Monday, May 25, 2009
There has been much discussion about the necessity of believing in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. This is definitely one of the "absolutes" in Biblical doctrine, and as such, it has always been under attack by Liberal Theologians. It really does not take much knowledge of scripture to realize that without the virgin birth of Jesus, no one could possibly be saved from their sinful condition, inherited from Adam. We know from the first few chapters of Genesis that Adam, the first human being, was created in the image and likeness of Almighty God. As such he was perfect, or complete. God gave Adam only one command that he must keep, or the result would be death (Gen 2:15-17). We know that he disobeyed this command, and sin and spiritual death entered the human race. (Rom 5:12). This sin was passed on to the entire race, because we are all descendants of Adam and Eve, and "the wages of sin is death." (Rom 6:23) In order to reverse this condition another perfect human would have to be willing to sacrifice their life to pay the price of this sin. The problem was that because all humans were sinners, God had to introduce His plan that He had kept secret from before time began!
This plan required that "God the Son" would become incarnated in human flesh, (John 1:1-14), live a sinless life for some 33 years and be tempted in all possible ways, and yet not sin, and then give up His life to pay the price of mankind's sin. Only in this way would God's Holy Demands be satisfied. How all this happened is the very core of the Gospel (Good News), and it centers around God finding a virgin maiden from His Chosen People, to be the earthly mother of His Son. Mary was the chosen one, who was "overshadowed" by God the Holy Spirit, and she bore Jesus, who grew up to become our Savior. (Luke 1:26-35). Common sense would tell us that Jesus would have to be born of a virgin who was supernaturally with child of the Holy Spirit, in order to not be contaminated by the sin of Adam. (Gal 4:4-7). Paul referred to Jesus as the second or last Adam (1 Cor 15:45-47), who came to earth to undo the curse brought to mankind by by the first Adam. So we can see why the "Virgin Birth" has been opposed by Satan, and his Liberal Theologians throughout the church age, because they don't really believe the scriptures are the very "Word of God"
Monday, May 18, 2009
A NEW SPECIES
Recently I have read a new book by Frank Viola entitled "From Eternity to Here", which prompted me to reread an older book published in 1975 by Paul Billheimer called "Destined For The Throne". In both of these books I found this same expression, which naturally caught my attention. What could they possibly mean by this expression "A New Species"? Since these two men, over 30 years apart, used the identical term to describe the same thing, I decided to try and pass on what I think they meant by it. They were both referring to the Church, that Jesus said He would build. (Matt 16:18). As we know from many scripture references, this True Church is the Body of Christ. This body, whose head is none other than Jesus Christ, who is seated on a throne in heaven beside Father God. (Ps 110:1) We who are members of this body here on earth are often referred to in scripture as the "bride" of Christ, who will one day become His "wife". (Rev 21:2-10). As His wife we will become an official part of the the Trinity by virtue of our marriage to God's Son. When we are "born again", we become part of God's family, according to (John 1:10-13), which entitled us to become heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ, as Paul declares in (Rom 8:12-17). But we know from our experiences in an earthly family, that to be a wife is certainly a different position from other members of a family. She has a very unique role to fill as a wife to her husband. So what is the difference between a bride/wife, and other members of the family of God? This is the million dollar question!
It would appear to me that the answer to this question requires us to realize that there is a huge difference between our being a member of God's family here on earth, in our flesh and blood bodies, from when we receive our spiritual bodies at our resurrection. Peter refers to our "inheritance", which is being reserved in heaven for us, (1 Peter 1:3-5), which as I understand it, is our part in the "Kingdom of God". This inheritance has certain conditions attached to it, as is often the case with natural earthly inheritances, and this condition pertains to our behavior after we are born into God's family. Read carefully
(1 Cor 6:9-10), and other similar passages, which state clearly that those who commit certain sins will not "inherit" their part in the Kingdom, which is being kept in heaven for them. Does this mean they lose their salvation? No certainly not, because salvation is a gift from God (Eph 2:4-10) and has nothing to do with our behavior. It gives us entrance into God's family, but not the assurance of entrance into our inheritance in heaven. Our behavior as children of God is what determines our rewards in heaven. A careful reading of John's first letter will give us a clear picture of who is really part of this "New Species" of creation, and who is not. I believe our church traditions and man made doctrines have tended to deceive many people, so they have no appreciation for holiness, which requires separation from the world's system! (1 John 2:15-17). Read this passage in some modern translation like the NLT for example, for a good understanding.
