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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

(Sung to the tune of “I have a dream by ABBA” Click here for the music

I bow my knee, in humble praise

To Him who died my soul to save

I can sense His presence, deep within my heart

And I lift my voice now, praise to Him impart

I believe in JESUS, from my sin He came to set me free

I believe in JESUS, He is more than life itself to me

I bow my knee, in humility

 

I bow my knee, in humble praise

To Him who stands within this place

He will make Himself known, through the weakest soul

By His Holy Spirit, His mystery will be told

I believe in JESUS, as He speaks through lips of all His saints

I believe in JESUS, the eternal plan He weaves and paints

I bow my knee, in humility

 

I bow my knee, in humble praise

And to His throne, I set my gaze

He has been exalted, to the highest place

And He lifts my spirit, to behold His face

I believe in JESUS, as He sits upon His throne above

I believe in JESUS, He has shown me His amazing love

I bow my knee, in humility (x 2)

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My church leaders taught me not to vote as a Christian. They based this on the fact that “Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules.” (2 Ti 2:4–5).

I have since changed my mind and believe as South Africans we have a duty to vote. I am sharing these thoughts in the South African context. I know that in other countries, like the USA, to many Christians, voting is almost part of their belief system.

Firstly let me express some thoughts on the principle from a Scriptural view point. We certainly are not of this world, we are born from above and our destination is the New Jerusalem. We are citizens of the heavenly Kingdom and as far as this world is concerned, we are just ‘pilgrims passing through’.

Having said that, we also need to note that we should ‘render to Caesar that which is Caesar’s and to God, that which is God’s’. Being responsible citizens in our ‘temporary’ country of residence, as we make our way to the ‘City that has foundations, whose builder and maker is God’ requires us to pay taxes, abide by all the laws of the land (provided they do not contradict God’s laws) and voting affords us an opportunity to have a say in who will be placed in power to Govern the country.

Looking at the current political landscape in South Africa

In the election next year the ANC will try their best to get a two thirds majority. They need this to make changes to the Constitution. Once they are able to change the Constitution, they can take back land and nationalize the mines. The reason they want to do this is obviously to own and control the two primary sources of the economy – the mineral riches and the food producing farmland. Julius Malema has formed his own political party, which should rob the ANC of a fair slice of their support base, because as radical and militant as he is, he has a lot of support among the youth. This may seem a good thing, but what could happen after the election, is that the ANC buy an alliance with Julius in order to get their two thirds majority. Should this occur, the international community will downgrade our credit rating, pushing up the price of borrowing money to fund our deficit. (The difference between what we buy – import and what we sell – export) This will send our economy down the rocky Zimbabwean road to ruin.

The current Government’s track record is also not good at all, but it is the Government that the majority have put in power. According to statistics, on average per year in South Africa there are:

  • 71000 sexual assaults
  • 15000 hi-jackings
  • 18,148 murders

Since 1994 over 3000 farmers have been murdered (this shows the determination to get their hands on farmland); and in total 290,368 people have been murdered. Besides these shocking statistics, there is the enormous amount of corruption and mismanagement in every Government department from the top down, the only exclusion being SARS – the efficient collection of taxes.

Despite the above, there is every likelihood that the majority of South Africa will vote ANC, but in my view (for what it’s worth) the stronger the opposition, the more checks and balances there will be and the Constitution will at least hold the Government in check to some degree. For the sake of our children and grandchildren, I believe it is our duty to vote. Abstaining from voting is a vote for the current Government.

On a practical note, you need to be registered to vote. Registration will be opening this weekend 9th November in a public building near you. Take your ID and register, and then at least you are eligible to vote next year when every vote will count.

May the Lord hasten His coming! The only true and just Government will come when Jesus, King of kings rules the world with a rod of iron.

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There was a time when this question was not a major issue, the gender roles were clearer. Husbands were the bread-winners, while the wives stayed home to keep the house and raise the children. With the ever-increasing pressure of feminism, the lines have become blurred and the question of who should be the head of the home has become a more thorny debate. The result is that any hint of the Biblical model of the husband being the head of the home, could be viewed with some suspicion by women, as a male contrived conspiracy to put the women ‘in their place’.

