BIBLE DOCTRINES - THEOLOGY / STUDY OF GOD

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BIBLE DOCTRINES - THEOLOGY / STUDY OF GOD

Post  Admin on Sat May 22, 2010 9:29 pm

THE SCIENCE OF THEOLOGY.

THE word Theology means literally a discourse concerning God but in analogy with other words, as geology, chronology and biology, it means the science which treats of God

It naturally concerns itself with such questions as these: Is there a God; can he be known; what is his nature, and character; what are the relations he sustains to the universe, particularly to intelligent beings possessed of spiritual natures, and above all, as most important to us, to men; in what ways has he made himself known; and especially in what aspect does he reveal himself to them as sinner. This is Theology proper.

In connection with this last relation it treats, particularly, of man as a creature of God placed under the government of his moral law. It inquires into his original condition of innocence, and happiness; the manner in which he fell there from; and his present state of sinfulness, and condemnation and inability for self-rescue. This is Anthropology.

It is thus led, also, to discuss the nature of the salvation which God has provided as seen in the person and character of Jesus Christ, through whom it has come, and in the works of active and passive obedience, by which he has wrought out reconciliation to God. This is Soteriology.

In like manner, also, does it consider the nature and work of to Holy Spirit, through whom man is led to accept the provisions of God's grace, and to attain through penitence and faith unto a salvation in Christ, which consists in freedom, not from condemnation only, but also from the dominion and defilement of sin, and in attainment of the holiness and happiness of children of the Heavenly Father. This is Pneumatology.

It follows man also beyond the death of the body, and makes known the future state of both the righteous and the wicked, as we before as after the resurrection of the body, together with the final judgment of both these classes, and the heaven and hell which shall be their respective abodes forever. This is Eschatology.

Finally it teaches the great end which God is accomplishing through all his works, in the manifestation to all his creatures of his own glory, as seen in its twofold aspect of mercy and justice in his dealings with this fallen race of man. This is Teleology.

The term "theology" is applied, not only to the science itself, but to any treatise on that science. This is true, not only of a discourse upon the one true God, but even of one upon the many false gods of the heathen. It is also true, though the treatise be not a scientific discussion, but simply an imaginative narrative or poem. Thus "Orpheus and Homer were called theologians among the Greek, because their poems treated of the nature of the gods." (Charles Hodge Sys. Theol. Vol. 1, p. 19.) Even the poems of Ossian, though probably written in England within the past century, is a book of theology. Mythology is not less theology because it treats of false gods, and in works of the imagination.

The term "theology" is, however, especially applicable to learned and scientific works upon God, or the gods. Of these, many are to be found connected with Heathenism. Such are the Vedas, the most ancient of the sacred books of the Hindoos. Such is the Zendavesta of the ancient Persians. The Edda, which sets forth the Scandinavian mythology, consists of poetic songs, and also of dialogues on the origin of the gods, on the creation of the world, and other like topics. [See Gardner's Faiths of the World, Vol. 1, p. 795.]

The most valuable discussions among the heathen, however, are to be found in the works of the Greek philosophers, the greater part of which, when not directly upon the nature of the gods, involve questions as to the origin, of the world, and the presence therein of a divine controlling Spirit, as well as upon the nature of the soul, and its duties, and its immortality. Of their works many have come down to us in fragments only, while a large portion of what they taught is found only in the records and reports made by others; but there are also many complete works which profess to have been written by the authors of these speculations. Confessedly the most important of these Greek writings are Xenophon's Memorabilia of Socrates, and the works of Plato, and Aristotle. But from the beginning of Grecian philosophy in Thales and Pythagoras to its culmination in Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, was not quite two hundred years, while its whole history covers a period of six centuries and a half before, and five centuries after the coming of Christ. No human mind can estimate the value of these contributions, nor the influence they have exerted even over those possessed of the Christian Revelation.

The Latin writers also produced several works of a theological character, pre-eminent among which is that of Cicero "Concerning the nature of the Gods."

Theology is, also, frequently used for the set of opinions exhibited by a writer, or class of writers, in any one or more productions. Thus we have the theology of Calvin, or of Arminius, or of Baxter, that of the Reformation, Princeton theology, and New England theology. Men also speak of the theology of the Old, or of the New Testament, the theology of the Psalms, of the various Evangelists, especially of John, and Petrine, and Pauline theology.

Theology is defined as a science. It is eminently worthy of that name. It lacks nothing that constitutes a science. It is concerned in the investigation of facts. It inquires into their existence, their relations to each other, their systematic arrangement, the laws which govern them, and the great principles which are the basis of this existence, and these relations.

As in other sciences, there is much that is absolutely known, much beyond this that is little questioned, much that is still matter of speculation, and much as to which there is decided difference of opinion. New facts are constantly developing in this science, as in others, which enable us to verify the facts and principles heretofore accepted, when true, and to modify them when erroneous. New theories present themselves for the better explanation of facts already known, and are tested by these, and by others subsequently discovered, and are received or rejected, according to their ascertained correctness. The knowledge of the past is built upon for progression towards the future.

The discovery of the facts is conducted, as in all other sciences, by study of what the field affords. Geology examines the earth, and derives its facts from the structure of that earth. Astronomy investigates the stars. Theology, likewise, studies the sources of its knowledge. Each science seeks to arrive at the truth. The votaries of each are certain that it is to be found in their fields, either partially, or completely. The perfect attainment of all facts prepares for the exactness of scientific knowledge. The absence of any must make the knowledge incomplete. The proper generalization of all is essential in this, as in all other kinds of science. A full knowledge of all the facts, and a perfect generalization of them, will constitute theology an exact science.

Theology is also as sensitive to the absence of facts as is any other science. The astronomer finds that his calculations, based upon correct theories, are not exactly verified, and at once suspects the presence of some disturbing body as the cause of this variation. So, also, in theology. The omission of a single fact, however small, must affect the whole universe of doctrine. The common mind does not perceive this, and hence is not prepared to value the discovery of the new fact. But the theologian finds in the new and more exact adjustment, thus made possible, the proof of the truth of his whole system, and therefore prizes it, even sometimes beyond what he ought.

Regarded as a science, theology may be classified in various forms.

1. According to the method of revelation, into natural and supernatural theology.

Natural theology embraces what man may attain by the study of God in Nature. This extends not only to what is beheld of him in the Heavens and the Earth, but also in the intellectual and spiritual nature of man himself.

Supernatural theology is that derived from such special information as God has given by what we commonly call Revelation.

2. According to the purpose which it contemplates, into Systematic Theology, also called Didactic, or Dogmatic; Polemic or Controversial Theology; and Practical or Experimental Theology.

3. According to the main religious idea associated with it, as Pantheistic Theology; Deistic Theology; Rationalistic Theology, &c.

4. According to the name of its founder, or the race in which it originated, or flourishes, as Christian Theology; Judaistic Theology; Mohammedan Theology, &c.

5. According to the sources from which it is derived, into Biblical Theology; Christian Dogmatic Theology; and Ecclesiastical Dogmatics.

Biblical Theology consists in the facts of the Bible, harmonize by scriptural comparison, generalized by scriptural theories, crystalized into scriptural doctrines, and so systematized as to show the system of truth taught, to the full extent that it is a system, and no farther. As in Botany, one gathers all the plants of the world, and arranges them without attempting to introduce new plants, even to fill up manifest gaps, so Biblical Theology, duly presented, show scriptural truth in all the perfection, and in all the imperfection with which God has given it.

True Biblical Theology should recognize the inspired source whence come its teachings. But, as now technically used, Biblical Theology refers to the statement and development of doctrine by the various Biblical writers, or in other words to the development of Jewish religious thought without assuming or denying the inspiration of the Bible.

Christian Dogmatics is not confined, as is Biblical, to the facts and theories and statements of doctrine expressly and formally set forth in the Scriptures. It comprises in addition such philosophical explanations as seem necessary to make a complete and harmonious system. These additions are not necessarily non-scriptural, for they are often the embodiment of the very essence of Bible truth though not of its formal utterances. They may be as much a part of Scripture as the theory of gravitation is of the revelation of nature. They should never be so far unscriptural as not to be either probable inferences from the Word of God or natural explanations of its statements. The more perfectly they accord with that word, and the greater the proportion of its facts which they explain, the more clearly do they establish their own truth, and the more forcibly do they demand universal acceptance. Failure to explain all difficulties or to harmonize all facts does not deprive them of confidence, but only teaches the need of further investigation. Direct opposition, however, to any one scriptural truth is enough to prove the existence of error in any Christian Dogmatic statement.

Ecclesiastical Dogmatics consists of authoritative statements of doctrine put forth by some body of Christians claiming to be a church of Christ. These are to be found in creeds, symbols, decrees, apologies and resolutions. They may also appear in the form of authoritative discussions of the creed or system of doctrine of any church.

It thus appears that a perfect system of theology will combine all of these classes. It must be based upon Biblical dogmatics which shall have so collected and systematized all the teachings of a full revelation as to be concurrent with the facts and doctrines of Christian Dogmatics.

The Ecclesiastical Dogmatics will have gone no farther than fully authorized by the Word of God, and therefore will concur with Biblical Dogmatics, while the fullness of revelation will have left to Christian Dogmatics no speculative questions; but in all its discussions it will have been able to attain unto full knowledge of the facts, and ascertainment of all the doctrines.

But this concurrence can only be when Theology has been reduced to an exact science. This can never be looked for in this life.

The causes of doctrinal variation will therefore be apparent.

If men came to the study of Biblical Theology with minds entirely unprejudiced, capable of examining its truths with the same mental powers, and with the same amount of study, all would agree as to its facts and doctrines. But this cannot be done. Mental capacities vary. All men have their prejudices. All have not equal time for study, and all use not equally the time that they have. Thus variety is certain even in studying Biblical Theology.

The same causes increase this in Christian Dogmatics, because here the human element enters more largely than in Biblical Theology; while reverence for antiquity, opposition to change, and the influence of the learned of the past and the present, prevent the alteration of Ecclesiastical creeds which embody Ecclesiastical Dogmatics, and thus lead men constantly to continuance in error, and refusal to accept truth.

These facts show with what spirit we should study Theology:

1. With reverence for truth, and especially for the truth taught in the Word of God.

2. With earnest prayer for Divine help.

3. With careful searching of heart against prejudice.

4. With timidity, as to the reception and propagation of new doctrine.

5. But with a spirit willing and anxious to examine, and to accept whatever we may be convinced is true.

6. With teachable humility, which, knowing that God has not taught us in his word all the truth that exists, not even all the truth on many a single point, accepts with implicit faith all that he has taught, and awaits his own time for that more full revelation which shall remove all our present perplexities.

The advantages of studying theology systematically are several.

1. We thus ascertain all that nature and the Scriptures teach on each point.

2. We compare all these teachings one with another and are enabled to define their mutual limitations.

3. We are brought face to face with the fact that our knowledge is bounded by God's Revelation, and are led to acknowledge it as its source.

4. We are consequently warned not to omit any of the truth ascertained from any source, nor to add to it anything not properly embraced therein. A departure from this rule will lead into inevitable error.

5. The harmony, and consistency, which will be found in all God's teachings, from whatever source we may draw them, will become conclusive proof of the divine origin of revelation. This will result, not only from a comparison of what Reason and Nature teach, with the revelations of God's Word, but of each of the several books of the Bible with the others, and especially of the body of the Old Testament as one book, with that of the New Testament as another.

6. We are thus led to value each of the doctrines of the word or God. Each is true. Each has been revealed that it might be believed. We cannot therefore omit any one, because of its forbidding aspect, or its seeming unimportance, or its mysterious nature, or its demand for great personal sacrifice, or its humiliating assertions, or requirements, or the free terms upon which it assures of life and salvation.
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Re: BIBLE DOCTRINES - THEOLOGY / STUDY OF GOD

Post  Admin on Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:43 am

THE DOCTRINE OF GOD



I. THE EXISTENCE OF GOD: (Vs. Atheism).

1. ASSUMED BY THE SCRIPTURES.
2. PROOFS OF THE EXISTENCE OF GOD.
a) Universal belief in the Existence of God.
b) Cosmological:--Argument from Cause.
c) Teleological:--Argument from Design.
d) Ontological:--Argument from Being.
e) Anthropological:--Moral Argument.
f) Argument from Congruity.
g) Argument from Scripture.

II. THE NATURE OF GOD: (Vs. Agnosticism)

1. THE SPIRITUALITY OF GOD: (Vs. Materialism).
2. THE PERSONALITY OF GOD: (Vs. Pantheism).
3. THE UNITY OF GOD: (Vs. Polytheism).
4. THE TRINITY: (Vs. Unitarianism).

III. THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD.

1. THE NATURAL ATTRIBUTES:
a) Omniscience.
b) Omnipotence.
c) Omnipresence.
d) Eternity.

2. THE MORAL ATTRIBUTES:
a) Holiness.
b) Righteousness.
c) Faithfulness.
d) Mercy and Loving-kindness.
e) Love.





I. HIS EXISTENCE.

1. TAKEN FOR GRANTED BY THE SCRIPTURE WRITERS:

It does not seem to have occurred to any of the writers of either
the Old or the New Testaments to attempt to prove or to argue for
the existence of God. Everywhere and at all times it is a fact
taken for granted. "A God capable of proof would be no God at all"
(Jacobi). He is the self-existent One (Exod. 3:14) and the Source
of all life (John 5:26).

The sublime opening of the Scriptures announces the fact of God and
His existence: "In the beginning God" (Gen. 1:1). Nor is the rise
or dawn of the idea of God in the mind of man depicted. Psa. 14:1:
"The fool hath said in his heart. There is no God," indicates not
a disbelief in the existence, but rather in the active interest
of God in the affairs of men--He seemed to hide Himself from the
affairs of men (See Job 22:12-14).

The Scriptures further recognize that men not only know of the
existence of God, but have also a certain circle of ideas as to
who and what He is (Rom. 1:18-19).

No one but a "fool" will deny the fact of God. "What! no God? A
watch, and no key for it? A watch with a main-spring broken, and
no jeweler to fix it? A watch, and no repair shop? A time-card and
a train, and nobody to run it? A star lit, and nobody to pour oil
in to keep the wick burning? A garden, and no gardener? Flowers,
and no florist? Conditions, and no conditioner?" He that sitteth
in the heavens shall laugh at such absurd atheism.

2. THE ARGUMENTS FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD.

[Footnote: A fuller and complete presentation of these arguments
for the Existence of God may be found in the works of Dr. Augustus
H. Strong and Dr. Francis L. Patten, to whom the author is here
indebted.]

These arguments may not prove conclusively that God is, but they
do show that in order to the existence of any knowledge, thought,
reason, conscience in man, we must assume that God is (Strong).
It is said of the beautiful, "It may be shown, but not proved." So
we say of the existence of God. These arguments are probable, not
demonstrative. For this reason they supplement each other, and
constitute a series of evidences which is cumulative in its nature.
Though taken singly, none of them can be considered absolutely
decisive, they together furnish a corroboration of our primitive
conviction of God's existence, which is of great practical value,
and is in itself sufficient to bind the moral actions of men. A
bundle of rods may not be broken even though each one separately
may; the strength of the bundle is the strength of the whole. If in
practical affairs we were to hesitate to act until we have absolute
and demonstrable certainty, we should never begin to move at all.

Instead of doubting everything that can be doubted, let us rather
doubt nothing until we are compelled to doubt.

Dr. Orr, of Glasgow, says: What we mean by the proof of God's
existence is simply that there are necessary acts of thought by
which we rise from the finite to the infinite, from the caused to
the uncaused, from the contingent to the necessary, from the reason
involved in the structure of the universe to a universal and eternal
reason, which is the ground of all, from morality in conscience
to a moral Lawgiver and Judge. In this connection the theoretical
proofs constitute an inseparable unity--'constitute together,'
as Dr. Stirling declares, "but the undulations of a single wave,
which wave is but a natural rise and ascent to God, on the part of
man's own thought, with man's own experience and consciousness as
the object before him."

Religion was not produced by proofs of God's existence, and will not
be destroyed by its insufficiency to some minds. Religion existed
before argument; in fact, it is the preciousness of religion that
leads to the seeking for all possible confirmations of the reality
of God.

a) Universality of Belief in the Existence of God.

(1) The fact stated and proven:

Man everywhere believes in the existence of a supreme Being or
Beings to whom he is morally responsible and to whom propitiation
needs to be made.

Such belief may be crudely, even grotesquely stated and manifested,
but the reality of the fact is no more invalidated by such crudeness
than the existence of a father is invalidated by the crude attempts
of a child to draw a picture of its father.

It has been claimed by some that there are or were tribes in
inland Africa that possessed no idea or conception of God. Moffat,
Livingstone's father-in-law, made such a claim, but Livingstone,
after a thorough study of the customs and languages of such tribes,
conclusively showed that Moffat was wrong.

Nor should the existence of such few tribes, even if granted, violate
the fact we are here considering, any more than the existence of
some few men who are blind, lame, deaf, and dumb would make untrue
the statement and fact that man is a seeing, hearing, speaking,
and walking creature. The fact that some nations do not have the
multiplication table does no violence to arithmetic.

Concerning so-called atheists in Christian lands: it may be
questioned if there are really any such beings. Hume, known as a
famous sceptic, is reported to have said to Ferguson, as together they
looked up into the starry sky: "Adam, there is a God." Voltaire,
the atheist, prayed to God in a thunderstorm. Ingersoll, when
charged with being an atheist, indignantly refuted the charge,
saying: "I am not an atheist; I do not say that there is no God;
I am an agnostic; I do not know that there is a God." "I thank God
that I am an atheist," were the opening words of an argument to
disprove the existence of God. A new convert to atheism was once
heard to say to a coterie of unbelievers: "I have gotten rid of
the idea of a supreme Being, and I thank God for it."

(2) Whence comes this universal belief in the existence of God?

aa) _Not from outside sources_, such as reason, tradition, or
even the Scriptures.

_Not from reason or argument_, for many who believe in God
have not given any time to reasoning and arguing the question; some,
indeed, intellectually, could not. Others who have great powers
of intellect, and who have reasoned and argued on the subject are
professed disbelievers in God. Belief in God is not the result of
logical arguments, else the Bible would have given us proofs.

_Nor did this universal belief come from tradition_, for
"Tradition," says Dr. Patton, "can perpetuate only what has been
originated."

_Nor can it be said that this belief came from the Scriptures
even_, for, as has been well said, unless a man had a knowledge
of the God from whom the Scriptures came, the Revelation itself
could have no authority for him. The very idea of Scripture as a
Revelation, presupposes belief in a God who can make it.--_Newman
Smith_. Revelation must assume the existence of God.

bb) _This universal belief comes from within man._

All the evidence points to the conclusive fact that this universal
faith in the existence of God is innate in man, and comes from
rational intuition.

(3) The weight and force of this argument.

The fact that all men everywhere believe in the existence of a
supreme Being or beings to whom they are morally responsible, is a
strong argument in favor of its truth. So universal an effect must
have a cause as universal, otherwise we have an effect without any
assignable cause. Certain is it that this argument makes the burden
of proof to rest upon those who deny the existence of God.

b) The Argument from Cause: Cosmological.

When we see a thing we naturally ask for the cause of that thing.
We see this world in which we live, and ask how it came to be. Is
it self-originating, or is the cause of its being outside of itself?
Is its cause finite or infinite?

That it could not come into being of itself seems obvious; no more
than nails, brick, mortar, wood, paints, colors, form into a house
or building of themselves; no more than the type composing a book
came into order of itself. When Liebig was asked if he believed
that the grass and flowers which he saw around him grew by mere
chemical forces, he replied: "No; no more than I could believe that
the books on botany describing them could grow by mere chemical
forces." No theory of an "eternal series" can account for this
created universe. No matter how long a chain you may have, you
must have a staple somewhere from which it depends. An endless
perpendicular chain is an impossibility. "Every house is builded
by some man," says the Bible; so this world in which we live was
built by a designing mind of infinite power and wisdom.

So is it when we consider man. Man exists; but he owes his existence
to some cause. Is this cause within or without himself, finite or
infinite? Trace our origin back, if you will, to our first parent,
Adam; then you must ask, How did he come into being? The doctrine
of the eternity of man cannot be supported. Fossil remains extend
back but 6,000 years. Man is an effect; he has not always existed.
Geology proves this. That the first Cause must have been an intelligent
Being is proven by the fact that we are intelligent beings ourselves.

c) The Argument from Design: Teleological.

A watch proves not only a maker, an artificer, but also a designer;
a watch is made for a purpose. This is evident in its structure.
A thoughtful, designing mind was back of the watch. So is it with
the world in which we live. These "ends" in nature are not to he
attributed to "natural results," or "natural selection," results
which are produced without intelligence, nor are they "the survival
of the fittest," instances in which "accident and fortuity have
done the work of mind." No, they are the results of a superintending
and originating intelligence and will.

d) The Argument from Being: Ontological.

Man has an idea of an infinite and perfect Being. From whence this
idea? From finite and imperfect beings like ourselves? Certainly
not. Therefore this idea argues for the existence of an infinite
and perfect Being: such a Being must exist, as a person, and not
a mere thought.

e) The Moral Argument; Anthropological.

Man has an intellectual and a moral nature, hence his Creator must
be an intellectual and moral Being, a Judge, and Lawgiver. Man has
an emotional nature; only a Being of goodness, power, love, wisdom
and holiness could satisfy such a nature, and these things denote
the existence of a personal God.

Conscience in man says: "Thou shalt," and "Thou shalt not," "I
ought," and "I ought not." These mandates are not self-imposed. They
imply the existence of a Moral Governor to whom we are responsible.
Conscience,--there it is in the breast of man, an ideal Moses
thundering from an invisible Sinai the Law of a holy Judge. Said
Cardinal Newman: "Were it not for the voice speaking so clearly in
my conscience and my heart, I should be an atheist, or a pantheist,
when I looked into the world." Some things are wrong, others
right: love is right, hatred is wrong. *

* [SLBC NOTE: This statement is not true. Pr 6:16 tells us that
God hates. Since that is true, then hate, in itself, cannot be intrinsically wrong.
Yes, misdirected or mishandled hate is wrong- but only because of the misdirection
or mishandling of the emotion. But, since God hates, then we cannot summarily
assert that "... hatred is wrong."]

Nor is a thing right because
it pleases, or wrong because it displeases. Where did we get this
standard of right and wrong? Morality is obligatory, not optional.
Who made is obligatory? Who has a right to command my life? We must
believe that there is a God, or believe that the very root of our
nature is a lie.

f) The Argument from Congruity.

If we have a key which fits all the wards of the lock, we know that
it is the right key. If we have a theory which fits all the facts
in the case, we know then that we have the right theory. "Belief
in a self-existent, personal God is in harmony with all the facts
of our mental and moral nature, as well as with all the phenomena
of the natural world. If God exists, a universal belief in his
existence is natural enough; the irresistible impulse to ask for
a first cause is accounted for; or religious nature has an object;
the uniformity of natural law finds an adequate explanation, and
human history is vindlcated from the charge of being a vast imposture.
Atheism leaves all these matters without an explanation, and makes,
not history alone, but our moral and intellectual nature itself,
an imposture and a lie."--_Patton_.

g) The Argument from Scripture.

A great deal of our knowledge rests upon the testimony of others.
Now the Bible is competent testimony. If the testimony of travelers
is enough to satisfy us as to the habits, customs, and manners of
the peoples of the countries they visit, and which we have never
seen, why is not the Bible, if it is authentic history, be enough
to satisfy us with its evidence as to the existence of God?

Some facts need more evidence than others, we know. This is true
of the fact of the existence of God. But the Bible history is
sufficient to satisfy every reasonable demand. The history of the
Jews, prophecy, is not explainable minus God. If we cannot believe
in the existence of God on the testimony of the Bible we might
as well burn our books of history. A man cannot deny the truth of
the testimony of the Bible unless he says plainly: "No amount of
testimony will convince me of the supernatural."

Scripture does not attempt to prove the existence of God; it asserts,
assumes, and declares that the knowledge of God is universal, Rom.
1:19-21, 28, 33; 2:15. It asserts that God has wrought this great
truth in the very warp and woof of every man's being, so that
nowhere is He without this witness. The preacher may, therefore,
safely follow the example of the Scripture in assuming that there
is a God. Indeed he must unhesitatingly and explicitly assert it as
the Scripture does, believing that "His eternal power and divinity"
are things that are clearly seen and perceived through the evidences
of His handiwork which abound on every hand.

II. THE NATURE OF GOD: (Vs. Agnosticism).

1. THE SPIRITUALITY OF GOD: (Vs. Materialism). "GOD IS SPIRIT."

a) Statement of the Fact, John 4:24: "God is Spirit."

Meaning: The Samaritan woman's question, "Where is God to be found?"
etc. On Mt. Zion or Gerizim? Christ's answer: God is not to be
confined to any one place (cf. Acts 7:48; 17:25, 1 Kings 8:27). God
must be worshipped _in spirit_ as distinguished from place,
form, or other sensual limitations (4:21); and _in truth_
as distinguished from false conceptions resulting from imperfect
knowledge (4:22).

b) Light on "God is Spirit," from other Scriptures.

Luke 24:39: "A spirit hath not flesh and bones," i. e., has not
body, or parts like human beings; incorporeal; not subject to human
limitations.

Col. 1:15: "The image of the invisible God."

1 Tim. 1:17 (R. V.): "Now unto the King incorruptible, invisible."

These passages teach that God has nothing of a material or bodily
nature. Sight sees only objects of the material world, but God is
not of the nature of the material world, hence He cannot be seen
with the material eye--at least not now.

c) Light Derived from Cautions Against Representing God by Graven
Images:

Deut. 4:15-23; Isa. 40:25; Exod. 20:4. Study these passages carefully
and note that the reason why images were forbidden was because no
one had ever seen God, and consequently could not picture how He
looked, and, further, there was nothing on the earth that could
resemble Him.

d) Definition of "God is Spirit" in the Light of All This:

God is invisible, incorporeal, without parts, without body,
without passions,* and therefore free from all limitations; He is
apprehended not by the senses, but by the soul; hence God is above
sensuous perceptions. 1 Cor. 2:6-16 intimates that without the
teaching of God's Spirit we cannot know God. He is not a material
Being. "LaPlace swept the heavens with his telescope, but could
not find anywhere a God. He might just as well have swept a kitchen
with his broom." Since God is not a material Being, He cannot be
apprehended by physical means.

* [SLBC NOTE: This statement, that God is "without passions" must be
rejected because the Scriptures attribute passion and personality to God.
He hates, loves, can be grieved, feels pleasure, approval and disapproval,
sadness, and many other emotions, all of which indicate personality.
Without passions (emotions) personality could not be attributed to God;
and that would make of Him no more than the impersonal "gods" of
Hinduism, New Age, and the heretical denominations that believe God is
nothing more than an impersonal "force" rather than a personal God.
Therefore, we must reject the statement that God is "without passions."]

e) Questions and Problems with Reference to the Statement that "God
is Spirit."

(1) 'What is meant by statement that man was made "in the image of
God"?

Col 3:10; Eph. 4:24 declare that this "image" consists in "righteousness,
knowledge, and holiness of truth." By that is meant that the image
of God in man consisted in intellectual and moral likeness rather
than physical resemblance. Some think that 1 Thess. 5:23 indicates
that the "trinity of man"--body, soul, and spirit--constitutes that
image and likeness.

(2) What is meant by the anthropomorphic expressions used of God?

For example: God is said to have hands, feet, arms, eyes, ears He
sees, feels, hears, walks, etc. Such expressions are to be understood
only in the sense of being human expressions used in order to bring
the infinite within the comprehension of the finite. How otherwise
could we understand God saving by means of human expressions, in
figures that we all can understand!

(3) How are such passages as Exod. 24:10 and 33:18-23 in which it is
distinctly stated that men saw the God of Israel, to be reconciled
with such passages as John 1:18; "No man hath seen God at any time,"
and Exod. 33:20: "There shall no man see me and live"?

Answer:

_aa) Spirit can be manifested in visible form:_

John 1:32: "I saw tho Spirit descending from heaven like a dove
(or in the form of a dove)." So throughout the ages the invisible
God has manifested Himself in visible form. (See Judges 6:34: The
Spirit of the Lord clothed Himself with Gideon.)

