Christian Faith 101 (Part 7)

Christian Faith 101 I. This study assumes that the King James Version of the Bible (the Authorized Version of 1611 and its subsequent orthographic updates) is the preserved, perfect word of God the Creator in the English language. A. This is a reasoned assumption; it is not without a preponderance of evidence. B. An overview of this issue will be considered later in this outline. II. This study is designed to plainly and simply set forth the fundamentals of Christian faith (that which is or should be believed). A. This faith is according to the Scriptures, the word of God (ROM 10:17) and is to be earnestly contended for. JUDE 1:3. B. Plainness facilitates understanding. 1CO 14:8-9; 2CO 3:12. 1. When we think of plain in a topographical sense, we think of landscape with minimal distracting features and maximum horizons of visibility. The same concept applies to information. 2. plain: Open, clear to the senses or mind; evident, manifest, obvious; easily distinguishable or recognizable. C. Plainness facilitates assurance of belief. JOH 16:28-30. D. Plainness facilitates proper action. HAB 2:2 ct/w 2PE 2:18. E. Scripture warns about being “...corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2CO 11:3). 1. simplicity: The state or quality of being simple in form, structure, etc.; absence of compositeness, complexity, or intricacy. 3a. Freedom from artifice, deceit or duplicity; sincerity, straightforwardness; also, absence of affectation or artificiality; plainness, artlessness, naturalness. 2. The juxtaposition of thought in 2CO 11:3 shows that Paul's use of “simplicity” accords with “freedom from artifice, deceit or duplicity; sincerity....” 3. Paul's gospel was presented in straightforward fashion which did not disguise its true meaning but rather made it plain. 2CO 1:12-13. F. Basics are conveyed to the understanding by spiritual/intellectual milk, not meat. HEB 5:12-14. G. Some things are hard to be understood, but not all things. 2PE 3:15-16. III. Is there a supreme Being that is responsible for the creation, government and sustaining of all things visible and invisible, great and small? Scripture deems men fools who deny this. PSA 14:1. A. Consider atheism (disbelief in, or denial of, the existence of a God). 1. For the atheist to conclude absolutely that there is no God would demand that he must exclude the possibility on the basis of absolute knowledge of all places, conditions, relationships, events etc. throughout all time past, present and future. 2. This would mean that the atheist is omniscient (all-knowing), a unique attribute of God. 3. The atheist cannot escape the concept of God; he considers himself God. B. Consider agnosticism (one who holds that the existence of anything beyond and behind material phenomena is unknown and [so far as can be judged] unknowable, and especially that a First Cause and an unseen world are subjects of which we know nothing). 1. The agnostic is nothing more than a theorist who refuses to accept the evidence that disproves his theory, such as fulfilled prophecies, miracles of healing, the Christian Faith 101 12-30-12 Page 1 resurrection of the dead, ordered complexity in the material universe and the logical necessity of a First Cause. 2. Scripture speaks of those who are willingly ignorant. 2PE 3:5. C. Consider polytheism (belief in, or worship of, many gods (or more than one God). 1. If God is the Supreme Being, there can not be others like Him or He would not be supreme (highest [in literal sense], loftiest, topmost). The God of the Bible declares Himself unique and without peers. ISA 43:10; 44:6. 2. Mind that belief in only one God is biblical and rational but it is not the sole determinant of the validity of the faith to which one subscribes. JAM 2:19. a. Jews and Muslims are both monotheistic (the doctrine or belief that there is only one God). b. Both of these systems deny that the Supreme God has had a son; they deny therefore that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. c. The monotheistic Christian faith is therefore utterly irreconcilable with that of Jews and Muslims, and it declares their belief systems invalid. 2SAM 7:12-14 c/w MAT 3:16-17; 1JO 2:22-23. IV. Consider a few philosophical arguments for the existence of God. A. The Argument from Efficient Causes. 1. Experience confirms an order of efficient causes, i.e., everything that we observe exists from a cause/effect relationship. 2. Nothing can be the cause of itself since that would imply that it was prior to itself. 3. An indefinite series of efficient causes would result in no first cause and no last effect. If there is no first cause, there could logically be no second cause, and so on. 4. There must be a first, uncaused Cause, i.e., God. JER 10:16. B. The Argument from Degree of Quality or Value. 1. We conceive of things as being more or less good, true, and excellent. 2. “More” or “less” is decided upon the degree of approach to the greatest. 3. Therefore, there is something that is most good, true, and excellent, i.e., God. C. The Argument from Values in General. 1. Truth, goodness, and beauty are real in our experiences. 2. The fact that we recognize degrees of truth, goodness, and beauty suggests that we presuppose an absolute standard to which these values approximate. a. There must be an absolute. b. The statement, “There are no absolutes” is self-contradictory. c. If it is absolutely true that there is no absolute truth, then there is absolute truth. 3. We cannot suppose that in the end these values oppose one another; the ultimate values must form a unity or a supreme value, i.e., God. D. The Argument from Religious Experience. 1. The fact that men have generally believed in the divine suggests that the idea of God is innate in the human mind. ROM 1:19. 2. If we base our knowledge of the universe on experience, religious experience has a claim to be included. V. The existence and power of God are evident from a fair evaluation of the creation. PSA 19:1-3; ROM 1:18-20; ACT 14:17. A. There are four possibilities which would explain the existence of the universe. Christian Faith 101 12-30-12 Page 2 1. The universe spontaneously emerged from nothing. All observation denies this. Something has never been seen to come out of nothing of its own accord. 