Show Jesus your faith/trust in Him (Heb. 11:6). One who is deceived will not obey the gospel, let alone live by it (2 Thess. 1:8-9). Don't follow the ways/wisdom of mere men (Pro. 14:12). Submit to the will of the great I AM (Js. 4:7). If you believe Jesus Christ is your risen Saviour and are willing to have Him wash your sins away (Acts 22:16), do not hesitate to come visit His people for further assistance as together (Heb. 10:25), created in His image (Gen. 1:27), we help each other be faithful to His kingdom (Mt. 6:33). God bless.
The gospel is simple, powerful and loving. It is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:1-4). This gospel saves all souls (Rom. 1:16) who have faith (Heb. 5:9) to obey (Acts 2:38) and remain faithful to His church (Acts 11:23, Rev. 14:12, Mt. 6:33).
It is eternal punishment to alter, reject and not obey the gospel of Jesus Christ, the risen Son of God (2 Thess. 1:8-9).
If you are part of a "church" or "religious" view teaching contrary to the Bible/Christ, you must repent (Lk. 13:3) and leave those man made rules/traditions behind (Mt. 15:9, Mk 7:7).
Come be our guest and hear the truth that will set you free (Jn. 8:32).
Who is a DOER of the Word?
The Bible says a repentant (Lk. 13:3) believer (Jn. 3:16) confessing the risen Son of God (Rom. 10:9) who submits to being washed of sins (Acts 22:16) in the watery grave of baptism (Acts 2:38) and therefore remaining faithful till the end (Rev. 2:10), that, is a DOER.
Now the question you must ask yourself, are you a DOER?
Contact us to set up a personal study!
Do you love God with all your heart, soul and mind? Some have and do (Mark 16:16a), many others will not (Mark 16:16b).
For those who have become Christians: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Galatians 2:20
Now enters the most important question an honest and seeking heart must ask (Lk. 11:9): at what very moment are we crucified with Christ/forgiven/saved/added, “what must we do?” (Acts 2:37)
Please understand. Many in “religious” error (false teachings, “churches”) will give different and confusing answers (Mk. 13:6), from protestant “faith alone” (Js. 2:24) to Catholic “faith by merit” (Eph. 2:8-9). Both of those vain “faiths” are deceiving, destructive and dead. It will not matter how “good” such “faiths” may seem to us today (2 Tim. 4:3), the end remains the same for such (2 Thess. 1:8-9, Mt. 15:9, Mt. 7:21).
Now for Bible truth/fact (Jn. 8:32), one is crucified with Christ/added to His Kingdom by the very same example, at the very same moment, to which Christians in the Bible were clothed (Gal. 3:27). And that is, when a repentant believer confessed Christ as His risen Savior and submitted to God in being immersed in water for the forgiveness of sins by the authority of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38), he was saved, and added to His church/Kingdom (Jn. 3:5,Mt. 16:18, Acts 2:47). Then, and only then, was a soul crucified with Christ (Rom. 6:3-4) by faith (Heb. 11:6) of obedience (Heb. 5:9). And so it goes today. There is only ONE way (Acts 4:12).
God loves you and will forgive you, but you must accept Him on His conditions, not yours (Pro. 14:12)
There is nothing in this physical life worth your eternal soul in hell (Mt. 6:19-21). Not family, friends, neighbors, co-workers (Lk. 14:26). Not “religious” traditions and “churches” not read about in the Bible (Mk. 7:7). Not drugs/alcohol, gambling, fornication, adultery (1 Cor. 6:9-10).
Deny yourself (Mt. 16:24) and all things shall fall into its proper place (Rom. 8:28).
The most precious and powerful truth in life must always be first, according to scriptures. Jesus Christ (John 3:16), His church (Mt. 16:18), His gospel (Rom. 1:16), and obedience to it (Mk. 16:16, Acts 2:38).
“And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.” - 1 John 5:8
The blood of Christ forgives sins, and it does so when a repentant believer confessing Him as Savior submits to God in the watery grave of baptism (Acts 8:36, Rom. 6:3-4).
Anyone (or “church”) teaching you otherwise is LYING to you.
Come visit the kind of church Jesus Christ built (Mt. 16:18) and learn truth on all matters of faith (Rom. 10:17).
Devoting = give all or a large part of one’s time or resources to…
Deceiving = swindle, defraud, cheat, trick, hoodwink, hoax, dupe, mislead, delude, fool, a person to believe something that is not true, typically in order to gain some personal advantage.
