Monday, August 20, 2018

2Corinthians 3:12-18 comments: when the veil is taken away


3:12 ¶  Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: 13  And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: 14  But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. 15  But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. 16  Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. 17  Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18  But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Paul here likens the vail Moses put on his face as exemplifying the Jews inability to see beyond the Law and to see Christ in their experience.

Exodus 34:28 ¶  And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments. 29  And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him. 30  And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him. 31  And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them. 32  And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that the LORD had spoken with him in mount Sinai. 33  And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face. 34  But when Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he took the vail off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded. 35  And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone: and Moses put the vail upon
his face again, until he went in to speak with him.

The Old Testament is filled with prophecies of Christ. Jesus Himself made this clear.

Luke 24:25  Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26  Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27  And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself… [then at a later gathering of the Apostles] 45  Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,

John 5:39  Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 

Here are some brief examples from Moses’ writings fourteen centuries before Christ;

Genesis 22:8  And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

Exodus 12:3  Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: 4  And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. 5  Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:

Christ is a savior, the only savior, and your savior. Here in Isaiah in the eighth century before Christ.

Isaiah 53:1 ¶  Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? 2  For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3  He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

    4 ¶  Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 8  He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 9  And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

    10 ¶  Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11  He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12  Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the
spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
 
Here is the Psalm Christ directed us to from the Cross itself which is filled with prophecies of Him. It is a Psalm of David written a thousand years before Christ.

Psalm 22:1 ¶  « To the chief Musician upon Aijeleth Shahar, A Psalm of David. » My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? 2  O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. 3  But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. 4  Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. 5  They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded. 6  But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. 7  All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, 8  He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. 9  But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts. 10  I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly.

    11 ¶  Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help. 12  Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. 13  They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. 14  I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. 15  My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into
the dust of death. 16  For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. 17  I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. 18  They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. 19  But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me. 20  Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog. 21  Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.
    22 ¶  I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee. 23  Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel. 24  For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard. 25  My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him. 26  The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever. 27  All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. 28  For the kingdom is the LORD’S: and he is the
governor among the nations. 29  All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul. 30  A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. 31  They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.
 
Hopefully you are reading your Bible from cover to cover regularly. The next time you read it please look for Christ in every passage and you will be amazed.

When one turns to Christ the vail that keeps His face from being seen in the Old Testament is removed. Christ will reveal Himself to the Jews as a nation again at the end of human-centered history. Read Revelation, chapter 12, in its entirety.

Verse 17 refers to the liberty to know Christ as He knows us. The vail is taken away for us, Jew and Gentile who make up the church.
We really don’t understand God’s sovereignty or the deeper doctrines of the Bible like the resurrection of the dead. Paul admitted that and that he hoped to know and understand Jesus as Jesus knew and understood him. Keep in mind in the next verses that, “attain unto,” is to wrap your mind around, to comprehend, defined in Psalm 139:6 and Proverbs 1:5, and although apprehend is only used in the next verses one of the early meanings of that word was, to understand or to know, which you can confirm by Dr. Samuel Johnson’s dictionary or the Early Modern English Database. “To attain unto,” and to, “apprehend,” then have similar or synonymous meanings as evidenced by how they are used in contrast to each other in the following with, “know,” as the foundation for interpreting the passage;
Philippians 3:9 ¶  And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10  That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11  If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 12  Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13  Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.


John wrote;

1John 3:1 ¶  Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

Paul wrote earlier in 1Corinthians 13;

12  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Friday, August 17, 2018

2Corinthians 3:1-11 comments: the letter of the law versus the spirit of it


3:1 ¶  Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you? 2  Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: 3  Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. 4  And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: 5  Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;

Here is an example of the wonderful way in which the Bible defines its own words. Epistles are letters. The translators knew that a word had to be provided that was missing from the Greek text before of commendation but was obvious and that was epistles or letters, so they used letters to contrast over against epistles providing the definition of  a word not often used.

Paul says that the Corinthians are a letter themselves in a metaphor that he expands on saying Christ wrote that letter through the Spirit on the heart. This is a wonderful figure of speech, where Paul writes letters with ink and paper, Christ writes letters on the Christian’s heart.

While Paul says that the Corinthians are proof of his sincerity and devotion to God he is not bragging because he knows that his efforts were only successful because of God.

    3:6 ¶  Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. 7  But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not
stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: 8  How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? 9  For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. 10  For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. 11  For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.

