Paul and Erosions of Sound Doctrine.

CHAPTER 2     Paul and Erosions of  Sound Doctrine

 NOTE:  This is chapter 2 of the SunGrist book “Believe and Be Baptized, the life and 14 NT letters of the Apostle Paul, at the end you can download either the chapter or the whole book in PDF, and links will be given to you to buy this third volume of the Learn Christ Bible Commentaries at Amazon in Kindle or Paperback.

erosions of sound doctiine

I know that the Apostle Paul cried quite often about what happened to him before he became a Christian, how he persecuted the church.  No doubt he confessed his sins, God forgave his sins, God forgot his sins; but to a certain extent–at least in Paul’s memories–the load was still on his back.  Let us be careful here–this matter is very practical for daily Christian and church life–there is no need for Paul or us to carry around any “care” of any kind, including past weights and sins.  The Apostle Peter made that clear.

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”  (I Peter 5:6,7)

However, in spite of forgiveness; in spite of God’s forgetfulness; in spite of the getting of Paul’s cares off his back, something remained in his memory and on his back related to his persecution of the church.  I don’t think we have all the answers, but we do not it clearly remained.  Paul wrote that he was not any worthy to be called an Apostle because he persecuted the church of God.  Of course, we did know that part of the problem was because Christians had difficulties initially accepting Paul as an Apostle.  Some were afraid of him because they knew as Saul how he had dragged Christians into prison.  Remember Ananias when God told him to go talk to Saul, “Lord, I’ve heard about this man, and how much harm he has caused the saints in Jerusalem.”  (Acts 9:13)

Even though God forgives our past sins and forgets them, casting them as far as the east is from the west and promising to remember them no more, I think there are certain inevitable laws that exist here on earth such as the law of gravity, the law of supply and demand, the law of inertia, and the law of sowing and reaping.  We simply continue to reap certain consequences of our past here on earth and in the history of earth.  And no matter how much we cast our cares on Christ, realizing the assurance of forgiveness and forgetfulness, the memories even if in our subconscious remain.  Listen to it straight from one of Paul’s letters.

“For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.  But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” (I Corinthians 15:9,10)

When we consider doctrine, alias the teachings of the Bible, and especially as related to our past and present weights or sins, we need something of the attitude of the Apostle Paul as reflected in I Corinthians 15:9,10. 1.  By the grace of God, past and present I am what I am.

This assumes that he has confessed his sins, asked and received forgiveness and God’s forgetfulness.

  1. Considering himself the least in his group, the least of the Apostles, only made Paul work even harder to prove that the grace of God toward him was not wasted. He worked harder than all the others.  Even there, he pauses to acknowledge that in the work it was not really him, but the grace of God that was working in him.

2-1:  Doctrine, often a Tight Shoe that Crimps our Style.

Now, I have mentioned all this in order to say that doctrine is often a “Tight Shoe” that puts a crimp in our walking and living style, especially that doctrine that I discuss now that seems to have become a major problem for us in the more recent years.  It is by no means a new problem as I can recall it from the 1960’s in Tucumcari, FBC, and Portales at Emmanuel Baptist Church as well as other places.  Which doctrinal problem am I speaking of?  That of, marriage, divorce, and the biblical requirements for pastors and deacons.  In particular we think of two scriptures in I Timothy 3:2 and 3:12.

“A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife…”  (I Timothy 3:2)

“Let deacons be the husbands of one wife…”  (I Timothy 3:12)

Now, before we proceed on the “Tight Shoe” of this doctrine, realizing that our nation is approaching the point where over 50% of marriages end in divorce and knowing that some of our most respected and active church members have been divorced as well as  close loved ones; and at the same time knowing that we must hold high the standard of marriage from our Creator from the beginning, in spite of the allowance in the time of Moses of a writ of divorcement because of the hardness of the peoples heart, we must preach, teach, and write the whole counsel of God, being concerned quite often about the totality of doctrine,  You know what our most important concern must be:  the erosion of our endurance for sound doctrine. This matter of marriage and divorce in general and specifically as related to the qualifications for pastors and deacons is just one example of the battles that we must fight today and in the future of the soundness of doctrine.  As the Apostle Paul wrote in II Timothy 4:3,4.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”  (II Timothy 4:3,4)

Wow!  I will come back to this latter as a main point; but before I pass on I want to ask you the question, “Are we there already?”  Have we significantly eroded our endurance for sound doctrine, and do we continue to significantly erode that endurance.  Do we often find what we want in the Bible instead of an exegesis of what is really in there?  And do we go looking for teachers that will tell us what we want to hear?  Clarence W. Kerr writes in GOD’S PATTERN FOR THE HOME.

“Decade by decade the problem of divorce becomes more and more acute. It is hard for us to realize that a century ago divorce was well nigh unheard of in this country.  We are not saying that there were not marriage problems, but few of them reached the courts of the law.  Now our divorce rate vies with death as a dissolver of the marriage relationship.  If the rate keeps on increasing as it has, it will not be long until each license for a new marriage is counter-balanced by a certificate of divorce for the legal dissolution of another.  The problem is more acute in Christian America than in many pagan lands.”

2-2:  Marriage, Divorce, and Qualifications of Leaders.

What do reliable commentators say on this Doctrine of Marriage, Divorce, and Qualifications for Pastors and Deacons? Okay, enough meddling, let us get into some comments for respected commentators.  And I remind you, don’t change horses in mid-stream.  Don’t change you reliable commentators when there is a possibility that you have encountered a doctrine that is a tight shoe on your feet.  Now for me, the most reliable of all commentators is Dr. B. H. Carroll.  Dr. Carroll was the founder of Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth where he established a seminary that would teach all the way through the Bible.  Many of you know that Commentaries on those lectures have been written, published, and re-printed as AN INTERPRETATION OF THE ENGLISH BIBLE.

Dr. Carroll, as a high school friend of mine presently teaching at Southwestern reminded me, is part of our Christian and Baptist heritage.  Here is Dr. Carroll on I Timothy 3:3 and I Timothy 3:12.

“First, ‘the husband of one wife.’  Does that mean that he must be the husband of a wife–is that what it means?  In other words, that an unmarried man ought not to be a pastor?…We had an old deacon once that put his foot right on it that it meant:  ‘I am willing to give that young preacher a place, I am willing to recognize him and even ordain him to special mission stations to preach, but no unmarried man can be pastor of this church.” And continuing about deacons Carroll writes.

“The deacon.  So far as moral qualifications go, there is little difference between the qualifications of preacher and deacon.”

How about Barclay and his commentaries,  I know many of you like him.

“The Christian leader must have been married only once.  The Greek literally means that he must be ‘the husband one wife.’  Some take this to mean that the Christian leader must be a married man, and it is possible that the phrase could mean that…But in this context here we can be quite certain that the phrase mean that the Christian leader must be a loyal husband, preserving marriage in all its purity.  In later days the APOSTOLIC CANONS laid it down:  ‘He who is involved in two marriages, after his baptism, or he who has taken a concubine, cannot be an episkopos, a bishop.”

How about your pastor as a Bible commentator?

He has labored as your overseer or pastor for 15 years, through the hard times and the easy.  You listen to him teach and preach every Sunday and more.  Why should you suddenly stop listening to him because you feel a tightness in your shoes?  I don’t understand why any active member of this church, even if honestly persuaded of another interpretation can not say to the pastor, “I don’t agree on

this matter, but I am willing to go along with your leadership.”

2-3:  What Can Happen if We Erode our Tolerance of Sound Doctrine. Now, let me come to the main point of the message (chapter), and that is some of the dangers of tampering with this doctrine or any other doctrines of the Bible.

It  can hamper Friendship with Jesus.

Recall how that Jesus in John 14-16 in some of the most significant and last teachings to the Apostles emphasized how that He wanted them to pass from being servants, who did not know the will of the Master, to being friends who knew the plan of the Creator.  And Jesus told what the qualifications are for being a “Friend”. Parenthetically, you know if I had to make a choice between being a pastor, a deacon, or a Friend of Jesus, I think I would chose being a friend of Jesus.  For one thing Friendship with Jesus which comes from love and keeping the commandments or teachings of Jesus, gives great boldness on the day of judgment.

It is true that those that inherit the office of the deacon also inherit “great boldness in the faith”, but I think I would prefer boldness on the day of judgment.  Just think about the matter of memories, sins, weights and the judgment day.  The Bible tells us “it is appointed unto man once to die, and after this the judgment”.  We are told in the book of Revelation that all the books of our works are going be opened on the day of judgment, the recorded memories of all that we have done.  And the world will be judged out of those books.  But don’t fear!  There is another book, the book of life, and if our names are written in book because of our faith in Jesus, the previous books will be set aside and the book of life with our name in it will be the only book that gives us basis for boldness on the day of judgement. “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.”  (John 15:14) “Jesus answered and said to him, If anyone love Me, hew ill keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words…”  (John 14:23,24)

Eroding our tolerance for sound doctrine can deny our heritage in the New Testament Church, in Church History, in Baptist faith and beliefs, and in the Southern Baptist Convention.