Teachings = the occupation, profession, or work bringing ideas or principles. In this case ideas or principles filled with lies.
1 Timothy 4:1-5
The Coming Apostasy:
In his second letter to Thessalonica, Paul had written of a coming apostasy (2:1ff). That theme is resumed in this epistle to Timothy. The Holy Spirit has spoken (clearly he is a divine person): in “later times” (an expression for the Christian age [Acts 2:16-17; 2 Tim. 3:1) some shall “depart” from “the faith” (the Christian system). There were distinctive identifying traits. (a) Some would listen to “seducing spirits.” “Spirits” are false teachers (cf. 1 Jn. 4:1) who seduce. (b) They would give heed to “doctrines of demons,” most likely teaching concerning demons (demons being the spirits of dead heroes, as that term was used in Greek literature), apparently the worship of dead saints. There is no New Testament record of demons themselves teaching error (v. 1). (c) The teachers would be hypocrites and their doctrines lies. (d) Their consciences would be numb (v. 2). (e) They would practice “forbidding to marry,” e.g., by the dogma of celibacy. (f) The movement would enforce “abstaining from meats” at times (e.g., in certain fasts), which God has created to be used by mankind (v. 3). The foods considered unclean under the Old Testament regime now are “sanctified” (set apart for use as food) through the instruction of the “word of God” and the partaker’s “prayer” (vv. 4-5).
Each of the elements here predicted finds precise fulfillment in the subsequent development of certain early sects (e.g., the second-century Gnostics) and eventually in the corruptions of Catholicism.
Wayne Jackson, A New Testament Commentary
2 Kings 5, Naaman obeyed God and by faith was cleansed.
“What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?” – James 2:14. No, a dead faith cannot save anyone, which is why an unbeliever will never submit to the Will of God in being washed of sins born again a new creature in Christ (Rom. 6:3-4) added to His church (Acts 2:47, Rom. 16:16).
Sadly, many lost souls have clung to the erroneous ideology deceiving them into trusting a false doctrine concocted by the minds of men (Pro. 14:12). They’ve been willfully trained into seeing words in their minds that are not written in the Bible (Mt. 15:14). Let us have a quick examination of the apostle Paul…
“A highly respected Jew, Ananias by name, came and restored Paul’s sight. This man informed Saul that God had chosen him to know his will, to see the Righteous One, i.e., the resurrected Jesus, and to hear his voice. Saul’s future role would be to bear witness to all people of what he had seen and heard, to Jew and Gentile alike. He was then instructed to “arise, and be immersed” (v. 16). The second verb is in a grammatical form that suggests “have yourself immersed.” The decision for baptism (full immersion in water) has to be made by the candidate himself—not another (as in the case of infant baptism). The purpose was to “wash away your sins.” Immersion puts one in contact with Christ’s blood, the ultimate cleansing agent (Heb. 9:14; Eph. 5:26). In this act, one if “calling on [Christ’s] name” (Acts 2:21, 38). His baptism was not a “sign” of cleansing already received; such an allegation is a serious perversion of truth.” – Wayne Jackson, A New Testament Commentary (www.christiancourier.com)
“Note several points in Rev. 22:14. (a) The mode of cleansing is by the Lamb’s blood (Rev. 7:14). (b) “Wash” is a present tense form, which reveals that one must continually access the cleansing blood of Jesus (1 Jn. 1:7). (c) By virtue of Christ’s sacrifice, the faithful have a “right” to the tree of life. We deserve nothing on our own merit; we can claim everything because of what he did!
We are saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9). This is done when we submit to God’s will, the moment a repentant believer confessing Christ as his savior is immersed in water and washed “for the forgiveness of sins” (Acts 2:38).
Don’t die in your sins attending a “church” teaching not found in the Bible, repent of error and come hear truth on all matters of faith (Rom. 10:17). We love you and wish nothing more than to be a family helping each other towards heaven.
It is true in the application of today's world, a great number of souls must repent of "religious" error clung by those we love. A choice is needed, either we continue the erroneous traditions and rules of our fathers (Mt. 15:9), or we break off our ties to false teachings for the sake of the kingdom of God (Lk. 14:26).
Who comes first in your life? (Mt. 6:33). There is no other way but Christ (Acts 4:12), and no other church but His (Mt. 16:18, Rom. 16:16).