Against this backdrop, Paul’s statement in Ephesians is very clear:

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.” (Eph 5:22–23)

I have been surprised, given the current pressure on women to assert themselves, to hear from most of the wives at numerous Marriage Seminars, that they preferred their husbands to take the lead and be the head of the home. If there were any complaints about this subject, the majority of the wives wished their husbands would play more of a leading role and take on greater family responsibility.

Taking a closer look at this subject I think there are two important questions that need to be answered.

  1. Is the subservient position of the wife a form of punishment resulting from the Fall?
  2. Does submission suggest inferiority in any respect?

To answer the first question let us take a closer look at God’s pronouncement to the woman after she had sinned. “To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.”(Ge 3:16). Notice that God did not curse the woman, but rather, He explained the consequences of her actions, because both she and Adam had allowed the devil to become the third person in their marriage union. It was no longer the earthly ‘Trinity’ of God, the man and the woman, but it had become Satan, the man and the woman. Their offspring would not be God’s children spreading His attributes across the earth, but rather their offspring would be a reflection of ‘their father the devil’. For more detail on this point have a look at Part 2. In this respect her conception would produce children, who would do the deeds of their spiritual father the devil, bringing sorrow to her and her husband. Her conception would also be multiplied. Although speculative, there is some hint that if man had not fallen into sin, God would have played an active role in opening the womb of women at the appropriate time and producing children that would fit into His great purpose. Consider Sarah, Rebekah, Rachael, Manoah’s wife and Elizabeth in this regard. They were all barren, but when the Lord chose to open their wombs, they produced important children. It seems that one of the consequences of Eve’s sin was that conceptions would be multiplied and they would be indiscriminate.

Regarding the second part of verse 16 “Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you”, in the ESV there is a note saying that ‘for’ could also be translated: ‘against’. The verse would then read: “Your desire shall be against your husband.. “. This second translation is supported by the fact that the same author (Moses) uses very similar language in chapter 4, where his meaning is a lot clearer. “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” (Ge 4:7) In this verse it is clear that sin has a desire to pressurize Cain to go its way, but Cain would need to exert his will and try to dominate it. It is this same idea presented in verse 16 regarding the Husband/wife relationship. She would try to pressurize him to go her way and he would have to dominate her (in an un-Christlike way) to exert his will.

In other words, in the woman’s primary function as child-bearer, she would have pain and sorrow and in her most intimate relationship, there would be a power-struggle and strife.

To answer the second question we must note that God made mankind in His own image, “male and female made He them”, which clearly tells us that women are as much in the image of God as are men. If we look at the Godhead, we find that each person of the Trinity is equally God. Jesus, “who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,” (Php 2:6) nevertheless He was subservient to His Father. The Father sent the Son and the Father also sent the Holy Spirit, the Father clearly is the authority in the Godhead. Therefore we could say that the Godhood of each person in the Trinity is equal, but their roles are different. Neither the Father nor the Holy Spirit died on the cross, it was only Jesus because their roles are different. Similarly we can say that in their personhood, men and women are equal, but in their roles, they differ.

It is also important to note that God made Adam first and then He made the woman to be Adam’s Helper, not the other way around and this was before the Fall. When someone comes alongside to help; the responsibility for the task still remains with the person being helped. Therefore Adam remained accountable, even though his helper had misled him. God called for Adam first to give account for his actions. In the New Testament we are told that the Holy Spirit has been sent to be our Helper. He does not take over our responsibilities, but He helps us to fulfil God’s requirement of us. Even though the Holy Spirit is our Helper, He remains God and therefore far superior to us.

We can conclude from this that women are equal to men and may even be superior in some respects, but their role is different to the man’s role.

Equality of men and women on a spiritual level is spelled out in this verse: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Ga 3:28)

God’s order illustrating the differing roles is spelled out in this verse: “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” (1 Co 11:3)

Husbands need to take their responsibility as head of their homes, valuing their wives as spiritual equals and appreciating them as their God-given helper.

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To follow fully what I am presenting in Part 2, you may wish to get the background from Part 1.

