PART 2 CHURCH TEACHINGS

PART 2 CHURCH TEACHINGS

CHAPTER 2

To Learn about the Foundational and Intellectual Doctrines of the Faith

Another reason to go to church is to learn about the many truths of the faith. God has chosen some in the church (e.g. apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastor-teachers) to convey these truths to the congregation. Some believe there are no longer apostles or prophets in the church leaving this duty for the pastor-teacher. Whether this is true or not will be discussed in another study.

This can get tricky, because what exactly are these truths we should learn? For some, salvation, the bundle of benefits received by the person who responds to the Gospel of repentance and belief is not described as being attained in this manner. Often, water baptism is seen as the basis for a person becoming a child of God. Once this event takes place, they would insist that many of the additional benefits of salvation are earned by obeying the requirements of the denomination, they are involved with.

Doctrinal teachings can differ by analogy as the unlimited various facial features in people. Let me give you one example in this regard i.e., as to the Doctrine of Forgiveness. Some churches teach that not all of the sins of mankind were forgiven (wiped away; removed) at the cross. They advocate that whatever sins a person commits during their lifetime are forgiven by confession.   

Some say this confession should be made to a priest.

Furthermore, certain sins are classified as being unforgiveable if not confessed and turned from. These sins which are called mortal would cause a believer to lose their eternal standing. If, however, there is no evidence of any severe sins in a believer’s life, only lesser ones, then it is assumed that this person at death will go to a temporary place in order to atone for any of these sins that were not confessed by them to a priest while they were living on the earth. What we might hear from the priest at this person’s funeral is for prayer to be offered in order to help expedite his/her journey to heaven from this intermediate place of punishment.

There is quite a contingent of churches which believe that forgiveness of sins occurs, when a person is baptized in water. They would even go so far as to say that if someone repents of their sins and believes in Jesus without being baptized in water, then they are not considered saved and would go to hell at death.

And finally, there seems to be a consensus amongst most churches that all of the sins of mankind were forgiven at the cross. In this regard, another question would be forthcoming and that is, why should the sins that are committed in time be confessed, if they were already forgiven at the cross? The answer is so that the believer is restored to fellowship with God the Father and recovers being under the rule of the Holy Spirit.

You could probably mention any doctrinal teaching and I would guess that what is taught is presented differently depending on the church you are attending. So where does this lead us? I will say it like this. You should be attending a church where God has literally come into the lives of the assembly by means of the indwelling Holy Spirit. If you have never experienced God’s presence (e.g. a divine love, a divine joy, a divine peace) in your life and are aware that the church you are attending has never or will never preach the pure gospel, then the salvation benefits which were spoken about earlier will never become effectual in your life.

If the gospel has been preached and you have responded favorably to it, then you have received the Holy Spirit along with a bundle of other benefits. The next thing that is very important are the teachings that will be presented to you from those in authority. There are certain ones that I will call Absolute Doctrines, Stability Doctrines or Foundational Doctrines. These are doctrines upon which our faith stands. And not only so, they secure us in our faith. Some of them will evidence who originated the divine plan for mankind, who executed the plan, and who reveals the plan. Other doctrines will proclaim that what has been accomplished by the divine plan can never be improved upon or changed by us. Furthermore, whatever we have received through repentance and faith can never be maintained or lost by self-effort.

Are you ready to learn about these vital doctrines of our faith? Well, here they are. And by the way, these doctrines will not just be mentioned by name but will be substantiated as being true by providing Scriptural support.

The Foundational, Absolute, Stabilizing Doctrines of the Faith.

  • The trinity

The concept of a trinity is not an easy one to grasp as the following definition will attest. And by the way, this word trinity is not even found in the Bible.

One God exists as three persons – coequal, coinfinite, and coeternal – all three possessing the essential nature.13Each member possesses the same divine attributes (sovereignty, righteousness, justice, love, eternal life, omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, immutability, and truth). However, they do not have the same roles. God the Father is the originator of the plan, God the Son is the executor of the plan, and God the Holy Spirit is the revealer of the plan. And just as a reminder, we’re not talking about three distinct Gods, but one God as a triune being.   

1 Corinthians 8:6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

Hebrews 1:8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.

John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

If there is no trinity, then Jesus is not divine. If He is not God, then some say He would have been a created being (i.e., an angel or as someone like the first man Adam, both of whom fell).