Choose wisely and God will cause all things to work together for good to those who love Him (Rom. 8:28).
Contact us today and come hear the truth on all matters of faith
1 Corinthians 1:18-25
The Gospel versus Human Wisdom:
The Greeks prided themselves on their wisdom. Real wisdom, however, is in the “word of the cross,” i.e., the message of the crucified and resurrected Christ. To the “intellectually elite,” the gospel was foolishness; to those “being saved” (a process, not a one-time act) it was the “power of God” (cf. Rom. 1:16). The so-called “wisdom of the wise” would come to a dead end (cf. Isa. 29:14, LXX). The philosophers of the Greek world were fools compared to the revelation from God (v.20). Compare the modern philosopher who has no idea how the universe came into being—or of his own origin. Instead, he pontificates utterly ridiculous theories.
It was God’s pleasure to save lost humanity (i.e., those who will) through the so-called “foolishness” of the message of the cross, accessed only by those who believe it and surrender to its obligations (v. 21; cf. Acts 18:8). The pride of the Greeks would not allow many of them to accept the simple message of a Savior who died for their sins. So remains the situation with many today. A crucified Messiah was a “stumbling block” to the Jews; such did not fit their perception of a conquering king who would overthrow Rom (cf. Jn. 6:15). To those who truly were wise, however and accepted the sacred “calling” (v. 24; 2 Thes. 2:14), Jesus Christ was the power and wisdom of God. With strong hyperbole Paul declared that the “foolishness” and “weakness” of God is so vastly superior to the “wisdom” and “strength” of men, there is no comparison! (v. 25).
Wayne Jackson, A New Testament Commentary
1 Corinthians 13:8-13
Gifts Will Cease; Love Abides:
It must be remembered that the theme of love and spiritual gifts are woven together in this context. Some of the Corinthians saints were gloating in their gifts, exploiting them without the needs of others being paramount. One final argument, therefore, is this: The gifts are but temporary in the divine order of things. Love must abide. It is the all-encompassing regulator of moral conduct.
Paul selects three gifts—prophecy, tongues, and knowledge—to be illustrative of the nine mentioned earlier (cf. 12:8-10). These supernatural bestowments will be “done away” or “cease.” Love will go on and on. It will be needed to regulate human conduct indefinitely. The gifts of knowledge and prophecy, for example, came incrementally through the different ones possessing these gifts, but when the “prefect” (literally, “the complete”) has been accomplished, “the partial” will be needed no longer. The partial was the piece-by-piece revelation; the “complete” was the revelatory process brought to its goal. That happened when the canon of Scripture was completed with the death of John the apostle and the culmination of the New Testament record. The common though careless theory that “the perfect” refers to the return of Christ (and/or heaven) fits neither grammar nor the context. It is woefully unfortunate that this segment of Scripture is so seriously misunderstood, and many continue to labor under the illusion that miracles are operative yet today.
Paul employs two illustrations to conclude his arguments. (a) Certain things are necessary for the child-stage of one’s existence. When that phase is outgrown, the youngster’s “toys” are laid aside. The church needed miraculous gifts during its infancy period; when the revelation factor was complete, it was time for more mature development. (b) The era of partial, bit-by-bit revelation, was similar to seeing one’s image in an imperfect brass mirror. When the full revelation of Scripture was completed, the sharp, face-to-face view would be so much richer. While the supernatural gifts are temporary, faith, hope, and love will be operative even after the completion of the canon of Scripture. The former two will find their goals achieved in time; but love will flourish eternally!
Wayne Jackson, A New Testament Commentary
The Creation Week—Reflections on Genesis
Man has always been intrigued with the theme of origins. Science, however, cannot satisfy that curiosity, for it cannot deal with the question of origins. That is beyond the scope of the scientific method, which requires observation and experimentation.
The first verse of the Bible, though, by divine inspiration, answers the human longing: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” This grand affirmation is both factual and literal. In this article, we will simply highlight some important thoughts related to the account of creation recorded in Genesis.
The expression in the beginning clearly reveals that the universe is not eternal. Modern science confirms this. The second law of thermodynamics, which demonstrates that the universe is running down or wearing out (cf. Hebrews 1:10, 11), implies that it had a commencement. Even unbelievers like agnostic astronomer Dr. Robert Jastrow have conceded that “modern science denies an eternal existence to the Universe” (1977, 15).