2. The universe is eternal. This is refuted by the Second Law of Thermodynamics: the Law of Entropy. This law states that although the total amount of energy remains unchanged, there is a tendency for energy to become less available for useful work. In time, all matter tends to lose available energy. In other words, everything is wearing out. a. Even evolutionists are forced to measure time by decay rates. b. At present observed rates of entropy, if the universe has been here forever, it has long since been reduced to a net total of zero energy. c. The Bible confirms the Law of Entropy. PSA 102:25-26. 3. The universe does not exist. a. This position supposes that everything is imagined. b. This is legal and medical insanity: the inability to cope with reality. 4. A force greater than the universe brought it into existence. In other words, “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth” (GEN 1:1). B. From all observation, only the 4th alternative (above) explains the present phenomena. 1. There was a time when energy was being concentrated, not dissipated, through a process not presently observed. 2. Scripture affirms this very principle. HEB 11:3. 3. Then something happened and entropy began. The Bible identifies this as sin which caused universal death and corruption. ROM 5:12; 8:21-22. C. Furthermore, the existence of the present material universe is only part of the problem. If all the material of the universe did come into existence from nothing of its own accord, or if the material has always been here, how did life come from non-life? Where has nonliving matter ever been seen to become living matter of its own accord? 1. Observation confirms the Law of Biogenesis (life only comes from life). 2. Atheistic evolution affirms (in the absence of proof) that life must have come from non-life sometime in the past. Mind that the same people tend to mock the idea of a bodily resurrection from death! 3. Further, if the evolutionist theorizes that there must always have been life, he has therefore granted that there is such a thing as eternal life. 4. The other alternative is that there has always been an intelligent source of life Who instilled that principle into matter in a creative act. GEN 1:11, 21, 24; 2:7; ACT 17:24-25. D. Scientists affirm that all matter is composed of atoms. The nucleus of the atom consists of particles called neutrons and protons. The neutrons have no electrical charge and are therefore neutral, but the protons have positive charges. 1. One law of electricity is that like charges repel, so what holds the atom together? 2. One atheistic theory is that there must be something called “nuclear glue” or “gluons” to hold it all together. Thus, they hope and have faith that things are held together by something that they have never seen. 3. While believing in this, they find fault with Christians who believe that there is a God Who has left abundant confirmation of His existence and holds all things together. COL 1:17; HEB 1:3; 2PE 3:5-7. E. Either the present phenomena have come into existence through random chance or they are here by design. If by design, this necessitates a Designer with the power to carry out His plans. Christian Faith 101 12-30-12 Page 3 1. Atheistic evolution affirms that, given enough time, all present things can be explained through the “card-shuffling” concept of random chance. But disruptive change in complex systems tends to produce disorder, not increased order. 2. One of the most important proteins is hemoglobin: it is responsible for the red color of blood and the oxygen chemistry based on our breathing. a. It is composed of a distinct chain of 574 amino-acids which must link together in a proper order. b. The odds of just one molecule of hemoglobin coming into existence through random chance would be 1 in 10650. 3. DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) codes for all the proteins of a creature, not just hemoglobin. If the interconnected double-helix spirals of the DNA don't line up perfectly, the amino-acids which they direct cannot form the proper proteins. 4. The T4 phage, a tiny creature which preys upon bacteria would be one of the smallest specimens of DNA. It has been reasonably calculated that the odds of one proper ribbon of DNA for one T4 phage coming into existence by random chance would be 1 in 1078000. 5. Given the above facts, note that evolutionists estimate that the universe is about 4- 1/2 billion years old (give or take a few billion) or 1.4 x 1017 seconds old (say 1018 seconds old). At a random shuffling rate of 1 per second, hemoglobin could never have been produced yet, let alone one T4 phage. (The Philosophical Scientists, pp. 79-83, by David Foster, Dorset Press). F. There is no amount of time conceivable to man that could possibly allow for random chance to produce creatures like the giraffe. Its neck has blood vessels with unique intermittent valves which prevent its very high blood pressure from blowing its brains out when it drops its head to drink. They then reverse their function and prevent the blood from rushing away from the giraffe's brain when it lifts its head back up. If random chance mutations are responsible for such an animal, it does not exist. G. Likewise consider the amazing bombardier beetle, whose body has two special chambers which hold volatile chemicals. 1. As a defense, the beetle releases these chemicals into a third chamber where they would explode if not for the introduction of a special chemical inhibitor, which prevents the premature detonation of its “bomb” until it is released into the air at the boiling point of water. 2. How many “missing link” bombardier beetles got blown away until one pair of them happened to evolve the same complex apparatus at the same time in the same place? H. The construction and function of the human eye is so complex and exquisite that it cannot be explained by random chance mutation. 1. Beyond the construction of the eye itself is the incredible process by which the image it views is transmitted to the brain where that image is actually “seen.” 2. Most species of animals also have the faculty of eyesight. How did they all manage to evolve this in the same segment of time as humans by random mutations which statistically should only produce greater disparity between species, not similarity? 