The devil was very quick to evaluate the creation and seems to have understood the enormous potential that God had provided for Himself, to express His thoughts, desires and will through mankind, having made them in His own image. If man had not fallen, every child born would have been another unique expression of the character traits of God Himself (not His divinity, but His nature). The whole earth would have been populated with people each bearing a unique expression of God’s character and corporately as mankind, they would have filled the earth with the glory of the Lord; His love, His wisdom, His creative genius.

The devil however, saw the gap and took on the form of an animal, made his approach to the woman, knowing full well that Adam was the head of this union, having been made first ( a point that Paul used to confirm this 1 Tim. 2:13) and thereby reversed God’s order. He then disguised his approach to the woman with a subtle question, followed by a cleverly wrapped part truth, part lie. By his craftiness he effectively hijacked this God-representing union and displaced God to become the spiritual entity in the earthly “trinity”. You may wonder how I can make this statement with such certainty. Are we just speculating here? I do believe the Biblical evidence is conclusive.

  • When God cursed the serpent, He spoke about the devil’s ‘offspring’ (Gen. 3:15) God was referring here to all of mankind. (the offspring of the woman, that God mentions in this verse is a reference to the birth of Jesus)
  • When Jesus confronted the Jews who were circumcised children of Abraham, He said “you are of your father the devil” (John 8:44)
  • The first child born to Adam and Eve killed his brother (Gen 4:8) Cain showed the characteristics of the devil, who had become his ‘spiritual’ father. Jesus said that the devil was a murderer from the beginning. (John 8:44ff)
  • Paul tells us that when we were dead in our sins, we all followed the course of this world, following the Prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience. (Eph. 2:1-2). We were all sons and daughters of the devil’s disobedience – his offspring.
  • The whole earth has been filled with the characteristics of the devil; lies, deceit, greed, hatred, corruption, fornication, blasphemy and murder.
  • Mankind is a corporate representation of their spiritual father the devil.

When the horrific implications of this hijacking first dawn upon us, our first question may be: “Why would God allow Himself to be ‘out maneuvered’ by a created, but fallen angel? The answer may require a few volumes to be written for a full explanation. The very simple truth however, is that God foreknew that this would happen, He already had His redemption plan in place (1 Peter 1:20). God also knew that in order to have a corporate man (mankind) who would reciprocate the great love that He has for them, He would have to give them a choice; this opened the risk factor which God foreknew. The devil, despite his craftiness has actually played right into God’s hands.

Where does this leave us in our marriages? In serious trouble because unless we individually acknowledge Jesus as Lord and then actively acknowledge the Lord as Head of our marriage relationship with our thoughts and our actions, we allow the devil to continue his treacherous spiritual oversight and influence in our marriage.

By acknowledging the Lord as the Head of our marriage and seeking His guiding influence we are brought back to God’s original design for marriage; an earthly representation of the Trinity, made up of the union between Jesus, husband and wife. This is not as perfect as the original prototype because we are damaged goods, in the process of being restored by the Lord, having escaped the corruption that is in the world, through forgiveness, redemption and salvation.

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The Principle of Eternal Judgment

“… of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.”(Heb. 6:2)

God’s Response to Man’s Sin

Throughout the Bible we find many occasions where God has responded to man’s wickedness with a judgment and punishment. The most serious of these occasions was the Flood in Noah’s day, where God was so angry with the whole human race that He wiped them out with a flood, saving only Noah and his family, to preserve His original purpose for mankind (Gen. 6). Shortly after the flood God intervened again at the Tower of Babel, there confusing their languages, so that they could not complete their rebellious task of building a tower to reach the heavens (Gen 11).

In Moses’ Day God gave a standard of righteousness, in the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:3–17), that he expected mankind to aspire to, failing which the punishment was very severe. While reading through the Old Testament it is easy to gain the impression that God is a very strict and almost cruel Task Master, putting people to death who picked up sticks on the Sabbath day (Num. 15:32–35) and opening the ground to swallow those who rebelled against Moses (Num. 16:31–32). The truth however is that God is love and He is very merciful and filled with tender compassion.

For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;” (Ps. 103:11)

The Lord is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works.” (Ps 145:9)

The Old Testament message is therefore not that God is a cruel Task Master but about the seriousness of sin and the consequences of sin. No sin will go unpunished. (Gen. 2:17 and Rom. 6:26)

The Severest Judgment of All

Our loving, merciful God created man to have fellowship with Him, but this was made impossible by man’s sin because God cannot have fellowship with sin or with sinners.

