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First Pres Joliet

A Daily Devotional from our faith community @ firstpresjoliet.org

Bibliology: The Theology of Paul, Part 4

SIN – Paul uses a few different Greek words to describe sin. “Harmatia” describes sinful acts (Rom. 4:7, 11:27) of all varieties. It links our sins with Christ’s death (1 Cor. 15:3). “Paraptoma” is a false step in contrast with a true one (Rom. 4:25, Gal. 6:14, Eph. 2:1). “Parabasis” is a deviation from true faith, almost (Rom. 2:23, 4:15, Gal. 3:19). “Anomia” is lawlessness or iniquity (2 Cor. 6:14, 2 Thess. 2:3).

Sin is a form of debt that humankind is unable to pay (Rom. 11:30, Eph. 2:2, 5:6, Col. 3:6). It involves both the internal and external, both workings of murder, immorality, drunkenness, homosexuality and attitudes – envy, foolishness, faithlessness (Rom. 1:29-31). Sin is a “bad boss” for unbelievers. It enslaves (Rom. 6:16-17). It disguises the truth (Rom. 1:18). It lies (Rom. 1:25).

SALVATION – Paul is the founding father of the Christian beliefs on what it is “to be saved,” or the ideas of soteriology doctrine. It centers on the grace of God whereby His sense of justice for committed sins is met. He speaks to salvation in four ways…

  1. Forgiveness. We are forgiven out of God’s grace (Col. 2:13). This grace is a pardon for believers (Eph. 1:7, Col. 1:14).
  2. Redemption. This Greek “apolutrosis” is payment for a debt. In the Roman world, a slave could be paid for and then set free. In this way, the blood of Christ was paid to set the sinner free from the debt of his/her sins (Rom. 3:24). Jesus’ payment for believers has made them righteous (Rom. 8:23, 1 Cor. 1:30, Gal. 3:13, Eph. 1:7, 14, 4:30, Col. 1:14).
  3. Propitiation. It (Gk. “hilasmos” or “hilasterion”) means appease, atone, or expiate. This is how Christ’s sacrifice, shed blood, met the demands for sin payment of His followers to a holy and just God to avert His wrath/judgement.
  4. Justification is the legal act of declaring a believing sinner righteous by way of the blood of Christ (Rom. 5:9), it is by God’s grace (Rom. 3:24), it is by way of one’s faith (Rom. 5:1, Gal. 3:24), and it is apart from the works of the law (Rom. 3:20, Gal. 2:16, 3:11).

The Promise of the Father

Luke 24: 45-53

John 14:16-17

Acts 2: 1-4

Luke 24: 45. After reminding His followers, His disciples, His Apostles that ‘all things’ written about Him in the Scriptures must be fulfilled, Jesus, “Opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” All the learning that these followers of Jesus had from their Hebrew culture, from the practices of everyday life, all the prejudices built into their culture, all hopes for their release from Rome occupation were being challenged by the reality of the Messiah, i.e. Jesus, being something, someone never imagined before. He came not to conquer a repressive regime, not to set up an immediate Kingdom that would dominate the world, but to save His people from their sins. He came to restore a right relationship between them and their Heavenly Father. It would be a New Covenant, a spiritual relationship between the two parties, for God is Spirit and “those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24)

Luke 24: 46 “And He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” It is so interesting that even now after 40 days since His resurrection, Jesus has to explain fully what has happened, the reason why He came to earth, and what the future would hold for them. The apostles flesh oriented, Law of Moses self-oriented actions, was still dominating their lives.

As Paul wrote to the church at Rome, Romans 8: 3, the Law of Moses had no power built into it to enable a follower to keep the demands of that Law. So most of Israel merely performed the acts demanded by the Law, without understanding that the Law was established to reveal their sinfulness and to lead them to the Messiah. (Galatians 3: 24, “Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Messiah, so that we may be justified by faith.”)

Luke 24:49 “And behold I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you,” this is the promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit, John 14:16, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever”…verse 26: “but the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to remembrance all that I said to you.”

