Systematic Theology Paper

Final Synthesis Paper

 

A Paper

Submitted To:

Dr. Hart

Graduate School of Theology and Ministry

At Oral Roberts University

In Partial Fulfillment of

The Requirements for the Course GTHE 561,

Systematic Theology II

By

Christopher B Walsh

April 26th, 2017

 

1 Timothy 1:15 (NIV)

15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

Here we read of the mighty apostle Paul, near the end of his earthly ministry, refer to himself as the chief of all sinners.

From1 Corinthians 15:9, “I am the least of the apostles…,” to Ephesians 3:8, “I am the least of all the saints…” we see the progression in the apostle Paul’s life, as he is getting closer to the end of his earthly journey, beholding the glory of the risen Savior:

“It’s not so much that Paul wants to draw attention to himself as the “chief” sinner although I am sure he was not speaking hyperbolically here.  Rather, he wants to cast a greater light on Christ and show us the magnificence of Christ, His love, mercy and grace towards sinners!  Paul is calling us all to cast our eyes upon Christ and marvel at Him and the greatness of His saving grace.  As Paul is evaluating his own spiritual standing (i.e. in relation to the grace and glory of God in Christ) he cannot help but see himself as the “chief” sinner.”[1]

I believe this quote sums up the gospel!

Despite all the revelation given to the apostle Paul in writing much of the New Testament, I believe He sees the glory and heart of Jesus – the primary truth of the Word of God – we are all sinners, who need a Savior.

Truly it is written: Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”

We are all touched by the traducianistic nature of the fall of the original couple in the garden – we have inherited not only the combined natural DNA of our parents, but also the fallen nature of all humanity – original sin.

From the taste of the forbidden fruit, came an avalanche of the effects of this insidious fallen nature manifested: from Cain murdering his brother, to Lamech taking vengeance upon his enemies, until God Himself can take it no more.

We read in Gen 6: 5 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.

So we read the account of Noah, saved through the flood, a beautiful picture of Christ, the only Savior of the world.
Why then does a person need to be saved or more importantly: why do I need to be saved?
It’s the eternal ancient story being worked out again, in this, my generation.

The Bible declares:

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

This insidious sin nature then, is not just “out there”, so to speak, rather “in here”, as we look in the mirror to discover the greatest enemy of ourselves, to be staring back at us. Each of us must confront our own fallen nature, and agree with God. It is I that has sinned, it is I who must be forgiven, and it is I who am need of a Savior.

So is this Savior?

He is God the Son, The second person of the Trinity!

Who is this Jesus?

Theologians have argued His nature, but the following creed was adopted was adopted at the Council of Chalcedon in A.D. 451

Chalcedon Definition,

The Chalcedonian Definition (also called the Chalcedonian Creed) Following, then, the holy Fathers, we all unanimously teach that our Lord Jesus Christ is to us One and the same Son, the Self-same Perfect in Godhead, the Self-same Perfect in Manhood; truly God and truly Man; the Self-same of a rational soul and body; co-essential with the Father according to the Godhead, the Self-same co-essential with us according to the Manhood; like us in all things, sin apart; before the ages begotten of the Father as to the Godhead, but in the last days, the Self-same, for us and for our salvation (born) of Mary the Virgin Theotokos as to the Manhood; One and the Same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten; acknowledged in Two Natures unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the difference of the Natures being in no way removed because of the Union, but rather the properties of each Nature being preserved, and (both) concurring into One Person and One Hypostasis; not as though He were parted or divided into Two Persons, but One and the Self-same Son and Only-begotten God, Word, Lord, Jesus Christ; even as from the beginning the prophets have taught concerning Him, and as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself hath taught us, and as the Symbol of the Fathers hath handed down to us[2]

This is the officially accepted doctrine of the Christian church, but it has not been accepted without controversy. There have been six main heresies:

Ebionism states that Jesus is not God

Arianism – states that Jesus was not fully God

Docetism states that Jesus is not human

Apollinarianism states that Jesus is not fully human.

Nestorianism states that Jesus was two distinct persons

Eutychianism – Jesus has one blended nature.

While each of these positions has extensive reasoning’s of man behind them, they have been fully refuted by the person of Jesus, for has not He Himself declared for all eternity that I AM, the way, the TRUTH, and the life. All lies and deception fall crushed beneath the power of His glory, for He is the God of absolute TRUTH and holiness!

It is written: Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

As we seek to obey this command, we quickly find others who have gone before us in the journey, great theologians and academics that have contributed much to Christian thought and understanding.

Dr. Hart brilliantly and succinctly introduces three of these as we consider the questions:

What is salvation, or more importantly, what is redemption?

We discover three main theologies of redemption.

These are:

Gustav Aulen – The Ransom theory – Jesus is our Victory! “The note of triumph sounds like a trumpet call through the teachings of the early church”

Anselm – Satisfaction theory, the justice of God is fully satisfied in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus.

Abelard – The Moral Influence theory: It is the goodness of God that leads to repentance, that because God is love, we should automatically want to receive Jesus and serve Him.[3]

As great of each of these theories and lines of reasoning are, none of them is complete enough in and of itself to incorporate the whole gospel, rather each contributes to our understanding of redemption, and it is the study of all three of these combined that gives a more complete understanding of the miracle of redemption.

As I look at the spiritual landscape here in yea even Tulsa, Oklahoma, I see there is ‘nothing new under the sun’

Could the victorious teachings of Aulen, be the heart of the great Victory Christian Center with its far flung mission’s movement and over 1600 International Bible Schools in over 100 nations?

Could the teachings of Anselm be reflected in the Baptist and Holiness churches that teach believers the power of the cross and in living a crucified life?

Could the teachings of Abelard, be the heart of God reflected in ‘the grace movement’ focusing on the love of God, and our identity in Christ that should cause us to desire Him, His holiness, and a life free from sin?
Well then, if we need salvation, and have received redemption through the atoning sacrifice of our Savior Jesus, by what means do we receive this great gift?

By Faith!

Faith, – “pistis” What we believe, is the noun.

“Pisteo”, this is the verb, for faith without works is dead.

As a Rhema graduate taught at the feet of Kenneth E. Hagin, one would be tempted to believe that faith is the only topic in the Bible.  Obviously, this is not the full counsel of God.  Yet in light of eternity, faith is the most important for Ephesians 2:8 states: For by grace you are saved, through faith.  Yet faith works by love Galatians 5:6 and it is the love of God that made salvation available.  The text brilliantly makes this distinction between the noun and the verb.  So faith is both the belief and then the action upon the belief.  Since faith only comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, and the Bible says that everything we need for life and godliness has been given to us by these exceeding great and precious promises, so then faith: that is formally developing belief systems in others, must be the heart of every true ministry.  Families need divine order.  So ministers must preach on God’s covenant of marriage, the roles and responsibilities of wives and husbands in the home, the duty of children to honor and obey their parents.  And as these words are preached and people believe and act upon them, God brings great grace, power, and love from Heaven into the lives of those that do them.  This principle is true of every area of life and godliness.  Answers for all of life’s questions can be found in the Word of God believed and acted upon.

