Don’t Make These 3 Mistakes With Your Salvation

One of the core teachings of Christianity is that we need to have faith in order to be saved. But what kind of faith saves us?

In a previous study we discussed what it is we’re saved from. In this study we’re going to discuss how we know we’re saved.

To do this, we’re going to look at three examples of people in the Bible who mistakenly thought they were saved, see why they were wrong, and from that learn how we can know we’re saved.

Mistake #1 – Believing you’re saved because of your tradition

“Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires.'” – John 8:42-44

Our first example comes from a heated exchange between Jesus and the scribes and Pharisees — the religious leaders of their day. Jesus tells them that He speaks the words of His Father, while they speak the words of their father, the devil.

These religious people felt they were saved because of their bloodline and because of the traditions they followed. They felt these things made God their Father. Many people believe this today. They feel because they were raised in a Christian home, or because they attend a church, they’re saved.

But Jesus refutes this by saying, “If God were your Father, you would love me…” The requirement for being a child of God is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Notice two things:

1) Notice that Jesus says “you”. Not your parents, or friends or your church but “you”. No one can have a relationship on our behalf. You alone must put your trust in Him to be saved.

2) Notice that Jesus says “me”. It’s not where you were born, or what church you attend that makes you a child of God. It’s a belief and a trust that Christ came from the Father to pay for your sins (John 3:16). John 1:12 tells us that “all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

Let’s look at our second example.

Mistake #2 – Believing you’re saved because of your behavior

Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’

But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”- Luke 18:10-14

Our next example comes from a parable Jesus told. Here we find that the Pharisee thinks he’s saved because of his good behavior. This is probably the reason most people today believe they’re saved. Most people feel that they’ve lived good lives.

But Jesus refutes this by telling us that it’s not the Pharisee who is justified (declare innocent from sin), but the tax collector. To be justified Jesus tells us we must be humble about our condition. We must realize we’ve sinned and call on God to forgive us.

Notice two things:

1) Notice that the Pharisee compared his behavior to the tax collector.

2) Notice that the tax collector compared his behavior to God.

The tax collector did the right thing because Romans 3:23 tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” It’s “the glory of God” that we fall short of. Our behavior is compared to God — not other people — and all of us fall short when held to this standard. But Romans 3:24 tells us that we can be saved because we’re “justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

Let’s look at one final example.

Mistake #3 – Believing you’re saved because of your works or deeds

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” – Matthew 7:21-23

In our final example we find Jesus talking about who will be able to enter the kingdom of heaven. Here we find people who believe they’re saved because of good works they do. Again this is something many people do today.

Jesus refutes this by saying that He won’t accept their works. As we mentioned in our last example, God’s glory is the standard we’re held to, and it’s perfect. So unless our offering is perfect, it falls short of His glory. When we try to offer good deeds to atone for our sins, God rejects that because the sacrifice is stained with sin, and falls short of His glory.

Jesus says that only those who do the will of His Father will enter the kingdom. What is His will? “He commands all people everywhere to repent.” (Acts 17:30) What does it mean to repent? It means to turn from sin, to Christ.

Where our works are stained with sin and rejected, Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is perfect and is accepted. When we repent and come to Christ to be our Savior it means we’re relying on His sacrifice to make peace with God on our behalf. When we do this God credits Christ’s perfection to us and we are justified.

How are we saved?

In this study we’ve looked at people who mistakenly thought they were saved because of their tradition, behavior or good works. Each example had one thing in common: Each tried to obtain salvation through their own strength and fell short.

God gives us salvation through His Son. Our salvation isn’t based on what we’ve done, it’s based on what Christ has done. We know we’re saved when we know we trust in Christ completely for our salvation.

Verses to remember

– “By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph 2:8)

– “This is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:11-13)

– He is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. (Heb 7:25)

What Every Christian Should Know About Justification

What Justification Means

To be justified means to be declared not guilty of all sin and penalty of God’s Law. God treats those who are justified as righteous and treats them as if they have kept all of His laws.