This initial phrase focuses upon the commencement time. Prior to this event, time did not exist. Though we are not given a precise date for “the beginning,” the time of the creation is not an irrelevant issue. Other biblical considerations clearly demonstrate that the universe is not billions of years old, as alleged by evolutionary date-setters (see Jackson 1989). The fact is, the universe and humankind share a genesis within the same week (cf. Mark 10:6; Romans 1:20).
The eternal source behind the universe is God. Unlike ancient pagan creation accounts, no explanation is offered for the presence of God. He is simply depicted as the existing Creator.
The Hebrew term Elohim probably derives from a root meaning strong. It is especially employed in the Scriptures to emphasize the Lord’s creative power and his sovereignty over the world. The name, as used in 1:1, is plural. Some argue that the plural merely indicates plenitude of power, while others see in this form a subtle suggestion of the Trinity (Stigers 1976, 47), a concept which becomes quite pronounced subsequently (cf. 1:28; 3:22; 11:7).
The New Testament makes it clear that the pre-incarnate Christ was a key figure in the creation (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2). The fact that Elohim is used with the singular verb bara (created) negates the liberal claim that an early vestige of polytheism is here reflected.
The universe was not self-created, as some modern atheists assert. If matter has the innate power to create itself, it is reasonable to assume that such would be occurring even today. But it is not—as the first law of thermodynamics reveals. One may conclude, therefore, that matter has never had the intrinsic ability to bring itself into existence.
God is said to have created (bara) the heavens and the earth. Bara is used in the Old Testament only of divine activity, and contextual considerations argue that the action of 1:1 involved a creation ex nihilo, i.e., out of nothing (cf. Psalm 33:9; Hebrews 11:3).
The heavens and the earth includes all material elements of the universe in their unorganized compositional condition. And though Scripture does not specifically mention it, apparently even the angels were made at this time, for we are later informed that the entire creation was accomplished within the first week (Exodus 20:11) and that the angels “shouted for joy” when the “foundations of the earth” were laid (Job 38:4-7).
Some allege that there is a vast gap, involving billions of years, between 1:1 and 1:2 (see Deaver 1992, 167-174). There is absolutely no basis for this novel idea, which was concocted in the early nineteenth century as a means of harmonizing the Bible with the evolutionary time scale.
Initially, the earth was without form and void, i.e., this planet did not possess the spherical shape that it now has; it was an undefined mass of matter. Moreover, it was empty of the myriad life forms that would later populate it. Those who argue that the earth at this point was a fully “functional working earth” with numerous forms of primitive biological life (Clayton 1989, 14) do so without any evidence whatever. Such ideas reflect a futile attempt to facilitate the Genesis record to evolutionism.
The original creation was shrouded in darkness as the Holy Spirit of God began to fashion the earth into a place for biological habitation. The expression “the deep” hints that the original consistency of the earth was fluid rather than solid (cf. “waters” in v. 2c).
Then the Creator speaks: “Light, exist!”—and light bathed the planet. The nature of this light is not revealed. It was a temporary source of illumination that marked the days until the sun was made on the fourth day of that first week (v. 14). The New Testament suggests that this original light typified the gospel of Christ, which ultimately was to provide spiritual illumination for the human family (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:4). Thus was the divine activity of the first day of the creation week.
That the days of this initial week were literal days is evidenced by the fact that each was characterized by an evening and morning, and by the use of the ordinal numerals in connection with each day (cf. Numbers 7:12ff). There is no justification for stretching the creation days into vast eons of time in order to accommodate evolutionary chronology (Coffman 1985, 29-31). Nor is it legitimate to suggest that there might have been long ages between the creation days (England 1972, 110). Even more absurd is the notion that the expression “first day” was a mere “literary device” for the conclusion of a paragraph (Willis 1979, 83).
Such compromises clearly reflect a mentality that has been influenced by evolutionary considerations.
On the second day of earth’s first week, God made a firmament to separate two levels of water. Actually, “firmament” is not a good rendition of the original word, raqia; “expanse” is better for there is nothing firm about the heaven above us. The original word is employed in different senses in this chapter (cf. vv. 14, 20).
Some believe that the “waters above the expanse” (or literally, in the upper portion of the expanse [see Aalders 1981, 60]) represents the atmosphere whence comes our rain, snow, etc. Others feel that this may be an allusion to a vapor canopy that surrounded the early earth, providing a paradise-like climate on the pristine planet (Whitcomb and Morris 1961, 240, 241; 255-258).