The first member of the trinity that we will look at more closely is Christ and we will attempt to answer some questions about Him such as: Did He exist before creation? Is He called God? Is He deity?

  • The deity of Christ

Christ is one of the members of the trinity being coequal, coinfinite, and coeternal with the other two, God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. While each of them has identical essence of personality, their roles are different as the plan of God for man unfolds.14 Many believe that Jesus is not God in essence and therefore if this is indeed the case there would be no trinity. How can we go about trying to address this perception? We can do this by asking and answering certain questions about Him.

Did He always exist before creation and come into physical existence through supernatural means?

Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

Jesus is not a created being, but someone who being (which is from the beginning - a beginning which has no beginning) in the form (that expression of being which carries in itself the distinctive nature and character of the being to whom it pertains, and is thus permanently identified with that nature and character15) of God (the Father), thought it not robbery to be equal with Him (he [Jesus] was willing to waive his rights to the expression of his divine essence; did not think it a matter to be earnestly desired to appear equal to God16).

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Here is another verse which indicates that Jesus existed before creation. In the beginning was the Word (the Logos). In the beginning (before creation), there was someone called the Word, who was uncreated and eternal and was with God, in the sense of having company or fellowship with Him (the Father). Who does the Word refer to?

John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

And the Word (Logos) was made flesh. I think this is obvious. The Word is Jesus. What else can we deduce about Him?

Is there a Scripture which clearly says that He is called God?

Hebrews 1:8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.

Thy throne (kingdom) O God is forever and ever. In the Greek, the word O is not in the original manuscripts. However, there is an article the from the Greek word ho that occurs before the word God, but is not translated into English. With this in mind, this verse should read: But unto the Son He says, Thy throne (kingdom), the God, is forever and ever. Jesus is called the God (ho Theos).

Is there a Scripture which tells us that Jesus is deity?

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

This Scripture tells us that the Word was God. What does this mean? In the Greek, there is no definite article before the word God. It would appear that the English translation would read: the Word was a god. However, when translating from Greek to English, we need to also keep in mind the differences in translation due to the Greek sentence structure. The subject is Word which has the definite article before it while the predicate God does not. According to this rendering, the predicate acts like the equivalent as an adjective. When it is used in this way, its meaning is divine essence. This is essentially saying that Jesus possesses the same divine essence as God the Father, is one with Him in nature and attributes.17 Therefore, Jesus is deity.

There you have it. Jesus existed before creation, which means that he was uncreated and eternal. He is called God. And he has the same nature and attributes as God the Father thus indicating deity.

What I would like you to take a look at next is another member of the trinity, called the Holy Spirit. Some of the questions we will attempt to answer are: Is the Holy Spirit a person? Does the Spirit have a gender? Is the Holy Spirit a person?

  • The deity of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is one of the members of the trinity being coequal, coinfinite, and coeternal with the other two, God the Father and God the Son. He possesses the same divine attributes as each of them.

The first question I would like to answer; is the Holy Spirit a person?

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:

Scripture tells us that He was sent from the Father to testify to the disciples of Jesus. He is called the Comforter (the Helper) and is referred to as he [Masculine (gender) Singular Nominative (case of the subject) Pronoun]. Yes, He is a person.

Is the Holy Spirit referred to as God?

Acts 5:1-4 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.

Ananias and Sapphira kept back part of the proceedings received from selling a piece of land which they promised to give all of which to the church to help those in need, who were being persecuted. Peter is discussing this change of heart with Ananias and told him that he has lied to the Holy Spirit and as such has not lied unto men, but unto (to) God (Theoo). This affirms that the Holy Spirit is deity.

The final member of the trinity we will look at is called God the Father. Some of the questions we will attempt to answer are: Is God the Father a person? Is God the Father one of the members of the trinity?

  • The deity of God the Father

Some believe that He is the supreme being who is to be worshipped solely.

Deuteronomy 10:17 For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:

As Christians, our God has not changed in that He is still a God of gods. However, by means of direct revelation, He has unveiled Himself further as one God who exists as three persons.

Is God the Father a person?

John 4:34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

Jesus said that the Father sent Him into the world to finish his work. The word his is a pronoun that is in the Greek Masculine Gender. Yes, God is a person and He is distinct from Jesus not in essence, but in their roles.

Is God the Father one of the members of the trinity?

John 5:16-18 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

Jesus was not only accused by the Jews of breaking (violating) the Sabbath, but was considered a blasphemer when He said that God was His Father, thus making Himself equal (in essence) with God. This tells us two things i.e., God the Father is God and that He is equal in essence with Jesus (his Son) and yet each have their distinctive roles as members of the trinity.