How We’re Justified

We cannot justify ourselves by any work we do because our works fall short of God’s standard:

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Rom 3:23)

Justification is a gift from God:

“…and are justified by his grace as a gift…” (Rom 3:24)

The gift of justification is Christ taking our place in judgment by paying for our sins on the cross:

“…through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation [payment] by his blood, (Rom 3:24-25)

At the cross we gave Christ our sin and He gave us His righteousness:

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor 5:21)

This gift is received by faith alone. This means trusting completely in Christ to pay the penalty of our sin:

“…to be received by faith.” (Rom 3:25)

“Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom 5:6) so that he might take away their sins. Christ has no sin of his own, but is punished for human sin.

We have no righteousness of our own, but we take the divine righteousness when we come to Christ in faith, and now stand accepted before God.

4 Things The Gospel Frees Us From

Learn more about the Gospel: What Is The Gospel?, How Do We Know We’re Saved?

The “gospel”, from the Greek word evangelion, literally means “good news.” In ancient times, the evangelion (“good news”) was proclaimed from city to city to celebrate the accession of the new king to the throne upon the death of the old.

That is exactly what is being proclaimed in the gospel of Christ: the gospel is the joyful proclamation of the reign of Christ (literally, of God’s “Anointed One”), the rightful heir to the throne of David who lived and died and rose again to glory.

The gospel is the announcement that the blessing for which all of us long – more, better, richer, purer life – is available to us, even now; and this blessing is all bound up in the person and work of Jesus, “the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

The gospel is the most powerful message of human liberation that has ever been proclaimed on earth. The gospel gives us:

1) Freedom from bondage of sin

“God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” (Rom 6:17-18)

If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (Jhn 8:36)

2) Freedom from the condemnation of God’s moral law

“Christ was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” (Rom 4:24)

“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering…” (Rom 8:1-3)

3) Freedom from fear of death

“‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor 15:55-57)

“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Phil 1:20-21)

4) Freedom to live boldly in the assurance of God’s love for us

“We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Heb 4:15-16)

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

– Adapted from JD Grisham’s Dust & Glory: The Meaning & Implications of the Gospel of Grace

3 Things That Define Us As Christians

1) Christians Are Gospel People

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” – Romans 1:16

Christians are people with a distinctive story.

We are people who follow Christ and believe that He died for our sins, was raised from the grave, and through faith in Him we have forgivness, a relationship with God, and everlasting life. We believe this not only with our heads but also in our hearts.

For Christians, this gospel is the source of our basic identity; we define ourselves by our relationship to Jesus Christ.

2) Christians Are Bible People

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…”
– 2 Timothy 3:16

Christians are people with a distinctive authority.

We believe that God is our ultimate authority, and that the Holy Scriptures are His authoritative self-revelation. For Christians, our ultimate standard is God, who speaks in the Bible.

3) Christians Are Church People

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
– Galatians 6:2

Christians are people with a distinctive community.

We believe that the church is the particular context within which we are to live our lives.

It is within the community of the church that we worship God, hear his Word, and receive the sacraments. It is within the community of the church that we are loved for, cared for, encouraged and held accountable.

Jules Grisham

7 Things That Change When We Follow Christ

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! – 2 Corinthians 5:17

When a person comes to faith in Christ there will be some evidence of this faith in their lives. You won’t see perfection in a Christian, but what you will see is something different in that person. You will see some evidence that a person has a relationship with Christ.

Now it’s very important to we understand that we aren’t talking about being saved by works. You aren’t a Christian because you don’t curse or smoke or cut people off in traffic or because you go to church or give money to charity.

Everyone sins and falls short of God’s glory, but through Christ we are forgiven of those sins. A Christian is someone who calls on Christ to save them from their sins. (Rom 3:23-26)

You’ll see these differences more clearly in some Christians than in others – we’re all a work in progress and we all grow in Christ at different rates. But eventually the person who is following Christ will:

1) Love Christ

We love Him because He first loved us. (1 Jhn 4:19)

2) Hate Sin

Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. (Rom 12:9)

3) Pray

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:6-7)

4) Read and Apply the Teachings of the Bible

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (Jam 1:22)

5) Turn from the Works of the Flesh

The works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like. (Gal 5:19-21)

6) Produce the Fruits of the Spirit

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (Gal 5:22-23)

7) Live by Faith

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Gal 2:20)

What Does The Holy Spirit Do?