Terrestrial waters were gathered together into one place and dry land appeared on the third day. This obviously involved massive geological movements. Basins were formed wherein the waters drained—“He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the deeps in store houses” (Psalm 33:7)—and land masses were shoved up. This is not to suggest that the earth that then was is identical to that which now is (cf. 2 Peter 3:6), for the great flood of Noah’s day has since intervened.
On this third day, the world of botany was born. God spoke and the earth brought forth grass, herbs yielding seed, and fruit trees which were already bearing fruit. Though only seconds old, this fruit must have appeared mature. Note that vegetation came into existence before marine life—a fact in conflict with the evolutionary scenario. There is no way to harmonize Genesis with evolutionism.
The text indicates that these plants were designed to produce after their kind. This expression is used ten times in this chapter, and it is scientifically consistent with the laws of genetics. The word “kind,” which is employed in different senses in the Bible, is, in Genesis 1, almost certainly broader than our term “species,” yet it clearly suggests that all forms of life have not derived from an original source.
On the fourth day, God made heavenly luminaries—the sun, moon, and stars. Some contend that these celestial bodies were “created” (bara) in the beginning (v. 1), but were merely “made” (asah), i.e., appointed as earthly chronometers, on the fourth day. There is no justification for this allegation; it is merely baggage of the gap theory. Note that the fiat—“Let there be . . .”—is used interchangeably with “made” (v. 14; cf. 6,7). Bara and asah are synonyms and frequently are used interchangeably (cf. 1:26, 27; 2:2, 3; 5:2). Had the Lord wanted to convey the impression that the sun and moon merely appeared on the fourth day, he could have expressed it as precisely as he did with reference to dry land in verse nine.
The heavenly bodies were to function also as signs (e.g., for things like weather, navigation, or even in prophecy [Matthew 2:2]). The celestial orbs highlight the glory of God (Psalm 8:3). They also serve to mark the seasons; the revolution of the earth around the sun determines our year, and the journey of the moon around the earth establishes the month.
There is no basis, however, for the superstition of astrology in these passages. Observe also that the Bible clearly teaches that the earth existed before the sun, moon, and stars—a concept at variance with evolutionary cosmogony.
Living creatures of the seas (marine organisms) and birds were made on the fifth day of the creation week. Life was first on the land (plants) and then in the seas. This is the reverse of the Darwinian concept. Moreover, the evolutionary theory asserts that fish appeared millions of years before birds (with reptiles evolving in between these two groups), but that idea plainly contradicts the biblical narrative. There are almost 8,600 species of birds on earth today. Notice that they were made before the “creeping things” (i.e., reptiles [v. 24ff]), which again clashes with the dogma of evolution.
Additionally, on this day God created great sea monsters. This would include animals like the whale. The blue whale can be as long as 110 feet, and weight some three hundred thousand pounds. But the Hebrew term is much broader than simply the whale (KJV); it is a generic term which certainly would include creatures like the aquatic dinosaurs. (For a discussion of dinosaurs and man, see Jackson 1983, 85-88.)
On the sixth day, dry-land creatures were made. Various generic categories are mentioned. Cattle (behemah), creeping things (remes), and beasts of the earth (hayath-haares). These creatures appear to be broadly classified according to their natures (domestic or wild) and locomotion methods (walking or creeping). “Animals are classified in Scripture according to simple characteristics that give quick recognition” (Morton 1978, 154), and not according to any modern scheme that is based upon more complex considerations.
It is absurd to argue, as some have done (Clayton 1977, 151), that the classifications here do not include organisms like insects, amphibians, reptiles, and dinosaurs—suggesting, therefore, these creatures likely existed in some age prior to the creation week. The entire creation was made within the six days of earth’s initial week (Exodus 20:11).
God, i.e., the Godhead (note the plurals “us” and “our” in v. 26) made man (mankind) in his image and after his likeness. This does not imply that God is a physical being. He is not (Hosea 11:9; Matthew 16:17; John 4:24). Nor does it suggest that man partakes of the nature of deity. It does imply, though, that man is clearly distinct from the animal kingdom. He possesses certain traits analogous to his Creator. Humans have esthetic, moral, social, and spiritual components that are unique in this world.