Before we take a look at the next foundational doctrine, of the resurrection of Christ, there is a verse that many use to support their claim that there is only one God, that being God the Father.

1 Corinthians 8:1-6 Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. But if any man love God, the same is known of him. As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

As concerning the eating of those things (the meat of animals) offered in sacrifice to idols (a likeness, an image, a sign, a stamped character, a shadow18which are used to represent God), we know that an idol is nothing (nonexistent) in the world, and that there is none other God but one (beside the real one). But there is one God, the Father. Some would say here is proof that there is only one God that being God the Father. You could look at this in one of two ways. The first being that there is only one God, God the Father.

We could also look at this as each of the two members of the trinity mentioned here are assigned a different title of deity, one God, the Father, who is the source of all things, and for whose glory we live, and one Lord Jesus Christ who is the agent of Creation and the one through whom Christians live.19 So, we can conclude that there is one God, however, who exists in three persons, each of whom is characterized at times in Scripture according to their role in the Father’s plan.

The next doctrine is of most importance and yet in many cases neglected (disregards) by many churches. Without the proclaiming of it, there would be no evidence of the Christian faith (no indwelling Spirit and no expression of spiritual fruit).

  • The gospel

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

2 Corinthians 11:4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

The gospel is the good news that Christ, who is the God-man, paid the penalty for the sins of the whole world and cancelled their debt (providing forgiveness) thus satisfying the justice of God.

Being one of the members of the trinity, He left His heavenly abode and came to earth having been born of a virgin. He lived a sinless life and was crucified on a cross. When He died physically by the giving up of his ghost (human spirit), He descended into hell (Hadees) in order to preach (made an official announcement) unto the spirits (fallen angels) in prison. After three days, by means of the quickening (bodily resurrection) of the Holy Spirit, He was raised from the dead, His human spirit re-entering His fleshly body, which became transformed into a glorified body, never to die again. He ascended into heaven and is now seated at the right hand of God (the Father).

1 Peter 3:18-19

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;

 The word salvation is used to describe the next foundational doctrine and is mentioned quite frequently in Christian settings, however, how what was received that pertains to it is often conveyed incorrectly.

  • Salvation

Salvation refers to the receiving of the indwelling Holy Spirit along with a bundle of other spiritual benefits, when an unbeliever responds to the gospel.

The question is, what determines whether a person (unbeliever) will receive the indwelling Spirit along with additional spiritual benefits?

Believe it or not, there are at least three different views concerning this.

View #1: Repentance, Water Baptism, and the Holy Spirit

This view in some instances refers to the salvation of infants by the sprinkling of water. It says that repentance (having of change of mind; to turn from one’s evil ways) is established for them from the faith of their parents, which should be followed by prayer of the congregation asking God the Father in the name of Jesus that the Holy Spirit will be sent upon the water of sprinkling so that the baby’s sins will be forgiven at this time and he/she will become a child of God. 

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

I am familiar with this salvation doctrine, as I was one of those that was sprinkled with water as an infant. However, from what I have learned, there are at least three Scriptural reasons to reconsider this perspective.

  1. Repentance and belief need to be made personally.

Scripture clearly indicates that in order for someone to become a child of God, they must exercise their own free will. This is illustrated by Philip the deacon, who was asked by the eunuch what hindered him from being baptized in water. Philip’s answer was that you must believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Acts 8:26-40                                                                          

Acts 8:36-37 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

2. A child who is unable to make the choice for salvation is not held responsible.

This is illustrated by the death of King David’s first son that he had with his wife Bathsheba. His son died of sickness. David made the comment that he would meet up with him in the future, when his time came to pass on. This probably referred to a place called Abraham’s bosom, which is where all of the Old Testament saints would go at death during the Age of the Jews. 1 Samuel 12:15-23; Luke 16:19-31; Luke 23:39-43; 1 Peter 3:18-20

2 Samuel 12:23 But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.

Luke 16:22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;

Luke 23:42-43

And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

1 Peter 3:18-19

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;

 Acts 2:31-32 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.              

3. Water baptism does not forgive sins.

The sins of the whole world were forgiven at the cross.