I can recall at Ouachita Baptist University in 1961 when writing a senior research paper.  I asked the Professor, Dr. Blackmon, if I could write on “Baptist Distinctives”.  I took a step back and thought to myself, “you old reprobate”, when his replay was “Is there any such thing?” But you know after over 40 years in the ministry as both a military chaplain, a pastor of churches, and a Bible professor he had a point, that on the practical level in talking to members of different denominations on doctrine it is quite often hard to tell the difference.  And if this was true in 1961, with the trend obvious of erosion of tolerance for sound doctrine, what must be the situation in this day and time.  You know that I have interim pastored approximately 16 churches in New Mexico from the size of Yeso Baptist Church, twice, to the size of First Baptist Church of Tucumcari, also twice; and I use to have the habit as a young man–don’t worry, I don’t do that anymore–of asking people in the congregation on Sunday night to list 10 major doctrines of the Bible.  What I was looking for was the great truths on God the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ, salvation on the cross, heaven, hell, the second coming, the Holy Spirit as a Comforter, and so on; but what did I get:  go to Sunday School, go to worship, tithe, be on time–all good practices but hardly major doctrines of the Bible.  We can allow tolerance for sound doctrine to erode by (1) negligence, (2) ignorance, or (3) just plan purpose or desire.

(1).  Neglect of the Bible.

We just do not study the Bible itself as much as we ought to.  As Dr. Wolber use to say, “Study your Bibles, they will shed a lot of light on the commentaries.”  Large corporations are now telling their employees that whereas the reading level of the average American a few years ago was sixth grade, now it is the third grade; and that is the reason that you see USA TODAY written for a third grade reader level. That is also the reason we enjoy it so much.  Now, do you think that this obvious lack of reading and reading skills does not affect also Christians reading of the Bible.  Certainly it does.

(2).  Ignorance of the Bible.

How many times have we heard things like a old farmer outside Hot Springs, Arkansas tell me.  It is in the Bible that “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink”.  I don’t know where, but it is in there.  The problem is that we do not take the effort to check of understanding of the Bible by reading and re-reading it.  By looking it for ourselves.

(3).  Desire to erode sound doctrine.

We hate to think it but some are in the category of the seared conscience of the Bible, who simply desire to distort, mis-interpret and mis-apply the teachings of the Bible.  It was also the Apostle Paul who warned about this group of eroders. Isn’t it amazing that this is also in I Timothy, I Timothy 4:1,2.

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron…”  (I Timothy 4:1,2)

Obviously this seared conscience is related to doctrine–in this case the doctrine of demons.  In conclusion we will look at  some doctrines from demons such as the doctrines of Balaam, of the Nicolaitans, and of the Prophetess Jezebel.

Eroding our endurance of sound doctrine can put us in the category of those that desire to hear something new, seeking after other teachers.   Boy, that scripture in II Timothy 4:3,4 should get our attention lest there be any hint that we may be doing the same thing.  Here is a point by point summary of II Timothy 4:3,4 of the “every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God”:  (1).  The time must come, or is already here, but God forbid that we are a part of it, when Christians and churches will have no, zero, endurance for sound doctrine; (2).  At that time, or at this time, how then will Christians or church members make decisions about what doctrines are valid.  The answer is there!  “according to their own desires”. What they want to believe because of a life style, or preference, they will come to believe; (3).  Their ears itch, and this is rather difficult.  You would think that the itch or hitch is in the conscience or in the heart or even in the mind.  But since it follows the desire for different doctrine, we can conclude that there is an immediate link between the emotions, that is the desires for different doctrines, and the itch in the ear.  (I wonder if tight shoes can cause an itch in the ears!)  But it is a line of continuity:  the emotions and the itchy ears lead to the next step; (4).  They will heap up teachers that say what they want said.  They won’t find just one, but call them, and elect them, and seek the preaching and teaching of preachers and pastors of a similar low tolerance for sound doctrine.

Eroding our tolerance for sound doctrine can indicate that concretely we do not care that much for the Inspiration of Scriptures.

Our adherence to sound doctrine, even when the shoe is tight and hurts, really proves how much we believe in the inspiration of the Scriptures as the Word of God. We hear a lot in this day and time about “fundamentalists” and about being “conservative” on the Bible; and many give it lip service; but how do they stand on issues like this about marriage, divorce, and the qualifications of pastors and deacons.  This is the proof of the pudding.  This tells how much we believe the Bible is the Word of God!

Such erosion of endurance from sound doctrine can put us in the category of the less desirable church examples of Revelation 2 and 3.

There were more churches in Asia Minor than the seven listed, but these were typical of all the churches in Asia Minor and typical of our churches today.  If we erode our endurance for sound doctrine, we can place ourselves in the category of the five out of seven that were on the verge of having their pastor removed by Christ and having the churches place in the church (candlestick) removed.

(1).  The church at Ephesus had left their first love even though there were many good things to say about, and recall that a loss of love can also mean a loss in the Friendship of Jesus. They did have enough endurance for sound doctrine to hate the doctrine and deeds of the Nicolaitans, a  heresy of doctrine related to Christian behavior and to church leadership.   Jesus threatens that if they do not repent to come and remove their candlestick, their place among the other churches.

(2). There were a lot of good things to say about the church at Pergamum, but there was among the minority a doctrinal problem, called the doctrine of Balaam, Balaam being the prophet of the Old Testament who showed for profit how Balak could seduce the children of Israel to go after other gods and to sexual immorality.  And the second doctrinal problem was the doctrine of the Nicolaitans.  If the church had voted on these two doctrines, it appears that the majority would have suppressed the doctrines of Balaam and the Nicolaitans.  Of course, in this church Christ promised to distinguish between the majority of sound doctrine and the minority, saying that He would fight against them with His Words.

(3).  Likewise Thyatira had a doctrinal problem:  Jezebel, as she called herself, a prophetess as she called herself, was being allowed to teach unsound doctrine in the church.  There, Jezebel was playing the role in the church that Balaam played for Balak, misleading the church in false worship and sexual immorality.  Again this must have been a minority that had lost this endurance for sound doctrine, because Christ threatened only the prophetess and the few who supported her, to the rest of the church (Revelation 2:24) that did not have this doctrine He would put on them no other burden.

(4).  What can we say about the church at Sardis?  Wow, there were in trouble! They had a name, a reputation in the community and possibly even in the association, state, and convention; but they were dead.  It sounds like the attendance was good, which within itself can keep the spirits up; but that the doctrine was bad.  It definitely looks like if that church had voted the majority would have voted in terms of holding on their reputation, ignoring the call to repentance from Christ and the call to hold fast to the sound doctrines which they had heard.  Why do we conclude that?  Because it said that there were a few, obviously a minority, that had not defiled their garments.

(5).  The problem in the church at Laodicea was that they were neither hot nor cold, either a love problem or a doctrinal problem, or both.  It is obvious that they were proud of their accomplishments, saying they were rich, that they needed nothing and nobody.  It is hard to know how the vote would have gone in that church!

  1. The Erosion of Sound Doctrine can be an assist to the way Satan works. Boy, how hard Satan tries. He was gullible enough to believe that he could erode Jesus’s confidence in the sound doctrines of God during the temptation in the wilderness.  He even quoted Scriptures out of context.

(1).  The Doctrine of the Priority of Word of God over physical well-being.  Satan told Jesus prove that the are the Son of God by turning these rocks to stone. Jesus was out there to fast for 40 days and nights, and in doing so to concentrate on the Word of God.  You remember Jesus famous reply, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”  (Matthew 4:4)

(2). The Doctrine on the testing of  God.   Satan said, “It is written in the Scriptures that the Son of God has been given angels to care for Him, if you are the Son of God throw yourself down from the temple to prove that you will be rescued and that you are the Son of God.  (Matthew 4:5-7)

(3).  The Doctrine of Worship of God over Satan.  The last temptation, Satan took Jesus to a high place–here you see some of the power of Satan–and said “all that you see I will give you if you will worship me”.  The supreme affront to God is to worship Satan.  Jesus replied quickly, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.:  (Matthew 4:10)

In short, if Satan were at work in your church today, he would not deny truth per se; for that is too obvious.  What he would do would be to quote scripture out of context and mis-apply it!  And don’t you think that any place that the work of God has been going on steadily for 15 years, that Satan is going to neglect it.  The prince of this world, who is a lion that goes about seeking whom he can chew on, maim and destroy, will be active where Jesus is, where the work of God is going on.  It simply remains for Christians who can discern the spirits to figure out where Satan is working!

Erosion of sound doctrine is  an assault on the character of God.

We often say and pray–and certainly it is true–that God forgives us when we confess our sins because it is recorded in the Bible; but ultimately the real reason is because it is based on the character of God.  It is the character of God that wants to forgive sins when they are confessed.  And you can say the same of any doctrine in the Bible.  All the principles, doctrines, teachings, and instructions of the Bible are based on the character of God:  that is the reason we call it the Word of God or the Book of God.  It reflects what God is and what God wants us to be.  Now when we in any way malign, distort, or erode the doctrines of the Bible we are making an assault on the character of God.   God can certainly withstand the assault, but can we?

Erosion of sound doctrine is an attack on the Bible as the Word of God.