_bb) On this truth is based the doctrine of "The Angel of the
Lord"_

in the Old Testament: Gen 16:7, 10, 13. Note here how the Angel of
the Lord is identified with Jehovah Himself, cf. vv. 10, 13. Also
Gen. 22:12--"The angel of the Lord.... not withheld from _me_."
In 18:1-16, one of the three angels clearly and definitely identifies
himself with Jehovah. Compare chapter 19, where it is seen that
only two of the angels have come to Sodom; the other has remained
behind. "Who was this one, this remaining angel? Gen.18:17, 20
answers the question; v. 22 reads: "And Abraham stood yet before
the Lord. In Exod. 13:21 it is _Jehovah_, while in 14:19 it
is the Angel that went before Israel. Thus was the way prepared for
the incarnation, for the Angel of the Lord in the Old Testament is
undoubtedly the second person of the Trinity. This seems evident
from Judges 13:18 compared with Isa. 9:6, in both of which passages,
clearly referring to Christ, the name "Wonderful" occurs. Also the
omission of the definite article "the" from before the expression
"the Angel of the Lord," and the substitution of "an" points to
the same truth. This change is made in the Revised Version.

cc) _What was it then that the elders of Israel saw when it is
said they saw the "God of Israel"?_

Certainly it was not God in His real essence, God as He is in
Himself, for no man can have that vision and live. John 1:18 is
clear on that point: "No man hath seen God at any time." The emphasis
in this verse is on the word "God," and may read, "GOD no one has
seen at any time." In 5:37 Jesus says: "Ye have neither heard his
voice at any time, nor seen his shape." From This it seems clear
that the "seeing" here, the which has been the privilege of no man,
refers to the essence rather than to the person of God, if such
a distinction can really be made. This is apparent also from the
omission of the definite article before God, as well as from the
position of God in the sentence. None but the Son has really seen
God as God, as He really is. What, then, did these men see?

Evidently an _appearance_ of God in some form to their outward
senses; perhaps the form of a man, seeing mention is made of his
"feet." The vision may have been too bright for human eyes to gaze
upon fully, but it was _a_ vision of God. Yet it was only a
manifestation of God, for, although Moses was conversing with God,
he yet said: "If I have found grace in thy sight, show me thy face."
Moses had been granted exceeding great and precious privileges in
that he had been admitted into close communion with God, more so
than any other member of the human race. But still unsatisfied he
longed for more; so in v. 18 he asks to see the unveiled glory of
God, that very thing which no man in the flesh can ever see and
live; but, no, this cannot be. By referring to Exod. 33:18-23 we
find God's answer: "Thou canst not see my face.... thou shalt see
my back parts, but my face shall not be seen." (Num. 12:8 throws
light upon the subject, if compared with Exod. 33:11.)

"The secret remained unseen; the longing unsatisfied; and the
nearest approach to the beatific vision reached by him with whom
God spake face to face, as friend with friend, was to be hidden in
the cleft of the rock, to be made aware of an awful shadow, and to
hear the voice of the unseen."

2. THE PERSONALITY OF GOD: (Vs. Pantheism).

Pantheism maintains that this universe in its ever changing conditions
is but the manifestation of the one ever changing universal substance
which is God; thus all, everything is God, and God is everything;
God is all, all is God. Thus God is identified with nature and not
held to be independent of and separate from it. God is, therefore,
a necessary but an unconscious force working in the world.

The Bearing of the Personality of God on the Idea of Religion.

True religion may be defined as the communion between two persons:
God and man. religion is a personal relationship between God in
heaven, and man on the earth. If God were not a person there could
be no communion; if both God and man were one there could be no
communion, and, consequently, no religion. An independent personal
relationship on both sides is absolutely necessary to communion.
Man can have no communion with an influence, a force, an impersonal
something; nor can an influence have any moving or affection towards
man. It is absolutely necessary to the true definition of religion
that both God and man be persons. God is person, not force or
influence.

a) Definition of Personality.

Personality exists where there is intelligence, mind, will,
reason, individuality, self-consciousness, and self-determination.
There must be not mere consciousness--for the beast has that--but
_self_-consciousness. Nor is personality determination--for the
beast has this, too, even though this determination be the result
of influences from without--but _self_-determination, the power
by which man from an act of his own free will determines his acts
from within.

Neither corporeity nor substance, as we understand these words,
are necessarily, if at all, involved in personality. There may be
true personality without either or both of these.

b) Scripture Teaching on the Personality of God.

(In this connection it will Be well to refer to the Ontological
Argument for the Existence of God, for which see p. 17.)

(1) Exod 3:14;--"I AM THAT I AM."

This name is wonderfully significant. Its central idea is that of
existence and personality. The words signify "I AM, I WAS, I SHALL
BE," so suggestively corresponding with the New Testament statement
concerning God: "Who wast, and art, and art to come."

All the names given to God in the Scripture denote personality.
Here are some of them:

Jehovah--Jireh: The Lord will provide (Gen. 22:13, 14).

Jehovah-Rapha: The Lord that healeth (Exod. 15:26).

Jehovah-Nissi: The Lord our Banner (Exod. 17:8-15).

Jehovah-Shalom: The Lord our Peace (Judges 6:24).

Jehovah-Ra-ah: The Lord my Shepherd (Psa. 23:1).

Jehovah-Tsidkenu: The Lord our Righteousness (Jer. 23:6).

Jehovah-Shammah: The Lord is present (Ezek. 48:35).

Moreover, the personal pronouns ascribed to God prove personality:
John 17:3, et al. "To know thee"--we cannot know an influence in
the sense in which the word know is here used. _Statement:_
All through the Scriptures names and personal pronouns are ascribed
to God which undeniably prove that God is a Person.

(2) A sharp distinction is drawn in the Scriptures between the gods
of heathen and the Lord God of Israel (See Jer. 10:10-16).

Note the context: vv. 3-9: Idols are things, not persons; they
cannot walk, speak, do good or evil. God is wiser than the men who
made these idols; if the idol-makers are persons, much more is God.

See the sharp contrast drawn between dead idols and the living,
personal, true and only God: Acts 14:15; 1 Thess. 1:9; Psa. 94:9,
10.

_Statement:_ God is to be clearly distinguished from things
which have no life; he is a living Person.

(3) Attributes of personality are ascribed to God in the Scriptures.

God repents (Gen. 6:6}; grieves {Gen 6:6}; is angry {1 Kings 11:9);
is jealous (Deut. 6:15); loves (Rev. 3:19); hates (Prov. 6:16).

_Statement_: God possesses the attributes of personality, and
therefore is a Person.

(4) The relation which God bears to the Universe and to Men, as set
forth in the Scriptures, can be explained only on the basis that
God is a Person.

Deism maintains that God, while the Creator of the world, yet sustains
no further relations to it. He made it just as the clock-maker makes
a self-winding clock: makes it and then leaves it to run itself
without any interference on His part. Such teaching as this finds
no sanction in the Bible. What are God's relations to the universe
and to men?

_aa) He is the Creator of the Universe and Man._

Gen. 1:1, 26; John. 1:1-3. These verses contain vital truths. The
universe did not exist from eternity, nor was it made from existing
matter. It did not proceed as an emanation from the infinite, but
was summoned into being by the decree of God. Science, by disclosing
to us the marvellous power and accuracy of natural law, compels
us to believe in a superintending intelligence who is infinite.
Tyndall said: "I have noticed that it is not during the hours of my
clearness and vigor that the doctrine of material atheism commends
itself to my mind."

(In this connection the Arguments from Cause and Design, pp. 16
and 17, may be properly considered.)

_Statement_: The Creation of the Universe and Man proves the
Personality of the Creator--God.

_bb) God sustains certain relations to the Universe and Man which
He has made._

Heb 1:3--"Uphold all things." Col. 1:15-17--"By him all things hold
together." Psa. 104:27-30--All creatures wait upon Him for "their
meat in due season." Psa. 75:6, 7--"Promotion" among men, the
putting down of one man and the setting up of another, is from the
hand of God.

What do we learn from these scriptures regarding the relation of
God to this universe, to man, and to all God's creatures?

_First_. That all things are held together by Him; if not, this
old world would go to pieces quickly. The uniformity and accuracy
of natural law compels us to believe in a personal God who
intelligently guides and governs the universe. Disbelief in this
fact would mean utter confusion. Not blind chance, but a personal
God is at the helm.

_Second._ That the physical supplies for all God's creatures
are in His hand: He feeds them all. What God gives we gather. If
He withholds provision we die.

_Third._ That God has His hand in history, guiding and shaping
the affairs of nations. Victor Hugo said: "Waterloo was God."

_Fourth._ Consider with what detail God's care is described:
The sparrows, the lilies, the hairs of the head, the tears of His
children, etc. See how these facts are clearly portrayed in the
following scriptures: Matt. 6:28-30; 10:29, 30; Gen. 39:21, with
50:20; Dan. 1:9; Job 1:12.

_Statement:_ The personality of God is shown by His active,
interest and participation all things, even the smallest things,
in the universe, the experience of man, and in the life of all His
creatures.

THE UNITY OF GOD: (Vs. Polytheism).

There are three monotheistic religions in the world: Judaism,
Christianity, and Mahommedanism. The second is a development of
the first; the third is an outgrowth of both.

The doctrine of the Unity of God is held in contradistinction
to _Polytheism_, which is belief in a multiplicity of gods;
_Tri-theism_, which teaches that there are three Gods--that
is, that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are, specifically,
three distinct Gods; and to _Dualism_, which teaches that
there are two independent divine beings or eternal principles, the
one good, and the other evil, as set forth especially in Gnostic
systems, such as Parseeism.

a) The Scriptures Assert the Unity of God.

Deut. 6:4--"Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord"; or, "The
Lord our God, the Lord is one." Isa. 44:6-8--"First.... last....
beside me there is no God." Isa. 45:5--"There is none else,
there is no God beside me." 1 Tim. 2:5 "There is one God." 1 Cor.
8:4--"There is none other God but one."

That God is one, that there is no other, that He has no equal is
the forceful testimony of above fifty passages in the Scriptures.
The fundamental duty of life, namely, the devotion of the entire
being to the Lord, is based upon the Unity of God: "The Lord....is
one .... therefore thou shalt love the Lord thy God with _all_
thy heart," etc.

No other truth of the Scripture, particularly of the Old Testament,
receives more prominence than that of the Unity of God. This
truth is clearly pronounced also in the material universe; it is
the introduction and conclusion of all scientific researches. Any
other representation contradicts both creation and revelation. Its
denial is a proper object for the ridicule of every thinking man,
and of the disbelief of every orthodox Christian. Let this, then,
be our first and necessary conclusion--that Deity, whether creating,
inspiring, or otherwise manifesting itself, is one God; one, and
no more.--_Cerdo._

A multiplication of Gods is a contradiction; there can be but one
God. There can be but one absolutely perfect, supreme, and almighty
Being. Such a Being cannot be multiplied, nor pluralized. There
can be but one ultimate, but one all-inclusive, but one God.

Monotheism, then, not Tri-theism, is the doctrine set forth in the
Scriptures. "If the thought that wishes to be orthodox had less
tendency to become tri-theistic, the thought that claims to be free
would be less Unitarian."--_Moberly._

b) The Nature of the Divine Unity.

The doctrine of the Unity of God does not exclude the idea of
a plurality of persons in the Godhead. Not that there are three
persons in each person of the Godhead, if we use in both cases
the term _person_ in one and the same sense. We believe,
therefore, that there are three persons in the Godhead, but one
God. Anti-trinitarians represent the evangelical church as believing
in three Gods, but this is not true; it believes in one God, but
three persons in the Godhead.

(1) The Scriptural use of the word "One."

Gen. 2:24--"And they two (husband and wife) shall be one flesh."
Gen. 11:6--"The people is one." I Cor. 3:6-8--"He that planteth
and he that watereth are one." 12:13--"All baptized into one body."
John 17:22, 23--"That they may be one, even as we are one ... that
they may be made perfect in one."

The word "one" in these scriptures is used in a collective sense;
the unity here spoken of is a compound one, like unto that used in
such expressions as "a cluster of grapes," or "all the people rose
as one man." The unity of the Godhead is not simple but compound.
The Hebrew word for "one" (yacheed) in the absolute sense, and which
is used in such expressions as "the only one," is _never_ used
to express the unity of the Godhead. On the contrary, the Hebrew
word "echad," meaning "one" in the sense of a compound unity,
as seen in the above quoted scriptures, is the one used always to
describe the divine unity.

(2) The Divine Name "God" is a plural word; plural pronouns are
used of God.

The Hebrew word for God (Elohim) is used most frequently in the
plural form. God often uses plural pronouns in speaking of Himself,
e. g., Gen. 1:26--"Let _us_ make man." Isa. 6:8-"Who will go for
_us_?" Gen. 3:22--Behold, man is become as "one of _us_."

Some would say that the "us" in Gen. 1:26--"Let us make man," refers
to God's consultation with the angels with whom He takes counsel
before He does anything of importance; but Isa. 40:14--"But of
whom took he counsel," shows that such is not the case; and Gen.
1:27 contradicts this idea, for it repeats the statement "in the
image of God," not in the image of angels; also that "GOD created
man in HIS OWN image, in the image of God (not angels) created he
him." The "us" of Gen. 1:26, therefore, is properly understood of
plural majesty, as indicating the dignity and majesty of the speaker.
The proper translation of this verse should be not "let us make,"
but "we will make," indicating the language of resolve rather than
that of consultation.

4. THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY: (Vs. Unitarianism).

The doctrine of the Trinity is, in its last analysis, a deep mystery
that cannot be fathomed by the finite mind. That it is taught
in the Scripture, however, there can be no reasonable doubt. It
is a doctrine to be believed even though it cannot be thoroughly
understood.

a) The Doctrine of the Trinity in the Old Testament.

This doctrine is not so much declared as intimated in the Old
Testament. The burden of the Old Testament message seems to be the
unity of God. Yet the doctrine of the Trinity is clearly intimated
in a four-fold way:

First: In the plural names of the Deity; e. g., Elohim.

Second: Personal pronouns used of the Deity. Gen. 1:26; 11:7;
Isa.6:8.

Third: The Theophanies, especially the "Angel of the Lord." Gen.16
and 18.

Fourth: The work of the Holy Spirit. Gen. 1:2; Judges 6:34.

b) The Doctrine of the Trinity in the New Testament.

The doctrine of the Trinity is clearly taught in the New Testament;
it is not merely intimated, as in the Old Testament, but explicitly
declared. This is evident from the following:

First: The baptism of Christ: Matt 3:16, 17. Here the Father speaks
from heaven; the Son is being baptized in the Jordan; and the Spirit
descends in the form of a dove.

Second: In the Baptismal Formula: Matt. 28:19--"Baptizing them in
the name (sing.) of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
Ghost." Third: The Apostolic Benediction: 2 Cor. 13:14--"The grace
of our Lord Jesus Christ....love of God.....communion of the Holy
Ghost."

Fourth: Christ Himself teaches it in John 14:16--"_I_ will
pray the _Father_... He will give you another _Comforter_."

Fifth: The New Testament sets forth:

A Father who is God, Rom. 1:7.
A son who is God, Heb. 1:8.
A Holy Spirit who is God, Acts 5:3, 4.

The whole is summed up in the words of Boardman: The Father is all
the fulness of the Godhead invisible, John 1:18; the Son is all
the fulness of Godhead manifested, John 1:4-18; the Spirit is all
the fulness of the Godhead acting immediately upon the creature,
1 Cor. 2:9, 10.

III. THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD:

It is difficult to clearly distinguish between the attributes and
the nature of God. It is maintained by some that such a division
ought not to be made; that these qualities of God which we call
attributes are in reality part of His nature and essence. Whether
this be exactly so or not, our purpose in speaking of the attributes
of God is for convenience in the study of the doctrine of God.

It has been customary to divide the attributes of God into two classes:
the Natural, and the Moral. The Natural attributes are Omniscience,
Omnipotence, Omnipresence, Eternity; the Moral attributes: Holiness,
Righteousness, Faithfulness, Mercy and Loving-kindness, and Love.

1. THE NATURAL ATTRIBUTES:

a) The Omniscience of God.

God Is a Spirit, and as such has knowledge. He is a perfect Spirit,
and as such has perfect knowledge. By Omniscience is meant that
God knows all things and is absolutely perfect in knowledge.

(1) Scriptures setting forth the fact of God's Omniscience.

_In general:_ Job 11:7, 8--"Canst thou by searching find
out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?" Job's
friends professed to have discovered the reason for his affliction,
for, forsooth, had they not found out the secrets of the divine
wisdom unto perfection. No, such is beyond their human, finite ken.
Isa. 40:28--"There is no searching of his understanding." Jacob's
captive condition might lead him to lose trust and faith in God.
But Jacob has not seen all God's plans--no man has. Job, 37:16--"The
wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge." Could Job
explain the wonders of the natural phenomena around him? Much less
the purposes and judgments of God. Psa. 147:5--"His understanding
is infinite." Of His understanding there is no number, no computation.
Israel is not lost sight of. He who can number and name and call
the stars is able also to call each of them by name even out of
their captivity. His knowledge is not to be measured by ours. 1 John
3:20--"God knoweth all things." Our hearts may pass over certain
things, and fail to see some things that should be confessed. God,
however, sees all things. Rom. 11:33--"How unsearchable are his
judgments and his ways past finding out." The mysterious purposes
and decrees of God touching man and his salvation are beyond all
human comprehension.
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Re: BIBLE DOCTRINES - THEOLOGY / STUDY OF GOD

Post  Admin on Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:44 am

_In detail, and by way of illustration:_

_aa) His knowledge is absolutely comprehensive:_

Prov. 15:3--"The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping
watch upon the evil and the good." How could He reward and punish
otherwise? Not one single thing occurring in any place escapes His
knowledge. 5:21--"For the ways of man are before the eyes of the
Lord, and he pondereth all his goings." We may have habits hidden
from our fellow creatures, but not from God.

_ bb) God has a perfect knowledge of all that is in nature:_

Psa. 147:4--"He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them
all by their names." Man cannot (Gen. 15:5). How, then, can Israel
say, "My way is hid from the Lord?" Cf. Isa. 40:26, 27. Matt.
10:29--"One ... sparrow shall not fall to the ground without your
Father." Much less would one of His children who perchance might
be killed for His name's sake, fall without His knowledge.

_cc) God has a perfect knowledge of all that transpires in human
experience:_

Prov. 5:21--"For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord,
and he pondereth all his goings." All a man's doings are weighed
by God. How this should affect his conduct! Psa. 139:2, 3--"Thou
knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my
thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and
art acquainted with all my ways." Before our thoughts are fully
developed, our unspoken sentences, the rising feeling in our hearts,
our activity, our resting, all that we do from day to day is known
and sifted by God. v. 4--"There is not a word in my tongue, but
lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether." Not only thoughts and
purposes, but words spoken, idle, good, or bad. Exod. 3:7--"I
have seen the affliction....heard the cry: know the sorrows of my
people which are in Egypt." The tears and grief which they dared
not show to their taskmasters, God saw and noted. Did God know
of their trouble in Egypt? It seemed to them as though He did not.
But He did. Matt. 10:29, 30--"But the very hairs of your head are
all numbered." What minute knowledge is this! Exod 3:19--"And I am
sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty
hand." Here is intimate knowledge as to what a single individual
will do. Isa. 48:18--"O that thou hadst harkened to my commandments!
then had thy peace have been as a river," etc. God knows what our
lives would have been if only we had acted and decided differently.

_dd) God has a perfect knowledge of all that transpires in human
history._

With what precision are national changes and destinies foretold
and depicted in Dan. 2 and 8! Acts 15:18--"Known unto God are all
his works from the beginning of the world (ages)." In the context
surrounding this verse are clearly set forth the religious changes
that were to characterize the generations to come, the which have
been so far literally, though not fully, fulfilled.

_ee) God knows--from, all eternity to all eternity what will take
place._

The ominiscience of God is abduced as the proof that He alone is
God, especially as contrasted with the gods (idols) of the heathen:
Isa. 48:5-8--"I have even from the beinning declared it unto thee;
before it came to pass I showed it thee.....I have showed thee
new things from this time, even hidden things," etc. 46:9, 10--"I
am God....declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient
times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall
stand, and I will do all my pleasure." Here God is announcing to
His prophets things that are to occur in the future which it is
impossible for the human understanding to know or reach. There is
no past, present, future with God. Everything is one great living
present. We are like a man standing by a river in a low place, and
who, consequently, can see that part of the river only that passes
by him; but he who is aloof in the air may see the whole course of
the river, how it rises, and how it runs. Thus is it with God.

(2) Certain problems in connection with the doctrine of the Omniscienc
of God.

How the divine intelligence can comprehend so vast and multitudinous
and exhaustless a number of things must forever surpass our
comprehension. "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and
knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his
ways past finding out!" (Rom. 11:33). "There is no searching of
his understanding; it is beyond human computation." We must expect,
therefore, to stand amazed in the presence of such matchless wisdom,
and find problems in connection therewith which must for the time,
at least, remain unsolved.

Again, we must not confound the foreknowledge of God with
His foreordination. The two things are, in a sense, distinct. The
fact that God foreknows a thing makes that thing certain but not
necessary. His foreordination is based upon His foreknowledge.
Pharaoh was responsible for the hardening of his heart even though
that hardening process was foreknown and foretold by God. The
actions of men are considered certain but not necessary by reason
of the divine foreknowledge.

b) The Omnipotence of God.

The Omnipotence of God is that attribute by which He can bring to
pass everything which He wills. God's power admits of no bounds
or limitations. God's declaration of His intention is the pledge
of the thing intended being carried out. "Hath he said, and shall
he not do it?"

(1) Scriptural declarations of the fact; In general:

Job 42:2.(R. V.)--"I know that thou canst do everything (all things),
and that no purpose of thine can be restrained." The mighty review
of all God's works as it passes before Job (context) brings forth
this confession: "There is no resisting thy might, and there is no
purpose thou canst not carry out." Gen. 18:14--"Is anything too
hard for the Lord?" What had ceased to be possible by natural means
comes to pass by supernatural means.

(2) Scriptural declaration of the fact; In detail:

_aa) In the world of nature:_

Gen. 1:1-3--"God created the heaven and the earth. And God said,
Let there be light, and there was light." Thus "he spake and it was
done. He commanded and it stood fast." He does not need even to give
His hand to the work; His word is sufficient. Psa. 107:25-29--"He
raiseth the stormy wind ... he maketh the storm calm." "Even the
winds and the sea obey him." God's slightest word, once uttered, is
a standing law to which all nature must absolutely conform. Nahum
1:5, 6--"The mountains quake at him ... the hills melt ... the
earth is burned at his presence ... the rocks are thrown down by
him." If such is His power how shall Assyria withstand it? This is
God's comforting message to Israel. Everything in the sky, in sea,
on earth is absolutely subject to His control.

_bb) In the experience of mankind:_

How wonderfully this is illustrated in the experience of Nebuchadnezzar,
Dan. 4; and in the conversion of Saul, Acts 9; as well as in the
case of Pharaoh, Exod. 4:11. James 4:12-15--" ... For that ye ought
to say, If the Lord will, we shall live and do this or that." All
human actions, whether present or future, are dependent upon the
will and power of God. These things are in God's, not in man's,
power. See also the parable of the Rich Fool, Luke 12:16-21.

_cc) The heavenly inhabitants are subject to His will and word:_

Dan. 4:35 (R. V.)--"He doeth according to his will in the army of
heaven." Heb. 1:14--"Are they (angels) not all ministering spirits,
sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?"
It has been said that angels are beings created by the power of
God for some specific act of service, and that after that act of
service is rendered they pass out of existence.

_dd) Even Satan is under the control of God_

Satan has no power over any of God's children saving as God permits
him to have. This fact is clearly established in the case of Job
(1:12 and 2:6). and Peter (Luke 22:31,32), in which we are told
that Satan had petitioned God that he might sift the self-righteous
patriarch and the impulsive apostle. Finally Satan is to be forever
bound with a great chain (Rev. 20:2). God can set a bar to the
malignity of Satan just as he can set a bar to the waves of the
sea.

c) The Omnipresence of God.

By the Omnipresence of God is meant that God is everywhere
present. This attribute is closely connected with the omniscience
and omnipotence of God, for if God is everywhere present He is
everywhere active and possesses full knowledge of all that transpires
in every place.

This does not mean that God is everywhere present in a bodily sense,
nor even in the same sense; for there is a sense in which He may
be in heaven, His dwelling place, in which He cannot be said to be
elsewhere. We must guard against the pantheistic idea which claims
that God _is_ everything, while maintaining the Scriptural
doctrine that He is everywhere present in all things. Pantheism
emphasizes the omnipresent activity of God, but denies His
personality. Those holding the doctrine of pantheism make loud
claims to philosophic ability and high intellectual training, but
is it not remarkable that it is in connection with this very phase
of the doctrine of God that the Apostle Paul says "they became
fools"? (Rom. 1.) God is everywhere and in every place; His center
is everywhere; His circumference nowhere. But this presence is a
spiritual and not a material presence; yet it is a real presence.

(1) Scriptural statement of the fact.

Jer. 23:23, 24-"Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God
afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not
see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith
the Lord." Did the false prophets think that they could hide their
secret crimes from God? Or that He could not pursue them into
foreign countries? Or that He knew what was transpiring in heaven
only and not upon the earth, and even in its most distant corners?
It was false for them to thus delude themselves--their sins would
be detected and punished (Psa. 10:1-14).

Psa. 139:7-12--"Whither shall I go from thy Spirit, or whither shall
I flee from thy presence," etc. How wondrously the attributes of
God are grouped in this psalm. In vv. 1-6 the psalmist speaks of
the omniscience of God: God knows him through and through. In vv.
13-19 it is the omnipotence of God which overwhelms the psalmist.
The omnipresence of God is set forth in vv. 7-12. The psalmist
realizes that he is never out of the sight of God any more than
he is outside of the range of His knowledge and power. God is in
heaven; "Hell is naked before Him"; souls in the intermediate state
are fully known to Him (cf. Job 26:2; Jonah 2:2); the darkness is
as the light to Him. Job 22:12-14--"Is not God in the height of
heaven? . . . . Can he judge through the dark cloud? Thick clouds
are a covering to him that he seeth not," etc. All agreed that God
displayed His presence in the heaven, but Job had inferred from this
that God could not know and did not take notice of such actions of
men as were hidden behind the intervening clouds. Not that Job
was atheistic; no, but probably denied to God the attribute of
omnipresence and omniscience. Acts 17:24-28--"For in him we live,
and move, and have our being." Without His upholding hand we must
perish; God is our nearest environment. From these and many other
scriptures we are clearly taught that God is everywhere present
and acting; there is no place where God is not.

This does not mean that God is everywhere present in the same sense.
For we are told that He is in heaven, His dwelling-place (1 Kings
8:30); that Christ is at His right hand in heaven (Eph. 1:20);
that God's throne is in heaven (Rev. 21:2; Isa. 66:1).

We may summarize the doctrine of the Trinity thus: God the Father
is specially manifested in heaven; God the Son has been specially
manifested on the earth; God the Spirit is manifested everywhere.

Just as the soul is present in every part of the body so God is
present in every part of the world.

(2) Some practical inferences from this doctrine.

First, _of Comfort:_ The nearness of God to the believer.
"Speak to Him then for He listens. And spirit with spirit can meet;
Closer is He than breathing, And nearer than hands or feet."

"God is never so far off, As even to be near; He is within. Our
spirit is the home He holds most dear. To think of Him as by our
side is almost as untrue, As to remove His shrine beyond those
skies of starry blue."--_Faber._ The omnipresence is not only
a detective truth--it is protective also. After dwelling on this
great and awful attribute in Psalm 139, the psalmist, in vv. 17,
18, exclaims: "How precious are thy thoughts to me..... When I
awake I am still with thee." By this is meant that God stands by
our side to help, and as One who loves and understands us (Matt.
28:20).

Second, _of Warning:_ "As in the Roman empire the whole world
was one great prison to a malefactor, and in his flight to the most
distant lands the emperor could track him, so under the government
of God no sinner can escape the eye of the judge." Thus the
omnipresence of God is detective as well as protective. "Thou God
seest me," should serve as warning to keep us from sin.

d) The Eternity and Immutability of God.

The word _eternal_ is used in two senses in the Bible:
figuratively, as denoting existence which may have a beginning,
but will have no end, e. g., angels, the human soul; literally,
denoting an existence which has neither beginning nor ending,
like that of God. Time has past, present, future; eternity has
not. Eternity is infinite duration without any beginning, end, or
limit--an ever abiding present. We can conceive of it only as duration
indefinitely extended from the present moment in two directions--as
to the past and as to the future. "One of the deaf and dumb pupils
in the institution of Paris, being desired to express his idea
of the eternity of the Deity, replied: 'It is duration, without
beginning or end; existence, without bounds or dimension; present,
without past or future. His eternity is youth, without infancy or
old age; life, without birth or death; today, without yesterday or
tomorrow.'"