Man was given dominion over the other forms of earth life. This implies the responsibility to conquer and rightly use the planet. One of the great Bible truths so frequently ignored is this: The earth and its creatures are the Lord’s (Psalm 24:1). Man has been appointed as a steward for the management of God’s property, and, ultimately, he will give account for his stewardship (cf. Luke 16:2).
For the first time in the divine record, sexuality is explicitly mentioned (v. 27). Humans were created male and female. This reference doubtless prepares the way for the introduction of the holy state of marriage (chapter two). Jesus declared that human gender distinctions existed from “the beginning of the creation” (Mark 10:6). Humans were never a bisexual blob. Furthermore, Christ did not regard man and woman as late-comers to the planet.
God charged the first couple to multiply and replenish the earth (v. 28). The word “replenish” merely means to fill (cf. Exodus 40:34). It does not suggest refilling the earth after an alleged gap theory catastrophe.
The Lord provided for man’s physical welfare by appointing herbs and fruits for his food supply (v. 29). This may indicate that man, at first, was vegetarian; later, however, meat was clearly assigned as a food substance (see 9:3). Many cultures have traditions which speak of people in the ancient past who abstained from eating animal flesh. As the creation week was concluded, God saw everything he had made, and it was very good. This expression clearly shows that no evil and corruption had as yet invaded the earth’s environment.
Genesis 1 is straightforward, historical prose (not poetry). It is inexhaustibly sublime and is unmarred by absurd mythology or foolish speculation. The first book in the Bible answers one of the most fundamental queries of human curiosity—whence the origin of our universe and mankind?
BY WAYNE JACKSON
"The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together" (Romans 8:16-17).
Jesus told Nicodemus that entering the kingdom required being born again: "Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" " (John 3:3). When a person is newly born, he is a child. Thus, when a person becomes a Christian he is born again, becoming a child of the one who gave him birth -- God. Again, Jesus told his disciples, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3).
All Christians, therefore, are in the family of God where God is the Father and we are each his child. "Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God" (Ephesians 2:19). Of course, in a family it is expected that the children be obedient to their parents. It is no different in God's household. "Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."" (I Peter 1:13-16). And as children, we face discipline from our Father. "And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives." If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed" (Hebrews 12:5-13).
Being a child in a family means we can expect an inheritance from our parents. This too is paralleled in the Christian's relationship to God. "But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ" (Galatians 4:4-7).
The “Caesar” test:
The “Caesar” test was to ensnare Christ, this was the Pharisees plot to attempt a political entrapment of our Lord. The Pharisees and some Herodeans (partisans of the Herod clan) began with words of flattery which exalted Christ’s independence (vv. 15-16)—which brings them to the matter of Caesar. Is it lawful to pay taxes to him? Supposedly, if he said, “yes,” it would discredit him with the people; if he answered, “No,” he would be in trouble with the Roman authorities (Lk. 20:20). Discerning their wicked intentions, he laid them bare as hypocrites (v. 18). The Lord asked for a coin (he apparently did not have one), and they supplied a denarius, inscribed with Caesar’s image. “Whose image is this?” the Lord asked. “Caesar’s,” they replied. He then pointed out that there are legitimate responsibilities to government, but others to God. They were amazed and baffled, and left him alone—temporarily.
Wayne Jackson, A New Testament Commentary
Walk in the Light:
John declares that the divine message, received from Christ and announced to his readers, is that “God is light” and is void of any semblance of darkness—a proposition applicable to Jesus as well (cf. Jn. 1:4-9; 8:12). If a person claims to enjoy “fellowship” with God while he continues to “walk” (live in an unrestrained fashion) within the domain of spiritual “darkness,” his life is a “lie,” and he is not practicing a life of truth (v. 6). On the other hand, if one “walks” (as a consistent mode of existence) in the light (of divine revelation via the Scriptures), then he shares a relationship with other Christians, and the cleansing effect of Jesus’ shed blood constantly works on his behalf, effecting pardon from sin (v. 7). If a person claims to live above sin (which some ancient heretics did), he is self-deceived and truth is not resident in him (v. 8). Some modern sectarians claim they have risen to live above sin; others allege they sin with the body but not with the soul—a theological impossibility.