The illustrious Dr. Hart expounds on this by both teaching the Scriptures and quoting many, many theologians.  I love his quote “clearly then, faith (pistis), the noun and believing (pisteo) the verb are central to the Biblical doctrine of salvation. [4]

 

Clearly faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus will cause one to call on the Name of the Lord and be saved.  But the road to the cross must continue past the resurrection to Pentecost and the mighty baptism of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus gave the promise of the Holy Spirit, but clearly the promise had a purpose as American Baptist Scholar Howard M. Ervin stated, “The purpose of Pentecost is unmistakably world evangelism[5]” Holy Spirit prayer produces power for Christian service for each and every one of us.  Not only was prayer central to the event of Pentecost; Prophecy also played a major role.  This led to provocation as God deliberately intended that the Pentecostal experience would provoke.  We see the Holy Spirit portrayed as wind, creator, fire, the dove, and water.  He is both the personal spirit as the Paraclete and divine, but there is one work of the Holy Spirit.  We see Him displayed as paschal, purifying and Pentecostal, but Paschal. that is the direct application of Christ-saving work at Calvary is the manner at which He imparts to us eternal life.[6]

I love the way I heard gunnery sergeant USMC Gregory Gill state it while giving his testimony during the flag raising ceremony between veterans and the Navajo nation in July 2014:

“If all we got in receiving Jesus is eternal life, we have been overpaid”.

We see then a new law at work in creation, the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.  There must be integration between Calvary and Pentecost.  We recognize the work of the Spirit in Spirit baptism but also in leading people into true repentance.  Clearly He is the One that causes people to hear the Lord’s call through the Gospel.  We understand that in Christ we have been grafted into the faith of our father Abraham and that Jesus is the ultimate faith teacher.  Faith alone will move the hand of God and cause us to change as our born-again nature works in us to will and to do according to His good pleasure.  It is the cross that reconciles, the Holy Spirit that empowers, and faith that sanctifies, as we embrace the spirit disciplines as the means for sanctification.  We discover that we have been adopted, chosen, into the royal family of Heaven.  And so Dr. Hart discusses the age-old controversy between Calvinism and Armenianism to reveal the straight and narrow way that Jesus Himself promised.

 

Hope for a despairing world

Even the great Sir Winston Churchill looked to Billy Graham for the precious gift of hope.  For hope is a Christian virtue from the pages of Scripture to the lips of Dr. Martin Luther King we discover in the promises of God the great Christian hope laid out in the Scriptures.  The theology of hope may have had its origins in Germany.[7]

Is not Eschatology simply the theology of hope?  “Forward looking and forward moving and therefore revolutionizing and transforming the present.”[8] We see Christian hope in history for “Jews and Christians believe that God has revealed Himself redemptively in history.”[9]  Just as the Jew looks to the historical Exodus account, we look to the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  So we find hope in our personal mission “the ultimate meaning of history between the ascension of our Lord and His return in glory is found in the extension and working of the Gospel in the world.[10]  Hope also produces assurance (Phil 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ).  Paul was confident for he knew God would complete His good work.  We too can have this assurance, the hope of our salvation.  Christian hope will produce a joy-filled lifestyle.  We can face death squarely as Christians knowing our sins are forgiven and we have eternal life in Christ Jesus!  Jesus is coming again!  We see the signs of the times.  And yet hope has us looking up not fearfully but in joyful anticipation of the second coming of Jesus.  We read about the devil, the beast, and the false prophets, and hear the myriad voices declaring the second coming and the three main positions pre-millennial, post-millennial, and millennial.  Whichever position you choose, know that even as Jesus was raised from the dead, we too shall be raised and given a glorified body.  There will be a great white throne judgment where “we will all someday face judgment before the throne.”[11]  For those of us whose names are found in the Book of Life, eternal glory waits.  To those who are not found there, there is a place of eternal torment awaiting that the Bible calls hell.  This place was prepared, not for human-kind, but for the devil and his angels, yet many will end up there in this place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.  “If Heaven is the community of the redeemed, then hell is the community of the damned.”[12]  How can a good God send people into an eternal hell?

So then we walk on our pilgrimage with eyes facing forward looking and longing for the hope of Heaven.  If we really believe in Heaven, then we must also believe in hell.  Dr. Hart shockingly states that no one in his class actually believes in hell anymore. “If we really believed in hell, we would be moved to avert as many as we could from its horror.”[13]  While we shudder to think of our eternal responsibility to share the Gospel, we must also think of the glories of Heaven.  “This is the city, the community, the family, the fellowship, the joy, the perfection, the kingdom, the commonwealth, and the paradise for which we have all been longing!”[14]

If faith is not only what we believe, but also the way that God requires us to live in this covenant, we must understand the workings of faith and faith works by love.  Jesus said I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.  So what is the church of our Lord Jesus Christ?  For a general definition of the New Testament church, it must include all true believers in Jesus Christ at all times and all places and also the local gatherings of God’s people.  In relation to God, we have become both the people of God and the temple of God; in relationship to Jesus, we are both the bride of Christ and the body of Christ.  In relation to the Holy Spirit, we are the fellowship (koinonia) of the Holy Spirit and the ministry (diakonia) of the Holy Spirit.  The Church takes on many forms in its historical dimension and the eschatological dimension, our corporate worship and our home fellowships.  But I am more of a practitioner.  I love Rick Warren’s Purpose-Driven Church where he set his congregation on a research assignment in the Scriptures to succinctly express the main purposes of the church.  He summarized these into five main purposes which are outreach, worship, fellowship, discipleship, and service.  While there are many particular denominations of the Christian faith, and most were created at a time during history to meet a need of humanity or correct an error in the current institutionalized structure.  I have become firmly non-denominational in my theology embracing the spirit of St. Augustine of Hippo, “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

The primary responsibility of the church is ‘martyria’ or (witness); it is this witness that is the root of koinonia (fellowship) and diakonia (service). I agree that Dr. Hart is correct Biblically, and his discussion supports my theology, that faith only comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Therefore, the preacher, the oracle of God, speaks the Word of God, and faith comes, not only for salvation, but for everything required for life and godliness, which of course includes fellowship and service.