By the Immutability of God is meant that God's nature is absolute|y
unchangeable. It is not possible that He should possess one attribute
at one time that He does not possess at another. Nor can there be
any change in the Deity for better or for worse. God remains forever
the same. He is without beginning and without end; the self-existent
"I am"; He remains forever the same, and unchangeable.

(1) Scriptural statement of the fact: The Eternity of God

Hab. 1:12--"Art thou not from everlasting, O Lord my God, mine Holy
One?" Chaldea had threatened to annihilate Israel. The prophet
cannot believe it possible, for has not God _eternal_ purposes
for Israel? Is He not holy? How, then, can evil triumph? Psa.
90:2--"Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst
formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting,
thou art God." Short and transitory is the life of man; with God
it is otherwise. The perishable nature of man is here compared with
the imperishable nature of God. Psa. 102:24-27--"I said, O my God,
take me not away in the midst of my days: thy years are throughout
all generations. Of old thou hast laid the foundations of the earth:
and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but
thou shalt endure; yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment;
as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed.
But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end." With
the perishable nature of the whole material creation the psalmist
contrasts the imperishable nature of God. Exod. 3:14--"And God
said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM." The past, present and future lies
in these words for the name of Jehovah. Rev. 1:8--"I am Alpha and
Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and
which was, and which is to come, the Almighty."

(2) Scriptural statement of the Immutability of God:

Mal 3:6--"1 am the Lord, I change not." Man's hope lies in that
fact, as the context here shows Man had changed in his life and
purpose toward God, and if God, like man, had changed, man would
have been destroyed. James 1:17--"The Father of lights, with whom is
no variableness, neither shadow of turning." There is no change--in
the sense of the degree or intensity of light such as is manifested
in the heavenly bodies. Such lights are constantly varying
and changing; not so with God. There is no inherent, indwelling,
possible change in God. 1 Sam. 15:29.--"And also the Strength of
Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should
repent." From these scriptures we assert that God, in His nature
and character, is absolutely without change.

Does God Repent?

What, then, shall we say with regard to such scriptures as Jonah
3:10 and Gen. 6:6--"And God repented of the evil, that he said he
would do unto them." "And it repented the Lord that he had made
man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart." In reply we may
say that God does not change, but threatens that men may change.
"The repentent attitude in God does not involve any real change in
the character and purposes of God. He ever hates the sin and ever
pities and loves the sinner; that is so both before and after
the sinner's repentance. Divine repentance is therefore the same
principle acting differently in altered circumstances. If the
prospect of punishment answers the same purpose as that intended
by the punishment itself, then there is no inconsistency in
its remission, for punishment is not an end, it is only a means
to goodness, to the reign of the law of righteousness." When God
appears to be displeased with anything, or orders it differently
from what we expected, we say, after the manner of men, that
He repents. God's attitude towards the Ninevites had not changed,
but they had changed; and because they had changed from sin unto
righteousness, God's attitude towards them and His intended dealings
with them as sinners must of necessity change, while, of course,
God's character had in no wise changed with respect to these
people, although His dealings with them had. So that we may say
that God's _character_ never changes, but His _dealings_
with men change as they change from ungodliness to godliness and
from disobedience unto obedience. "God's immutability is not that
of the stone, that has no internal experience, but rather that of
the column of mercury that rises and falls with every change in
the temperature of the surrounding atmosphere. When a man bicycling
against the wind turns about and goes with the wind instead of going
against it, the wind seems to change, although it is blowing just
as it was before." --_Strong_.

2. THE MORAL ATTRIBUTES.

a) The Holiness of God.

If there is any difference in importance in the attributes of God,
that of His Holiness seems to occupy the first place. It is, to
say the least, the one attribute which God would have His people
remember Him by more than any other. In the visions of Himself
which God granted men in the Scriptures the thing that stood out
most prominent was the divine holiness. This is clearly seen by
referring to the visions of Moses, Job, and Isaiah. Some thirty
times does the Prophet Isaiah speak of Jehovah as "the Holy One,"
thus indicating what feature of those beatific visions had most
impressed him.

The holiness of God is the message of the entire Old Testament.
To the prophets God was the absolutely Holy One; the One with eyes
too pure to behold evil; the One swift to punish iniquity. In taking
a photograph, the part of the body which we desire most to see is
not the hands or feet, but the face. So is it with our vision of
God. He desires us to see not His hand and finger, denoting His
power and skill, nor even His throne as indicating His majesty.
It is His holiness by which He desires to be remembered as that is
the attribute which most glorifies Him. Let us bear this fact in
mind as we study this attribute of the divine nature. It is just
this vision of God that we need today when the tendency to deny
the reality or the awfulness of sin is so prevalent. Our view of
the necessity of the atonement will depend very largely upon our
view of the holiness of God. Light views of God and His holiness
will produce light views of sin and the atonement.

(1) Scriptural statements setting forth the fact of God's Holiness.

Isa. 57:15--"Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth
eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place."
Psa. 99:9--"Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his holy hill:
for the Lord our God is holy." Hab. 1:13--"Thou art of purer eyes
than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity." 1 Pet. 1:15,
16 --"But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in
all manner of conversation. Because it is written, Be ye holy: for
I am holy." God's personal name is holy. John 17:11--"Holy Father,
keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me." Christ
here contemplates the Father as the Holy One, as the source and
agent of that which He desires for His disciples, namely, holiness
of heart and life, being kept from the evil of this world.

Is it not remarkable that this attribute of holiness is ascribed
to each of the three persons of the Trinity: God the Father, is
the Holy One of Israel (Isa. 41:14); God the Son is the Holy One
(Acts 3:14); God the Spirit is called the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30).

(2) The Scriptural meaning of Holiness as applied to God.

Job 34:10--"Be it far from God, that he should do wickedness; and
from the Almighty that he should commit iniquity." An evil God,
one that could commit evil would be a contradiction in terms,
an impossible, inconceivable idea. Job seemed to doubt that the
principle on which the universe was conducted was one of absolute
equity. He must know that God is free from all evil-doing. However
hidden the meaning of His dealings, He is always just. God never
did, never will do wrong to any of His creatures; He will never
punish wrongly. Men may, yea, often do; God never does. Lev.
11:43-45--"Ye shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping
thing that creepeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with
them, that ye should be defiled thereby. For I am the Lord your
God; ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy;
for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner
of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.... Ye shall therefore
be holy, for I am holy." This means that God is absolutely clean
and pure and free from all defilement.

The construction of the Tabernacle, with its holy and most holy
place into which the high priest alone entered once a year; the Ten
Commandments, with their moral categories; the laws of clean and
unclean animals and things--all these speak to us in unmistakable
terms as to what is meant by holiness as applied to God.

Two things, by way of definition, may be inferred from these
Scriptures: first, negatively, that God is entirely apart from
all that is evil and from all that defiles both in Himself and in
relation to all His creatures; second and positively, by the holiness
of God is meant the consummate holiness, perfection, purity, and
absolute sanctity of His nature. There is absolutely nothing unholy
in Him. So the Apostle John declares: "God is light, and in him
is no darkness at all."

(3) The manifestation of God's Holiness.

Prov. 15:9, 26--"The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the
Lord. The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination unto the Lord."
God hates sin, and is its uncompromising foe. Sin is a vile and
detestable thing to God. Isa. 59:1, 2--"Behold, the Lord's hand
is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that
it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated between you and
your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will
not hear." Israel's sin had raised a partition wall. The infinite
distance between the sinner and God is because of sin. The sinner
and God are at opposite poles of the moral universe. This in answer
to Israel's charge of God's inability. From these two scriptures
it is clear that God's holiness manifests itself in the hatred of
sin and the separation of the sinner from himself.

Herein lies the need of the atonement, whereby this awful distance
is bridged over. This is the lesson taught by the construction of
the Tabernacle as to the division into the holy place and the most
holy place.

Prov. 15:9--"But he loveth him that followeth after righteousness."
John 3:16--"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only
begotten Son," etc. Here God's holiness is seen in that He loves
righteousness in the life of His children to such a degree that He
gave His only begotten Son to secure it. The Cross shows how much
God loves holiness. The Cross stands for God's holiness before even
His love. For Christ died not merely for our sins, but in order
that He might provide us with that righteousness of life which
God loves. "He died that we might be forgiven; he died to make us
good." Do we love holiness to the extent of sacrificing for it?

For other manifestations see under Righteousness and Justice of
God.

(4) Practical deductions from the doctrine of God's Holiness.

First, we should approach God with "reverence and godly fear"
(Heb. 12:28). In the story of Moses' approach to the burning bush,
the smiting of the men at Bethshemesh, the boundary set about Mt.
Sinai, we are taught to feel our own unworthiness. There is too
much hilarity in our approach unto God. Eccl. 5:1-3 inculcates
great care in our address to God.

Second, we shall have right views of sin when we get right views
of God's holiness. Isaiah, the holiest man in all Israel, was cast
down at the sight of his own sin after he had seen the vision of
God's holiness. The same thing is true of Job (40:3-4; 42:4-5).
We confess sin in such easy and familiar terms that it has almost
lost its terror for us.

Third, that approach to a holy God must be through the merits
of Christ, and on the ground of a righteousness which is Christ's
and which naturally we do not possess. Herein lies the need of the
atonement.

b) The Righteousness and Justice of God.

In a certain sense these attributes are but the manifestation of
God's holiness. It is holiness as manifested in dealing with the
sons of men. Holiness has to do more particularly with the character
of God in itself, while in Righteousness and Justice that character
is expressed in the dealings of God with men. Three things may be
said in the consideration of the Righteousness and Justice of God:
first, there is the imposing of righteousness laws and demands,
which may he called legislative holiness, and may he known as the
Righteousness of God; second, there is the executing of the penalties
attached to those laws, which may be called judicial holiness; third,
there is the sense in which the attributes of the Righteousness
and Justice of God may be regarded as the actual carrying out of
the holy nature of God in the government of the world. So that in
the Righteousness of God we have His love of holiness, and in the
Justice of God, His hatred of sin.

Again Righteousness, as here used, has reference to the very nature
of God as He is in Himself--that attribute which leads God always
to do right. Justice, as an attribute of God, is devoid of all
passion or caprice; it is vindicative not vindictive. And so the
Righteousness and Justice of the God of Israel was made to stand
out prominently as contrasted with the caprice of the heathen gods.

(1) Scriptural statement of the fact.

Psalm 116:5--"Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is
merciful." The context here shows that it is because of this fact
that God listens to men, and because having promised to hear He is
bound to keep His promises. Ezra 9:15--"0 Lord God of Israel, thou
art righteous." Here the Righteousness of Jehovah is acknowledged
in the punishment of Israel's sins. Thou art just, and thou hast
brought us into the state in which we are today. Psa. 145:17--"The
Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works." This
is evident in the rewards He gives to the upright, in lifting up
the lowly, and in abundantly blessing the good, pure, and true.
Jer. 12:1--"Righteous art thou, O Lord, when I plead with thee."
That is to say, "If I were to bring a charge against Thee I should
not be able to convict Thee of injustice, even though I be painfully
exercised over the mysteries of Thy providence."

These scriptures clearly set forth not only the fact that God is
righteous and just, but also define these attributes. Here we are
told that God, in His government of the world, does always that
which is suitable, straight, and right.

(2) How the Righteousness and Justice of God is revealed.

In two ways: first, in punishing the wicked: retributive justice,
second, in rewarding the righteous: remunerative justice.

_aa) In the punishment of the wicked._

Psa. 11:4-7--"The Lord is in his holy temple, the Lord's throne is
in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.
The Lord trieth the righteous; but the wicked and him that loveth
violence his soul hateth. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire
and brimstone and an horrible tempest. This shall be the portion
of their cup." This is David's reply to his timid advisers. Saul
may reign upon the earth and do wickedly, but God reigns from heaven
and will do right. He sees who does right and who does wrong. And
there is that in His nature which recoils from the evil that He
sees, and will lead Him ultimately to punish it. There is such a
thing as the wrath of God. It is here described. Whatever awful
thing the description in this verse may mean for the wicked, God
grant that we may never know. In Exod. 9:23-27 we have the account
of the plague of hail, following which are these words: "And Pharaoh
sent...for Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, I have sinned
this time: the Lord is righteous, and I and my people are wicked."
Pharaoh here acknowledges the perfect justice of God in punishing
him for his sin and rebellion. He knew that he had deserved it
all, even though cavillers today say there was injustice with God
in His treatment of Pharaoh. Pharaoh himself certainly did not
think so. Dan. 9:12-14 and Rev. 16:5, 6 bring out the same thought.
How careful sinners ought to be not to fall into the hands of the
righteous Judge! No sinner at last will be able to say, "I did not
deserve this punishment."

_bb) In forgiving the sins of the penitent._

1 John 1:9 (R. V.)--"If we confess our sins, he is faithful
and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all
unrighteousness." Ordinarily, the forgiveness of sin is associated
with the mercy, love, and compassion of God, and not with His
righteousness and justice. This verse assures us that if we confess
our sins, the righteousness and justice of God is our guarantee for
forgiveness--God cannot but forgive and cleanse us from all sin.

_cc) In keeping His word and promise to His children._

Neh. 9:7, 8--"Thou art the Lord the God, who didst choose Abram...and
madest a covenant with him to give the land of the Canaanites...to
his seed, and hast performed thy words; for thou art righteous."
We need to recall the tremendous obstacles which stood in the way
of the fulfillment of this promise, and yet we should remember the
eleventh chapter of Hebrews. When God gives His word, and makes
a promise, naught in heaven, on earth, or in hell can make that
promise void. His righteousness is the guarantee of its fulfillment.

_dd) In showing Himself to be the vindicator of His people from
all their enemies._

Psa. 129:1-4--"Many a time have they afflicted me...yet they have
not prevailed against me. The Lord is righteous: he hath cut asunder
the cords of the wicked." Sooner or later, God's people will triumph
gloriously as David triumphed over Saul. Even in this life God
will give us rest from our enemies; and there shall assuredly come
a day when we shall be "where the wicked cease from troubling, and
the weary are at rest."

_ee) In the rewarding of the righteous._

Heb. 6:10--"For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor
of love, which ye have showed towards his name, in that ye have
ministered unto the saints, and do minister." Those who had shown
their faith by their works would not now be allowed to lose that
faith. The very idea of divine justice implies that the use of this
grace, thus evidenced, will be rewarded, not only by continuance
in grace, but their final perseverance and reward. 2 Tim.
4:8--"Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness,
which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me at that day:
and not to me only, but unto all them that love hiss appearing."
The righteous Judge will not allow the faithful believer to go
unrewarded. He is not like the unrighteous judges of Rome and the
Athenian games. Here we are not always rewarded, but some time we
shall receive full reward for all the good that we have done. The
righteousness of God is the guarantee of all this.

c) The Mercy and Loving-kindness of God.

By these attributes is meant, in general, the kindness, goodness,
and compassion of God, the love of God in its relation to both
the obedient and the disobedient sons of men. The dew drops on the
thistle as well as on the rose.

More specifically: Mercy is usually exercised in connection with
guilt; it is that attribute of God which leads Him to seek the
welfare, both temporal and spiritual, of sinners, even though at
the cost of great sacrifice on His part. "But God, who is rich in
mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us...God commendeth
his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ
died for us." (Eph. 2:4; Rom. 5:8.)

Loving-kindness is that attribute of God which leads Him to bestow
upon His obedient children His constant and choice blessing. "He
that spared not his own Son, but freely delivered him up for us
all, how shall he not with him freely give us all things?" (Rom.
8:32.)

(I) Scriptural statement of the fact.

Psa. 103:8--"The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger,
and plenteous in mercy." For, instead of inflicting pain, poverty,
death--which are the wages of sin--God has spared our lives, given
us health, increased our blessings and comforts, and given us the
life of the ages. Deut. 4:31--"(For the Lord thy God is a merciful
God); he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget
the covenant of thy fathers." God is ready to accept the penitence
of Israel, even now, if only it be sincere. Israel will return and
find God only because He is merciful and does not let go of her.
It is His mercy that forbids his permanently forsaking His people.
Psa. 86:15--"But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and
gracious, long-suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth." It
was because God had so declared Himself to be of this nature that
David felt justified in feeling that God would not utterly forsake
him in his time of great stress and need. The most striking
illustration of the Mercy and Loving-kindness of God is set forth
in the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). Here we have
not only the welcome awaiting the wanderer, but also the longing
for his return on the part of the anxious and loving father.

(1) How the Mercy and Loving-kindness of God are manifested.

In general: We must not forget that God is absolutely sovereign in
the bestowal of His blessings--"Therefore hath he mercy on whom he
will have mercy" (Rom. 9:18). We should also remember that God
wills to have mercy on all His creatures--"For thou, Lord, art good,
and ready to forgive, and plenteous in mercy to all them that call
upon thee" (Psa. 86:5).

_aa) Mercy--towards sinners in particular._

Luke 6:36--"Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is
merciful." Matt. 5:45--"That ye may be the children, of your Father
which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and
the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust." Here even
the impenitent and hard-hearted are the recipients of God's mercy;
all sinners, even the impenitent are included in the sweep of His
mercy.

Isa. 55:7--"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man
his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord: and he will have
mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."
God's mercy is a holy mercy; it will by no means protect sin, but
anxiously awaits to pardon it. God's mercy is a city of refuge for
the penitent, but by no means a sanctuary for the presumptuous. See
Prov. 28:13, and Psa. 51:1. God's mercy is here seen in pardoning
the sin of those who do truly repent. We speak about "trusting in
the mercy of the Lord." Let us forsake sin and then trust in the
mercy of the Lord and we shall find pardon.

2 Pet. 3:9--"The Lord...is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing
that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
Neh. 9:31--"Nevertheless for thy great mercies' sake thou didst not
utterly consume them; for thou art a gracious and merciful God."
Here is mercy manifested in forbearance with sinners. If God should
have dealt with them in justice they would have been cut off long
before. Think of the evil, the impurity, the sin that God must see.
How it must disgust Him. Then remember that He could crush it all
in a moment. Yet He does not. He pleads; He sacrifices to show His
love for sinners. Surely it is because of the Lord's mercies that
we are not consumed, and because His compassions fail not. Yet,
beware lest we abuse this goodness, for our God is also a consuming
fire. "Behold, the goodness and the severity of God." The Mercy
of God is here shown in His loving forbearance with sinners.

_bb) Loving-kindness towards the saints, in particular._

Psa. 32:10--"But he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass
him about." The very act of trust on the part of the believer moves
the heart of God to protect him just as in the case of a parent
and his child. The moment I throw myself on God I am enveloped in
His mercy--mercy is my environment, like a fiery wall it surrounds
me, without a break through which an evil can creep. Besistance
surrounds us with "sorrow"; but trust surrounds us with "mercy."
In the center of that circle of mercy sits and rests the trusting
soul.

Phil. 2:27--"For indeed he was sick nigh unto death; but God had
mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should
have sorrow upon sorrow." Here God's loving-kindness is seen in
healing up His sick children. Yet remember that "He hath mercy on
whom He will have mercy." Not every sick child of God is raised.
Psa. 6:4--"Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am weak: O Lord, heal
me...Deliver my soul for thy mercies' sake (v. 4)." The psalmist
asks God to illustrate His mercy in restoring to him his spiritual
health. From these scriptures we see that the mercy of God is
revealed in healing His children of bodily and spiritual sickness.

Psa. 21:7--"For the king trusteth in the Lord, and through the
mercy of the most High he shall not be moved." David feels that,
because he trusts in the mercy of the Lord, his throne, whatever
may dash against it, is perfectly secure. Is not this true also
of the believer's eternal security? More to the mercy of God than
to the perseverance of the saints is to be attributed the eternal
security of the believer. "He will hold me fast."

d) The Love of God.

Christianity is really the only religion that sets forth the Supreme
Being as Love. The gods of the heathen are angry, hateful beings,
and are in constant need of appeasing.

(1) Scriptural statements of the fact.

1 John 4:8-16--"God is love." "God is light"; "God is Spirit";
"God is love." Spirit and Light are expressions of God's essential
nature. Love is the expression of his personality corresponding to
His nature. It is the nature of God to love. He dwells always in
the atmosphere of love. Just how to define or describe the love
of God may be difficult if not impossible. It appears from certain
scriptures (1 John 3:16; John 3:16) that the love of God is of such
a nature that it betokens a constant interest in the physical and
spiritual welfare of His creatures as to lead Him to make sacrifices
beyond human conception to reveal that love.

(2) The objects of God's Love.

_aa) Jesus Christ, God's only-begotten Son, is the special object
of His Love._

Matt. 3:17--"This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
Also Matt. 17:5; Luke 20:13. Jesus Christ shares the love of the
Father in a unique sense, just as He is His Son in a unique sense.
He is especially "My chosen." "The One in whom my soul delighteth,"
"My beloved Son,"--literally: the Son of mine, the beloved. And we
can readily understand how that He who did the will of God perfectly
should thus become the special object of the Father's love. Of
course, if the love of God is eternal, as is the nature of God,
which must be the case, then, that love must have had an eternal
object to love. So Christ, in addressing the Father, says: "Thou
lovedst me before the foundation of the world."

_bb) Believers in His Son, Jesus Christ, are special objects of
God's Love._

John 16:27--"For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have
loved me, and have believed that I came out from God." 14:21-23--"He
that loveth me shall be loved of my Father. ...If a man love me...my
Father will love him." 17:23--"And hast loved them, as thou hast
loved me." Do we really believe these words? We are not on the
outskirts of God's love, but in its very midst. There stands Christ
right in the very midst of that circle of the Father's love; then
He draws us to that spot, and, as it were, disappears, leaving us
standing there bathed in the same loving-kindness of the Father in
which He Himself had basked.

_cc) God loves the world of sinners and ungodly men._

John 3:16--"For God so loved the world" was a startling truth to
Nicodemus in his narrow exclusivism. God loved not the Jew only,
but also the Gentile; not a part of the world of men, but every
man in it, irrespective of his moral character. For "God commendeth
his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ
died for us" (Rom. 5:Cool. This is wonderful when we begin to realize
what a world in sin is. The love of God is broader than the measure
of man's mind. God desires the salvation of all men (1 Tim. 2:4).

(3) How the Love of God reveals Itself.

_aa) In making infinite sacrifice for the salvation of men._

1 John 4:9, 10--"In this was manifested the love of God towards us,
because that God sent his only-begotten Son into the world, that
we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God,
but that God loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for
our sins." Love is more than compassion; it hides not itself as
compassion may do, but displays itself actively in behalf of its
object. The Cross of Calvary is the highest expression of the love
of God for sinful man. He gave not only a Son, but His only Son,
His well-beloved.

_bb) In bestowing full and complete pardon on the penitent._

Isa. 38:17--"Thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit
of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back."
Literally, "Thou hast loved my soul back from the pit of destruction."
God had taken the bitterness out of his life and given him the
gracious forgiveness of his sins, by putting them far away from
Him. Eph. 2:4, 5--"But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great
love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath
quickened us together with Christ," etc. Verses 1-3 of this chapter
show the race rushing headlong to inevitable ruin. "But" reverses
the picture; when all help for man fails, then God steps in, and
by His mercy, which springs from "His great love," redeems fallen
man, and gives him not only pardon, but a position in His heavenly
kingdom by the side of Jesus Christ. All this was "for," or, perhaps
better, "in order to satisfy His great love." Love led Him to do
it.

_cc) In remembering His children in all the varying circumstances
of life._

Isa. 63:9--"In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel
of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed
them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old." Here
is retrospection on the part of the prophet. He thinks of all the
oppressions of Israel, and recalls how God's interests have been
bound up with theirs. He was not their adversary; He was their
sympathetic, loving friend. He suffered with them. Isa. 49:15,
16--"Can a woman forget her sucking child? Yea, they may forget,
yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee on the palms
of my hands; thy walls are continually before me." It was the custom
those days to trace upon the palms of the hands the outlines of any
object of affection; hence a man engraved the name of his god. So
God could not act without being reminded of Israel. God is always
mindful of His own. Saul of Tarsus learned this truth on the way
to Damascus.
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Re: BIBLE DOCTRINES - THEOLOGY / STUDY OF GOD

Post  Admin on Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:47 am

THE DOCTRINE OF JESUS CHRIST.

A. THE PERSON OF CHRIST.

I. THE HUMANITY OF JESUS CHRIST.
1. HE HAD A HUMAN PARENTAGE.
2. HE GREW AS OTHER HUMAN BEINGS DO.
3. HE HAD THE APPEARANCE OF A MAN.
4. HE WAS POSSESSED OF A BODY, SOUL, AND SPIRIT.
5. HE WAS SUBJECT TO THE SINLESS INFIRMITIES OF HUMANITY.
6. HUMAN NAMES ARE GIVEN TO HIM.

II. THE DEITY OF JESUS CHRIST.

1. DIVINE NAMES ARE GIVEN TO HIM.
2. DIVINE WORSHIP IS ASCRIBED TO HIM.
3. DIVINE QUALITIES AND PROPERTIES ARE POSSESSED BY HIM.
4. DIVINE OFFICES ARE ASCRIBED TO HIM.
5. DIVINE ATTRIBUTES ARE POSSESSED BY HIM.
6. CHRIST'S NAME IS COUPLED WITH THAT OF THE FATHER.
7. THE SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS OF JESUS CHRISTAS MANIFESTED:
a) In His Visit to the Temple.
b) In His Baptism.
c) In His Temptation.
d) In the Calling of the Twelve and the Seventy.
e) In the Sermon on the Mount.

B. THE WORK OF CHRIST.

1. HIS DEATH.
2. HIS RESURRECTION.
3. HIS ASCENSION AND EXALTATION.





THE DOCTRINE OF JESUS CHRIST.

A. THE PERSON OF CHRIST.

The close kinship of Christ with Christianity is one of the
distinctive features of the Christian religion. If you take away
the name of Buddha from Buddhism and remove the personal revealer
entirely from his system; if you take away the personality of
Mahomet from Mahommedanism, or the personality of Zoroaster from
the religion of the Parsees, the entire doctrine of these religions
would still be left intact. Their practical value, such as it is,
would not be imperilled or lessened. But take away from Christianity
the name and person of Jesus Christ and what have you left? Nothing!
The whole substance and strength of the Christian faith centres in
Jesus Christ. Without Him there is absolutely nothing.--_Sinclair
Patterson._

From beginning to end, in all its various phases and aspects and
elements, the Christian faith and life is determined by the person and
the work of Jesus Christ. It owes its life and character at every
point to Him. Its convictions are convictions about Him. Its hopes
are hopes which He has inspired and which it is for Him to fulfill.
Its ideals are born of His teaching and His life. Its strength is
the strength of His spirit.--_James Denney._

I. THE HUMANITY OF JESUS CHRIST.

1. THE SCRIPTURES DISTINCTLY TEACH THAT HE HAD A HUMAN PARENTAGE:
THAT HE WAS BORN OF A WOMAN--THE VIRGIN MARY.

Matt. 1:18--"Mary ... was found with child of the Holy Ghost."
2-11--"The young child with Mary his mother." 12:47 --"Behold, thy
mother and thy brethren." 13:55--"Is not his mother called Mary?"
John 1:14--"The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." 2:1--"The
mother of Jesus was there." Acts 13:23--"Of this man's seed hath God
... raised ... ..Jesus." Rom.1:3--"Of the seed of David according
to the flesh." Gal. 4:4--"Made of a woman."

In thus being born of a woman Jesus Christ submitted to the conditions
of a human life and a human body; became humanity's son by a human
birth. Of the "seed of the woman," of the "seed of Abraham," and
of line and lineage of David, Jesus Christ is undeniably human.

We must not lose sight of the fact that there was something
supernatural surrounding the birth of the Christ. Matt. 1:18--"On
this wise," and Luke 1:35--"The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee,
and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also
that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the
Son of God." "On this wise" indicates that this birth was different
from those recorded before it. Luke 1:35 is explicit about the
matter. To assail the virgin birth is to assail the Virgin's life.
He was of "the seed of the woman," not of the man. (See Luke 1:34--"How
shall this be, seeing I know not a man?") No laws of heredity are
sufficient to account for His generation. By a creative act God
broke through the chain of human generation and brought into the
world a supernatural being.

The narrative of the virgin birth need not stagger us. The abundance
of historical evidence in its favor should lead to its acceptance.
All the manuscripts in all the ancient versions contain the record
of it. All the traditions of the early church recognize it. Mention
of it is made in the earliest of all the creeds: the Apostles'
Creed. If the doctrine of the virgin birth is rejected it must be
on purely subjective grounds. If one denies the possibility of
the supernatural in the experience of human life, it is, of course,
easy for him to deny this doctrine. To one who believes that
Jesus was human only it would seem comparatively easy to deny the
supernatural birth on purely subjective grounds. The preconceptions
of thinkers to a great degree determine their views. It would
seem that such a wonderful life as that lived by Christ, having as
it did such a wonderful finish in the resurrection and ascension,
might, indeed should, have a wonderful and extraordinary entrance
into the world. The fact that the virgin birth is attested by the
Scriptures, by tradition, by creeds, and that it is in perfect
harmony with all the other facts of that wonderful life should
be sufficient attestation of its truth. [Footnote: _"The Virgin
Birth,"_ by James Orr, D.D., deals fully and most ably with this
subject.]