Here is where we prove how deeply and sincerely we believe the Bible to be the Word of God.  Do we believe it is inspired only in the sense of many books like Robert Browning or the poets are inspired, or do we really believe that it is divine in origin, absolute in authority, and sufficient in its message?

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  (2 Timothy 3:16,17)

Notice that if the first given reason for the existence of the Bible is heed, “for sound doctrine”, some of the others will follow like reproof and correction will not be needed, and the righteousness and Christian maturity will follow behind sound doctrine.

Erosion of sound doctrine indicate superficiality, instability in the faith, and immaturity.

When a church changes it mind because of the practices of the people or because of the pressures of the world in the American Society, they start fitting into the category of those that are blown back and forth by every wind of doctrine.

“…that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive…”  (Ephesians 4:14)

You can quickly see what the opposite of this erosion of sound doctrine is, in what precedes 4:14.  The very purpose that God sent pastors, teachers, apostles, and evangelists is for the work of the ministry–in which each member has a part–for the building up of the body of Christ, and to promote unity among all Christians.

Erosion of sound doctrine isolate a church from church history, Baptist History, and the heritage of the Southern Baptist Convention; and at the same time it puts us more in the mainstream of American Society where now over 50% of all marriages end in divorce.  You just cannot get away from the conclusion that all we trust as commentators, preachers, and statements of faith in church and Baptist history lead us to the sound doctrine of marriage for life and pastors and deacons as the husband of one wife, notwithstanding any teacher or preacher of itchy ears that we might dig up to justify our lives and desires.

Erosion of sound doctrine is an affront to and grieves the Holy Spirit who came to take the place of Jesus on earth, reproving the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.  Where you can see that affront to the Holy Spirit most obviously is in the matter of righteousness.  I am not talking about the legally declared and external righteousness of Jesus with which we are cloaked through justification by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, but in the actual outworking of righteousness, or right doing, in our lives that is the natural consequences of the inworking of the Holy Spirit.  It is ordinarily called sanctification, the process by which the Holy Spirit increases the actual righteousness in our lives.

2-4:  “The Office Should Seek the Man, not the Man the Office.”

When Paul wrote that he was not worthy to be an Apostle but by the grace of God that is exactly what he was, he was saying in another way what I read from B. H. Carroll, “The Office should seek the man, not the man the office.”  Paul did not seek to be an Apostle.  The only thing he was seeking was to do the service of God, and he thought by persecuting Christians he was doing exactly that.  Jesus on the road to Damascus struck him down, spoke to him, caused him to temporarily be blind until Ananias came to talk to him; and then let Paul know that he was a chosen vessel to deliver His message.

Paul practiced what he cautioned over Christians on the attitude about yourself in the church, writing for each member not to think more highly of themselves than they should.

“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly that he ought to think, but to think soberly, as

God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.”  (Romans 12:3)

We need to be able to see ourselves in the eternal perspective of God’s truth and timeline.  All of this truth and doctrine in the Bible existed long before we were born.  We have, by the grace of God, inherited the Word of God from over two thousand years of writing, interpretation, teaching, and preaching.  We are inheritors of Church History, Baptist History, and the History of the Southern Baptist Conventions.  Primarily, we are Creators and re-creations of God.  It is nothing personal, and it should not be taken personal, if doctrine is a tight shoe that we must wear; for it existed long before we were on the face of this earth!

Pride is what can serve to mislead us on doctrine.

What Paul was talking about when he said that he was not worthy to be an apostle was humility and pride:  what he was talking about in urging Christians to think soberly of themselves was pride and humility.  Pride is the internal enemy that can mislead us to do what we desire or want to do on the matters of doctrine.  It is true that we live in a changing world.  Each decade now we seem to live in a new world of technology and information explosion.  Our friends change, we lose many of them to death.  Our environments change; but we must remember that in a world where truly there is a social evolution, God does not change.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever more.  And there are certain things that God hates or despises:   those things do not change.  At the head of the list if pride, or a proud look.

(1).  “Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, Him I will destroy; the one who has a haughty look and a proud heart, Him I will not endure.”  (Psalm 101:5)

(2).  “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”  (I Corinthians 10:12)

(3).  “But He gives more grace.  Therefore He says:  God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  (James 4:6)

(4). “These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness that speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.”  (Proverbs 6:16-19) Notice how connected the proud look at the beginning with the sowing discord among brethren in the church at the end are and with the matter of the erosion of sound doctrine!

  1. We can easily put ourselves in the category of the religious leaders of the time of Christ who had substituted the commandments of men for the doctrines of God. It was on the very issue of marriage and divorce where Jesus condemned the Pharisees, Sadducees, and their historical traditions of the world of putting the commandments of men in the place of the doctrines of God.

“The Pharisees came and asked Him, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?’ testing Him.  And He answered and said to them, ‘What did Moses command you?’  They said, ‘Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to dismiss her.’  And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.  But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female.  For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh.  Therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate.’  And in the house His disciples asked Him again about the same matter.  So He said to them, ‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her.  And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” (Mark 10:2-12)

God does the joining; and no matter how we may desire or rationalize or seek other teachers, God intended that there be no separation of what He joined together.

2-5:  Creations, Christians, and Christian Leaders.

We naturally expect a progressive of expectations from God as history developed from all humanity to Christians to Christian leadership.  You would think normally that the requirements, standards, or expectations from God would become more stringent.

  1. God’s expectations for all Humanity.

As far as we can tell, since before Moses recorded it in the Pentateuch, there were only two requirements that God placed on all humanity, before the recorded of the written law.  It was word of mouth or custom and tradition that carried those two requirements forward until Moses wrote the book of Genesis.

(1).  Both requirements were given by God so close together that it is almost difficult to tell which was first; however it appears at least the germ of the first great expectation for humanity is given first.

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”  (Genesis 1:27)

The full explanation of all the implications comes later in the recorded Word.

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife:  and they shall be one flesh.”  (Genesis 2:24)

In a few paragraphs we will find that Jesus amplified on this, re-enforced it, laying the requirements once again on the chosen people of God and Christians in particular in spite of the lapse on the requirements by the nation of Israel as Moses for generations allowed a “writ of divorcement”.  Surely the standard that Christ and God placed on Christians had to be greater than that on all humanity.  However, first and briefly, let us look at the other great expectation that God placed on all humanity, a commission for dominion over all the universe.

(2).  Second Great Commission to all Humanity.

This great expectation follows immediately behind the first.  In fact, in the next verse.

“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it:  and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”  (Genesis 1:28)

  1. Clyde Turner in THESE THINGS WE BELIEVE calls man (man in the generic sense of male and female) the “crown of Creation. Notice that immediately after the first great expectation from God in Genesis 1:17–the joining by God of the man as a male and female–the record states that “God blessed them”. Do you think this is incidental?  Don’t you think that somehow the blessings of God on societies of history in their efforts to have dominion over all creation is contingent of how well they live up to the first great expectation.  Look at the United States for example:  no other country on the face of the earth in inventions and creative efforts has extended humanity’s dominion of the earth as has the United States, and in such a shorter period of time; and surely we must see the connection to the Christian heritage and roots (biblical foundations) where the marriage vows were honored–up until recent history where over 50% of marriages end in divorce–in respect to the great expectation of God.
  2. Jesus in His teachings on earth re-enforced the original expectation of God, and surely we will find for the chosen people of God and for Christians in particular a greater expectation from God about marriage than on all humanity. Indeed as we have read the history of the chosen nation of Israel, often the prophets would warn them against polygamist marriages; and what distinguished the people of God from the heathen (Gentiles) around them was often God’s great expectations for marriage.  Moses at one historical point did allow a “writ of divorcement” because the people out of their own desires were bugging him out of a hardness of heart.

{NOTE:  I would caution you to see that this was probably due to a majority vote or will from the nation of Israel.}

(1).  The Writ of Divorcement Under Moses.

“When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favor in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her:  then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.  And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.  And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife; her former husband, which sent her away, may not taker her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD:  and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.” (Deuteronomy 24:1-4)

How Moses must have travailed before the law was passed to allow for these divorces, and how that the people must have murmured.  You can see the “hardness of heart” in the indifference to the feelings of the wife who is flippantly given a piece of paper and passed around the land from one household to another. [1].  Even here in the case of a divorce, God does not recognize the right of the first husband to re-marry the wife he divorced.

[2].  Such an act of re-marriage, like pride and a proud look, is considered an abomination to God.  You see, He sees and knows.

[3].  This is not a personal preference:  the husbands and wives have an objection to society–”not cause the land to sin”.

(2).  Even then the law was not completely insensitive to the needs of a wife, Deuteronomy 24:5.  Immediately after the giving of the law of the “writ of divorcement”, consideration was given for a new wife.

“When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business:  but he shall be free at home one years, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken.”  (Deuteronomy 24:5)

(3).  How Jesus dealt with the original requirements of marriage, and surely we would expect for the chosen people of God during the life of Jesus and for Christians in particular for the expectations to be greater than those originally on all human humanity.

