April 2, 2007 § Leave a comment
Acts 17:28, 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being….
James 4:15, Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”
Here in these passages we find the fundamental relation of the creature to his Creator. In these passages every aspect of the creatures existence is presented as being predicated upon God’s immediate willing and upholding. It is clear in the context of both passages, that both Paul and James, include not just the mere physical existence, but the mental aspect of the creatures existence as well. In these passages we find that even our actions, choices, intentions, etc., are predicated upon God’s immediate willing as well.
Blessings in Christ,
Terry W. West
March 21, 2007 § Leave a comment
Act 17:30&31, “30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
1. What is offered in the command to repent?
Some of the very first words we have recorded of Jesus in the gospels are, “Repent and flee the wrath to come!” Is not the command to repent then an offer of salvation from that wrath to come, that day appointed that God will judge the world? Certainly it is. But how can we be saved? Is it repentance alone that gets us forgiveness and grants us an escape from that awful day? Certainly not. But, rather it is a man that is our salvation. A man that mediates between God and men. The man that Paul is referring to in the text above, i.e. Jesus Christ.
How is it that in this man we can find salvation if we repent? What is it about this man that makes salvation possible to those who are commanded to repent? Paul answers these question this way in Romans 8:3&4,
“3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
This man, who is truly a man, possesses the same nature that is common to all men, sin excepted. So that by this man’s obedience many are made righteous (Romans 5:19). This man obeyed and then suffered the penalty for disobedience on the cross, and then was raised from the dead to demonstrate his power and success in accomplishing this work for a fallen world in need of a savior.
So, the command cannot be viewed as a mere declaration, but as a sincere offer of salvation, from the wrath that is deserved and promised to be poured out on the ungodly, to all that will repent and embrace the work of this man in their place.
2. What is the condition of those who hear the command?
The bible describes for us the depravity of those who hear this command, the wickedness of those to whom this offer of salvation is made. In John 1:11, we read that Jesus came to his own and they did not receive him, even though he is the creator of the world, the world rejects him. In the same book, three chapters later, Jesus said to Nicodemus, “For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” (John 3:20) Also, In Romans chapter one we read that men have exchanged the glory of God for the profane, that men by nature hate God, and have no fear of him and will not seek him (Romans 3:10-18).
3. What is the result from the command?
So, what is the result in those that hear the command? Paul describes the result in 2 Corinthians 2:15&16,
“15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?”
In some it brings life, in others in brings death. In those, that God works effectually in their hearts, to draw them to Christ (John 6:44), it results in their salvation, but in those that are left to their own evil wills, they believe not, their hearts are hardened even more, and will be judged for refusing the “bread from heaven…that gives life to the world.” (John 6:32&33)
Both the saving of some and the hardening of others results from either the embracing or the refusal of that which is suitable or sufficient to save those who hear the command, i.e. the satisfaction of God’s justice offered in the command to repent. This is why the despising of the goodness of God that leads to repentance causes the severity of the wrath to be stored up for the wicked on that day (Romans 2:4).
4. Upon what grounds is the salvation offered in the command?
The command to repent, therefore, is founded upon the suitableness or sufficiency of the means of salvation, i.e. Christ satisfaction. So, even the severity of the hardening of the reprobates heart, resulting from their rebellion against the command, and refusal of the offer of salvation, can only be understood if that means of salvation is suitable/sufficient for them as well.
The world will be judged, on that day of wrath appointed, by that man, Jesus Christ the Son of God, whom the Father sent from heaven as the bread that gives life to the world. Rejection of him is the refusal of that which is provided for the salvation and reconciliation of the whole human race, therefore God commands all men, everywhere to repent.
Blessings in Christ,
Terry W. West