In this study, we’re going to cover four things the Holy Spirit does:

1) The Holy Spirit Reveals God’s Will
2) The Holy Spirit Applies Salvation
3) The Holy Spirit Indwells Us
4) The Holy Spirit Give Us Spiritual Gifts

And along the way we’re going to contrast how the Spirit did these works in the Old Testament and how He does these works in the New Testament and today.

1) The Holy Spirit Reveals God’s Will

Specifically He reveals God’s command of Acts 17:30 that “all men everywhere repent.”

The Holy Spirit “convicts the world of sin, and righteousness, and judgment,” in John 16:8. In other word the Spirit show us that we are sinners, separated from God, and that forgiveness is found through Christ.

In the Old Testament He convicts through the prophets who 2 Peter 1:21 tells us “spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”

In the New Testament He convicts through the apostles who in John 14:26 the Sprit, “taught them all things, and brought to their remembrance all things that Jesus said to them.”

And in Ephesians 4:11 we see that He convicts through us today by given gifts to some to become “evangelists, pastors and teachers.”

1 Corinthians 2 show us that another aspect of the Spirit revealing of God’s will comes by opening our hearts to spiritual truths. This gives us the ability to both understand and respond to God’s calling.

So the Holy Spirit reveals God’s will to Man by using messengers who faithfully proclaim His Word and by giving him the ability to understand their message.

2) The Holy Spirit Applies Salvation

The Holy Spirit applied salvation to both Old and New Testament believers. The difference being that in the Old Testament believers looked forward to what Christ would do whereas in the New Testament and today we look back on what He has done.

Now 1 Corinthians 6:11 tells us that we were “washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”

So once the Spirit has convicted us of our sin, and has given us the ability to understand the gospel, He washes us of our sin once we respond. He does this by sanctifying us, which means He sets us apart from the world and unto God to receive salvation and become more like Him.

Then we’re justified, or declared innocent of sin. This is done when the Spirit takes Christ’s perfect sacrifice and credits it to our account. This means that when God looks upon us He sees Christ’s perfection and not our imperfection.

3) The Holy Spirit Indwells Us

This is the area where we see a fascinating difference between how the Spirit worked in the Old and New Testament.

In the Old Testament the Spirit didn’t dwell “in” the believer He dwelt “with” the believer. We see this in Exodus 25:8 when God says, “Let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.”

Again in Deuteronomy 12:5, “You shall seek the place where the LORD your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go.”

And again in 1 Kings 8:13 where Solomon, after building the Temple, says, “I have surely built You an exalted house, and a place for You to dwell in forever.”

Now compare that to the dwelling of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. Jesus says in John 14:17-18, “The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”

Again in 2 Cor 3:16, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”

And again Ephesians 1:13-14, “You were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance.”

The hope of the Old Testament believer lay in the fact that God was “over there” in the Temple. But he could only get so close because of the restrictions of the Law and His presence was limited to Israel. But the hope of the New Testament believer and for us today lays in the fact that God dwells “in us”.

We are “part of the body of Christ” which is made up of people of nations, tribes and tongues. The Old Testament believer was limited to how close he got to God. But through Christ we can “come boldly to the throne of grace.” He has promised to never “leave us or forsake us” and His continual presence guarantees our salvation.

4) The Holy Spirit Give Us Spiritual Gifts

This is another area where we see an interesting difference between the Spirit’s Old and New Testament work.

In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit indwelled believers and gave them gifts only on special occasions. But the indwelling wasn’t always permanent as we see in 1 Samuel 16:14 when “the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul” and again in Judges 16:20 when Samson “did not know that the LORD had departed from him.”

Additionally the Holy Spirit only gave gifts to certain people for specific tasks. For example in Numbers 11 Moses and the seventy elders are given the Holy Spirit to rule the people. Or in Genesis 41 where Joseph is said to have the Spirit of God within him because of his ability to interpret dreams.

Now let’s compare this to how the Holy Spirit gives gifts in the New Testament and today.

We’re blessed with “every spiritual blessing” Ephesians 1:3 tells us. Those blessings come by the will of the Father, through the work of the Son and are applied by the power of the Holy Spirit.

All believers now have the Holy Spirit, Eph1:13 tells us, when “having believed in Christ, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.”

Each person has a purpose and has been given whatever gift is necessary to complete that purpose. These gifts enable us to perform the “good works, which God prepared for us beforehand” and produce the fruits of the Spirit which is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

The Holy Spirit lives within the believer in 1 Corinthians 6:19, causes our sinful nature to be born again in Titus 3:5) baptizes us into the family of God in 1 Corinthians 12:13, helps us to understand the Bible in 1 Corinthians 2:9-13, guides us in Romans 8:14, strengthens our faith in Ephesians 3:16-19, and serves as the guarantee of our salvation in Ephesians 1:13-14.

Christianity 101: Heirs of God

“And if children, then heirs — heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” (Romans 8:17)

How we become heirs of God

“And if children, then heirs…”

We aren’t heirs because:

1) We are simply God’s creation – Our text doesn’t say “if creatures, then heirs.”

2) Of our heritage -“For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children.” (Rom. 9:6-7)

3) Of our service – “‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” (Matt 7:22-23)

4) Of our ceremonial observances – “He is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised” (Rom. 4:11)

We become heirs of God when we trust Christ for our salvation. Christ sacrifice on the cross brings us forgiveness of sin and adoption into the family of God. – “God sent his Son to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.” (Gal. 4:4)

If we are heirs we have:

1) Believed on Jesus – “To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)

2) Been born again – “Jesus declared, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.'” (John 3:3)

3) Received the spirit of adoption – “God sent his Son to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. You are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.” (Gal. 4:4-5,7)

4) Been renewed in the image of God – “You have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” (Col. 3:9-10)

What We Inherit

“heirs of God…”

Our inheritance qualifies us to be:

1) Heirs of all things – “The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.” (Rev. 21:7)

2) Heirs of salvation – “Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?” (Heb. 1:14)

3) Heirs of eternal life – “Being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:7)

4) Heirs of promise – “When God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath.” (Heb. 6:17)

5) Heirs of the grace of life – “They are heirs with you of the grace of life.” (1 Pet. 3:7)

6) Heirs of righteousness – “By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.” (Heb. 11:7)

7) Heirs of the kingdom – “Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?” (James 2:5)

Joint Heirs With Christ

“fellow heirs with Christ…”

1) We are only heirs if we are heirs with Christ, through Christ, and in Christ – “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

2) This shows the greatness of the inheritance — it is worthy of Jesus.

3) This guarantees it for us. Jesus will not lose it. His title deed and ours are one and indivisible. His taking us into union with himself secures our inheritance – “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.” (John 6:39)

4) This reveals his love for us. That he would become a partner with us in all things is love unbounded. (1 John 3:1)

5) His prayer for us attains it – “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message.” (John 17:20)

6) His going into heaven before us prepares it – “I am going there to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2)

7) His coming again will bring us the full enjoyment of it – “I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:3)

8) This joint heirship binds us to Jesus, since we are nothing and have nothing apart from him – “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 14:5)

Let us joyfully accept present suffering with Christ, for it is part of the heritage. Let us believe in the glorification which is sure to follow in due time, and let us anticipate it with great rejoicing.

– Charles Spurgeon

An Overview Of The Bible

The Bible is one book. Seven great marks attest this unity.

1) From Genesis the Bible bears witness to one God. Wherever he speaks or acts he is consistent with himself, and with the total revelation concerning him.

2) The Bible forms one continuous story — the story of how humanity relates to God.

3) The Bible makes the most unlikely predictions concerning the future, and, when the centuries have brought round the appointed time, records their fulfillment.

4) The Bible is a progressive unfolding of truth. Nothing is told all at once. The law is, “first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn.” Without the possibility of collusion, often with centuries between, one writer of Scripture takes up an earlier revelation, adds to it, lays down the pen, and in due time another man moved by the Holy Spirit, and another, and another, add new details till the whole is complete.

5) From beginning to end the Bible testifies to one redemption.

6) From beginning to end the Bible has one great theme — the person and work of the Christ.

7) And, finally, these writers, some forty-four in number, writing through twenty centuries, have produced a perfect harmony of doctrine in progressive unfolding. This is, to every candid mind, the unanswerable proof of the divine inspiration of the Bible.

The Bible is a book of books. Sixty-six books make up the one Book.

Speaking broadly there are five great divisions in the Scriptures, Christ being the one theme (Luke 24:25-27).