Paul makes such an important point here about how the letter of the law kills but the spirit of the law, grace, gives life. Slavish devotion to the regulations and rules without understanding their intent destroys spiritually those possessed by such an attitude. For instance, in Matthew 22 Jesus declares the intent, the spirit, of the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 22:34 ¶  But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. 35  Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36  Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38  This is the first and great commandment. 39  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

He was referring to these statements under the Law.

Deuteronomy 6:5  And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

Matthew 19:19  Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Leviticus 19:18  Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.

Of course, in Luke 10 Jesus explains that whomever you happen to encounter is your neighbor.

Jesus defines Old Testament law and explains its spirit and intention in other places.

Thou shalt not kill of Exodus 20:13 means to do no murder as per Matthew 19:18.

He also explained in Matthew 19 that a husband finding some uncleanness in his wife and using that as a justification for divorce in Deuteronomy 24:1 was limited to her sin of fornication before betrothal and that even allowed only as an acknowledgement of man’s unforgiving heart. (Deuteronomy 22:24 says she could be stoned if she committed adultery after betrothal.)

God’s Law is an amazing thing brought down and given to man but the intention of that Law, when understood, is even more amazing and wondrous.

In other passages Paul contrasts the difference between the Law and Faith.

Galatians 3:19 ¶  Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. 20  Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. 21  Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 22  But the scripture hath
concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 23  But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25  But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26  For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

And again;

Galatians 4:21 ¶  Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? 22  For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23  But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 24  Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25  For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 26  But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. 27  For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. 28  Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. 29  But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. 30  Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. 31  So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.

   5:1 ¶  Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

So, the Old Testament represents the letter of the Law while the New Covenant represents the spirit of it, what was intended, justification not by following rules and regulations but by being justified by Christ’s resurrection and our faith and trust in His righteousness and not our own.

Monday, August 13, 2018

2Corinthians 2:12-17 comments: corrupting the word of God


2:12 ¶  Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord, 13  I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia. 14  Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. 15  For we are unto God a sweet savour of
Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: 16  To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? 17  For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.
   
Troas would have been located in today’s Northwestern Turkey, a projection into the Aegean Sea. Paul’s excitement about the opportunities presented here are tempered by his concern about those who have corrupted God’s word. I’m not a Greek-o-phile but the word corrupt in verse 17 is translated from is pronounced kap-ale-yoo’-o and it refers specifically to a wine vendor who waters down his product to cheat his buyers. Unfortunately, modern versions like The New King James (NKJV) and The New International Version (NIV) have chosen to use the word peddle rather than corrupt obscuring the meaning of the verse and condemning all Christian bookstore operators, an absurd rendering of the word. Already in Paul’s day he is contending against people who are misusing and perverting God’s word, which he would have been referring to the Old Testament. Gnostic heresies were early on denying that Jesus had a human body and mingling in pagan occultism and philosophy with Christian doctrine.

Peter warned about people misunderstanding and misusing Paul’s letters also.

2Peter 3:15  And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16  As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

Verse 16 is very interesting in the concept of the unsaved person going from death to death and the saved person going from life to life and who can understand such things? He uses the word savour like the aroma of a sacrifice rising to God.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

2Corinthians 2:1-11 comments: discouragement as a device of Satan


2:1 ¶  But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness. 2  For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me? 3  And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all. 4  For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.

Paul begins this second letter in earnest with a tone of reconciliation. He reinforces the love he has for these people. He has criticized them and corrected them but now he wants to extend a hand of care and nurture to replace the proverbial skin he has torn off in his previous letter.

    2:5 ¶  But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all. 6  Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. 7  So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. 8  Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. 9  For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. 10  To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; 11  Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

Paul apparently pleads for the man whom he had pushed from the congregation in the last letter in chapter 5.

1Corinthians 5:1 ¶  It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. 2  And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. 3  For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, 4  In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5  To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 6  Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

    7 ¶  Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 8  Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

    9 ¶  I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 10  Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11  But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. 12  For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? 13  But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.
   
There are not a multiplicity of congregations or churches to run to in this world. They did not have the consumer Christianity where you could just go to another church. This man was cast out into the pagan religious world of the Graeco-Roman culture where religion was everywhere and in every activity. He must have repented of his wickedness and begged Paul even by letter to be allowed back into the congregation lest he be consumed in a wicked world where gods who reflected human passions and sins demanded to be worshipped and one simply did not have the option of ignoring the pagan worship that dominated the culture. If you were cast out of church then you truly were in an earthly form of outer darkness.

