Front Page Content

Building a Solid Foundation

Rewards for Christians are based on the quality (rather than quantity) of the work of those who believe in Him (born again followers of Jesus Christ). The work wrought that adds-up to wood, hay and stubble will be destroyed and those whose works endue the testing fire shall receive a reward. The foundational work of a Christian is tested; only the intrinsically worthy and valuable works judged as being worthy are kept

Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 NKJV

Note that Christians are not judged on the basis of sin. All people have been judged and found worthy of death. Jesus Christ the Messiah has taken the punishment of sin upon himself, and for all those that believe this has no fear of death. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. (1 John 2:2 NKJV).

What guidance is there in Scripture of what is quality works for God? The following (slightly edited) list came from Gabe Morris’ sermon on 9 August 2015 (Sugar Land Bible Church) which sums up some of the things believers could be judged.

  1. How we treat other believers (Hebrews 6:10)
  2. How we use our God given talents, abilities and opportunities (Matt 25; Luke 19)
  3. How we use our money and time (1 Tim 6:17-18)
  4. How well we handle injustice and mistreatment (Matt 5:11-12)
  5. How we endure sufferings and trials (James 1:12 )
  6. How we spend our time (Psalm 90:12; Eph 5:16)
  7. How we run the race (Heb 12:1; 1 Cor 9:24)
  8. How effectively we control our sin nature (1 Cor 9:27)
  9. How much effort we put into winning souls for Christ (Dan 12:3; 1 Thess 2)
  10. How much we look forward to the coming of Christ at the Rapture (2 Tim 4:8
  11. How faithful we are to God’s word and His people (2 Tim 4:1-2)
  12. How hospitable we are to strangers (Luke 14:12)
  13. How much we support other people in ministry (Matt 10:40-41)
  14. How faithful we are in our occupations or anything we put our hands to (Colossians 3:23)
  15. How we use our tongue (Matthew 12:36, James 1:26)

David L Simon
Updated: 23 Aug 2015

 

Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven

Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven;
To His feet thy tribute bring.
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Evermore His praises sing:
Praise Him, praise Him, alleluia!
Praise the everlasting King.
    
Praise Him for His grace and favor
To our fathers in distress;
Praise Him still the same as ever,
Slow to chide, and swift to bless.
Praise Him, praise Him, alleluia!
Glorious in His faithfulness.
    
Fatherlike He tends and spares us,
Well our feeble frame He knows;
In His hands He gently bears us,
Rescues us from all our foes.
Praise Him, praise Him, alleluia!
Widely yet His mercy flows.
    
Frail as summer’s flow’r we flourish,
Blows the wind and it is gone;
But while mortals rise and perish,
Our God lives unchanging on.
Praise Him, praise Him, alleluia!
Praise the high Eternal One!
    
Angels, help us to adore Him,
Ye behold Him face to face;
Sun and moon, bow down before Him;
Dwellers all in time and space,
Praise Him, praise Him, alleluia!
Praise with us the God of grace.

Henry F Lyte (1834)
Updated: 09 Aug 2015

 

Benefits of Keeping the Commandments of the LORD

He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him." Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, "Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?" Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will 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; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me. "These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. John 14:21-26 NKJV

 

The person who has my commandments and obeys them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and will reveal myself to him."

"Lord," Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, "what has happened that you are going to reveal yourself to us and not to the world?" Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and take up residence with him. The person who does not love me does not obey my words. And the word you hear is not mine, but the Father’s who sent me.

"I have spoken these things while staying with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and will cause you to remember everything I said to you.

We learn from these verses that keeping Christ's commandments is the best test of love to Christ. This is a lesson of vast importance and one that needs continually pressing on the attention of Christians. It is not talking about religion, and talking fluently and well too, but steadily doing Christ's will and walking in Christ's ways, that is the proof of our being true believers. Good feelings and desires are useless if they are not accompanied by action. They may even become mischievous to the soul, induce hardness of conscience, and do certain harm. Passive impressions which do not lead to action, gradually deaden and paralyze the heart. Living and doing are the only real evidence of grace. Where the Holy Spirit is, there will always be a holy life. A jealous watchfulness over tempers, words, and deeds, a constant endeavor to live by the rule of the Sermon on the Mount, this is the best proof that we love Christ.

Of course such maxims as these must not be wrested and misunderstood. We are not to suppose for a moment that "keeping Christ's commandments" can save us. Our best works are full of imperfection. When we have done all we can, we are feeble and unprofitable servants. "By grace are you saved through faith--not of works." (Ephesians 2:8.) But while we hold one class of truths, we must not forget another. Faith in the blood of Christ must always be attended by loving obedience to the will of Christ. What the Master has joined together, the disciple must not put asunder. Do we profess to love Christ? Then let us show it by our lives. The Apostle who said, "You know that I love You!" received the charge, "Feed my lambs." That meant, "Do something. Be useful--follow my example." (John 21:17.)

We learn, secondly, from these verses, that there are special comforts laid up for those who love Christ, and prove it by keeping His words. This, at any rate, seems the general sense of our Lord's language--"My Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him."

The full meaning of this promise, no doubt, is a deep thing. We have no line to fathom it. It is a thing which no man can understand except he that receives and experiences it. But we need not shrink from believing that eminent holiness brings eminent comfort with it, and that no man has such sensible enjoyment of his religion as the man who, like Enoch and Abraham, walks closely with God. There is more of heaven on earth to be obtained than most Christians are aware of. "The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant." "If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and dine with him, and he with Me." (Psalm 25:14; Reveleation 3:20.) Promises like these, we may be sure, mean something, and were not written in vain.

How is it, people often ask, that so many professing believers have so little happiness in their religion? How is it that so many know little of "joy and peace in believing," and go mourning and heavy-hearted towards heaven? The answer to these questions is a sorrowful one, but it must be given. Few believers attend as strictly as they should to Christ's practical sayings and words. There is far too much loose and careless obedience to Christ's commandments. There is far too much forgetfulness, that while good works cannot justify us they are not to be despised. Let these things sink down into our hearts. If we want to be eminently happy, we must strive to be eminently holy.