This very thing happened on the Day of Pentecost, 10 days after Jesus ascended into heaven, as these men were still in Jerusalem. Acts 2: 1-4, “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each of them, and they were all filled with the Holy Sprit…”

The apostles had to be empowered by the Holy Spirit for them to actually understand the spiritual ramifications of what Jesus had accomplished. It cannot be understood completely in the flesh, for it is spiritual truth. Pentecost is the day that Moses received the Commandments of God, at Mt. Sinai, in the Old Testament, and is reenacted in the New Testament in the receiving of the Holy Spirit by the Apostles. This, then, is the beginning of the Church. Until Jesus was raised from the dead, ascended to heaven, and the Holy Spirit came to the followers of Christ, there was no church.

Christianity is a spiritual life, it begins with believers being born again, then responding to the leading of the Holy Spirit, and being empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Blessings

Karl

Bibliology: The Theology of Paul, Part 3

CHRIST – He was no phantom but was born from a woman (Gal. 4:4) and physically descended from David (Rom. 1:3, 2 Tim. 2:8). He could not sin (2 Cor. 5:21) because He had no inclination to sin (Rom. 8:3).

Yet, Jesus was also fully divine (Col. 2:9) as He was “from heaven” (1 Cor. 15:47, 2 Cor. 8:9). He was a form of God (Phil. 2:6, Titus 2:13), indeed, “God blessed” (Rom. 9:5).

Jesus’ title as “Lord” occurs at least 144 times plus another 95 related to Him. “Lord” implies His deity (Rom. 10:9, 1 Cor. 12:3, Phil. 2:9), implied power (Phil. 2:9), and sovereignty (Rom. 14:5-9, 2 Cor. 4:5). In time, He will rule the whole of the world (cf. 1 Tim. 6:15, 1 Cor. 15:25).

HOLY SPIRIT – Pauline Theology gives us insights into both the Person and work of the Holy Spirit. It knows the things of God (1 Cor. 2:10) and teaches them to believers (1 Cor. 2:13). It has a will (1 Cor. 12:11) and can be saddened (Eph. 4:30). Like Jesus, He can intercede on our behalf (Rom. 8:26-34) and indwells believers like the Father and Son (Rom. 8:9-11).

The workings of the Holy Spirit are as follows…

  1. He regenerates new life into believers (Titus 3:5).
  2. He baptizes (1 Cor. 12:3). Obviously, there is no water involved in this one.
  3. The Holy Spirit is alive within each believer (cp. Rom. 8:9, 1 Cor. 12:7).
  4. He identifies and seals believers (Eph. 1:13, 4:30).
  5. He gifts with abilities to further God’s Kingdom (1 Cor. 12:4-11).
  6. If allowed, He controls believers (Eph. 5:18).
  7. He empowers believers to live by His power (Gal. 5:16).

The Psalms

Luke 24: 44

Luke 24:44 ” These are my words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” We have looked at the law of Moses, and the Prophets, and today we will view the Psalms for what they have to say about the coming of the Son of God, Jesus.

Starting with Psalm 23:1, “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.” John 10: 14 “I am the Good Shepherd, and I know my own, and my own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.”

Psalm 2:7 “I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD, He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, for today I have begotten You. Ask of Me and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance…Worship the LORD with reverence and rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son…How blessed are all who take refuge in Him.” Hebrew 6: 18 “…we who have taken Refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.”

Psalm 24: 7 “Lift up your heads, O gates and be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King Of Glory may come in!” John 10: 7 “So Jesus said to them again, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep….I am the door, if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.'”

Psalm 110: 1 “The LORD says to my Lord: Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for your feet. The LORD will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying, ‘Rule in the midst of Your enemies…'” Luke 20: 41 “Then Jesus said to them, ‘How is that they say the Christ is David’s son? For David himself says in the book of Psalms, ‘the LORD said to my Lord sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.’ Therefore David calls Him ‘Lord,’ and how is He his Son?”

Psalm 34: 20. “He keeps all His bones, not one of them is broken.” John 19: 32 “So the soldiers came, and broke the legs of the first man and of the other who was crucified with Him; but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.”

Psalm 22: 16 “A band of evil doers has encompassed Me, they pierce My hands and My feet…They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.” Matthew 27: 35 ” And when they crucified Him, they divided up His garments among themselves by casting lots.” Luke 24: 39 “See my hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch me and see,..” John 20: 27 “Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see my hands; and reach here your hand and put it in my side…”

Psalm 69: 20 “And I looked for sympathy, but there was none, and for comforters, but I found none. They gave me gall for drink, and for my food they gave Me vinegar to drink.” Matthew 27: 34 “They gave Him wine mixed with gall … ” John 19: 29 “A jar of sour wine was standing there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it to His mouth.”

