|From the Pastors Desk||†|
|Redemption||Essence of God||Lesson 6|
Manchaca Bible Fellowship
|1 May 2005||Bible Lessons
In the study of Godís plan of redemption for mankind, we must start with a very basic concept. That concept is..: It is God Who provides the redemption and it is humans who receive the redemption.
This must NOT be "Basic Theology 101", because very few people START their study at this foundational level. Most want to START with the ultimate conclusion of the whole matter.
Starting at the "end" brings excitement, because it is a grand conclusion, but sad to say, that does not bring much understanding to the process, of which we are a part, right now. NOR does it give us an understanding of the person of God, Himself.
If God is the supplier of redemption and mankind is the recipient of that redemption, then a proper study of redemption MUST start with Who God is and how He is capable of providing such a wonderful miracle, and we MUST also have an understanding of mankind and why we need such a provision.
As we study and understand what mankind has become, and Who God is and what God has done, it will cause us to stand in awe, praise and worship of the God of all Gods. Worship is one of the first elements needed to have a clear understanding of Who God is and what man has become, thereby moving on to a proper view of redemption.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Jump ahead in this passage to the first part of verse 6 "But without faith it is impossible to please Him." The Holy Spirit provides us with this God ordained definition of faith, and then proceeds to state that we "cannot please God without this faith".
Also, in this passage, the Holy Spirit shows the relationship between faith, righteousness, worship, etc. The truths of the Word of God are more like a woven tapestry, rather than a dictionary
It is certainly needful to examine each strand of the Biblical tapestry, but only an examination of each strand tells about the material used BUT doesnít tell us much about the picture the tapestry depicts.
It is interesting to study the make up of each and every strand. However, to have an understanding of the Scriptural truth, it is needful to see all those strands as a total.
It is the total picture that is important! The individual strands are only important as they join with all other strands to make up the whole.
When the beginning and ending of our examination is only with individual strands, such as a verse or a word or the Greek meaning, we will seldom see the whole picture, but instead will draw erroneous conclusions. The individual strands are important, for without them there is no picture. However, we must keep in mind that it is the picture that is of greatest value.
1 Timothy 6:3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness, 4 he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, 5 useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
Words ("strands") are important. We are to be concerned with "wholesome" words and the words of "our Lord Jesus Christ".
Notice, that even the Greek word for "wholesome" indicates that we are to be concerned with are those "wholesome" words that "fit" within the whole and make a healthy whole. It is the total picture we need, not just a study in vocabulary, only. God uses words only to paint a Spiritual picture that human dialogue cannot, by itself, portray.
However, if we take all the strands out of the tapestry, examine them, lay them on the table and leave them there, we donít have a picture! We only have a mess! There is NO way we can accurately develop true doctrine with only an examination of the individual strands of the Biblical tapestry.
With that in mind, look at the importance of faith in our life of service and worship. Also, note an area of "faith" that we donít often think of. Most generally we think of faith in association with doing great things, BUT this area of faith is one we have examined for several lessons and is not considered as "great" from a human perspective.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. 4 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks. 5 By faith Enoch was translated so that he did not see death, "and was not found because God had translated him"; for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Please note that the "faith" talked about here was not so they might gain great wealth, fame, or personal comfort. The Holy Spirit sums the totality of this type of faith in verse 6. He says that if we are to approach God, (approaching God is the purpose of Faith), "we MUST believe that He IS". "He is" depicts far more than just that God exists.
Isaiah 44:6 "Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: 'I am the First and I am the Last; besides Me there is no God.
John 8:58 Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM."
Exodus 3:13 Then Moses said to God, "Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they say to me, 'What is His name?' what shall I say to them?" 14 And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.' "
If we are to come to Him, we must believe that..:
(1) God is not some abstract impersonal force
God is a Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit
(1) God is Sovereign
If we are going to come to God, we must believe that God is not some impersonal glob that influences all or is a mystical force that supplies our wants when we cry. We must believe that God is real, personal and all that He says He is.
Yes, if we are to come God in worship we mustÖ
Believe that He is AND We must believe that His is a rewarder
In this context, the reward is for those who diligently seek Him. However, we know that God rewards both good and evil actions and attitudes.