We learn, lastly, from these verses, that one part of the Holy Spirit's work is to teach, and to bring things to remembrance. It is written, "The Comforter shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance."

To confine this promise to the eleven Apostles, as some do, seems a narrow and unsatisfactory mode of interpreting Scripture. It appears to reach far beyond the day of Pentecost, and the gift of writing inspired books of God's Holy Word. It is safer, wiser, and more consistent with the whole tone of our Lord's last discourse, to regard the promise as the common property of all believers, in every age of the world. Our Lord knows the ignorance and forgetfulness of our nature in spiritual things. He graciously declares that when He leaves the world, His people shall have a teacher and remembrancer.

Are we sensible of spiritual ignorance? Do we feel that at best we know in part and see in part? Do we desire to understand more clearly the doctrines of the Gospel? Let us pray daily for the help of the "teaching" Spirit. It is His office to illuminate the soul, to open the eyes of the understanding, and to guide us into all truth. He can make dark places light, and rough places smooth.

Do we find our memory of spiritual things defective? Do we complain that though we read and hear, we seem to lose as fast as we gain? Let us pray daily for the help of the Holy Spirit. He can bring things to our remembrance. He can make us remember "old things and new." He can keep in our minds the whole system of truth and duty, and make us ready for every good word and work.

 

Reference:

J.C. Ryle's works on the gospels, in particular John are most instructive. These works are available both as books or on line, such as at GraceGems http://gracegems.org/Ryle/books.htm > (Accessed 12 July 2015).

 

J C Ryle (1816 - 1900) The Gospel Of John (Chapter 14)
Updated: 12 Jul 2015

 

There is a fountain filled with blood

There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel's veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.

Refrain
I do believe, I will believe,
That Jesus died for me:
That on the cross He shed His blood
From sin to set me free.

The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there may I though vile, as he,
Wash all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood
Shall never lose its pow'r,
Till all the ransomed church of God
Be saved to sin no more.

E'er since, by faith, I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.

When this poor lisping, stamm'ring tongue
Lies silent in the grave,
Then in a nobler, sweeter song
I'll sing Thy pow'r to save.

William Cowper (1731 – 1800)
Updated: 05 Jul 2015

 

What is the Cross of Christ all About?

The deepest note of the Cross is not what our Lord suffered as seeing the sin and degradation of men, great as that was, but what He suffered in His own person at the hands of a holy God when, to accomplish propitiation (which means "God, be merciful to me a sinner" (Luke 18: 13) ed.), "His soul" was made "an offering for sin." He saw indeed how men opposed the light He brought and ruined themselves, but far beyond that. He "poured out His soul unto death. He was numbered with the transgressors and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." THAT IS THE CROSS.

F B Hole Scripture Truth, 1916, Vol. 8.
Updated: 02 May 2014

 

Israel Has Not Been Replaced by the Church

Romans 11:25-27

For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "THE DELIVERER WILL COME OUT OF ZION, AND HE WILL TURN AWAY UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB; FOR THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS."

Main Idea

Much of the church appears to believe that Israel has been replaced by the church, that is superseded it. This erroneous doctrine, termed replacement theology or the doctrine of supersessionism by some (sounds more scientific, but isn’t), states the original promise to Abraham of land, seed and blessing cannot be fulfilled for the people of Israel. This is wrong. The illogical nature of this doctrine, if true, would make the gospel unstable and unreliable.

Paul in verses 25 & 26 states categorically that Israel has not been lost.

Background

Paul, in chapters 9-11 of Romans is answering a great soteriological question: if God is able to save us, as he says he is, what evidence is there that he indeed keeps his promises? Paul proves God is able to because God has not forgotten Israel. God will complete the work he set out to do (Philippians 1:6), and Paul answers emphatically, to the question – has God cast off Israel? “God forbid” (11:1) – the most pronounced negative exclamation a Jew can offer. Chapter 11 sets out the fact that Israel has not been cast off in five parts:

1.       Rejection of Israel is not total – it is partial

2.       Israel’s rejection is to bless the gentiles

3.       Israel’s covenants are guaranteed

4.       Israel is certain of restoration

5.       Doxology

Gentiles are like wild olive branches graphed into the true olive tree (11:16-21)

In Chapter 11 Paul gives the example of the Olive Tree because Israel is represented by the olive tree throughout Scripture. Gentiles certainly have been revealed the mystery of the church in that “the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel” (Ephesians 3:6). However, he warns gentile believers not to be proud or boastful of the fact they have been grafted into the olive tree. This is because gentiles are aliens to the Kingdom of God, and are like wild olive, and contrary to nature have been grafted into the olive tree (11:17). That is, it is against the gentile nature to want to be partakers of Yeshua, the messiah; however, through the work of the Christ, this is accomplishable by faith in Jesus Christ. And it is this latter point Paul is getting across. The gentiles cannot boast, because it is not the wild grafted in branch that supports the root but the root of the tree that supports the wild grafted branch – Jesus Christ, who is a Jew. And if God is able to graft in branches contrary to nature, how much easier will it be for Him to graft in olive branches – that is Jews. Israel therefore is not lost or forgotten – they have been cut from the root (Jesus Christ), so provoke them to action (11:14-17).

 

Read more...

The fact that Israel’s promises are on hold is a mystery, now revealed (11:25)

Why the promises of Israel were withheld was hidden from Israel through their blindness. Jesus clearly stated they would be cast out, but the leaders of Israel did not listen:

“‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, 'blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!’” (Matthew 23:37-39).

Note the underlined portion of the verse. The rejection of Yeshua as the Messiah doomed Israel to being left desolate as outline in Matthew 12:41 when the Jews blasphemed the Holy Spirit, a prophecy fulfilled in A.D. 70. Paul speaks of this as being a mystery – where the term mystery is explained in Romans 16:25,26 – as something that has been hidden, like a curtain that hides a precious stone, but is drawn back revealing it. Hence the mystery has been revealed as to why the promises made to Abraham have not been fulfilled.