When we become "new creatures in Christ" (2 Cor 5:17), a miracle happens in our life! The Holy Spirit of God implants His life into our spirit, just as He planted that same life into Mary's womb, to produce the Messiah, Emmanuel (God with us). John tries to tell us this fact in his first letter (1 John 3:4-10), when he states in verse 9 that "God's life is in them", and therefore they can not continue in sin, because if they do they are still children of the devil, and not God's children at all! Sad to say, this is the condition of many church going people today, in my opinion. Like Nicodemus, they need to be "born again", and become part of God's family !! (John 3:3)
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
FROM ETERNITY TO HERE----A book review
This book by Frank Viola was published earlier this year, 2009, by David C Cook. It is basically Frank's attempt to establish in our minds that God has always had an "ultimate purpose" in creation. This ultimate, eternal purpose was, and still is, to have a companion (bride/wife) to rule and reign throughout eternity with His Son Jesus Christ. This is very similar to the theme of "Destined For The Throne" by Paul Billheimer published back in 1975. Much of the church has been focused on getting "fallen man" back into relationship with God, which was broken by the sin of Adam in the garden of Eden. This was part of the reason for God the Father sending Jesus the Son into our world, but not the total reason. It would seem that the Father wanted to enlarge His family, so to speak, from three to many members. When He created Adam in His own image, He said it is not good that man should be alone. He put Adam to sleep and removed from his side a bride/wife, called Eve. Apparently when Adam was created perfect in God's image, he contained both male and female gender qualities. Once these qualities where separated, they could reproduce children after their kind, and fill the earth with Godly offspring. However as we know from scripture, before this could happen, Satan was allowed to introduce his original sin of rebellion into the human race through Adam. So instead of the earth being populated with Godly offspring, it became contaminated by a race of sinners! The rest is history that is well recorded in our Bible.
Frank divides his book into three parts.
Part one---A Forgotten Woman: The Bride of Christ.
The first 11 chapters are devoted to developing this theme, from the creation of Adam with a woman inside of him, through to Jesus, who in sense, also had His Bride inside of Him. When Jesus shed His blood through the spear wound in His side on the cross, His bride was born, so to speak, although she was not introduced to the world until after the resurrection of Jesus.
Part two---An Eternal Quest: The House of God.
The next 9 chapters tell the story of how God has always desired to dwell with His people on planet earth. From the Garden of Eden, when He would come down to be with Adam and Eve in the cool of the evening, through the time of Moses, and the tabernacle in the wilderness, this was always His desire. Then He allowed Solomon to build a temple that He dwelt in until it was destroyed. At last He came to earth Himself in the person of His Son, and when Jesus was rejected and killed, He came to live in the Church, through the person of the Holy Spirit! One day according to the last two chapters of the Bible, He will set up His headquarters for eternity here on the renovated planet earth!
Part three---A New Species: The Body of Christ and The Family of God.
The last 7 chapters cover the history of how the church developed through the gospels, the book of Acts, and the epistles, to become the permanent home for God throughout eternity. I guarantee you that a careful, prayerful, read through this book will give you a new appreciation for the Church that Jesus said He would build. (Matt 16:18) Bear in mind that what we have seen as the church, is certainly not the Church Jesus was talking about. The true Church, the Body of Christ on earth, is the "Community of The King"! Are you part of this Body? If not--- why not? You can be, by becoming a follower of Jesus!
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
LIGHT AND LOVE
These two little words taken from scripture, are both used to help us understand a bit more about our "Creator God". The first one appears several times in the Bible, starting in the very first book (Gen 1:3) "Then God said let there be light, and there was light." Then at the start of the gospel of John we see it again (John 1:4-5) "The Word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it." Here the light is clearly Jesus, the Son of God, who came into our world as a human, in order to become our Savior. (John 1:14) Then in (1 John 1:5) we read "This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in Him at all." We are all familiar with darkness, which can be defined as the absence of light. When we enter a dark room, and turn on the light switch, we all know that the darkness disappears. Where does it go? The light simply "overcomes" it, because of the truth expressed in (John 1:5). This is a divine principle we need to learn early in our Christian journey: "Light" [Jesus] always overcomes "darkness" [Satan]! Jesus defeated Satan at Calvary, some 2000 years ago, when he shed His life's blood to pay the price of our sins. (Rom 6:23) Satan was not destroyed at that time, only stripped of his authority and power. His total destruction will only come at the end of the 1000 year reign of Christ. (Rev 20:7-10).
Now we turn to (1 John 4:8), which reads in the NLT "But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love." This is one of the most basic statements in all of scripture! The Greek word John used here, as directed by the Holy Spirit, was [Agape]. We might call it the "God kind of love". We find it used in many scriptures such as
(1 Cor 13), often referred to as the love chapter. Then of course it is used also in (John 3:16), probably the best known verse in the Bible. There are several other Greek words that have a completely different meaning from [Agape], that unfortunately in most English translations, they are all rendered as love. Our English language is a poor comparison to the Greek in which the NT was written! Therefore, it is critical for those of us who have never studied Greek, to be familiar with a good concordance like Strong's. In (Heb 4:13) we read in the NLT "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes, and He is the one to whom we are accountable." This could be very scary, if it were not for the fact that we have been discussing: God is certainly "Light", and sees everything we do, but He is also "Love", so we don't need to fear being accountable to Him! Unless, of course, we have been trying to keep something hidden from Him. A careful reading of (1 John 1:5-10) should clear up any cause of fear in this regard. And of course consider the Cross of Calvary, where we see the perfect example of the love of God being shown!