3. There are not enough zeros in man's imagination that could be added to a number which would account for the generations and years it would take to produce a complex system of life which simultaneously and almost entirely functions by light and a vital apparatus to process the images that light makes possible. 4. An all powerful, all-seeing God made the eye. PRO 20:12. Christian Faith 101 12-30-12 Page 4 I. The vast, complex intricacy of the workings of the universe screams of a Designer and Controller. A supercomputer, by comparison, is a collection of errors. J. In the face of such evidence, only a fool would deny there is a God. PSA 14:1. VI. The creation declares to an intelligent, honest person that God exists, but comparatively little can be known of a person by merely examining a product he has made. So too with God. A. Only a little can be known of Him by studying His creation. JOB 11:7-9. B. Man is an intelligent creature with the ability to think, feel and decide. But the reason for his existence can only be known if God communicates it to his intellect. C. God made man able to communicate. 1. God, the Cause, must also be able to communicate. 2. Since God is the most important fact with which a creature can deal, it stands to reason that God would communicate to man. D. A provision has been made for every observable need. 1. For example, there is food for hunger, drink for thirst, etc. 2. Thus, it stands to reason that God would provide for man's need to know his Maker and his Maker's will for him. E. Any good earthly father communicates with his children. Would God be any less good? F. Being man's Creator, God is man's Master with a right to his service. 1. Service implies an expressed rule. 2. If it is just for men to express rules to their servants so that they might be served, would God be less just? G. Personal experience confirms that a relationship with God is deeply founded on His word. Men relate to God through His revelation of Himself. H. Without a communicated revelation of God, man's attempts to relate to God invariably lead him into a corrupt worship of the creation rather than its Creator. ROM 1:21-25. I. These things argue for the necessity of a divine revelation of God beyond that which is made in the creation. VII. Observe the nature of God's revelation, noting that the Bible itself claims to be actually authored by God. A. God speaks and His word is perceived as such. 1SAM 3:1-18. B. God has spoken to men verbally and in writing. 2TI 3:15-17; 2PE 1:20-21. C. Scripture claims to be God speaking to men. GEN 12:3 c/w GAL 3:8; EXO 9:13, 16 c/w ROM 9:17. 1. This is called “inspiration” (2TI 3:16), from theopneustos, a Greek word meaning “God-breathed.” 2. The mechanism was very simple: God spoke His word to an appointed prophet or apostle and the word was written down. ISA 8:1; 30:8; REV 1:11. 3. This inspiration extends to the words, letters and markings. MAT 5:18; 22:31-32; GAL 3:16. VIII. Consider these evidences that the Scriptures are the Divine revelation: A. The prophetic accuracy of Scripture. ISA 41:21-23. B. The confirming signs. EXO 4:1-9; HEB 2:3-4. C. The internal agreement of the various writers of Scripture, spanning some 1500 years. DEU 13:1-4; 2PE 1:20-21. D. The historical accuracy. Numerous people, places and events have been confirmed by Christian Faith 101 12-30-12 Page 5 secular record and archaeological research. E. The scientific accuracy. Meteorological phenomena, geophysical characteristics and the laws of thermodynamics are found in Scripture. PSA 135:7; ECC.1:6-7; ISA 40:22; PSA 102:25-27. F. The witness of the Spirit within a regenerate person. JOH 8:47; 1CO 2:14; 1JO 5:10. IX. Following is a very brief treatment of why the KJV Bible is God's preserved word in the English language. A. The inspired scriptures were predominantly first written in Hebrew (O.T.) and Greek (N.T.). B. The inspiration was not limited to the original manuscripts or languages. 1. If God is omnipotent, He can certainly preserve His word in copies or translations. 2. Examples of copying being employed in the preservation and transmission of scriptures are seen in DEU 17:18-19; PRO 25:1. 3. The Greek N.T. contains many quotations from the Hebrew O.T. That's translation. God's power to make His word known in other languages is plainly seen in ACT 2:4-6. 4. By these means, many nations could receive God's word in their own language to accomplish the apostles' assignment to evangelize them. MAT 28:19-20. C. There are basically two families of manuscripts from which English Bibles have come. 1. One family of manuscripts largely came out of a philosophical academy in Egypt and are associated with the Roman Catholic Church which has had a history of persecuting those who would not conform to their beliefs. a. It should be noted that in Scripture, Egypt was a place of bondage for God's people, not liberty. EXO 1:13-14. b. This family of manuscripts is essentially the basis for all modern English Bibles since 1850. 2. The other family of manuscripts (particularly N.T. manuscripts) largely sprang from Syria where the Apostle Paul had been commissioned to evangelize the Gentiles. ACT 13:1-2; 14:26-28. a. Paul had especially advanced the principle of liberty that comes from being led of the true God. ROM 8:14-15; 2CO 3:17. b. This family of manuscripts was the basis of KJV Bible. 3. If the only criterion for identifying the true Bible was the distinction between identifying with bondage or with liberty, choose liberty. D. The KJV excels all other English Bibles. 1. It upholds and glorifies Jesus Christ more than any other English Bible. Other versions provably diminish His nature, virgin birth, deity, sinlessness, work, and victory over death. 2. It bears the fruits that God's true word should produce in men who believe it: repentance from sin, submission to Christ and victory over the darkness of this world. ACT 26:18; 1TH 2:13-14. 3. It bears the fruits of God's wisdom among peoples who exalt it: justice, righteousness, technological advancement and prosperity. PRO 8:12-21. 4. It is internally consistent whereas other English Bibles have obvious internal contradictions and errors. God's word is pure. PSA 12:6-7; JOH 10:35. 