Psalm 119: 22 “The stone which the builders rejected has become the Chief Corner stone.” Ephesians 2:20 “…Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone.”

Psalm 41:9 “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my breadths lifted up his heel against Me.” Concerning the betrayal of Judas.

Again, there are many Psalms written that contain prophesies concerning the Messiah, Jesus. We look at a few to establish that what He said to the Apostles in Luke 24 is true. But more so that we might understand better the complex character, and detailed nature of our Lord and Savior. He is our Good Shepherd that leads us, and cares for us. He is the Door to salvation. He is our Lord, and God incarnate, who will deliver us from destruction, and conquer all enemies of Holiness. He is our Rock on whom we stand, and He is the Foundation Corner Stone in Whom we trust.

Blessings

Karl

The Prophets

Luke 24: 44 “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”

Last time we looked at the some of the prophesies concerning Jesus in the Law of Moses, the Torah proper. Today, let us look at the Prophets.

Starting with Numbers 24:17, the unlikely Prophet Balaam the son of Beor, said “I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come forth from Jacob, A Scepter shall arise from Israel, …” This reference is to the One fulfilling the eternal Throne of David, Psalm 110:1, which very specifically is Jesus as King.

Jeremiah 31: 31 “Behold, days are coming saith the LORD, ‘when I will establish a New Covenant with the house of Israel, and the House of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt,…declares the LORD, ‘I will put my laws within them and on their hearts I will write it; and I will be their God and they will be My people.'” This is a direct prophecy which Jesus spoke at the last supper when He declared, “This cup is the New Covenant in my blood..”

Micah 5: 2. “But as for you Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel, His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.” Concerning the birth place of Jesus, and His some day Ruling as King in Israel.

Isaiah 53: 2-5 “For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground, He has no stately form or majesty, that we should look at Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; … Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, the chastening for our well being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.” A picture of Jesus the suffering servant, and His bearing our sin.

Deuteronomy 18:18 “I will raise up a Prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put my words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.” A reference to Messiah, that the people knew well.

Malachi 4:2. “But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; (hem, edge of a garment) …” A reference to Jesus the healer, whom all who reached out to touch His garments found healing. Luke 6:19 “And all the people were trying to touch Him, for power was coming from Him and healing them all.”

These are but a few of the prophesies concerning Jesus, there are prophecies that foretell His ministry, His work, His redemption power, His suffering, His healing, His Grace, His Atonement, His humility, His love for mankind, His attaining High Priest status, His coming kingdom, His first and second comings, His fulfillments of the Feast Days.

But alas, this is a blog concerning the Bible, not the Book itself. When Jesus said, “all things written about Me …in the Prophets …must be fulfilled,” it compels us to then look at such things to determine His fulfilling of them. He did, and it is so detailed, it drives us to marvel at what He accomplished on our behalf.

Blessings

karl

Bibliology: The Theology of Paul, Part 2

For the next few blogs, I will be giving my “bird’s-eye” view of Pauline theology. Paul is undoubtably the writer in the NT that most explains the meaning of Christianity. I will survey the typical areas of concern – God, Christ, Holy Spirit, Sin, Salvation, Church, and Last Things.

GOD – is sovereign and has revealed himself through Christ Jesus (Rom. 1:16-17, 3:21, 1 Cor. 2:10). Paul states that he received the gospel directly from the LORD (Gal. 1:12, 2:2).

God, through His wrath, has revealed Himself to unbelievers (Rom. 1:18, 2:5, 2 Thess. 1:7). His anger is because His holiness and righteousness cannot overlook sin.

God reveals Himself to believers through glorious blessings (Rom. 8:18-19, 1 Cor. 1:7, 3:13, 2 Cor. 5:10). Related to this “glory” is the triumphant return of Christ, with all the blessings that entails.