“The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?  And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife:  and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh.  What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”  (Matthew 19:3-6)

At this time there were two groups of rabbis divided on the issue of divorce, the Shammais that advocated divorce only in cases of sexual immorality and the Hillels that allowed divorce for any trivial reason (which sounds like the United States now).  Once again Kerr writes in GOD’S PATTERN FOR MARRIAGE:

“Jesus had already expressed himself briefly on this matter.  We find it in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:31,32:  ‘It was said also, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:  but I say unto you, that every one that putteth away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, maketh her an adulteress:  and whosoever shall marry her when she is put away committeth adultery.”

And on fornication and adultery Kerr adequately summarizes the Bible and church history for us.

“Let us note, however, that in the Bible, the word ‘fornication’ is not used in the restricted sense that we use it.  (Unlike the dictionary definition of fornication as committed by unmarried couples.)  Jesus used the word ‘fornication’ twice, in the passage already quoted, and in Matthew 19:9, ‘And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery:  and he that marrieth her when she is put away committeth adultery.’  Quite evidently Jesus used the word ‘fornication’ in a class sense as referring to all illicit sexual intercourse, including both fornication and adultery as we understand the terms.  Such is the general Biblical use of the word.  It is for this reason that such modern translators of the Bible as Weymouth, Goodspeed, Moffatt, and those of the Revised Standard Version use such words as ‘unchastity’ or ‘unfaithfulness’ rather than ‘fornication’ in the translation of these verses to which we have referred.”

But Jesus goes back to God’s original and great expectation.  God made a man to be male and female; they become one flesh; and the union between husband and wife takes priority over parents.  Also Jesus cautions them again that no judge, or law, or society should allow a divorce on a marriage that God has joined together.  Is this last part–”what therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder”–a more stringent requirement than what was originally laid down by God at Creation in Genesis.  Yes, we can not find no other statement so that we appears to be a higher standard placed on man and societies.

(4).  Now surely you would expect the most stringent requirement of all to be placed on Christian leaders, on pastors and deacons.

[1].  I Timothy 3:2.

“A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife…”

Blameless is certainly a highest of all expectations from God, and comparable is the “husband of one wife”  Here we must consider what Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well.

[2].  John 4:16-18.

“The woman answered and said, I have no husband.  Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband:  for thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband:  in that saidst thou truly.”  (John 4:16-18)

What does this mean plain and simple?  It means that Christ and God do not accept any wives or husbands past the original, except in the case of sexual immorality. Does it mean that person can not be a Christian, and receive forgiveness?  No, we notice that all the indications is the record of John 4 is that the woman believed, and furthermore she had a good Christian testimony in that many of the Samaritans believed because of what she told them about Jesus.  You see it would not matter how we interpreted I Timothy 3:2 above, or mis-interpreted it, or the similar requirement for a deacon, the most strict standard of one wife would still be on Christian leadership.  (This is a basic principle of Bible interpretation, to compare scripture with scripture in order to get the full meaning; and this is part of the reason that the Bible states that we will know of the doctrine if we do His will.)

[3].  Titus 1:6.

“If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.”

Once again blameless is right in there with the husband of one wife.  Don’t you see the connection that there can be no possible grounds on which a pastor or deacon can be accused as related to any doctrine.  In the book THE CHRISTIAN PASTOR, Wayne Oates has a chapter on “The Personal Qualifications of the Pastor” in which he discusses these scriptures.  By the way, Wayne Oates was years was Professor of the Psychology of Religion at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, also this book has been used at southern Baptist colleges and seminaries to teach pastors and prospective pastors.  Wayne Oates thoroughly discusses the three possible interpretations.

“First, polygamy and concubinage were prevalent practices in the communities of which the early churches were a part, and the writers evidently were insisting that their leaders be an example of the Christian principles of monogamic marriage.”  “Secondly, this passage may be interpreted less directly to mane that the early Christians preferred a married minister to a single one.”  “Thirdly, this passage may be interpreted in the light of another prevalent social problem at the time of the writing:  divorce.”

Then Wayne Oates gives us a good and short history of the church on this matter as well as Baptist beliefs.

“The statements of Paul in I Corinthians, chapter 7, reflect that the early churches were very tender and sensitive to the plight of people who became involved in pagan marriage prior to having become Christians.

They most certainly did not consider divorce or even remarriage as an unpardonable sin for which they would break fellowship with an individual Christian.  However, the early Christians had a higher standard, and seemingly legalistic attitude about divorced persons, especially those who had remarried, becoming the shepherds of the rest of the ‘flock of God’.  By their word, no divorced man who had remarried could hold such a place of responsibility.  This seems to be a harsh measure, but the study of the present-day experience of divorced men in the ministry vindicates it as the kindest measure in the long run.” [4].  I Timothy 3:8-13.

“Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience.  But let these also first be proved; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless.  Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things.  Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.  For those who have served as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

Wow, those are most stringent requirements on deacons; and you will notice once again the “blameless” and “husband of one wife”.

  1. Since this chapter is on Paul and Doctrine, we must also give Paul another say about marriage.

“For the woman that hath a husband is bound by the law to the husband while he liveth; but if the husband die, she is discharged from the law of the husband.  So then if, while the husband liveth, she be joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress, but if the husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is no adulteress though she be joined to another man.”  (Romans 7:2,3)

Kerr can be used again to summarize much of what Paul wrote on marriage.

“Marriage was designed of God to be a monogamous, holy institution.  In I Corinthians 7:2 Paul writes of each man having ‘his own wife,’ and each woman having ‘her own husband.’  The holiness of the relationship, under God, is likened to that existing between Christ and His Church.  (Ephesians 5:31,32)  Christian believers are admonished to marry only believers.  In I Corinthians 7:39 Paul writes of marrying ‘only in the Lord.’  His admonition in II Corinthians 6:14, ‘Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers,’ surely applies to marriage.  Marriage is designed above all else to be a holy relationship.”

2-6.  “Believe” in the Letters of Paul Continued.

The numbering of these references below takes up where the believe references in the writings of Paul left off at the end of chapter 1.

Romans 6:8.  Here is something we “believe” as disciples. We believe that we shall only live with Christ to the extent that we have also died with Christ.  Of course, the died with Christ like in Galatians 2:20 is another way to say repentance or to express the one salvation of the one baptism.  {NOTE:  Isn’t it amazing that we have so many problems related to these major doctrines of faith, believe, baptism, and salvation when the Bible is so straightforward and repeats itself so often.  It is another sign of the contemporary departure of Christians and church members from God, Christ, and the Bible.  The Falling Away is not from church, church attendance will no doubt go up as more see end events; however the Falling Away from God, Christ, and the sound doctrine of the Bible will escalate.

Romans 9:33.  Wow, what a statement of faith here!  “Whoever” believes in Jesus will not be ashamed; God will not allow that individual to be ashamed in His presence and eternally; and this confidence–the opposite of ashamed–is based on the words and Word of God.

Romans 10:4.  Sure, today you do not seem but a few Jews who believe in Christ. Paul says they have much religion and zeal, but they need salvation.  Further they are ignorant Paul says, ignorant of God’s way of acceptable righteousness through faith in Christ.  Everyone who believes receives the righteousness.

Romans 10:9.  What is necessary for the salvation of the one baptism, only.  To believe in your heart the Gospel story of Jesus, that which requires the most faith is to believe that God raised Him from the dead–this is faith in God and Christ; and two to confess with your mouth that the Lord Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.

Romans 10:11 and Isaiah 28:16.  How about that the “whoever believes in Christ shall not be ashamed” is a quote from long ago in the book of Isaiah, noting that faith in Christ has always been the plan of God for the one baptism of salvation.

Romans 10:14. Praying or calling on Jesus for salvation demands “believing “first; and “believing” demands the hearing of the Gospel of Jesus.

Romans 10:16.  Very few Jews of Old Testament times believed the reports of the Gospel of Jesus and the Jesus of the Gospel given to them by Prophets like Isaiah.

Romans 13:11.  Yes, even more true today than when Paul wrote:  our completed salvation of glorification and heaven is much nearer now than when we first believed.

Romans 14:2.  There are some fine points of distinction on beliefs like on the eating of certain meats and other religious practices, not on major doctrines.

As promised at the beginning, here at the free download links to the www.biblecombibleman.com website:

1.  This blog free download in PDF at  http://biblecombibleman.com/SoundDoctrineErosions.pdf

2.  And the free download of the complete book of “Believe and Be Baptized” at:

http://biblecombibleman.com/LCBC_3.pdf

3.  As for purchase of the Kindle or Paperback on Amazon, you can start with the Author page of SunGrist’s Jerry Vaughan McMichael at:

https://www.amazon.com/Jerry-Vaughan-McMichael/e/B07LB2B11Y

author page with 19 writing prophets

 

 

Gospel of The King and Kingdom from Romans and Hebrews.

A14-1:  ASPI Bible Outline on the Gospel of the King and the Kingdom.