5. It is very readable, written primarily in single-syllable words and research has shown that it is more readable than other English Bibles. Christian Faith 101 12-30-12 Page 6 6. It lends itself to easy memorization more than any other book. God wants His words to be remembered. PSA 119:11; 1CO 15:1-2. X. Here is a simple overview of the Bible. A. It consists of 66 books and epistles (letters) in two major divisions: the Old Testament (39 books) and the New Testament (27 books and letters). All of it is inspired. 2TI 3:16. 1. The O.T. consists of the Pentateuch/Books of Moses (GEN to DEU), the historical books (JOS to EST), the Writings (JOB to SON), and the Prophets (ISA to MAL). 2. The N.T. consists of the four gospels which are the record of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ (MAT to JOH), the Acts of the Apostles of Jesus Christ, the epistles/letters of the apostles (ROM to JUDE) and the Book of Revelation. 3. The O.T. is Christ veiled; the N.T. is Christ revealed. 4. The N.T. is the clearer, superior revelation from God; the O.T. must be interpreted according to the explanations given of it in the N.T. 2PE 1:19-21; 1JO 4:6. B. The O.T. was the peculiar blessing of the nation of Israel (PSA 147:19-20; ROM 3:1-2) whereas the N.T. marked the going forth of God's word to all nations. ROM 16:25-26. C. The central Person of the entire Bible is the Lord Jesus Christ. 1. The O.T. anticipated His coming and testified of Him. ISA 7:14; JOH 5:39. 2. The N.T. declares His arrival, saving work and victory in fulfillment of prophecy and that He has been made King and Judge over all. 1CO 15:1-4; ACT 10:39-43. D. The major events of the O.T. are: 1. The record of creation and the entrance of sin. GEN 1-3. 2. The worldwide flood in Noah's day because of great sin. GEN 6-9. 3. The calling out of Abraham whose descendants would end up in Egyptian bondage. GEN 12 to EXO 1. 4. The exodus of Abraham's descendants from Egypt under the leadership of Moses. EXO 1 to DEU 34. 5. The giving of the Law / the Ten Commandments. EXO 20. 6. The Jewish conquest of the land of Canaan and their establishment as a nation there. This is the record of the Book of Joshua. 7. The establishing of a royal family in Israel, beginning with King David. This is the record of the Books of 1SAM, 2SAM; 1CH. 8. The overthrow and captivity of Israel because of sin. This is recorded in the historical books of 2KI and 2CH. 9. The return and restoration of Israel to their land to await the coming of Messiah. This is the record of the Books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. E. The major figures of the O.T. are: 1. Adam, the first man. He was created perfect but sinned and brought sin, death and the curse into the creation (GEN 1-3) and serves as a type/picture of the next Perfect Man Who should come and Who would not fail: Jesus Christ. 1CO 15:45; ROM 5:19. 2. Noah, the lone preacher of righteousness whose family was spared from a worldwide flood brought on by sin (GEN 6-9; 2PE 2:5) and so also forms a picture of Jesus Christ Whose entire spiritual family will be saved from universal judgment. 1PE 3:18-22 c/w LUK 17:26-27. 3. Abraham, whom God suddenly called out of his idolatrous land and family, to whom God made great promises of eternal significance, and with whom God made an everlasting covenant. GEN 12-25. Christian Faith 101 12-30-12 Page 7 a. Abraham was the ancestral father of the Jewish people. b. Abraham was a model of great faith in God's word and his faith was a token or evidence of righteousness. ROM 4:1-5. c. Abraham was given the sign of circumcision for himself and all his male descendants after he had been declared to be righteous. ROM 4:9-13. d. God's promises to Abraham were only to Abraham and Christ. GAL 3:16. 4. Moses, the deliverer who brought God's people out of bondage and gave them God's law (EXO), who also forms a picture of Christ Who delivered His people out of the bondage of sin and gave them His law, the N.T. HEB 3:1-6. 5. Joshua, who brought God's people into their earthly inheritance and rest, which Moses could not do. a. Joshua is spelled Jesus in the N.T. ACT 7:45; HEB 4:8. b. This all serves as a beautiful picture of the overall message of the Bible: Jesus alone brought God's people into their heavenly inheritance and rest, not Moses or his law. ROM 3:20-22; HEB 9:12. 6. David, a prophet and the first king of a royal dynasty in Israel which would culminate in Jesus Christ, David's descendant and the Eternal King. ACT 13:21-23; LUK 1:30-33. F. The major events of the N.T. are: 1. The conception of Jesus Christ in the virgin Mary's womb which was God becoming a man who was the Son of God. MAT 1:23; LUK 1:35. 2. The ministry of John the Baptist who prepared Israel for Christ's public ministry and who baptized Jesus Christ. MAR 1:1-11. 3. The blameless life and public ministry of Jesus Christ which was rejected by His own people and which culminated in His crucifixion death. ACT 13:27-29. 4. The resurrection of Jesus Christ after being buried for three days and nights. ACT 13:30; MAT 12:38-40. 5. The ascension of Jesus Christ to take the eternal throne. EPH 1:19-23; REV 3:21. 6. The coming of the promised Holy Spirit to indwell and empower the church which Jesus Christ established on earth. JOH 14:15-17, 26 c/w ACT 2:1-6. 7. The building of Christ's church in fulfillment of promises of a Divine Kingdom. DAN 2:44 c/w MAT 16:18-19. 8. The conversion of Saul of Tarsus from being the chief enemy of Christ to become the chief apostle of Jesus Christ with a special ministry to the Gentiles. ACT 9:1-6, 15. 9. The conversion of the first uncircumcised Gentile believer, which was the breaking down of a barrier that had separated Jews and Gentiles. ACT 10; EPH 2:11-18. G. The major figures of the N.T. are: 1. Jesus Christ, the virgin-born son of God Who fulfilled all of the requirements of God's holy Law for righteousness by living a sinless life, dying for sinners, and rising from the grave in victorious conquest over death and the grave. ROM 10:4; 4:23-25. 2. John the Baptist, who announced Christ's arrival and baptized him. John's ministry marked the sunset of the O.T. economy. LUK 16:16. 3. The 12 apostles whom Christ called out to be the ministers of His New Testament and foundations of His church. LUK 22:14, 29-30; EPH 2:20. 4. The Apostle Paul, the once sworn enemy of Christ and His church who was called out for a special ministry to the Gentiles. 