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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Salvation

Salvation


Is there a difference between knowing that God is capable of saving us, and being assured of that salvation? Paul talks about assurance, not capacity. We are not waiting to see if Christ is capable of being victorious. Christ is victorious! He lived a perfect life in our sinful flesh. He died the second death. He was resurrected and taken to Heaven in glory. Christ endured all that we will experience, and He has given us that which made His victory possible: the Holy Spirit and His power. Christ has assured salvation for us all, that is, the whole world, on the cross. His resurrection is the proof of this. Are we still at war? A look at prophecy will remind us that we still are. But do not fear. There is provision for this too. Salvation is in three stages.


Have you noticed the verb in the verses dealing with salvation or deliverance is in three different tenses: Past, present, future? That is because salvation is in three stages. On the cross Christ paid the world's penalty for sin. As the scripture states, "the wages of Sin is death." But thanks be to God, we can be assured that Christ's blood paid the price. Titus 3: 5-6 says, 

Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 
Titus 3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 

We are thus justified. In other words, the cross allows for the Righteousness of Christ to be imputed to us. We are declared Righteous through the merits of Christ (Romans 5:1).

The next stage is in the present tense. We are currently being saved.1 Corinthians 1:18 is a good example, 

1Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 

This stage of salvation imparts His righteousness to us. It sanctifies us. It saves us from the power of sin. That is why 2 Peter 2:9 says, "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations…" We are thus assured that not only will we not die eternally, but that in our sinful flesh we can have perfect and sinless characters, as Christ did.

The last stage of salvation is in the future tense. We will be saved. Matthew 10:22 states, "…he that endureth shall be saved." Other examples are Mark 16:16, John 10:9, and Acts 15:11. This is glorification. This shall happen at Christ's second coming. When "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." (1Co 15:52). And we shall be saved from the presence of Sin.


Christ went through these three stages and was victorious. He assures those who believe by faith, that His grace is sufficient and complete, and that they too, are being, and will be victorious. 

Now let us look further on grace.  Why do we need it?  Let us start by reading what Paul says in Romans,

Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

Romans 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

Romans 3:12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

We do not have ways of producing inside of us what we need to rid ourselves of Sin.  So, the cure must be supplied.   We need a daily dose of God's grace.  This is what Christ has done.  We read in Romans,

Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

So, only Jesus can supply it.  And, He has supplied grace to every man, "But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ" (Ephesians 4:7).  (A measure of faith is also given to every man – Romans 12:3).  And, it is by faith that we accept it (Romans 5:2).  You can try to ignore the problem or even misdiagnose it; you are still a sinner in need of grace. Remember, we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8). 

So, what is grace?  The dictionary defines it as: a. the free and unmerited favour of God shown towards man, and b. the divine assistance and power given to man in spiritual rebirth and sanctification.  Strong's concordance defines it as: the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.  Both definitions agree that beyond just unmerited favor, or undeserved mercy – which implies that it is a gift - grace is a power or influence from God given to man to transform man into His likeness.  Paul elaborates on this concept in Ephesians 2: 1 – 5 and 8,

Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Ephesians 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

Ephesians 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

Ephesians 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

It is grace that provides the right "spiritual nutrients" to rid us of Sin and fill us with the Love of God.  Ellen White says,

"We are naturally inclined to desire our own way and will, but when the transforming grace of Christ takes hold upon our hearts the inquiry of our souls is, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" When the Spirit of God works within us, we are led to will and to do of the Lord's good pleasure, and there is obedience in heart and action...." (That I May Know Him, p. 150).

 The question is: will we by faith accept the grace of God?



--
Raul Diaz
www.wolfsoath.com

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Holy Spirit

The Best Type Of Witness


Judgment trials always use witnesses.  witness is someone who has first-hand knowledge about a crime or dramatic event through their senses (e.g. seeing, hearing, smelling, touching) and can help certify important considerations to the crime or event. We know that lawyers – on both sides - use witnesses to testify either for or against the defendant.  We have also learned that there are different types of witnesses.  A witness who has seen the event first-hand is known as an eye-witness. A material witness is an individual who contains information "material" to a criminal proceeding.  Character witness talk about the defendant to convince the jury that there is no way this person could have done what he or she is accused of.  Then there are these expert witnesses.  They do not know the defendant, nor did they see what happened.  They take the evidence found in the crime scene, which technically speaking was there, and in a sense, speak what the evidence says in words the jury will understand. 