It has been thought strange that if, as is claimed, the virgin
birth is so essential to the right understanding of the Christian
religion, that Mark, John, and Paul should say nothing about it.
But does such silence really exist? John says "the Word became
flesh"; while Paul speaks of "God manifest in the flesh." Says L.
F. Anderson: "This argument from silence is sufficiently met by
the considerations that Mark passes over thirty years of our Lord's
life in silence; that John presupposes the narratives of Matthew
and Luke; that Paul does not deal with the story of Jesus' life.
The facts were known at first only to Mary and Joseph; their very
nature involved reticence until Jesus was demonstrated to be the
Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead; meantime
the natural development of Jesus and His refusal to set up an
earthly kingdom have made the miraculous events of thirty years
ago seem to Mary like a wonderful dream; so only gradually the
marvelous tale of the mother of the Lord found its way into the
Gospel tradition and the creeds of the church, and into the innermost
hearts of the Christians of all countries."

2. HE GREW IN WISDOM AND STATURE AS OTHER HUMAN BEINGS DO. HE WAS
SUBJECT TO THE ORDINARY LAWS OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT IN BODY AND SOUL.

Luke 2:40, 52, 46--"And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit,
filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him. And Jesus
increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
And....they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the
doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions."

Just to what extent His sinless nature influenced His growth we may
not be able to say. It seems clear, however, from the Scriptures,
that we are to attribute Jesus' growth and advancement to the
training He received in a godly home; to the instruction given at
the synagogue and the temple; from His own personal study of the
Scriptures, and from His fellowship and communion with His Father.
Both the human and divine element entered into His training and
development, which were as real in the experience of Jesus as in
that of any other human being. We are told that "Jesus grew, and
increased in wisdom and stature." He "increased," i.e., He kept
advancing; He "grew," and the reflective form of the verb would
seem to indicate that His growth was due to His own efforts. From
all this it seems clear that Jesus received His training along the
lines of ordinary human progress--instruction, study, thought.

Nor should the fact that Christ possessed divine attributes, such
as omniscience and omnipotence, militate against a perfectly human
development. Could He not have possessed them and yet not have
used them? Self-emptying is not self-extinction. Is it incredible
to think that, although possessing these divine attributes, He
should have held them in subjection in order that the Holy Spirit
might have His part to play in that truly human, and yet divine,
life?

3. HE HAD THE APPEARANCE OF A MAN.

John 4:9--"How is it that thou, being a Jew." Luke 24:13--The two
disciples on the way to Emmaus took Him to be an ordinary man. John
20:15--"She, supposing him to be the gardener." 21:4, 5--"Jesus
stood on the shore; but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus."

The woman of Samaria evidently recognized Jesus as a Jaw by His
features or speech. To her He was just an ordinary Jew, at least
to begin with. There is no Biblical warrant for surrounding the
head of Christ with a halo, as the artists do. His pure life no
doubt gave Him a distinguished look, just as good character similarly
distinguishes men today. Of course we know nothing definite as to
the appearance of Jesus, for no picture or photograph of Him do we
possess. The apostles draw attention only to the tone of His voice
(Mark 7:34; 15:34). After the resurrection and ascension Jesus
seems still to have retained the form of a man (Acts 7:56; 1 Tim.
2:5).

4. HE WAS POSSESSED OF A HUMAN PHYSICAL NATURE: BODY, SOUL AND
SPIRIT.

John 1:14--"And the Word was made flesh." Heb. 2:14--"For asmuch
then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also
himself likewise took part of the same." Matt. 26:12--"She hath
poured this ointment on my body." v. 38--"My soul is exceeding
sorrowful." Luke 23:46--"Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit."
24:39--"Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle
me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me
have."

By his incarnation Christ came into possession of a real human
nature; He came not only unto His own, but came unto them in the
likeness of their own flesh. Of course we must distinguish between
a human nature and a carnal nature. A carnal nature is really not
an integral part of man as God made him in the beginning. Christ's
human nature was truly human, yet sinless: "Yet without sin" (Heb.
4:15).

5. HE WAS SUBJECT TO THE SINLESS INFIRMITIES OF HUMAN NATURE.

Matt. 4:2--"He was afterward an hungred." John 19:28--"Jesus....saith,
I thirst." 4:6--"Jesus....being wearied with his journey." Matt.
8:24--"But he was asleep." John 19:30--"He bowed his head, and gave
up the ghost." He mourns over Jerusalem (Matt. 23:37); weeps over
His dead friend Lazarus, (John 11:35); craves for human sympathy in
the garden (Matt. 26:36,40); tempted in all points like as we are
(Heb. 4:15). There is not a note in the great organ of our humanity
which, when touched, does not find a sympathetic vibration in the
mighty range and scope of our Lord's being, saving, of course, the
jarring discord of sin. But sin is not a necessary and integral
part of unfallen human nature. We speak of natural depravity, but,
in reality, depravity is _un_natural. God made Adam upright
and perfect; sin is an accident; it is not necessary to a true
human being.

6. HUMAN NAMES ARE GIVEN TO HIM BY HIMSELF AND OTHERS.

Luke 19:10--"Son of Man." Matt. 1:21--"Thou shalt call his name
Jesus." Acts 2:22--"Jesus of Nazareth." 1 Tim. 2:5--"The man Christ
Jesus."

No less than eighty times in the Gospels does Jesus call himself
the Son of Man. Even when acquiescing in the title Son of God as
addressed to Himself He sometimes immediately after substitutes
the title Son of Man (John 1:49-51; Matt 26:63,64).

While we recognize the fact that there is something official in
the title Son of Man, something connected with His relation to the
Kingdom of God, it is nevertheless true that in using this title
He assuredly identifies Himself with the sons of men. While He is
rightly called _THE_ Son of Man, because, by His sinless nature
and life He is unique among the sons of men, He is nevertheless
_A_ Son of Man in that He is bone of our bone and flesh of
our flesh.

II. THE DEITY OF JESUS CHEIST.

1. DIVINE NAMES ARE GIVEN TO HIM.

a) He is Called God.

John 1:1--"The Word was God." Heb. 1:8--"But unto the Son he saith,
Thy throne, O God, is for ever." John 1:18--"The only begotten Son
(or better "only begotten God")." *

* [SLBC NOTE: The author's use of "only begotten God" must be rejected
outright. The phrase and belief come from the heretical Gnostic tradition.]

Absolute deity is here ascribed to
Christ. 20:28-"My Lord and my God." Not an expression of amazement,
but a confession of faith. This confession accepted by Christ, hence
equivalent to the acceptance of deity, and an assertion of it on
Christ's part. Rom. 9:5--"God blessed forever." Tit. 2:13--"The
great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." 1 John,5:20--"His Son
Jesus Christ. This is the true God." In all these passages Christ
is called God.

It may be argued that while Christ is here called God, yet that
does not argue for nor prove His deity, for human judges are also
called "gods" in John 10:35--"If he called them gods unto whom the
word of God came." True, but it is then used in a secondary and
relative sense, and not in the absolute sense as when used of the
Son.

b) He is Called the Son of God.

The references containing this title are numerous. Among others
see Matt. 16:16, 17; 8:29; 14:33; Mark 1:1; 14:61; Luke 1:35; 4:41.
While it may be true that in the synoptic Gospels Jesus may not be
said to have claimed this title for Himself, yet He unhesitatingly
accepted it when used of Him and addressed to Him by others. Further,
it seems clear from the charges made against Him that He did claim
such an honor for Himself. Matt. 27:40, 43--"For he said, I am
the Son of God." Mark 14:61, 62 --"Art thou the Christ, the Son of
the Blessed" (Luke 22:70--"Art thou then the Son of God? And Jesus
said, I am." In John's Gospel, however, Jesus plainly calls Himself
"the Son of God" (5:25; 10:36 11:4). Indeed, John's Gospel begins
with Christ as God: "The Word was God," and ends with the same
thought: "My Lord and my God" (20:28). (Chapter 21 is an epilogue.)

Dr. James Orr says, in speaking of the title Son of God as ascribed
to Christ: "This title is one to which there can be no finite
comparison or analogy. The oneness with God which it designates is
not such reflex influence of the divine thought and character such
as man and angels may attain, but identity of essence constituting
him not God-like alone, but God. Others may be children of God in
a moral sense; but by this right of elemental nature, none but He;
He is herein, the _only_ Son; so little separate, so close to
the inner divine life which He expresses, that He is in the bosom
of the Father. This language denotes two natures homogeneous,
entirely one, and both so essential to the Godhead that neither
can be omitted from any truth you speak of it."

If when He called Himself "the Son of God" He did not mean more
than that He was _a_ son of God, why then did the high priest
accuse Him of blasphemy when He claimed this title (Matt. 26:
61-63)? Does not Mark 12:6--"Having yet therefore one son, his
well-beloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will
reverence my son," indicate a special sonship? The sonship of
Christ is human and historical, it is true; but it is more: it is
transcendent, unique, solitary. That something unique and solitary
lay in this title seems clear from John 5:18--"The Jews sought the
more to kill Him....because he....said....also that God was His
Father, making Himself equal with God."

The use of the word "only begotten" also indicates the uniqueness
of this sonship. For use of the word see Luke 7:12--"The only son of
his mother." 9:38--"For he is mine only child." This word is used
of Christ by John in 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9, and distinguishes
between Christ as the only Son, and the "many....children of God"
(John 1:12, 13). In one sense Christ has no brethren: He stands
absolutely alone. This contrast is clearly emphasized in John 1:14,
18--"only begotten Son," and 1:12 (R. V.)--"many....children." He
is the Son from eternity: they "become" sons in time. He is one;
they are many. He is Son by nature; they are sons by adoption and
grace. He is Son of the same essence with the Father; they are of
different substance from the Father.

c) He is Called The Lord.

Acte 4:33; 16:31; Luke 2:11; Acts 9:17; Matt. 22:43-45. It is true
that this term is used of men, e.g., Acts 16:30--"Sirs (Lords),
what must I do to be saved?" John 12:21--"Sir (Lord), we would
see Jesus." It is not used, however, in this unique sense, as the
connection will clearly show. In our Lord's day, the title "Lord"
as used of Christ was applicable only to the Deity, to God. "The
Ptolemies and the Roman Emperors would allow the name to be applied
to them only when they permitted themselves to be deified. The
archaeological discoveries at Oxyrhyncus put this fact beyond a
doubt. So when the New Testament writers speak of Jesus as Lord,
there can be no question as to what they mean." --_Wood._

d) Other Divine Names are Ascribed to Him:

"The first and the last" (Rev. 1:17). This title used of Jehovah
in Isa. 41:4; 44:6; 48:12. "The Alpha and Omega" (Rev. 22:13, 16);
cf. 1:8 where it is used of God.

2. DIVINE WORSHIP IS ASCRIBED TO JESUS CHRIST.

The Scriptures recognize worship as being due to God, to Deity
alone: Matt. 4:10--"Worship the Lord thy God, and him only." Rev.
22:8, 9--"I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel...Then
saith he unto me, See thou do it not:.... worship God." John was
not allowed even to worship God at the feet of the angel. Acts
14:14, 15; 10:25, 26--Cornelius fell down at the feet of Peter, and
worshipped him. "But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself
also am a man." See what an awful fate was meted out to Herod
because he dared to accept worship that belonged to God only (Acts
12:20-25). Yet Jesus Christ unhesitatingly accepted such worsnip,
indeed, called for it (John 4:10). See John 20:28; Matt. 14:33;
Luke 24:52; 5:8.

The homage given to Christ in these scriptures would be nothing
short of sacrilegious idolatry if Christ were not God. There seemed
to be not the slightest reluctance on the part of Christ in the
acceptance of such worship. Therefore either Christ was God or He
was an imposter. But His whole life refutes the idea of imposture.
It was He who said, "Worship God only"; and He had no right to take
the place of God if He were not God.

God himself commands all men to render worship to the Son, even as
they do to Him. John 5:23, 24--"That all men should honor the Son,
even as they honor the Father." Even the angels are commanded to
render worship to the Son. Heb. 1:6--"And let all the angels of
God worship him." Phil. 2:10--"That at the name of Jesus every knee
should bow."

It was the practice of the apostles and the early church to render
worship to Christ: 2 Cor. 12:8-10--"I besought the Lord." Acts
7:59--"And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord
Jesus, receive my spirit." 1 Cor. 1:2--"Them that...call upon the
name of Jesus Christ our Lord."

The Christians of all ages have not been satisfied with admiring
Christ, they have adored and worshipped Him. They have approached
His person in the attitude of self-sacrifice and worship as in the
presence of and to a God.

Robert Browning quoted, in a letter to a lady in her last illness,
the words of Charles Lamb, when in a gay fancy with some friends
as to how he and they would feel if the greatest of the dead were
to appear suddenly in flesh and blood once more--on the first
suggestion, and "if Christ entered this room?" changed his tone
at once, and stuttered out as his manner was when moved: "You see
--if Shakespeare entered, we should all rise; if Christ appeared,
we must kneel."

3. HE POSSESSES THE QUALITIES AND PROPERTIES OF DEITY.

a) Pre-Existence.

John 1:1--"In the beginning"; cf. Gen 1:1 John 8:58--"Before Abraham
was, I am." That is to say: "Abraham's existence presupposes mine,
not mine his. He was dependent upon me, not I upon him for existence.
Abraham came into being at a certain point of time, but I am."
Here is simple being without beginning or end. See also John 17:5;
Phil. 2:6; Col. 1:16, 17.

b) Self-Existence and Life-Giving Power:

John 5:21, 26--"For as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth
them, even so the Son quickeneth whom he will." "For as the Father
hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in
himself." 1:4--"In him was life." See also 14:6; Heb. 7:16; John
17:3-5; 10:17, 18. These scriptures teach that all life--physical,
moral, spiritual, eternal--has its source in Christ.

c) Immutability:

Heb. 13:8--"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for
ever." See also 1:12. All nature, which like a garment He throws
around Him is subject to change and decay; Jesus Christ is the
same always, He never changes. Human teachers, such as are spoken
of in the context, may change, but He, the Christ, never.

d) All the Fulness of the Godhead Dwelt in Him:

Col. 2:9--Not merely the divine perfections and attributes of Deity,
but _(theotes)_ the very essence and nature of the Godhead.
He was not merely God-like; He was God.

4. DIVINE OFFICES ABE ASCRIBED TO HIM.

a) He is the Creator:

John 1:3--"All things were made by Him." In the creation He was the
acting power and personal instrument. Creation is the revelation
of His mind and might. Heb. 1:10 shows the dignity of the Creator
as contrasted with the creature. Col. 1:16 contradicts the Gnostic
theory of emanations, and shows Christ to be the creator of all
created things and beings. Rev. 3:14--"The beginning of the creation
of God," means "beginning" in the active sense, _the origin,_
that by which a thing begins to be. Col. 1:15--"first-born," not
made; compare with Col. 1:17, where the "for" of v. 16 shows Him
to be not included in the "created things," but the origin of and
superior to them all. He is the Creator of the universe (v. 16),
just as He is the Head of the church (v. 18).

b) He is the Upholder of All Things:

Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3. The universe is neither self-sustaining nor
is it forsaken by God (Deism). Christ's power causes all things
to hold together. The pulses of universal life are regulated and
controlled by the throbbings of the mighty heart of Christ.

c) He Has the Right to Forgive Sins.

Mark 2:5-10. Luke 7:48--"And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven."
Certain it is that the Pharisees recognized that Christ was here
assuming a divine prerogative. No mere man had any right to forgive
sins. God alone could do that. Hence the Pharisees' charge of
blasphemy. This is no declaration of forgiveness, based upon the
knowledge of the man's penitence. Christ does not merely _declare_
sins forgiven. He _actually_ forgives them. Further, Jesus, in
the parable of the Two Debtors (Luke 7), declares that sins were
committed against Himself (cf. Psa. 51:4--"Against thee, thee only,
have I sinned").

d) The Raising of the Bodies of Men is Ascribed to Him:

John 6:39, 40, 54; 11:25. Five times it is here declared by Jesus
that it is His prerogative to raise the dead. It is true that others
raised the dead, but under what different conditions? They worked
by a delegated power (Acts 9:34); but Christ, by His own power (John
10:17, 18). Note the agony of Elisha and others, as compared with
the calmness of Christ. None of these claimed to raise the dead by
his own power, nor to have any such power in the general resurrection
of all men. Christ did make such claims.

e) He is to be the Judge of All Men;

John 5:22--"For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all
judgment unto the Son." 2 Tim. 4:1; Acts 17:31; Matt. 25:31-46.
The Man of the Cross is to be the Man of the throne. The issues of
the judgment are all in His hand.

5. DIVINE ATTRIBUTES ARE POSSESSED BY HIM.

a) Omnipotence.

Matt 28:18--"All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth."
Rev. 1:8; John 17:2; Eph. I:20-22. Here is power over three realms:
First, all power on earth: over disease (Luke 4:38-41); death (John
11); nature, water into wine (John 2); tempest (Matt. Cool. Second,
all power in hell: over demons (Luke 4:35, 36, 41); evil angels
(Eph. 6). Third, all power in heaven: (Eph. 1:20-22). Finally,
power over all things: (Heb. 2:8; 1:3; Matt. 28:18).

b) Omniscience.

John 16:30--"Now are we sure that thou knowest all things." 2:24;
Matt. 24; 25; Col. 2:3. Illustrations: John 4:16-19; Mark 2:8;
John 1:48. "Our Lord always leaves the impression that He knew all
things in detail, both past and future, and that this knowledge
comes from His original perception of the events. He does not learn
them by acquisition. He simply knows them by immediate perception.
Such utterances as Matt. 24 and Luke 21 carry in them a subtle
difference from the utterances of the prophets. The latter spoke as
men who were quite remote in point of time from their declaration
of unfolding events. Jesus spoke as one who is present in the midst
of the events which He depicts. He does not refer to events in
the past as if He were quoting from the historic narrative in the
Old Testament. The only instance which casts doubt upon this view
is Mark 13:32. The parallel passage in Matthew omits, in many
ancient versions, the words; "Neither the Son." The saying in Mark
is capable of an interpretation which does not contradict this
view of His omniscience. This is an omniscience nevertheless,
which in its manifestation to men is under something of human
limitation."--_Wood._

This limitation of knowledge is no argument against the infallibility
of those things which Jesus did teach: for example, the Mosaic
authorship of the Pentateuch. That argument, says Liddon, involves
a confusion between limitation of knowledge and liability to error;
whereas, plainly enough, a limitation of knowledge is one thing,
and fallibility is another. St. Paul says, "We know in part," and
"We see through a glass darkly." Yet Paul is so certain of the
truth of that which he teaches, as to exclaim, "But though we, or
an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that
which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." Paul clearly
believed in his own infallibility as a teacher of religious truth,
and the church of Christ has ever since regarded his epistles as
part of an infallible literature. But it is equally clear that Paul
believed his knowledge of truth to be limited. Infallibility does
not imply omniscience, any more than limited knowledge implies error.
If a human teacher were to decline to speak upon a given subject,
by saying that he did not know enough about it, this would not be
a reason for disbelieving him when he proceeded to speak confidently
upon a totally different subject, thereby at least implying that
he did not know enough to warrant his speaking. On the contrary,
his silence in the one case would be a reason for trusting his
statements in the other. The argument which is under consideration
in the text would have been really sound, if our Saviour had fixed
the date of the day of judgment and the event had shown him to be
mistaken. Why stumble over the limitation of this attribute and
not over the others? Did He not hunger and thirst, for example? As
God He is omnipresent, yet as man He is present only in one place.
As God He is omnipotent; yet, on one occasion at least, He could
do no mighty works because of the unbelief of men.

c) Omnipresence.

Matt. 18:20--"For where two or three are gathered together in my
name, there am I in the midst of them." He is with every missionary
(Matt. 28:20). He is prayed to by Christians in every place (1 Cor.
1:2). Prayer would be a mockery if we were not assured that Christ
is everywhere present to hear. He fills all things, every place
(Eph. 1:23). But such an all pervading presence is true only of
Deity.

6. HIS NAME IS COUPLED WITH THAT OF GOD THE FATHER.

The manner in which the name of Jesus Christ is coupled with that
of God the Father clearly implies equality of the Son with the
Father. Compare the following:

a) The Apostolic Benediction.

2 Cor. 13:14. Here the Son equally with the Father is the bestower
of grace.

b) The Baptismal Formula.

Matt. 28:19; Acts 2:38. "In the name," not the names (plural).
How would it sound to say, "In the name of the Father" _and of
Moses?_ Would it not seem sacrilegious? Can we imagine the effect
of such words on the apostles?

c) Other Passages.

John 14:23--"We will come: the Father and I." 17:3--"And this is
life eternal that they might know thee, the only true God, _and
Jesus Christ."_ The content of saving faith includes belief in
Jesus Christ equally with the Father. 10:30--"I and my Father are
one." "One" is neuter, not masculine, meaning that Jesus and the
Father constitute one power by which the salvation of man is secured.
2 Thess. 2:16, 17--"Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God,
even our Father...comfort your hearts." These two names, with a
verb in the singular, intimate the oneness of the Father with the
Son.

7. THE SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS OF JESUS REGARDING HIS OWN PERSON AND
WORK.

It will be interesting to search the Gospel records to ascertain
what was in the mind of Jesus concerning Himself--His relation to
the Father in particular. What bearing has the testimony of Jesus
upon the question of His deity? Is the present Christian consciousness
borne out by the Gospel narratives? Is Jesus Christ a man of a
much higher type of faith than ours, yet one with whom we believe
in God? Or is He, equally with God, the object of our faith? Do we
believe _with Him_, or _on_ Him? Is there any indication
in the words ascribed to Jesus, as recorded in the Gospels,
of a consciousness on His part of His unique relation to God the
Father? Is it Jesus Himself who is responsible for the Christian's
consciousness concerning His deity, or is the Church reading into
the Gospel accounts something that is not really there? Let us see.

a) As Set Forth in the Narrative of His Visit to the Temple.

Luke 2:41-52. This is a single flower out of the wonderfully enclosed
garden of the first thirty years of our Lord's life. The emphatic
words, for our purpose, are "thy father," and "my Father." These are
the first recorded words of Jesus. Is there not here an indication
of the consciousness on the part of Jesus of a unique relationship
with His heavenly Father? Mary, not Joseph, asked the question, so
contrary to Jewish custom. She said: "Thy father"; Jesus replied
in substance: "Did you say _my_ father has been seeking me?"
It is remarkable to note that Christ omits the word "father" when
referring to His parents, cf. Matt. 12:48; Mark 3:33, 34. "_My_
Father!" No other human lips had ever uttered these words. Men said,
and He taught them to say, "_Our_ Father." It is not too much
to say that in this incident Christ sees, rising before Him, the
great truth that God, and not Joseph, is His Father, and that it
is in His true Father's house that He now stands.

b) As Revealed at His Baptism:

Matt. 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-ll; Luke 3:21. Here are some things
to remember in connection with Christ's baptism: First, Jesus was
well acquainted with the relation of John and his ministry to the
Old Testament prophecy, as well as of John's own announcement
that he was the Messiah's fore-runner, and that he (John) was not
worthy to untie the latchet of Christ's shoes. Second, to come
then to John, and to submit to baptism at his hands, would indicate
that Jesus conceded the truth of all that John had said. This
is emphasized when we remember Jesus' eulogy of John (Matt. 11).
Thirdly, There is the descent of the Spirit, and the heavenly voice;
what meaning did these things have to Jesus? If Christ's sermon
in the synagogue at Nazareth is of any help here, we must believe
that at His baptism, so much more than at the age of twelve, He was
conscious that in thus being anointed He was associating Himself in
some peculiar way with the prophecy of Isaiah, chapters 42 and 61:
"Behold my Servant... I have put my Spirit upon Him." All, therefore,
that must have been wrapped up in the thought of the "Servant of
the Lord" in the Old Testament would assuredly be quickened in his
consciousness that day when the Spirit descended upon Him. See also
Luke 4:16-17; Acts 10: 38; Matt. 12:28.

But what did the heavenly voice signify to Christ? "This is my
beloved Son" takes us back to the second Psalm where this person
is addressed as the ideal King of Israel. The last clause--"in whom
I am well pleased"--refers to Isaiah 42, and portrays the servant
who is anointed and empowered by the endowment of God's Spirit. We
must admit that the mind of Jesus was steeped in the prophecies of
the Old Testament, and that He knew to whom these passages referred.
The ordinary Jew knew that much. Is it too much to say that on that
baptismal day Jesus was keenly conscious that these Old Testament
predictions were fulfilled in Him? We think not.

c) As Set Forth in the Record of the Temptation.

Matt. 4:1-11; Mark 1:12, 13; Luke 4:1-13. That Jesus entered
into the temptation in the wilderness with the consciousness of
the revelation He received, and of which He was conscious at the
baptism, seems clear from the narratives. Certain it is that Satan
based his temptations upon Christ's consciousness of His unique
relation to God as His Son. Throughout the whole of the temptation
Satan regards Christ as being in a unique sense the Son of God, the
ideal King, through whom the kingdom of God is to be established
upon the earth. Indeed, so clearly is the kingship of Jesus recognized
in the temptation narrative that the whole question agitated there
is as to how that kingdom may be established in the world. It must
be admitted that a careful reading of the narratives forces us
to the conclusion that throughout all the temptation Christ was
conscious of His position with reference to the founding of God's
kingdom in the world.

d) As Set Forth in the Calling of the Twelve and the Seventy.

The record of this event is found in Matt. 10; Mark 3:13-19; 6:7-13;
Luke 9:1-6; 10:1-14. This important event in the life of our Lord
had an important bearing upon His self-consciousness as to His
person and work. Let us note some of the details:

_First_, as to the number, twelve. Is there no suggestion
here with reference to the New Jerusalem when the Messiah shall sit
upon the throne surrounded by the twelve apostles seated on their
thrones? Is not Jesus here conscious of Himself as being the centre
of the scene thus described in the Apocalypse?

_Second_, He gave them power. Is not Jesus here repeating what
had been done for Him at His baptism: conveying super-human power?
Who can give this power that is strong enough to make even demons
obey? No one less than God surely.

_Third_, note that the message which He committed to the twelve
concerned matters of life and death. Not to receive that message
would be equivalent to the rejection of the Father.

_Fourth_, all this is to be done in _His_ name, and for
_His_ name's sake. Fidelity to Jesus is that on which the final
destiny of men depends. Everything rises or falls in its relation
to Him. Could such words be uttered and there be no consciousness
on the part of the speaker of a unique relationship to the Father
and the things of eternity? Know you of anything bolder than this?

_Fifth_, He calls upon men to sacrifice their tenderest affections
for Him. He is to be chosen before even father and mother (Matt.
10:34-39).

e) As Revealed in the Sermon on the Mount.

Matt. 5-7; Luke 6:20-49. Two references will be sufficient here.
Who is this that dares to set Himself up as superior to Moses and
the law of Moses, by saying, "But _I_ say unto you"? Then,
again, listen to Christ as He proclaims Himself to be the judge
of all men at the last day (Matt. 7:21). Could Jesus say all this
without having any consciousness of His unique relationship to all
these things? Assuredly not.

B. THE WORK OF JESUS CHRIST.

The Death of Jesus Christ.

I. ITS IMPORTANCE.

1. IT HAS A SUPREME PLACE IN THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION.

Christianity is a religion of atonement distinctively. The elimination
of the doctrine of the death of Christ from the religion that bears
His name would mean the surrender of its uniqueness and claim to
be the only true religion, the supreme and final revelation from
God to the sons of men. It is its redemption feature that distinguishes
Christianity from any and all other religions. If you surrender this
distinctive Christian doctrine from its creed, then this supreme
religion is brought down to the level of many other prevailing
religious systems. Christianity is not merely a system of ethics;
it is the history of redemption through Jesus Christ, the personal
Redeemer.