1CO 15:9-10; 1TI 1:12-15. Christian Faith 101 12-30-12 Page 8 H. The N.T. is not only a clearer, superior revelation from God, it has legally replaced the O.T. 1. testament: A formal declaration, usually in writing, of a person's wishes as to the disposal of his property after his death; a will. 2. It is always the Last Will and Testament of a deceased person through which heirs receive their inheritance. 3. Jesus Christ made a New Testament just before He died which abolished the Old Testament. LUK 22:20; HEB 9:15-17; 2CO 3:13. 4. Therefore the heirs of God do not receive their inheritance according to the terms of the O.T. but rather of the N.T. I. Another way to describe the two testaments is that the O.T. is the Mosaic Covenant and the N.T. is the Messianic Covenant. 1. The message of the Mosaic Covenant is “do and live” righteousness. ROM 10:5. 2. The message of the Messianic Covenant is “Christ did, you live.” GAL 2:20-21. J. The foregoing points in this section show a continuity, correspondence and consistency between the two testaments of the Bible. K. In summary, the Bible is: 1. the account of God's, plan, power and performance of His will through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is God and man. 2. the account of the victory of God, the Supreme Good over Satan, the supreme evil. 3. the account of humanity's bondage to Satan, sin and death being remedied by the sinless, victorious work of the Lord Jesus Christ. 4. the account of Jesus Christ's exaltation to the throne of God to reign over all things. 5. the announcement of His certain return to judge all things. ACT 17:31. XI. What does the Bible say about God? A. God is eternal (infinite in past and future duration). DEU 33:27. B. God is immortal (deathless, living forever). 1TI 1:17. C. God is immutable (changeless). JAM 1:17. D. God is omnipotent (all powerful). REV 19:6. E. God is omnipresent (everywhere present). PSA 139:7-12. F. God is omniscient (all-knowing). HEB 4:12-13. G. God will not lie or deny Himself. HEB 6:18; 2TI 2:13. H. God is faithful (full of faith, true to His word). 1CO 10:13. I. God is just (upright and impartial in dealings). ISA 45:21; ROM 2:6-11. J. God is holy (morally and spiritually perfect). PSA 99:9; REV 4:8. K. God is righteous (virtuous, guiltless). PSA 7:9. L. God is love. 1JO 4:8. M. God is merciful, gracious and longsuffering. EXO 34:6. N. God cannot condone sin, leave it unpunished, or allow it in His presence. HAB 1:13; PSA 5:4; EXO 34:7. O. God is a Trinity (Three Persons yet One God). 1JO 5:7. 1. The Father is God. JOH 6:27. 2. The Word is God and became the man, Jesus Christ. JOH 1:1, 14; 1TI 3:16. 3. The Holy Ghost (aka Holy Spirit) is God. ACT 5:3-4. XII. What is sin and how does God view it? A. Sin is the transgression (violation) of God's law. 1JO 3:4. 1. This includes sins of omission. JAM 4:17. Christian Faith 101 12-30-12 Page 9 2. This also includes sins of ignorance. LEV 5:14-19. B. The consequence of sin is death and eternal separation from God in a place of torment. ROM 6:23; LUK 16:23; MAT 25:41. C. A single sin is sufficient to eternally damn someone because God is that holy and just. 1. One act of disobedience by the first man, Adam, brought damnation upon him. GEN 2:16-17. 2. Nothing less than flawless obedience earns God's curse. GAL 3:10. 3. Sin is not limited to outward actions; it includes inward thoughts. MAT 5:27-28. 4. One lie or wicked thought warrants eternal death. REV 21:8. D. God hates sin and sinners in their natural state. PSA 5:5. XIII. What does the Bible say about the extent and effects of sin upon man? A. All men regardless of bloodline or nation are under the condemnation of sin. ROM 3:9. B. All come short of God's glory; none measure up. ROM 3:23. C. The best efforts that man can produce are defiled. ISA 64:6. D. The problem is that man not only has the ability to sin, he inherits sin. It is part of his nature, written in his inward parts. EPH 2:3; ROM 7:18, 22-23. E. Adam's single sin brought sin and death upon all mankind. ROM 5:12. 1. The first death was spiritual; Adam died from perfect fellowship and relationship to God in the day that he sinned! GEN 2:17 c/w EPH 2:1. 2. Physical death was a natural secondary consequence that remains binding upon all. HEB 9:27. F. Sin as a principle or trait descends from the father to the child. GEN 5:1-3. 1. Sin is present at conception. PSA 51:5. 2. Sin is present in the newborn at birth. PSA 58:3. a. If infants have no sin, why do some of them die? ROM 6:23. b. If infants have no sin, they don't need a Savior to save them from sin. c. If infants have no sin until they later commit sin, it would be in their eternal interest to never survive long enough to commit sin (despicable but logical given the faulty premise that infants have no sin). 3. Sin is present in youth. GEN 8:21. 4. Sin is very present in all adults. ROM 3:9-19. G. Men do not sin in order to become sinners; they sin because THEY ARE sinners by nature. 1. Adam was unique in that he was the only man who was ever sinlessly innocent but then sinned to become a sinner. 2. All sinners since Adam sin from a sin principle that is part of their very nature from the moment of conception. 3. Sin (the principle) produces Sins (the effects). XIV. Could hell-bound sinners do something to undo their corrupt nature or cancel out their sinful acts? A. No. Remember that by nature man is DEAD in trespasses and sins (EPH 2:1), not SICK in trespasses and sins. 1. The sick have life and ability, the dead do not. 2. Putting flowers on a grave will not quicken the buried corpse; neither will putting life-giving conditions to a spiritually dead, hell-bound man benefit him. B. The description of man under the condemnation of sin is not a pretty one. ROM 3:9-19. 1. v. 9. One's nation or pedigree make no difference. All are UNDER sin. Picture humanity crushed under an impenetrable cover which separates them from God. Christian Faith 101 12-30-12 Page 10 2. v. 10. None are righteous, regardless of how they may appear to you. 3. v. 11. None understand nor seek God. c/w PSA 10:4. 4. v. 12. All are astray and collectively unprofitable (filthy, PSA 53:3). None do good. 5. vs. 13-14. Their speech is destructive and like the stench of a rotting corpse to God. 6. v. 15. They are murderous. 