Colossians 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

When we read from certain verses that seem to indicated that a person’s sins are forgiven at water baptism, what this really means is that it is on the basis of a person’s sins having already been forgiven at the cross that allows them the opportunity to respond to the gospel for salvation. There are other instances, when the forgiveness of sins is mentioned in conjunction with water baptism which signifies the believer’s symbolic identification with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection.

Now, let’s take a look at another view that some believe determines whether an unbeliever will receive the indwelling Spirit along with additional spiritual benefits?

View #2: Repent, Believe, Water Baptism, and Good Works

This view says that you can repent to God the Father and believe in His Son but not be saved, because the receiving of the indwelling Holy Spirit along with additional benefits will not take place unless the unbeliever is baptized in water for the forgiveness of sins. Furthermore, if water baptism does take place salvation is conditional based on evidence of good works. As we can see according to this perspective, there are a lot of components to this. Let’s take a look at the five reasons that dispel this gospel approach.

  1. Repentance and belief are indeed required for salvation.

Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

2. Water baptism is not the basis for the forgiveness of sin.

We already looked at this. All sin was forgiven at the cross.

3. Water baptism is not necessary in the salvation process.

There is one verse that is used to support the belief that water baptism is necessary in the salvation process. However, this verse and the others from the book of Mark 16:9-20 are not contained in the two oldest manuscripts, namely, the Codex Sinaiticus and the Codex Vaticanus.

Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

4. The indwelling of the Spirit occurs before someone is baptized in water.

The Gentiles who were gathered together at the house of a man named Cornelius heard the gospel preached to them from the apostle Peter. They believed, received the indwelling Spirit, and were baptized in water. It is true that there were other instances in Scripture, when the Spirit was received following water baptism, but this was because of the need to qualify the leaders of the early church as being authentic messengers of God, who would personally travel to where the Spirit had not been received and lay hands on those who had believed so that He would come into their body and reside there.

Acts 10:43-47 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

5. The evidence of salvation are not good works, but the indwelling Spirit.

Good works can be difficult to differentiate as to whether their motivation is from the sin nature or the filling of the Spirit. What produces good (Godly) works is a process known as sanctification. This involves becoming aware of mental, verbal, and overt sins, confessing them as the need arises, and renewing the mind. The result will be the spiritual character of the Spirit being expressed toward others.

1 John 3:24b … And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

     The final view concerning as to what determines whether a believer will receive the indwelling Spirit and additional benefits has two components.

View #3: Repentance and Belief

Unbelievers who repent to God the Father and believe in Jesus as to who He is and what He has accomplished will receive the indwelling Spirit along with additional spiritual benefits.

Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

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,

2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

     This verse tells us that there is nothing that we can perform meritoriously to secure our salvation, which is by God’s grace and through our faith (our belief – non-meritorious).

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

For by grace (the source or basis is God’s favor) are ye saved through faith (the means of salvation – through believing in who Jesus is and what He accomplished on the cross) and that not of yourselves (not of human merit; not of one’s own efforts; salvation is the alone work of Christ20): it is the gift of (not a purchase from) God: Not of works (human activity), lest any man should boast.

So, there we have it. The gospel message that will cause an unbeliever to receive the indwelling Spirit along with additional benefits is the gospel of repentance and belief. If you would like to find out a lot more about the foundational doctrine of salvation, then this can be found in my latest book, The Spirituality Puzzle, which is currently available on Amazon.com.

     There are still quite a few foundational doctrines to look at. While we might not cover all of them, we will cover most of them. The next one we will take a look at is called the atonement.

  • The Atonement

Jesus is the atonement, the atoning sacrifice, for the sins of the whole world that removed the penalty, the punishment (the suffering) upon the entire human race in order to satisfy the justice of God. God the Father made Christ to be sin for us, a sin offering, meaning that He bore the punishment due to them in our stead.

Some have said that He became sin or took upon Himself the sins of the world in that He became the greatest sinner of all. This is not what this means.

1 John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

The next foundational doctrine we will look at is called redemption.

  • Redemption

This word means deliverance, liberation from, or to let one go free. Deliverance from what?

From the judgment of all our sins.

Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Another foundational doctrine is the doctrine of the blood of Christ.

  • The Blood

The blood is the payment (the price paid to divine justice) that provides redemption. The blood can also be referred to as the ransom required; of Christ’s death on the cross; and of the giving of His life.

Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

This foundational doctrine has been looked at earlier. Let’s add a few thoughts concerning it. 

