And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume XI, Number 47 October 19, 2008
In this issue:
Not everyone is content to let God have the final word. Some believe God continues to reveal Himself to them through visions, dreams, feelings, experiences, voices, church councils, and the like. He does not (Heb. 1:1-2). Others claim they believe in the completeness of the word of God but then deny it by adding to or taking away from its teachings. Many people are dissatisfied with the completed word of God (Jude 3). This is evident by observing the epidemic proportion of the religious division in the world.
Here are some of the ways people show their dissatisfaction with the completed revelation of God’s word:
1. Foolish and ignorant disputes (2 Tim.2:23). This person is not satisfied with the Bible’s explanation of things. He is convinced that spirituality is defined by seeking for the unknown and the unknowable. He does not know this shows a lack of faith in what God has revealed (Deut. 29:29). Refuse such questions, “knowing they generate strife.”
2. Fables (1 Tim. 1:3-4; 4:7; 2 Tim. 4:4; 2 Pet. 1:16). A fable is fiction, an invented story. Oh, how many fables have men believed in the name of religion! The New Testament exposes every spiritual invention of men for what they are; mere fables of men (Gal.1:8-9).
3. The commandments of men (Titus 1:4). Man’s authority in spiritual things must come from the word of God for it to be approved by heaven (Matt. 21:25). When men establish and impose religious commands on others it is a clear sign they are neither satisfied with nor obedient to the commands of God (Matt. 15:1-9).
4. Selfishness and pride (2 Cor. 2:17; 4:2). Some preach the gospel with a hidden agenda and evil motives (Phil. 1:15-17). These are not satisfied to let a love for truth and for the souls of men motivate them. Instead, the truth only satisfies this person when he can use it as a personal advantage.
5. Spiritual immaturity (2 Pet. 3:15-18). This person may be convinced that his false doctrine is correct because he lacks proper grounding in Bible knowledge. We must “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord” or we will neither know nor be satisfied with what God’s word teaches.
6. Satan’s deceptions (2 Cor. 11:13-15). Be assured, Satan wants you to be dissatisfied with the word God has spoken to you by His Son. God’s completed word will completely equip you in the Son to be victorious over Satan, sin and death (Eph. 6:10-18; 2 Cor. 2:11).
Don’t be deceived by sin and error. The Bible is complete. God has spoken to you by His Son. Are you listening? (Lk. 8:8)
A key plank in the platform of Calvinism is the doctrine of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ to the sinner. It is the belief that Jesus’ perfect life is imputed to the sinner so that God no longer sees the sinner’s sins – He only sees the righteousness of Christ covering the sinner’s sins. We must be very clear that while the New Testament has some things to say about imputation in Romans 4:5-8, the Bible nowhere says the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the sinner. Such terminology finds its genesis in the doctrines of Augustine (354-430 AD) and John Calvin (1509-1564), and has been championed since the Protestant Reformation. Some in churches of Christ have also been affected by this erroneous approach to imputation.
John Calvin taught the Augustinian view that man is completely corrupt in nature. As the Westminster Confession of Faith states the case, man is “wholly inclined to all evil” (VI:IV). In classic Calvinism, this assumed total depravity of man is coupled with the belief that God’s law must be kept perfectly by everyone in order to be justified. “...The law must be fulfilled so that not a jot or tittle shall be lost, otherwise man will be condemned without hope…” (Martin Luther, Luther's Works, American ed.; Muhlenberg Press; Concordia, 1955- ), Vol. 31 p. 348.). “For the Lord promises nothing except to perfect keepers of his law, and no one of the kind is to be found” (John Calvin, Institutes of Religion, Book 3, p. 803). Working upon the assumption that justification demands perfect law-keeping (in this respect, Calvinists are the real legalists!), the Calvinist concludes that the perfect life of Christ must be substituted for the sinful life of man in order for man to be justified. So, God is thought to transfer the merit of Christ’s perfect life and death to the believer.
