Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Liberty in Christ


Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

There were those who wanted to bring the Galatians back under the law of Moses (Gal. 2:4). Paul had previously shared the gospel that was preached of him (Gal. 1:11,12) to the people of Galatia, and yet it wasn’t far after that when the religious leaders of Israel and other false brethren came to spy out the liberty that they had in Christ and to bring them into bondage.

Even today there are so many people that try to follow the law, because they think it can save them. They think they can get into Heaven by doing their own good works. While under the Dispensation of the Law, faith and works were required, which included ordinances like water baptism and circumcision. But now, under the Dispensation of Grace, only faith is required to be saved. Faith in what? Faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross. The only thing to do is to believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins by shedding His own blood on the cross, was buried, and rose again the third day (1 Cor. 15:1-4). Galatians 2:16 explains that we are “not justified (made righteous) by the works of the law.” Instead, it says we are justified “by the faith [or faithfulness] of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law.”

What was the purpose of the Law? Well, Romans chapter three explains that the law was given to tell us that we have all “sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23),” and “by the law is the knowledge of sin (Rom. 3:20).” In Galatians chapter three, we also learn that the “law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ (Gal. 3:24).”

Galatians 3:23-25 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

The “faith” in these verses are talking about the faith that was revealed unto the Apostle Paul. That same “mutual faith (Rom. 1:12)” that he shared with the Romans was what he revealed/taught the Galatians too. Before that faith came, we were all under the law and therefore, “all under sin (Gal. 3:22).” It was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ and afterwards that faith came, because of what Christ did for us on the cross. We are now no longer “under the law, but under grace (Rom. 6:14).”

We are now justified (made righteous) by faith, and faith alone! Not by the works of the law. For it says in Colossians 2:14 that the law and all the ordinances were nailed to the cross. You don’t need to be physically circumcised or baptized with water. For you are automatically baptized by the Holy Spirit into one Body (1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 4:5), when you put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. You are also spiritually circumcised (Col. 2:11).

Therefore, you should stand fast in the liberty that you now have in Christ. Don’t let anyone rob you of the position that you have in Christ Jesus. Many local churches will try to tell you that you have to be water baptized to show your faith. Don’t listen to them. If you have been baptized into Christ (which is the operation of the Holy Spirit, not a pastor), then you have also put on Christ (Gal. 3:27). For you are justified by faith, and not by the works of the law! Water baptism and circumcision were ordinances under the law (they were works of the law). But now, the whole law has been nailed to cross.

Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Preaching of the Cross

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

To start off with, we have a contrast of those who do not believe in Christ as their personal Savior and those that do believe. Those that don’t believe are the ones that are perishing. The ones that do are saved. We also have two worldviews. The “world” or the unsaved look at the preaching of the cross as foolishness, and the saved (those who are not of this world) look at it as the power of God. “For it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth… (Rom. 1:16).”

1 Corinthians 1:20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

God has indeed made foolish the wisdom of this world. Even with all of the advancements that mankind has made concerning technology, medicine, science, etc., it still doesn’t come close to the wisdom of God. God’s wisdom far exceeds the wisdom of man. It even says in the book of Ephesians that Christ was seated at the Father’s own right hand, “far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come (Eph. 1:21),” when He rose from the dead.

What does the preaching of the cross include? Let’s just look at a sample of many blessed truths contained in the preaching of the cross.

1. It is the power and wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:18-24). Now we have already addressed this one above at the very beginning of the lesson. The preaching of the cross is the power of God unto all those who believe that Jesus Christ died for their sins, was buried, and rose again the third day (1 Cor. 15:3,4). It is also the wisdom of God. It is a wisdom “which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory (1 Cor. 2:7,8).”

2. As believers, the cross is the only thing we should boast in (Gal. 6:14). Why should we only boast in the cross? Because, we are giving all of the glory and praise to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He did the work. It is a finished completed work. None of our works could have saved us, for if they could then we would have reason to boast in ourselves (Rom. 4:2) and also Christ would have died in vain (Gal. 2:21). What Christ did for us on the cross is a completed and finished work and He deserves all of the glory.

3. Christ died for the ungodly sinners and enemies of Christ. Since the fall of Adam (in general, the fall of man), every person on this world (except Christ) was born with a sin nature. We were born in sin and shapen in iniquity. We have all “come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23).” Christ died for the ungodly (Rom. 5:6). He died for us while we were still sinners (Rom. 5:8). And He reconciled us by the death of His Son, while we were still considered enemies of God and Christ (Rom. 5:10).

4. We are saved, redeemed, and justified by His blood. Christ’s death on the cross satisfies (Rom. 3:25) the penalty or wages of sin, which is death (Rom. 6:23). In Christ, we have “redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace (Eph. 1:7).” Romans 5:9 also says that we have been justified by His blood.

5. We also have peace through His blood (Col. 1:20). Also, Romans 5:1 says that we now “have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” We are now no longer enemies with God. Instead, we now have peace with Him.