Indeed, I think after this preliminary context of the Bible on the kingdom, especially in the teachings of Jesus, we are really to get into the teachings of the Apostle whose ministry it was to make things clear based on the Old Testament, and whose ministry it was to personally write 14 out of 27 of the NT books, sponsoring 3 others.  We will do it in much the same manner that the Apostle Paul started his research for those books during the 7 silent years at Tarsus where he recorded on parchments all the OT quotes that he would later include in books.  Of course, we have that body in our total Bible book outline of the Appendix, but now we focus largely on where Paul quotes from the OT in Hebrews and Romans.  We found a large bulk of that was in the 3 out of 12 topical outlines based on the book outline, and previously decided that for now that can be summarized as the Gospel of the King and the Kingdom.  Those three sections of the topical outline are included here for further development and expansion.  {You will also recall that the topical outline is found in chapter 3.}  The three subjects were respectively:  (1) what happened to the Jews as the chosen people of God’; (2) the salvation of God; and (3) the New King of Israel.

A14-2:  Divine Glory, Human Pride, and Self-destruction.

In this section we look particularly about this subject in Romans 1-3 & Hebrews 1-6.  {We can never appreciate how much better the new covenant  and the new sanctuary is than the old, how much easier it is for the children of Jesus not to fall like the children of God in the wilderness, until we see how much better our priest is than theirs, Jesus Christ the High Priest.}  Before we proceed deep into Romans and Hebrews guides by the 3 sections of the topical outline of the Bible, we need to determine how much Isaiah and God through Isaiah put in that book in the first place.  In other words, we need to both get a total feel for the subject content of Isaiah and make ourselves a simple outline. Isaiah is the most quoted prophet in the New Testament, and I think you have already noted some of its eloquence as compared to Jesus in Matthew.  John Oswalt writes of Isaiah in the NEW INTERNATIONAL COMMENTARY, “a revelation of the inevitable conflict between divine glory and human pride, of the self-destruction which that pride must bring, and of the grace of God in restoring that destroyed humanity to himself.”  And you can see how Paul would get a similar total message from reading Isaiah at Tarsus with the blinders removed, then writing notes for Romans 1 on the downward spiral of civilizations as “they knew God, but honored Him not as God”, and of how “God gave them up to a reprobate mind to do that which is inconvenient”.  And also it was a similar pride of the Jews of Romans 2 that led them to blaspheme God all over the world; and that would guide Paul in Romans 3 to prove that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” {it is here in Romans 3 that you will find quotes from Isaiah and Psalms, and of how the name of God is blasphemed among the nations is a direct quote from Isaiah 52:5, also from Ezekiel 36:22.}  Do we then have an outline heading for Romans 1-3 which also correlates with Isaiah, and which might be called something like “Divine Glory, Human Pride, and Self-destruction”, Romans 1-3’  And if so where would we have a similar section in Hebrews’  In a way, the whole book of Hebrews apart from Jesus as the High Priest is the story of the falling away of the Hebrew children in the wilderness because of unbelief, so that in order to narrow down to the cause in pride, and based on Isaiah, we must look at Hebrews more carefully.  For example, can we find the word “pride” per se in Hebrews when we look at a complete concordance’  No, pride is more an individual sin than labeled as a national sin in the Bible, but certainly in Hebrews 3 the “going astray in their heart” of the Hebrew children in the wilderness is an equivalent of national pride.  Hebrews does not outline 1-3 like Romans, the first 2 and 1/2 chapters must be considered a positive and straightforward presentation of the Son of God as King {although King is not mentioned, the concept of reigning, dominion, and subjection is there} with His kingdom {called His assembly} with a challenge to a faithfulness from the children of Jesus comparable to the faithfulness of Jesus Himself; then in 3:7-15 that awesome condemnation by God after He tested His original children in the wilderness that “they shall not enter My rest”. (Hebrews 3:19)

Hebrews 4:1-13 cautions present day children of Jesus not to fall into the same hardness of heart, and “hardness of heart” would be an equivalent of pride, and more.  You no doubt have noticed that the great subject of Jesus as High Priest with the supporting lawyer-like arguments from the OT and Paul start in 4:14-11, and continue in 6:13 thru 8:6.  The little interlude between 5:12 and 6:12 would be the equivalent of the Jewish chastisement of Romans 1-3, although the focus on Hebrews is less general here, being directed to the contemporary Hebrews, as you would expect, where Paul delivered his synagogue message.  Therefore:

  1. Divine Glory, Human Pride, and Self-destruction (Romans 1-3 and Hebrews 5:12-6:12)
  2. The de-evolution of civilizations that start off with a knowledge of God then without thought and honoring of God spiral downward to the point that God gives them over to a reprobate mind, Romans 1.
  3. Because of the history of the Jewish people and how they let God down, they blasphemed the name of God throughout the Gentile world, Romans 2.  They claimed God to be there God, and indeed He was at one time, but by their lack of faith in God, what happened inevitably to their nation was the blasphemy of the name of God.  We might briefly look at this in the context of the book of Isaiah, Isaiah 52:5; and what we find is by the mention of both the bondage in Egypt and the captivity in Assyria that the other nations of the world are saying, “God is the God of Israel and yet He cannot take care of them”, thus causing the name of God to be blasphemed among the Gentile nations.   Indeed, God could take care of them, and God did take care of them during the short periods when they kept the old covenant with Him, so that the real culprit was not a lack of power and love in God but rather in an “evil heart of unbelief” in the children of Israel.  Exactly what God had in mind is found in Ezekiel 36:22, where in captivity God through the Prophet Ezekiel promises a restoration of Israel to their own land.

“Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying:  Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own ways and deeds {there, obvious is how it all started, during that approximately 1000 years in Palestine, or whatever it was called at the time, they defiled the land “by their own ways and deeds, and in a minute God is going to tell us through Ezekiel that the restoration of them to their land is going to be in order to protect His own name–of course, we know that He needed to get them there for Christ to be born, likewise another way in which He promoted and protected His own name}…”

“…to Me their way was like the uncleanness of a woman in her customary impurity. {pretty crude example but we get the picture}

“Therefore, I poured out My fury on them for the blood they had shed on the land {now, we get the bloody picture}, and for their idols with which they had defiled it.  {Israel actually defiled the chosen land of God, and I don’t know if I will ever understand why God loves that particular land so much} The fury of God on the land in two ways:  (1) the innocent blood of their own people and strangers in the land that they unjustly spilled on the land; and (2) by setting up places in the land for the worship of the idols.  Does God care more about the land than the people’  No, I don’t think so; it is only that He blesses and curses the land and the people at the same time, and that He does it based on the good and bad behavior of the people.  You must see in idols a violation of the first commandments of God, and mistreatment of the people as the violation of the rest of the ten commandments!

HERE IS WHAT GOD DID AND NOBODY ELSE, because He only is the Great Maker of Nations and History–”So I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed throughout the countries; I judged them according to their ways and their deeds.”

“When they came to the nations, wherever they went {the northern kingdom of Israel was scattered into Assyria and the southern kingdom of Judah was taken captive into Babylon and Persia}, they profaned My holy name–when they said of them {okay here it comes, exactly how Israel blasphemed the name of God and what Paul back at Tarsus read for later writing of Romans}, ‘These are the people of the LORD {what a sorry looking lot, the nations were saying}, and yet they have gone out of His land.’  {We must acknowledge that land as God’s in a special way even though we now Israel to have been cut off from God shortly after they cutoff the Messiah.}

“But I had concern for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations wherever they went.  Therefore, say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God:  I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake {don’t forget at any time that Jesus was the seed and the namesake of God the Father}, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went.”  {Paul certainly did not exaggerate when he skirted over this with one short verse!}  “And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the LORD,’ says the Lord God, ‘when I am hallowed in you before their eyes.’”  {when any of the children of God are living in such a way as to bring glory to God, God is hallowed in the eyes of the people and nations around them}

  1. The Son of God and His children of the house of God and the assembly, His ministry as High Priest, and how those present children could fall away from the living God as the children of Israel did in the 40 years of wilderness wanderings, Hebrews 1-8:6.

(1).  The Son of God, Angels, man, and salvation.  Hebrews 1:1-2:9.

(2).  The children whom God gave to Jesus, Hebrews 2:10-5:11, and the provision of a competent High Priest to keep those children as faithful as Jesus was faithful in the carrying out of His obligations to God.

(3).  It is a worrisome sign when the Hebrews cannot be real spiritual teachers, having the need to look again at the first doctrines of God, Hebrews 5:12-6:12.  It comes close to being a blasphemy of the name of God of Romans, Isaiah, and Ezekiel.  We know the famous saying, “if you can’t do, then teach”; well, the equivalent of what God is saying, and God through Paul is, “if you can’t teach then you can’t do!”

  1. There is none that can claim to be righteous, Jew or Gentile, for “all have sinned and come short” of what God meant for humanity, Romans 3.

A14-3: Appendix OT Book Outline of the Bible on Romans 1-3 and Hebrews 1-6.