Forgiveness of sins

Forgiveness of sins means to blot out sins; not to remember them any longer; to throw a person’s sins behind one’s back; and to carry away our sins so that they might never again be seen. Along with the debt owed to God the Father being paid in full by the death of His Son, forgiveness of sins was also provided.

been looked at earlier. Let’s add a few thoughts concerning it.

Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Colossians 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

Believe it or not there is contention in theological circles as to the occurrence of the forgiveness of sins being applied for all mankind at the cross. I didn’t think this would ever be an issue, but evidently it is. Let’s find out what the basis is for this different perspective on this subject. Is this view supported by Scripture? If not, what Scriptural arguments could be used to dispel it?

  1. Forgiveness of sins was not mentioned; only that Christ was the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

2. Forgiveness of sins is only addressed as having taken place for believers.

Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

3. Forgiveness of sins occurs following water baptism, which is preceded by an unbeliever responding to the gospel of Christ.

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

We looked at this idea as to whether water baptism forgives sins earlier by looking at Colossians 2:13. Sometimes, in order to clarify this perspective further, a more in-depth study of this verse is needed to be undertaken, which is what we will proceed to do right now.

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

If you read this verse without Greek glasses on, it would say something like this. And you, the believers at Colossee being continually spiritually dead in your sins and the sin nature of your flesh (body) of which uncircumcision is a sign of, has He (God the Holy Spirit) quickened (made alive) together with Christ, having forgiven (wiped away) all of your trespasses (all deviation from truth). This appears to be saying that when you were made alive with Christ by the quickening of the Spirit your sins were forgiven. Others, however, would infer that the forgiveness of sins occurred during the salvation process following water baptism. Which view is correct?

As I said initially, you need to have Greek glasses on in order to understand what is meant by the words having forgiven. Here is what I mean. The original New Testament manuscripts were written in what was called the Koine Greek, the common language of the people at that time. When it was translated into English sometimes the structure of the sentence appeared to be saying one thing, when it actually was not. This is particularly the case when a participle appears in Scripture in the Aorist tense. This begs the question. What is a participle?

  A participle is known as a verbal adjective and denotes the purpose as to why someone is doing something or why something is being done. What is meant by the Aorist tense? The Aorist tense tells us about what kind of action is being expressed by the verb. In this case, the Aorist denotes action as occurring at a point in time. In any verse, if we are able to identify these two occurring together i.e., as an Aorist Participle, then what this tells us is that the action of the minor verb will precede the action of the main verb or verbs in the verse of Scripture. In other words, this will bring about an awareness of something happening before something else that we weren’t able to tell from the English translation. 

So, the words having forgiven are, you guessed it an Aorist Participle, which tells us that the forgiveness of sins occurred prior to the quickening by the Holy Spirit. Do you see what this is conveying to us? This tells us that all of the sins of the Corinthian believers were already forgiven before they were quickened with Christ. When did this forgiveness of sins happen? There is only one point in time when this had to have had occurred, and that was at the cross.

Therefore, we can deduce two things from this. If the sins that Christ bore on the cross were not forgiven, then no unbeliever would be allowed to be quickened (made alive) with Christ by the Holy Spirit. Second, water baptism does not forgive sins.

Another foundational doctrine that we will take a look at next is the resurrection of Christ.

  • The resurrection of Christ

Romans 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

     Mankind needed someone to pay the debt which they incurred from Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden. So, God the Father sent his Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, who being sustained by the Holy Spirit, listened to and obeyed His directives.

Romans 4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

Acts 2:31-32 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.              

Ephesians 4:9-10 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

Jesus lived a sinless life and was crucified on a cross being the atonement for sins, thus satisfying the demands of God’s justice. After which, His human spirit re-entered His physical body and He was raised again (bodily resurrection) by means of the quickening of the Holy Spirit for our justification (in order to reconcile us to God).

The Resurrection was God's validation that the redemption paid by Christ on the cross was accepted.21

1 Corinthians 15:42, 44 So also is the resurrection of the dead. … It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

1 Corinthians 15:4, 6 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

Being raised from the dead after three days, there was evidenced a new body, a spiritual one, whereby over a period of 40 days, He witnessed of His resurrection to over 500 people, and after which He ascended into heaven to be seated at the right hand of the Father.

Christ’s resurrection is proof that the atonement for sin and the forgiveness of it accomplished its purpose, i.e., to satisfy the debt owed to the justice of God. It also proved that Christ is whom He said He was and is, the Messiah/Savior/One of the members of the trinity, true humanity and undiminished deity. By ascending into heaven following His 40 days on earth, this paved the way for all who believed in God as He was revealed to enter heaven. Hallelujah!