Promises of God are Irrevocable

Before examining the reason why Israel has not received her promises, we need to state that God’s promises are irrevocable. Paul states: “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (11:29). That is due to God’s unchanging love, grace and the sovereign will; his promises are sure, secure, firm and inviolable. If there were not, as 1 Corinthians 15 points out, we would be people “most miserable” because we could not have hope - for faith in something that is unsure is a false hope. God’s promises therefore are immutable and unalterable.

For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. Romans 11:25 NKJV

Israel seeks not the Messiah because of blindness or hardening

Only a small remnant seeks Yeshua and have found him. These Messianic Jews are very small in number – most Jews reject Yeshua and God. Their hearts are hardened, they are blind to the fact Yeshua has died for their sin as well as those of the gentiles.

The blindness is only in part, that is temporary

There is a time limit on the partial blindness, because the next word indicates that the action continues until something else happens.

The blindness is until

This word is missed by too many. The blindness is temporary – until something else happens.

When the predetermined number of gentiles have been saved, their blindness will be lifted.

The phrase “until fullness of the Gentiles has come in” means that until the last remaining gentile who will be saved is saved, the condition on Israel remains. Only after this, will, Israel will be saved.

If Israel is to be saved (11:26,27), then Israel cannot have been replaced by something else

Paul writes: And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “THE DELIVERER WILL COME OUT OF ZION, AND HE WILL TURN AWAY UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB; FOR THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.”

These are quotes from Isaiah 59:20 indicating the Davidic covenant (2 Samuel 7:12-16) will be fulfilled – Yeshua, is the deliverer and will occupy Mount Zion; Isaiah 59:21 indicating the Abrahamic covenant (Genesis 17 etc., Deuteronomy 28, Leviticus 26) will be fulfilled (Land, Seed and Blessing) and Jeremiah 31:31-34 indicate a new covenant will be established; “I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people”.

Conclusion

Israel has been knocked down so they look up

It looks as Israel is no longer in view of God, but this is the plan of God! He is using the gentiles to provoke Israel to jealousy (11:11), meaning salvation has come to the gentiles, forcing Israel to look to God for salvation.

The Church is NOT Israel: National Israel will be restored, and the promises made good after all the time of the gentiles has be fulfilled.

References

Arnold Fruchtenbaum (2010) Replacement Theology and the Epistle of I Peter Ariel Ministries http://www.pre-trib.org/data/pdf/Fruchtenbaum-ReplacementTheologya.pdf

David L Simon
Updated: 21 Jun 2015

 

Three Women of Shunem

The Bible mentions three women from the town of Shunem and one of the important resurrections of a boy took place there, in the days of Elisha. Shunem is now an Arab city located 50 km south east of Haifa in the lower east Galilee and 10 km south west from Mount Tabor. It was originally allotted to the Tribe of Issachar (Joshua 19:18), but due to failure of Israel to take the land was the camp of the Philistines during the time of Saul (1 Samuel 28:4).

Read more...

1. Abishag (1 Kings 1:3, 2:17, 21-22)

We first come upon Shunem when King David is very old, and due to the cold weather, and no method to heat beds, a young virgin is sought to keep him warm and to care for him in is old age (1 Kings 1:2). To a modern westerner this sounds perhaps odd if not bizarre, but was common practice in the days of King David. The woman's name was Abishag and she was very beautiful; selected after searching out the whole land of Israel for a "lovely" or "beautiful" young woman (1 Kings 1:3). She was not only beautiful, but both intelligent and diligent, as all three women of Shunem were. 1 Kings 1:4 states that she was of service to the king. And verse 15 of the same chapter indicates her service was to him in his bedroom. David being very old (v.15) and infirmed probably needed help in matters related to his personal hygiene, getting ready for bed, and getting up in the morning – in some respects Abishag was his personal nurse (v. 2). But note Abishag was not a prostitute and indeed this was not her role. Verse 4b of 1 Kings 1 states that sexual union did not take place, and in any case, David probably was too old for sex. Notwithstanding, it is evident she was considered to be David's wife, or at least his concubine, in view of the law, because she remained in David's palace after he died being found there during the early days of Solomon's reigned (2 Kings 2:17, 21-22). If she was merely a servant of the king she would have returned to her father's house. Evidence that she had more formal ties to King David is that Adonijah, the oldest living son of David, wanted to marry Abishag in order to better secure the right to the throne, which was promised Solomon (2 Kings 2). He ordered his mother to petition Solomon to give Abishag to him as his wife. Other than being illegal Solomon saw through Adonijah's request, knowing that this would be a direct threat to his reign, and ordered Adonijah's execution (1 Kings 2:24)[1].

Little more is known of Abishag. Given the period, Abishag probably had little say in any of these matters, and therefore making the most of her situation, diligently carried out her duties. So what can we learn from this episode? A couple of things come to mind. Although a person saved is predestined for heaven, it does not necessarily change or enhance one's life on this earth in terms of wealth or status – salvation has nothing to do with prosperity, a heretical gospel preached by modern liberal churches. Indeed Jesus comments that those who follow him are likely to suffer, and life is not likely to be easy. He also said: "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." (Luke 9:23). We are to be content in all things, knowing that our short life ends with our elevation to be with the Father – which is exceeding greater than all we can achieve on earth. The JND version puts it "Be… satisfied with your present circumstances" (Hebrews 13:5b). Abishag is taken from her parents and placed into the king's house and ordered to do one of the most difficult tasks one can do for another – attending to the personal hygiene of the person, toileting, washing and bathing, and perhaps dealing with incontinence and other bodily malfunctions, then sleeping with him to keep him warm. Yet we do not find Abishag complaining, but she is found quietly doing her allotted job (1 Kings 1:15). As believers we to should be found quietly doing what God has willed, whatever it may be, and be willing to say, as Paul said: "For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:10 ESV).