Mind you, the Calvinist believes that man is still a sinner, but now God only sees the righteousness of Christ when He looks at that person’s life – he is declared righteous – but he really is not. All this may sound rather convincing except for one thing – it is not found in the Bible! What is in the Bible is justification by faith on the basis of God’s grace – then one is righteous before God (Rom. 6:17-18; cf. 1 Jno. 3:7). What we discover in the Bible is that each person’s faith is accounted (imputed) to him for righteousness (Rom. 4:5).
Christ died for sinners. Romans 5:8 says that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (cf. Matt. 20:28; Lk. 22:19-20; 1 Tim. 2:6). We are redeemed by the death of Christ; not the life he lived before he died.
This is not to say that Christ’s life is unimportant to man’s salvation. While we speak of the death of Christ as the means of our salvation, we must understand that Christ’s death for our sins would have no value were it not for the sinless life that prepared Jesus to be a perfect and sinless sacrifice for sin. It is false to think that Christ’s perfect life can be “transferred” to the sinner’s account (the Calvinist’s concept of imputation of righteousness). Instead, it was Christ’s sinless life that equipped him to be the only adequate sacrifice for the sins of the world. Without Christ’s sinless life there would be no sinless sacrifice to offer God on behalf of the sins of men (Heb. 7:26-27). Christ’s sinless life qualified Him to be a perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world (Heb. 5:8-9; 1 Jno. 2:1-2). This is the purpose given to Christ’s sinless life in the Scriptures.
To impute means “to count, to reckon” and “to put down to a person’s account.” It does not mean “transfer” as the Calvinists and Neo-Calvinists use it. But if Christ’s sinless life is not imputed to man (thereby counting man righteous), what is? According to Romans 4:5 that which is “accounted (imputed) for righteousness” is one’s faith: “But to him who does not work, but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted (logizomai, “counted,” KJV) for righteousness.” God forgives the sins of the person who obeys Him in faith and thus, counts that person righteous (see Jas. 2:21-24). To illustrate this principle the apostle reminds us of Abraham in Genesis 15:6 when “Abraham believed God, and it (his faith, jrp) was accounted (logizomai, “counted,” KJV) to him for righteousness” (Rom. 4:3). God imputes righteousness (counts righteous) and will not impute sin to the person who has this same kind of faith (Rom. 4:6-8).
Men have created a theological quagmire out of straightforward truth. Jesus lived a perfect life in order to be a perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world (Jno. 1:29; Heb. 9:23-28; 10:10-14). When one turns in faith to Christ and obeys His gospel his personal faith – not the personal righteousness of Christ – is imputed to him for righteousness (Rom. 4:5; Matt. 7:21; Jas. 2:17-24; Heb. 5:8-9). His sins are forgiven, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. “Beware of false prophets” teaching error about the imputation of righteousness. (Matt. 7:15)
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Acts 1:9-11
1. Also called
“Realized Eschatology,” doctrine says: The 40 year period of AD 30-70 was
transitional, which fulfilled the end time prophecies and ushered in the
I. WHAT IS REALIZED ESCHATOLOGY?
A. Eschatology: A
Study of Last Things.
II. THE PERSONAL, BODILY RETURN OF JESUS DID NOT HAPPEN IN AD 70.
A. Jesus did
come in some Senses in the First Century, but not Bodily and Visibly.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: 1 Ths. 4:13-18
III. OVERLAPPING OF THE OLD AND NEW COVENANTS UNTIL AD 70.
If there was an Overlapping of the Covenants, then…
IV. OTHER CONSEQUENCES OF AD 70 ERROR.
Says God’s Scheme of Redemption not Fulfilled until AD 70 (Gal. 3:24-29).
V. COMFORTING CHRISTIANS CONCERNING CHRIST’S COMING, 1 Ths. 4:13-18.
living hope of a future, bodily, visible return of Jesus Christ, 1 Pet.
1:3-5; 1 Cor. 15:19-20.
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 10/20/2008
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA