or group that is actively hostile to another. Jesus, by speaking and practicing the truth, had enemies (John 5:18; 7:7; 15:18-20; Mk.3:1-6; Rom.8:7). Christians will have enemies (Mt.10:24-25). Counting the cost comes with the costly grace of the cross (John 15:13; 1 John 3:16). "You have enemies? Good! It means you've stood for something" (W. Churchill). "Love your enemies" (Luke 6:27).
247. Kindness: Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal.5:22). The Greek means to be good, gracious, virtuous, mild, pleasant. Kindness is in God's character (Luke 6:35), in the yoke of Christ (Mt.11:30), and in believers (Eph. 4:32). It is a communicable attribute of God (2 Pet.1:4). Jesus is the fulfillment of 1 Cor.13 (v.4 "Love is kind"); the kind Shepherd found us when we were in sin. Have we received acts of kindness? Pass it on (Eph.4:32).
248. Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving is not natural to the human heart (Rom.1:21). Thanksgiving or gratitude “is a species of joy that arises in our heart in response to the good will of someone who does us a favor" (Piper). "Thanksgiving makes visible the invisible hand of God" (M. Lloyd-Jones). Thanksgiving marks believers’ prayers (Ps. 57:2; 107:1-2, 8,15,43). The Jews believe that to eat and not give thanks is stealing from God.
249. Oaths: In Mt.5:33-37 Jesus addressed the deceptive, sinful Jewish practice of swearing by the heavens, altar or temple. They would make people think their word or oath was truth, but they intended to break their promises and avoid God's judgment. Jesus said all was God's creation, so they were swearing by God and guilty before Him. Christians speak the truth and thus limit the need for oaths (Mt.5:37; Jam.5:12; 1 Tim.2:7).
250. Good Works - Definition: Thomas Kinkade, the painter of light, said, "When I was saved, my art was saved." A good work is defined by: a good fountain (that is regeneration; John 3:3; Eph.4:22-24); a good flow (from faith and love for Christ; John 14:15,21); a good foundation (there must be conformity to the law of God; Ps.40:8; 119:35); and a good fear (reverence and godly fear warrant all being done to God's glory (1 Cor.10:31).
251. Good Works: Good works do not earn salvation; Christ plus anything for salvation earns damnation. The Pharisees obeyed their added oral law and were self-righteousness (Mt.15:7-9; 23:14-15,23; Luke 18:9-14). Good works are God's works. They flow from: the fruit of the Spirit (Gal.5:22-23), obedience to His commandments, and outworking of sanctification. Both the will and the effort done by man are given by God (Phil.2:12-13).
252. Bad Good Works: "Unbelievers can do only bad good works" (J. Gerstner). Two people can do the same work, one is a good work and one is a bad good work. A "Good Joe," like a good Pharisee, does his works to be seen of men and draw attention to himself (Mt.6:1-6; 23:5-7). A Christian does good works to point people to Christ, not to self (Mt.5:16; 1 Kgs.8:39; Jer.17:10; Col.3:23). The good is only in and through Christ (John 15:5).
253. Words: The saying "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words may never hurt me" is false. It ignores the power of speech. Words are vehicles of reality to heal or destroy, to reward or damage (Prov.11:11; 12:14,18; 18:6-7,21). Words are powerful: they are one standard for eternal judgment (Mt.10:32-33; 12:36-37); they reveal character (Luke 6:45); and they are untamable apart from a heart change by God (James 3:1-12).
254. Speech: Speech (communication, talking) has significant meaning. The third commandment (Ex.20:7) demands that God's name be hallowed, treated with awe, reverence, and fear. In speaking with people, Christians are to honor God (Col.4:6). "He that means as he speaks will surely do as he speaks" (R. Baxter; Luke 6:45; James 5:12). "There is a Father up above who is looking down in love, so be careful little lips what you say."
255. Mountain: Idolaters worshiped their gods on mountains or high places (Gen.11:1-9; Hos.4:13). In worshiping God, the Jews went up to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (Mount Moriah; Gen. 22:2; Isa. 2:3). It is good for our souls in worshiping God to rise above this world of sin to something nobler and better. Only the lowly, the humble, those who know God as the Most High (Gen.14:22), will God lift up to be with Him (Isa.57:15, James 4:10).
256. Service: Definitions of Christian service are found in John 13:13-17; Phil.2:3-4; Col.3:23; and 1 Pet.4:10-11. The key is to serve others with the same selfless attitude as Jesus (John 13:15; 15:13; Mt.20:28; 1 John 3:16). Genuine service must be an attitude before it becomes an action (Phil.2:5). George Mueller, on his successful Christian service, said, "There was a day I died to self…and since studied only to show myself approved to God."
257. Compassion: C. Swindoll summarized his book, Compassion, in one sentence: "Others will not care how much we know until they know how much we care." The Greek word means to have a deep, gut level reaction to another person, his distress, need, hurt. The Good Samaritan evidenced compassion (Luke 10:25-37; others saw, but he alone felt and helped his neighbor; Mt.25:40). Jesus is the model (Mk.6:34), our pain in His heart.
258. Church: "Let's go to church" is not accurate. The Puritans said it right, "Let's go to the church meeting place." The church is a people, not a place (Mt.18:20). It is the body of Christ (Eph.1:22; 5:23), assembly (Heb. 2:12), the ekklesia (‘called-out ones’ in Mt.16:18; 18:17). The church was founded at Pentecost (Acts 2:14-41). Christ is the Head of His church (Mt. 16:18; Col.1:18). Jesus purchased it with His own precious blood (Acts 20:28).
259. Church - Mixed: During the church age, from Jesus’ birth until He returns, "the church is both visible and invisible" (Augustine). It is a mix of true possessors of Christ and false professors. Wheat and tares are not separated until Christ returns (Mt.13:25-30). "Wherever the Lord erects a house of prayer, the Devil's sure to have a chapel there. And twill be found upon examination, the latter has the larger congregation" (Defoe).
260. Lord's Day: One of the great proofs of the resurrection is that Jewish Christians changed their Sabbath ("seven") day from Saturday to Sunday (the first day of the week; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor.16:2; Rev.1:10). The Lord's Day, the Christian Sabbath, keeps the creation ordinance of God for work - six days for our worldly employments and the seventh as a day of rest devoted to the worship of God. For Christians it’s a delight (Isa.58:13-14).
261. Lord's Day - Applied: Many Christians violate the Lord's Day with worldly activities and others mistakenly think that "rest" means no activity. Mt.12:1-14 defines what God means by "rest" on His holy day. Three types of work are lawful on the Lord's Day: works of piety (a day of work for the pastor); works of necessity (police, firemen); and works of mercy (visiting the infirmed). The Lord’s Day was made for man's benefit (Mk.2:27-28).
262. Worship: Worship is the missing jewel in the church today. A Christian is a worshiper of God every day, but especially on the Lord's Day (Heb. 10:24-25; Rom.12:1-2; John 4:20-24). "To worship God is to quicken the conscience with the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination with the beauty of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God, and to open the heart to the love of God" (W. Temple).
263. Worship - "in spirit and truth": "John 4:20-24 is the greatest worship passage in the New Testament" (J. MacArthur). True worshipers of God will (reality) and must (necessity) worship Him in spirit and in truth (vs.23,24 -repetition for emphasis and persuasion). It means to worship God: in Jesus' name (Eph 2:18, the believer's admittance into God's presence; John 14:6), according to His Word, and to God's glory (1 Cor.10:31; Rom.11:36).
264. Church - Marks: Most people leave a church over secondary issues (like personality differences) and not over essentials (doctrines). The sober truth is in 1 Corinthians 12:18. The marks of a true church are: 1) preaching and teaching gospel truths (Isa. 8:20; Acts 2:42; 17:11); 2) regular practice of the sacraments (baptism and Lord's supper); 3) church discipline (1 Cor. 5:1-13); and 4) church government (elders and deacons; 1 Tim.3).
265. Pastor: A pastor is a spiritually gifted man of God (Eph.4:11). He is a pastor-teacher; he knows God's Word and encourages people to apply it. The Greek word for pastor in Eph.4:11 is shepherd (Acts 20:28). A pastor is to serve God and other Christians in such a way that God is glorified and other believers are edified (Eph.4:12-13). He is called (compelled) by God (Heb.5:4) and has awesome accountability to God (James 3:1; Heb.13:17).
266. Pastor - Converts: A pastor has a heart for missions and the lost, as Jesus and Paul did (Mt.23:37; 28:19-20; Phil.3:17-19). He could be the most gifted preacher ever, and say all the right words in the right way, but only God changes hearts (John 3:1-8; Ezek.36:26). There are three guidelines for judging whether a teacher or pastor is from God: his creed (his beliefs; check him out, Acts 17:11), his character, and "his" converts.
267. Women Pastors: The Bible does not permit women to be pastors or teachers over men (1 Tim.2:12; 3:2,11-12; 1 Cor.11:3; 14:34). "There is neither male nor female" (Gal.3:28) does not mean equality in the pulpit or teaching ministries, or elder or deacon leadership. As to status, all are made in God's image (Gen.1:26-27) and the way of salvation is the same. But as to function in church organization, man is the head, not woman.
268: Preaching: Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, "The business of preaching is not to entertain, but to lead people to salvation, to teach them how to find God." Today there is less preaching and more entertainment, simple little sermonettes for Christianettes (2 Tim.4:3-4). Preaching the whole counsel of God’s Word (Acts 20:27) is a God ordained means to His sovereign end of bringing the elect to salvation (1 Cor.1:18,21,23; 2 Tim.4:2; Titus 2:15).
269. Boredom: "This is boring!" is the voice of many who have left the church. In the Bible no one ever encountered God and walked away bored! (Isa. 6:1-8; Josh. 5:13-15; Rev.4:1-11). If people are bored, they do not have a sense of being in God's presence (Mt.18:20). If the worship service is called irrelevant, there are two possible reasons: the preacher has not preached God's Word or people have not listened. Truly, God is awesome!
270. Hymns - Jesus: A hymn is a song of praise. Jesus was into hymns (Mt.26:30). Belief is He and His disciples sang Ps.118, "The Conqueror's Psalm." Ps.113-118 is called the Hallel (in Hebrew "Praise"); Jews chant them at Passover. Jewish worshipers participated in antiphonal singing - two groups chanted back and forth to each other (Ps.136). Psalm 118 may be sung at Jesus Second Coming (Luke 13:35). Sing praise to God!
271. Hymns: Hymns are wisdom that today is missing in many churches. They are songs of praise (Eph. 5:19). Praise is defined as extoling God's attributes, extoling His works, and giving thanks for both His attributes and works (Ps.34:1). Hymns are practical theology set to tune. The hymn writer experienced biblical truth in life and then expressed that in music. Joseph Scriven wrote "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" after his fiancée died.
272. Saint: The Greek word for "saint" means to be holy, separate from the world. Biblically, all regenerate, saved are saints, even those who seem to be more like sinners. Corinthian believers were guilty of pride, adultery, gluttony, and other sins, yet called "saints" (1 Cor. 1:2). Christians are saints, not because they lack sin or were holy before faith in Christ (Rom. 3:10-12; Eph.1:4), but because of their union with Christ (1 Cor.1:30).
273. Saint - Canonization: Roman Catholics canonize or officially declare certain Christians to be saints. After their death canonization requires both a life of good works and performance of two certifiable miracles occurring after praying to the dead saint. This is not biblical: praying to the dead is fruitless (John 15:5), at worst blasphemy (there is only one Mediator; 1 Tim. 2:5); it is a false, two-tiered Christianity of ordinary Christians and saints.
274. Fellowship: Fellowship in the Greek means communion, partnership, sharing (Acts 2:42; Luke 5:10; 1 Cor.10:16). Believers have fellowship with each other and with the Triune God (1 John 1:3). A believer is not a Lone Ranger (Rom.14:7); he is part of a body, the community of the saints, the church (1 Cor.12:18). With that comes responsibilities to God and to fellow believers (1 John 3:16-18; 4:20-5:2; 2 Cor.8:4; Gal.6:10; Heb.10:24-25).
275. Hypocrite: The Greek word means "to answer from under." Greek actors spoke from under masks as they played their parts. The hypocrite is someone who masks his real ideas or feelings; he is a phony, a pretender (Mt.15:7-9). Cain was the first hypocrite; he pretended to worship God (Gen.4). The Israelites under King Josiah were hypocrites (Jer.3: 10). In the visible church, they are tares among the wheat, believers (Mt.13:25-26).
276. Hypocrite - Forms: The basic cause of hypocrisy, pretending to be what we are not, is fear of man (Mt.10:28; Prov.29:25). It occurs in two forms. The most common form is to bring God's law down to our standards. Today is an age of easy believism, Christian profession of faith without obedience (Luke 6:45-46). The other form is to pretend to live at a higher level of Christian obedience than we actually do (Titus 1:16; Gal.6:12-13).
277. False Teachers - Presence: "Wherever God erects a house of prayer, the devil's sure to have a chapel there" - with his false teachers. Until Christ comes, there will always be false teachers (2 Pet.2:1; Mt.24:24). "Though this world with devils filled (false teachers), … we will not fear, for God has willed His truth to triumph through us." "If people desire a calf to worship (Ex.32), a ministerial calf-maker is readily found" (M.R. Vincent).
278. False Teachers - Character: Acts 13:10 gives four traits of false teachers: deceitful, children of the devil, enemies of righteousness, and destroyers of the gospel. Gal.5:8-10 gives the full scope on false teaching: its origin - not of God (God calls people in grace; false teachers promote a doctrine of merit); its effect - evil, error spread; its end - judgment (defeat) by God. "They are graceless, blind, professors of optics" (Spurgeon).
279. False Teachers - Tests: True believers can use three tests to be assured of their salvation and recognize false teaching: belief in incarnation (1 John 1:1-2); love for God and other Christians (1:3-4); and personal holiness (1:5). Test their message (Acts 17:11): do they deny God’s wrath (Jer.23:14,17) and sin's sinfulness (23:22b)? Do they know where they are going (Mt.15:14)? Christ and believers do know (John 8:21-25; Phil.3:20).
280. Idol: An idol is a false god, something in creation that is inflated to serve as a substitute for God (Rom.1:25). J. Calvin said human beings are "idol factories" (Jer.2:28). In Psalm 96:5 the psalmist uses a Hebrew play on words, "For all the gods (elohim) of the peoples are idols (elilim)"; their gods are "nothing, no-thing" (Ps.115:4-8; 135:15-18). "An idol of the mind is as offensive to God as an idol of the hand” (a warning from Tozer).
281. Idolatry: Idolatry is the worship of idols. God is a jealous God who tolerates no rival in worship (Ex 34:14; Mt.4:10). People think they are not guilty of idolatry (ancients worshiped idols of wood and stone; Isa.41: 21-24; 44:9-20). But any concept of God in our minds that is less than what is revealed in Scripture is idolatry! "The dearest idol I have known, whate'er that idol be, help me to tear it from Thy throne, and worship only Thee."
282. Sacrament: The sacraments of the New Testament are two (not the Roman Catholic seven): Lord's Supper (1 Cor.11:23-26) and Baptism (John 3:22-23). A sacrament is appointed by Christ and is an outward sign that teaches the gospel; it shows a picture of the gospel. In themselves there is no special power or value. They benefit us only through Christ's blessing and the Spirit's working, not by any virtue in the administrator (1 Cor.3:7).
283. Lord's Supper: In the Upper Room, Jesus transformed the Passover (Ex.12) into the Lord's Supper (Mt.26:26-30). It is a memorial intended to strengthen the believer's walk in Christ (1 Cor.11:24-25). It praises Christ's death, His substitutionary sacrifice on the cross: bread represents His body and wine (or grape juice) His shed blood (death). Rejoice in Christ’s accomplished redemption and hope in His imminent return (Rev.22:20).
284. Remembrance: "Do this in remembrance of Me" (1 Cor.11:24). Christian remembrance at the Lord's Supper is past grace (Eph. 2:8), present grace (2 Cor.13:14), and future grace (1 Pet.1:13). "For out of His infinite riches in Jesus He giveth and giveth and giveth again." Christians need constant calls to remembrance (2 Pet.1:12-15) because people forget (Ps.106:21). How can Christians forget their Savior who never forgot them?
285. Baptism - Mode: The Greek means "to dip"; it is like dying a cloth, drawing water by placing one vessel into another, or dipping a piece of chalk into water. The early church immersed, dipped under water, all catechized believers (Mt.3:16; John 3:23; Acts 8:38). Baptism does not save anyone. Whether the mode (way in which it is done) is sprinkling or immersion, infant or believer baptism, it should not divide true believers.
286. Baptism - Reasons: A believer who is not baptized should be the exception to the rule (Luke 23:39-43). Reasons a believer should seriously desire to be baptized are: to follow Christ's example (Mt.3:13-17; Eph.5:1); to signify cleansing from sin (Acts 2:37-38); to signify union with Christ (John 3:3-7); to declare being in the body of Christ (1 Cor.12:13); to declare publicly the intent to walk in newness of life (Rom.6:4; Eph.4:22-24).
287. Baptism - Infants: With no biblical basis, this belief has a dishonest and illogical explanation: "The household words seal the case for infant baptism based on a powerful presumption" (Strawbridge, The Case for Covenantal Infant Baptism). Scripture has no command to baptize infants or any explicit instances of infant baptism. The Philippian jailer and Crispus households believed and then were baptized (Acts 16:30-33; 18:8).
288. Giving - Israel: A tithe is ten percent of one's gross income (Gen.14:20). Tithing in Israel was basically taxation: every year ten percent was tithed to sustain the theocracy, the king and government officials; every year ten percent was tithed for the priests and festivals (Deut.12:10-11); and every third year, ten percent was tithed for the poor (14:28-29). The average taxation was twenty-three and one-third percent each year.
289. Giving - New Testament: Since 1962, as income in America has gone up, the percent of giving has gone down. Church giving is more than tithing; it is liberality. We give as Christ gives to us. Reasons we give (2 Cor. 9:6-15): law of sowing and reaping (v.6; Gal. 6:7); generous giving pleases God (v.7); God is the One who enables us to give (vs.8-11; James 1:17); it brings glory to God and meets other’s needs (vs.11-15).
290. Revival: Many churches today are Laodecian (Rev.3:14-22); they need reviving. Revival means "to live again," "to come alive." Revival is a regaining of spiritual consciousness ("time of refreshing," Acts 3:19). There were at least ten Old Testament revivals (1 Sam.7; 1 Kgs.18; 2 Chron.14- 16, 20, 30, 34-35; Neh.8). Revival is a work of God. It cannot be worked up by man. God restores His backsliders to repentance, faith, and obedience.
291. Revivalism: Biblically, "We're having ‘revival’ meetings at Church" is a false statement. This should be called revivalism, man-made ‘revival’, which Charles Finney (b.1792) introduced. He believed revival would occur using certain man-made practices, such as altar calls and kneeling benches. Over time the result of his revivalism in New York state was the hardened ground of unbelief (Eph.4:17-24). Only God can bring revival.
292. Spiritual Gifts: A spiritual gift is a skill that God anoints to be effective. It is a God-given ability to serve God and other Christians in such a way that Christ is glorified and other believers are edified (built-up in the faith). Each Christian has at least one spiritual gift, and they are to be used for the common good (1 Cor.12:7). There are four representative lists of spiritual gifts in Scripture (Eph.4:11; 1 Pet.4:11; Rom.12:3-8; 1 Cor.12:3-11, 27-31).
293. Authority: Radical individualism questions all authority, the power or right to enforce obedience. Christians, as bond-slaves of Christ (Rom.1:1; 1 Cor.6:19-20), submit to God's authority, Kingship and Word (Luke 6:46). Two false options on the authority of God's Word are: it is myth, man-made or it is a mixture of God and man. Reformers defended Scripture's authority (Sola Scriptura); it is all of God (Ps.119:160; 2 Tim. 3:16).
294. Priest: A priest is a minister of religion who offers worship through the medium of sacrifice and intercession (Lev.16). There can be no true Christianity without a priest and a confessional; it is not the Roman Catholic priest or confessional. There is only one true Priest, Christ (Heb. 4:14-15), and one true confessional, the throne of grace (4:16). Christians need no other priest than Jesus; Christ does not share His office with anyone else.
295. Marriage: Marriage is authored and defined by God (Gen.2:24; Mt.19:5; Eph.5:31). It is the union (super gluing or cementing together) of one man and one woman in an inseparable bond until death parts them (Mt.19:6; Mal.2;16; 1 Cor.7:39). The purpose of marriage is procreation (Gen.1:28), sporting (26:8), support (2:18), and most importantly to be a picture of the inseparable union of Christ and His church (Eph. 5:25).
296. Blessing: Blessing is divine favor from God. Receiving His blessing is to be blessed (Greek "religiously happy," Mt.5:3-12), to enjoy God's favor, smiling face, or grace. The believers' response to God's favor is to in turn bless God (Ps.34:1). The Hebrew benediction in Numbers 6:24-26 defines blessedness as supreme favor from God's hand, "The LORD bless you, and keep you, and make His face shine upon you…and give you peace."
297. Christianity: Christ is Christianity; without Jesus Christianity ceases. "The leading mark of Christianity is the remedy it provides for sin" (J.C. Ryle). Through faith in Jesus' shed blood there is forgiveness of sins; this is Christianity's message, the gospel (Eph.1:7, 1 John1:9). Christianity can be condensed into four words: admit (Luke 5:8); submit (18:13); commit (Col. 2:6); transmit (Mt.28:19-20). Christianity is costly grace (1 Pet.2:24).
298. Mystery: In English a mystery is a secret; it’s not the Bible meaning. The Greek word for "mystery" is a truth that was hidden from human knowledge or understanding, but now is disclosed by the revelation of God (Eph.3:1-7). It is now an open secret to those with spiritual understanding (1:17-18). The aim of theology is "great is the mystery of godliness" (1 Tim. 3:16). The central mystery of Christianity is Christ formed in a man's soul.
299. Subordination - Trinity: The Trinity has two theological concepts: 1) ontological (equality in nature, power, and glory) and 2) economic (distinction in status). In the economic plan of redemption, the Son subordinated, put Himself under the Father, and the Spirit put Himself under the Father and the Son. The Father sent the Son, who obeyed the Law perfectly (Mt.5:17-18), and died on the cross (John 3:16-17).
300. Invisible: Before mealtime a boy was told, "Go wash your hands before we pray." He replied, "All I hear is germs and Jesus and you can't see either." God is a Spirit, invisible to the human eye (John 4:24; 1 Tim. 1:17; 6:16; 1 John 4:12). With spiritually illumined eyes of faith (Eph. 1:17- 18), believers see Jesus, the God-man, who has made God visible (John 1:18; 1 Pet.1:8-9). "Jesus is more real than any outward object seen."
301. Theophany – O.T.: A theophany is a visible manifestation of the invisible God, theos ("God”) plus epiphany ("appearance"). "The Angel of the Lord" is often a description of a theophany (Gen.16:7-14; Ex.3:2; Judg. 6:12,20; 13:3-21). In a theophany God appears in a bodily form (Gen. 18), but not same as the God-man incarnation in John 1:14. When a theophany occurs, God must come down (Ps.33:13; 113:6; 144:5; Neh. 9:13).
302. Virgin Birth: Larry King of CNN said, "If I could talk to Jesus, I’d ask Him if He was virgin born. That would give purpose and true meaning to life." The virgin birth means Jesus' birth was the result of a miraculous conception in Mary's womb by the power of the Holy Spirit, without a human father (Mt.1:18-25). As virgin born, Jesus the God-man, “the Holy One” (Luke 1:35), had NO human depravity and was sinless (1John 3:5).
303. Kenosis - Incarnation: What if kenosis (#27 emptying theory) was true? (Phil.2:8) Or the hymn “[Jesus] Emptied Himself of all but love"? (1 John 4:8) To empty of deity makes the incarnation false. In the incarnation Jesus was one hundred percent God and one hundred percent man, yet without sin (1 John 3:5; Heb.4:15). If the incarnation is false, then there is no Substitute for our sins, and we are most to be pitied (1 Cor.15:12-19).
304. Childhood - Jesus: The years between Jesus' infancy and baptism are called the silent years. God's assessment of those years, "I am well pleased" (Mt.3:17; John 4:34; 8:29). The only Biblical account of Jesus' childhood is Luke 2:41-52 (age twelve). It reveals: Jesus was the Son of God with a divine mission; He had supernatural wisdom; His human nature was perfect; He experienced human maturation without altering His deity.
305. Transfiguration: Before Jesus entered His passion (Mt.16:21), the transfiguration occurred (Mt.17:1-9; Mk.9:2-10; Luke 9:28-36). Its purpose was to assure His disciples that after His ascension (Acts 1:9-11), He would return and establish the Kingdom (2 Pet.1:16-18). The transfiguration demonstrated that Jesus was the true glory of God (Heb.1:1-3; 1 Cor.2:8). John's visions in Rev.1:14-16 and 19:11-16 show marked similarities.
306. Humiliation: The cross before the crown; humiliation (Phil.2:6-8) before exaltation (2:9-11); the first advent as Suffering Servant (Isa.52:13- 53:12) before the second as King of Kings and Lord of Lords(Rev.19:16).Christ's humiliation includes His birth, made under the law, undergoing the miseries of this life, wrath of God, death and burial. The servant is never above the Master (Mt. 10:24-25; John 13:16; 1 Pet.1:11; Acts 14:22).
307. Baptism - Jesus: Those baptized by John the Baptist had confessed their sins (Mt. 3:6). Jesus came to John to be baptized (3:13). John tried to prevent Him (3:14); this was John's declaration that Jesus was sinless. Why did Jesus want to be baptized? He said "permit it to be so now … to fulfill all righteousness" (3:15). Jesus was born under the law (Gal.4:4-5), and thus He came to fulfill the law perfectly (5:17-18), including baptism.
308. Cross: When God bruised His Son on the cross (Isa.53:10), many blaspheme by calling it “cosmic child abuse.” The cross is the pulpit of holy God going out as love and coming down as grace. God's love changed the cross from a symbol of fear to symbol of faith (John 3:16-17; 1 Cor.1:18, 23-24). It prompted Isaac Watts to write "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" … "Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul my life, my all."
309. Easter: Jesus predicted He'd "be killed and be raised the third day" (Mt.16:21; 17:23; 20:19). "He is risen, as He said" (Mt.28:6) was said at the empty tomb early Sunday morning, the first day of the week. The early church met on Sunday (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor.16:2; Rev.1:10). To change worship from the Sabbath (Saturday) Sunday is one confirmation of Jesus' resurrection. Easter is the Resurrection of resurrection Sundays!
310. Pentecost: Pentecost, called the Feast of harvest (Ex.23:16) or Day of First Fruits (Num.28:16), was the fiftieth day after Passover. Pentecost is "the birthday of the church." It began with Peter's Pentecostal Sermon (Acts 2:14-41). The Holy Spirit came like a dove into believers at Pentecost (2:1- 4; John 16:7) and will not depart (Eph.1:13-14). Hence Pentecost is never repeated. The church has celebrated Pentecost Sunday with baptisms.
311. Reformation: Sadly, most Christians know October 31 as Halloween and not as Reformation Day. On this day in 1517 Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-five Theses (Bible debate topics) to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. In these Luther struck the keynote of the Reformation: salvation through Christ alone (1 Cor.1:30). R.C. Sproul said the Reformation could be summarized in three words: Regeneration precedes faith (1 Cor.12:3).
312. Law - Principles: Basic principles of God's law (His commandments, will, precepts) are: 1) The spirit is more important than the letter (Prov. 4:23); 2) The negative as well as positive to prevent inner and outer sin, to promote inner and outer righteousness (1 John 3:6-7); 3) The law is not an end in itself (Gal.3:24); 4) God alone is qualified to judge men's hearts (1 Kgs. 8:39); 5) The standard, Mt.5:48, is possible only in Christ (1 John 3:2).
313. Law - Adders and Subtractors: Pharisees added to God's Law. Their 1,000 man-made laws (the oral law or "the commandments of men" or "the tradition of men") replaced Scripture; (Mk.7:6-9). They will get all the Bible plagues (Rev.22:18). Sadducees subtracted from God's law (Acts 23:8). Their names are not in the Book of Life (Rev. 22:19). Christ plus or minus anything is not salvation. "Thou must save … alone" (Acts 16:30-31).
314. Works Righteousness: Works righteousness is legalism; spirituality is measured by obeying an arbitrary, man-made set of rules (Mt.15:7-9). The Pharisees created the oral law, 1,000 man-made rules to merit or earn salvation. For example, it was unlawful to prepare any food on the Sabbath. Instead, they had the Gentiles prepare the food! What they forgot was Isa. 64:6. Salvation is by an alien righteousness, that of Christ (Phil.3:9).
315. Guilt: Guilt is the violation of a standard and the liability to punishment that goes with the violation. The first guilt occurred after the first sin in Eden (Gen. 3.1-5). Guilt comes from original sin and all subsequent guilt flows from it. True guilt comes from willfully and knowingly disobeying God. David endured true guilt (Ps.32). "Guilty vile and helpless we, spotless Lamb of God was He. Full atonement can it be? Hallelujah, what a Savior!"
316. Redemption: The act of redemption in the Old Testament was the Exodus (Israel freed from Egyptian slavery). The New Testament act of redemption is Jesus' death on the cross as a penal substitution (Eph.1:7; John 1:29; 1 Pet.1:18-20). Redemption is the means of salvation (1 Cor. 1:30); it is deliverance by payment of a price (a ransom, shed blood). "My redemption complete, I then found at His feet, and Calvary covers it all."
317. Atonement: To atone means to make amends or repair. The atonement of Christ repaired the broken relationship between God and sinners (Rom.3:21-26). Atonement can be summarized in two doctrines: penal substitution and reconciliation. In Scripture "gave" means atonement (John 3:16; Gal.1:4; Titus 2:14). "Guilty, vile, and helpless we, Spotless Lamb of God was He; Full atonement can it be? Hallelujah, what a Savior!
318. Penal Substitution: It places the Substitute (Jesus) between my guilty self and a sin-hating God (A.W. Pink). The Substitute suffers the death, punishment, and curse due to fallen sinners (Isa.53:6; 1 Pet.2:24; 2 Cor.5:21). It effectively secures immunity for sinners from these obligations. An illustration is Dickens' novel The Tale of Two Cities. "Bearing shame and scoffing rude, in my place condemned He stood. Hallelujah, what a Savior!"
319. Reconciliation: The Greek means to exchange enmity (hatred) for amity (friendship). God removes His holy hatred and alienation from a sinner by the substitution of Christ as sacrifice for sin and restores the sinner to His favor (2 Cor.5:18-21; Eph.2:16; Col.1:19-23). Greek means ‘a bringing together again’ and it emphasizes the completeness of the action. Unity among men is only possible as men are reconciled together to God.
320. Atonement - Definite: Did Jesus' death: 1) only make salvation possible for everyone or 2) did He actually save His people (Mt.1:21; John 10:11; Isa.53:10)? In #1 man acts as sovereign and decides salvation. And #2 extols God's sovereignty and the doctrine of election (1 Cor.1:30; Eph.1:4,11). The first is humanistic, unbiblical, and results in no one being saved. The second is biblical, and gives all the glory to God (Rom.11:36).
321. Propitiation: Propitiation is a sacrifice that averts (stops, prevents) wrath by expiating (covering) sin, to cancel guilt. Christ's substitutionary death on the cross was a propitiation, it satisfied God's wrath against sinners (Rom.3:25; 1 John 2:2; 4:10; Heb.2:17). Jesus’ death turns away God’s wrath and He sees a sinner with favor. "God be merciful to me a sinner" (propitiate, atone for my sin by a blood sacrifice; Luke 18:13).
322. Expiation: Expiation is the means of propitiation. Both summarize substitution. Propitiation is God-ward. Expiation is man-ward; it refers to the ransom paid (shed blood). Propitiation refers to the One receiving the ransom as satisfied. Expiation means three things: sin is covered; guilt is removed, and iniquity is pardoned (Ps.32:1-2). "It is finished" (John 19:30, Jesus' work of expiation is complete); our sins are "purged" (Heb.1:3).
323. Divine Initiative: R.C. Sproul was gifted a T-shirt that read "BUT GOD." That is divine initiative, God must act first. To overcome human inability (Eph.2:1-3), divine initiative (2:4) is necessary. A depraved man, born with a sin nature (Ps.51:5), enslaved to sin (John 8:34) and unable to save himself (Jer.13:23), is left with only the penitent's prayer (Luke 18:13). "Thou must save and Thou alone. Rock of Ages cleft for me."
324. Forget: The saying today is "To forgive is to forget." Biblically, that is false. An omniscient, all-knowing God never forgets anything (Acts 15:18; Num.32:23; Hos.7:2). In Isa. 43:25 God says, "I am He who blots out your transgressions … and I will not remember your sins." Though God still knows the sin, this means God will never bring up forgiven sin to come between us and Him ever again (Ps.103:12; Micah 7:19).
325. Gratitude: Giving thanks is an attitude of gratitude. Past grace is glorified by intense and joyful thanks to God. "Gratitude is a species of joy that arises in our heart in response to the good will of someone who does us a favor" (J. Piper; Luke 17:11-19). Gratitude to God doesn't mean we owe Him acts of obedience; that turns grace into debt and legalism. Grace pays debt (Gal.2:20; 1 Cor.15:10). The correct response is in Ps.116:12-13.
326. Sealing: The sealing of the Holy Spirit is cited three times in the New Testament (the highest emphasis; 2 Cor.1:22; Eph.1:13, 4:30). It occurs at regeneration simultaneously with Spirit baptism (1 Cor.12:13) and Spirit indwelling (John 3:6; Rom.8:9). It means: completed transaction (Jer.32:10- 15); security (Dan.6:16-17); authenticity (1 Kgs.21:7-9); authority (Rev.7:2); and ownership (3:12). Sealed believers belong inseparably to Christ.
327. Separation: Seeker-sensitive services shun the doctrine of separation from the world. Sin brings separation from God morally and spiritually (Isa.59:1-2; Eph.2:13), but not spatially (Ps.139:7-12). The Christian is in the world, but not of the world (John 17:6,18). He evangelizes the lost (Mt.28:19-20), loves his enemies (Luke 6:27-28), but does not conform to or adopt the world's standards (1 John 2:15-17; 2 Cor.6:14-7:1; Rom.12:2).
328. Eternal Life: Many Christians falsely believe that eternal life begins at death. Biblically, eternal life begins at regeneration, the new birth (John 3:3- 8,16). Eternal life is twofold: quantitative life and qualitative life. Quantitative life means everlasting life, life with no end (Mt.25:46). Qualitative life means Holy Spirit gives life with God’s character traits (2 Pet.1:4); communicative attributes of God become ours (love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness).
329. Conversion - Deathbed: Many assume they will always have time tocome to saving faith in Jesus. Wrong! Man knows not his hour! (Heb.9:27; Ps.31:15; Luke 12:13-21). The Bible has only one deathbed conversion. "One thief was saved that no sinner might despair, but only one, that no sinner might presume" (Ryle; Luke 23:39-43). God's sovereignty does not destroy man's responsibility (Isa.55:6; Heb.2:3; 2 Cor. 6:2). Come, today.
330. Seeking: Seeker-sensitive services were started under the premise the unbeliever seeks God. Biblically, that is false. The unbeliever is not seeking God; he is running from God (Rom.3:11-12). "I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew, He moved my soul to seek Him, seeking me." God does the seeking of His elect (Ezek.34:11-16; John 3:6-8). "None begin to seek until they are quickened [made alive]" (Pink; Ps.27:8: Eph.2:1).
331. Call - General: Professing Christians are divided whether Scripture teaches one call or two. Greek for "calling" has a heavenly origin and is used of God inviting man to accept the benefits of salvation in Jesus. Followers of Arminius believe only in a general call, the outer call to all who hear with the ear the preaching of God's Word. This common grace is the free offer of the gospel and it can be resisted (Mt.22:14; Acts 7:51).
332. Call - Effectual: Reformed or doctrines of grace Christians believe in two calls, general (#331) and effectual. The Bible teaches both. The effectual call is the inner call to all who respond with the heart, through the power of the Holy Spirit with the Word. This effectual call cannot be resisted (Ps.110:3; Acts 2:39; Rom.11:29; 2 Tim.1:9; 1 Cor.1:9; Ezek.36:26). This special grace of the effectual call is based on election by God (#196).
333. Remnant: A remnant is a small quantity. When asked, "Why are there so few conversions?" M. Lloyd-Jones replied, "Because it’s the will of God." The Bible teaches the doctrine of the remnant from cover to cover (1 Kgs. 19:18; Isa.6:13; Mt.7:13-14, 22:14; Luke 12:32, 13:24; Rom.9:27). The remnant is according to the election of grace, a distinguishing grace (Rom. 9:11). Only a few enter the narrow gate to walk the narrow way with Jesus.
334. Herd Mentality: "Misery loves company" (a herd; Prov.4:16; Acts 5:17-42; John 5:44, 19:14-15). The herd mentality is a group of people whouse their common bond of same thoughts to conclude their thinking is correct. Believers agree with God whether alone or in a group (Amos.3:3; Stephen in Acts 7). "Living fish swim against the stream" (T. Watson); it's easy to go with the current. "The bigger the herd, the easier the stampede."
335: Witness: A witness is a person who gives testimony, tells their story. Biblical definitions of a witness are found in John 1:6-8; Acts 4:19-20; and Jonah 1:2, 3:2. In Jonah witnesses arise, go, and cry or preach. To testify, bear witness, is part of evangelizing, but not the same as evangelizing. To evangelize means to proclaim the gospel. The spiritual story of the witness does not save anybody; only the gospel of Jesus Christ saves sinners.
336. Missionary: Vision and task make a Christian missionary. The vision is the supremacy of God in all things & making Jesus known. The task is the Great Commission (Mt.28:19-20; Mk.16:16). "A Christian is either a missionary or an impostor" (Spurgeon). The laborers are few (Mt. 9:37-38) because of selfishness, fear, ignorance, hypocrisy, and lack of belief in Rom. 1:16. Missionaries proclaim Jesus in word and deed (Mt.10:32-33).
337. Radical: Christian, have you ever been called a radical (a fanatic, an extremist)? Think how fanatical football fans are in America. Regeneration (#9) is the most profound, radical change ever. It goes from spiritual blindness to spiritual understanding (Mt.15:14; 1 John 5:20), from darkness to light (Eph.5:8), from the Kingdom of Satan to the Kingdom of God (Col.1:13). Hardened sinners are transformed (Rom.12:2; Acts 4:13).
338. Decisionism: Evangelism today emphasizes a one-time decision for Jesus, not a life lived for Jesus. It uses easy, nonbiblical language: "Just believe," "Pray to receive," "Invite Jesus into your heart." The emphasis is on the will, not the mind or heart. Its focus is on God's benefits, not God Himself, and on His blessings, not God changing the heart (regeneration). Biblically, it is false and results in name only Christians (Eph. 4:17-19).
339. Decisionism - Contrast: In contrast to decisionism, true evangelism preaches doctrine, gospel, and conversion. "There is no conversion unless there is repentance” (Puritans, Acts 2:37-38). "There is no regeneration without repentance" (Calvin, Mt.4:17). True evangelism is: "Surrender to Christ as Lord" (Col.2:6), "Turn from sin," "Sins are forgiven only through Christ's blood" (Eph.1:7), and "Live in obedience to Jesus" (John 14:15).
340. Easy Believism: Easy believism, "take it by faith," is justification without sanctification (Eph. 2:10). Prosperity promotes it. Traits are: lacks counting the cost (Luke 9:23), has decisionism (just make a profession of faith so "you are in"), minimizes sin (Rev.3:15-17), and lacks self-examined life (2 Cor.13:5). It results in antinomianism (grace will cover all my sins, Rom.5:20-6:2), false security, and lots of tares (unbelievers, Mt.13:25-26).
341. Apostasy: The Greek means "fall away" (1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Thess. 2:3; Luke 8:13; Heb. 3:12, 6:6;). Apostasy is a deliberate renunciation or abandonment of a previously held belief or loyalty (John 6:66; 2 Tim. 4:10). Biblically, forgetting God is tied to apostasy (Deut.8). "The fearful soul that tires and faints, and walks the way of God no more; is but esteemed almost a saint, and makes his own destruction sure." (1 John 2:19)
342. Heresy: Skeptics reduce all claims of truth to just opinions; this makes it impossible to identify heresy. Heresy is any belief or practice that departs from biblical truth. Heresies dealt with in the New Testament were legalism (man-made rules that replace the Bible; Mt.15:7-9), antinomianism ("I can sin all I want and still have remission"; Rom.5:20-6:2), and Gnosticism (denied incarnation; 1 John). Must oppose heresy to protect the gospel.
343. Fatalism: "Que Sera Sera" (Whatever Will be, Will be) is the song of fatalists. Fatalism is false doctrine that human events are fixed in advance and humans are only puppets, powerless to change events. Fatalism denies concurrence (divine sovereignty and human responsibility flowing together; Phil.2:12-13; Gen 50:20; 1 Pet.1:22; Neh.4:9). "It happened" (luck) is pagan fatalism; "It came to pass" is sovereign God (Luke 2:1).
344. Inability: To say "God has given every man the ability to believe" (B. Graham) is biblically false. "The commandments of God do not imply the ability to obey God. God tells our duty, not to prove to us that we can do it, but to humble us to admit we can't" (Luther). Humility is the first mark of believers (Mt.5:3); they know moral and spiritual inability resulted from the Fall (Gen.3). We can't, but God can (John 3:27; 6:44,63,65; 15:5).
345. The Way: In the early church "Christian" was a term of ridicule (Acts 11:26). Christians said they belonged to "the (true) Way" (9:2; 19:9; 24:4); Jesus said He is "the Way" (John 14:6). When Christians know the Way, see the Way, and follow the Way, they won't stray or lose their way (Ps.32: 8; 37:23,24; 119:105; Job 31:4; John 12:26). "Footsteps of Jesus that make the pathway glow. We will follow the steps of Jesus where'er they go."
346. History - Views: Different views of history are: 1) Inevitable progress (Marxists); 2) Cycles (Greek philosophers and Book of Ecclesiastes - life "under the sun," 1:1-11); 3) Scientific (world is like a clock winding down to a stoppage); 4) Professional historians (history is a meaningless, lawless, shapeless series of events); 5) Biblical view (God is in control of this sinful world which is headed to a final predetermined end, Acts 15:18.)
347. Eschatology: Eschatology is the study of last things, the end times; It also includes prophecy (as foretelling, predicting the future; Isa.46:9-11). Biblically, main topics of eschatology are: 1) Christ's resurrection (Mt.16:21; Rom.1:3-4; 10:9,13); 2) Christ's return - the Second coming, the climax of His exaltation and hope of every believer ("Perhaps Today"; Mt.24:27); and 3) Christ's retribution - coming for final judgment (2 Tim.4:1; Mt.13:41-43).
348. Exaltation - Representative: In heaven God exalted Jesus to His right hand (highest honor, Acts 5:31). For believers it is incredible that Christ's exaltation is representative - He will someday share His throne with His people (Rev.3:21), make them kings (1:6) to rule on earth (5:10) and judge angels (1 Cor.6:2-3). They will share in the communicable aspects of His glory (John 17:24). All this happens because of union with Christ (3:5).
349. Right Hand: As a symbol in Scripture, the right hand signifies power (Isa.59:1; Ps.89:13; Amos 9:2). The right hand means the place of majesty, honor, favor, and exaltation. The resurrected Christ ascended to the throne of God in heaven and is seated, in session (ruling), at God's right hand (Heb.1:3, 8:1, 10:12, 12:2)."Forever in my thought the Lord before my face shall stand; Secure, unmoved, I shall remain with Him at my right hand."
350. Left Hand: In the mid twentieth century, many lefthanded children had their left hand tied behind their back to force them to use the ‘good hand’, the right. Biblically, the only seemingly ‘good left’ usage is the lefthanded Benjamite sling shot artists (Judges 20:16). In the ancient world, the left hand represented weakness and rejection (Mt.25:33,41). The left side was considered ‘unlucky’; in Latin sinister means "on the left hand."
351. Second Coming: When King Jesus returns to earth, He will come to prove His reign for all time. The Second Coming is the climax of Jesus' exaltation. It is: 1) personal (Rev. 22:20), 2) physical (Acts 1:11), 3) visible (Rev.1:7), 4) sudden (Mt.24:27), 5) glorious (Titus 2:13). The cross comes before the crown; His First Coming as Suffering Servant (Isa. 52:13-53:12) precedes His Second Coming as Sovereign King forever (Rev.19:6,16).
352. Second Coming - Anticipation: "Early Christians were not looking for a cleft in the ground, but a cleavage in the sky" (McClaren). Believers live in anticipation of Jesus' imminent return; "He is coming at an hour when you think not" (Luke 12:37,40,46; 17:26-30). "Live packed up and ready to go, and packed up and ready to wait" (Packer) - "Perhaps Today" (Spurgeon's study door). Prepare for His coming by never forgetting His Presence.
353. Habit: Shakespeare quote, "How use [repetition] doth breed a habit in man.” A habit is a settled or regular practice. In all of life the power of habit must be closely watched. Habits are blessed gifts if we know the truth, and practice the truth habitually (Heb.5:12-14). But with sin, they can be deadly poison (Jer.13:23; 22:21; Acts 10:9-16; 1 Pet.2:14). "Sow an action reap a habit. Sow a habit reap a character. Sow a character reap a destiny."
354. Hate: Hate is very strong dislike. The unbeliever hates God and others (Titus 3:3; Rom.8:7). Unlike man, when God hates He does not sin (9:13). When God loves he wills good (John 3:16); when God hates He does not will good (Amos 5:21-24; Isa.1:13-15). Those whom God hates He judges (Amos 2:4-5). Believers hate what God hates, striving to do so without sin (Ps.139:21-22). How? By weeping, praying for the wicked (Phil.3:17-19).
355. Guarantee: "The only thing more certain for us than death and taxes is the final judgment" (J.M. Boice). That guarantee (promise, assurance) about the final judgment is a terror for unbelievers (Isa.55:11; Heb. 9:27). John 8:22-25 has four guarantees that sinners will die in their sin: be self- righteous (v.22), be worldly (v.23), be unbelieving (v.24), and be willingly or stubbornly ignorant (v.25). Heed Romans 6:23,“The wages of sin is death.”
356. Judgment of Unbelievers: Judgment is God inflicting on sinners the consequences of their own sinful choices (Rom.1:32; 6:23A - eternal death, hell). Unbelievers dismiss judgment because they do not want to be held responsible. But God, as holy, holds man responsible (Gen.2:17; Isa.1:19- 20) and must judge sin (Ex.34:6-7). God's judgment is now (Isa.26: 9), at death (Heb. 9:27) and at Christ's Coming (2 Tim. 4:1; Rev. 20:11-15).
357. Judgment of Believers: Believers should not say, "God is judging me for my sins." Why? Because Jesus died on the cross and took God's judgment of their sin - past, present, and future (John 19:30). God is a wrathful Judge of unbelievers, but with believers He acts as a loving Father who disciplines His children when they sin (Heb.12:6-11). Judgment of believers is not for sin, but for fruits of obedience and rewards (2 Cor. 5:10).
358. Immortal - Man: When sudden death occurs, it is often said, "He died too soon or before His time." Biblically, that is false. "It is appointed for man to die once" (Heb.9:27). Henry Martyn, the missionary to India, said, "I am immortal until God's work for me on earth is done." Paul knew that (Phil.1: 21-24). Man is soul and body; death brings separation for a time, until both unite to spend eternity in one of two places, heaven or hell (Mt.10: 28).
359. Paradise: Hades had divisions: the upper for believers, Paradise, and the lower for unbelievers (Luke 16:19-31). When Jesus was crucified, His body was buried, and His spirit went and preached to the spirits in "prison" (Hades; 1 Pet.3:19). He moved Paradise, leading His freed captives, believers, in triumphal procession to the third heaven, God's throne (Eph. 4:8-10). Paradise is heaven, where Jesus is (2 Cor.12:1-4; Luke 23: 43).
360. Heaven: Heaven is the abode of God on His throne (Ps.33:13; Rev. 4:2), holy angels (Isa.6:3; Rev.4:8), and saints (2 Cor.5:8). Heaven has no sin, (Isa.57:15), unbelievers, demons, or Satan (Rev.12:7-12; 21:8). The greatest picture of heaven is in Revelation 4,5. Synonyms are paradise (2 Cor.12:1-4), bosom of Abraham (Luke 16:22), and New Jerusalem (Rev. 21,22). Best hope, to be with Christ in heaven (Acts 1:11; John 17:13,24).
361. Glorification: Paul's "Golden (unbreakable) Chain of Salvation" in Romans 8:30 ends with glorification in heaven. At glorification believers will be completely transformed into Christ's image (8:29). The ultimate good (8:28) is the believer's final likeness to Christ (not deification) and sin is no longer present. The final glorification of the believer (1 John 3:2; 1 Cor. 15:49; Phil.3:11) is a process that began at regeneration (2 Cor.3:18).
362. Reward: A reward is a return for service. Many Christians find the idea of rewards as offensive and righteousness by works. But the Bible teaches rewards for believers (Mt.5:12; 25:21; John 12:26; 1 Cor.15:58; Eph.6:8; Heb.11:26; James 1:12; Rev. 2:7,17; 3:5,12,21). Rewards are not based on merit; all the merit is Christ's. The reward is for what we do in Christ, for His glory. In heaven believers lay their crowns at Christ's feet (Rev.4:10-11).
363. Pride: "Pride is the complete anti-God state of mind" (Lewis). Pride boasts in self, not in God (1 Cor.1:29-31). It was the sin in the Garden of Eden (Gen.3:1-5) and the ground in which all other sins grow. When any man is proud, he is kin to the devil and not to God. Pride loves to climb up, not like Zaccheus to see Jesus (Luke 19:3-4), but to be seen by men (Mt.23:5). The proud person presumes he can be happy apart from God.
364. Perish: To perish (John 3:16; Ps.1:6) is the danger facing every human being born in sin (Ps.51:5) and enslaved to it (John 8:34). Perish means a sinner: will die (Rom.5:12; Heb.9:27); is under God's wrath (John 3:18,36); is subject to God's fiery judgment (Rev.14:10-11a) and will be forever separated from God's blessings (2 Thess.1:8-9). Perishing is irreversible (Luke 6:26); to avoid perishing, call on Jesus (Rom.10:9,13).
365: Hell: "A God of love (1 John 4:8) would never send anyone to hell" is the false wish of many. "Hell is a spiritual and material furnace of fire where its victims are eternally tortured in their minds and in their bodies by God, the devils, and damned humans, including themselves" (J. Edwards; Mt.8:12, 10:28, 13:41-42; Luke 16:19-31; Rev.20:11-15). Hell is not the absence of God (as many think), but hell is His eternal presence in wrath.
366. Hell in Progressive Revelation: There is ongoing, divine information about hell as one proceeds from the Old Testament to the New. The Old Testament first speaks of it as Sheol ("the grave"; Isa.14:15; Hos.13:14). Next, is Hades ("unseen," place of torment; Luke 16:19-31). Then Jesus compared it to Gehenna, the city dump outside Jerusalem (Mk.9:44-48). Lastly, Jesus spoke of it as the lake of fire and brimstone (Rev.20:11-15).
367. Annihilation - False: In 2018 Pope Francis responded to question, "Where do bad souls end up going?" He said, "They are not punished … There is no hell, there is the disappearance of sinful souls." Annihilation claims believers go to heaven at death and unbelievers cease to exist. Sadly, they deny hell for unbelievers, God's justice (Ex.34:7; Deut.32:4), and God's eternal presence in wrath (Mt.25:41,46; Rev.19:20, 20:10).
368. Annihilation - True: "Here is annihilation - the only annihilation I know of - the absolute annihilation of sin through the pardon that the Lord gives to His people" (C.H. Spurgeon; Eph.1:7). Does God forget sin and forgiven sin? No, God has eternal omniscience (Hos.7:2; Ps.32:5). But He never brings the pardoned sin up between the forgiven and Himself again; it is blotted out, "annihilated" (Ps.103:12, 130:3,4; Micah 7:19; Isa.43:25).
369. Weeping: There is weeping in this sin cursed world (Mt.2:16-18; Ps.56:8). Scripture records the incarnate Jesus wept (Mt.23:37; Luke 19:41-44; John 11:35). His weeping is a mark of His humanity; He identifies with us and the effects of sin (Heb.2:14-18). His dispositional will desires our best, salvation, and good (Ezek.33:6). Jesus cares (1 Pet.5:7; Mark 6:34). Hope in heaven, where there is no weeping (Rev.4:5:4-5; Ps.16:11).
370. Future: All men, in their heart of hearts, would like to know the future. God has set eternity in our hearts (Eccl.3:11). Man is limited to knowing the past and present, but the omniscient, eternal God is not (Isa.46:9-11). God, the I AM, is in the eternal present - past, present, and future are all before Him (Acts 15:18). David tells us how to face the future (Ps.16:8). Man’s future uncertainty finds full certainty in God (Ps.29:10-11, John 17:3).
371. Everlasting Life: "Anybody want to live forever? Say I do" (Eccl.3:11). Biblical synonyms are forever life and eternal life. Man is created with an eternal soul and body (Gen.2:7). They separate at death (Rom.5:12), but reunite at the resurrection (John 14:19; 1 John 3:2). The purpose of the Gospel (Gal.1:4) is to tell us of the immutability of our soul and body to be forever in one of two places, heaven (Jesus, John 10:28) or hell (Mt.10:28).