So then, the church of the living God is a charismatic, spirit empowered place for both fellowship and service, where believers worship in spirit and in truth. Since God Himself inhabits the praises of His people, Holy Spirit provides heavenly witness to His people, depositing His precious gracelets among His people, His supernatural gifts.

Yet, are the ‘motivational gifts’ listed in Romans 12, any less supernatural?

In Ephesians chapter four we read of the gifts of ministry offices, five-fold ministry; my number one prayer mandate, when I seek to obey Paul’s command to pray for those in authority listed in 1Tim 2:1-5. As goes the church in a nation, so goes the government of the nation, and so I daily pray heavenly offices fully obey God, that there be flaming pulpits in every nations declaring boldly, with authority the uncompromised Word of God, with signs and wonders following, that people can hear and obey, and fully submit to the reign and rule of heaven for that nation.

This verse explains why we pray for those in authority:

1 Tim 2: 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

We then baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in water. I believe there are five baptisms recorded in the New Testament, the text mentions three, but suffice to say that believers should be baptized in water, as an outward sign of being baptized into the body of Christ, and should receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Every should observe the Lord’s supper, for this sacrament is a direct commandment of the Word of God, and a wonderful celebration of God’s covenant, with us, His people.

Who did Jesus come to save? Me and You, and though we work out our salvation with fear and trembling, we have been redeemed, an each given wonderful, diverse and beautiful gifts from heaven to glorify the magnificence of our Savior, God the Son, Jesus King of all kings, Lord of the universe!

[1] https://graceforeachmoment.org/2012/04/25/paul-the-chief-of-sinners/

[2] Henry Bettenson, Documents of the Christian Church, (2nd Edition; London: The Oxford University Press, 1963 pp 51-52

[3] P363-67 Truth Aflame

[4] Truth Aflame p. 417

[5] Howard M Ervin, Spirit Baptism:  A Biblical Investigation “Peabody, Mass:  Hendrickson, 1987”p. 38

Hart p.377

[6] Hart p. 388

[7] Hart p. 465

[8] Jurgen Moltmann, Theology of Hope: On the Ground and the Implications of Christian Eschatology. trans.

James W. Leitch (London: SCM, 1967),16.

[9] Hart p. 468

[10] George Eldon Ladd, The Gospel of the Kingdom (Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans, 1959, 133.

[11] Hart p520.

[12] Hart p526-7.

[13] Truth Aflame p528

[14] Truth Aflame p532

The Sabbath?

Colossians 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: The Sabbath Ex 31:13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me […]

Colossians 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

sabbath

The Sabbath

Ex 31:13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.

14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.

15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.

16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.

17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.

sabbath-christian

So, the Sabbath, is from sun down on Friday, to sun down Saturday. If my schedule permits, I love to rest during this time, to honor the eternal record forever established in the heavens.

I like the way Dr. Brad Young says it: “Hey, we get a vacation day, every week!!”

Yet, we see hospital workers, retail, police, etc, all having to work Saturday’s in this society. Probably not God’s best, it would be good for us to all actually rest one day per week as a society. Seems God has blessed ‘Chik-Fil-A’ in their committment to close one day a week to go to church.

J. Vernon McGee tells this story about a man who wanted to argue about the Sabbath. The man said, “I’ll give you $100 if you will show me where the Sabbath day has been changed.” McGee answered, “I don’t think it has been changed. Saturday is Saturday, it is the seventh say of the week, and it is the Sabbath day. I realize our calendar has been adjusted, and can be off a few days, but we won’t even consider that point. The seventh day is still Saturday, and it is still the Sabbath day.” He got a gleam in his eye and said, “Then why don’t you keep the Sabbath day if it hasn’t been changed?” McGee answered, “the DAY hasn’t changed, but I have been changed. I’ve been given a new nature now, I am joined to Christ; I am a part of the new creation. We celebrate the first day because that is the day He rose from the grave.” That is what it means that the ordinances have been nailed to the cross, Colosians 2:14.

J. Vernon McGee

Now, we have theologians arguing about whether weekly worship services should be on Saturday, or Sunday when I hear the Spirit of God whisper:

And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:

sabbath-lord

The Sabbath is Saturday, but the spirit of the Sabbath is the love of God.

Rest sometimes!

Used to hear a comment at minister’s conferences that made me smile: ‘Ever wonder why the weather is so good on Monday’s? It’s pastor’s day off, and God blesses it!’

Take a day off a week and relax! Recreation is RE Creation. Come back to your Creator and experience times of refreshing in His presence. 

Too simple for most I guess…

Let’s Pray:

‘Father, help us to rest, completely, one day/week, in your name I pray Lord Jesus, Amen’

need-prayer

https://chrisaomministries.com/2016/08/06/the-purpose-of-this-blog/

God, Humanity and the Universe – A Christian Perspective

This is a paper I submitted for my systematic theology class.
truth-aflame

To begin my address, I must ask you several pertinent questions: Why is Christian theology and Christian worldview important?

What we believe about God and His creation, will affect the view we hold of His creation, and our purpose here in this life. If we believe we descended from the primordial ooze of an amoeba, and evolved through the planet of the apes, our life has no more meaning than that of a bug or a worm. As the Buddhists practice, perhaps we may be reincarnated as a higher life form, and eventually reach the state of Nirvana. No, we are created by an Almighty God, in His image, to rule and reign both in this lifetime, but for specific purpose, destiny, and greatness, now in this life, and in preparation for our life with Him throughout eternity.

How do we derive true knowledge of God?

We derive all true knowledge of God from several sources that stem from the Bible as the written Word of God, and the living presence of God in the earth, mighty Holy Spirit. As we learn of Jesus, the truth, we discover Him historically, Biblically, and through the contemporary theologies of the church; intimately, personally, experientially through that living, abiding, vital union with Him through Holy Spirit, Emmanuel, God in the earth.

What are the distinctive features of the Christian view of God?

Clearly, men and devils have been imagining many diverse religious in attempts to describe, worship, and please God, but ultimately, the founders and teachers of all these great teachings, Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius, and all others are dead and their bodies lie in the ground to this day. Not our Jesus! He rose from the dead, and He is alive. This separates Christianity from any other religion ever invented by man.

All the world’s religions are men’s rules and regulations: works designed by men to reach out to God. When Jesus died upon the cross, paid the price with His own blood for all the sin of humanity, and rose victoriously over death, hell and the grave, then ascended bodily back into heaven, we have a religion that is no longer man’s attempt to reach God, but a gospel that describes God’s attempt to meet with a broken and fallen humanity. What men think about Jesus is nowhere near as important as what God thinks about Him. He has accepted His sacrifice for our sins, and heaven bears witness to this fact everywhere the gospel is preached, with signs, wonders and acts of heavenly power.