In conclusion, the preaching of the cross is the power and wisdom of God and it is the only thing that believers should boast in. It is the very gospel that every sinner must believe, before they are saved. Now, all of this truths about the preaching of the cross are all wrapped up into one single statement, which can be found in 1 Corinthians 15:3,4, which is the gospel. What is the gospel? That Christ died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and rose again the third day. All we have to do is simply believe this! If you just simply believe that Christ died for you and your sins, and rose again, then you will be saved!

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Gospel of Salvation

The only way to be delivered from the “wrath to come (1 Thes. 1:9,10),” from the “power of darkness (Col. 1:12,13),” from this “present evil world (Gal. 1:4),” and from the “fear of death (Heb. 2:14,15)” is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

All you have to do is believe the Gospel. What is the Gospel? The Gospel is that Jesus Christ died on the cross for all our sins, was buried, and rose again. If you just believe (put your trust/faith in Christ) that He died for your own sins, was buried, and rose again, then you will be saved and have eternal life.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

If you do not believe, then the “wages of sin is death.” However, if you just accept God’s free gift of salvation by just believing, you will have eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

The “Who” in this verse is the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ was delivered for our offences (sins) to pay the penalty of sin, which is death. He was also raised again from the grave for our justification. Jesus Christ went to Calvary to die our death and pay for our sins. Also, He was raised again so that we might be justified (made righteous).

2 Corinthians 5:19-21 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

We are made the righteousness of God in him (in Christ), when we reconcile ourselves to God. God already reconciled the world unto himself in the person of Jesus Christ, His Son. But, it’s still up to each individual person to reconcile themselves to God. In other words, when we simply just believe what Christ did for us on the cross. “Christ was made sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him (2 Cor. 5:21).”

In conclusion, all that you have to do is believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose again the third day. And you will receive eternal life, and be justified! Salvation does not come by “works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy he saved us (Titus 3:5).”

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Born Anew Part 2


The word “birth” speaks of a beginning. When we were all physically born into this world through our mother’s womb, that marked the beginning of our existence in this life. The phrase “born again” also simply refers to a (or rather another) beginning. It does not mean that our old lives/flesh will be born again and come out of our mother’s womb a second time. Christ addresses that in John 3:4-6, when He addresses Nicodemus. Nor does it mean that we are trying to improve upon the old man to make it better. There is nothing we can do to make the old flesh better. The old is dead in sins. It is corrupted by sin and the “wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23).” So, what does the phrase “born again” mean? It too speaks of a beginning. What beginning? The beginning of spiritual life for the believer.

Every man, woman, and child is born into this world as a sinner with a sin nature (except for Christ, of course). But, not every person is “born again.” In other words, not every person becomes a believer and receives spiritual life. Those who do believe, on the other hand, do receive spiritual life (a new life). While it is true that believers still live in their earthly bodies temporarily, however, they also have a new life in Christ Jesus in heavenly places. For believers their existence in this world began when they were physically born, and their new spiritual life began when they first trusted in Christ as their Savior.

Romans 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Now, before believers were believers they were once like the rest of the world in the way they lived their lives. They were sinners too. They themselves were dead in their sins (Eph. 2:1). But, when they became a believer (when they believed that Jesus Christ died for their sins, was buried, and rose again (1 Cor. 15:3,4)) they became “dead indeed unto sins, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 6:11).” Their old flesh (Adamic nature) remains dead and buried to this day. But, they themselves are not dead. Their souls are not dead. Their spirits are not dead. Instead, they have been made alive (Eph. 2:1).

Then, when Paul talks about this using the metaphor of Resurrection, he says that each believer has been identified in Christ’s resurrection. That the life that we (believers) now live in the flesh, is really Christ living in us (Gal. 2:20). And that, we “should walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4).” The new spiritual life that has been imparted or imputed to the believer is Christ’s resurrected life. That marks a new beginning, a new life, for the believer. Believers are dead to that former life, but alive in a new life which is spiritual in nature. While it is true that we still live this old body physically and that former life continues to tempt us to do things that we shouldn’t, and yet at the same time every believer can have the full assurance that they are alive unto God. And we should walk in light of the fact that we do have a new spiritual life that began when we first believed.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

The new creation explains to us that every believer in this current dispensation is a member of one Body (Eph. 4:5; 1 Cor. 12:12). That one Body is the Body of Christ, which is Christ’s church (Eph. 1:22,23). Each believer is made a new creation individually, but collectively we are all members of one Body (2 Cor. 5:17). “Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” We are no longer “in Adam” or in that old flesh/nature spiritually speaking. Instead, we are “in Christ.” We are “born again” and resurrected as one new man (Eph. 2:16), or one Body.

So, in conclusion, believers today in this Dispensation of Grace are “born again,” when they received spiritual life. That marked the beginning of their new life in Christ. That is, their new resurrected life as a new creation in the Lord Jesus Christ, which is in heavenly places. That old nature remains dead, but we ourselves are spiritually raised up and seated in heavenly places in Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:6), and some day in the future we will be their physically too.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Born Anew Part 1


The Bible uses three different metaphors to describe the impartation of spiritual life to the believer. The three metaphors are new birth, resurrection, and new creation. The new birth is found in John chapter three. The resurrection in Romans chapter six. The new creation in 2 Corinthians chapter five.