The Christian Church is an invention of the NT (cp. Rom. 8:18-19, 1 Cor. 1:7, 3:13, 4:5, 2 Cor. 4:4). Satan has, along with their own “free will” choice, blinded unbelievers to Jesus’ revelation (cp. 2 Cor. 4:4) such that they will not be enlightened by the gospel.

The idea of a sovereign God is one that dominates Paul’s epistles. He expresses this concept in 7 ways…

  1. Predestine means to boarder beforehand (Rom. 8:29-30, 1 Cor. 2:7, Eph. 1:5). Paul states that believer’s salvation is rooted in eternity past.
  2. Foreknew means to know before it happens (Rom. 8:29, 11:2). Some relationship exists between the one that foreknew and the foreknown.
  3. The elect or chosen are “called out” (Eph. 1:4, 1 Thess. 1:4). God’s choice of His followers.
  4. Called to salvation (cf. Rom. 1:1, 7, 8:28). The call of God enables a person to believe. This is related to the Reformed Church term “irresistible grace.” This call is made by God without any merit to the one receiving it.
  5. Adoption (Eph. 1:5) relates to the Roman rite of one’s son into the status of an adult with all of its responsibilities and privileges.
  6. Purpose suggests meaning to those in Christ (Eph. 1:9-10).
  7. Will refers to how our sovereign God acts, completely on His own (Eph. 1:1) in a believers salvation and in all things. All of history is tied to the sovereign will of God.

It’s important to understand that the purpose of our sovereign God employing predestination and/or foreknowledge and/or election, etc. to individuals is salvation and services related to it. Even with these, individual human responsibilities are not overridden.

Jesus Fulfills all Prophecy

Luke 24: 44-53

Verse 44: “Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled, …”

So this is one of those passages of scripture that is almost always overlooked, and understated. Which one of us has actually looked at all the things written about the coming Messiah/deliverer contained in the Law of Moses?

First, of all the many typical prophesies contained in the revelation of God to the nation Israel, is the broad example of deliverance from bondage. The man Jacob/Israel had 12 sons, of them one was separated, sold into bondage, and yet placed in a position of prominence, for future responsibilities. As time elapsed famine came and the family of Israel sought relief in a foreign land, which they were able to gain from the separated, isolated, son whom they thought was dead, and by their own doings. The story of Joseph is a picture of the Messiah. Jesus, in like manner, was sold by Judas for a slaves ransom, and in like manner was left for dead. Jesus, in like manner, came back to life as a Redeemer, Savior for the very ones who caused His demise.

Another prophecy from Moses: Israel the family nation, had grown quite large, and centuries later were enslaved in Egypt, where they cried out for deliverance to YHVH. God provided a man who would be that deliverer, Moses, one who would show victory over all the gods of Egypt, and gain their deliverance. Israel was now set free from bondage/slavery to Egypt, and traveled through the wilderness to the boundary of the promised land, all the while seeing and experiencing the love, care, commandments, and power of YHVH. At the boundary of the promised land, they chose to not believe that God could be trusted to provide for them in the new land.

Jesus then came, reminiscent of Moses, as a deliverer sent to set mankind free from bondage to sin. After proving Himself a worthy deliverer with power from YHVH, He gave His life in love for mankind on the cross, providing forgiveness, and brought us to the boundary of everlasting life, the promised land. Now it is up to each man to decide whether Jesus can be trusted to provide for life after death.

Written in the Law, Leviticus 23, are the Feasts of the LORD, staring with Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Pentecost, Day of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Feast of Tabernacles. All are pictures, and remembrances of God’s dealings with, and provisions for Israel. In like manner Jesus has fulfilled all these Feast Days, every point of the Law, so as to not abolish it, but rather fulfill it on behalf of mankind for our deliverance and future with YHVH in holiness, for the rest of eternity. “For all things written about Me in the Law of Moses … must be fulfilled.”

We all stand at the edge of the promised land, will unbelief in the finished work of Jesus keep us from entering into everlasting life?

Blessings

Karl

Bibliology: The Theology of Paul, Part 1

Paul was born around 3 AD to a wealthy family in the city of Tarsus as a Roman citizen (Acts 22:28). He was brought up in a rigorous Jewish home from the tribe of Benjamin (Phil. 3:5). He was versed in Jerusalem under Gamaliel, a Pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin (Acts 5:34), becoming a Pharisee himself (Phil. 3:5). It was his traditional Jewish life and training that caused him to persecute Christians (Acts 9:1-2, Phil 3:6) with zeal (Acts 23:1, 2 Tim. 1:3). Later, he recanted (1 Tim. 1:13).