Jesus did not come to make bad people good, nor good people better: He came to make dead people ALIVE. Except a man be born-again, we cannot even see the kingdom of God.

So then, how can one believe in God as the Creator in the face of the challenges of contemporary science?

God is the Creator, and His fingerprints are all over His Creation. True science testifies of His Creation, His design itself in the complexity of His Creation show clearly that where there is a design, there is a designer. From the order of the universe, to the complexity of DNA chains inside of cells we see the beauty of His carefully planned creation. The great scientists themselves premised their research on the existence and intelligent design of God: “Gravity may put the planets into motion, but without the divine Power, it could never put them into such a circulating motion as they have about the Sun; and therefore, for this as well as other reasons, I am compelled to ascribe the frame of this System to an intelligent Agent. Sir Isaac Newton.
science

Most great scientists begin their research with a belief in God: Albert Einstein himself makes the famous quote: “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”

There are seven main schools of thought on the creation, and the intersection between science and theology in the origin of the universe. Stay on the edge of your seats folks, for we will look at these in more depth, later.
What constitutes the uniqueness of humanity in relation to the rest of the created order?

In our Christian worldview, we discover that humanity is different than the rest of creation, in that the Bible declares we are created in the very image and likeness of God. You have never seen a monkey build a temple and worship God, for only humanity has the desire and ability to truly know and worship God in spirit and in truth.
So what is theology and why do we need it anyway?

Since the study of theology includes what we believe about God, life and everything else, the question that must be asked is: “Am I a theologian?”

Theology definition: ‘Theo’= God, ‘Logos’ = A Word – Theology then, is a word or a rational thought about God and all that He has made.

Our theology then, is what we know about God, and will dictate our response to Him in every area of life. It creates our beliefs and behavior, it determines our ethics, affects our knowledge and resulting behavior, It must be established upon the Bible and be coherent, explicatory, and include the full counsel of God, the entire canon of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation.

Though the world is full of religions created through the imaginations of men, it is only through Jesus one can come to the Father, and so the main thrust of our theological study must be grounded in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, centered upon Christ, aware of spiritual warfare, and motivated through dependant prayer, in relationship with the ecclesiatia, the church of the living God lived out in community here in the earth. While surely God has given the cultures, languages, and nationalities of the earth, true theology must be based upon the culture of heaven, a kingdom that supersedes every earthly culture, based upon absolute truth that has the power to transform and lift any culture currently existing.

In the formal study then of Christian theology, we discover Biblical theology, that is the teachings of the entire Bible, both Old and New testaments, Historical theology that traces what the church has taught through the centuries, while Contempory theology studies the theology of recent decades.

For us who love Jesus, He is the center of all History, the Bible, our faith and our actions in this generation as He works His plan and purpose out in the earth, at this time in History.
history

Jesus is history, for all of time is HIS story, God’s plan for humanity and all creation revealed. He is Jewish, the Messiah, Lion of the Tribe of Judah, King of Israel, Lord of His church, and every living thing, whether pagan or Christian, for truly He has poured out his Spirit upon all flesh, and He is well able to harden the hearts of the wicked, that He be glorified in their destruction (Ex 14:4)

As we study Christian theology then, we discover God through the Scriptures, and the godly traditions of the church: apostolic and ecclesiastical that either develop or distort those apostolic traditions given clearly in from the Scriptures.

The church then has given us two types of traditions: the creeds and the confessions. The creeds succinctly boil down the essential doctrines of Christianity, and can perhaps become a platform for Christian unity in the church universal, crossing denominational lines as we contend in prayer and ministry that we all come into a unity of the faith. Perhaps some of you have read my blog on this topic: https://chrisaomministries.com/2016/05/19/the-apostles-creed-a-platform-for-christian-unity/

Historically the church has separated itself into four main divisions: The ‘Spiritual’ reflected in Eastern Orthodoxy, the ‘Sacramental’ reflected in Catholism, the ‘Scriptural’ reflected in Protestant denominations, and the ‘Supernatural’ practiced in Pentecostal/Charismatic traditions.

Theology then, must be absolute truth and so has been polemical – a sword bring truth severing error and false teachings from the church, exegetical in bringing a systemized doctrine of the Bible, and catechetical to instruct young Christians before and after baptism.

Over the centuries transformers and translators have arisen to lead God’s people, revivalists to bring passion and fire back to the work of God, historians that keep the work clean, holy, and established in truth.

Over the centuries, many volumes of literature have been written by great scholars creating categories of theology such as liberalism, fundamentalism, evangelism, neo-orthodoxy, various radical theologies, liberation theologies, post liberal theology, and Pentecostal/charismatic.

The serious student of the Word of God must at least familiarize oneself with all these schools of thought, for the old adage is true: ‘Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.’

Now we come to the topic: Revelation: How God makes Himself known!

How do we know God personally, not just about Him?

Let’s look at the simple definition of “Revelation” – It means “an uncovering or unveiling”

revelation

General revelation to all people, at all times, in all places – this is God revealed through the creation and the conscience.

Then there is special revelation, which is the gospel or saving revelation, the revelation to Israel as recorded in the OT, the revelation to the early church recorded in the Old Testament and History, the Bible and Jesus Christ.

There is much variety in the ways God practically reveals Himself: ask Native Americans how they experience God through Creation, and ask a businessman how God reveals himself through his conscience!

Throughout time special revelation has been given in the form of prophetic words, dreams, visions, miraculous acts of God in the earth (the Exodus, the water from a rock, the fire descended upon mount Sinai, the manna in the desert to name a few in the Old Testament)

The Greatest revelation given to humanity, is the Bible, the inspired word of God – written revelation, his authority, inspiration, infallible, inerrant revelation of heaven, ‘breathed out’, for every generation to read, that we might know Him not just experientially, but through the firm foundations of truth beautifully expressed in the Word of God,

Psalm 119:89 Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.
Microsoft Word - Document1

Now, in this book, we have the privilege of establishing this very word here, in the earth, in our generation. It is a blood-sworn oath, signed, sealed and delivered by the eternal blood of the Lamb, Jesus Himself, given to govern and instruct us for all generations!

Scholars throughout the years have argued the nuances of the infallibility and inaccuracy of the Bible, yet the very fact that this book has stood the test of time, proves to me that God Himself has upheld and sustained it. Critics and scholars have fought and debated it, yet it remains, upheld by God Himself for all generations. Whether one subscribes to the school of thought of ‘absolute or detailed inerrancy’, ‘complete infallibility’, or ‘full inerrancy’, know this: Man will never judge the word of God.  Rather, to it we must each give an account, individually fully accountable to its commands and precepts. On that day we breathe our final breath here in the earth, and close our eyes, we immediately open them before the throne of Jesus, to hear His eternal judgment of our earthly existence, and we will be judged by our response to Him and His Word and our obedience to it.