The Spirit is to testify of Jesus.  Let's read John 15:26,


John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of Me:


(Notice that it is Christ and the Father who promised to send us the Holy Spirit).  In the Biblical Greek, to testify means to be or bear witness, give testimony, have a good report, to affirm that one has seen or heard or experienced something, or that he knows it because taught by divine revelation or inspiration.  Who best to testify than the One who was there throughout the whole process?  Let us look at this list that shows how the Spirit was involved with Jesus. 


  1. The Holy Spirit conceived Jesus (Matthew 1:1820). 
  2. He filled Jesus with His presence (Luke 2:40). 
  3. The Holy Spirit was there when John baptized Jesus giving His approval to Jesus (Matthew 3:16). 
  4. The Spirit led Jesus where He should go (Luke 4:1,14). 
  5. Jesus performed miracles through the power of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:28). 
  6. Jesus admitted that all He was able to do was due to the Spirit being upon Him (Luke 4:18). 

It is the Spirit's desire to with us as He did with Jesus.  Ellen White says,


"The Holy Spirit was the highest of all gifts that He could solicit from His Father for the exaltation of His people. The Spirit was to be given as a regenerating agent, and without this the sacrifice of Christ would have been of no avail.   The power of evil had been strengthening for centuries, and the submission of men to this satanic captivity was amazing. Sin could be resisted and overcome only through the mighty agency of the Third Person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fullness of divine power. It is the Spirit that makes effectual what has been wrought out by the world's Redeemer. It is by the Spirit that the heart is made pure. Through the Spirit the believer becomes a partaker of the divine nature. Christ has given His Spirit as a divine power to overcome all hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil, and to impress His own character upon His church." {DA 671.2}


The Holy Spirit is responsible for our new birth.  One cannot be born unless one is conceived first.  It is the Holy Spirit who spiritually re-conceives us for our new birth experience (John 3:5-8).  He fills us with His presence.  The sign of this are the Gifts and His fruit (1 Corinthians 12:4; Galatians 5:22-24).  He leads us where we should go.  Because, of the Spirit we will do even greater things than Jesus. 


We need not worry about what to say.  The Father and Jesus both want to send the Holy Spirit to us (Luke 1:13John 14:2615:26;1 Thessalonians 4:8).  The Holy Spirit will bring to remembrance what we are to say (Mark 13:11).  The Holy Spirit is our seal of promise unto the day of redemption.  What is a beautiful and reassuring promise: that He, who brought Jesus forth, will also bring us forth to Jesus? 


How does the Spirit do his work in us?  Ellen White tells us how,


The Comforter is called "the Spirit of truth." His work is to define and maintain the truth.   He first dwells in the heart as the Spirit of truth, and thus He becomes the Comforter. There is comfort and peace in the truth, but no real peace or comfort can be found in falsehood. It is through false theories and traditions that Satan gains his power over the mind. By directing men to false standards, he misshapes the character. Through the Scriptures the Holy Spirit speaks to the mind, and impresses truth upon the heart. Thus He exposes error, and expels it from the soul. It is by the Spirit of truth, working through the word of God, that Christ subdues His chosen people to Himself." {DA 671.1}


Ellen White reiterates this same point by saying that …,


"…The Holy Spirit glorifies God by so revealing his character to his people that he becomes the object of their supreme affections, and by making manifest his character in them. They see clearly that there was never any righteousness in the world but his, no excellence in the world but that derived from him.  The Holy Spirit glorifies God by so revealing his character to his people that he becomes the object of their supreme affections, and by making manifest his character in them. They see clearly that there was never any righteousness in the world but his, no excellence in the world but that derived from him {1888 1017.3}

The only thing that will prevent the Holy Spirit from fulfilling His work in us is ourselves.  Let us then allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in us.  The Holy Spirit is the greatest gift God gives to us.  We read in Luke 11: 13,


Luke 11: 13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

 

Will we appreciate the gift?