2. The Shunammite woman (2 Kings 4)

Unlike Abishag, we know a little more about the Shunammite woman of 2 Kings 4, but not her name, which is important. The Shunammite woman was a prosperous woman who had a heart for serving those that she came upon, when the narrative of her life begins in the Bible. Again the custom is typical of the time, and although less so now, the art of hospitality has not been lost entirely in the Middle East. The Shunammite woman saw Elisha, realised he had not eaten and urged him to have a meal with her and her husband. Evidently she did a good job, and formed a friendship with Elisha, for in 2 Kings 4:8 we read that whenever Elisha passed through Shunem he would eat at the Shunammite's home. In this we see this woman was one who understood practical application of love.

We know little of her husband, but in each case, although she took the initiative, as a loving wife, and knowing her God given place (role), deferred any decisions to him. This is something t western world hates. Yet God has given defined roles to men and women. The man is the head of the family; final decisions must be made by him: "But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God" (1 Corinthians 11:3 NKJV). This also illustrates the humbleness of the Shunammite woman, who appears to be the stronger of the two spiritually, and in doing so obeys God.

It was evident to her that Elisha did long journeys, being a prophet, much used of God, and Shunem was a place of transit. Elisha was from Abel-meholah, halfway between the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee in the Jordan Valley, some 35 km from Shunem, thus requiring a stopover. The Shunammite also recognised Elisha's status as a "holy man of God" who would require a quiet place to be in communion with God. She had the ability to recognise people's needs and their place before God. Her practical love was played out in the hospitable way she treated Elisha. So she urged her husband to build a room on the house so whenever Elisha came past, he could not only eat with them, but could sleep in the privacy of his own room, and have a place to write and study. 2 Kings 4:10 indicates the room had a bed, chair, table and lamp. This custom is rare – most homes of the time only had two rooms – the animals slept in one and the household the other.

We do know at the time the narrative began, her husband was old and she had no children. Whether the Shunammite woman was old is unknown, but having no children was a curse for families in those days, especially for Jews, who connected the notion of disgrace with that of being childless[2]. Elijah after seeing what the Shunammite woman had done for him, he wanted to repay the woman and seeks out what he can do to recompense her (2 Kings 4:13), and learns she is childless. It is interesting to see that being childless was a greater burden to her than status or position, in that her response to Elisha's servant, who questioned the Shunammite on behalf of Elisha, was that she was in need of nothing in terms of position in society. She "dwelt among her own people" and clearly did not want to dwell among any other, however rich. It is clear Elisha had connections to the King of Israel (Jehoshaphat, eg 2 Kings 3:13) and high ranking officials, and could have elevated this family's status by bringing the family into the King's court. However, she did not want this and replies "I dwell amount mine own people" (2 Kings 4:13b). What does she mean? She means that she was content and satisfied with her lot – she was happy being with her own people, and did not want any status. What about you? Are you always seeking to 'elevate' yourself, to become more important than those around? This is pride at work, which Scripture reminds thus: "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall." Proverbs 16:18. This woman was meek and epitomises the type of person Jesus speaks of in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 – 7), "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth." Matthew 5:5. Indeed it appears Scripture does not name her because it would have seriously embarrassed her – her life's goal was to please others, not to make a name for herself.

Of importance to this woman was having a family to raise. It is something our modern western society needs to relearn. Having and raising children has infinitely more satisfaction and joy than all the riches and status a career or connections can bring. Material things cannot, and should never replace people – our modern women (and men) do not want children but a career, which only satisfies self. This is an act of defiant selfishness that reduces the riches of the community. A career rarely leaves a legacy, and in most cases is soon forgotten, but children create a lasting legacy. The Bible states "Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth." (Psalm 127:3-4). Not only are the modern generation hurting society as a whole, they are denying the pleasures of their parents of seeing grandchildren – a natural delight for all with children. Proverb 17:6 states "Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers." The evil of satisfying self with material wealth and momentary pleasures has invaded the churches; it needs to be rooted out and banished. It is much better to die poor with children than die rich having a prosperous career: ""Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal." (Matthew 6:19-20).

The Shunammite woman was the antithesis of the modern woman: humble, gracious and happy with her lot, obedient to her husband, yet had initiative especially for helping others. Elisha had the ear of the King and ministers, but the Shunammite wanted nothing of their glory or prestige; she just wanted a child.

By God's grace, Elisha sees the hurt of the Shunammite, promises her a son within a year, which Jehovah makes good. However, when the boy had grown enough to be of use around the farm (2 Kings 4:19), and was out working, he suffered a major headache, returned home and died in the arms of his mother (2 Kings 4:20). Obviously the Shunammite woman was extremely upset, but realising the man of God, Elisha, would be able to help, places the boy's body in Elisha's bed, and takes a donkey to where Elisha was – Mount Carmel and finds Elisha. Scripture records this as an exercise of faith (Hebrews 11:35). Elisha eventually goes to the boy, prays to Jehovah who raises the boy. Some believe Elisha performed CPR on the child and he was revived, but scripture clearly states he was dead, and the Carmel Range is some way from Shunem – the exact location of Elisha is unknown, but at best some 24 km away. CPR would not have raised the boy, for given the time of travel and the procrastination of Elisha, the body would have commenced decomposition – in the same manner Lazarus's body decomposed (John 11).

This episode is also recorded in scripture for the purpose of demonstrating faith. Her faith is not ill placed. God had given her a son; would he be taken away (2 Kings 4:28)? Not only was her only child dead, but Elisha was far away. However, this woman did not fall down in total despair howling and weeping her eyes out, although no doubt she wept. Her faith is demonstrated in that she did not begin burial preparations, which her culture demanded (those that died have, even to this day, to be buried within 24 hours). Nor did she complain to God, but rather approached her husband, as a wife aught, and sought permission to go to Elisha (2 Kings 4:22). Her husband's response also tests this woman's faith. His walk and hers although joined, where spiritually disconnected. He thinks she wants to perform some religious service (2 Kings 4:23), when in fact she seeks faithfully for an avenue to have her son restored. Of interest in this narrative is the father's distinct lack of interest in the welfare of the boy. There is no "how is he doing?", since the boy was with the father when he first fell ill. His wife's silence on his son's death perhaps points to a discordant relationship between the two – perhaps she wanted a son, and he had no real opinion. Such a marriage is difficult to bear, which all the more demonstrates this woman's pious and humble nature, for each step she seeks her husband's permission.