If they will forgive him then Paul will forgive him. This is Godly forgiveness and restoration representative of the type of forgiveness that God affords us. He would, though, have had to repent and turn away from his sin. It is inconceivable that Paul would have wanted this mercy shown had the person still been engaged in the sin.

Verse 11 is very important in the sense that one of Satan’s greatest weapons is discouragement and another is bitterness. Rejecting the man if he was truly repentant would be a way for Satan to work his way into the man’s heart to crush his faith. We must be careful to not shoot our wounded, so to speak. Discouragement that comes from finding no way back into fellowship with the fellow believers one loves or finding no way back into the family one has been excluded from when one is truly repentant of their sins is one tool of Satan.

But, the key to forgiveness and restoration is repentance, turning from and rejecting the sin that is consuming us.

2Corinthians 7:10  For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

1John 1:9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

2Corinthians 1:12-24 comments: sealed by the Holy Spirit


1:12 ¶  For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward. 13  For we write none other things unto you, than what ye read or acknowledge; and I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the end; 14  As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Conversation is a word that often is used to define behavior and conduct. Notice in the following verses how conversation refers to behavior and actions.

Galatians 1:13  For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:

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.

The Corinthians are going to be part of what makes Paul rejoice when Christ returns, the day of the Lord Jesus. A metaphor is made elsewhere with the rejoicing over the converted being likened to a crown of glory and honor. Often at public games a wreath or garland was given to the victors.

1Thessalonians 2:19  For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?


    1:15 ¶  And in this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit; 16  And to pass by you into Macedonia, and to come again out of Macedonia unto you, and of you to be brought on my way toward Judaea. 17  When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay? 18  But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. 19  For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. 20  For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. 21  Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; 22  Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. 23  Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth. 24  Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.
 
Paul is planning to stop by Corinth on his way to and from Macedonia as he finally ventured back to Judea. He reinforces the positive trustworthiness of what God had promised them through Jesus Christ.

Paul makes the declaration that they and, of course, we are sealed by God and the Holy Spirit indwelling us is our earnest money, the deposit, if you will, on our salvation. Again, he reinforces this in other places.

Ephesians 1:13  In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 4:30  And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
  
Romans, chapter 8, contains some important thoughts in this regard.
9  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

    10 ¶  And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11  But 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. 12  Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13  For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15  For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

    17 ¶  And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 18  For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19  For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20  For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21  Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22  For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23  And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

Paul then states that he is not in control of their faith, does not rule over them, but is a helper of their joy in Christ. They stand in faith and Paul’s mission is to assist them, encourage them, correct them, and confirm the truth of what they stand on. Paul, rather than being a dictator, is more of a guide, like the Holy Spirit, pointing them in the right direction.

The Jews had circumcision as an outward sign of their relationship to God. The Christians have the Holy Spirit’s indwelling as an inward sign of their relationship to God. The proof of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling outwardly is the fruit of the Spirit, the proof of it.

Galatians 5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

The evidence of your having the Spirit of God, of Christ, residing in you is not found in how short your lawn is mowed, how often you wash your car, what you wear, or what rituals you adhere to but is found in the outpouring from you of the fruit of the Spirit.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

2Corinthians 1:7-11 comments: one of Paul's references to near-martyrdom


    1:7 ¶  And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation. 8  For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: 9  But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: 10  Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us; 11  Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.

Paul may have alluded to this trouble in Asia, or modern-day Turkey, in a previous verse.

1Corinthians 15:32  If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.

You can read Acts 19 to see a description of Paul’s work in Ephesus. Some believe he was imprisoned there for a time.

Paul, during his time of tribulation, was trusting that God was able to deliver him. We have another incident in the Bible worth mentioning of how someone trusted that whatever the sentence enacted on them God could deliver them.

Daniel 3:14  Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? 15  Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? 16  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. 17  If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. 18  But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

 In verse 11 either he is referring to prayer as the gift bestowed or we have a hint that he was ransomed by the efforts of Christians. Here is another hint that this could be the case, that such prisoners’ liberty could be purchased;

Acts 24:22 ¶  And when Felix heard these things, having more perfect knowledge of that way, he deferred them, and said, When Lysias the chief captain shall come down, I will know the uttermost of your matter. 23  And he commanded a centurion to keep Paul, and to let him have liberty, and that he should forbid none of his acquaintance to minister or come unto him. 24  And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. 25  And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. 26  He hoped also that money should
have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him.