--
Raul Diaz
www.wolfsoath.com

Friday, July 04, 2014

Insight: What Jesus Teaches about the Father (The Godhead Theorem)

Originally published:  Friday, June 02, 2006

The Godhead Theorem

A theorem is a proposition that has been or is to be proved on the basis of explicit assumptions.  (Is the central activity of mathematicians.)  In other words there are things that we assume are true.  However, when we put some of those assumptions together, we derive other truths that are based on the assumptions being true.  The following is an example.  Let us assume that there is only one value "C."  Now, if we assume that a + b =c, and d + e =c, then a + b =d + e.  Is it too abstract for you?  Maybe if we try numbers.  If 3+1=4, and 2+2=4, then 3+1=2+2.  Pretty simple.  You may even say, "Common sense should tell you that."  However, as a friend says, "Common sense is not common."
 
Sometimes we are tempted to think that the Father is distant from us.  He is most times in Heaven, sternly looking down at us, waiting for us to make a mistake so He can make us a pillar of salt or sap us with a lightning.  But, that is very far from the truth.  We can use the principles of the theorem used in the above paragraph to demonstrate this.  . 
 
Let us look at John 14: 7- 10
 
 John 14: 7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
 John 14: 8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
 John 14: 9Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?
 John 14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?
 
Our first assumption is that although different persons, the Son and the Father are virtually equal.  Wherever the Son is, you also have the Father. 
 
Farther down on John 14 Jesus says:
 
John 14: 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
 John 14: 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
John 14: 8 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 
 
How can Jesus say, that He will come to His disciples, if HE just said He is leaving, and that is why He is sending the Comforter?  We see this repeated in the great commission in Matthew 28:20, "... and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world."
 
How can Jesus be with us until the end of the world and be in Heaven at the same time?  The answer to that is that, since His Spirit is one with Him, it may as well be Jesus.  So, when the Spirit indwells us, it may as well be the Father.  That is our second assumption.
 
Put the two assumptions together, and you get a theorem that states that if the Father is in the Son, and the Son is in the Spirit, then it must be that the Father is in the Spirit as He, the Spirit, indwells us.  By having this connection to the Spirit we are not only connected to the Son, but also to the Father.  So, the Father is not that far away after all, He is in us as the Spirit is in us.  What a marvelous truth!  The Spirit is not our nanny.  The Father loves us so He sent His Holy Spirit to indwell in us, so that through the Holy Spirit He can also indwell us.  What an awesome privilege we have, to be the abode of the King of the Universe.  Friends, let us not throw this away.  


--
Raul Diaz
www.wolfsoath.com

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Christ’s Kingdom and the Law

Christ's Kingdom and the Law

 

Following are two readings about the Kingdom of God.  The first one from Dr. Tim jenni ngs of Come and reason Misintries and the second from Pastor Jack Sequeira. 

 

 1.      This is from Dr. Jennings discussion of Sunday's lesson,

 Read first paragraph, "When God…"

 

Any concerns about this paragraph? One minor concern, just a typographical issue, which no one would misunderstand, but we should clarify. God gave Adam dominion over all things on earth, not all things. But the bigger concern in this paragraph is the false conclusion that "ownership" of earth went to Satan.

 

This idea has led to all types of false conclusions about God and the plan of salvation. This is a false idea which fuels certain legal models of the atonement. The idea that Satan, after Adam's fall, had some legal claim, some "title" to earth, some actual legitimacy as ruler of earth that Jesus had to confront and get back, i.e. earn the legal right to own earth again.

 

Not so. The earth was never Adam's property. Adam was steward, viceroy, governor, but Christ was owner. Satan "claimed" ownership but Satan is the "father of lies." It is a lie that Satan is the owner.

 

Thus, when he presented himself in heaven, in the book of Job, claiming to represent earth, God rejected the claim – Not so fast, consider Job, he does not recognize you as the representative of earth.

 

He recognizes my ownership and true Sovereignty.

 

Let's think about it and see if we can figure it out, understanding God's law and the parameters upon which the universe operates.

 

· Could Adam create from nothing? Could Satan?

· Could Adam keep the sun, moon and stars in the sky? Could Satan?

· Could Adam control and balance all the forces of nature constantly? Could Satan?

· Then, all Adam's rule was subordinate to, under, at the behest of the One who actually uses

His power to uphold and sustain all things. So too, what Satan stole from Adam was the subordinate governorship, now ownership.

· What would happen to nature if God let's go His sustaining presence? The disintegration of life.

 

Here is a quote from one of our founders:

When Satan declared to Christ, The kingdom and glory of the world are delivered unto me, and to whomsoever I will I give it, he stated what was true only in part, and he declared it to serve his own purpose of deception. Satan's dominion was that wrested from Adam, but Adam was the vicegerent of the Creator. His was not an independent rule. The earth is God's, and He has committed all things to His Son. Adam was to reign subject to Christ. When Adam betrayed his sovereignty into Satan's hands, Christ still remained the rightful King. Thus the Lord had said to King Nebuchadnezzar, "The Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will." Daniel 4:17. Satan can exercise his usurped authority only as God permits. {DA 129.4}

When the tempter offered to Christ the kingdom and glory of the world, he was proposing that Christ should yield up the real kingship of the world, and hold dominion subject to

Satan. This was the same dominion upon which the hopes of the Jews were set. They desired the kingdom of this world. If Christ had consented to offer them such a kingdom, they would gladly have received Him. But the curse of sin, with all its woe, rested upon it. Christ declared to the tempter, "Get thee behind Me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve." {DA 130.1}

 

Thoughts? Sadly, the lesson, having accepted the false view of God's law, inadvertently present

Satan's dream, to be the owner of earth and Christ be subordinate to him.

 

The idea that Christ had to achieve some "legal" victory is fiction, falsehood, lies based on accepting Satan's lies:

 

· Every sin must meet its punishment urged Satan

· God must punish sin if God is to be just

· The earth is now owned by Satan

· Satan has legal claim to earth

 

Reality is that God is and always has been the owner of earth. Satan's lies have impact in the minds of intelligent beings. Thus Christ didn't have to do some legal accomplishment in His battle with Satan.

He had to defeat the lies of Satan in order to set intelligent minds free and He had to overcome the infection of selfishness in the human being in order to destroy death and restore God's design of love back into humanity.

 

Then, why does the Scripture, including Christ refer to Satan as either prince of this world or ruler of this world?

Because the primary operating principle of the world today is Satan's principle of selfishness, thus he is credited with being the leader or owner of:

 

· Lies

· Selfishness

· Coercion

· Disease

· Pain

· Suffering

· Exploitation

· Abuse

· Domination

· Death

 

This is Satan's kingdom and this is what God wants you to realize.

 

But in Christ we have a different kingdom, "my kingdom is not of this world" meaning the principles of how this world operates. Christ's kingdom is the kingdom of:

 

· Truth

· Love

· Freedom

· Healing

· Relief

· Restoration

· Self-sacrifice

· Protection

· Deliverance

· Life

 

Note the contrast.

 

KINGDOM OF CHRIST

· Truth

· Love

· Freedom

· Healing

· Relief

· Restoration

· Self-sacrifice

· Protection

· Deliverance

· Life

 

KINGDOM OF SATAN

· Lies

· Selfishness

· Coercion

· Disease

· Pain

· Suffering

· Exploitation

· Abuse

· Domination

· Death

 

We must stop attributing to God the very attributes of Satan and Satan's kingdom!

 

Read second paragraph, "What happened…" thoughts? Given what we have just discussed how to you analyze this paragraph?

 

Is it true Christ could only win earth by His perfect life and sacrificial death? Why? Why was His death necessary? Who needed it?

What did Christ come to take back? He came to reclaim the love, devotion, loyalty, trust of human beings, while securing unfallen beings in their loyalty. Can Christ get this love and loyalty by force or coercion? No, love awakens love, the only way to achieve His goals was to expose the lies with truth and demonstrate God's perfect character and design of love, while simultaneously eradicating the infection of fear and selfishness from the humanity He assumed upon Himself.