So, although clearly dead, she mounts a donkey and seeks the man of God, who she knows has access to God. Her logic is complete and unambiguous: Elijah had raised the woman of Zarephath's son (1 Kings 17) and Elijah's spirit now rested on Elisha. Indeed a double potion now rested on Elisha (2 King 2:9, 15). In keeping with the narrative of 2 Kings, the Shunammite woman is not named in Hebrews 11 but her action is recorded in the annuals of the faithful: "women [who] received their dead raised to life again" (Hebrews 11:35) stating that these women, including the woman of Shunem, obtained a good report through faith (Hebrews 11:39). There is nothing greater than this the Father wants – faithful servants, who obtain a good report through their actions. Faith without works is dead, states James.

The book of Hebrews also demonstrates we now have a new and living way to the Father; so rather than seeking out a holy man of God, we can approach the Lord Jesus Christ boldly (Hebrews 10:19-23) and directly. There is no need for a priest – Jesus Christ is our priest, indeed out Great High Priest, with access to God the Father. We can therefore approach Jesus Christ directly, in prayer. We also see the narrative is also descriptive of the resurrection found in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live" (John 11:25). If one reads 2 Kings 4 carefully you will see that the actions of man fail. Resurrection is entirely of God. Gehazi, servant of Elisha is sent to the boy with a rod, and he fails to revive the boy (2 Kings 4:31). Elisha teaches that any resurrection of the boy will be the will of the Father. It is when Elisha prays that the power of God is evident. A less for all people; effective fervent pray must always be the first recourse to any situation.

Note however this resurrection was not to a new life, in that the boy eventually died. One could better describe what happened as a restoration. There is another type of resurrection, first demonstrated by Jesus Christ – in this case the person raised is no longer subject to physical death: "knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him." (Romans 6:9). A person raised to resurrection life whether saved or not (believer or non-believer) cannot die again – their physical body is changed from natural (as humans experience the physical world) to spiritual.

The response of the Shunammite woman is most natural (2 Kings 4:37): (1) she falls down at Elisha's feet in profound gratitude and reverence for the "Holy man of God" and (2) she picks up her son in upmost joy and gladness – the boy who was once dead is now alive. This should be our response to the Lord Jesus Christ – we need to bow before the Father in humble reverence, and we need to, in upmost joy and gladness fix our eyes on Jesus Christ.

This unnamed woman was humble, meek, obedient and faithful.

3. The Bride of Song of Solomon

We learn from the sixth chapter of the Song of Solomon that the Bride (often referred to as she) in the poem, is a Shunammite, that is a woman from Shunem, also known as Shulnem. Some suggest this woman is Abishag, a beautiful girl, and at David's death the most important woman in the palace. However, this is conjecture.

It is most sad that Christians do not read this beautiful book. Indeed once, after preaching from this book, a pastor in the congregation stated that he had never heard a sermon from the Song of Solomon, and he was more than 70 years old! Yet it is full of beautiful imagery, illustrating the thoughts and actions of two people who have absolute and full love for each other. We allow our young folk to watch TV, see movies and interact over the internet, whose media all portraits a warped, lustful and evil side of sexuality and love. If you really want to understand love and sex, read carefully the Song of Solomon. If you want to understand the love of Christ for his Church, read the Song of Solomon. For young people guidance may be required, but the teaching is clear – the body of a woman belongs to her husband, and the body of a husband belongs to his wife. It is not shameful, as some Christians would have it, to gaze upon the naked body of a spouse. It is sinful to gaze with lust upon the naked body of someone who is not your spouse. That is, sex can only be exercised in all its fulness between a married man and woman who are truly in love with each other. The Song of Solomon poignantly expresses this in song. Often miss-interpreted, the Song of Solomon is about love not sex; but as the Bible points out, one cannot speak about love in a marriage without speaking about sex.

 The ballad is about love, union and communion between two people: the bridegroom and his bride, being a metaphor for Christ and his Church. In essence it is an allegory, which Paul uses in Ephesians to remind Christians of what the Church is: "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendour, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.'" (Ephesians 5:22-31 ESV).

In this song the Shunammite woman understands deeply the full meaning of love. Her first response – and she is given the first word – is one of demanding peace. One cannot kiss an enemy. The tenderest affection is afforded when a woman kisses her spouse on his mouth. This is truly an intimate action. She has kept herself for him; her focus is on him and what please him. She is a virgin, undefiled, perfect (6:9). "Virgin" is a word expunged from modern English, but it symbolises purity, where one has kept oneself from sex and kept one's body for one's spouse only. She has kept herself for him (5:2).

She has studied him, and sees the beautiful and lovely in him. "As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste." (2:3). Her spouse has conquered with his love; in his victory he brings her into his house, victorious: "He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love." (2:4). The victory was due to his love for her; his love rallies around her, lifting her up, protecting her, filling her with ecstasy and joy. She is safe and fulfilled.

They are not yet married, but engaged - espoused. She wants him and longs for him, in the same way a Believer wants and longs for the coming of Christ. We are espoused to Christ, the head of the Church, the bridegroom, and someday He will come for his bride – we should be waiting with the same values, notions, thoughts and feelings for Christ as the Shunammite is for her beloved. And as in traditional Middle Eastern culture, the bride knows not when the bridegroom comes (although the Father does).

She is graceful, beautiful, perfect in all ways; clean and bright like sheep shorn and washed - white (4:2). Her love is much more than lust: it encompasses the whole mind, body and soul. This is where many Christians get it wrong. Song of Solomon is not about sex, but about agape: love that causes a man to give his life for another. It is about sacrificial love; indeed "love is strong as death" (8:6); a fervent zeal (not a word we use much today) for each other. As Christ died for the Church so should the depth of love of a man be for his wife (Ephesians 5). Death conquers all; such was the love of Christ. Such love brings about a response. She sees him as more than a lover. He is her friend, her beloved (e.g. 5:16). A woman's spouse needs to be her best friend. She sees him as altogether lovely: in his actions, word, work and interaction and communion with those around him – she sees nothing lacking, as a Believer sees nothing lacking in the Lord Jesus Christ.