Galatians 6:7Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
Please allow me to rephrase Hebrews 11:6 (the text reads)Ö "he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."
(rephrase) Any one coming to God must believe that He is a totally infinite person with an ultimate essence and we must believe that God is totally just in all that He does and gives each what they deserve.
In our study, we have been examining Godís essence as to His Love and Justice. To the human mind, these are two attributes are just about as opposite as anything could get. Yet, if God is to be God, He must have both in perfect harmony.
To have a clear understanding of Godís Love and Justice, one must have, at least, a surface knowledge of Godís righteousness. We will not take the time to study righteousness at this time, but we need to have some idea of what Godís righteousness entails, OR we will never get to first base in our understanding of any of Godís essence, to say nothing of His Love and Justice.
Let me point out, again, the need to harmonize all Biblical facts with each other. Before we take a hop, skip and jump through righteousness, letís refresh our minds with love and justice.
If God is justice (and He is) then He MUST, by vengeance, inflict punishment on all of us who have committed wrong against the commands of God. If God did not inflict punishment for breaking His commands, He would not be sovereign (more on sovereignty later in this study).
- We love a friend, on account of some qualities which give us pleasure in his society.
In short, humans love is whatever gives us pleasure and delight, whether physical or intellectual. Human love seeks personal pleasure and delight. Godís love seeks to restore life to a Spiritually dead human, by the sacrifice of His Own life
John 3:16"For God so loved the worldthat He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
To properly understand and reconcile Godís actions of love and justice, we need to realize that God must perform both His acts of love and justice in perfect righteousness. Please follow with me as we look at a few passages dealing with the importance of righteousness.
Righteousness is not only important, righteousness is an inseparable part of the person of God. As with love and justice..,
God is not righteousness because He act in a right manner. God is righteousness, therefore all His acts are right and proper.
We cannot develop a definition for righteousness and then try to force God to act according to our definition. Instead, we must observe Godís actions and from those actions develop a definition of righteousness. We could look at dozens of passages that bear out this fact, but for this lesson, letís look at only a few.
Psalms 89:14Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Mercy and truth go before Your face.
As I have pointed out in previous lessons, the English word foundation is translated from several Hebrew or Greek words that have very differing meanings. This Hebrew word has more of the traditional meaning we associate with "foundation".
This passage doesnít leave much room for doubt. The very undergirding of Godís throne (His rulership) is righteousness and Justice. Righteousness is not only important to God, it is a vital part of all that He is and does.
Jeremiah 23:3"But I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. 4 "I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking," says the LORD. 5 "Behold, the days are coming," says the LORD, "That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
For those who have attended the "Walk-Though", they will recognize this as a reference to Christís kingdom at the end of the age, when the Jews are gathered back into the land and Christ reigns on earth for 1,000 years. The term "Branch", when capitalized in the Bible, is a reference to the Messiah, or Christ.
Here, added to His name and part of His name is "Righteousness". Part of Messiahís name or title is "Righteousness". Not only is that His name, He will execute judgment and righteousness on the earth. Continuing on in this passage, we see that righteousness is part of or the very essence of Who Christ is, and what we will become, when we are in Christ.
Jeremiah 23:6In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. 7 "Therefore, behold, the days are coming," says the LORD, "that they shall no longer say, 'As the LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,' 8 but, 'As the LORD lives who brought up and led the descendants of the house of Israel from the north country and from all the countries where I had driven them.' And they shall dwell in their own land."
One problem we face is, if God deals with us only in righteousness, then there is no hope for any of us, because none of us are righteous. Instead, we are totally unrighteous.
Jeremiah is referring to a time when the people of Judah will be saved, as a nation. At the point of their Salvation, Christ becomes, to them, "THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS".
When those of Judah (or we in Austin) accept Christ as our Savior, THEN Christ becomes our righteousness. Not that we are righteousness, BUT because we have Christ within our lives, we ALSO have Christís righteousness within.
Romans 8:1There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in (not by us) us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
We saw, in the last lesson, that Christ took upon Himself, on the Cross, the sins of the whole world. Thereby, reconciling the world to God. From that point, there was nothing, from Godís part, that prevents a person from coming to God.., EXCEPT that each individual MUST be reconciled to God, by accepting Godís New Birth.