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” (2 Co 6:14)

All sin, whether committed in the Old or New Testament dispensation has to be punished, for ‘the wages of sin is death.’ Here is where God’s great love stepped in, he sent Jesus in the form of a man to bear the punishment of all the sin of mankind. For Jesus to be the perfect sacrifice for mankind, He had to be without sin. This was emphasised throughout the Old Testament, where all the lambs sacrificed for sin had to be ‘without blemish’ (Ex. 12:5).

The crucifixion of Jesus upon the cross was God’s ultimate or severest judgment upon sin. It was so serious that God the Father even separated Himself from Jesus. We know this because Jesus cried out, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46) This one sacrifice of a sinless man, who became sin for us, was sufficient to appease the Righteousness of God for all eternity.

But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” (Heb. 10:12–14)

This was God’s eternal judgment on sin and it offers us eternal forgiveness and eternal righteousness.

Believers should Judge Themselves

Once we have responded in faith to God’s offer of forgiveness and salvation through the judgment of His Son on the cross, we need to constantly be reminded of this. In a similar way when God delivered the Israelites from Egypt, they were told to keep the Passover as a remembrance of God’s great act of deliverance. (Ex. 12:11-14). This is a type and shadow of what we are told to do in the New Testament. We are instructed by Jesus and confirmed by Paul that we should break bread and drink of the cup often in remembrance of the Lord Jesus and what He did for us upon the cross.

And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.” (Lk 22:19–20)

Paul gives us further insight into this by telling us that: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.” (1 Co 11:26–29)

From this passage we understand that the ‘bread’ symbolises the body of Jesus and the ‘wine’ symbolises His blood that was shed. We therefore need to be fully appropriating and trusting in the work of the Cross for our salvation and carefully discern and understand what we are declaring as we partake of these emblems. This is where Paul tells us to ‘judge or examine ourselves’ (verse 28).

To understand this ‘judgment’ a little better, we need to read through John chapter six, where Jesus explains that if we eat of Him and drink of Him, He will raise us up in the last day. (John 6:54). If we are not living by Jesus Christ, fully trusting in Him to save and keep us, then we may be eating and drinking in an unworthy fashion. By eating the bread and drinking the wine we are declaring that we are living by Him and this may be a false declaration. This therefore is what I should constantly examine.

If I don’t judge myself, the Lord may judge or chastise me, to get my attention and to draw me back into relying fully upon Him. This is an act of mercy from the Lord, as Paul explains, to prevent us from being judged with the world.

For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.” (1 Co 11:30–32)

This is also very reassuring because it tells us that we (Believers) are not going to be judged with the world. The world or unsaved people will have to face a judgment.

The Bema Seat of Christ’s Judgment

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Co 5:10)

In 2 Corinthians chapter five, Paul is addressing Christian believers and he makes the above statement that we will all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ. The word ‘judgment’ in this case in the Greek is ‘Bema’ and is often then referred to as the Bema Seat of Christ because it is not the same as the final judgment that the (unsaved) world will have to face.

We know that our sins have already been judged in Jesus upon the cross; the full penalty for our sin has been paid. We can therefore no longer be judged for our sin, which is a wonderful blessing.

We do however have to give an account to the Lord for our works, or what we have done in our service for Him. Paul also gives us further insight on this where he tells us: “Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” (1 Co 3:12–15)

It is clear from this passage that believers will have their works judged, but even if they suffer loss because their works were not acceptable, they themselves will still be saved.

Jesus said:  “And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.”” (Mt 10:42)

We can conclude then that believers will not be judged to see if they are worthy of salvation, but rather to see if their works are worthy of rewards. We are also told by John: “But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” (Re 20:5–6)

From this passage we can conclude that the believers who are part of the ‘first resurrection’ will not face judgment at the Great White Throne.

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Co 15:58)

Judgement of the Nations

During the Millennium (the thousand year) reign of Christ on earth, He will judge the Nations. He will be particularly hard on those nations that have ill-treated Israel. Jesus tells us:

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:” (Mt 25:31–34)

We are given further insight into this aspect of judging the nations in Zechariah chapter fourteen where we are told that Jesus will be King over all the earth and the nations will have to come to Jerusalem to pay Him homage.

