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7:58 AM   [28 Jan 2018 | Sunday]

The Trinity (Part Three)

 Holy Spirit is the Teacher Who brings revelation to the written and spoken word of God.  He does use the mechanics of grammar to bring insight.  More often than not, He opens our understanding by using small words (i.e. “of”; “in”; “by” and “through”).  Obviously, as already pointed out in the previous blog, plural forms have been huge in discerning the Trinity.  “Us” is one such word.  Paying attention to singular and plural forms can be more important than we realize.  When read the phrase, “Let Us,” as found in Genesis 1:26 and 11:7, that should also be an indication there would be shared titles and duties of the Trinity.  Are there words that apply to our Father as well as to Jesus and Holy Spirit?  We’ll investigate and see if that is the case.  Keep in mind, one of our goals is to know Him as He really is, and not try to conform Him to some image we have in our minds.  If we are going to be real with God, we have to allow Him to be real with us.  Moreover, the more we understand Him, the better we’ll understand ourselves.  After all, we are created in His image.

Have you ever been asked, or perhaps asked someone, “Is Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior?”  Did you realize that “Lord and Savior” actually points to the Trinity?  Let’s take a look at the first place “Savior” is used in the Bible and compare it with other passages.  2 Samuel 22:1-3 And David spoke the words of this song to the Lord in the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said, “The Lord is my Rock and my Fortress and my Deliverer; My God, my Rock, in whom I take refuge, My Shield and the Horn of my salvation, my Stronghold and my Refuge; My Savior, You save me from violence (see also Psalm 18:1-3). As we learned in part two of this series, “God” (Elohim) is the plural form of its root.  However, both “Lord” and “Savior” are in the singular.  Psalm 106:21 They forgot God their Savior, Who had done great things in Egypt.  Again we find God as Savior, and in this case, this verse references the Exodus from Egypt.  When God, Himself uses the term in relation to Himself, we should pay close attention.  Isaiah 49:26 “…And all flesh will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob” (see also Isaiah 60:16; Hosea 13:4).  This next two verses is important to underscore in relation to the Trinity.  Isaiah 43:3,11 “For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior . . . I, even I, am the Lord, and there is no savior besides Me (see also Isaiah 45:15,21; Hosea 13:4).  What does that mean to us?  To be sure, there is only One Savior!

So, it has been established for us that there is only One Lord God and Savior.  Take a look at some New Testament scriptures.  It gets rather interesting.  The first place we find God and Savior is Luke 1:46-47, And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.”  2 Peter 1:11 For in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you (see also Philippians 3:20).  Remember, in our previous verses “Lord” and “Savior” are connected to “God.”

Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds (see also 1 Timothy 1:1; 2:3;  2 Timothy 1:10; Titus 1:1).

1 Timothy 4:10 For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.

Titus 3:4-7 But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

These passages not only help in seeing the reality of the Trinity, but also, reveals the Deity of Jesus Christ.  Our opening Scripture used some other terms in relation to God: “Rock”; “Fortress”; “Deliverer”; “Refuge”; “Horn of my salvation” and “Stronghold”.  We’ll briefly look at “Rock,” but be encouraged to look up the other titles and see what you can find in relation to the Trinity.

Deuteronomy 32:3-4 For I proclaim the name of the Lord; ascribe greatness to our God!  “The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; a God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright is He” (see also Deuteronomy 32:15,18).

1 Samuel 2:2 There is no one holy like the Lord, indeed, there is no one besides You, nor is there any rock like our God.

2 Samuel 22:47 The Lord lives, and blessed be my Rock; And exalted be God, the Rock of my salvation (see also Psalms 18:31,46).

Jesus is also known as our Rock.  In fact, Old Testament passages are quoted in the New in relation to Him.  Romans 9:30-33 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling Stone, just as it is written, “Behold, I lay in Zion a Stone of stumbling and a Rock of offense, And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed (see Isaiah 8:14; 1Peter 2:4-8).

1 Corinthians 10:1-4 For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual Rock which followed them; and the Rock was Christ (see also Jude 1:25).

It is important to let Holy Spirit speak through the Bible for Himself.  If we can approach Scripture without some personal agenda to prove, it will be easier for Him to teach us those things He wants us to know.  Stay open!

www.perfectfaith.org

 

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6:31 AM   [21 Jan 2018 | Sunday]

The Trinity (Part Two)

 Does the first verse of the entire Bible begin to reveal the mystery of the Trinity?  Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  It does, as well as the rest of chapter one.  As a dear brother pointed out, the word, “God” in the Hebrew (ELOHIYM or ELOHIM) is actually the plural form of its root.  As a matter of fact, it is primarily used throughout the Old Testament.  So, let’s geek out a bit with languages, and then go onto more Scripture.  The Greek word used in the New Testament (THEOS) is in the singular form.  The Greek translation of the Old Testament, known as the Septuagint, uses this word when translating the Hebrew Plural Name (ELOHIM) when used for the true God.  It never uses the plural form (TEHOI).  The reason for this is at the time of the translation, Greek idolatry was the prevailing superstition.  Indecently, their gods were considered demons.  By translating the Hebrew, ELOHIM as “God,” they taught or instilled the unity of God, and at the same time did not deny a plurality of persons in the Divine Nature.  In the New Testament and the Septuagint, THEOS, God, generally answers to the Old Testament Plural Name, ELOHIM and thus denotes God, the Trinity.

Jesus underscores that God is One in Mark 12:29-39: “And Jesus answered him, ‘The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord’. . .”  This is a quote from Deuteronomy 6:4-5: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.  Another New Testament verse highlights our mini language lesson in relation to One God and the idolatry of the day: You believe that God is One. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder (James 2:19).