The great theologian Carl F.H. Henry in his book entitled ‘God, Revelation and authority’ offers fifteen theses on divine revelation beginning in divine initiative (creation) through to the end of the age, in the second coming of Christ (end times). The Spirit initiated the Scriptures, and reveals them to us, His saints, the church of the living God.

Revelation has not ceased as Clark Pinnock says: ‘We have in the ‘the spirit of revelation’, which causes the letter of the Bible to become the living voice of God to us.’
The_Voice_of_God

It is with this faith, that I address you today. Not to present to you a mere didactic treatise of the Word of God, but that the author of all theology Himself, would breath afresh upon you, personally, illuminating these truths expressed through these lips of clay, that you would experience Jesus life from heaven, practically, now, through precious Holy Spirits breath and presence.

So then,  who is God, and what is He like?

How can we, the creation, as finite beings, fully understand our Creator: an infinite being?

Dealing adequately with the doctrine of God is like trying to empty the ocean with a teaspoon.

We know God only by way of the cross, the wisdom of God, foolishness to those who are perishing.

So we know God through His essence, His names, His attributes, and His triunity.

God is Spirit – this is His essence

God is light – describes His holiness

God is love – describes His love.

Theologians introduce two words to attempt to describe God: His immanence and transcendence: His immanence implying that God is ‘everywhere present’ within His created order. His transcendence describing how God ‘wholly other’ than, and ‘outside’ of the created order. He is holy. We discover wonderful words to attempt to describe Him: His Aseity: for God is self-existent (a se, of himself: underived existence). God is uncreated, uncaused, independent, and self-sufficient.’ In simplicity: God is one, indivisible, not a composite of parts. The doctrine of the trinity is informed in part by this truth.
clover

God’s attributes are revealed through His names: He is the infinite, personal God, and His attributes are revealed through His glorious names. Philosophers have created their conceptual labels for God: Plato with his ‘Idea of God’, Aristotle calls Him ‘the prime mover’, Plotinus calls Him ‘One’, Hegel ‘the Absolute’, but these are not the names He has given us, that reveal to us His self-revelation, His revealed character, His entire reality.

In His plurality, many names He has given to us. Let us begin with ‘El,’ the general semantic name for God apparently derived for the root word meaning ‘power’. This is the oldest known designation for God in the ancient world, and connotes strength, power, authority, control, majesty, transcendence.

From this root we derive more well known names like: El Shaddai – literally ‘the multi-breasted one’ or ‘the source’, the creator and sustainer of the universe, initiator and keeper of the covenant, connoting strength, stability, permanence; in the poetic sense: majestic stability, reliable refuge, unmoved pillar, and is the bridge between Elohim and Yahweh.

We then find El Elyon: ‘The Most High God’, pointing to His supremacy and omnipotence.

El Roi – The God who sees – He sees, He knows, He cares, and He responds to us in our need with compassion.

El – Olam – The Everlasting God or the God of Eternity – His sovereignty continues from age to age.

Elohim – The first name for God encountered in the Bible, in one version the Scripture reads: ‘Let us…’ This is Elohim, the first indication of the Trinity, a plural noun used with a singular verb or adjective.

Then there is Yahweh – His most important and holy name, His covenant name. The name certain orthodox Jews still refuse to utter, for it is holy. Reminds me of the testimony of my native American friends who went to Israel, and spent eight hours giving gifts to the Knesset members, in joyful worship and celebration with their covenant with Israel through Yeshua.

As they left in ceremony and dance, proceeding down the streets of Jerusalem in joyful song in the Spirit, a platoon of Israelite warrior soldiers joined them waving their rifles in the air, shouting before the Lord as they danced down the street in ecstatic praise and worship. When it ended, one of the Jewish soldiers exclaimed: ‘You sing in our language!” The natives, who had been lost in the Holy Ghost said: “What? What were we singing?” The soldiers replied: “You sang in high, formal Hebrew, Yahweh, the name forbidden to utter, yet you proclaimed our God and we knew He alone could have sent you”. To this day, the elders and leaders who participated that day still are in awe and humbled by the clear gift God alone gave them that day.

He is I AM!
I Am

There are combinations with this high and holy name given us: Yahweh-Jireh – the Lord who sees ahead and who provides. Yahweh-Rapha – The Lord who Heals, Yahweh-shalom – The Lord is Peace for truly Yeshua is the Prince of Peace and His kingdom is righteousness, joy and PEACE in the Holy Ghost!

Theos, Kurios, Father, Abba, are names that must be known and understood to complete a doctrine of God. These names point to His attributes, His personality, spirituality, sovereignty, Majesty, unity, holiness and love.

Theos – the New Testament name most commonly used for God is equivalent to El and Elohim in the Old Testament.

Kurios – the name given to us by the Septuagint is used to translate both the OT Adonai and Yahweh, and is used to refer to both our heavenly Father and Jesus.

The Father, our Father, Abba, Daddy, our intimate heavenly Father, the only one who can provide true confidence, security, reverence, and who must be obeyed!

In His names we discover His attributes:

His wrath tempered by His mercy, His Righteousness contrasted by His faithfulness, and on it goes, as His attributes are revealed, we find ourselves in deeper pursuit of Him, deeper worship, as our understanding deepens.

And so Jesus has come, full of grace and truth!
name-of-jesus

In Gods Holiness we see purity, ethical and moral holiness, His just wrath against sin, His perfect righteousness revealed in both Jesus atonement and His dealing with mankind. He is ALL Mighty, His power displayed through creation, redemption, and His miraculous acts to this day. Is anything too hard for the LORD!

So now I will explain to you the Trinity, so simply a child can understand by asking you a simple riddle:

Why is God like a clover leaf?

Well, we have one leaf, with three separate and distinct parts. If you look closely, we see the sap inside the stem goes to all three parts of the leaf. There is one leaf, but the sap goes to each part equally, similar to the mystery of the Trinity. There is one true God, yet He is revealed in three very separate and distinct persons, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

 four-leaf-clover

Ok, so why is a four-leaf clover good luck? Must be my Irish background speaking? Well, four leaf clovers are rare, and considered special by many, as are true Christians, the bride of Christ, grafted into the vine of God’s Spirit and love by the precious blood of Jesus Himself. The four leave is like the Church of the Living God, grafted into the Godhead Himself.

We saw in Genesis, the Trinity’s revelation to us being prepared, in the translators words, Let us create!

 God creates, and we who are created in His image, create too! https://chrisaomministries.wordpress.com/2015/02/05/let-your-spirit-free/

Clearly all three persons of the Godhead were involved in Creation, Redemption, and now in the age of grace where the church is designed to reign victorious.