A careful study of the life of Joseph as the Governor of Egypt is a wonderful picture of Jesus on His Throne, with all the nations coming to Him. (Gen. 41)

The Great White Throne Judgment

God the Father has committed the responsibility of the Judgment of the world to a man, the man Christ Jesus.

For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth— those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.” (Jn 5:21–30)

This authority to judge every individual, Jesus will exercise at the Great White Throne judgment, spoken about in Revelation chapter twenty.

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Re 20:11–15)

A Summary of the Various Judgments

  1. God judged sin by sacrificing His Son upon the cross.
  2. Believers are to judge themselves, as they partake of the emblems of bread and wine.
  3. Believers will give an account to the Lord at the Bema Seat of Christ, where they will receive rewards, if their works are found to be ‘gold, silver and precious stones’ (spiritually speaking).
  4. Jesus will reign on the Throne of David in Jerusalem for a thousand years where He will judge the nations as King.
  5. Every unsaved person will be judged at the Great White Throne judgment.

The Principle of Eternal Judgment

We have briefly looked at the various judgments that the Bible speaks about, but it is important for us to understand the principle behind these judgments. The details and timing of these judgments could vary, depending on one’s interpretation of prophecy and understanding of end-time events. The principle however, remains the same and it is this principle that we need to hide in our hearts as part of the Foundation of Jesus Christ, which Paul spoke about when he said: “According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Co 3:10–11)

The basic thread that runs through all of these judgments is the fact that man is accountable to God for His actions and that there will be a final judgment with eternal consequences.

When it comes to those who are in Christ as believers, the principle of eternal judgment lies in the fact that Jesus took the accountability for our sin and paid the price on our behalf. We therefore are accountable to God to abide in Jesus by eating and drinking of Him spiritually and we are accountable to Jesus for the works that we do in our body because they have eternal rewards.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Co 4:16–18)

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The Principle of Resurrection of the Dead

“… of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.”[1]

The need for Resurrection

Ever since Adam’s sin introduced death into the human family, we have experienced spiritual death and eventually, physical death as well. For this reason, the prospect of rising from the dead is of great importance to us.

Death is First Spiritual then Physical

God’s instruction to Adam was; “… of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.[2]” We know from the Genesis account that when Adam ate of this fruit in disobedience to God’s command, he did not drop dead on the spot, but continued to live for nine hundred and thirty years. The fact that God drove them out of the Garden of Eden and barred the way to the Tree of Life is a clear indication, that they had become spiritually dead to God. This fact is confirmed by Paul who wrote: “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins.[3]” The wages of sin is death, which was instant in Adam’s case. He died spiritually, this ‘death’ continued to corrupt his physical body until it returned to the dust, from where it originally came.

The human spirit of an unsaved person is not dead in itself, in that humans can be aware of and possessed by demonic spirits. Being ‘dead in our trespasses and sins’, means that we have no spiritual awareness of God, nor can we have any spiritual relationship with God. We are dead to God.

Paul confirms this by telling us that; “… the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.[4]” He also tells us that; “…. the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.[5]

This spiritual death, resulting from sin, leads to physical death, because we are cut off from our source of life, Jesus Christ; and our bodies have been sentenced to death because of sin.

“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—[6]

Redemption is First Spiritual then Physical

At conversion to Christ, our spirit which is dead to God because of sin, is resurrected or made alive to God.  “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,[7]” We could say that right from the outset of our walk with the Lord, the resurrection has begun in us. The next phase of this process is the renewing of our minds, so that we can begin to grasp the things of God that were previously hidden from us because of sin, which blinded our minds.

We are also told in Romans chapter eight, verse ten; “And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.[8]” In other words, the spirit is alive to God, but the physical body remains under the sentence of death because of sin.

We do however live in hope of the resurrection of our physical bodies, as we are told in Ephesians; “…. who (the Holy Spirit) is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.[9]” “The purchased possession” is a reference to our physical bodies, which Jesus has purchased with His shed blood and which He has promised to redeem at a future point.

We can say therefore that redemption involves the resurrection of our spirit, the renewal of our mind to grasp spiritual things and finally the resurrection of our physical body.