This Shunammite woman perfectly illustrates the woman in love with the man she will marry. The illustration is beautiful to behold and a lesson to all. The love expressed by this woman should not cease, but grows upon marriage.

Modern day Shunem (Sulam) an Arab village in Israel (31 May 2015) (click for enlarged view)

[1] Leviticus 18:8 forbids a man marrying his father's wife, even if the father dies – such a sexual union is forbidden.

[2] Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset & David Brown (1871) Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible: 2 Kings 4:13-16. This volume can be found on-ine in many places e.g. < http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/jamieson-fausset-brown/ > accessed 10 June 2015.

 

Full text including PDF

 

David L Simon
Updated: 14 Jun 2015

 

Christ's gospel is the wisdom of God

Charles Spurgeon writes on wisdom: "Christ's gospel is the wisdom of God. Look at the gospel itself and you will see it to be wisdom. The man who scoffs and sneers at the gospel does so for no other reason but because he does not understand it. We have two of the richest books of theology extant that were written by professed infidels—by men that were so, I mean, before they wrote the books. You may have heard the story of Lord Lyttleton and West. I believe they determined to refute Christianity; one of them took up the subject of Paul's conversion, and the other, the subject of the resurrection; they sat down, both of them, to write books to ridicule those two events, and the effect was, that in studying the subject, they, both of them, became Christians, and wrote books which are now bulwarks to the church they hoped to have overthrown. Every man who looks the gospel fairly in the face, and gives it the study it ought to have, will discover that it is no false gospel, but a gospel that is replete with wisdom, and full of the knowledge of Christ. If any man will cavil at the Bible, be must cavil. There are some men who can find no wisdom anywhere, except in their own heads. Such men, however, are no judges of wisdom. We should not set a mouse to explain the phenomena of astronomy, nor should we set a man who is so foolish as to do nothing but cavil to understand the wisdom of the gospel. It needs that a man should at least be honest, and have some share of sense, or we can not dispute with him at all. Christ's gospel, to any man who believes it, is the wisdom of God.
    Allow me just to hint that to be a believer in the gospel is no dishonor to a man's intellect. While the gospel can be understood by the poorest and the most illiterate, while there are shallows in it where a lamb may wade, there are depths where leviathan may swim. The intellect of Locke found ample space in the gospel; the mind of Newton submitted to receive the truth of inspiration as a little child, and found a something in its majestic being higher than itself, unto which it could not attain. The rudest and most untaught have been enabled, by the study of the holy Scripture of God's truth to enter the kingdom; and the most erudite have said of the gospel, it surpasses thought. I was thinking the other day what a vast amount of literature must be lost if the gospel be not true. No book was ever so suggestive as the Bible. Large tomes we have in our libraries which it takes all our strength to lift, all upon holy Scripture; myriads upon myriads of smaller volumes, tens of thousands of every shape and size, all written upon the Bible; and I have thought that the very suggestiveness of Scripture, the supernatural suggestiveness of holy Writ, may be in itself a proof of its divine wisdom, since no man has ever been able to write a book which could have so many commentators and so many writers upon its text as the Bible has received, by so much as one millionth part."

Charles H Spurgeon Sermon "Christ—The Power and Wisdom of God" 17 May 1857
Updated: 22 May 2015

 

Jesus the Messiah Rose from the Dead Three Days After He Died

The Resurrection: Hoax or History

Introduction

...because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
1 Corinthians 15:13-19

If there is no resurrection:

  • Christ is not risen
  • Faith is empty
  • Faith is futile
  • We are still in our sins
  • Death and hades will overtake us
  • We will all die because the wages of sin is death and be cast into hell
  • And if Christ be not risen, …... we are of all men most miserable. But now Christ is risen from the dead

Jesus a Man

1.    The Bible says so - John's gospel etc

2.    Secular history records it so

3.    Jewish writers say so

4.    The writings of antiquity say so

5.    The Early church fathers say so

Jesus Christ the Messiah (Yeshu יהושׁע)?

1.    Jesus was truly an historical person

2.    Jesus lived in the land of Canaan (Palestine) in the 1st century

3.    He claimed to be equal with God (John 10:25-30)

4.    He claimed to be eternal (John 8:58)

5.    He was worshipped as God (Matthed 8:2) - the leper (Matthew 8:2),
the man born blind (John 9:35-39), disciples (Matt 14:33, John 20:27-29), Woman with flow of blood (Mark 5:25).

6.    He was prophesied about and all came true (e.g. Genesis 3:18; Psalm 22, 31, 69, 110 etc; Isaiah 52, 53; Micah 5:2 Bethlehem; Isaiah 40:3 John the Baptist; Isaiah 9:1,2 The region of Jesus' ministry; Isaiah 42:1-4 Jesus the son of Man; Zechariah 9:9 Jesus on a donkey rides into Jerusalem etc

Jesus was Condemned to Death

1.    The Jewish leadership using false allegations orchestrated his death

2.    At the trial he condemned himself: he was king

3.    Jesus was crucified by the Romans

4.    Jesus rose from the dead on the third day

5.    Jesus spoke to many people after rising

6.    Jesus returned to heaven 50 days after death

From oral narrative, secular history and the Bible we know Jesus was truly an historical person. Few would deny this, including opponents such as the Muslims. If Jesus wasn't God he deserves an Oscar.[1]

Jesus died!