There is a need for theologians to dig deep into this doctrine, and mystery to avoid heresies that have crept up repeatedly over the ages of church history: dynamic Monarchianism (adoptionism),

Modalistic Monarchianism (Sabellianism), and Arianism from which stems the teachings of the Jehovah Witness cult today.

Many church fathers championed the doctrine of the Trinity: Athanasius, the Cappadocian Fathers, and John of Damascus.

The doctrine of the Trinity states: The Triune God is one God who exists eternally a three infinite,

 

Eternal, interpenetrating persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit…

Thoughtful theologians have dug deep into the Word of God and given us elaboration on this essential doctrine, and come up with terms like: perichoretic Union (God cannot be divided into parts) versus Economic Trinity=Ontological Trinity

The Council of Constantinople in 381AD came up with a theology I agree with, that God is one substance (Ousis) yet three separate and distinct persons: (Hypostases)

This produced some problematic areas of doctrine that resulted in three main approaches to the doctrine: the Greek, Latin and Contemporary. Each has strengths and tendencies towards different heresies, but I lean most towards the Latin approach, which starts with the one divine nature which is equal in all three persons.  Extremes in this teaching can err on the side of Modalism that is the thinking of a being that can “morph”, a “shape shifter” from one form into another. There is only one being at any one time. Modalism views God as a being that has three different forms, but is not One, as Scripture declares.

In the study of the doctrine of God then the basic question is clear: Are faith and reason compatible?

Were we created or did we come from nothing as Nihilism taught by Nietzsche?

While my undergraduate degree was in engineering, my actual degree title is Bachelor of Integrated Science, where I integrated my study of mechanical engineering with a minor in philosophy. I am grateful to God that I did, for in my search for truth, I found Jesus.

I like the words of Sir Francis Bacon then in refuting atheism (and Nietzsche) “”It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion; for while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no further; but when it beholdeth the chain of them confederate, and linked together, it must needs fly to Providence and Deity.”

So then we discover there are five basis for faith:

The Experimental Basis – it works, so let’s believe – this the pragmatic or utilitarian view.

The Experiential – There are no atheists in foxholes, God can be experienced.

The Cosmic Basis, that is general revelation through creation, cosmology, teleological

Historical: Special Revelation of Gods acts and revelation throughout History

The Community Basis: The church

 

The Five Classic Theological Arguments then are:

The Ontological Argument – God is innate, the epitome of morality,

The Cosmological Argument – that is the first cause – every event has a cause, and God is the first cause of everything.

The Teleological Argument – If there is a design, there is a designer

The Moral Argument – There is an innate ‘right and wrong’, moral absolutes.

The Experiential Argument – God can be known and experienced.

 

This then concludes our brief survey of the doctrine of God

Let us then, look at the doctrine of Creation, a very important doctrine, from this doctrine all other doctrines are built:

One of my colleagues and professors at seminary at Oral Roberts University makes the statement, and I quote:“This doctrine in its fullest expression is an important distinctive of Christianity – a distinctive that sets it apart from every other world religion and philosophical outlook.” Dr Larry Hart

The doctrine of creation has been articulated over the years by academics and scholars into three main categories: Dualism, Monism, and Theism.

Dualism or “Spirit/Matter” This is the thought that Spirit which is good, exists with matter which is evil, and these are locked into eternal conflict kind of like Star Wars with the good and bad side’s of ‘the force.” Then there is Monism – where God is everything and creation emanates from His being. We are a ‘chunk’ of God.  Our very finitude is the source of evil, and it is a position with no ultimate hope. The final doctrine, is the Biblical doctrine of Creation, and it is fun, inspiring. As we look around us at the beauty and wonder of all that God has created, it fills us with a sense of awe.

God spoke, and it was (and still is, and is still reproducing and goes on, and on, and on)

God created a perfect universe and it was good.

Man fell, and creation has been marred.

Jesus came to redeem humanity, and humanity participates with Him in the redemption and recreation of the earth.

Jesus Himself pointed to the creation’s beauty to reveal the Father – look at the lilies, the sparrow…God, the one true and living God, created all things, and despite centuries of sin, war, heartache and death upon this planet, we still behold the beauty of His creation in it.

I love the literary framework of Genesis chapter one: God formed things, and then He filled them. There were days of forming v 9: On Day three God created continents and oceans, on days five and six, He filled them.

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In studying creation we find that there are seven theories of origins:

  1. The Gap Theory: There is a gap of undetermined time between Gen 1:1 and Gen 1:2
  2. The Flood Theory: Flood geology. Flood geology (also creation geology or diluvial geology) is the attempt to interpret and reconcile geological features of the Earth in accordance with a literal belief in the global flood described in Genesis 6–8. There are problems with this interpretation, as the sedimentary evidence does not support factually what this theory attempts to ascertain.
  3. The Pictorial or Revelatory Day Theory: The six days of creation are days of revelation, not actual days of creation.
  4. The Appearance of Age Theory – Did Adam and Eve have a belly button at creation? Did trees have rings? Scholars argue that they probably did, which made the creation appear old when it was created, although it might not be.
  5. Theistic Evolution –Intelligent design. The Bible tells us who created the universe, evolution tells us how.
  6. The Day Age Theory – The concept taken from 2 Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.  That the days described in creation may be eons of time, not literal twenty four hour days.

 

  1. The Creationomic Perspective –Closely related to progressive creationism, or intelligent design theory asserting that God is involved in the on-going creation that: “Divine action ought always to be the matter of primary importance, with natural process as the secondary or contingent reality.”

 

Ultimately, God is the Creator who created and still sustains and recreates His creation. This is shown historically in His acts of power, (water from a rock, causing the desert to bloom as a rose, Jesus mastering the winds and the waves)

 

So then, what about the doctrine of humanity? Who are we? Why are we here? What does it mean to be created in God’s image?

Read with me if you will: Psalm 8 :KJV For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor.

Many translators mis-translate this verse for the word here ‘angels’ is ‘Elohim’.

We have been created a little lower than Elohim! American Standard Version got it right!

Ps 8:5 ASV For thou hast made him but little lower than God, And crownest him with glory and honor.

We are created in the image and likeness of God!

 

Charles Darwin and His evolutionary theory tried to define humanity in relation to the creation, through natural selection, but this is only a kernel of truth. We are not defined by the creation, rather we are defined by the Creator, and are made in His image!

 

Karl Marx tried to define man in relation to the social order, subordinating the individual to ‘society’. It is a beautiful philosophy, but it did not take into account the fallen, sinful nature of man.