Wayne Jackson, A New Testament Commentary
The corrupt teachers troubling the saints at Ephesus must be addressed. Some were teaching a “different doctrine” and not consenting to the “nourishing words of our Lord Jesus.” The phrase may refer to words “from Christ” and “about Christ.” Jesus’ teaching requires “godliness,” and these charlatans reveled in wickedness. They are inflated with a sense of self-importance and are wholly ignorant. Their discussions and disputes are sick (ASVfn) and produce the most horrible results, e.g., envy, quarreling, abuses, lowdown suspicions, and constant friction generated by those corrupt in their thinking and utterly void of truth. They are so crooked they think religion is a good way to make money (vv. 4-5).
There is “great gain” to “godliness,” but the gain is in “contentment”—of which vast multitudes know nothing (v. 6). When we come into this world, we bring nothing. When we leave, we take nothing with us. There are no pockets in a shroud (v. 7)! The true child of God will be content, if need be, with the basic necessities of life (v. 8). In contrast, those who are obsessed (the force of the Greek) with the ambition to be rich keep falling into temptations and traps of the sort that overwhelm men like a destructive flood that brings absolute ruin (v. 9).
A love of money is a bitter root out of which springs a multitude of evils—robberies, murders for hire, gambling, neglect of others, etc. Those consumed with money-lust (covetousness), who “keep on reaching after for themselves” (the Greek force), are thus led away from gospel faith. But that is not the end; they commit spiritual suicide, stabbing themselves through with countless sorrows.
Wayne Jackson, A New Testament Commentary
2 Timothy 3:13-17
Warning and Exhortation:
In spite of deliverances from persecution at times, this does not mean the Christian is permanently exempt from trials. No indeed; evil people and religious impostors will be around always. Corrupt teachers will grow increasingly vile, being victims of deceit and deceiving others as well. But Timothy must remain rooted in the solid truths he had learned, and remain assured of their integrity. His confidence was emboldened by the quality of his Christian teachers (v. 14). From the time of his infancy, Timothy had been exposed to the “sacred writings.” Jewish history suggests that Hebrew children were taught the Scriptures beginning at about age five. The “sacred writings” (embracing New Testament Scripture as well) are able to make one “wise unto salvation.” The Old Testament alone is incapable of doing this. Apart from biblical revelation, one cannot know of the salvation which is through faith and which is resident “in Christ Jesus” (v. 15; cf. 2:10; Gal. 3:26-27).
Paul therefore makes a general propositional statement (vv. 16-17). It embraces “all scripture,” Old Testament and New Testament. Too, since “scripture” (writing) consists of words, the implication is that the very words of which the larger body is composed are inspired. “Scripture” is “inspired of God.” Its source is divine, and its conveyance was protected from all error. It is practical for: (a) “teaching” (imparting information)—there are more than three hundred explicit quotations from the Old Testament in the New Testament, and thousands of allusions; (b) “reproof” (in exposing error and false teachers); (c) bringing about “correction” (i.e., repairing that which is broken); (d) “instruction in righteousness” (training and discipline).
The ultimate goal is that the Christian may be “complete, furnished completely unto every good work.” “Complete” refers to that which is sufficient to meet all demands. “Completely furnished” reflects a grammatical form which indicates the “fitting” is by God, and the result is a permanent mode (namely the Bible) of completely qualifying man for “every good work” needed to pursue the service of God.
Wayne Jackson, A New Testament Commentary
The Importance of Love:
John returns to his theme of “love” (cf. 2:7-11; 3:10-18). Love is truly a prime identifying trait of the child of God—though a loving disposition may not be isolated from other objective qualifications for membership in the sacred family (Jn. 3:3-5). God is the supreme “lover,” and genuine love issues from him. To understand the ultimate meaning of “love” and to implement such in action is truly a mark of a genuine relationship with God and a more advanced knowledge of the heavenly Father (v. 7). Those whose attitudes and actions generally reflect no love (as is evidenced in the writings of atheists) demonstrate they have no knowledge of God, for he is the very essence of love (v. 8; cf. Rom. 3:10-18), himself not being motivated by an extraneous source of love.
The greatest and most unique example of genuine agape love (cf. 1 Cor. 13) is revealed in the gift that God made of his one-of-a-kind Son on behalf of humankind. Otherwise, there was no hope of eternal life (v. 9). It was not that God was moved by our love, hence gave his Son; no, he loved us when we were unworthy of such. He unselfishly sent his Son to function as the “propitiation” for our sins (v. 10). Should not this unbelievably generous gift of love stimulate us to love each other in the Lord (v. 11)? The heretical teachers provided no evidence of true love.