{By the way you know Paul and how his lawyer-like arguments run on and on across chapters and verse, remembering also that the chapters and verses came much later and were not part of the original manuscripts; there will be serious overlaps, and an outline is only for our convenience to somewhat isolate the subjects in order to eventually get at the same truth.  What I am saying is that there are many ways to outline Romans and Hebrews as you know, and as I have done in previous commentaries.  And these are not efforts to impress you with the complete Bible outlines that have been made during the writing of Bible commentaries over the last 20 or more years, but just to allow both of us to benefit from the Bible research of the past.}  Recall that the OT book outline of the Appendix is different from the Topical Bible Outline of chapter 3 primarily in that the OT quotes of the Appendix outline relate more to the Gospel.  Of course, expect a lot of overlap as both outlines came from a complete outline of the OT in the NT arranged in a most probable outline of OT books.  While you will notice that in our Bibles, the major Prophets regardless of historical periods are grouped together, likewise the minor Prophets, and the literature of praise and poetry, so on and on.  Well, in the outline of the OT quotes, the controlling column of their location in the OT, runs from Genesis to Malachi in a more probable historical sequence.  It was from this top outline, generated in my original ONE Commentaries, that a topical outline was developed, and based on that outline, of the Bible.  {That is the one you see in chapter 3.}  Now, the Gospel outline of the appendix, likewise has the more historical sequencing; however, the quotes are less and more selective in that they center around the Gospel in the Old and New Testaments.  However, you must see from your Bibles that there is not a large difference between the total message of the Bible and the Gospel of the Bible.  It is only that the Gospel in the Old and New Testaments is a subset of the larger total story of the Bible.

Scanning through those 12 tables of the Appendix from Genesis to Malachi, we find that Romans 1-3 and Hebrews 1-6 are found 17 times:  (1) Hebrews 1:5 from Psalm 2:7 with Matthew 3:17 and Luke 9:7; (2) Romans 2:6 from Psalm 8:4-6; (3) Romans 3:10 from Psalm 14:1-3; (4) Hebrews 2:12 from Psalm 22:22; (5) Hebrews 1:11 from Psalm 42:1; (6) Hebrews 1:8 from Psalm 45:6,7 {notice by the way how most of these quotes stand-alone; that is only in Hebrews and Romans, and if it were not for the life and writing of Paul, we would never have had the Christian interpretation of those OT quotes, that is not the ASI, but that is one of the major reasons Jesus called Paul to the ministry}; (7) Hebrews 3:15 from Psalm 95:7,8; (8) Hebrews 3:7 from Psalm 95:7-11; (10) Hebrews 1:7 from Psalm 104:4; (11) Hebrews 1:8 from Psalm 104:8,9; (12) Hebrews 1:13 from Psalm 110:1 {and can’t you just see Paul at Tarsus reading through the book of Psalms as listed above from say 44 to 95 and 110 making notations on a research manuscript for later incorporation into letters, then checking them off as they were included, but finding in prison that he had some that still needed to be utilized to write three additional books of the Bible, one for John Mark and two for Dr. Luke, perhaps even one for the Apostle John}; and (13) Hebrews 5:6 and Hebrews 7:21 from Psalm 110:4–and here we must briefly pause since we have an obvious overlap between Hebrews and Romans much like those that were mentioned at the beginning of chapter 7.

What is so significant about the subject of Psalm 110:4 that Paul would duplicate his efforts by quoting the same verse in both Hebrews 5:6 and then in Hebrews’  First, we should look at Psalm 110:4, and perhaps even in the larger context of Psalms.

“The LORD has sworn and will not relent, you are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” (Psalm 110:4)

Melchizedek is introduced in Genesis 14:18 whereas king of Salem, also the priest of the Most High God, he brought out bread and wine to Abraham, blessed Abraham, and then received tithes of Abraham.  And I hope you have certainly seen the importance of children of Jesus not falling away like the children of Israel in the wilderness because the children of Jesus have the High Priesthood of Jesus.  He was in all points tempted like as we are yet without sin; He was declared to be the Son of God by God Himself and made higher than the angels with the angels as His ministers; He was appointed by God to reign at His right hand with the large haul plan of putting all His enemies as His footstool {it is difficult to know whether to call this the long haul or not since while it was long in history from before the Creation of the earth and man through all the sins and ups and downs of the chosen people of Israel, through the kingdom of Jesus which He made obvious on earth, through the great commission of believe and be baptized being carried across the earth, to the Falling Away; however, eternity is so much longer than those thousands of years that in an eternal perspective it may not seem like a long haul}.

And the last four quotes in Romans 1-3 and Hebrews 1-6 are:  (14) Hebrews 2:13 from Isaiah 8:17; (15) Romans 2:24 from Isaiah 52:5; (16) Hebrews 5:33ff from Isaiah 66:1; and (17) Romans 1:17 from Habakkuk 2:4.

A14-4:  17 Old Testament Quotes in Romans 1-3 and Hebrews 1-6.

This will have to be a Rapid Subject Scan of those 17 quotes from the OT in Romans 1-3 and Hebrews 1-6.  It would require far too many pages of this commentary to list those seventeen passages from both the Old Testament and Romans and Hebrews.  Instead I will read through them in New Testament sequence, first Hebrews and then Romans {the most probable order of writing for Paul or at least original development as the book of Hebrews is obviously his synagogue address}, with the total context scanned in order to get first a gist of the OT context, then a gist of the NT interpretation by Paul, and lastly a summary of the gist of both.  Perhaps you as a reader with your Bible at hand would like to do the same thing.  After all, this commentary, volume 3 of the LEARN CHRIST commentaries is considered to only be a study guide to the Bible.  Each must read and study the Word of God for himself!

  1. Hebrews 1:5 and Psalm 2:7. {By the way does it sort of surprise you that a beginning quote in the first chapter of Hebrews, would also come from one of the first chapters of the book of Psalms, like Paul was reading through Psalm and made a note for the beginning of a book of Hebrews.}

(1).  A gist of Psalm 2:7 and the context:  Although we do not know for sure when the “today” was that God made the decree that Jesus was His only begotten Son, we know at least it had to be before creation of the universe since Jesus was there as the mediating cause {John 1}, but we know also from the context of Psalm 2 that God has already decreed all the nations as Jesus inheritance and the ends of the earth for His possession.  This, without a use of the word king except to mention the kings of the earth who had best kiss the Son while they can, is an inheritance of kingship and an everlasting kingdom as you see from such words as “He shall break them with a rod of iron” and “He shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel” (Psalm 2:9)  While we do not see that yet, and did not see it when Jesus refused to fight during His first life on earth; we will see it when He comes again, not so much with fighting but rather in the use of the forces of nature as the old universe disintegrates and in the use of the angels to gather all humanity for judgment at the Second Coming.  {You remember how the angels will gather the sheep and the goats, separating them, the tares and the wheat separating them; and then Jesus will pronounce the group judgment.  I am sure the angels based on the roll call of the book of life in heaven have studied and taken their assignments before they deploy to the four corners of the earth.}

(2).  A gist of the ASPI of Hebrews 1:5:  the context is that Paul shows how much greater Jesus is than the angels, amassing one quote after another from God decreed Him begotten and His Son from Psalm 2:7 to the Father and Son relationship of II Samuel 7:14 to the call for the angels of God to worship Jesus of Psalm 97:7 to how serious even the angels are as ministers of fire of Psalm 104:4 to Jesus as the King of the Kingdom of Psalm 45:6,7 with a scepter of righteousness to a reminder that how Jesus was there as part of Creation in Psalm 102:25-27 right up to domination with His kingship and kingdom as all enemies become His footstool of Psalm 110:1.  {Did you notice how that also generally progresses through the book of Psalms, and by the reading of Paul, from Psalm 2 to Psalm 110 with only a few minor permutations that Paul found necessary in order to present the arguments like a lawyer that he was.}

(3).  A gist of both summarized:  As great as is the subject of Jesus, His Kingship and His Kingdom, Paul knows that Christians can read this for themselves in the OT, but what he wants to do for us is to show how that is in order “to minister for those who will inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1:14), wow!  It is of course, a very introduction to the book of Hebrews and to the message that he delivered to the Jewish synagogue {I guess their favorite word was Hebrews} all over the Roman Empire.  You do not need to fall away as the Hebrews did in the wilderness as you have so much more going for you with the angels as ministers, with Jesus as your perfect and competent high priest at the perfect position on the right hand of God to make intercession always for your sins, with the perfect new covenant and the perfect new tabernacle, and with so many examples of faith for you like a large cloud of witness.  How can you lose, if you beware of a possible “evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God”?  You can get a “god” whom you can deceive yourself and your church into thinking is the real God, a God unlike that of the Bible and of Jesus, that allows whatever you want; but he or it is not the living God like Phillips warned in “Your God is too Small”.  {In this day and time, a “god”, not living except inside contemporaries, has been made of conscience–I do what my conscience tells me to do–which accuses and excuses like it should, but imperfectly; and that American conscience with the weight of the American Democratic Faith has been placed as a substitute for the living God.}

  1. {Since we effectively covered all those quotes of Hebrews 1 above, we will pass on to Hebrews 2 and following.} There are 3 great quotes in Hebrews 2 with some greater ASI:  Psalm 8:4-8 in Hebrews 6-8 where the glory, praises, and dominion of man over the works of creation are saluted–a work that is still incomplete in that “now we do not yet see all things put under him” (Hebrews 2:8b), so that we know the promise of that is still to come in Hebrews; Psalm 22:22 in Hebrews 2:12 where Jesus establishes an assembly where He praises the name of God before His chosen brethren {that is an assembly and worship service where we would like to be when Jesus praises God as we are in the congregation, but that is one of the main points that Paul is making–we are, we are in the assembly of the firstborn that Paul comes to in Hebrews 12, and that is what we have come to as we have gone through the truth of the 12 chapters of Hebrews}; and third  Isaiah 8:17, 18, and II Samuel 22:3 in Hebrews 2:13.