 

I still remember God bursting my personal bubble in this regard. I competed in triathlon, and swam on the varsity swim team during my undergraduate degree. I majored in robotic engineering, and read Science fiction novels by Isaac Asimov, and loved the philosophy of Ayn Rand called objectivism. I was going to automate industry with my knowledge, and take the sweat and grind away from humanities daily toil, I designed the robot arm of my dreams for my honors assignment, was given nine job offers in the robotics industry, and in my bright bubble of selfish individualism, I flew three thousand miles away to Victoria, British Columbia to begin my career with Robotic Systems International. Yes, I would create a utopian world, where people would only have to work four to six hours per day, so they would have more time for art, academic study, exercise, leisure, and exploration of this planet and outer space.

Yet, during my first week there, I read a trade journal article about an automotive plant that had been fully automated. In the corresponding newspaper article, I read of how fifteen hundred employees had been laid-off, some of whom had been employed at that plant for twenty years, and my conscience was troubled.

Then, several months later, the research and development funding for our company was cut, and the company immediately laid-off eighty four engineers, myself included.

 

So, I took a position across the Juan de Fuca straight in the big city of Vancouver, BC, to help design targeting stations for a cyclotron that produced radioactive isotopes for treatment of Thyroid cancer, only to discover that regularly scheduled maintenance on the equipment had not been performed in ten years, and the copper lines that provided the cooling water to the unit decayed, and leaked, threatening to pollute the public water system with radioactive waste. We shut the machine down, and worked around the clock for forty days replacing the damaged lines, and instead of being heralded as heroes, corporate head office used the head of our department as a scapegoat for their lost production and revenue, and he resigned to take a position in academia, while we were consigned to a basement lab, under strict orders to not disclose how severely environmentally dangerous the situation could have become.

To make a long story short, my philosophy did not survive my reality. There is sin in humanity, a fallen nature that must be reckoned with, and that can only be overcome through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, and His resurrection power.

 

Freud attempts to define humanity in terms of our sexuality, but that old pervert cannot use his descriptions of the Id, the ego, and the superego to dance around the truth of creation. We are not mere creatures motivated by our mere base instincts; we are called to be children of the most High God, people of purpose and destiny for the pleasure and glory of God.

 

There have been different philosophies developed over the years:

Existentialism – a philosophical theory or approach that emphasizes the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent determining their own development through acts of the will

 

The teachings of Karl Barth try to explain humankind as God’s covenant partner, even after man’s irrational choice of sin, Moltman sees value in biological, cultural, and religious anthropology as they provide insight into the nature of human existence. Pannengerg, and his philosophy of openness, the new age spiritualities, and the community model constructed through the thinking of postmodernism, are not sufficient in and of themselves to define humanity, and the incredible creation God has made us to be.

 

Adam and Even in the garden, in pristine perfection, should cause breath-taking awe and wonder in our minds as we consider the beauty and majesty of our God in His plan.

 

Adam, the man from red earth, the man of blood, as in the crushing of a grape, the shed blood – in creation, in the Hebrew roots, we discover the mystery of the fall and the redemption that only the last or ‘second Adam’ could provide.

 

Eve – the mother of all living, taken from Adam’s side, close to his heart, a part of his very spirit formed to create the second best love story of all eternity, surpassed only by the romance between Jesus and His bride, the church of the living God.

 

Humanity – Imago Dei – the image of God in Creation, the image of God in Christ, the Image of God in a Christian.

 

We are neither angels nor animals, we are fallen yet redeemed, living souls comprised of both spirit and physical attributes, related to God, people and nature.

 

Though we came from the dust, the dust is not our ending. The Ruach, the breath of God inside of us declares that there must be a bodily resurrection; the dead in Christ shall rise to meet the Lord in the air!

 

God is Trinity, and so is humanity: spirit, soul (or mind) and body. as described in 1 Thess 5:23, and Heb 4:12.

Though some theologians dispute the triune nature of man, and speak of the ‘soul’ I do not. We are a spirit, which has a soul and lives in a body. It is the spirit that becomes regenerated in the born-again experience, or second birth, while the soul, (our mind will and emotions) must be renewed in the spirit of our mind, or transformed in the renewing of our minds as Paul attests (Eph 4:23, Rom 12:1,2).

 

To complete this course of study, I end with a famous quote by CS Lewis that seems appropriate here: “Yes, humanity has fallen, but we should not marvel at the depth of degradation we find the human condition in, rather, in light of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, we should marvel at how little humanity has attaining in light of what heaven has made available to us!”

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Preparing to Study again…

Study!
As I prepare myself to go back to seminary to attack my MDiv, I am reminded of the task before me, by the clear command of this verse:

2 Tim 2: 15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Chris Karen Walsh's photo.
Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ. —Jerome, A.D. 340-420

Of all the knowledge in the earth, knowledge of the Word of God is the prime knowledge, the knowledge that supercedes every other discipline, the foundation from which every other discipline flows.
We fail in our duty to study God’s Word not so much because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is dull and boring, but because it is work. Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or a lack of passion. Our problem is that we are lazy.
— R.C. Sproul
Chris Karen Walsh's photo.

In the natural, at 55 years of age, with two children and a wife to support, returning to school seems insane, at best, but it is the will of Jesus for me. Yet, crack the books again I must…

Chris Karen Walsh's photo.

Let’s pray:
“Father, help us to carve out time for You, in Your Word, to discipline ourselves and Study it, that we might grow in truth and knowledge of You. In Your name I pray Lord Jesus.”

Chris Karen Walsh's photo.

The Sabbath

Colossians 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

Chris Karen Walsh's photo.

The Sabbath
Ex 31:13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.
14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.
16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.
17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.

Chris Karen Walsh's photo.

So, the Sabbath, is from sun down on Friday, to sun down Saturday. If my schedule permits, I love to rest during this time, to honor the eternal record forever established in the heavens.

Yet, we see hospital workers, retail, police, etc, all having to work Saturday’s in this society. Probably not God’s best, it would be good for us to all actually rest one day per week as a society.

J. Vernon McGee tells this story about a man who wanted to argue about the Sabbath. The man said, “I’ll give you $100 if you will show me where the Sabbath day has been changed.” McGee answered, “I don’t think it has been changed. Saturday is Saturday, it is the seventh say of the week, and it is the Sabbath day. I realize our calendar has been adjusted, and can be off a few days, but we won’t even consider that point. The seventh day is still Saturday, and it is still the Sabbath day.” He got a gleam in his eye and said, “Then why don’t you keep the Sabbath day if it hasn’t been changed?” McGee answered, “the DAY hasn’t changed, but I have been changed. I’ve been given a new nature now, I am joined to Christ; I am a part of the new creation. We celebrate the first day because that is the day He rose from the grave.” That is what it means that the ordinances have been nailed to the cross, Colosians 2:14.