7. v. 16. They are destructive and miserable. 8. v. 17. True peace is an alien concept to them. 9. v. 18. They have no fear of God. 10. v. 19. God's law holds them all guilty regardless of their objections. 11. This does not sound anything like a human race with a deep yearning for God and, if given enough time, will overcome their shortcomings and fit themselves for eternal life. C. Man is worthless: 1. religiously. ISA 64:6. 2. morally. PSA 39:5. 3. collectively. ISA 40:17. D. Sin has rendered man unable to recover himself. 1. Man's filthiness prevents him from producing cleanliness. JOB 14:4. 2. He lacks the ability to alter his nature to do good. JER 13:23. 3. His heart cannot be trusted for anything. JER 17:9. 4. He is sold under sin. ROM 7:14. 5. He cannot buy his way out of sin. PSA 49:7-8. 6. Giving man laws to keep only proved his sinfulness. ROM 3:20; GAL 3:21. 7. Sin has freed man FROM righteousness, not TO it. ROM 6:20; 8:7-8. 8. Natural man has no capacity for spiritual things. a. He cannot HEAR the gospel. JOH 8:43, 47. b. He cannot UNDERSTAND the gospel. 1CO 2:14. c. He cannot BELIEVE the gospel. JOH 10:26. 9. The nature must be changed before good can be produced. MAT 12:33. E. Sin has left man in an impossible position. 1. He is legally and inherently a sinner by Adam. 2. He is practically a sinner because of his nature. 3. His nature is corrupt and loves to sin. 4. He is by nature an object of God's wrath DEAD in trespasses and sins. EPH 2:1-3. F. Any hope of a cure for man's sin problem must not only address the ACTS of sins, but also the NATURE of sin itself within him. 1. It is not enough to cure only Sin. What about Sins? 2. It is not enough to cure only Sins. What about Sin which will continue to produce more Sins? G. Question: How can a man be saved who cannot hear, cannot understand, cannot believe, will not seek after God, cannot please God, and who is a dead, putrid corpse? 1. Answer: It can only be a salvation without ANY effort by the sinner! 2. Answer: It can only be a salvation that takes away the legal condemnation of sin which all men are under, provides for them an unblemished righteousness which God will accept, and which gives them a new nature to deliver them from the total dominion of the law of sin in their members so they can believe and serve Him. 3. Answer: God out of pure love and mercy does it all by His Son, Jesus Christ. TIT 3:4-5; ROM 5:19; GAL 3:13; HEB 1:3; 1CO 1:30-31. Christian Faith 101 12-30-12 Page 11 XV. Scripture declares that God foresaw the fall of man and therefore set in motion a plan of salvation based upon His own will and effort, not man's. A. Recall that man under sin is anything but holy and blameless. ROM 3:9-18. B. Recall that man's will is corrupt; he is sold under sin and free from righteousness. ROM 7:14; 6:20; PSA 10:4. C. Recall that man's works are corrupt, even his good ones. ISA 64:6. D. Recall that laws cannot change his nature nor be kept flawlessly. JER 13:23; GAL 3:10. E. Sacrifices of sin-burdened creatures cannot take away sin. ROM 8:20-21; HEB 10:4. F. The gap between God and fallen man was huge. 1. God is holy, pure, righteous and cannot allow any sin in His presence. 2. Fallen man is filthy, dead, averse to God and without ability to recover himself. G. Before the world began, God purposed to save men without regard to their works but rather to the work of His Son, Jesus Christ. 2TI 1:9. 1. God at that time chose men in Jesus Christ so that they should be holy and blameless before him in love. EPH 1:3-4. 2. The fruition of this was the purest and greatest demonstration of love. EPH 2:4-5. 3. It is common to love someone who is alive and lovable, but how about loving someone who is dead, unlovable, hateful, wicked and your enemy?! COL 1:21. 4. This great love caused children of wrath (EPH 2:3) whose spiritual father was the devil (JOH 8:44; 1JO 3:10) to be called sons of God. 1JO 3:1. 5. According to God's choosing sinners in Christ, He predestinated (pre = before; destinated = appointed to an end) them to be His adopted children. EPH 1:5. 6. GOD DOES IT ALL. H. Remembering the averse, corrupt and incapable nature of fallen man, note Who is the active party in this great change. EPH 1:3-11. 1. God ''...hath blessed us....in Christ” (v. 3). 2. He “...hath chosen us in him [Christ]...” (v. 4) 3. He “...predestinated us...by Jesus Christ to himself” (v. 5). 4. “...according to....his will” (v. 5), “...after the counsel of his will...” (v. 11). 5. He “...hath made us accepted in the beloved [Christ]” (v. 6). 6. “...in whom [Christ] we have redemption through his blood...his grace” (v. 7) 7. He “...hath abounded toward us...” (v. 8). 8. He “...might gather together in one all things in Christ...even in him” (v. 10). 9 “...in whom [Christ] also we...being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (v. 11). 10. GOD DOES IT ALL: His plan, His purpose, His choosing, His pleasure, His Son, His will. The sinner is the passive object of God's gracious love and mercy. 11. Remember all the “will nots” and “can nots” that pertain to fallen man? Well, God willed to save, was able to save, and did save! 2TI 1:9. I. This is the doctrine of election: before the world began, God chose out of Adam's fallen race a people to live with Him in glory. 1. God's elect are those whom He chose. MAR 13:20. 2. 1PE 1:2 sets forth specific details about God's elect. a. “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father...” (1) This is not foreknowledge of creature obedience. PSA 14:2-3. (2) This is foreknowledge of creature identity. AA. “For whom he did foreknow...” (ROM 8:29). Christian Faith 101 12-30-12 Page 12 BB. “...his people which he foreknew...” (ROM 11:2). (3) The unsaved God NEVER knew (MAT 7:23); the elect He FOREknew. b. “...through sanctification of the Spirit...” The Holy Spirit in covenant sets them apart as holy. EPH 1:4. c. “...unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ...” Christ's obedience makes them righteous (ROM 5:19); His blood cleanses them of sin. REV 1:5; EPH 1:7. d. All Three Persons of the Godhead are active in the elective purpose. 