“And again:  ‘I will put My trust in Him.’  And again:  ‘Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.’”  (Hebrews 2:13 with Isaiah 8:17,18 and II Samuel 22:3)

  1. That is a good introduction to Hebrews: here we are, us and Jesus, and that is exactly what Paul encouraged Jews with night and day when he had the opportunity.  It either is or can be, You and Jesus!  It is also a good introduction to Hebrews and Romans as the Gospel of the King and the Kingdom as the King is introduced here as the Reigning Son of God, and the kingdom is introduced as us, the children of Jesus.  What exciting things remain for us to see in Hebrews of how through Jesus, and under the plan of salvation from God, we mortals who have been ordained to have dominion over all the things of the earth, will ultimately have all these things put under us.  This in Hebrews is truly the equivalent of Romans 8 and the thought that “all things work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose”.  (Romans 8:28)

A14-5: “Man Dominions” of Hebrews and “all things work together” of Romans.

In particular we look at the similarities of the man dominions of Hebrews with the all things work together for our good of Romans.  I think we will find some of those same things of Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit, predestination, foreknowledge, and the calling working together for us in both Romans and Hebrews; and this is another overlap, perhaps even a major focus point between Hebrews and Romans.

  1. First we look at the similarity of thought of Hebrews 2:8-18 and Romans 8. Obviously when in Hebrews 2:8 Paul quotes from David to the extent that God has “put all things in subjection under his feet” {and you recall how the first commission of God to man was to have dominion over all His other works of Creation}, then immediately saying after the quote to the extent THAT WE DON’T SEE IT THAT WAY YET, and that you immediately suspect that what we do not have dominion over is death, sin, and eternal life which before Paul discusses those very things in Hebrews 2:14-18, he must show in the context how Jesus and Us have come together, “I and the children whom God has given me”.  Hebrews 2:14 mentions how that Jesus as He accepted this oneness with us, partaking of flesh and blood, was able to establish dominion over (1) the power of death; (2) over the fear of death which held humanity in bondage that prevented real victory over the earth and the things of the earth; (3) over the devil himself; and (4) over sins in that Jesus Himself with that full identification with man also became “propitiation for the sins of the people” (2:17); and (5) provided help in the temptations that come this way on earth.

A14-6:  Now, how similar is that to Romans 8?

In other words what are “the all things” of the “all things that work together for our good” of Romans 8’  God gave the first commission to man to have dominion over the earth at the moment of the creation of man as recorded in Genesis 1:26.

“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth….Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’”  (Genesis 1:26,28)

And God renewed that first commission to man by way of Noah after the Flood as recorded in Genesis 9:1,2.

“So, God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them:  “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.  And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea.  They are given unto your hand.”  (Genesis 9:1,2)

This first commission is echoed with different words in Psalms 8:4-6 as quoted in Hebrews 2:6-8, and we especially see that with the last words of that quote, in the “And set him over the works of Your hands”, amplified by the following sentence of “You have put all things in subjection under his feet”.  There is an astounding significance to the way the argument flows by Paul in the rest of verse 8 as Paul explains “put all things in subjection under his feet” {and you hear Paul talking in the same kind of wording as of II Corinthians 15 where all things are put in subjection under the feet of Christ, but excepted is God the Father}, but as yet we do not see all things put under Man.  We stop to wonder whether Man Himself or the Son of Man, the Lord Jesus Christ, is going to do this; for we know that immediately Paul launched back off into Jesus:  made a little lower than the angels when coming to earth, like man is a little lower than the angels; and for suffering and death in order that Jesus might taste death for “everyone” (2:9)  God, the argument continues, chose the method of bringing “many sons to glory” to make Captain Jesus, the captain of their salvation, perfect through sufferings. (2:10)  Jesus calls them “brethren” because He and they “are all of one” (2:11), Jesus is the He who sanctifies, and they are the sanctified.  The children partake of flesh and blood (2:14), Jesus shared in the same; that through death He might destroy him, the devil, who had the power of death {we often think of Satan or the devil as the prince of the power of the air, seldom do we stop to think of him likewise as controlling the power of death}; and release the brethren from the fear and bondage of death (2:15).

“Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.  For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.”  (Hebrews 2:17,18)

The real question is that in all of the rest of Hebrews, and also where else in the whole Bible, is there a repeat of the argument of the second half of 2:8b, based on the quote of 2:8a.  First, we will check for the key words of “subjection under his feet” of 2:8b.  The only close similarity we find in Hebrews is in 12:9 where the subjection is of the children to God the Father, who like earthly fathers chasten us, but the Heavenly Father to make us partakers of His holiness.  However, we do in Romans 8:18,19 see a similar argument from Paul of passing from a lack of dominion over all things on the earth to a dominion over death and sin. {It is only complete in considering all the way from 5:12 through 8:39.}

“For I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.  {Rather than from the perspective of all men trying to have dominion on the whole earth, it is a more a present time start with the sufferings of this earth–which could be close to the things not overcome–and then progressing all the way to the glories that shall be revealed in our future of eternal life, of course which we most generally call “glorification”.}  “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly awaits {and certainly you can see in this reference to creation some of the first great commission to have complete dominion, though now it is an inward thrust, an eager expectation} for the revealing of the sons of God.”  {You cannot miss how the brethren here become also the sons of God, much like Jesus.}  And this is consistent with the Apostle John.

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God {we also like the KJV of “sons of God”}, to those who believe in His name:  who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”  (John 1:12,13 NJKV)

A14-7: Some Definitions in Romans 4-8 and Hebrews 7-12:2.

Definition of Righteousness by Faith, Peace, and the New Covenant, and New Sanctuary, Romans 4-8 and Hebrews 7-12:2.  The argument above of Romans 8:18,19 continues all the way to the “all things work together for our good” of 8:28 in the following manner:  (1) the whole creation was subjected to futility by God, but by God in hope, and it is that whole creation that will be delivered from the bondage of corruption {you see the similarity of the Hebrew argument of under dominion instead of over it} into a glorious liberty of the children of God {of course you see the children of Jesus that are called brethren and which Jesus identifies of Hebrews in this}; (2) the whole creation together–the earth, the man, the woman, the animals, the plant life, and the forces of nature–like a woman in birth pangs “groans and labors” (8:22) right up to this very moment of time of the life of Paul, and the assumption is that will continue in time until the end of the age {by the way talking of more of the similarities between Romans and Hebrews, we have here in the “whole creation groaning and laboring with birth pangs” a similarity to Hebrews 12:25-29 where the whole heaven and earth will be shaken; and also by the way, what shall we receive in that passage of Hebrews but “a kingdom which cannot be shaken” (12:28)}; (3) we that have the firstfruits of the Spirit {the new birth, of course is the firstfruit, the process of Christlikeness called sanctification is the continuing fruit, and the final fruit is the glorification when we shall be like Christ for we shall see Him as He is} also groan inwardly like the rest of creation groans as we look forward to the complete redemption of our physical bodies; (4) The Holy Spirit helps us during these struggling’s and makes intercession for us; (5) Jesus in touch with the Spirit makes intercession to God for our sins.  Now, these are all the things that work together for the good of those who love God and are the called according to His purpose.  For this point, and in 8:28-30 it progresses passes from (1) the purpose of God to (2) the foreknowledge of God of those whom He would call from before the foundation of the earth to (3) the predestination of God for those called to be conformed to the image of Christ, Christ the firstborn and the others His brethren sounding again like Hebrews to (4) the Christian calling with the hope of the one calling to (5) the legal justification in the sight of God to (6) the glorification.

NOTE:  We are in the process of receiving a kingdom, although within us now and cannot be seen as it is in heaven, cannot be shaken like this old earth and heaven will continue to shake until disintegration, because this kingdom of God and heaven and which will be lowered form earth to heaven is unshakable, much like God Himself.

  1. From this point of harmony between Hebrews 2:8-18 and Romans 8:18-39, we can proceed backwards through the rest of Romans 8, then 7, then 6, and then 5:12-21 thru the argument developments of respectively (1) Sonship through the Spirit, the adoption; (2) freedom from inward sin; (3) freedom from the law; (4) slave hood to sin or to God; (5) death to sin and alive to God; and (6) death in Adam and life in Christ.

(1).  We are the Sons of God if we are led by the Spirit of God, Romans 8:12-17.

(2).  Freedom from the condemnation of God if we live according to the Spirit instead of according to the flesh, Romans 8:1-11.

(3).  Jesus Christ will deliver us from this body of sin and death, Romans 7:13-25.

(4).  Another dominion that has been overcome is that of the law, Romans 7:1-12

(5).  From a slave to sin to a slave to righteousness, Romans 6:15-23.