J. Vernon McGee

Now, we have theologians arguing about whether weekly worship services should be on Saturday, or Sunday when I hear the Spirit of God whisper:

And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:

Chris Karen Walsh's photo.
The Sabbath is Saturday, but the spirit of the Sabbath is the love of God.

Rest sometimes!

Take a day off a week and relax! Recreation is RE Creation. Come back to your Creator and experience times of refreshing in His presence. 

Too simple for most I guess…

Let’s Pray:
‘Father, help us to rest, completely, one day/week, in your name I pray Lord Jesus, Amen’

God the Son!

God the Son

faith king
Matt 21: 37 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.

This is an interesting parable of the kingdom, where Jesus predicts His own death, and the overthrow of the religious system of the Jewish people.

God the Son1
He would become the sacrifice on the altar of the cross, the final required sacrifice needed for all mankind, in every generation. Only God was qualified to do that, and Jesus is God, the 2nd person of the trinity.

I like the sense of this verse, revealing our heavenly Father’s heart: “They will reverence my son!

”Well, centuries have gone by, and people now indeed reverence Jesus, for it has never been as important what any person might think about what Jesus did on the cross, as what God Almighty thinks about it!

God the son
There are two hundred and fifty-six names given in the Bible for the Lord Jesus Christ, and I suppose this is because He is infinitely beyond all that any one name could express.

Billy Sunday, in a sermon, “Wonderful,” quoted in The Real Billy Sunday.

God Almighty, accepted Jesus shed blood as an acceptable offering for our sins!

We are forgiven, redeemed, adopted, provided access to His Holy presence, only through that blood!
listen blood
Mary, was Jesus earthly mother, but she was a virgin when she concieved Jesus, for the mystery of the ages is summed up in who Jesus Father was: the holy seed that impregnated Mary, the Word that became flesh and dwelt amongst us. Jesus, God the Son.

How can He be both the Son of God, and God the Son? Liked they way this theologian put it: https://carm.org/how-can-jesus-be-both-god-and-son-of-god

He is no mere prophet, nor great moral teacher, He is the great I AM, the one who was, and is, and is to come, God the Son.

Here are a couple verses to build your faith in this truth:

Titus 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus

1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ This is the true God and eternal life

John 20:28 Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

John 1:1,14 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth

Mark 2:5-10 And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” But some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?”

So, will you accept what He did for you today, and receive Him as Lord, and King of your life?

There is no other way to heaven, no other mediator that God accepts on your behalf, no religious work that can justify you before a holy God, only Jesus…
One Way
Will you have this man as your King and Lord?

If so, pray this, and see His power:
‘Jesus, I receive you as God, the Son! I accept your love, your rule, your kingdom, and your power into my life. Now, Amen!”

Worm Theology

Worm Theology

worm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worm_theology

Worm Theology is a term used for the idea in Christian culture that in light of God’s holiness and power an appropriate emotion is a low view of self. Some might suggest that because of this view God is more likely to show mercy and compassion. The name may be attributed to a line in the Isaac Watts hymn Alas! and Did My Saviour Bleed (Pub 1707) [1], which says “Would he devote that sacred head for such a worm as I?” This thinking was prevalent in the days when this hymn was originally written, perhaps because there was also a higher view of God. Furthermore, worm theology can be attributed to a recognition of the ugliness of sin, resulting in contrition.

Some might suggest adherents of worm theology have inner wounds that they are not necessarily aware of, and such a belief just matches what they feel about themselves and sometimes others. On the other hand, God detests sin so much because it separates us from Himself; it could then be argued that in our sin we are as worms in God’s sight


Job 25:6 How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm?

Sure, people are created from dirt, so we are to remain humble, but this verse has been misquoted often, talking about ‘The great Sovreign Unapproachable and Holy God, before whom we are nothing but worms, destined for the dust from which we were formed’

Pious platitudes, devoid of truth and power!

This verse was a recorded utterance from Bildad the Shuhite, (He must have been pretty low, for he was only ‘shoe height’)and he got rebuked by God for it, and his other human reasoning’s about Job’s plight. So are some Christians, constantly finding faults in others, and in themselves.

faults

No! When we received Jesus, we were adopted into God’s family, not as worms, but as sons and daughters of heaven!

[ Life in the Spirit ] So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

We are to see ourselves through the blood of Jesus, forgiven, loved, accepted, precious, in Christ!

Joh 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

If you have received Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, you have been adopted into the family of God, and now:

Heb 10:19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,

The precious blood of Jesus has washed away our sins, and our Father, the Creator of the Universe, loves us! He loves to have us come into His presence, and simply enjoys being with us. While I was writing this my then, 11 year old princess, exclaimed: ‘Dad, put on Newsboys, ‘Dance’ so I can dance before the Lord!’ then she elbowed into the computer, grabbed the mouse while I was typing and turned the volume up full blast. Was she afraid of me? Nope, she knows my heart. I love her, and love when she worships, and she can come ‘get in my space’ whenever she needs to, without fear of repercussion, I delight in her presence. My children are like Christmas gifts I get to unwrap every day! Each day, I see the hand of God developing them, and I watch their particular gifts blossom in our love and under His Word, and it is a joy to behold!

dance1

Isa 54:13 And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.

Pr 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

I am a man of God, strong willed, fierce in my pursuit of my calling and destiny for not only my life, but for the ministry I am being prepared for, and the people I am called to serve, yet how wondrous it is that my children are not me!

They have unique personalities and desires, gifts that are already beyond me in many ways. (You should hear my precious son play keyboard!)


So I feel the heart of our Father in this. As we grow, develop, and continue to walk in His love, our unique and specific gifts, blossom and develop, and He has great joy in the journey.

blossom in Jesus

We are not worms, but sons and daughters of the Most High God, created for love, joy, excellence, and blessing to this generation.

I wrote a couple of articles about seeing ourselves the way, God our heavenly Father sees us, as the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.

We are a blessed, good-looking bunch, accepted in the beloved.

https://chrisaomministries.wordpress.com/2015/02/06/in-him-we-live-and-move-and-have-our-being

https://chrisaomministries.wordpress.com/2015/02/10/seeing-ourselves-as-god-sees-us

/https://chrisaomministries.wordpress.com/2015/02/11/youre-who-affects-your-do-until-we-are-through/


God loves you, and so do I. I am praying He reveal that love to you today.

Let’s Pray:

‘Father, I just want to be who you created me to be. I long to be with you today, and to do your perfect will for my life. Show me the uniqueness you have given me, and help me to embrace it, and walk in it, free from the tyranny of others expectations of others, in your name I pray Lord Jesus, Amen’