After his conversion in 33-34 AD, he spent time in Damascus (Acts 9:23, Gal. 1:17) where he met opposition before returning to Jerusalem (Acts 9:26). After spending 3 years in Arabia, 34-36 AD, probably in some form of ministry, he went back to Jerusalem (Gal. 1:18) and then visited Syria and Cilicia (Gal. 1:21).

Around 46 AD, he again visits Jerusalem (Acts 11:30, 12:25, Gal. 2:2-21) before departing with Barnabas on his first missionary trip (46-48 AD, Acts 13:1-14:28) to Asia Minor and the island of Cyprus. He established a pattern of presenting the gospel to the Gentiles after the Jewish rejection of it (Acts 13:46). The Council of Jerusalem (49 AD, Acts 15) decided the gospel could be preached to Gentiles without Jewish restrictions like circumcision. This had the effect of creating a “pure gospel” message, i.e. separating the grace of God from the laws of God.

The second missionary voyage (49-52 AD, Acts 15:36-18:22), Paul and Silas visited, again Asia Minor and Europe for the first time (Acts 16:11).

His last missionary trip (Acts 18:23-21:16) took Paul to Ephesus for 3 years and to Macedonia and Achaia in Greece. Upon his return to Jerusalem, he was arrested and imprisoned in Caesarea (58-66 AD, Acts 24:1-26:32). Paul then appealed his sentence to Caesar, eventually spending 2 years imprisoned in Rome (61-63 AD, Acts 28:30-31) before being released, possibly then going to Spain (63-66 AD), before again arrested and executed in Rome in 67 AD (2 Tim. 4:6-8).

The Suffering Savior

Luke 24: 46-52

2 corinthians 5:21

In Lukes’ writing concerning the life of Jesus while on earth, he is coming to the final words of Jesus. The eleven are still gathered in Jerusalem, along with the women, and perhaps many more according to the other gospel writers, and Jesus appeared to them while behind closed doors. Jesus then opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and repeated former words He had spoken, Luke 24: 46 “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”

In these words, ‘The Christ must suffer,’ we often associate them with the harsh treatment of Jesus by the Roman soldiers, the scourging, the slaps to the face, the crown of thorns. Yet the real ‘suffering’ of the Christ was when the sins of the world were placed upon Him, like the scape goat in the Atonement Sacrifice ritual, where once a year on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest would lay his hands on this chosen goat, while confessing the sins of the nation, and then has the goat removed from their presence, by a chosen man leading the goat, carrying the sins to the wilderness, never to be seen again. This act was a picture of their sin being removed as far as the East is from the West.

However, the suffering of Christ, I believe, started in the Garden of Gethsemane, Luke 22:44, ‘And being in agony Jesus was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like great drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.’ The word blood used here in Greek, ‘Haima’, meaning specifically “the Atoning blood of Christ”, is a type, symbolizing the true agony of the sin bearing of Jesus, who knew no sin.

We humans live constantly with our own sin, tempted and failing, living with the just desserts of our own actions, bearing the retributive, physical results of sin. When we lie to others, we agonize over being found out. When we cheat we have the same worries. When we loose our tempers we break relationship with others. When we lust we break the intimacy of our relation with our mates. When we steal, when we hate, when we are selfish, when we are lazy, we reap what we sew. Jesus knew none of these repercussions, for though He was tempted, He never sinned. Now in the Garden, just minutes before His arrest, He has become the sin bearer, and the real agony is coming upon Him: as He prayed, was betrayed, arrested, abandoned, tortured, tried, and hung on a cross. He was the only Passover lamb, or the only Atoning sacrifice, that was tortured before being sacrificed.

2 Corinthians 5:21 “YHVH made Him who knew no sin, to be sin, on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of YHVH in Him.” We often focus on the physical abuse Jesus suffered, but greater still was the suffering for our sin upon His shoulders. And now we, who repent and believe, are the righteousness of God, the result of the very saving actions of God.

Praise be to our Creator and Savior.

Blessings

Karl

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