1.    He was severely wounded prior to the crucifixion (Mat 27:26)

2.    He was unable to carry his cross (Mat 27:32)

3.    If he wasn't dead his legs would have been broken (John 19:33)

4.    His blood was drained by a spear piecing his side witnessed by John (John 19:34)

  • He was dead - no one doubted it, not the Sanhedrin, the Praetorium, or those on Calvary.
  • Pilate alone was astonished about how fast it had taken for Jesus to die.
  • Embalming a live body probably would have suffocated it.
  • The Swoon theory has no credence - no one could have survived the ordeal Christ went through. Evidence of a burial indicates Jesus had died. The theory assumes these folk did not know what a dead person was - the Egyptians and Babylonians had defined death thousands of years previously, and the Jews had a strict definition of death. Jesus was definitely dead

The Body

1.    Was taken down - hence was dead

2.    Was buried in the custom of the Jews

3.    Was bound it in strips of cloth

4.    Embalmed in a great quantity of myrrh and aloes (John 19:40)

5.    Was placed in a tomb (John 19:42)

The Tomb

1.    The tomb belonged to a rich man (John 19:38)

2.    Jesus was laid in the Tomb

3.    Great emphasis was made to ensure he did not "rise" from the dead

     Why did the Jews have the tomb guarded if

                                i.   the tomb did not exist

                               ii.    a body was not in it?

4.    A great stone was place over the entrance (Matthew 27:60, assumed by John 20:1)

5.    It was guarded (Matt 27:62-66)

6.    It was sealed (Matt 27:66)

The Empty Tomb

1.    The guards saw an unearthly sight and the stone rolled away (Matt 28:3-4)

2.    There was an earthquake (op cit.)

3.    The guards, took money and were given a story, punishable by death if true (Matt 28:11)

4.    The angels stated the tomb was empty (Luke 24:6)

5.    The empty tomb was first seen by Mary Magdalene (John 20:1-2, 11)

6.    The empty tomb was seen by Peter and John - Peter went in (John 20)

7.    The grave clothes were "lying there" (John 19:6,7)

Jesus Risen

1.    Jesus' appears to Mary Magdalene (John 20)

2.    Jesus' appearance to Peter alone (Luke 24:34, 1 Corinthians 15:15)

3.    Jesus' appearance to the women (Matt 28:9)

4.    Jesus' on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24)

5.    Jesus' appearance to 10 at one time

6.    Jesus' appearance to 11 at one time

7.    Jesus' breakfast with 7 near lake (John 21)

8.    Jesus' appearance to brother James (1 Corinthians 157)

9.    Jesus' appearance to 500 (1 Corinthians 15:6)

The Resurrected Jesus Preached – was not Refuted

1.    Peter (Acts 2) - no Jewish refutation

2.    Paul (Acts 25) - accusations could not be proved

3.    Unbelief of resurrection found in Athens not Jerusalem

4.    Paul (Acts 26) was brought before Agrippa Acts 5:33-39 - the judge stated; Let them go! For if their [the disciples] purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God

Jesus Resurrection seen in the Testimony of the Church

1.    It grew daily (Acts 2:41&47, Acts 5:14, Acts 12:24, Acts 19:20)

2.    Grew in the face of persecution

3.    It encompassed not only Jews but also gentiles, bondman and free (Gal 3:28)

4.    The testimony cut to the heart - it affects the conscience of man, it changes lives (Acts 7:54)

Jesus' Resurrection seen in society1

  • Hospitals
  • Universities
  • Literacy and education of the masses
  • Representative government
  • Civil liberties
  • Separation of political powers
  • Benevolence and charity
  • Justice
  • Regard for human life
  • Language interpretation and writing
  • Eternal salvation of Jews and Gentiles!

Christianity stands or falls on the Resurrection

Acts 10: 39 – 43

And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive

1 Corinthians 15:20-26

But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.

1 Peter 1:3

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Conclusion

Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God - He is risen, risen indeed>

It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Rom. 8:34 (NKJV)

So what do you believe?

Appendix

Inadequate theories

The Theft Theory

Began by the Jews, as recorded in Matthew 28:1-15.

This was clearly a cover story - the Jews evidently believed he had risen else there would have been no need for this elaborate story. Furthermore the guards would have reported it as such.

The grave clothes were found - logically the embalmed body in 45kg of sticky fluid would not have been stripped off in the tomb while the guards were outside! The story is not plausible.

In any case this tomb was better guarded and better watched than other in history!

(If the soldiers were asleep how did they know the disciples took it?)

The Jews moved the body

This is totally implausible as the most logical way to refute the resurrection was to produce the body - this they did not do, because they could not do!

[1] Josh McDowell, The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, 1999

 

David L Simon
Updated: 12 Apr 2015

 

But now is Christ risen from the dead

"But now is Christ risen from the dead."—1 Corinthians 15:20.

The whole system of Christianity rests upon the fact that "Christ is risen from the dead;" for, "If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain: ye are yet in your sins." The divinity of Christ finds its surest proof in His resurrection, since He was "Declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." It would not be unreasonable to doubt His Deity if He had not risen. Moreover, Christ's sovereignty depends upon His resurrection, "For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that He might be Lord both of the dead and living." Again, our justification, that choice blessing of the covenant, is linked with Christ's triumphant victory over death and the grave; for "He was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." Nay, more, our very regeneration is connected with His resurrection, for we are "Begotten again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." And most certainly our ultimate resurrection rests here, for, "If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you." If Christ be not risen, then shall we not rise; but if He be risen then they who are asleep in Christ have not perished, but in their flesh shall surely behold their God. Thus, the silver thread of resurrection runs through all the believer's blessings, from his regeneration onwards to his eternal glory, and binds them together. How important then will this glorious fact be in his estimation, and how will he rejoice that beyond a doubt it is established, that "now is Christ risen from the dead."

"The promise is fulfill'd,
Redemption's work is done,
Justice with mercy's reconciled,
For God has raised His Son."

Charles H Spurgeon Morning by Morning - January
Updated: 05 Apr 2015

 

Quickened Together with Christ.

The life which we have through Adam is of a sinful stock; it cannot produce good fruit for God. The eternal life we have in Christ is holy and divine; each is distinct from the other.

We must reiterate, every child of God has the life of God, and is a partaker of the divine nature. This life is in Christ, apart from whom every human being remains in the state of spiritual death. The notion that here or hereafter eternal life can issue out of man's fallen nature, either through his good works or his suffering for sin, is utterly foreign to the truth of God. The presence of every kind of life proclaims divine power, the presence of the eternal life proves the gracious work of the Son of God for those who possess it. Christ's dying for and giving life to His people are truths which cannot be disassociated.