(6). The One Baptism by which we are baptized spiritually into the death and resurrection of Christ Himself, Romans 6:1-14.

  1. Again working backwards to cover all of Romans 4-8, we go from 5:12-21 as the last part of the above through the rest of 5:1-5 on how faith triumphs over trouble, after considering the short passage of 5:6-11 where Christ died for the ungodly; then to 4:9-25 where Paul makes another legal argument, this time of how Abraham was justified before circumcision; and then right up to 4:1-8 on justification by faith.

A14-8: The Word “Baptism” in the New Testament.

Since we have discussed “believe” more than “baptism” in the chapters since chapter 4 on BAPTISM, this would be a good point at which to look at all the references in the New Testament where “baptism” is used.  The word in the King James Version is found 23 times in the New Testament, and it is easily grouped into several major divisions.

  1. The Baptism message from John the Baptist, both a water baptism and an immersion (baptism) in repentance before water baptism.

(1).  Matthew 3:7.  When John the Baptist saw Pharisees and Sadducees, the religious leaders of the day, coming for his baptism (s), he called them “vipers” and told them to bring to the water baptism a prerequisite of “fruits worthy of repentance.”

(2).  Matthew 21:25. (also repeated in Mark 11:30 and Luke 20:4) When later some of these same religious leaders , this time the chief priests and elders, questioned the authority of Jesus to deliver His teachings, asked them whether the “baptism of John” had the authority of being from heaven or from men.

(3).  Mark 1:4.  (also repeated in Luke 3:3) You have in this verse the two distinct baptisms of John, not unlike the two baptisms into Jesus of water baptism with a prerequisite baptism of salvation:  (a).  Water baptism, “John came baptizing in the wilderness”; and (b) Baptism of repentance, “and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins”.  Since there is some repentance in real faith and some faith in real repentance, you would have to say that the two baptisms of John the Baptist were almost the same as the two baptisms from the Apostles.  However, where there is any element of doubt such as Paul encountered in believers who had only know the two baptisms of John, then they were more carefully instructed on salvation and then baptized.

(4).  Luke 7:29.  There were cases of people, like the tax collectors, who having participated in the two baptisms of John the Baptist, were doubtless saved in that they “justified God”, those two baptisms having, Jesus taught, come from God; and there were the opposite cases of the Pharisees and lawyers who rejected “the will of God for themselves” by rejecting the baptism of John the Baptist.

(5).  Acts 1:22.  This baptism of John was as much a part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that an Apostle selected to take the place of Judas Iscariot must know about as well as all that Jesus did and said in the presence of the disciples, from that beginning time of the Gospel until the Ascension, and witness of the Resurrection.

(6).  Acts 10;37.  We must be careful that those who know only the baptism of repentance of John, sorrow for sins toward God, know also the baptism of faith of the Gospel.  What is most important again, is not the two water baptisms, but the inward baptism of both repentance and faith.  The Apostle Peter does in this verse in telling what has just happened in Israel make a fine point of distinction between “the preaching peace through Jesus Christ” and the start of that preaching that God gave Jesus “after the baptism which John preached”.

(7).  Acts 13:24.  You can also see in the early preaching of the Apostle Paul in Antioch in Pisidia that fine point of distinction between before the coming of Jesus, when “John first preached before His coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel”, and the point in history after that when Jesus made His public appearance to John and Israel, where the message of John became more that he was not the Christ but the Christ came shortly after Him.  In order to participate in the One Baptism of salvation, it is important to know both repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ; and then water baptism is to be an enacted sermon and act of faith in a work that comes behind it.  And then if there was any question as to whether that one baptism of salvation actually happened in the individual because they did not hear all the words of faith necessary for that salvation to happen, then after they really hear and believe, let them be baptized again.  Baptism by water and immersion is so easy; and while it has nothing to do with salvation, it should be done properly and only after sufficient faith baptism.

(8).  Acts 19:1-5.  When Paul rebaptized disciples at Ephesus, it was after they admitted that they did not receive inwardly the Holy Spirit which always comes with the One Baptism.  In other words, it was obvious that there was no real salvation in their life.  Unfortunately, the Pentecostals in just one of their major departures from sound doctrine–and they have many similar violations of Scripture as given in I and II Corinthians all generated by a unjustified pride in the uniqueness of their church membership such as “the Word came out of them”, “the Word came to them only”, “everyone has a song, a prophecy, or a word”, worship that draws attention to themselves, has an uncertain sound and breeds confusion, and a speaking in tongues which are not really languages, always of questionable motivations–have run amuck with a baptism for salvation and then a second blessing baptism of the Spirit. No, the consistent message of the Bible is that the One Baptism of Salvation is also an immersion of the Holy Spirit, most often called the new birth.  Of course, the work of the Spirit does continue through the many years, however not instantaneous, as He works to make the believer more Christ-like.  In all these cases sound doctrine dictates:  first comes the Baptism of Salvation, and then comes Water Baptism.

  1. Jesus used the word “baptism” for immersion to refer to the blanketing of persecutions that would come His faith in rejection and crucifixion, which also would be the type of immersion that the Apostles would have.

(1).  Matthew 20:22 and 20:23 (also repeated in Mark 10:38 and 10:39 and Luke 12:50) refer to this kind of baptism of the cross and suffering that the Apostles would share with Him.

  1. The Baptism of Salvation, the One Baptism.

(1).  Romans 6:4.  As Paul’s great treatment and definition of the One Baptism in Romans 6 and Romans before he refers back to it in Ephesians as the One Baptism, and where by the way as discussed in this commentary where all the great basic doctrines of the Bible are mentioned as “ONEs” and where there is not One for salvation.  There is no need, that is the One Baptism.  Read Ephesians 4:4-6 and then come back to Romans 6 to define the one baptism.  Well, here is some of it:  (1) when we are “baptized into Jesus” we are baptized into the death of Jesus–another way Paul says this in Galatians 2:20 is that “we are crucified with Christ”.  How are we crucified with Christ’  When we go down into the river or the baptistry to be immersed, or even when we have a nudge to start speaking in tongues’  No, how can we be crucified in water or speak tongues in water!  (2)  Even as Christ was raised from the dead by the power of God, so are we in the new birth raised by the power of God to walk the style of a new life.

(2). Ephesians 4:4-6, the Great Major Doctrines of Faith.  Ephesians is a condensed summary of all the 10 letters that Paul wrote before it with the great truths, teachings, and doctrines of the Christian Faith, and Ephesians 4:4-6 summarizes in turn Ephesians.

“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”  (Ephesians 4:4-6)

Is there only one baptism in Scripture; certainly not, there is only one major baptism that exceeds all the others in importance because it is the salvation of God.

(3).  Colossians 2:12.  In this similar language of Romans 6, “buried with Him in baptism”–by the way the message of Ephesians is also repeated in Colossians, so that Colossians like Ephesians is a summary of the first 10 books including Romans–you have a comparison of this salvation not only in terms of a one baptism but also for emphasis in terms of a “circumcision without hands”.  Even as the one baptism is a baptism without any words and any hands, so also is the one baptism like an inward circumcision where no hands work on the flesh and there is no work on the flesh.  You are reminded again of Peter’s statement about “not the putting away of the filth of the flesh”–in other words no water involved in this baptism–but rather the inward answer of a good conscience toward God.  So much of this distortion of water baptism as part of salvation, or as necessary for salvation, has come from the desire of church leaders, primarily at first the Catholics and then the Episcopalians and Lutherans and Anglicans and now the church of Christ and even others, to have control over and a part in your salvation.  Do not let them!

(4).  Hebrews 6:2.  These talks of the “doctrine of baptisms” {plural for baptisms} in such a way as to visit up to the realities of many baptisms in the Bible; but also, in such a way with “doctrine”, the singular, to note how they are related.  Does this allow for any such deceptive thing as a “baptism in the Spirit”, so called by the Pentecostals, which comes after the one baptism of salvation and even after water baptism. No!  However, it does allow as you read the context of the rest of Hebrews for a complete immersion in the Spirit over a period of time which most generally in Scripture is “sanctification”–a lifelong process–most often referred to, especially in Ephesians, as a growth into the full stature of Christ.  The problem with these Pentecostals is that they want sanctification instantaneously; they want to have the pride of a second blessing as unique Christians beyond what others have as they like the Gnostics gain a spiritual knowledge not possessed by other church members; and they want instant and easy evidence that they are the real children of God.  {You see that over and over in I and II Corinthians.}

(5).  I Peter 3:21.  You saw the exegesis of this in chapter 4 in this famous Scripture from the Apostle Peter of how the One Baptism is not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, therefore having nothing to do with water baptism.  Well, not nothing; they are related as one doctrine of many baptisms to the extent that the opposite of salvation, the immersion of the whole world in a flood, is related to the one salvation.

 

As normal for SunGrist messages/blogs you are welcome to free download in PDF at www.sungrist.org/GospelKingKingdom.pdf and to go to Amazon under books of Jerry Vaughan McMichael and get the Gospel tract in paperback or Kindle.

Thank you for your time and attention,

Jerry McMichael for SunGrist