No one has seen the spirit essence of God at any time (v. 12; cf. Jn. 1:18); he may be seen only indirectly—in this instance, by his influence as reflected in the lives of his people who demonstrate love for one another. This reciprocal love appears to be evidence of the abiding presence of the Creator. The talk throughout the Roman Empire in the first century was how “those Christians” loved one another! As the Christian is motivated by the love of God to share his love with his spiritual family, his love is brought to a state of maturity (though it always has room to grow). Our relationship with God is demonstrated by the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and reflected in qualities of godliness we manifest toward him and all those made in his image (cf. Gal. 5:2-23).
Wayne Jackson, A New Testament Commentary
The term “mark” means to “watch out for” (ESV) those who “cause division.” Such divisiveness may be generated by the introduction of false teachings or the pressing of opinions regarding nonessentials within the realm of gospel truth. “Occasions of stumbling” are scandalous actions which precipitate apostasy from the truth resulting in eternal condemnation. These attitudes and actions are contrary to Christian principles and are worthy of discipline.
Wayne Jackson, A New Testament Commentary
A new day dawned on planet Earth when the “kindness of God our Savior” and his redemptive “love toward” humanity “appeared” (cf. 2:11). By means of the great divine plan of forgiveness, the Lord saved us (i.e., Christians). It was not on the basis of any system of “works” humanly originated, crafted, and implemented (cf. Eph. 2:8-9). Instead, that salvation was divine in composition, and the process was consummated by the “washing of regeneration.”
This expression is without question a reference to water baptism. This is confirmed by both the parallelism with passages like John 3:3-5, Ephesians 5:26, and 1 Peter 3:21, and the almost universal acknowledgement of this by the world’s leading scholars (cf. Thayer, Danker, Spicq, et al.)—even some who are biased against the connection between baptism and the remission of sins (Robertson). The term “washing” refers to the washing of the “whole body.” The pronoun “us” identifies the action here specified with Paul’s own conversion (cf. Acts 22:16). The “renewing” of the Spirit signifies the operation of the Spirit though the gospel message, which in turn produces belief and leads the sinner to submit to the act of baptism.
Wayne Jackson, A New Testament Commentary
Deliverance through Christ:
Paul’s claim of no condemnation to those in Christ is not an affirmation of the impossibility of apostasy, as many Protestants assert. The promise is subsequently qualified by “who are not walking according to the flesh but according to the spirit” (v.4). The “law of the Spirit of life” (v.2) is the law to which the Christian is amenable. It is: (a) a law of no condemnation due to the justification produced by the atoning death of Jesus; (b) the conduit of life into and within the in-Christ sphere; (c) freedom from the “law of sin and death”; (d) designated the “law of the Spirit” because it has been conveyed by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (it is the equivalent of the “law of Christ” [Gal. 6:2; cf. 1 Cor. 9:21; Jas. 1:25]); (e) in remarkable contrast to the “law of sin and death” (i.e., the Mosaic law primarily but any other law, practically speaking), which could only define and expose sin, but could not permanently remedy it.
The apostle now addresses what the law could not do, in that it was “weak.” It could define and condemn sin, but was without power to deliver from sin on an absolute basis. The antidote to the weakness of the law was the mission of God’s Son, who came in the “likeness of sinful flesh.” He was able to be tempted, though he never yielded (Heb. 4:15; 1 Pet. 2:22). Additionally, he came “for sin” (cf. Isa. 53:12). By his perfect life and sacrificial death, Christ was able to pronounce a condemnation upon sin. He fulfilled the demands of the law that no sinful human ever could do.
The pattern of one’s life is a reflection of whether he walks after the flesh or after that of the Spirit. The former leads to separation from God; the latter to union with the Creator and blissful peace. Carnality refuses to be subject to God, and those of this disposition simply cannot please the Holy Lord (vv. 5-8). The genuine disciple does not pursue the “flesh,” but the instruction of the Spirit; and that temperament is indicative of whether the Spirit indwells one. And if one does not possess the Spirit, he does not belong to Christ (v. 9). If Christ is a genuine influence in the Christian, his spirit lives even though his physical body is dead (potentially) because such is the common lot of all men (Heb. 9:27). If the divine Spirit dwells in you (in view of your faithfulness), that Spirit ultimately will give life to your mortal body at the time of the general resurrection (v. 11).
Wayne Jackson, A New Testament Commentary
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