2. ITS VITAL RELATION TO JESUS CHRIST.

The atonement is so closely related to Jesus Christ, so allied to
His work, as set forth in the Scriptures, that it is absolutely
inseparable from it. Christ was not primarily a religious teacher,
a philanthropist, an ethical example; He was all these, yea, and much
more--He was first and foremost the world's Saviour and Redeemer.
Other great men have been valued for their lives; He, above all,
for His death, around which God and man are reconciled. The Cross
is the magnet which sends the electric current through the telegraph
between earth and heaven, and makes both Testaments thrill,
through the ages of the past and future, with living, harmonious,
and saving truth. Other men have said: "If I could only live, I
would establish and perpetuate an empire." The Christ of Galilee
said: "My death shall do it." Let us understand that the power
of Christianity lies, not in hazy indefiniteness, not in shadowy
forms, not so much even in definite truths and doctrines, but in
_the_ truth, and in _the_ doctrine of Christ crucified
and risen from the dead. Unless Christianity be more tnan ethical,
it is not, nor can it really be ethical at all. It is redemptive,
dynamic through that redemption, and ethical withal.

3. ITS RELATION TO THE INCARNATION.

It is not putting the matter too strongly when we say that the
incarnation was for the purpose of the atonement. At least this
seems to be the testimony of the Scriptures. Jesus Christ partook
of flesh and blood in order that He might die (Heb. 2:14). "He was
manifested to take away our sins" (1 John 3:5). Christ came into
this world to give His life a ransom for many (Matt. 20:28). The
very purpose of the entire coming of Christ into the word, in all
its varying aspects, was that, by assuming a nature like unto our
own, He might offer up His life as a sacrifice for the sins of men.
The faith of the atonement presupposes the faith of the incarnation.
So close have been the relation of these two fundamental doctrines
that their relation is one of the great questions which have
divided men in their opinions in the matter: which is primary and
which secondary; which is to be regarded as the most necessary to
man's salvation, as the primary and the highest fact in the history
of God's dealings with man. The atonement naturally arises out of
the incarnation so that the Son of God could not appear in our nature
without undertaking such a work as the word atonement denotes. The
incarnation is a pledge and anticipation of the work of atonement.
The incarnation is most certainly the declaration of a purpose
on the part of God to save the world. But how was the world to be
saved if not through the atonement?

4. ITS PROMINENCE IN THE SCRIPTURES.

It was the claim of Jesus, in His conversation with the two
disciples on the way to Emmaus, that Moses, and all the prophets,
indeed, all the Scriptures, dealt with the subject of His death
(Luke 24:27, 44). That the death of Christ was the one great subject
into which the Old Testament prophets searched deeply is clear from
1 Pet. 1:11, 12. The atonement is the scarlet cord running through
every page in the entire Bible. Cut the Bible anywhere, and it
bleeds; it is red with redemption truth. It is said that one out
of every forty-four verses in the New Testament deals with this
theme, and that the death of Christ is mentioned in all one hundred
and seventy-five times. When you add to these figures the typical
and symbolical teaching of the Old Testament some idea is gained as
to the important place which this doctrine occupies in the sacred
Scriptures.

5. THE FUNDAMENTAL THEME OF THE GOSPEL.

Paul says: "I delivered unto you first of all (i.e., first in
order; the first plank in the Gospel platform; the truth of primary
importance) . . . that Christ died for our sins" (1 Cor. 15:1-3).
There can be no Gospel story, message or preaching without the
story of the death of Christ as the Redeemer of men.

6. THE ONE GRAND THEME IN HEAVEN.

Moses and Elias, the heavenly visitors to this earth, conversed
about it (Luke 9:30, 31), even though Peter was ashamed of the same
truth (Matt. 16:21-25). The theme of the song of the redeemed in
heaven is that of Christ's death (Rev. 5:8-12).

II. THE SCRIPTURAL DEFINITION OF THE DEATH OF CHRIST.

The Scriptures set forth the death of Jesus Christ in a four-fold
way:

1. AS A RANSOM. Matt. 20:28; 1 Pet. l;18; 1 Tim. 2:6; Gal. 3:13.

The meaning of a ransom is clearly set forth in Lev. 25:47-49: To
deliver a thing or person by paying a price; to buy back a person
or thing by paying the price for which it is held in captivity. So
sin is like a slave market in which sinners are "sold under sin"
(Rom. 7:14); souls are under sentence of death (Ezek. 18:4). Christ,
by His death, buys sinners out of the market, thereby indicating
complete deliverance from the service of sin. He looses the bonds,
sets the prisoners free, by paying a price--that price being His
own precious blood.

To whom this ransom is paid is a debatable question: whether to
Satan for his captives, or to eternal and necessary holiness, to
the divine law, to the claims of God who is by His nature the holy
Lawgiver. The latter, referring to God and His holiness, is probably
preferable.

Christ redeemed us from the curse of a broken law by Himself being
made a curse for us. His death was the ransom price paid for our
deliverance.

2. A PROPITIATION. Rom. 3:25; 1 John 2:2; Heb. 2:17 (R. V.).

Christ is the propitiation for our sins; He is set forth by God to
be a propitiation through His blood.

Propitiation means mercy-seat, or covering. The mercy-seat covering
the ark of the covenant was called propitiation (Exod. 25:22;
Heb. 9:5.) It is that by which God covers, overlooks, and pardons
the penitent and believing sinner because of Christ's death.
Propitiation furnishes a ground on the basis of which God could
set forth His righteousness, and yet pardon sinful men, Rom. 3:25,
26; Heb. 9:15. Christ Himself is the propitiatory sacrifice, 1
John 2:2. The death of Jesus Christ is set forth as the ground on
which a righteous God can pardon a guilty and sinful race without
in any way compromising His righteousness.

3. AS A RECONCILIATION. Rom. 5:10; 2 Cor. 5:18, 19; Eph. 2:16; Col.
1:20.

We are reconciled to God by the death of His Son, by His Cross, and
by the blood of His Cross--that is the message of these scriptures.

Reconciliation has two sides; active and passive. In the _active_
sense we may look upon Christ's death as removing the enmity
existing between God and man, and which had hitherto been a barrier
to fellowship (see the above quoted texts). This state of existing
enmity is set forth in such scriptures as Rom. 8:7--"Because the
carnal mind is enmity against God." Also Eph. 2:15; Jas. 4:4. In
the _passive_ sense of the word it may indicate the change of
attitude on the part of man toward God, this change being wrought
in the heart of man by a vision of the Cross of Christ; a change
from enmity to friendship thus taking place, cf. 2 Cor. 5:20. It
is probably better to state the case thus: God is propitiated, and
the sinner is reconciled (2 Cor. 5:18-20).

4. AS A SUBSTITUTION. Isa. 53:6; 1 Pet. 2:24, 3:18; 2 Cor. 5:21.

The story of the passover lamb (Exod. 12), with 1 Cor. 5:7,
illustrates the meaning of substitution as here used: one life given
in the stead of another. "The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity
of us all." God made Christ, who knew no sin, to be sin for us.
Christ Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree--this is
substitution. Christ died in our place, bore our sins, paid the
penalty due our sins; and all this, not by force, but willingly
(John 10:17, 18). The idea of substitution is well illustrated by
the nature of the preposition used in connection with this phase
of Christ's death: In Matt. 80-28 Christ is said to give His life
a ransom _for_ all (also 1 Tim. 2:6). That this preposition means
_instead of_ is clear from its use in Matt. 2:22--"Archelaus
did reign in the room (or in the stead) of his father, Herod." Also
in Luke 11:11--"Will he _for_ a fish give him a serpent?" (See
Heb. 12:2, 16.) Substitution, then, as used here means this: That
something happened to Christ, and because it happened to Christ,
it need not happen to us. Christ died for our sins; we need not
die for them if we accept His sacrifice. For further illustrations,
see Gen. 22:13; God providing a ram instead of Isaac; also Barabbas
freed and Christ bearing his cross and taking his place.


Upon a life I did not live;
Upon a death I did not die;
Upon another's death, another's life,
I risk my soul eternally.


III. UNSCRIPTURAL VIEWS OF CHRIST'S DEATH.

There are certain so called _modern_ views of the atonement
which it may be well to examine briefly, if only to show how
unscriptural they are. That the modern mind fails to see in the
doctrine of the atonement what the orthodox faith has held for
centuries to be the truth of God regarding this fundamental Christian
doctrine, there is certainly no doubt. To some minds today the death
of Jesus Christ was but the death of a martyr, counted in the same
category as the death of John Huss or Savonarola. Or perchance
Christ's death was an exhibition to a sinful world of God's wondrous
love. Or it may be that Christ, in His suffering of death, remains
forever the sublime example of adherence to principles of righteousness
and truth, even to the point of death. Or, again, Calvary may be an
episode in God's government of the world. God, being holy, deemed
it necessary to show to the world His hatred of sin, and so His
wrath fell on Christ. The modern mind does not consider Christ's
death as in any sense vicarious, or substitutionary. Indeed,
it fails to see the justice as well as the need or possibility of
one man, and He so innocent, suffering for the sins of the whole
race--past, present and future. Every man must bear the penalty of
his own sin, so we are told; from that there is no escape, unless,
and it is fervently hoped and confidently expected, that God, whose
wondrous love surpasses all human conception, should, as He doubtless
will, overlook the eternal consequences of man's sin because of
the great love wherewith He loves the race. The love of God is
the hope of the race's redemption.

What shall the Christian church say to these things, and what
shall be her reply? To the Word of God must the church resort
for her weapons in this warfare. If the so called modern mind and
its doctrinal views agree with the Scriptures, then the Christian
church may allow herself to be influenced by the spirit of the age.
But if the modern mind and the Scriptures do not agree in their
results, then the church of Christ must part company with the modern
mind. Here are some of the modern theories of the atonement:

1. THE ACCIDENT THEORY.

Briefly stated, this is the theory: The Cross was something unforeseen
in the life of Christ. Calvary was not in the plan of God for His
Son. Christ's death was an accident, as unforeseen and unexpected
as the death of any other martyr was unforeseen and unexpected.

To this we reply: Jesus was conscious all the time of His forthcoming
death. He foretold it again and again. He was always conscious
of the plots against His life. This truth is corroborated by the
following scriptures: Matt. 16-21; Mark 9:30-32; Matt. 20:17-19;
Luke 18:31-34; Matt, 20:28; 26:2, 6, 24, 39-42; Luke 22:19, 20.
Further, in John 10:17, 18 we have words which distinctly contradict
this false theory: "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay
down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from
me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and
I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of
my Father."

In addition to this we may make mention of the many, many references
and prophecies of the Old Testament to the fact of Christ's death.
Then there is Christ's own testimony to the fact of His death being
predicted and foretold by the prophets (Luke 24:26, 27, 44). See
also Isa. 53; Psa. 22; 69.

2. THE MARTYR THEORY.

It is as follows: Christ's death was similar in kind to that of
John Huss, or Polycarp, or any other noble man who has given up
his life as a sacrifice for a principle and for truth.

To this we reply: Then Christ should have so declared Himself.
Paul should have said so. That word was used for other Christian
deaths, why not for Christ's? Then there is no mystery about the
atonement, and the wonder is that Paul should have said anything
about the mystery. Further, if Christ died as a martyr He might, at
least, have had the same comforting presence of God afforded other
martyrs in the hour of their death. Why should He be God-forsaken
in that crucial hour? Is it right that God should make the holiest
man in all the ages the greatest sufferer, if that man were but
a martyr? When you recall the shrinking of Gethsemane, could you
really--and we say it reverently--call Jesus as brave a man facing
death as many another martyr has been? Why should Christ's soul
be filled with anguish (Luke 22:39-46), while Paul the Apostle was
exultant with joy (Phil. 1:23)? Stephen died a martyr's death,
but Paul never preached forgiveness through the death of Stephen.
Such a view of Christ's death may beget martyrs, but it can never
save sinners.

3. THE MORAL EXAMPLE THEORY.

Christ's death has an influence upon mankind for moral improvement.
The example of His suffering ought to soften human hearts, and help
a man to reform, repent, and better his condition. So God grants
pardon and forgiveness on simple repentance and reformation. In the
same way a drunkard might call a man his saviour by whose influence
he was induced to become sober and industrious. But did the sight
of His suffering move the Jews to repentance? Does it move men today?
Such a view of Christ's death does not deal with the question with
which it is always connected, viz., the question of sin.

4. THE GOVERNMENTAL THEORY.

This means that the benevolence of God requires that He should make
an example of suffering in Christ in order to exhibit to man that
sin is displeasing in His sight. God's government of the world
necessitates that He show His wrath against sin.

True, but we reply: Why do we need an incarnation for the manifestation
of that purpose? Why not make a guilty, and not an absolutely
innocent and guileless man such an example of God's displeasure
upon sin? Were there not men enough in existence? Why create a
new being for such a purpose?

5. THE LOVE OF GOD THEOEY.

He died to show men how much God loved them. Men ever after would
know the feeling of the heart of God toward them.

True, the death of Christ did show the great love of God for fallen
man. But men did not need such a sacrifice to know that God loved
them. They knew that before Christ came. The Old Testament is full
of the love of God. Read Psalm 103. The Scriptures which speak
of God's love as being manifested in the gift of His Son, tell us
also of another reason why He gave His Son: "That whosoever believeth
in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16);
"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and
sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4:10).

We believe that Christ's Cross reveals the love of God, and that
throughout all these ages men have been bowed in penitence as they
have caught a vision of the One who hung thereon. But if you were
to question the multitudes that have believed in God because of
the Cross, you would find that what moved them to repentance was
not merely, if at all, certainly not primarily, that the Cross
revealed the love of God in a supreme way, but the fact that there
at that Cross God had dealt with the great and awful fact of sin,
that the Cross had forever removed it.

"I examine all these views, beautiful as some of them are, appealing
to the pride of man, but which leave out all thought of vicarious
atonement, and say, 'But what shall be done with my sin? Who shall
put it away? Where is its sacrifice? If without shedding of blood
there is no remission of sin, where is the shed blood?' These
views are neat, measurable, occasionally pathetic, and frequently
beautiful, but they do not include the agony of the whole occasion
and situation. They are aspect theories, partial conceptions. They
do not take in the whole temple from its foundation to its roof.
No man must set up his judgment against that of another man in a
dogmatic way, but he may, yea, he must, allow his heart to speak
through his judgment; and in view of this liberty, I venture to
say that all these theories of the atonement are as nothing, most
certainly shallow and incomplete to me . . . . As I speak now,
at this very moment, I feel that the Christ on the Cross is doing
something for me, that His death is my life, His atonement my pardon,
His crucifixion the satisfaction for my sin, that from Calvary,
that place of a skull, my flowers of peace and joy blossom forth,
and that in the Cross of Christ I glory."--_Joseph Parker._

IV. THE NECESSITY OF CHRIST'S DEATH.

The necessity of the atonement lay in a twofold fact: The holiness
of God, and the sinfulness of man. The doctrine of the atonement
is a related subject, and it cannot be properly understood unless
it is viewed as such. It is related to certain conditions existing
between God and man--a condition and relation which has been affected
by sin. It is necessary, therefore, to know this relation and how
it has been affected by sin. This relation between God and man
is a personal one. No other construction can legitimately be put
upon the passages setting forth this relationship. "_Thou_ has
searched _me_, and known _me_." "_I_ am continually
with _Thee_." It is, moreover, an ethical relationship, and
that which is ethical is at the same time personal and universal,
that is to say, that God's dealings with mankind are expressed
in a moral constitution of universal and eternal validity. These
relationships are disordered by sin. No matter how sin came to be
here we are morally conscious, by the testimony of a bad conscience,
that we are guilty, and that our sin is not merely a matter of
personal guilt but a violation of a universal moral law.
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Re: BIBLE DOCTRINES - THEOLOGY / STUDY OF GOD

Post  Admin on Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:47 am

1. THE HOLINESS OF GOD.

We should carefully note the emphasis laid upon the doctrine of
God's holiness in the Old Testament (see under Attributes of God,
p. 37). The Levitical law, the laws of clean and unclean, the
tabernacle and the temple with its outer court, its holy and most
holy place, the priestly order and the high priest, the bounds
set around Mt. Sinai, things and persons that might not be touched
without causing defilement, sacred times and seasons, these, and
much more, speak in unmistakable terms of the holiness of God.
We are thus taught that if sinful man is to approach unto God, it
must be through the blood of atonement. The holiness of God demands
that before the sinner can approach unto and have communion with
Him, some means of propitiation must be provided. This means of
approach is set forth in the shed blood.

2. THE SIN OF MAN.

Light and erroneous views of the atonement come from light and
erroneous views of sin. If sin is regarded as merely an offence
against man, a weakness of human nature, a mere disease, rather than
as rebellion, transgression, and enmity against God, and therefore
something condemning and punishable, we shall not, of course,
see any necessity for the atonement. We must see sin as the Bible
depicts it, as something which brings wrath, condemnation, and eternal
ruin in its train. We must see it as guilt that needs expiation.
We must see sin as God sees it before we can denounce it as God
denounces it. We confess sin today in such light and easy terms
that it has almost lost its terror.

In view of these two thoughts, the holiness of God and the sinfulness
of man, the question naturally arises: How is the mercy of God to
be manifested so that His holiness will not be compromised by His
assuming a merciful attitude towards sinful men in the granting of
forgiveness, pardon, justification? The answer is: The only way in
which this can be done is by means of the atonement.

3. THE FULFILLMENT OF THE SCRIPTURES.

We may add this third thought to the two already mentioned. There
is a sense in which the atonement was necessary in order to the
fulfillment of the predictions of the Old Testament--predictions
inseparable from the person and work of the Messiah. If Jesus
Christ were the true Messiah, then these predictions regarding His
sufferings and death must be fulfilled in Him (Luke 24:25-27, 44;
Isa. 53; Psa. 22; 69).

V. THE EXTENT OF CHRIST'S DEATH.

Was the death of Jesus Christ for all mankind--for every human
being in the world, or for man actually and ultimately regenerate
only--the chosen Church? Was it for all mankind, irrespective of
their relation to Jesus Christ, or must we limit the actual benefits
of the atonement to those who are spiritually united to Christ by
faith? That the death of Christ is intended to benefit all mankind
seems clear from the following scriptures: Isa. 53:6; 1 Tim. 2:6;
1 John 2:2, cf. 2 Cor. 5:19; Rom. 14:15; 1 Cor. 8:11. The scriptures,
which to some seem to limit the effects of the atonement, are John
10:15, cf. vv 26, 29; Eph. 5:25-27.

Certain it is that the doctrine of the atonement is presented in
the Scriptures as competent to procure and secure salvation for
all. Indeed, not only competent but efficacious to do this very
thing. It might seem that there is an apparent contradiction in
the above-named scriptures. The atonement, in its actual issue,
should realize and actualize the eternal purpose of God, the which
is set forth as a desire that all men should be saved and come
to a saving knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus Christ. This
is testified to be the general and universal invitation of the
Scriptures to partake of the blessings of Christ's death. Thus the
offer of the Gospel to all is not a pretence but a reality on the
part of God. The divine willingness that all men should share the
benefits of the atonement is all-inclusive, and really means what
is offered. Yet on the other hand, we can not overlook the fact
that, from another point of view the effects of the atonement--shall
we say the _purpose_ of the atonement?--seems to be limited
to the sphere of the the true Church, so that only those who
are really united to Christ by faith actually share in the merits
of the atonement. Let us put it this way: "The atonement is
_sufficient_ for all; it is _efficient_ for those who
believe in Christ." The atonement itself, so far as it lays the basis
for the redemptive dealing of God with all men, is _unlimited_;
the _application_ of the atonement is limited to those who actually
believe in Christ. He is the Saviour of all men _potentially_
(1 Tim. 1:15); of believers alone _effectually_ (1 Tim. 4:10).
The atonement is limited only by men's unbelief.

1. FOR THE WHOLE WORLD.

The Scriptures set forth this fact in the following statements:
"And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only,
but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:2). Christ's
death was the ground on which God, who is absolutely holy, could
deal with the whole race of men in mercy, and pardon their sins.

John 1:29--"Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of
the world." Not the sin of a few individuals, or of an elect race,
like Israel, but the sin of the whole world. This was a striking
truth to reveal to a Jew.

1 Tim. 2:6--"Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in
due time." It is for this reason, as the context of this passage
shows, that we may pray for all men. If all men were not capable
of being saved, how then could we pray to that end?

2. FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL MAN.

This is but a detailed statement of the fact that He died for the
whole world. Not a single individual man, woman, or child is excluded
from the blessings offered in the atonement.

Heb. 2:9--"But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the
angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor;
that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man."
Leo the Great (461) affirmed that "So precious is the shedding of
Christ's blood for the unjust, that if the whole universe of captives
would believe in the Redeemer, no chain of the devil could hold
them." General Booth once said: "Friends, Jesus shed His precious
blood to pay the price of salvation, and bought from God enough
salvation to go around."

3. FOR THE SINFUL, UNJUST, AND UNGODLY.

Sinners of all sorts, degrees, and conditions may have a share in
the redemptive work of Christ. Greece invited only the cultured,
Rome sought only the strong, Judea bid for the religious only.
Jesus Christ bids all those that are weary and heavy-hearted and
over-burdened to come to Him (Matt. 11:28).

Rom. 5:6-10--"Christ died for the ungodly...While we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us...When we were enemies, we were reconciled to
God by the death of His Son." 1 Pet. 3:18--"For Christ also hath
once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust." Christ died for
_sinners_--those in open opposition to God; for the
_unjust_--those who openly violate God's laws; for the
_ungodly_--those who violently and brazenly refuse to pay their
dues of prayer, worship, and service to God; for _enemies_
--those who are constantly fighting God and His cause. For all of
these Christ died.

1 Tim. 1:15--"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of
whom I am chief." Paul was a _blasphemer_, a _persecutor_,
_injurious_ (v. 13), a _murderer_ (Acts 22 and 26), yet
God saved him; he was included in the atonement. Note also that
it is in this very connection that the apostle declares that the
reason God saved him was in order that his salvation might be a
pattern, or an encouragement to other great sinners, that God could
and would save them, if they desired Him to do so.

4. FOR THE CHURCH.

There is a peculiar sense in which it may be said that Christ's
death is for the Church, His body, the company of those who believe
in Him. There is a sense in which it is perfectly true that Christ's
death avails only for those who believe in Him; so in that sense
it can be said that He died for the Church more particularly. He is
"the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe" (1 Tim.
4:10). Herein lies the truth that is contained in the theory of a
limited atonement.

Eph. 5:25-27--"Christ also loved the church, and gave himself
for it." Not for any one particular denomination; not for any one
organization within any four walls; but for all those whom He calls
to Himself and who follow Him here.

Gal. 2:20--"The Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
Here the individual member of the Church, the body of Christ, is
specifically mentioned as being included in the efficacy of the
atonement. When Luther first realized this particular phase of the
atonement, he was found sobbing beneath a crucifix, and moaning:
"Mein Gott, Mein Gott, Fur Mich! Fur Mich!"

1 Cor. 8:11--"And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother
perish, for whom Christ died?" Also Rom. 14:15. Note the connection
in which this truth is taught. If Christ was willing to die for the
weak brother--whom we, perchance, sneer at for his conscientious
scruples--we ought to be willing to deny ourselves of some habit
for his sake.

How all-inclusive, all-comprehensive, far-reaching is the death of
Christ in its effects! Not a few, but many shall be saved. He gave
his life a ransom for _many_. God's purposes in the atonement
shall not be frustrated. Christ shall see of the travail of His
soul, and shall be satisfied. Many shall come from the north, the
south, the east and the west and sit down in the kingdom. In that
great day it will be seen (Rev. 7:9-15).

VI. THE EFFECTS OF CHRIST'S DEATH.

1. IN RELATION TO THE PHYSICAL OR MATERIAL UNIVERSE.

Just as the material universe was in some mysterious manner affected
by the fall of man (Rom. 8:19-23, R. V.), so also is it affected
by the death of Jesus Christ, which is intended to neutralize the
effect of sin upon the creation. There is a cosmical effect in the
atonement. The Christ of Paid is larger than the second Adam--the
Head of a new humanity; He is also the center of a universe which
revolves around Him, and is in some mysterious way reconciled by
His death. Just how this takes place we may not be able definitely
to explain.

Col. 1:20--"And, having made peace through the blood of his cross,
by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether
they be things in earth, or things in heaven." Some day there shall
be a new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness (2
Pet. 3:13). See also Heb. 9:23, 24; Isa. 11 and 35.

2. IN RELATION TO THE WORLD OF MEN.

a) The Enmity Existing Between God and Man is Removed:

Rom. 5:10; Col. 1:20-22. For explanation, see under Scriptural
Definition of the Atonement ((II.3, p. 72). The ground of enmity
between God and man--whether in the active or passive sense of
_reconciliation_--is removed by Christ's death. The world of
mankind is, through the atonement, reconciled to God.

b) A Propitiation for the World's Sin Has Been Provided:

1 John 2:2; 4:10. See under Propitiation (II. 2, p. 71). The
propitiation reaches as far as does the sin.

c) Satan's Power Over the Race Has Been Neutralized:

John 12:31, 32--"Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the
prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the
earth, will draw all men unto me." Also John 16:9, 10; Col. 2:10.
The lifting up of Christ on the Cross meant the casting down of
Satan. Satan no longer holds undisputed sway over the sons of men.
The power of darkness has been broken. Man need no longer be the
slave of sin and Satan.

d) The Question of the World's Sin is Settled:

It need no longer stand as a barrier between God and man. Strictly
speaking, it is not now so much of a sin question as it is
a Son question; not, What shall be done with my sin? but,
What shall I do with Jesus, which is called Christ? The sins of
the Old Testament saints, which during all the centuries had been
held, as it were, in abeyance, were put away at the Cross (Rom.
3:25, 26). Sins present and future were also dealt with at the
Cross. By the sacrifice of Himself, Christ forever put away sin
(Heb. 9:26).

e) The Claims of a Broken Law Have Been Met, and the Curse Resting
upon Man Because of a Broken Law Removed.

Col. 2:14--"Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was
against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way,
nailing it to his cross." Thus every claim of the holy law of God,
which sinful man had violated, had been met.

Gal. 3:13--"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law,
being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one
that hangeth on a tree." (See v. 10 for the description of the
curse.) The wages of sin, and the curse of sin, is death. Christ
by His death on the Cross, paid that debt, and removed that curse.

f) Justification, Adoption, Sanctification, Access to God,
an Inheritance, and the Removal of All Fear of Death--All This is
Included in the Effect of the Death of Christ in the Behalf of
the Believer.

Rom. 5:9; Gal. 4:3-5; Heb. 10:10; 10:19, 20; 9:15; 2:14, 15. How
comforting, how strengthening, how inspiring are these wonderful
aspects of the effects of the death of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus
Christ!

3. THE EFFECT OF CHRIST'S DEATH ON SATAN.

See under c) above. The devil must submit to the victory of Christ.
The dominion of Satan, so far as the believer in Christ is concerned,
is now at an end: his dominion over the disobedient sons of men,
too, will soon be at an end. Christ's death was the pronouncement
of Satan's doom; it was the loss of his power over men. The power
of the devil, while not yet absolutely destroyed, has been neutralized
(Heb. 2:14). The evil principalities and powers, and Satan himself,
did their worst at the Cross, but there they received their deathblow
(Col. 2:14, 15).

THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST.

I. ITS IMPORTANT PLACE IN THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION.

1. IT HOLDS A UNIQUE PLACE IN CHRISTIANITY.

Christianity is the only religion that bases its claim to acceptance
upon the resurrection of its founder. For any other religion to
base its claim on such a doctrine would be to court failure. Test
all other religions by this claim and see.

2. IT IS FUNDAMENTAL TO CHRISTIANITY.

In that wonderful chapter on the resurrection (1 Cor. 15) Paul
makes Christianity answer with its life for the literal truth of
the resurrection of Jesus Christ. That the body of the founder of
the Christian religion did not lie in the grave after the third day
is fundamental to the existence of the religion of Christ: "And
if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith
is also vain" (v. 14). "If Christ be not raised . . . ye are yet
in your sins" (v. 17). "Then they also which are fallen asleep in
Christ are perished" (v.18). Remove the resurrection from Paul's
Gospel, and his message is gone. The resurrection of Jesus Christ
is not an appendage to Paul's Gospel; it is a constitutive part of
it.

The importance of this doctrine is very evident from the prominent
part it played in the preaching of the Apostles: Peter--Acts 2:24,
32; 3:15; 4:10; 5:30; 10:40; 1 Peter 1:21, 23. Paul--Acts 13:30,
34; 17:31; 1 Cor. 15; Phil. 3:21. It was belief in such preaching
that led to the establishment of the Christian church. Belief in
the resurrection of Christ was the faith of the early church (Acts
4:33). The testimony to this great fact of Christian faith was borne
in the midst of the fiercest opposition. Nor was it controverted,
although the grave was well known and could have been pointed out.
It was in this fact that Christianity acquired a firm basis for
its historical development. There was not only an "Easter Message,"
there was also an "Easter Faith."