The Credibility of Christianity Rests on the Resurrection

Paul deals with the resurrection in great detail in First Corinthians chapter fifteen.  He makes reference to the fact that Jesus died, was buried and rose again according to the Scriptures.[10] This is the Gospel that has saved us. He also makes reference to the many witnesses that can confirm that Jesus rose from the dead.[11] This declaration is of tremendous importance to us and has been summed up by various writers, such as the following:

“Harvard law professor Simon Greenleaf, a man who lectured for years on how to break down testimony and determine whether or not a witness is lying, concludes: “It was therefore impossible that they (the apostles) could have persisted in affirming the truths they have narrated, had not Jesus actually risen from the dead, and had they not known this fact as certainly as they knew any other fact.”[12]

“Dr. George Eldon Ladd, writing of the historical significance of the change in the Apostles, says: “The historian must also admit that historical criticism has not yet found an adequate historical explanation for these facts; that for the historian the transformation in the disciples is an unsolved problem. He must also admit that the view that Jesus actually arose from the dead would explain all the facts.”[13]

Paul then arrives at this very important conclusion regarding the resurrection of Jesus: “For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” [14]

We can therefore say that the credibility of Christianity rests on this one fact; that Jesus rose from the dead and He has promised that He will also raise us from the dead at a future time.

All of Paul’s Ministry Took Its Authenticity from the Resurrection

While Paul was in custody following his arrest in Jerusalem, he was called upon to defend his ministry a number of times before various Roman Rulers. He was seen by the Jews as a heretic because he believed that Jesus is the Christ and that He rose from the dead.

Paul, in his defense, based his whole ministry on the fact of the resurrection. Before the Roman Ruler, Felix this was Paul’s defense: “But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets. I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.” [15]

The report given to King Agrippa concerning Paul’s accusation was; “When the accusers stood up, they brought no accusation against him of such things as I supposed, but had some questions against him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, who had died, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.” [16]

Paul’s defense before King Agrippa is particularly important, if we are to understand the great motivation within Paul to preach contrary to all that he had ever been taught and to stand for things contrary to the understanding of the Jewish Rulers of his day. This also demonstrates the extreme importance of the resurrection to us today.

“To this promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. For this hope’s sake, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews. Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead? Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities. While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’ Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance. For these reasons the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come— that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.[17]

The Principle of Resurrection vs The Doctrine of Resurrection

So far we have established the need for a resurrection and the absolute importance of the resurrection, but in this article we are seeking to understand the ‘Principle’ of the doctrine of the Resurrection. It is important therefore to distinguish between the doctrine of the Resurrection and the underlying principle that governs our understanding of this all important doctrine.

The doctrine or teaching of the Resurrection would of necessity include every reference to the resurrection from the Old and New Testaments, covering every aspect of our understanding of the resurrection. For example the doctrine would cover the resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous, every aspect of the resurrection of Jesus, the order of the Resurrection, what type of bodies we will have, when the Resurrection will take place, where the resurrected people will go. It will also cover the resurrection of sinners, when they will be resurrected, what their fate will be in the resurrection of the unjust and many other details concerning the Resurrection.

To understand the underlying principle of the resurrection we need to consider the following factors:

  • The Resurrection gives credibility and authenticity to our Christian Faith.
  • It was the motivation for Paul to say, “If by any means I might attain to the resurrection …. I press toward the mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus”[18]
  • It was the driving force of all the Old Testament Saints, as recorded in Hebrews chapter eleven.
  • Like these Saints, we will live for ever; this drastically changes our whole perspective on life.
  • The Resurrection is the culmination and climax of all the promises of God to us.

To incorporate all of these important aspects into a sentence, we will be able to arrive at a definition of the Principle of the Resurrection.

The Principle of the doctrine of the Resurrection is the one single event that authenticates and motivates our certain hope in Jesus Christ, who has secured our future existence in the presence of God for ever.