This is another foundational doctrine, which I find hard to understand why so many Christian churches don’t agree with it.

  • There is only one way to get to heaven

You might be thinking, this can’t be a foundational doctrine. Let’s read on and find out why it is.

Acts 4:10-12 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.                                

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.                                                   

There is only one way to get to heaven. And there is only one person to believe in whom God the Father has accepted as to His nature, His life, and atonement for sin. Repent of your sins and believe in the one and only one, Jesus. If we say that belief in someone else or in some kind of program of works will get us into heaven, then we have rejected the avenue that God has provided and approved of. Wouldn’t this in effect disregard what Christ has done and thus make His work ineffectual (of no purpose)? It seems inconceivable that some Christian churches believe that all roads of different faiths will also get you to a better place at death called heaven. They can’t believe that the way to heaven is narrow, because they would infer that this would make God unloving and discriminato

So, I ask you to consider these questions. Who else left heaven, was born of virgin (no sin nature), lived a sinless life, listened to and obeyed God the Father, died on a cross and paid the penalty owed for sin and the cancellation of its record in order to satisfy His justice, was raised from the dead after three days, never to die again, thus indicating that this sacrifice was acceptable, and ascended into heaven with a new glorified body? Do I hear another name? There is no other! There is only one way (only one person) who can get us into heaven. This is indeed a foundational truth of the Christian faith. 

We have one more foundational doctrine to look at. There are more that I haven’t covered, but I will leave this as being the final one for now. I used to think that this topic was non-foundational, but after many years of study, I have realized the importance of it concerning the efficacy of Christ’s death on the cross.

  • Eternal Security

Some might call this the doctrine of eternal salvation. As mentioned in an earlier chapter, salvation refers to the receiving of the indwelling Holy Spirit along with a bundle of other spiritual benefits, when an unbeliever responds to the gospel. There are a few reasons why some adamantly believe that a Christian can lose their salvation. Let’s take a look at each of them and see if there is any Scriptural reason to dispel any or all of them.

  1. A person is not saved unless they are baptized in water for the forgives of sins.

We have already deduced that water baptism does not forgive sins, so this is of no consequence.

Colossians 2:13. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

2. Salvation is based on water baptism and the Holy Spirit.

Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

The main verse used to support this conjecture from the book of Mark is not in the oldest manuscripts of the Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus.

John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

This verse clearly indicates that water is figurative of the gospel of Christ, so therefore, the salvation message would be water (the gospel) and the subsequent receiving of the indwelling Spirit.

3. Salvation is based on the evidence of good works.

The substantiation of salvation is the indwelling Spirit. An evidence of salvation is good (Godly) works, which are works that are done in the power of the Spirit and express spiritual qualities of character. This has to do with a process called sanctification (spiritual growth). 

Lack of Godly works could indicate a couple of things. One is that the teachings from the pulpit focus on performance and not on inward renewal. In this instance, good works are evident which evidence the characteristics of the sin nature. Lack of good Godly works might also indicate that proper teachings have been presented, but the believer chooses not to learn and apply the protocol for putting on the new man or person they have been made to be at salvation.

1 John 3:24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

4. Salvation can be lost because of habitual egregious sin.

I will give you two examples of people from the Old Testament that disprove this argument.

The first is just (righteous) Lot. If you remember his story, he was the Nephew of Abram. When Abram was called by God to leave his home dwelling of Ur and proceed to a land that he and his ancestors would inhabit, Lot joined him on this journey. As their flocks and servants increased, they decided to depart from one another, because there wasn’t enough land to supply for both of their needs if they stayed together. Lot decided to dwell in Sodom, while Abram dwelt in Canaan. We could assume that up to this point in Lot’s walk with God, he probably like his uncle Abram served Him faithfully.

As time passed, God told Abram of His desire to destroy the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their wickedness. Two angels were also sent by the Lord to warn Lot of the coming destruction. If you read the story, there is nothing about it that supports the conjecture that Lot was operating with a Godly slant in his thoughts, words, or deeds.

And yet Scripture tells us that he was called righteous Lot. Why was he called righteous Lot, when he didn’t operate in Godly righteousness? Because when someone believes in God, they are seen as being righteous in His eyes. They have become new, even though in their experience they might not evidence this new life. This is called positional sanctification. Genesis 11:31; Genesis chapter 13; Genesis 18:16-33; Genesis chapter 19.