1st metaphor: The New Birth
All men everywhere are born of the flesh from their mother’s womb when they first enter this world as a baby, but not all men are born of the Spirit. We are all “in Adam” to begin with, but only those who have trusted in Christ Jesus as their personal Savior are now “in Christ.” Those who have trusted/believed that Jesus Christ died on the cross for their sins, was buried, and rose again on the third day are saved (1 Cor. 15:3,4). Being “in Christ” means that those believers (saints) have a new nature, which is begotten of the Spirit of God.

·     John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
And concerning the resurrection of believer’s bodies, we learn that it is “sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first Adam [which is Adam himself] was made a living soul; the last Adam [which is Christ] was made a quickening spirit (1 Cor. 15:44,45).” So, being “in Christ” means that we are born of the Spirit. And that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 1 Cor. 15:45 told us that the last Adam or Christ was made a quickening spirit. Therefore, all believers are also made a quickening spirit, because they’re “in Christ.”
So, when we back up to verse three of John 3 we read that “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” That is certainly true. However, John is speaking in general terms here, not specific. He is not necessarily talking about the kingdom of Heaven when Israel will reign with Christ on the earth, but instead he is talking about the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God can refer to the kingdom of Heaven, but sometimes it can refer to God’s general rule and dominion that He has over all of His creation. Imagine a house with two different rooms or living quarters. One is for the nation Israel, and the other is for the Body of Christ. They are two different rooms, two different programs, but they are both under one roof, which is the kingdom of God. And John is simply writing by inspiration of the Holy Spirit that a man simply needs to be born again to see the kingdom of God. Even the Apostle Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles (Rom. 11:13), speaks again of the concept of being “born again” or “born anew,” even if he doesn’t use the exact phrase.

·  Romans 8:16-17 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children [born ones] of God: And if children [born ones], then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
The word children in both verses is the greek word teknon, which means “born one.” Paul is saying that the Spirit bears witness with our spirit and recognizes that we are the born ones of God. We are born of the Spirit of God.

2nd metaphor: Resurrection

·  Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Now, Paul takes it a step further and explains what it means to be “born again [anew]” in this Dispensation of Grace with the illustration of resurrection. Romans chapter six explains that as believers, who are “in Christ,” we are identified with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. Verse 3 starts out by saying that just as we were baptized (identified) into Jesus Christ, we were also baptized into His death. We were then buried with Him, and also raised with Him! As we already read in 1 Cor. 15:44,45, we are “raised a spiritual body,” and made “a quickening spirit,” because we are “in Christ.” Positionally, we are already seated in the heavenly places “in Christ.” God has already raised us up and seated us together in the heavenlies “in Christ.” Now, while we are still waiting to be physically caught up to be with our Lord, we are there spiritually (positionally).

·  Ephesians 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
While the new birth spoke only of a new beginning, the resurrection goes further to speak about the new life that we have “in Christ.” In time past, we once “walked according to the course of this world (Eph. 2:2),” but now we have been quickened (made alive) with Christ (Eph. 2:5). The end of verse four of romans chapter six says “even so we also should walk in newness of life.” While we do have new life positionally already, we are still instructed to walk accordingly in this life by appropriating what we do have in Heaven by faith and applying it to our lives today.

·  Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

3rd metaphor: New Creation
Now, after explaining that we have been resurrected with Christ and have been given new life, because of the “faith [faithfulness] of the Son of God (Gal. 2:20),” Paul now goes even a step further than resurrection and uses another metaphor which is that of a new creation.

·  2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Any man that is “in Christ” is a new creation or a new creature. Our old nature is passed away, is crucified, is put to death spiritually speaking. That was our old sinful flesh. Now, we are made “anew” as one new man, which is the Church, which is His body (Eph. 1:22,23). Each individual believer is made a new creature (this is true), but more importantly each believer is a member of one body (Eph. 4:4). The one body or the one new man (Eph. 2:15) is the Body of Christ, which we are all members of and Christ is the Head of that body.

·  Ephesians 2:15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
As we look at these three metaphors, we see that both the believing Jew (under the Dispensation of the Law) and the believing Gentile (under the Dispensation of Grace) are both “born again” or “born anew.” However, the difference lies in how each one is born again. Israel will be born again as a kingdom of priests (Ex. 19:6) when Christ comes back to the earth to setup His kingdom. Believers today, under Grace, are born again as a new creation, which is the Body of Christ. Israel is given the particular information about the kingdom and being a kingdom of priests and then gets the more general information of being “born again,” whereas believers today on the other hand starts with the general and moves towards the particular for the Dispensation in which we currently live under, which would be information about being a new creation or one body, and not a kingdom of priests (see graph below). So, to be "born again" in this Dispensation of Grace you must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31) that He died for all of your sins, was buried, and rose again on the third day. If you have never trusted in Christ Jesus as your Savior, then do so now! "Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation! (2 Cor. 6:2)."