 Application of the Principle of Resurrection in Our Lives Today

The principle of the resurrection focuses us on the future, in real certain hope that we will live for ever. As Paul put it, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” [19]

Peter also beautifully and graphically presented this great truth, when he wrote, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.” [20]

A careful study of Hebrews chapter eleven will reveal the effects that this living hope of the resurrection changed the lives of many of the Old Testament saints. We find that because they ‘sought a City, which has foundations, who’s Builder and Maker is God’, in other words they were fully convinced by God’s promise of the Resurrection that it affected their lives in the following ways:

  • They fully believed that God had promised them a heavenly City in the Resurrection.[21]
  • They saw these promises afar off by faith.
  • They embraced the promises of God.
  • They were fully persuaded by what God had promised.
  • They declared plainly by their conduct that they were strangers and pilgrims in this world, just passing through.[22]

The writer of Hebrews tells us that ‘the world is not worthy of such people and that God is not ashamed to be called their God.’[23]

Jesus said: “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” [24] The principle of this glorious truth, written upon our hearts will cause us to live in a certain hope like the men and women of Hebrews chapter eleven.

 

 

 

 

 


[1]  Heb. 6:2

[2]  Gen. 2:17

[3]  Eph. 2:1

[4]  1 Cor. 2:14

[5]  Rom. 8:7

[6]  Rom. 5:12

[7]  Eph. 2:1

[8]  Rom. 8:10

[9]  Eph. 1:14

[10] 1 Cor. 15:1 – 4

[11] 1 Cor. 15:5 – 8

[12] McDowell, J. (1981). The resurrection factor (111). San Bernardino, CA.: Here’s Life Publishers.

[13] George Eldon Ladd, The New Testament and Criticism, Grand Rapids, Mich., Wm. B. Eerdmans,      1967, p. 188.

[14]  1 Cor. 15:16–19

[15]  Acts 24:14–15

[16]  Acts 25:18–20

[17] Acts 26:7–23

[18] Philippians 3:11 – 14

[19]  Philippians 3:13–14

[20] 1 Peter 1:3–9

[21] Hebrews 11:10

[22] Hebrews 11:13 – 14

[23] Hebrews 11:16 & 38

[24] John 6:54

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Having briefly discussed the significance of Albert Einstein’s formula on Facebook, I was asked for a more detailed explanation, so here it is.

Einstein saw how that all matter is in fact a different form of energy. His famous formula E=MC squared, demonstrated this principle, where E represents

energy which he worked out is equal to the mass (M) x C x C, (C represents the speed of light at approximately 300,000 km/second).

Perhaps this is best understood by looking at an example of this formula. Water is made up hydrogen and oxygen, the hydrogen component of 1 kg of water weighs  .111 kg. We therefore have the ‘mass’ part of the equation. Applying Einstein’s formula we are able to calculate the amount of energy, this hydrogen portion represents. (Mass) .111 x (speed of light) 300,000 x 300,000 ( because it is C squared) = 10,000,000,000,000,000 Joules (a joule is a unit of energy).

We are able to conclude from this that 111 grams (.111 kg) of hydrogen represents 10,000,000,000,000,000 Joules of energy. A very small amount of matter equates to a huge amount of energy.

Now armed with this understanding, imagine if it were possible to know the mass of all matter in the entire universe, then multiply that figure by the speed of light squared. The size of this hypothetical calculation is mind blowing and represents an unimaginable amount of energy. To put the energy aspect into perspective a relatively small amount of uranium was converted into a massive amount of energy, using Einstein’s formula, during WW2. This energy generated in the atomic bomb flattened a large city and killed hundreds of thousands of people.

The point of all this from a Christian and Biblical perspective is that the Bible tells us that everything that we can see has been made from an unseen substance. “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God; so that what is seen, was not made out of things which are visible.” Hebrews 11:3 (NASB). God created the invisible atomic energy and brought it together, so that the material universe can be seen.

The Bible also tells us that Jesus, as Creator not only made all things visible and invisible, but that He holds all things together.

Colossians 1:16-17 NASB

For by Him all things were created,  both  in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

With a tiny grasp of the insight that Albert Einstein brought to the fore, we begin to appreciate the unimaginable amount of energy or power involved in the creation of the invisible and visible creation. We also get a very small sense of the amount of power that the Lord Jesus uses to hold everything together. If He chose to convert all matter back to energy, the whole universe would disappear in a flash and with an explosion of energy that we could not possibly imagine.

Peter does talk about this happening at some future time. 2 Peter 3:10 NASB

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.

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