2 Peter 2:7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:

The second person we will look at in this regard is King Saul. Initially, when he became Israel’s first king, he obeyed the prophet Samuel who conveyed to him the Lord’s commands. Over time, continual disobedience began to characterize his reign. His sin nature took over and the sins of the flesh characterized his life. Jealousy, pre-meditated murder, reliance upon himself became his calling card. If any believer could lose their salvation, it would be him.

In the closing years of his life, when he was to face his last battle against the Philistines, he sought counsel from God as to the outcome of the battle. God chose not to answer him in any way, shape, or form. So, Saul sought counsel from a witch which was forbidden under the tenets of the Mosaic Law.

The witch brought forth the deceased prophet Samuel, who provided Saul with the unfortunate disclosure of the demise both of himself and his sons, all of whom would be killed in the upcoming battle. And then Samuel made as astounding statement to Saul. He said, tomorrow when this battle will take place you will meet your end and you and your sons will be with me where I am. Where was Samuel? He was residing in a compartment in Hades called Abraham’s bosom, which is where every Old Testament saint went at physical death.

1 Samuel 28:19 Moreover the Lord will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and tomorrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the Lord also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.

Luke 16:22-23

And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

Luke 23:42-43

And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

1 Peter 3:18-19

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;

Acts 2:31-32 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.              

This proves that it’s not what someone does or what sins they commit which determines their eternal destiny. It’s whether they believed in Jehovah in the Old Testament or repented of their sins to God the Father and believed in His Son in the New Testament. At salvation, a person becomes righteous before God, end of story.

I know that what was just presented concerning the Foundational Doctrines of our faith was a lot of information to read, but remember these truths are what substantiates our faith and us, who are new creatures in Christ. Like the additional blessings received at salvation, we should hear about these comforting and reassuring doctrines from the pulpit. And this is not all. There are other doctrines that we should also hear about that will provide us with a further awareness of our faith. I will call these Intellectual Doctrines. Pertaining to these, I will just mention some of their descriptive titles: The doctrine of Spiritual Blessings; Baptisms; The doctrine of the Seven Crowns; The doctrine of a Godly Mouth; The doctrine of Divine Guidance; The doctrine of Defense Mechanisms, The doctrine of Complaining; The doctrine of Spiritual Growth; The doctrine of the Virgin Birth; The doctrine of the Lord’s Supper; etc. just to name a few.

You might respond by saying I am born-again, I have received the indwelling Spirit, I am hearing teachings on Foundational Doctrines and Intellectual Doctrines, and yet I am not sensing God’s presence at all. I’m not enjoying the messages. I’m gaining knowledge intellectually, but God’s presence seems to be far far away. I’m considering leaving this church and even maybe this faith.

This sounds a lot like my story. I became born-again in the late 70’s, when I attended a Bible study and responded to the gospel. At that moment in time, God’s presence was saturating. Soon thereafter, I began attending Sunday morning services along with a Bible study mid-week. Some of the teachings of this particular church that I remember were as follows.

They believed in Calvinism, which is the teaching that God has chosen some to go to heaven and others to go to hell. Another teaching was as to whether a believer could have the gift of tongues. Along with this, teachings or reminders of what to wear, of how long a persons’ hair should be, and of how much money a member should earn at work were often topics of declaration and conversation. I can honestly say that for the most part except for one particular occasion God’s presence was nowhere to be found. After having been studying and teaching the Word for over twenty years, I believe I know why this was the case.    

Many churches present the gospel and provide teachings on many Biblical topics, both Foundational and Intellectual. However, I believe there are a few doctrines which I will call Spiritual Growth Doctrines that are not taught or are taught in an incomplete manner thus inhibiting the believer from experiencing God’s presence whether during the gathering of the saints or outside of it. Are you ready to find out about what these doctrines are all about? Please turn to the next chapter.

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Endnotes

13R.B. Thieme Jr., The Trinity (Houston, Texas: Berachah Tapes and Publications, 1993).

14R.B. Thieme Jr.

15Weust’s Word Studies.

 16Adam Clarke’s Commentary.

 17Weust’s Word Studies.

 18Adam Clarke’s Commentary.

 19Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament.

 20Weust’s Word Studies.

 21Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament.


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Synopsis
●What Are Those Foundational Doctrines That Provide Me with Assurance and Comfort?
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