Our Lord's honor was, in a sense, staked upon the fact of His
resurrection. So important did He regard it that He remained forty
days upon the earth after His resurrection, giving many infallible
proofs of the great fact. He appealed to it again and again as
evidence of the truth of His claims: Matt. 12:39, 40; John 2:20-22.

Both the friends and the enemies of Christianity admit that the
resurrection of Jesus Christ is vital to the religion that bears His
name. The Christian confidently appeals to it as an incontrovertible
fact; the sceptic denies it altogether as a historical reality.
"If the resurrection really took place," says an assailant of it,
"then Christianity must be admitted to be what it claims to be--a
direct revelation from God." "If Christ be not risen," says the
Apostle Paul, "then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also
vain." The one tries all he can to do away with the proofs submitted
for the accepted fact; the other plainly says that if the resurrection
cannot be believed, then Christianity is nothing but a sham. If
the resurrection of Christ can be successfully denied, if it can be
proven to be absolutely untrue, then the whole fabric of the Gospel
falls to pieces, the whole structure of the Christian religion is
shaken at its foundation, and the very arch of Christianity crumbles
into dust. Then it has wrought only imaginary changes, deluded its
most faithful adherents, deceived and disappointed the hopes of
its most devoted disciples, and the finest moral achievements that
adorn the pages of the history of the Christian church have been
based upon a falsehood.

Nor must we ignore the prominent place the resurrection of Jesus
Christ occupies in the Scriptures. More than one hundred times is
it spoken of in the New Testament alone.

II. THE NATURE OF THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST.

1. JESUS CHRIST ACTUALLY DIED.

Some who disbelieve in the resurrection of Christ assert that Jesus
merely swooned, and that pitying hands took Him down from the cross,
thinking that He had died. The cool air of the tomb in which He was
placed revived Him, so that He came forth from the tomb as though
He had really risen from the dead. The disciples believed that He
had really died and risen again.

This theory is false for the following reasons:

Jesus Christ appeared to the disciples after the third day, not as
a weak, suffering, half-dead man, but as a conquering, triumphant
victor over death and the grave. He never could have made the
impression upon the disciples that He did, if He had presented the
picture of a sick, half-dead man.

From John 19:33-37 we learn that when the soldiers pierced the side
of Christ, _there came forth blood and water_. Physiologists
and physicists agree that such a condition of the vital organs,
including the heart itself, precludes the idea of a mere swoon,
and proves conclusively that death had taken place.

Joseph of Arimathaea asked permission to bury the body of Jesus
because he knew that Jesus had been pronounced dead (Matt. 27:57,
58).

When the news was brought to Pilate that Christ had died, it is
said that "Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling
unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while
dead. And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to
Joseph" (Mark 15:44, 45).

The women brought spices to anoint a dead body, not a half-dead
Christ (Mark 16:1).

The soldiers pronounced Him dead: "But when they came to Jesus, and
saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs" (John 19:33).

Jesus Christ Himself, He who is the Truth, testifies to the fact
that He had really died: Rev. 1:18--"I am he that liveth, and was
dead."

2. THE FACT THAT CHRIST'S BODY WAS ACTUALLY RAISED FROM THE DEAD.

The resurrection of Christ is not a spiritual resurrection, nor
were his appearances to the disciples spiritual manifestations.
He appeared to His disciples in a bodily form. The body that was
laid in Joseph's tomb came forth on that first Easter morn twenty
centuries ago.

Some maintain that it is not vital to belief in the resurrection
of Christ that we insist on a literal resurrection of the body
of Jesus; all that we need to insist on is that Christ was ever
afterwards known to be the victor over death, and that He had the
power of an endless life. So it comes to pass that we have what is
called an "Easter Message," as contrasted with an "Easter Faith"
which believes in the literal resurrection of Jesus Christ from the
dead. "Faith has by no means to do with the knowledge of the form
in which Jesus lives, but only with the conviction that He is
the living Lord."--_Harnack_ in _What is Christianity?_
According to this theory, belief in Christ's resurrection means
nothing more than belief in the survival of the soul of Jesus--that
somehow or other Jesus was alive, and lived with God, while His
body yet saw corruption in the grave.

We reply: This cannot be, for all the facts in the Gospel narratives
contradict such a theory. Let us examine these narratives.

a) We are Confronted by the Fact of an Empty Tomb.

Matt. 28:6; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:3, 12; John 20:1, 2. The fact that
the tomb was empty is testified to by competent witnesses --both
friends and enemies: by the women, the disciples, the angels, and
the Roman guards. How shall we account for the absence of the body
of Jesus from the tomb? That it had not been stolen by outside parties
is evident from the testimony of the soldiers who were bribed to
tell that story (Matt. 28:11-15). Such a guard never would have
allowed such a thing to take place. Their lives would have been
thereby jeopardized. And if they were asleep (v. 13), how could
they know what took place? Their testimony under such circumstances
would be useless.

The condition in which the linen cloths were found lying by those
who entered the tomb precludes the possibility of the body being
stolen. Had such been the case the cloths would have been taken
with the body, and not left in perfect order, thereby showing that
the body had gone out of them. Burglars do not leave things in such
perfect order. There is no order in haste.

Then again, we have the testimony of angels to the fact that Jesus
had really risen as foretold (Matt. 28:6; Mark 16:6). The testimony
of angels is surely trustworthy (Heb. 2:2).

b) There are Other Resurrections Mentioned in the Gospel Records
which were Undoubtedly Bodily Resurrections.

Matt. 9:18-26; Luke 7:11-18; John 11:1-44. These incidents throw
light upon the resurrection of Jesus. Why did the officers say
that they were afraid "that his disciples should come by night and
steal him away" if they did not refer to the _body_ of Jesus?
They surely could not steal His soul.

c) Those Who Saw Him After the Resurrection Recognized Him as Having
the Same Body as He Had Before, Even to the Wound Prints.

John 20:27; Luke 24:37-39. It is true that there were occasions on
which He was not recognizable by the disciples, but such occasions
were the result of the eyes of the disciples being holden in order
that they might not know him. There was divine intervention on
these occasions. Does Christ still retain the prints of the nails?
Is He still the Lamb as though it had been slain? (Rev. 5 and 6).

d) There Can Be No Doubt of the Fact that the Apostle Paul Believed
in the Bodily Resurrection of Christ.

The Corinthians, to whom the apostle wrote that wonderful treatise
on the resurrection (1 Cor. 15), were not spending their time denying
a _spiritual_ resurrection; nor was the apostle spending his
time trying to produce convincing arguments for a _spiritual_
resurrection. (See also Rom. 8:11.)

e) It is Clear also from Christ's Own Testimony Before and After
the Resurrection.

Matt. 17:23; Luke 24:39; Rev. 1:18. No other construction can
legitimately be put upon these words than that Christ here refers
to the resurrection of His body.

f) The Apostolic Testimony Corroborates this Fact.

Acts 2:24-32; 1 Pet. 1:3, 21; 3:21. Peter was at the tomb; he it
was who stepped inside and saw the linen cloths lying. His testimony
ought to be beyond question as to the fact at issue.

g) The Record of the Appearances of Christ Prove a Literal, Physical
Resurrection.

Matt. 28:9, 10; John 20:14-18, cf. Mark 16:9; Luke 24:13-32; John
21, etc. All these appearances bear witness to the fact that it was
not an incorporeal spirit or phantom, but a real, bodily Christ that
they saw. He could be seen, touched, handled; He was recognizable;
He ate and drank in their presence.

h) Lastly, Many Passages in the Scriptures Would Be Unintelligible
Except on the Ground of a Bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ from
the Grave.

Rom. 8:11, 23; Eph. 1:19, 20; Phil. 3:20, 21; 1 Thess. 4:13-17.

3. THE NATURE OF THE RESURRECTION BODY OF CHRIST.

a) It was a Real Body; not a Ghost, nor a Phantom.

That the resurrection body of Jesus was not a phantom, but a body
composed of "flesh and bones" is evident from Luke 24:36-43. It
could be "touched" (John 20:20), and bore the marks of His passion
(John 20:24-29). The likeness to His earthly body was not wholly
parted with. [NOTE: Does this throw any light on the matter
of recognition in heaven? Has Jesus Christ still this body in the
glory? Shall we know Him by the prints?]

b) Yet the Body of Jesus was more than a mere Natural Body.

It bore marks and possessed attributes which proclaimed a relation
to the celestial or supra-terrestrial sphere. For example: It could
pass through barred doors (John 20:19), thus transcending physical
limitations. It was not recognizable at times (Luke 24: 13-16;
John 20:14, 15; 21:4, 12; Mark 16:12). This fact may be accounted
for in two ways: First, supernaturally--their eyes were holden;
Second, that in that risen life the spiritual controls the material
rather than as here, the material the spiritual; so that the spirit
could change the outward form of the body at will and at any given
time. [Yet, note how Jesus had power to make Himself known by little
acts, such as the breaking of the bread, and the tone of His voice.
Do we carry these little characteristics into the other life? Shall
we know our loved ones by these things?] Then again, Jesus was able
to vanish out of sight of His friends (Luke 24:31; John 20:19, 26;
Luke 24:51; Acts 1:9). And so He could be in different places at
very short intervals of time.

Can we explain these facts? No, not fully. Yet we must not be so
material as to totally disbelieve them. "Daily, indeed, are men
being forced to recognize that the world holds more mysteries than
they formerly imagined it to do. Probably physicists are not so
sure of the impenetrability of matter, or even of the conservation
of energy, as they once were; and newer speculations on the etheric
basis of matter, and on the relation of the seen to the unseen
universe (or universes) with forces and laws largely unknown, open
up vistas of possibility which may hold in them the key to phenomena
even as extraordinary as those in question."--_James Orr_.

c) Christ's Resurrection Body was Immortal.

Not only is it true that Christ's body has not seen death since His
resurrection, but it cannot die again. Rom. 6:9, 10; Rev. 1:18, cf.
Luke 20:36. [The lesson for us from this: Christ is the first-fruits
(1 Cor. 15:20).]

III. THE CREDIBILITY OF THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST.

Credibility refers to the acceptance of a fact in a manner that
deserves belief; it is belief based upon good authority, reliable
facts, and competent witnesses. Credulity is belief in a thing without
respect to the strength or weakness, reliability or unreliability of
the authority, facts, or witnesses; it is a believing too readily,
and with no reason for the faith or hope. The resurrection of
Christ is a fact proven by competent evidence, and deserving of
intelligent acceptance and belief. It is a doctrine buttressed by
"many infallible proofs."

The lines of proof for the credibility of Christ's resurrection
which may be followed in harmony with our purpose are as follows:

1. THE ARGUMENT FROM CAUSE AND EFFECT.

Certain things, conditions, institutions exist in our midst today;
they are effects of causes, or a cause; what is that cause? Among
these we may mention--

a) The Empty Tomb.

That was an effect; what was its cause? How did that grave become
empty? (See under II. a), p. 87). The fact of an empty tomb must be
accounted for. How do we account for it? Renan, the French sceptic,
wittingly said, and yet how truly: "You Christians live on the
fragrance of an empty tomb."

b) The Lord's Day.

The Lord's Day is not the original Sabbath. Who dared change it?
For what reason, and on what ground was it changed? Ponder the
tenacity with which the Jews held on to their Sabbath given in
Eden, and buttressed amid the thunders of Sinai. Recall how Jews
would sooner die than fight on the Sabbath day (cf. Titus' invasion
of Jerusalem on the Sabbath). The Jews never celebrated the birthdays
of great men; they celebrated events, like the Passover. Yet, in
the New Testament times we find Jews changing their time-honored
seventh day to the first day of the week, and, contrary to all
precedent, calling that day after a man--the Lord's Day. Here is an
effect, a tremendous effect; what was its cause? We cannot have
an effect without a cause. The resurrection of our Lord was the
cause for this great change in the day of worship.

c) The Christian Church.

We know what a grand and noble institution the Christian church
is. What would this world be without it? Its hymns, worship,
philanthropy, ministrations of mercy are all known to us. Where did
this institution come from? It is an effect, a glorious effect; what
is its cause? When the risen Christ appeared unto the discouraged
disciples and revived their faith and hope, they went forth, under
the all-conquering faith in a risen and ascended Lord, and preached
the story of His life, death, resurrection, ascension, and coming
again. Men believed these teachings; gathered themselves together
to study the Scriptures, to pray, to worship Christ, and to extend
His kingdom among men. This is how the church came into existence.
Its cause was the resurrection of Christ.

d) The New Testament.

If Jesus Christ had remained buried in the grave, the story of His
life and death would have remained buried with Him. The New Testament
is an effect of Christ's resurrection. It was the resurrection
that put heart into the disciples to go forth and tell its story.
Sceptics would have us believe that the resurrection of Christ
was an afterthought of the disciples to give the story of Christ's
life a thrilling climax, a decorative incident which satisfies
the dramatic feeling in man, a brilliant picture at the end of an
heroic life. We reply: There would have been no beautiful story
to put a climax to if there had been no resurrection of the Christ
of the story. The resurrection does not grow out of the beautiful
story of His life, but the beautiful story of Christ's life grew
out of the fact of the resurrection. The New Testament is the book
of the resurrection.

2. THE ARGUMENT FROM TESTIMONY.

a) As to the Number of the Witnesses.

The resurrection of Christ as a historical fact is verified by a
sufficient number of witnesses: over five hundred (1 Cor. 15:3-9).
In our courts, one witness is enough to establish murder; two,
high treason; three, the execution of a will; seven, an oral will.
Seven is the greatest number required under our law. Christ's
resurrection had five hundred and fourteen. Is not this a sufficient
number?

b) As to the Character of the Witnesses.

The value of the testimony of a witness depends much upon his
character; if that is impeached, then the testimony is discounted.
Scrutinize carefully the character of the men who bore witness to
the fact of Christ's resurrection. Impeach them if you can. They
are unassailable on ethical grounds. "No honorable opponent of the
Gospel has ever denied this fact. Their moral greatness awakened
an Augustine, a Francis of Assisi, and a Luther. They have been the
unrivalled pattern of all mature and moral manhood for nearly two
thousand years." In law much is made of the question of _motive_.
What motive could the apostles have had in perpetrating the story
of Christ's resurrection upon people? Every one of them (except
one) died a martyr's death for his loyalty to the story of Christ's
resurrection. What had they to gain by fraud? Would they have
sacrificed their lives for what they themselves believed to be an
imposture?

Nor are we to slight the testimony to Christ's resurrection that
comes to us from sources other than that of the inspired writers
of the New Testament. Ignatius, a Christian, and a contemporary of
Christ, a martyr for his faith in Christ, in his _Letter to the
Philadelphians_, says: "Christ truly suffered, as He also truly
raised up Himself. I _know_ that after the resurrection He was
in the flesh, and I believe Him to be so still. And when He came
to those who were with Peter, He said to them, 'Take, handle me,
and see that I am not an incorporeal phantom!'" Tertullian, in
his _Apolegeticus_, says: "The fame of our Lord's remarkable
resurrection and ascension being now spread abroad, Pontius Pilate,
according to an ancient custom of communicating novel occurrences
to the emperor, that nothing might escape him, transmitted to
Tiberius, Emperor of Rome, an account of the resurrection of our
Lord from the dead...Tiberius referred the whole matter to the
Senate, who, being unacquainted with the facts, rejected it." The
integrity of this passage is unquestioned by even the most sceptical
critics.

Alleged Discrepancies.

[Footnote: The following extract from Dr. Orr's book, _The
Resurrection of Jesus_, will throw some light on the matter
of differences in testimony, while maintaining the credibility of
the fact itself. "An instructive example is furnished in a recent
issue of the _Bibliotheca Sacra_. A class in history was studying
the French Revolution, and the pupils were asked to look the matter
up, and report next day by what vote Louis XVI was condemned. Nearly
half the class reported that the vote was unanimous. A considerable
number protested that he was condemned by a majority of one. A few
gave the majority as 145 in a vote of 721. How utterly irreconcilable
these reports seemed! Yet for each the authority of reputable
historians could be given. In fact, all were true, and the full
truth was a combination of all three. On the first vote as to the
king's guilt there was no contrary voice. Some tell only of this.
The vote on the penalty was given individually, with reasons, and
a majority of 145 declared for the death penalty, at once or after
peace was made with Austria, or after confirmation by the people.
The votes for immediate death were only 361 as against 360. History
abounds with similar illustrations. As an example of another kind,
reference may be made to Rev. R. J. Campbell's volume of _Sermons
Addressed to Individuals_, where, on pp. 145-6 and pp. 181-2,
the same story of a Brighton man is told with affecting dramatic
details. The story is no doubt true in substance; but for
'discrepancies'--let the reader compare them, and never speak more
(or Mr. Campbell either) of the Gospels!"]

The seeming differences in the testimony of the witnesses to the
resurrection may be largely, if not altogether reconciled by a
correct knowledge of the manner and order of the _appearances_
of Christ after His resurrection.

The following order of appearances may help in the understanding
of the testimony to the resurrection:

1. The women at the grave see the vision of angels.

2. The women separate at the grave to make known the news --Mary
Magdalene going to tell Peter and John, who doubtless lived close
by (for it seems that they reached the grave in a single run). The
other women go to tell the other disciples who, probably, were at
Bethany.

3. Peter and John, hearing the news, run to the grave, leaving
Mary. They then return home.

4. Mary follows; lingers at the grave; gets vision of the Master,
and command to go tell the disciples.

5. The other women see Christ on the way.

6. Christ appears to the two on the way to Emmaus.

7. To Simon Peter.

8. To the ten apostles, and other friends.

9. To the apostles at Tiberias.

10. To the apostles and multitude on the mount.

11. To the disciples and friends at the ascension.

12. To James (1 Cor. 15:7).

13. To Paul (1 Cor. 15:Cool.

IV. THE RESULTS OF THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST.

1. AS TO JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF.

Rom. 1:4--"And declared to be the Son of God with power, according
to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." To
"declare" means to mark off, to define, to set apart (Acts 10:42;
Heb. 4:7). NOTE: Christ was not _made_ the Son of God by the
resurrection, but _declared_ such. Had Christ remained in the
grave as other men had done, there would then have been no reasonable
ground to impose faith in Him. The empty tomb testifies to the
deity of Christ.

Matt. 18:38-42; John 2:13-22. In these scriptures Jesus Christ bases
His authority for His teaching and the truth of all His claims on
His resurrection from the dead. (Cf. under I. 2, in this chapter,
p. 84.) See also Matt. 28:6--"Risen, as he said."

2. AS TO THE BELIEVER IN JESUS CHRIST.

a) Assures Him of His Acceptance with God.

Rom. 4:25--"Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised
again for our justification." So long as Christ lay in the grave
there was no assurance that His redemptive work had been acceptable
to God. The fact that God raised Jesus from the dead was evidence
that the Father was satisfied with the sacrifice Christ had made
for the sins of men. "Of righteousness, because I go unto my Father"
(John 16:10). Believing sinners may now rest satisfied that in Him
they are justified. This thought is illustrated by the picture of
the Jews waiting outside the temple for the coming out of the high
priest (Luke 1:21), thereby indicating that their sacrifice had
been accepted.

b) Assures of Him an Interceding High Priest in the Heavens.

Rom. 8:34--"Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea
rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God,
who also maketh intercession for us." Also Heb. 7:25. Salvation
was not completed at the Cross; there is still need of daily
forgiveness, and so of the continual presenting of the shed blood
before the mercy-seat. The accusations of Satan still need to be
answered (Zec. 3:1-5; Job 1 and 2; Heb. 7:25). We need a Moses,
not only to deliver us from bondage, but also to plead for us and
intercede for us because of our sins committed in the wilderness
journey. Herein is our assurance of forgiveness of sins committed
after conversion--that our great High Priest is always heard (John
11:42), and that He prays constantly for us that our faith fail
not (Luke 22:32). Our temporary falls shall not condemn us, for
our Priest intercedes for us.

c) Assures Him of All Needed Power for Life and Service.

Eph. 1:19-22--"The exceeding greatness of his power . . . which
he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set
him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all
principality, and power, and might, . . . and gave him to be the
head over all things to the church." Also Phil. 3:10. There are
two standards in the Bible by which God's power is gauged: In the
Old Testament, when God would have His people know the extent of His
power, it is according to the power by which He brought Israel out
of Egypt (Micah 7:15); in the New Testament, the unit of measurement
of God's power is "According to the working of his mighty power,
which he wrought in Christ . . . when he raised him from the
dead." The connection of Phil. 3:10 gives the believer the promise
and assurance not only of present power and victory, but also of
future glorification. If we desire to know what God is able to do
for and through us we are invited to look at the resurrection of
Jesus Christ.

d) The Assurance of His Own Resurrection and Immortality.

1 Thess. 4:14--"For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again,
even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him."

2 Cor. 4:14--"Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall
raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you." John
14:19--"Because I live, ye shall live also."

3. AS TO THE WORLD.

a) The Certainty of a Resurrection.

1 Cor. 15:22--"As in Adam all die; even so in Christ shall all
be made alive." Paul is here discussing a _bodily,_ and not
a _spiritual_, resurrection (see under II. 2 d), p. 88). As
in Adam all men die physically, so in Christ all men are raised
physically. The resurrection of Jesus Christ guarantees the
resurrection of all men (see under Resurrection, p. 245).

b) The Certainty of a Judgment Day.

Acts 17:31--"Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will
judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained;
whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised
him from the dead." The resurrection of Christ is God's unfailing
testimony to the fact of a coming day of judgment for the world.
The one is as sure as the other.

The Ascension and Exaltation of Jesus Christ.

I. THE MEANING OF THESE TERMS.

When we speak of the _Ascension_ of Christ we refer to that
event in the life of our risen Lord in which He departed visibly
from His disciples into heaven. This event is recorded in Acts
1:9-11--"This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven,"
etc.

By the _Exaltation_ of Jesus Christ we mean that act of God
by which the risen and ascended Christ is given the place of power
at the right hand of God. Phil. 2:9--"Wherefore God also hath highly
exalted him and given him a name which is above every name." Eph.
1:20, 21--"Which he (God) wrought in Christ, when he raised him
from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly
places, far above all principality and power." See also Heb. 1:3.

II. THE SCRIPTURAL DATA FOR THE DOCTRINE.

Foregleams of this truth were granted to the prophets of the Old
Testament times, Psa. 110:1; 68:18. They saw Christ in prophetic
vision not only as the meek and lowly One, but as the ascended and
glorified Lord.

Our Lord Himself, on many occasions, foretold His ascension and
exaltation. These events were constantly before His mind's eye:
Luke 9:51; John 6:62; 20:17.

The New Testament writers record the event: Mark 16:19; Luke 24:51;
John 3:13; Acts 1:9-11; Eph. 4:8-10; Heb. 10:12.

Stephen, in his dying moments, was granted a vision of the exalted
Christ. He saw the "Son of Man standing on the right hand of God"
(Acts 7:55, 36).

The apostles taught and preached these great truths: Peter, Acts
2:33, 34; 5:31; 1 Peter 3:22. Paul: Eph. 4:8-10; Heb. 4:14; 1 Tim.
3:16.

III. THE NECESSITY OF THE ASCENSION AND EXALTATION OF JESUS CHRIST.

The nature of the resurrection body of our Lord necessitated
His ascension and exaltation. Such a body could not be subject to
ordinary laws; it could not permanently abide here.

Christ's unique personality also required such an exit from the
world. Should not the exit of Christ from this world be as unique
as His entrance into it? Then, again, consider the sinlessness of
His life. If a miraculous exit was granted to men like Elijah and
Enoch, who were sinful men, why should we marvel if such was granted
to Christ? Indeed it seems perfectly natural, and quite in keeping
with His whole life that just such an event as the ascension and
exaltation should form a fitting finish to such a wonderful career.

The ascension and exaltation were necessary to complete the redemptive
work of Christ. His work was not finished when He arose from the
dead. He had not yet presented the blood of the atonement in the
presence of the Father; nor had He yet been given His place at the
right hand of the Father as the bestower of all spiritual gifts,
and especially the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The apostles were thus able to furnish to an unbelieving and
inquisitive world a satisfactory account of the disappearance of
the body of Christ which had been placed in the tomb, and which
they claimed to have seen after the resurrection. "Where is your
Christ?" the scoffing world might ask. "We saw Him ascend up into
the heaven, and He is now at the Father's right hand," the apostles
could reply.

It was further necessary in order that Christ might become an ideal
object of worship for the whole human race. We should not forget
that Christ's earthly ministry was a purely local one: He could be
but in one place at a time. Those who worshipped at His feet in
Jerusalem could not, at the same time, worship Him in any other
place. This was the lesson, doubtless, that the Master desired to
teach Mary when she would fain hold on to Him, and when He said,
"Touch me not." Mary must worship now by faith, not by sight.

IV. THE NATURE OF THE ASCENSION AND EXALTATION OF JESUS CHRIST.

1. IT WAS A BODILY AND VISIBLE ASCENSION.

Acts 1:9-11; Luke 24:51. It was the same Christ they had known in
life, only glorified, who had tarried with them now for the space
of forty days, who had delivered unto them certain commandments,
and whose hands were even then outstretched in blessing that they
saw slowly vanishing from their view up into the heavens. It was
a body of flesh and bones, not flesh and blood. So will be our
translation (1 Cor. 15:51, 52).

2. HE PASSED UP THROUGH THE HEAVENS.

Heb. 4:14 (R. V.); Eph. 4:10; Heb. 7:26. Whatever and how many
created heavens there may be between the earth and the dwelling
place of God, we may not know, but we are here told that Christ
passed through them all, and up to the highest heaven, indeed was
made higher than the heavens. This means that He overcame all those
evil principalities and powers that inhabit these heavenlies (Eph.
6) and who doubtless tried their best to keep Him from passing
through the heavens to present His finished work before the Father.
Just as the high priest passed through the vail into the holy place,
so Christ passed through the heavens into the presence of God.

3. HE TOOK HIS PLACE AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER.

He was exalted to the right hand of God. Eph. 1:20--"Set him at his
own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality
and power." Col. 3:1--"Christ sitteth on the right hand of God."
This place was not taken by Christ without conflict with these
evil principalities and powers. But "He made a show of them openly,
triumphing over them in it" (Col. 2:15). See also Acts 5:31.

What is meant by "the right hand of God"? Is it a definite place,
or is it simply a figure of speech denoting a place of authority
and power? Why can not both things be included? God has His dwelling
place in heaven, and it is not incredible to believe that from the
throne there Christ exercises His divine prerogatives. Stephen
saw Christ standing at the right hand of God in heaven.

The "right hand of God" assuredly indicates the place of the
accuser whom Christ casts out (Zec. 3:1; Rev. 12:10); the place of
intercession which Christ now occupies (Rom. 8:34); the place of
acceptance where the Intercessor now sits (Psa. 110:1); the place
of highest power and richest blessing (Gen. 48:13-19); the place of
power (Psa. 110:5). All these powers and prerogatives are Christ's
by reason of His finished work of redemption.

V. THE PURPOSE OF THE ASCENSION AND EXALTATION OF JESUS CHRIST.

1. HE HAS ENTERED HEAVEN AS A FORERUNNER.

Heb. 6:20--"Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus."
The forerunner is one who enters into a place where the rest are
to follow; one who is sent before to make observations; a scout, a
spy. The Levitical high priest was not a forerunner; no one could
follow him. But where Christ goes His people may go also.

2. HE HAS GONE TO PREPARE A PLACE FOR HIS PEOPLE.

Heb. 9:21-24; John 14:2. He is there making all necessary preparations
for the coming of His bride, the Church. In some way it seems that
the heavenly sanctuary had been defiled by sin. It was necessary,
therefore, that Christ purge it with His blood. What a home that
will be if He prepares it!

3. HE IS NOW APPEARING BEFORE GOD IN OUR BEHALF.

Heb. 9:24--"To appear in the presence of God for us." He is there
to act as High Priest in our behalf; to present the blood of
atonement. "Before the throne my Surety stands." And yet not so
much before the throne as on the throne. He is the Kingly Priest.
With authority He asks, and His petitions are granted.

4. HE HAS TAKEN HIS PLACE AT THE FATHER'S RIGHT HAND THAT HE MAY
FILL ALL THINGS, AWAITING THE DAY WHEN HE SHALL HAVE UNIVERSAL
DOMINION.

Eph. 4:10. He fills all things with His presence, with His work,
with Himself. He is not a local Christ any longer (cf. Jer. 23:24).

Heb. 10:12, 13; Acts 3:20, 21--"He shall send Jesus Christ . . .
. whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of
all things." Having won His victory, Christ is now waiting for
all the spoils to be gathered. He is expecting, not doubting, but
assuredly waiting; already His feet are upon the neck of the enemy.
The Apocalypse pictures Christ entering upon the actual possession
of His kingdom.