Now, let’s head back to the beginning.  Genesis 1:2-3 The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the watersThen God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.  Holy Spirit is clearly seen in this passage of Scripture.  What about our Father and Jesus?  The phrase, “Then God said” actually begins to articulate both Father and Son working together.  John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.  Again we read: “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him” (John 1:10).  The Word expresses the heart of the Father.  We go on to read: “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only Begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

John 1:15-18 John (the Baptist) testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of Whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’” For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time; the only Begotten God Who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

Take your time in reading this next passage of the Bible.  In fact, read the entire chapter along with chapter two for fuller context.

Colossians 1:13-20 For He (our Father) rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His Beloved Son, in Whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  He is the image of the invisible God, the Firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the Firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

Creation was by One God Who expressed Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Revelation 4:11 “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”

www.perfectfaith.org

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6:59 AM   [14 Jan 2018 | Sunday]

The Trinity (Part One)

 God has revealed Himself to humanity.  He wants us to know Him as He really is and desires relationship with us.  But, do we want to know Him, or do we want to create an image of Him and call that image, “God?”  Do we merely want to reinforce what we think we know about Him?  Has it occurred to any of us that the mysteries in the Bible are not only meant to be searched out as treasure, but it’s part of pursuing Him?  It is part of seeking His face.  If you’ve read a good amount of Scripture, you may have come across some verses that implore us to seek His face.  He pursued us first, now it’s our turn to pursue Him as one would pursue someone we dearly love.  After all, He is supposed to be our First Love!  Let’s see what He reveals about Himself in the Bible.  In particular, let’s examine the Trinity.  While we may not see this particular term in Scripture, we may indeed see the principle.  Keep in mind that such terms are snapshots used to express principles as a whole.  They are not intended to add to the Word of God, nor take anything away for that matter.  We must seek to conform our thinking to His.  There will be no attempt to force the Bible to reflect a theory of sorts; rather, we’ll take an honest approach in order to conform to His intended view.

Some may ask, what is the Trinity?  In the one true God there are three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Hence, God the Father; God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  Three distinct persons, yet only one God; not three separate ones.  1 John 5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word (the Son, see also John 1:1-18), and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one (KJV).  The book of Genesis gives us a taste of this, as we read the account of the creation of man.  Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness . . .  Did you notice the plural forms (“Let Us” and “Our image”)?  He wasn’t talking to angels, since they are not part of the Godhead.  Even our very nature is triune.  1 Thessalonians 4:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (NASB).

As stated in some previous blogs, understanding Jesus holds three major positions helps us comprehend the Trinity.  He is not limited to these three, but they serve as major components in grasping the nature of God.  Here is a brief review of those positions: Son of man in which He represents man to God; Son of God in which He represents God to man (John 5:23-26) and God the Son by Whom all things consist (Colossians 1:12-19; 2:9-10).  In these positions, He is 100 percent God and 100 percent man.  As the Son of man, He relinquished His own glory, power and authority.  He relied on Father and Holy Spirit to minister while on the earth (see Matthew 3:16-17; 4:1; John 5:22, 27, 30; 17:1-5, 22, 24; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 9:14).  He took on our humanity, so He could die in our stead on the Cross.  As our Peer, He lived a sinless life, so He was able to present the pure, spotless sacrifice on our behalf (Hebrews 9:12-28).  Only a sinless man could die for mankind; which Jesus did (Hebrews 1:9-18; 4:14-15).

Hebrews 1:1-3 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, Whom He appointed heir of all things, through Whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power . . . (NASB).

The words, “exact representation” is rendered “express image” in the King James Version.  It means whatever the divine essence is, Jesus is the perfect Expression.  “Nature” is also rendered as “person” (KJV), and “assurance” (NASB) or “substance” (KJV) in Hebrews 11:1.  By definition, it’s what really exists under any appearance; the reality or essential nature, or in this case, the exact expression of God’s essence or being.  Hence we read:

If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”  Philip *said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus *said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves (John 14:7-11).

Our Father expressed Himself through Jesus while He was on the earth, and continues to speak to us through Holy Spirit.  Be encouraged to study this principle out for yourself, if you haven’t already.  If you have, more than likely you have been finding more passages of Scripture pointing to the Trinity as you study the Bible in general.  Share what you find.  Let’s learn and grow together!

www.perfectfaith.org

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5:36 AM   [07 Jan 2018 | Sunday]

A Better Resolution

 A good many people will make some sort of New Year’s resolution to do better in some way.  In some cases, it may be to quit something bad for them.  A number of Christians will try to use January first as a watermark day in which they begin to pray more, read their Bible more and do more for the Kingdom.  In some cases, simply become a “better Christian.”  And like many resolutions, those “good intentions” fall by the wayside, and it’s back to business as usual.  Frustrating!

Though this is not the primary point, it does deserve consideration: our righteousness is strictly found in Jesus Christ.  There’s no such thing as becoming a better Christian (see 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Ephesians 2:8-10; Ephesians 4:24 etc.).

The reason so many fail in their resolutions is they’re trying to do things by their standards and in their own strength. White knuckled Christianity consists of believers trying to do good as defined by their own criteria, while relying on themselves.  Can you say “self-righteousness?”  What it really boils down to is submission.  Galatians 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.  If you want stop fulfilling the lust of the flesh, submit to Holy Spirit.  If you want to do good, then let the Lord define what good means, and follow Him.  You won’t need resolutions if you’re submitted.

Matthew 16:24-26 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

www.perfectfaith.org

 

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