3. God's election is of grace and therefore cannot be of works. ROM 11:5-6. a. grace: Favour, favourable or benignant regard or its manifestation (now only on the part of a superior); favour or goodwill, in contradistinction to right or obligation, as the ground of a concession. (Compare ROM 4:4). b. work: Something that is or was done; what a person does or did... (1) Personal repentance is a work. MAT 12:41 c/w JON 3:10. (2) Personal faith is a work. MAT 23:23; JOH 6:28-29. c. To mix grace and works is to frustrate grace. GAL 2:21. 4. God elected Jacob but not Esau WITHOUT ANY CONSIDERATION OF THEIR ACTIVITY OR THEIR WILL. ROM 9:11-16. a. God's election is sovereign; He does the choosing and none can fault Him. b. God's election is particular; He only chooses some. c. God's election is an act of mercy; therefore the elect had no claim to it. d. God's election consists of Jews and Gentiles. ROM 9:24. e. God's election results in an innumerable multitude of saved men of every nation, kindred, people and tongue. REV 7:9-10. f. Paul makes plain that fighting against God about His election is futile. After all, HE is God, not man. ROM 9:14, 17-21. g. Men make discriminating choices all the time. (1) A man will choose one woman to marry, not all. (2) A couple may adopt one orphan when they could have adopted more. (3) A father may have many hateful children but only give his estate to one. (4) If men are just for discriminating acts of love, mercy and favor, then how can they fault God? 5. Stop and think! a. If God's election of some sinners unto salvation is a matter of Him basing His choice upon their performance, He is hardly a righteous judge. b. In such a case, He would be a respecter of persons, accepting bribes from those who deserved condemnation as much as the ones He did not choose. c. God is not a respecter of persons. ROM 2:11. J. Election unto the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ (1PE 1:2) implies a covenant salvation. HEB 10:29; 13:21. 1. covenant: A mutual agreement between two or more persons to do or refrain from doing certain acts... 2. God the Father did the electing. EPH 1:3-4. 3. God the Son would bleed and die for the elect. 1PE 1:2. a. Christ was given a specific mission: to save those the Father had given Him to save. JOH 4:34; 6:37-39; 17:2-3. Christian Faith 101 12-30-12 Page 13 b. Christ successfully completed the work He was sent to do. JOH 19:30; HEB 10:9-10. c. This cancelled the legal debt of sin which they could not overcome. ROM 8:3. 4. God the Spirit would apply the merits of Christ's blood in power to the elect, regenerating them inwardly. TIT 3:5; JOH 3:8. a. They are new creatures in Christ. 2CO 5:17; EPH 2:10. b. They are fitted for God's kingdom. JOH 3:5-7. c. This vital change sets the elect free from the uncontested dominion of sin and enables them to believe, obey and relate to God as Father. GAL 4:4-6. 5. At Christ's return, their bodies will be made pure and holy. PHIL 3:20-21. K. Thus, God's election of sinners to be saved by Jesus Christ is the answer to both Sin (the principle) and Sins (the deeds). 1. Jesus Christ's blood takes away the penalty of sin that was due unto them. 2. Jesus Christ's blood applied in power to the inward man takes away the power of sin that had dominion over them and gives them a new spiritual nature. 3. Jesus Christ's blood continues to avail for them when they err. 1JO 1:7-9. L. Mind that the Christ of the Bible successfully completed the mission for which He was sent: to secure eternal life forever for God's elect/sheep. JOH 10:27-29. 1. He justified and reconciled them to God. ROM 5:8-10. 2. He sanctified and perfected them forever. HEB 10:10, 14. 3. He by himself purged their sins. HEB 1:3. 4. He is satisfied about His work. ISA 53:11. M. There is another Christ preached in the world who: 1. shed his blood for all mankind but only some will be saved. 2. actually saved none by his death. 3. left it up to the polluted, incapable, anti-God sinner to be saved by doing something that he never would, nor ever could do. N. Which Christ should be believed in? XVI. It is clear that God's elective purpose wrought in Jesus Christ on behalf of sinners given to Him to eternally save, and made effectual in their persons by the Holy Spirit, shows that the elect are entirely passive: God does it all for them. The terms that describe aspects of their change into God's children underscore this. A. They are the purchased possession of God (ACT 20:28; EPH 1:14); He legally redeemed them so that we may see: 1. how bankrupt and enslaved we were by nature. PSA 49:7-9. 2. how indebted we are to Christ's blood and rich grace. EPH 1:7. B. Those who are legally redeemed are also adopted as God's own (EPH 1:5) so that we may see: 1. how great a role His choice played in our salvation. 2. how grateful and relieved we should be that we were thus adopted by a loving Father. ROM 8:15. C. The change of their inward heart/nature is described as regeneration (TIT 3:5) and a new birth (JOH 3:3-7) so we would see: 1. how passive we are in being generated again or born again. 2. how life must precede activity. 3. that God's children are formed by a single act by a Higher Power. Christian Faith 101 12-30-12 Page 14 4. that this miracle does make a vital child. D. The change of their inward nature is also described as being born of the Spirit (JOH 3:8) so we would see: 1. that the Free Agent in salvation is God, not the sinner. 2. that the “...flesh profiteth nothing” (JOH 6:63). 3. that appealing to God as Father is the product of the Spirit's work, not the cause of it. GAL 4:6 c/w 1CO 12:3. E. The elect who have been thus changed inwardly are also called new creatures (2CO 5:17) so that we may see: 1. a Creator had to bring them into existence by the power of His word. JOH 5:25. 2. that the ability to believe is owing to God's creative power to bring life from death. EPH 1:19-20. 3. that obedience is also a product of this creative power. EPH 2:10. F. That a once hell-bound, spiritually dead sinner has been legally redeemed and changed into a new, living and adopted son of God is patently an unconditional salvation which establishes relationship with God. 1. What then is the purpose of the gospel? 2. What then about personal faith? 3. What then about submission and obedience? 