VI. THE RESULTS OF THE ASCENSION AND EXALTATION OF JESUS CHRIST.

1. IT ASSURES US OF A FREE AND CONFIDENT ACCESS INTO THE PRESENCE
OF GOD.

Heb. 4:14-16 (R. V.)--"Having then a great high priest, who hath
passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast
our confession. . . . . Let us therefore draw near with boldness
unto the throne of grace." Our great High Priest is before the
throne to present petitions, secure pardons for His people, and
to communicate blessings in answer to their faith and prayers. We
may have a free and fearless confidence in our approach to God.

2. AN ASSURED HOPE OF IMMORTALITY.

2 Cor. 5:1-8 describes the longing of the Christian to be clothed
with a body after he has been called upon to lay aside this earthly
tabernacle. He has no desire for a bodiless existence. The ascension
and exaltation of Christ assures the believer that as Christ, so
he also will take his place in heaven with a body like unto Christ's
own glorious body.

3. IT GIVES THE BELIEVER CONFIDENCE IN GOD'S PROVIDENCE TO BELIEVE
THAT ALL THINGS ARE WORKING TOGETHER FOR HIS GOOD

Seeing that Christ, the believer's Head, is exalted far above all
things in heaven and earth, it is possible for the believer to be
master of circumstances, and superior to all his environment (Eph.
1:22; cf. Col. 1:15-18).

4. CHRIST HAS BEEN MADE HEAD OVER ALL THINGS FOR THE CHURCH.

That is to say, that everything is subject to Christ, and that for
the Church's sake. Eph. 1:22 (R. V.)--"And he put all things in
subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things
to the church." Christ is the fullness of the Father for the Church
(Col. 1:19; 2:9, 10). Christ bestows the Holy Spirit upon the
Church (Acts 2:33-36; John 7:37-39). He receives for, and bestows
upon the Church spiritual gifts (Eph. 4:8-12).
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Re: BIBLE DOCTRINES - THEOLOGY / STUDY OF GOD

Post  Admin on Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:49 am

THE DOCTRINE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

I. THE PERSONALITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

1. PERSONAL NAMES GIVEN TO THE SPIRIT.
2. PERSONAL PRONOUNS USED OF THE SPIRIT.
3. THE SPIRIT ASSOCIATED WITH THE FATHER AND THE SON.
4. THE SPIRIT POSSESSES PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS.
5. PERSONAL ACTS ARE ASCRIBED TO THE HOLY SPIRIT.
6. THE SPIRIT IS SUBJECT TO PERSONAL TREATMENT.

II. THE DEITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

1. DIVINE NAMES ARE GIVEN TO THE SPIRIT.
2. DIVINE ATTRIBUTES.
3. DIVINE WORKS.
4. NAME OF THE SPIRIT ASSOCIATED WITH NAMES OF THE DEITY.
5. COMPARISON OF OLD TESTAMENT PASSAGES WITH SOME IN THE NEW
TESTAMENT.

III. THE NAMES OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

1. THE HOLY SPIRIT.
2. THE SPIRIT OF GRACE.
3. THE SPIRIT OF BURNING.
4. THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH.
5. THE SPIRIT OF LIFE.
6. THE SPIRIT OF WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE.
7. THE SPIRIT OF PROMISE.
8. THE SPIRIT OF GLORY.
9. THE SPIRIT OF GOD AND OF CHRIST.

IV. THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

1. IN RELATION TO THE WORLD.
a) The Universe.
b) The World of Mankind.
2. IN RELATION TO THE BELIEVER.
3. IN RELATION TO THE SCRIPTURES.
4. IN RELATION TO JESUS CHRIST.

V. OFFENCES AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT.

1. BY THE SINNER.
a) Resisting.
b) Insulting.
c) Blaspheming.
2. BY THE BELIEVER.
a) Grieving.
b) Lying to.
c) Quenching.





THE DOCTRINE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

We are living in the Age of the Spirit. The Old Testament period
may be called the Age of the Father; the period covered by the
Gospels, the Age of the Son; from Pentecost until the second advent
of Christ, the Age of the Spirit.

All matters pertaining to the doctrine of the Holy Spirit should,
therefore, be of special interest to us who live in this age
of special privilege. Yet how ignorant is the average Christian
concerning matters pertaining to the Spirit. The Christian church
today needs to heed Paul's exhortation: "Now concerning spiritual
gifts (or, perhaps better, "matters pertaining to the Spirit"),
I would not have you ignorant." May it not be that the reason why
the sin against the Holy Spirit is so grievous is because it is a
sin committed in the light and with the knowledge of the clearest
and fullest revelation of the Godhead. We cannot, therefore, afford
to remain in ignorance of this all-important doctrine.

I. THE PERSONALITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

It seems strange that it should be necessary to discuss this phase
of the subject at all. Indeed, in the light of the last discourse
of the Master (John 14-16), it seems superfluous, if not really
insulting. During all the ages of the Christian era, however, it
has been necessary to emphasize this phase of the doctrine of the
Spirit (cf. Arianism, Socinianism, Unitarianism).

1. WHY IS THE PERSONALITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT QUESTIONED?

a) Because, as Contrasted with the Other Persons of the Godhead,
the Spirit Seems Impersonal.

The visible creation makes the personality of God the Father
somewhat easy to conceive; the incarnation makes it almost, if not
altogether, impossible to disbelieve in the personality of Jesus
Christ; but the acts and workings of the Holy Spirit are so secret
and mystical, so much is said of His influence, graces, power and
gifts, that we are prone to think of Him as an influence, a power,
a manifestation or influence of the Divine nature, an agent rather
than a Person.

b) Because of the Names Given to the Holy Spirit.

He is called _breath, wind, power._ The symbols used in
speaking of the Spirit are _oil, fire, water,_ etc. See John
3:5-8; Acts 2:1-4; John 20:22; 1 John 2:20. It is not strange that
in view of all this some students of the Scriptures may have been
led to believe, erroneously of course, that the Holy Spirit is an
impersonal influence emanating from God the Father.

c) Because the Holy Spirit is not usually Associated with the Father
and the Son in the Greetings and Salutation of the New Testament.

For illustration, see 1 Thess. 3:11--"Now God himself and our Father,
and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you." Yet we must
remember, in this connection, that the Apostolic Benediction in 2
Cor. 13:14 does associate the three persons of the Trinity, thereby
asserting their personality equally.

d) Because the Word or Name "Spirit" is Neuter.

It is true that the same Greek word is translated _wind_ and
_Spirit;_ also that the Authorized Version uses the neuter
pronoun "itself," when speaking of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:16, 26).
As we shall see later, the Revised Version substitutes "himself"
for "itself."

The importance of the personality of the Spirit, and of our being
assured of this fact is forcibly set forth by Dr. R. A. Torrey:
"If the Holy Spirit is a Divine Person and we know it not, we are
robbing a Divine Being of the love and adoration which are His due.
It is of the highest practical importance whether the Holy Spirit
is a power that we, in our ignorance and weakness, are somehow to
get hold of and use, or whether the Holy Spirit is a personal Being
. . . . who is to get hold of us and use us. It is of the highest
experimental importance. . . . . Many can testify to the blessing
that came into their lives when they came to know the Holy Spirit,
not merely as a gracious influence . . . . but as an ever-present,
loving friend and helper."

2. METHOD OF PROOF.

It is difficult to define _personality_ when used of the
Divine Being. God cannot be measured by human standards. God was
not made in the image of man, but man in the image of God. God is
not a deified man; man is rather a limited God ("a little . . ..
less than God." Heb. 2:7, R. V.). Only God has a perfect personality.
When, however, one possesses the attributes, properties and qualities
of personality, then personality may be unquestionably predicated
of such a being. Does the Holy Spirit possess such properties? Let
us see.

a) Names that Imply Personality are Given to the Spirit.

_The Comforter:_ John 14:16; 16:7. "Comforter" means one who
is called to your side--as a client calls a lawyer. That this name
cannot be used of any abstract, impersonal influence is clear from
the fact that in 1 John 2:1 the same word is used of Christ. (See
Rom. 8:26). Again in John 14:16 the Holy Spirit, as the Paraclete,
is to take the place of a person--Christ Himself, and to personally
guide the disciples just as Jesus had been doing. No one but a
person can take the place of a person; certainly no mere influence
could take the place of Jesus Christ, the greatest personality
that ever lived. Again, Christ, in speaking of the Spirit as the
Comforter, uses the masculine definite article, and thus, by His
choice of gender, teaches the personality of the Holy Spirit. There
can be no parity between a person and an influence.

b) Personal Pronouns are Used of the Holy Spirit.

John 16:7, 8, 13-15: Twelve times in these verses the Greek masculine
pronoun _ekeinos_ (that one, He) is used of the Spirit. This
same word is used of Christ in 1 John 2:6; 3:3, 5, 7, 16. This is
especially remarkable because the Greek word for spirit (_pneuma_)
is neuter, and so should have a neuter pronoun; yet, contrary
to ordinary usage, a masculine pronoun is here used. This is
not a pictorial personification, but a plain, definite, clear-cut
statement asserting the personality of the Holy Spirit. Note also
that where, in the Authorized Version, the neuter pronoun is used,
the same is corrected in the Revised Version: not "itself," but
"Himself" (Rom. 8:16,26).

c) The Holy Spirit is Identified with the Father and the Son--and,
indeed, with Christians--in Such a Way as to Indicate Personality.

The Baptismal Formula. Matt. 28:19. Suppose we should read,
"Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of
_the wind or breath_." Would that sound right? If the first
two names are personal, is not the third? Note also: "In the name"
(singular), not names (plural), implying that all three are Persons
equally,

The Apostolic Benediction. 2 Cor. 13:14. The same argument may be
used as that in connection with the Baptismal Formula, just cited.

Identification with Christians. Acts 15:28. "For it seemeth good
to the Holy Ghost, and to us." Shall we say, "It seemeth good to
_the wind_ and to us"? It would be absurd. 10:38--"How God
anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power."
Shall we read, "Anointed .. with _power_ and power?" Rom.
15:13--"That ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy
Ghost." Shall we read, "That ye may abound in hope, through the
power of the _power_"? See also Luke 4:14. Would not these
passages rebel against such tautological and meaningless usage?
Most assuredly.

d) Personal Characteristics are Ascribed to the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is represented as searching the deepest and
profoundest truths of God, and possessing knowledge of His counsels
sufficiently to understand His purposes (1 Cor. 2:10, 11). Could
a mere influence do this? See also Isa. 11:3; I Pet. 1:11.

Spiritual gifts are distributed to believers according to the
_will_ of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12). Here is wisdom, prudence and
discretion, all of which are distinguishing marks of personality.
The Spirit not only bestows spiritual gifts, but bestows them
discreetly, according as He thinks best. See John 3:8 also.

The Spirit is said to have a _mind_, and that implies thought,
purpose, determination: Rom. 8:27, cf. v. 7. Mind is an attribute
of personality.

e) Personal Acts are Ascribed to the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit _speaks_: Rev. 2:7 (cf. Matt. 17:5--"Hear ye him.")
It is the Spirit who speaks through the apostles (10:20). Speech
is an attribute of personality.

The Spirit _maketh intercession:_ Rom. 8:26 (R. V.), cf. Heb.
7:25; I John 2:1, 2, where Christ is said to "make intercession."

Acts 13:2; 16:6, 7; 20:28. In these passages the Holy Spirit is
seen _calling_ missionaries, _overseeing_ the church,
and _commanding_ the life and practice of the apostles and
the whole church. Such acts indicate personality.

f) The Holy Spirit is Susceptible to Personal Treatment.

He may be _grieved_ (Eph. 4:30); _insulted_ (Heb. 10.29);
_lied to_ (Acts 5:3); blasphemed and sinned against (Matt.
12:31, 32). Indeed, the sin against the Holy Spirit is a much more
grievous matter than the sin against the Son of Man. Can such be
said of an influence? Can it be said even of any of the sons of
men?

II. THE DEITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

By the Deity of the Holy Spirit is meant that the Holy Spirit is God.
This fact is clearly set forth in the Scriptures, in a five-fold
way:

1. DIVINE NAMES ARE GIVEN TO THE HOLY SPIRIT.

In Acts 5:4, the Spirit is called _God_. And this in opposition
to man, to whom, alone, Ananias thought he was talking. Can any
statement allege deity more clearly? In 2 Cor. 3:18--"We .... are
transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from
the Lord the Spirit" (R. V.)*. Here the Spirit is called the _Lord_.
For the meaning of "Lord" see under the Deity of Christ, p. 60.

* [SLBC NOTE: The quote from the American Standard Edition
of the Revised Bible, from which came several new translations, including
what is currently called The Revised Standard Version, leads to an
erroneous use of this verse as a proof text for the deity of the Holy Spirit.
Here, as in very many cases, the use of the wrong "bible" which gives
the wrong translation leads to wrong meaning for the verse and the
wrongful use of it as is plainly seen here in this case. There are other verses
that could be used as proof texts. It is never necessary to resort to the
use of a corrupt version. In fact it is confusing.]


2. THE HOLY SPIRIT POSSESSES DIVINE ATTRIBUTES.

He is _eternal_ in his nature (Heb. 9:14, R. V.); _omnipresent_
(Psa. 139:7-10); _omnipotent_ (Luke 1:35); _omniscient_
(1 Cor. 2:10, 11). For the meaning of these attributes, see under
the Doctrine of God and Jesus Christ, pp. 28 and 63.

3. DIVINE WORKS ARE ASCRIBED TO THE HOLY SPIRIT.

_Creation_ (Gen. 1:2; Psa. 104:30, R. V.); Job 33:4--"The Spirit
of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me
life." _Regeneration_ (John 3:5-Cool; _Resurrection_ (Rom.
8:11).

4. THE NAME OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IS ASSOCIATED WITH THAT OF THE
FATHER, AND OF THE SON.

See under Personality of the Spirit, p. 107. The same arguments
which there prove the Personality of the Spirit may be used here to
prove the Deity of the Spirit. It would be just as absurd to say,
"Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of
_Moses_"--thus putting Moses on an equality with the Father
and the Son--as it would be to say, "Baptizing them in the name of
the Father, and of the Son, and of the _wind_"--thus making
the wind as personal as the Father and the Son. The Spirit is
on an equality with the Father and the Son in the distribution of
spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:4-6).

5. PASSAGES WHICH IN THE OLD TESTAMENT REFER TO GOD ARE IN THE
NEW TESTAMENT MADE TO REFER TO THE HOLY SPIRIT.

Compare Isa. 6:8-10 with Acts 28:25-27; and Exod. 16:7 with Heb.
3:7-9.

III. THE NAMES OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

Just as the Father and the Son have certain names ascribed to them,
setting forth their nature and work, so also does the Holy Spirit
have names which indicate His character and work.

1. THE HOLY SPIRIT.

Luke 11:13--"How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy
Spirit to them that ask Him?" Rom. 1:4--"The Spirit of holiness."
In these passages it is the moral character of the Spirit that
is set forth. Note the contrast: "Ye, being evil," and "the Holy
Spirit." The Spirit is _holy_ in Himself and produces holiness
in others.

2. THE SPIRIT OF GRACE.

Heb. 10:29--"And hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace." As
the executive of the Godhead, the Spirit confers grace. To resist
the Spirit, therefore, is to shut off all hope of salvation. To
resist His appeal is to insult the Godhead. That is why the punishment
mentioned here is so awful.

3. THE SPIRIT OF BURNING.

Matt. 3:11, 12--"He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with
fire." Isa. 4:4--"When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of
the daughters of Zion.... by the spirit of judgment and the spirit
of burning." This cleansing is done by the blast of the Spirit's
burning. Here is the searching, illuminating, refining, dross-consuming
character of the Spirit. He burns up the dross in our lives when
He enters and takes possession.

4. THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH.

John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13; I John 5:6. As God is Love, so the Spirit
is Truth. He possesses, reveals, confers, leads into, testifies to,
and defends the truth. Thus He is opposed to the "spirit of error"
(1 John 4:6).

5. THE SPIRIT OF LIFE.

Rom. 8:2--"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath
made me free from the law of sin and death." That which had been
the actuating principle of life, namely, the flesh, is now deposed,
and its controlling place taken by the Spirit. The Spirit is thus
the dynamic of the believer's experience that leads him into a life
of liberty and power.

6. THE SPIRIT OF WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE.

That the references in Isa. 11:2; 61:1, 2 are to be understood
as referring to the Spirit that abode upon the Messiah, is clear
from Luke 4:18 where "Spirit" is capitalized. Christ's wisdom and
knowledge resulted, in one aspect of the case, from His being filled
with the Spirit. "Wisdom and understanding" refer to intellectual
and moral apprehension; "Counsel and might," the power to scheme,
originate, and carry out; "Knowledge and the fear of the Lord,"
acquaintance with the true will of God, and the determination
to carry it out at all costs. These graces are the result of the
Spirit's operations on the heart.

7. THE SPIRIT OF PROMISE.

Eph. 1:13--"Ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise." The
Spirit is the fulfillment of Christ's promise to send the Comforter,
and so He is the promised Spirit. The Spirit also confirms and seals
the believer, and thus assures him that all the promises made to
him shall be completely fulfilled.

8. THE SPIRIT OF GLORY.

1 Pet. 4:14--"The spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you."
What is glory? Glory as used in the Scripture means character.
The Holy Spirit is the One who produces godlike character in the
believer (cf. 2 Cor. 3:18).

9. THE SPIRIT OF GOD, AND OF CHRIST.

1 Cor. 3:16--"The Spirit of God dwelleth in you." Rom. 8:9--"Now
if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." The
fact that the Spirit is sent from the Father and the Son, that He
represents them, and is their executive, seems to be the thought
conveyed here.

10. THE COMFORTER (p. 109).

IV. THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

The Work of the Spirit may be summed up under the following headings:
His work in the universe; in humanity as a whole; in the believer;
with reference to the Scriptures; and, finally, with reference to
Jesus Christ.

1. IN RELATION TO THE WORLD.

a) With Regard to the Universe.

There is a sense in which the creation of the universe may be
ascribed to God's Spirit. Indeed Psa. 33:6--"By the word of the
Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath
(Spirit) of his mouth," attributes the work of creation to the
Trinity, the Lord, the Word of the Lord, and the Spirit of the Lord.
The creation of man is attributed to the Spirit. Job 33:4--"The
Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath
given me life." It would be proper, doubtless, to say that the
Father created all things through the agency of the Word and the
Spirit. In the Genesis account of creation (1:3) the Spirit is seen
actively engaged in the work of creation.

Not only is it true that the Spirit's agency is seen in the act of
creation, but His power is seen also in the preservation of nature.
Isa. 40:7--"The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, because the
spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it." A staggering declaration.

THE DOCTRINE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

The Spirit comes in the fierce east wind with its keen, biting
blast of death. He comes also in the summer zephyr, which brings
life and beauty.

b) With Regard to Humanity as a Whole.

John 16:8-11--"And when He is come, he will reprove the world of
sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment; of sin, because they
believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go unto my Father
and ye see me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this
world is judged." Here are three great facts of which the Spirit
bears witness to the world: the sin of unbelief in Christ; the
fact that Christ was righteous and absolutely true in all that He
claimed to be; the fact that the power of Satan has been broken. Of
sin: the sin in which all other sins are embraced; of righteousness:
the righteousness in which all other righteousness is manifested and
fulfilled; of judgment: the judgment in which all other judgments
are decided and grounded. Of sin, belonging to man; of righteousness,
belonging to Christ; of judgment, belonging to Satan.

John 15:26--"The Spirit of truth ... shall testify of me." Acts
5:32--"And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the
Holy Ghost." It is the work of the Holy Spirit to constantly bear
witness of Christ and His finished work to the world of sinful and
sinning men. This He does largely, although hardly exclusively,
through the testimony of believers to the saving power and work
of Christ: "Ye also shall bear witness" (John 15:27).

2. THE WORK OF THE SPIRIT IN RELATION TO THE BELIEVER.

a) He Regenerates the Believer.

John 3:3-5--"Born of ... the Spirit." Tit. 3:5--"The... renewing
of the Holy Ghost." Sonship, and membership in the kingdom of God,
come only through the regenerating of the Holy Spirit. "It is the
Spirit that quickeneth." Just as Jesus was begotten of the Holy Ghost,
so must every child of God who is to be an heir to the kingdom.

b) The Spirit Indwells the Believer.

1 Cor. 6:19--"Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is
in you." Also 3:16; Rom. 8:9. Every believer, no matter how weak
and imperfect he may be, or how immature his Christian experience,
still has the indwelling of the Spirit. Acts 19:2 does not contradict
this statement. Evidently some miraculous outpouring of the Spirit
is intended there, the which followed the prayer and laying on of
the hands of the apostles. "Now if any man have not the Spirit of
Christ, he is none of his." "No man can say that Jesus is the Lord,
but by the Holy Ghost" (Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 12:3).

c) The Spirit Seals the Believer with Assurance of Salvation.

Eph. 1:13, 14--"In whom also after that ye believed, ye were
sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise; which is the earnest of
our inheritance." Also 4:30--"Sealed unto the day of redemption."
This sealing stands for two things: ownership and likeness (2 Tim.
2:19-21). The Holy Spirit is "the Spirit of adoption" which God
puts into our hearts, by which we know that we are His children.
The Spirit bears witness to this great truth (Gal. 4:6; Rom. 8:14,
16). This sealing has to do with the heart and the conscience--satisfying
both as to the settlement of the sin and sonship question.
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Re: BIBLE DOCTRINES - THEOLOGY / STUDY OF GOD

Post  Admin on Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:49 am

d) The Holy Spirit Infills the Believer.

Acts 2:4--"And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost." Eph.
5:18--"Be filled with the Spirit." The filling differs somewhat from
the indwelling. We may speak of the baptism of the Spirit as that
initial act of the Spirit by which, at the moment of our regeneration,
we are baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ; the Spirit
then comes and takes up His dwelling within the believer. The
filling with the Spirit, however, is not confined to one experience,
or to any one point of time exclusively; it may be repeated times
without number. There is one baptism, but many infillings with the
Spirit. The experience of the apostles in the Acts bears witness to
the fact that they were repeatedly filled with the Spirit. Whenever
a new emergency arose they sought a fresh infilling with the Spirit
(cf. Acts 2:4 with 4:31 showing that the apostles who were filled
on the day of Pentecost were again filled a few days after).

There is a difference between possessing the Spirit, and being
filled with the Spirit. All Christians have the first; not all have
the second, although all may have. Eph. 4:30 speaks of believers
as being "sealed," whereas 5:18 commands those same believers to
"be filled (to be being filled again and again) with the Spirit."

Both the baptism and the infilling may take place at once. There
need be no long wilderness experience in the life of the believer.
It is the will of God that we should be filled (or, if you prefer
the expression, "be baptized") with the Spirit at the moment of
conversion, and remain filled all the time. Whenever we are called
upon for any special service, or for any new emergency, we should
seek a fresh infilling of the Spirit, either for life or service,
as the case may be.

The Holy Spirit seeks--so we learn from the story of the Acts--for
men who are not merely possessed by but also filled with the Spirit,
for service (6:3, 5; 9:17; 11:24). Possession touches assurance;
infilling, service.

e) The Holy Spirit Empowers the Believer for Life and Service.

Rom. 8:2--"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath
made me free from the law of sin and death" (also vv. 9-11). There
are two natures in the believer: the flesh and the Spirit (Gal.
5:17). But while the believer is still in the flesh, he does not
live after the flesh (Rom. 8:12, 13). The Holy Spirit enables the
believer to get constant and continual victory over sin. A single
act of sin a believer may commit; to live in a state of sin is
impossible for him, for the Spirit which is within him gives him
victory, so that sin does not _reign_ over him. If sinless
perfection is not a Scriptural doctrine, sinful imperfection is
certainly less Scriptural. The eighth chapter of Romans exhibits
a victorious life for the believer; a life so different from that
depicted in the seventh chapter. And the difference lies in the
fact that the Holy Spirit is hardly, if at all, mentioned in the
seventh chapter, while in the eighth He is mentioned over twelve
times. The Spirit in the heart is the secret of victory over sin.

Then note how the Holy Spirit produces the blessed fruit of the
Christian life (Gal. 5:22, 23). What a beautiful cluster of graces!
How different from the awful catalogue of the works of the flesh
(vv. 19-21). Look at this cluster of fruit. There are three groups:
the first, in relation to God--love, joy, peace; the second, in
relation to our fellowman--longsuffering, gentleness, goodness;
the third, for our individual Christian life--faith, meekness,
self-control.

f) The Holy Spirit is the Guide of the Believer's Life.

He guides him as to the details of his daily life, Rom. 8:14; Gal.
5:16, 25-"Walk in the Spirit." There is no detail of the believer's
life that may not be under the control and direction of the Spirit.
"The steps (and, as one has well said,'the stops') of a good man
are ordered by the Lord."

The Holy Spirit guides the believer as to the field in which
he should labor. How definitely this truth is taught in the Acts
8:27-29; 16:6, 7; 13:2-4. What a prominent part the Spirit played
in selecting the fields of labor for the apostles! Every step in
the missionary activity of the early church seemed to be under the
direct guidance of the Spirit.

g) The Holy Spirit Anoints the Believer.

This anointing stands for three things:

First, for _knowledge and teaching_. 1 John 2:27--"But the
anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye
need not that any man teach you; but as the same anointing teacheth
you of all things, and is truth . . . ye shall abide in him." Also
2:20. It is not enough to learn the truth from human teachers, we
must listen to the teaching of the Spirit. 1 Cor. 2:9-14 teaches
us that there are some great truths that are spiritually discerned;
they cannot be understood saving by the Spirit-filled man, for they
are "spiritually discerned." See also John 14:26; 16:13.

Second, for _service_. How dependent Christ was upon the Holy
Spirit for power in which to perform the duties of life is clear
from such passages as Luke 4:18--"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he hath anointed me to preach," etc. Also Acts 10:38--"How
God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power:
who went about doing good." Ezekiel teaches a lesson by his vivid
picture of the activity of God portrayed in the wheels within wheels.
The moving power within those wheels was the Spirit of God. So in
all our activity for God we must have the Spirit of power.

Third, for _consecration_. Three classes of persons in the Old
Testament were anointed: the prophet, the priest, and the king.
The result of anointing was consecration--"Thy vows are upon
me, O God"; knowledge of God and His will--"Ye know all things";
influence--fragrance from the ointment. Just as the incense at
Mecca clings to the pilgrim when he passes through the streets, so
it is with him who has the anointing of the Spirit. All his garments
smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia. He has about him the sweet
odor and scent of the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the Valley.

3. THE RELATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT TO THE SCRIPTURES.

a) He is the Author of the Scriptures.

Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. 2
Pet. 1:20, 21. The Scriptures came by the inbreathing of God, 2
Tim. 3:16. "Hear what the Spirit saith to the churches," Eev. 2
and 3. It was the Spirit who was to guide the apostles into all
the truth, and show them things to come (John 16:13).

b) The Spirit is also the Interpreter of the Scriptures.

1 Cor. 2:9-14. He is "the Spirit of wisdom and revelation," Eph.
1:17. "He shall receive of mine and show it unto you," John 16:14,
15. (See under the Inspiration of the Bible, p. 194.)

4. THE RELATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT TO JESUS CHRIST.

How dependent Jesus Christ was, in His state of humiliation, on the
Holy Spirit! If He needed to depend solely upon the Spirit can we
afford to do less?

a) He was Conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Spirit, Luke
1:35.

b) He was led by the Spirit, Matt. 4:1.

c) He was Anointed by the Spirit for Service, Acts 10:38.

d) He was Crucified in the Power of the Spirit, Heb. 9:14.

e) He was Raised by the Power of the Spirit, Rom. 1:4; 8:11.

f) He gave Commandment to His Disciples and Church Through the
Spirit, Acts 1:2.

g) He is the Bestower of the Holy Spirit, Acts 2:33.

V. OFFENCES AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT.

Scarcely any phase of the doctrine of the Spirit is more solemn
than this. It behooves us all, believer and unbeliever alike, to
be careful as to how we treat the Holy Spirit. Sinning against the
Spirit is fraught with terrific consequences.

For convenience sake we are classifying the offences against the
Spirit under two general divisions, namely, those committed by the
unbeliever, and those committed by the believer. Not that there is
absolutely no overlapping in either case. For, doubtless, in the
very nature of the case there must be. This thought will be kept
in mind in the study of the offences against the Spirit.

1. OFFENCES COMMITTED BY THE UNBELIEVER.

a) Resisting the Holy Ghost.