Each human in their nature is unrighteous and at odds with God. However, God provided, through the New Birth, the means for a person to become a New Creation, thereby being reconciled to God.
The only thing that stands between a human who is totally void of righteousness and one reconciled to God, is a "CHOICE". Each person can choose to reject this provision by God, and spend eternity in the Lake of Fire, OR accept this provision and have Eternal Life. Therefore, we have our answer to Romans 3:26 Ö
Romans 3:21But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God which is through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth to be a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Christís death on the cross and His resurrection made it possible for God to act in BOTH justice and love towards us, who are sinners.
Look at another passage dealing with Israel under the New Covenant. We know that the mechanics of the New Covenant for the nation of Israel and "all families of the earth" are the same. The time of receiving that covenant may be different, but the facts of the New Covenant are the same.
Psalms 85:9Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, That glory may dwell in our land. 10 Mercy and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed each other. 11 Truth shall spring out of the earth, And righteousness shall look down from heaven. 12 Yes, the LORD will give what is good; And our land will yield its increase. 13 Righteousness will go before Him, And shall make His footsteps our pathway.
If we look at the "truth" of mankindís condition and Godís person, we MUST conclude that God could not show mercy to us and STILL be true to Himself.., BUT mercy and truth "met together" on the cross.
On the cross, this truth and Godís mercy were brought together, through great violence. The justice of God was poured out on Christ, on the cross. Therefore, God can deal with mankind in mercy.
Not only was mercy and truth brought together on the cross, righteousness and peace kissed each other, also.
It was on the cross where Godís righteousness and real peace were attached. Now that Godís justice was poured out on Christ, there are no more barriers to prevent God from acting in either and both (righteousness and/or peace).
Luke 2:10Then the angel said to them (shepherds), "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
Romans 3:21But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God which is through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;
Luke 2:10Then the angel said to them (shepherds), "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 "And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger." 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!"
Godís "peace" was on the earth and from Godís own heart, good will was poured out on all mankind. Not in some emotional sense, BUT in the person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 53:5But He (Christ) was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities (on the cross); the chastisement (the justice of God) for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.
Ephesians 2:11Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh - who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands - 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been made near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of division between us,
Yes, the Righteousness and Peace of God kissed (came together) on the cross. As we have seen, this "Peace with God" is to all humans, BUT it is the responsibility of each individual human to receive the righteousness provided through the New Birth. Please note that "peace with God" is not the same as the "peace of God". Before we can know the "peace of Godí we MUST be at "peace with God. A subject for another time.
If we receive Godís righteousness, then the future wrath of God will not come upon us, but for any who do not receive this Gift of God, the wrath of God still abides on them.
Matthew 10:32"Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 "But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. 34 "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.
Matthew 24:48"But if that evil servant says in his heart, 'My master is delaying his coming,' 49 "and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, 50 "the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, 51 "and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Psalms 2:9You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.' "
Revelation 2:26"And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations - 27 'He shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the potter's vessels shall be broken to pieces' - as I also have received from My Father;
Revelation 19:11Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
Isaiah 32:17The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.
We could take another whole class session just looking at the fact that God is a God of "justice" AND He is a God of "love". God, Himself, bore the punishment of His own "justice" on the cross. Therefore, He is free to act in love, because His justice has been satisfied. However, if a person will not accept Godís gift of love, His Son, that person is still under the sentence of eternal death demanded by His Justice.
The choice is ours. We can choose to remain outside of Christís redemption, and therefore continue under Godís condemnation. OR We can accept Godís provision of love, and no longer be under condemnation because we will then be in Christ, as a child of God.
A father was talking with his rather rebellious son one day and said, "Every person who lives in the United States is a privileged person."
The boy answered, "I disagree!"
The father replied, "Thatís the privilege."
The rebellious son had the "privilege" of disagreeing, but his disagreement did not change the fact. You are free to reject Godís provision, but such a rejection will not change the fact of the sure consequences of such a choice.
|© Clyde White, Austin TX, 2005|