 

Thus as the Scripture says His death was necessary to:

 

· Destroy him who holds the power of death Heb 2:14

· Destroy death 2Tim 1:9,10

· Destroy the devil's work. 1Jn 3:8 And the devil's work which was to efface the image of God

in man and put Satan's image where God's should be.

 

2.       This next reading is an edited portion from Pastor Jack's sermon on the hidden treasure:

To appreciate this short parable, notice the key phrase Jesus introduces the parable with: the kingdom of heaven.  To understand this parable and the other parables of Christ, it is important that we realize what the importance of that phrase is. 

What did Jesus mean by that phrase?  To answer this, to understand it, we have to go back to Creation.  As you are fully aware that when God created our first parents – Adam and Eve – the Godhead said in Genesis 1:26: Let us make man in our image and let him have dominion over all this earth.  So while this earth belongs to God He gave us human beings dominion over everything that God had created.  Unfortunately, when Adam sinned, Not only did he come under condemnation, but he handed over this world and everything that is in it to Satan, who then became the prince of this World.  I want you to notice how Satan spoke to Jesus in the temptation of the wilderness.  In Luke 4, Jesus was taken to a very high mountain, listen to what Satan said to Jesus in Luke 4: 5, 6. 

 

Luke4:5 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.

Luke4:6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.

Luke4:7 If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.

 

The Devil is saying to Jesus, "if you bow down to me and I will give to you this world with all its power or authority, glory or splendor.  For it has been delivered to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to."  In other words, Satan was claiming that he was the ruler of this world.  And, Jesus did not question that.  In fact, in many instances Jesus referred to Satan as the prince of this world, which means the lord of this world. 

It is into this doomed world under Satan that you and I were born.  And, there is nothing we could do or can do to escape this predicament, nothing!  It is for this reason that Jesus came to this world: to rescue us from this situation.  He came to deliver us from the kingdoms of this world under Satan and introduce in exchange the kingdom of Heaven, which he wants us to join.  This is of course what the Kingdom of Heaven is all about. 

This is part and parcel of the good news of the Gospel.  Jesus came to establish His own Kingdom on this earth, and he wants you and me to join it.  That is why, because of the Gospel, this human race that we belong to, is divided into two camps, and only two. Oh, yes, we human being have divided into all kind of nations, and cultures, and political camps – but in God's eyes, ultimately there will be only two groups of people:  those who are for Christ and those who are against Christ:  those who have been crucified with Christ and those who crucify Him. 

Please, turn with me to 1 John 5:19, to see how the Apostle John divides these two groups.  Because, it's important that we understand this situation in order to understand this parable that we are going to study this morning.  1 John 5:19

 

1Jn5:19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.

 

John is addressing believers, those who accepted Christ as their Savior, He says, "we believers know that we are of God."  And the rest of the World is under the control of the evil one.  So here you have two groups:  one group under the banner of Satan – the kingdom of this world.  And, one group under the banner of Jesus Christ – the God of heaven, and of course our Lord and Master.  Now, the Bible tells us that one day all the kingdoms of the world will brought to an end.  This was especially revealed to the prophet Daniel.  In Daniel  2:34 We see that the stone came and hit the feet of the statue, which represents the kingdom's of this world.  Let us read from Daniel 2:44, the conclusion of the interpretation of this great image that Nebuchadnezzer saw.  Let's see what happened to the kingdoms of this world when that great event takes place. 

Daniel 2:44 And in the days of these kings (that is the divided kingdoms – by the feet of the statue) shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed:

So that is one of the major distinctions: the kingdom of heaven will last forever and the kingdoms of this world, under Satan, will be destroyed.  In fact, if you turn a few pages to Chapter 7 of Daniel – the chapter on the judgment, you will notice what verse 26 and 27 says,

Dan7:26 But the judgment shall (stand) sit, and they shall take away his dominion, (the little horn – the kingdom of Satan) to consume and to destroy it unto the end.

Dan7:27 And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.

 We as Christians belong to the Kingdom of heaven.  


--
Raul Diaz
www.wolfsoath.com