4. Hint: Every child in a natural sense comes into existence by the will of his father, not his own. But in order to enjoy fellowship with his father, he must: a. know who he is. b. know how to serve him and do so. c. know what displeases him and avoid that. d. know what to expect of him for reward or punishment. XVII. What is the purpose of the gospel? A. The word gospel means good tidings (good news). ISA 61:1 c/w LUK 4:18. 1. The good news could be what God has fully done for the sinner. 2. The good news could be what God has partially done but left the rest up to the sinner. 3. Considering the averse, depraved, incapable nature of the sinner, the second option is not good news at all. B. Eternal salvation may be defined as deliverance from the Penalty, Power and (someday) the Presence of sin, and being delivered unto eternal life with God. This is a great theme of the Scripture. C. The question is, “What relationship does the gospel have to eternal salvation/life?” D. The most common position is that the gospel is an indispensable requirement for the acquisition of eternal life: eternal salvation is conditioned upon believing the gospel. 1. If this is true, then everyone who does not believe the gospel is eternally lost. 2. This would condemn all who reject the gospel and those who cannot believe the gospel because they never heard it or were incapable of believing it (infants, severely handicapped, etc.). 3. The implications of the foregoing have caused some to conclude that God will eternally save some by some other standard. a. This, though, means that the gospel is NOT an indispensable requirement for the acquisition of eternal life! b. The position refutes itself. Christian Faith 101 12-30-12 Page 15 E. Question: What is the fate of those who die without having heard the gospel if believing the gospel is a necessary condition for eternal life? 1. Some would say that they are all eternally damned. a. But why have they not heard the gospel? Could it be that someone who believed the gospel did not share it with them, per ROM 10:14? b. If God eternally saves the believer who has the gospel but eternally damns the victim of the believer's indifference, how is he a just God? c. Mind that this position places the power of eternal life and death at the discretion of the believer: he decides who goes to hell. 2. Some would say that God eternally saves some who have not heard the gospel on the basis of something other than the gospel, in which case the gospel is NOT a necessary condition for eternal life. 3. Some would say that God eternally saves all who have not heard the gospel because He is merciful and will not hold them accountable for what they could not do. a. If true, then the gospel is NOT a necessary condition for eternal life. b. If true, the gospel is of NO eternal benefit to them; they are already eternally safe without it. c. The last thing they should ever do is hear the gospel, lest they become accountable and reject it. The evangelist or missionary becomes the instrument of their eternal damnation! F. A quick review: 1. God's election of sinners unto eternal life is unconditional. 2TI 1:9. 2. Natural man cannot hear, understand or believe the gospel. 1CO 2:14. 3. The man who hears and believes the gospel is already born of God and in possession of eternal life on the basis of God's work. 1JO 5:1; JOH 5:24; ACT 13:48. G. So what is the gospel for if it is not a means to unconditional eternal salvation? 1. There are many verses in Scripture which show a conditional salvation based upon the gospel. Eg. MAR 16:15-16; ACT 2:38; 3:19; ROM 10:8-15. a. A popular explanation is that the Bible contradicts itself. But there are no contradictions in the Bible for God is not the author of confusion. 2PE 1:20; 1CO 14:33. b. Another explanation is that God's election is an irreconcilable, unfathomable mystery. But Scripture declares that it can be understood. EPH 3:3-4. 2. What if there are salvations other than eternal salvation? PSA 44:4; 116:8. H. There is salvation for God's elect that is supplemental to the eternal salvation wrought for them and in them by God Himself. JOH 10:10; 2TI 2:10. 1. The gospel does not bring life and immortality but it does bring life and immorality to light! 2TI 1:9-10; 1JO 1:2. 2. The gospel is a declaration of what God HAS done for sinners. 1CO 15:1-4. 3. The gospel is good news to those whose hearts have been regenerated already by the Holy Spirit according to God's own purpose and grace. ACT 13:39, 48. 4. The gospel is NOT good news for those whose nature has not been changed by God. 1CO 1:18; 2CO 2:15-16. 5. The gospel is therefore especially a call to God's regenerate elect to arouse THEM to faith and duty. 6. The gospel can save the elect from: a. ignorance and deception. JOH 8:32; EPH 4:11-14. Christian Faith 101 12-30-12 Page 16 b. the power of Satan and sin. ACT 26:18; 2TI 2:25-26. c. trying to establish their own righteousness. ROM 10:1-3. d. chastening for disobedience. LUK 12:47-48. e. a corrupt culture. ACT 2:40. 7. The gospel can save the elect to: a. faith in God rather than man. b. assurance of eternal life and acceptance with God. ROM 3:21-22; 1TH 1:4-6. c. fellowship with God, Christ and like believers. 1JO 1:3. d. fullness of joy. 1JO 1:4. e. rest. MAT 11:28. f. obedience. ROM 16:25-26. g. victorious living. 1JO 5:4-5. h. acceptable worship. JOH 4:23-24. I. The gospel is not a sheep-maker; it is a sheep-finder and sheep-feeder! J. The gospel is not to regenerate the dead; it is to locate, stimulate, educate and separate the living regenerate! K. God's role: 1. God the Father elects and predestines the elect. 2. God the Son dies for the elect and resurrects for the elect. 3. God the Spirit regenerates the elect. 4. God establishes sonship/relationship with the elect. 5. God preserves the elect. 6. God saves the elect eternally from the penalty of sin. 7. God the Son comes again to deliver their body from sin and receive them to heaven. L. The elect's role: 1. The elect hear the gospel. 2. The elect believe on Jesus Christ as God and Savior. 3. The elect repent and are converted. 4. The elect are thus saved from the pollution and practice of sin. 5. The elect establish fellowship with God. 6. The elect save themselves temporally (in time, not eternity). 7. The elect who believe share the good news with others. 1TH 1:8. 8. The elect who believe await Christ's return. 1TH 1:9-10.
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