Acts 7:51-"Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost." Here the picture is
that of the Holy Spirit attacking the citadel of the soul of man,
who violently resists the gracious attempts of the Spirit to win
him. In spite of the plainest arguments, and the most incontestable
facts this man wilfully rejects the evidence and refuses to
accept the Christ so convincingly presented. Thus is the Holy Ghost
resisted. (See Acts 6:10.) That this is a true picture of resistance
to the Holy Spirit is clearly seen from Stephen's recital of the
facts in Acts 7:51-57.

b) Insulting, or Doing Despite unto the Holy Spirit.

Heb. 10:29 (cf. Luke 18:32). It is the work of the Spirit to present
the atoning work of Christ to the sinner as the ground of his
pardon. When the sinner refuses to believe or accept the testimony
of the Spirit, he thereby insults the Spirit by esteeming the whole
work of Christ as a deception and a lie, or accounts the death of
Christ as the death of an ordinary or common man, and not as God's
provision for the sinner.

c) Blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

Matt. 12:31,32. This seems to be the most grievous sin of all,
for the Master asserts that there is no forgiveness for this sin.
Sins against the Son of Man may be forgiven because it was easily
possible, by reason of His humble birth, lowly parentage, etc., to
question the claims He put forth to deity. But when, after Pentecost,
the Holy Spirit came, and presented to every man's conscience
evidence sufficient to prove the truth of these claims, the man who
then refused to yield to Christ's claims was guilty of resisting,
insulting, and that amounts to blaspheming the testimony of the
whole Godhead, of which the Spirit is the executive.

2. OFFENCES COMMITTED BY THE BELIEVER.

a) Grieving the Spirit.

Eph. 4:30, 31; Isa. 63:10 (R. V.). To grieve means to make sad or
sorrowful. It is the word used to describe the experience of Christ
in Gethsemane; and so the sorrow of Gethsemane may be endured by
the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the most sensitive person of the
Godhead. He is called the "Mother--heart" of God. The context
of this passage (v.31) tells us how the Spirit may be grieved: by
"foolish talking and jesting." Whenever the believer allows any of
the things mentioned in this verse (and those stated also in Gal.
5:17-19) to find place in his heart and expression in his words
and life; when these things abide in his heart and actively manifest
themselves, then the Spirit is sad and grieved. Indeed to refuse
any part of our moral nature to the full sway of the Spirit is to
grieve Him. If we continue to grieve the Spirit, then the grief
turns into vexation (Isa. 63:10).

b) Lying to the Holy Spirit.

Acts 5:3, 4. The sin of lying to the Spirit is very prominent when
consecration is most popular. We stand up and say, "I surrender
all" when in our hearts we know that we have not surrendered
_all_. Yet, like Ananias, we like to have others believe that
we have consecrated our all. We do not wish to be one whit behind
others in our profession. Bead carefully in this connection the
story of Achan (Joshua 7), and that of Gehazi (2 Kings 5:20-27).

c) Quenching the Spirit.

1 Thess. 5:19-"Quench not the Spirit." The thought of quenching
the Spirit seems to be used in connection with fire: "Smoking flax
shall he not quench" (Matt. 12:20); "Quench the fiery darts" (Eph.
6:16). It is therefore related more to the thought of service than
to that of life. The context of 1 Thess. 5:19 shows this. The
manifestation of the Spirit in prophesying was not to be quenched.
The Holy Spirit is seen as coming down upon this gathered assembly
for praise, prayer, and testimony. This manifestation of the Spirit
must not be quenched. Thus we may quench the Spirit not only in
our hearts, but also in the hearts of others. How? By disloyalty
to the voice and call of the Spirit; by disobedience to His voice
whether it be to testify, praise, to do any bit of service for God,
or to refuse to go where He sends us to labor--the foreign field,
for example. Let us be careful also lest in criticizing the manifestation
of the Spirit in the testimony of some believer, or the sermon of
some preacher, we be found guilty of quenching the Spirit. Let us
see to it that the gift of the Holy Ghost for service be not lost
by any unfaithfulness, or by the cultivation of a critical spirit
on our part, so that the fire in our hearts dies out and nothing
but ashes remain--ashes, a sign that fire was once there, but has
been extinguished.

From what has been said the following may be summarily stated:

_Resisting_ has to do with the regenerating work of the Spirit;

_Grieving_ has to do with the indwelling Holy Spirit;

_Quenching_ has to do with the enduement of the Spirit for
service.






THE DOCTRINE OF MAN

I. THE CREATION AND ORIGINAL CONDITION OF MAN.

1. IMAGE AND LIKENESS OF GOD.
2. PHYSICAL--MENTAL--MORAL--SPIRITUAL.

II. THE FALL OF MAN.

1. THE SCRIPTURAL ACCOUNT.
2. VARIOUS INTERPRETATIONS.
3. THE NATURE OF THE FALL.
4. THE RESULTS OF THE FALL.

a) On Adam, and Eve.
b) On the Race.
(1) Various Theories.
(2) Scriptural Declarations.





THE DOCTRINE OF MAN.

I. THE CREATION AND ORIGINAL CONDITION OF MAN.

1. MAN MADE IN THE IMAGE AND LIKENESS OF GOD.

Gen. 1:26--"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our
likeness." 9:6--"For in the image of God made he man." What is
meant by the terms _image_ and _likeness_? _Image_
means the shadow or outline of a figure, while _likeness_
denotes the resemblance of that shadow to the figure. The two
words, however, are practically synonymous. That man was made in
the image and likeness of God is fundamental in all God's dealings
with man (1 Cor. 11:7; Eph. 4:21-24; Col. 3:10; James 3:9). We
may express the language as follows: Let us make man in our image
to be our likeness.

a) The Image of God Does Not Denote Physical Likeness.

God is Spirit; He does not have parts and passions as a man.
(See under Doctrine of God; The Spirituality of God, pp. 19, 20).
Consequently Mormon and Swedenborgian views of God as a great
human are wrong. Deut. 4:15 contradicts such a physical view of
God (see p. 19, b, c). Some would infer from Psa. 17:15--"I shall
be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness," that in some remote
way, a physical likeness is suggested. The R. V., however, changes
somewhat the sense of this verse, and reads: "I shall be satisfied,
when I awake, with _beholding_ thy form." See also Num. 12:8,
R. V. It is fair to believe, however, that erectness of posture,
intelligence of countenance, and a quick, glancing eye characterized
the first man. We should also remember that the manifestations in
the Old Testament, and the incarnation must throw some light upon
this subject (see p. 20).

b) Nor Are the Expressions "Image" and "Likeness" Exhausted When
We Say That They Consisted in Man's Dominion Over Nature, and the
Creation of God in General.

Indeed the supremacy conferred upon man presupposed those spiritual
endowments, and was justified by his fitness, through them, to
exercise it.

c) Positively, We Learn from Certain Scriptures in What This Image
and Likeness Consisted.

Eph. 4:23, 24--"And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that
ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness
and true holiness (B. V., holiness of truth)." Col. 3:10--"And have
put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image
of him that created him." It is clear from these passages that the
image of God consists in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness;
moral, not physical likeness.

d) The Original Man Was Endowed with Intellectual Faculties.

He had sufficient intelligence to give names to the animals as
they were presented before him (Gen. 2:19, 20). Adam had not only
the power of speech, but the power of reasoning and thought in
connection with speech. He could attach words to ideas. This is not
the picture, as evolution would have us believe, of an infantile
savage slowly groping his way towards articulate speech by imitation
of the sounds of animals.

e) The Original Man Possessed Moral and Spiritual Faculties.

Consider the moral test in Genesis 3. Adam had power to resist or
to yield to moral evil. Sin was a volitional thing. Christ, the
second Adam, endured a similar test (Matt. 4).

From all this it is evident that man's original state was not one
of savagery. Indeed there is abundant evidence to show that man
has been degraded from a very much higher stage. Both the Bible
and science agree in making man the crowning work of God, and that
there will be no higher order of beings here on the earth than man.
We must not forget that while man, from one side of his nature,
is linked to the animal creation, he is yet supra-natural--a being
of a higher order and more splendid nature; he is in the image
and likeness of God. Man has developed not _from_ the ape,
but _away from_ it. He never was anything but potential man.
"No single instance has yet been adduced of the transformation of
one animal species into another, either by natural or artificial
selection; much less has it been demonstrated that the body of the
brute has ever been developed into that of the man. The links that
should bind man to the monkey have not been found. Not a single
one can be shown. None have been found that stood nearer the monkey
than the man of today."--_Agassiz_.

II. THE FALL OF MAN.

The doctrine of the Fall of Man is not peculiar to Christianity;
all religions contain an account of it, and recognize the great
and awful fact. Had there been no such account as that found in
Genesis 3, there would still have remained the problem of the fall
and sin.

Yet, the doctrine of the fall has a relation to Christianity that
it does not have to other religions, or religious systems. The moral
character of God as seen in the Christian religion far surpasses the
delineation of the Supreme Being set forth in any other religion,
and thus heightens and intensifies its idea of sin. It is when men
consider the very high character of God as set forth in Christianity,
and then look at the doctrine of sin, that they find it hard to
reconcile the fact that God, being the moral Being He is, should
ever allow sin to come into the world. To some minds these two
things seem incompatible.

1. THE SCRIPTURAL ACCOUNT OF THE FALL OF MAN.

The third chapter of Genesis gives the fullest account of this
awful tragedy in the experience of mankind. Other scriptures: Rom.
5:12-19; I Tim. 2:14; Gen. 6:5; 8:31; Psa. 14; Rom. 3:10-23.

The purpose of the Genesis narrative is not to give an account
of the manner in which sin came into the _world,_ but how it
found its advent into the _human race_. Sin was already in
the world, as the existence of Satan and the chaotic condition of
things in the beginning, strikingly testify.

The reasonableness of the narrative of the fall is seen in view of
the condition of man after he had sinned with his condition when
he left the hand of the Creator. Compare Gen. 1:26 with 6:5, and
Psa. 14. If the fall of man were not narrated in Genesis we should
have to postulate some such event to account for the present
condition in which we find man. In no part of the Scripture, save
in the creation account as found in the first two chapters of
Genesis, does man appear perfect and upright. His attitude is that
of rebellion against God, of deepening and awful corruption.

2. VARIOUS INTERPRETATIONS OF THE NARRATIVE OF THE FALL OF MAN.

Some look upon the whole narrative as being an _allegory_.
Adam is the rational part of man; Eve, the sensual; the serpent,
external excitements to evil. But the simplicity and artlessness
of the narrative militates against this view.

Others, again, designate the narrative as being a _myth_. It
is regarded as a truth invested in poetic form; something made up
from the folklore of the times. But why should these few verses be
snatched out of the chapter in which they are found and be called
mythical, while the remaining verses are indisputably literal?

Then there is the _literal interpretation_, which takes the
account as it reads, in its perfectly natural sense, just as in the
case of the other parts of the same chapter. There is no intimation
in the account itself that it is not to be regarded as literal
history. It certainly is part of a historical book. The geographical
locations in connection with the story are historic. The curse upon
the man, upon the woman, and upon the ground are certainly literal.
It is a fact that death is in the world as the wages of sin.
Unquestionably Christ, and the other Scripture writers regard the
event as historical and literal: of. Matt. 19:4; Mark 10:6; 2 Cor.
11:3; I Tim. 2:13-15; I Cor. 15:56.

3. THE NATURE OF THE FALL.

It must be kept in mind that Adam and Eve were free moral agents.
That while they were sinless beings, it was yet possible for them
to sin, just as it was possible for them not to sin. A careful
reading of the narrative leads to the following remarks:

The sin of our first parents was purely volitional; it was an act
of their own determination. Their sin was, like all other sin, a
voluntary act of the will.

It came from an outside source, that is to say, it was instigated
from without. There was no sin in the nature of the first human pair.
Consequently there must have been an ungodly principle already in
the world. Probably the fall of Satan and the evil angels had taken
place already.

The essence of the first sin lay in the denial of the divine will;
an elevation of the will of man over the will of God.

It was a deliberate transgressing of a divinely marked boundary;
an overstepping of the divine limits.

In its last analysis, the first sin was, what each and every sin
committed since has been, a positive disbelief in the word of the
living God. A belief of Satan rather than a belief in God.

It is helpful to note that the same lines of temptation that were
presented to our first parents, were presented to Christ in the
wilderness (Matt. 4:1-11), and to men ever since then (1 John
2:15-17). Satan's program is short and shallow after all.

4. THE RESULTS OF THE FALL.

a) On Our First Parents--Adam and Eve.

The results of sin in the experience of our first parents were as
follows:

The ground was cursed, so that henceforth it would not yield good
alone (Gen. 3:17).

Sorrow and pain to the woman in child-bearing, and subjection of
woman to the man (Gen. 3:16).

Exhausting physical labor in order to subsist (Gen. 3:19).

Physical and spiritual death (Gen. 3:19; 3:3; 5:5; Rom. 5:12).

Of course, with all this came also a fear of God, a shame because
of sin, a hiding from God's presence, and finally, an expulsion
from the garden (Gen. 3:8-11, 32-24).

b) On the Race--Various Theories.

There are three general views held with regard to the effect of
Adam's sin upon the race. Before looking at the strictly Scriptural
view in detail, let us briefly state these three theories:

That Adam's sin affected himself only; that every human being born
into the world is as free from sin as Adam was. The only effect the
first sin had upon the race was that of a bad example. According to
this theory man is well morally and spiritually. This view of the
case is false because the Scriptures recognize all men as guilty and
as possessing a sinful nature; because man, as soon as he attains
the age of responsibility commits sinful acts, and there is no exception
to this rule; because righteousness is impossible without the help
of God, otherwise redemption would be by works of righteousness
which we have done, and this the Scripture contradicts. According
to this view man is perfectly well. (The Pelagian theory.)

That while Adam's sin, as guilt, is not imputed to man, he is yet
destitute of original righteousness, and, without divine help,
is utterly unable to attain it. God, however, bestows upon each
individual, at the dawn of consciousness, a special gift of His
Spirit, which is sufficient to enable man to be righteous, if he
will allow his will to _co-operate_ with God's Spirit. According
to this view man is only half sick, or half well. This view also
is false because the Scriptures clearly state that man is utterly
unable to do a single thing to save himself. (The Semi-Pelagian
theory.)

That because of the unity of the race in Adam, and the organic unity
of mankind, Adam's sin is therefore imputed to his posterity. The
nature which man now possesses is like to the corrupted nature
of Adam. Man is totally unable to do anything to save himself.
According to this theory man is not only not well, nor half well,
but totally dead. ( The Augustinian theory.)

SCRIPTURAL TEACHING.

(1) All men, without respect of condition or class, are sinners
before God.

Rom. 3:9, 10, 22, 23; Psa. 14; Isa. 53:6. There may be a difference
in the degree, but not in the fact of sin. All men, Jew and Gentile,
have missed the mark, and failed to attain to God's standard. There
is none righteous, no, not one.

(2) This universal sinful condition is vitally connected with the
sin of Adam.

Rom. 5:12--"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world,
and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all
have sinned." "For the judgment was by one to condemnation" (5:16).
"For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners" (5:19).
All men were in Adam when he sinned; fallen he, fallen they. Herein
lies the truth of the organic unity of the race. "In Adam all die."
Two questions are raised here: How can man be held responsible for
a depraved nature?--this touches the matter of _original sin_;
and How can God justly impute Adam's sin to us?--this deals with
the question of the _imputation of sin_.

(3) The whole world rests under condemnation, wrath, and curse.

Rom. 3:19--"That every mouth may be stopped, and all the world
may become guilty before God." Gal. 3:10; Eph. 2:3. The law of
God demands a perfect obedience; but no son of man can yield such
obedience; hence the curse of a broken law rests upon those breaking
it. The wrath of God abides on all not vitally united by faith to
Jesus Christ (John 3:36).

(4) Unregenerate men are regarded as children of the devil, and
not sous of God.

1 John 3:8-10; John 8:44--"Ye are of your father the devil." 1 John
5:19--"And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth
in wickedness (in the wicked one, R. V.)."

(5) The whole race of men are in helpless captivity to sin and
Satan.

Rom. 7, chapter entire; John 8:31-36; Eph. 2:3.

(6) The entire nature of man, mentally, morally, spiritually,
physically, is sadly affected by sin.

The _understanding_ is darkened (Eph. 4:18; 1 Cor. 2:14); the
_heart_ is deceitful and wicked (Jer. 17:9, 10); the _mind
and conscience_ are defiled (Gen. 6:5; Titus 1:15); the
_flesh and spirit_ are defiled (2 Cor. 7:5); the _will_
is enfeebled (Rom. 7:18); and we are utterly destitute of any Godlike
qualities which meet the requirements of God's holiness (Rom. 7:18).

What does all this mean? A. H. Strong, in his _Systematic
Theology_, explains the matter somewhat as follows: It does not
mean the entire absence of conscience (John 8:9); nor of all moral
qualities (Mark 10:21); nor that men are prone to every kind of
sin (for some sins exclude others). It does mean, however, that
man is totally destitute of love to God which is the all absorbing
commandment of the law (John 5:42); that the natural man has
an aversion to God (Rom. 8:7); that all that is stated under (6)
above is true of man; that man is in possession of a nature that
is constantly on the downgrade, and from the dominion of which he
is totally unable to free himself (Rom. 7:18, 23).

[Illustration with caption: Handwritten notations of Rev. William
Evans, Ph.D. D.D.]
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LESSON 1 - DOES GOD EXIST?

Post  Admin on Mon Jun 14, 2010 4:11 pm

Does God Exist Course 1

What Can An Intelligent Person Conclude ?

In this course you will study and master the following exciting subjects. You would then find it very easy to face those who question your beliefs.

Does God Exist, Free Course, Lesson 1

Does God Exist ?
What Can An Intelligent Person Conclude ?



In this course you will study and master the following exciting subjects. You would then find it very easy to face those who question your beliefs.

1. Does God Exist
2. Science And God
3. Logic And God’s Existence
4. Theory Of Probability
5. The Relational Verification
6. The Historical Witness Of Bible
7. The Problem Of Pain And Evil
8. Let Us Conclude

Lesson 1

Does God Exist ?

Some times back a smart-looking young boy came to me and said, “Sir I am an Engineering College student. I have been reading the Bible for some time and have come to argue that God does not exist”. I was happy to meet him, and welcomed him for a cup of coffee.

I asked if he would keep his conversation strictly at the scientific level. He said he would, and added that this would be the appropriate approach seeing that he was an Engineering student. Without delay I invited him to present at least one experimental evidence that disproves God. He was dumbfounded. He had read plenty of publications written against God, but when confronted to support his contention he was unable to advance a single evidence.

Nobody has proved that God does not exist, yet plenty of people claim that science has disproved God. It is time to face the issue.

WHY DISCUSS THE PROBLEM ?

Since most believers lack the training necessary to discuss this question, they prefer to avoid any discussion whatsoever. While this kind of avoidance might conserve their faith, it might spell the doom to sincere inquirers. If a person wants to debate the subject just to show off his intellectual superiority or “modernism” it is better not to waste one’s energy. But if a sincere inquirer wants to discuss the scientific and logical aspects of the question, his needs must be met by a competent Christian.

Our young people live in an increasingly atheistic world. The magazines they read, the music they hear, the peers and professors they have, are all against their belief in God. Many Christian boys and girls will confess how they feel isolated when the whole class laughs at their faith.

Added to all this is the increasingly evolution-based education. A few generations ago they taught the subject only in at the college level, but no longer. Now every year they are sending the message to lower classes. So much so that now my daughter studies the evolution of mankind right from her first standard.

Every deviant philosophy is bound to leave its impact and evolution is no exception. Once the young ones are indoctrinated with this theory, they automatically doubt the existence of God. After all, they unconsciously reason, if everything has come here by evolution then all these statements about God must be fiction. Add to this the subtle peer pressure, and they promptly renounce God.

There is no shortage of Christian parents and leaders who wonder about whatever has happened to their once active young people. The answer is simple : indoctrination at a very early age has converted them over to tacit atheism. Only God’s mercy can now open their eyes.

Every Christian must be ready to discuss the question of God’s existence — specially if he is in a leadership position. This can make all the difference to the young people who are still open to see both sides of the question. Once they are converted to atheism, it is too late to expect objectivity from them.

RATIONALISM, ATHEISM, AGNOSTICISM

Atheism is not a recent phenomena, and you should not be surprised at that. (Widespread belief in God should be more surprising, seeing that man is living in rebellion against God !) What is new is the explosive growth of this philosophy in the last two centuries. This is not an accident, but rather the culmination of two centuries of hard work done by them.

About four hundred years ago the Western countries went through many liberating experiences — liberation from church, liberation from inhibitions, and liberation to present radical ideas. Using this atmosphere, several philosophers propounded ideas that negated the existence of God. These philosophies loosely united a lot of like-minded people, but they became a powerful lobby after Charles Darwin proposed his theory. Before Darwin all what they had was philosophical speculations against God. Darwin gave them, for the first time, scientific respectability.

The theory of evolution found many takers, who knew that their speculations are lame if they do not get a scientific cover. The awe-inspiring evolution theory became the foundation of every branch of knowledge. Soon it reached educational institutions all over the world, and riding over it went the idea of atheism. If evolution is taught as a fact, atheism must follow as a conclusion. If atheism is accepted as true, evolution must be invoked to explain it all. They are but two manifestations of the same idea.

Since education-system is the root of a thinking society, the influence of these philosophies at this level has led to widespread gains for them in the modern world. The hypothesis of evolution has become one of the foundations of education. This education system in turn promotes evolution further. Today almost all systems of education are controlled by the philosophy of education and the corresponding atheism.

Since mass-media is a powerful tool for controlling and manipulating human behavior, visionaries educated in evolution use the media to further propagate their philosophies. The success has been unparalleled. Many surveys have established that people who control media and its direction tend, in general, to be radicals in their moral, ethical, and spiritual outlook. These values definitely influence the media-users in subtle ways.

Modern man cannot avoid two things : education and media. He needs the former for becoming informed and needs the latter for staying that way ! Consequently, he is indoctrinated with atheism from the first day in school and then he facilitates this as long as he keeps his mind enslaved to the media.

Persons brought up in this kind of a society are bound to be strongly influenced by evolution and atheism. These philosophies become the norm. What is more, many organizations are aggressively propagating atheism. In spite of all this, many break away from this indoctrination and wonder about God. They want to know the truth, and they should be helped to see both the sides. This is why this book has been written. Turn the pages, keep your mind open, and honestly weigh both the sides.

The Purpose Of This Course: This course has been prayerfully prepared by people who want seekers to know objective truth. Scholars and researchers all over the world have spent hundreds of thousands of hours in experimental, theoretical, and library research into the relationship between Bible/Science/Evolution. Enough course material is available today to offer University level Bachelors to Doctorate level courses. But since most people are interested only in knowing what is just sufficient for their needs, we are offering this brief eight-lesson course for them. If this does not meet your needs, we can always guide you to more advanced courses, books, and library-research.
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LESSON 2

Post  Admin on Mon Jun 14, 2010 4:13 pm

Does God Exist, Lesson 2 :

Science And God

Everyone knows that this is the age of science. The explosive growth of science and technology fills everyone with awe. Science has become a synonym for truth, and none can deny that science constantly strives to find truth.

Since today science is man’s greatest endeavor to discover truth, people tend to equate science with truth and other kinds of knowledge with imagination. Atheists have used this mindset to their advantage by claiming that science has disproved God. If this statement is true, then Bible believers should surely suspect all what they believe. But has science really disproved God ?

WHAT IS SCIENCE

Present-day science is a tool developed in the last four hundred years with the purpose of studying nature. Historians of science say that the Protestant Reformation was the movement that promoted this development.

Three things go into the development of science : logic, mathematics, and repetitive experiments. Logic provides the rules to discern between the true and the false. Mathematics provides the tools to express things quantitatively. This makes possible exact measurements and comparisons.

Inferences are drawn from experiments using these two : mathematics and logic. For the inferences to be correct, the object under investigation should be available in a laboratory for repeated experimentation and verification. It should be possible to measure its mass, size, temperature, and other similar physical properties.

If a particular object is not available for repetitive experimentation and observation, then it is not possible to study it scientifically. If it lacks the physical properties of matter and energy, then it does not come in the realm of experimental sciences. Sciences cannot investigate it. Further, things that have taken place only once come under historical and legal investigation, and not under scientific (experimental) investigation. Also, if a particular thing does not lend itself to measurement by laboratory tools, then it cannot be studied by sciences.

Scientific truth is often expressed in terms of hypotheses, theories, assumptions, observations, data, facts, and laws. These categories are necessary to express the varying degrees of certainty with which we understand the behaviour of matter. These can roughly be classified into two categories. Facts Of Science, and Theories of Science. “Facts of science” refers to all that information that is known to be sure, free from error, and having no exceptions. “Theories of science” represents all that information that is still incomplete, uncertain, and prone to be altered. Of these two, only facts of science have a lasting value. Theories do not last much as they keep appearing and disappearing.

Whenever anyone conducts an important scientific investigation, he publishes the results in standard scientific journals. Researchers all over the world have access to journals in their fields, and they constantly appraise the new developments. This is the way how results of scientific investigation are communicated to the scientific community.

THE AIM OF SCIENCE

The aim of science is to investigate matter and energy. To discover their properties and behaviour pattern. If a particular thing is neither matter nor energy, then it cannot be investigated in a laboratory. For example, love is a fact of life, but since it is neither matter nor energy it cannot be investigated by science. There is no gadget to measure the mass, length, breadth, or temperature of love.

The aim of science is not to investigate all reality, but rather to investigate those realities that are seen in the form of matter and energy. The investigation takes place with the help of repeated experiments. All negations and affirmations depend upon experimental observations, and nothing can be established without relevant experiments.

Physics investigates the physical properties of matter and energy. Chemistry, biology, astronomy, and the various scientific disciplines known to us investigate the physical behaviour of things pertaining to their respective fields.

LIMITS OF SCIENCE

Science is a tool, a methodology, developed to study matter and energy. It, therefore, is able to investigate truths only in this region. If there is any truth in the world besides matter,

science is not able to investigate it. One should not be surprised at this.

Science was developed to study and investigate only nature, and therefore it cannot be used for other things. For example, science cannot pronounce any opinion about the existence of king Ashoka. A historical person or incident cannot be brought into the laboratory for experimental investigation. The maximum that science can do is to provide tools to study the material objects discovered by archaeologists. But conclusions of history depend upon techniques of historical investigations, not on techniques of natural sciences.

In the same way, truths about people and their relationships cannot be investigated by science. No equipment can measure love, hatred, or fear. These are realities, but since they are neither matter nor energy they are beyond the scope of science. Love is not a property of matter, nor is anything else connected with human relationship.

Science can investigate matter and energy, but nothing more. Historical realities are studied with methods of historical investigations, while truths related to individuals can be investigated only by methods of relational verification. One has to enter into a personal relationship with a person to verify truths that are relational in nature.

HAVE SCIENCES DISPROVED GOD

It should be clear by now that the purpose of science is to study matter and energy, and nothing beyond that. Even if someone tries to broaden its boundaries, that is not possible. All affirmations and negations have to be established only on the basis of repetitive experimental observations.

God is neither matter nor energy. Therefore the methods of experimental sciences cannot be applied to disprove His existence. Nobody in the world has devised an experiment that can disprove God.

If anyone claims that sciences have disproved the existence of God, he must be asked to defend his position. He has to explain the experiment, the place where this was performed and the place where the results were published. Anyone can make any claims saying that science has demonstrated this or that fact, but then he should be able to support his claims by pointing to relevant experiments.

No one claiming that science has disproved God has ever come up with experimental evidence to support this claim. This is because they are using the name of science to intimidate the ignorant. There is no truth in their claims, but they will continue repeating this false claim as long as they can successfully disturb people.

If anyone claims that science has disproved God, he has to describe the experiment that finally disproved God. Discussing anything else is irrelevant to the argument.

HAS EVOLUTION DISPROVED GOD

On talking of science and experiments, some might think that the theory of evolution has disproved God. This is false.

First of all, The Theory Of Evolution is only a theory. It is a mere hypothesis or supposition. It is not a law of science, nor is it a fact of science. If it were a law, they would have called it the LAW of evolution. But the scientific community itself accepts that it is the THEORY of evolution.

The theory of evolution needs first to establish itself, and then only it can question the existence of God — if it has any bearing on the subject. Till then you need to remember only this much: a hypothesis or supposition is not a fact of science.

If anyone claims that sciences have disproved God, he has to demonstrate that experiment which has achieved this feat. Appeal to evolution, which is a mere theory
, will not do the job.
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