The eternal life, therefore, comes to us from Christ subsequent to His work of redemption, from Him after His sacrifice of Himself and His putting away of our sins. We receive the life from Him where He is, and in His victory over death.


When we were dead in our sins God quickened us together with His Christ. The power of God toward us in our dead state is according to His mighty power which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead. (Eph. 1: 20.) In sovereign grace God made us alive with His Christ; as issuing from His grave our life, as it were, begins. Our state being death, God brought us into life with Christ.

Man's state was that of spiritual death from the fall. Now, while man's state of spiritual death is a broad truth, extending over all ages and dispensations, reaching up to the time of Adam and down to the last days of this world's history, we have another truth, which relates to God's dealings with His people, namely, that He has been pleased to unfold to them by degrees the reality of man's condition. The condition existed from the day of man's departure from God, from the fall, when his nature became corrupt and he became dead in sins; but this condition of spiritual death was not made fully manifest until the cross of Christ.


Wherefore these teachings? Man in innocency has come to an end — man left to himself has been tried and found wanting — man under the law being commanded to do good has produced no fruit, and only received the laws' cursing — at length, after many centuries, Jesus the Son of God has come, and at the close of His ministry declares that if the corn of wheat falls not into the ground and die, He must abide alone.

By His death, at His grave, we have by faith at length reached our end as men in the flesh. Christ has died, and though the world prosper and nations flourish, the end of all flesh is come; "If one died for all, then were all dead." (2 Cor. 5.) And the believer, accepting what the judgment and the death of the cross signify, has come by faith to his end, and thus has learned God's beginning, and he praises the God of resurrection.


In the cross of Jesus the end of all flesh has come indeed in the sight of God; there "God condemned sin in the flesh" (Rom. 8:3 ); there He made His sinless Son what man is by nature — sin (2 Cor. 5:21); there He forsook His Son, who was made sin for us (Matt. 27:46.) After judgment came death, for the enduring of the judgment being completed, Jesus said, "It is finished: and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost." (John 19:30.) But God is the God of resurrection, and where He manifests to man what is the end for man in the flesh, He shows in grace what is His beginning for the children of faith.

Quickened together with Christ! "And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses." (Col. 2:13.) Sins are all gone and out of sight in His death, and we are made alive with a Saviour who bore our sins, to whom the question of sin cannot again be addressed. The believer is quickened together with Christ, has life with Christ — His life in the condition subsequent to His enduring judgment and death.

We have eternal life given to us by Christ and God, but we are also quickened together with Christ after He took our place on the cross and died for us. The eternal life, as we have already shown, emanates from Himself, who is the Life, and every believer of all ages has the life; but the life in its present condition of liberty is characteristic of christianity. And we may say he, who is so established in the work of God that he is in Christian liberty, who enters into the fact of the Lord's coming from glory, becoming a man, and going down into death, and being raised out of death and living a man in glory, after having in His own person, and by His work, brought judgment and death for His people to an end. But he who has no right thoughts of a risen Saviour, who is in spirit as were the disciples, who believed on the Son up to the cross, but did not know Him alive beyond death, is still in bondage.

"Quickened together with Christ," leads on our hearts to God's power, and to Christ's work in redemption; to God's power in raising His Son as a man from among the dead, after He had endured divine judgment on account of human sin; and to our Lord's so perfect work, that we are brought by God in its perfection into association with Him as the risen Man. He has died to sin (Rom. 6:10); He lives to die no more (Rom. 6:9). We are brought into association with Him where He is; we have life given by God together with Christ raised from among the dead. As this holy One is before us by faith, we shall better lay hold of our end as having died with Him to sin (Rom. 6:2), and having become dead by His body to the law (Rom. 7:4), and also to the rudiments of the world (Col. 2:20).

Not only is the Son of God our life, and we have eternal life in Him, but we have life given us with Him, the risen Son of Man. Because He lives on the far side of death we live also as He lives, and in God's time shall be glorified with Him. Our life is hid in God with Christ, we shall be manifested with Christ in glory.

Once more let us enquire, has our faith laid hold of God's fact of man's state by nature, and of the new standing of His people in Christ? Do we really believe that the cross of Christ is our end in the flesh before God, and can we rejoice that God has quickened us together with His Son?

 

 

Harry Forbes Witherby The Child of God His Liberty: Chapter 11
Updated: 08 Mar 2015

 

Contact the author

If you find a grammatical error, spelling error, broken hyperlink or some other error on these pages please contact me mentioning the page title and location.


Updated: 08 Jun 2015

 

Using this website

The weakness of any Christian website is the failure of the author to truly know the mind of God - his weakness due to sin (and there will be weaknesses) can always be revealed if checked against the Bible. Therefore, it is urged that anyone using this web site must check the information against the Holy Scriptures - for the test of any such information, by any person, is against the Canon. For this reason the Canon is called simply that - deriving its name from 'cane' meaning measuring stick. Even the early Christians checked what the Apostle Paul had spoken against Scripture in order to test its veracity. You need to do the same.

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11 (NIV)

Furthermore, we must test all things:

Test [prove] all things; hold fast what is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:22


Updated: 11 Jan 2015

 

What's in the title of this website

The heading comes from John 3:16, perhaps the most famous verse in the Bible. It indicates that salvation is by faith and not by works. That is, one cannot ever achieve rightness before God by one's own effort. What one cannot forget is the rest of the text - John 3:16 does not stand alone:

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

And this is the condemnation, that light [Jesus Christ] is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.


Updated: 16 Apr 2011

 

Bibles used in this website

KJV = King James Version of the Bible
NIV = New International Version of the Bible original work copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
NKJV = New King James Version original work copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc

ESV = The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles

Others used

JND = New Translation by John Nelson Darby (1890)
Interlinear Greek-English New Testament (Literal, Textus Receptus, King James Version), Baker Books, Michigan, 1980
Strong's = Strong's Concordance, Hebrew and Greek Lexicon (either Riverside Book and Bible House, or an on-line version)


Updated: 16 Apr 2011