1) Preparation For Christ — The Old Testament

2) Appearance Of Christ — The Gospels

3) Preaching Of Christ — Acts

4) Explaining Christ’s Works — The Epistles

5) Christ Judging The World — Revelation

In other words, the Old Testament is the preparation for Christ. In the Gospels he is manifested to the world. In the Acts his preached. In the Epistles his Gospel is explained. And in Revelation all the purposes of God in and through Christ are consummated.

And these groups of books fall into sub-groups. This is especially true of the Old Testament, where there are four well defined groups:

REDEMPTION:
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy

ORGANIZATION
Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1,2 Samuel, 1,2 Kings, 1,2 Chronicles, Ezra,
Nehemiah, Esther

POETRY
Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon

SERMONS
Lamentations, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zehpaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

Genesis is the book of beginnings, and explains the origin of Israel. Exodus tells the story of the deliverance of Israel; Leviticus of the worship of Israel as delivered people; Numbers the wanderings and failures of the delivered people, and Deuteronomy warns and instructs that people in view of their approaching entrance upon their inheritance.

The Poetical books record the spiritual experiences of the redeemed people in the varied scenes and events through which the providence of God led them.

The prophets were inspired preachers, and the prophetical books consist of sermons with brief connecting and explanatory passages. Two prophetical books, Ezekiel and Daniel, have a different character and are apocalyptic, largely.

The Bible tells the Human Story.

Beginning with the creation of the earth and man, the story of the first human pair continues through the first eleven chapters of Genesis.

With the twelfth chapter begins the history of Abraham and of the nation of which Abraham was the ancestor. It is that nation, Israel, with which the Bible narrative is mainly concerned with from the eleventh chapter of Genesis to the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles.

The Gentiles are mentioned, but only in connection with Israel. But it is made increasingly clear that Israel fills the scene only because they are entrusted with the accomplishment of great world-wide purposes (Deuteronomy 7:7). The appointed mission of Israel was:

1) To be a witness to the unity of God in the midst of idolatry (Deuteronomy 6:5; Isaiah 43:10)

2) To illustrate to the nations the greater blessedness of serving the one true God (Deuteronomy 33:26-29; 1 Chronicles 17:20,21; Psalms 102:15

3) To receive and preserve the Divine revelation (Romans 3:1,2)

4) To produce the Messiah, earth’s Savior and Lord (Romans 9:4). The prophets foretell a glorious future for Israel under the reign of Christ.

The Central Theme of the Bible is Christ.

It is Jesus Christ — “God manifest in the flesh” (1 Timothy 3:16) — his sacrificial death, and his resurrection, which makes up the Gospel. All earlier Scripture points forward to Him leads, while all following Scripture points back to Him.

The Gospel is preached in the Acts and explained in the Epistles. Christ, Son of God, Son of man, Son of Abraham, Son of David, thus binds the many books into one Book.

Seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15) he is the ultimate destroyer of Satan and his works; Seed of Abraham he is the world’s Blesser; Seed of David he is Israel’s King. “Desire of all Nations.”

Exalted to the right hand of God he is “head over all to the Church, which is his body.”

Meanwhile the Church looks for the fulfillment of his special promise: “I will come again and receive you unto myself” (John 14:1-3).

The Gospel of John: Christ is God

In this study we’re going to wrap up our series on how Old Testament messianic themes are presented in the Gospels.

We began with the Gospel of Matthew, which presents Christ as King. Then we looked at the Gospel of Mark, which presents Christ as the Suffering Servant. Next, we looked at the Gospel of Luke, which presents Christ as Perfect Man. In this study we’ll finish up by looking at the Gospel of John, which presents Christ as God.

Christ, the Devine Messiah

The Old Testament makes it very clear that it’s God alone who saves us from the judgment of sin. He is the only Savior. “I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior,” God tells us in Isaiah 43:11. And again in Isaiah 63:16, “You, O LORD, are our Father; Our Redeemer from Everlasting is Your name.”

Likewise, the Messiah is described as an eternal being in Micah 5:2. He comes to His temple in Malachi 3:1, and is sent by the Father and Holy Spirit in Isaiah 48:12,16-17. He is called the Mighty God in Isaiah 9:6.

This is the Divine Messiah presented in the Gospel of John.

John calls Jesus “The Word” and tells us the Word is God in John 1:1. He is the creator of all things in John 1:3.

In John 5 Jesus is almost killed for declaring Himself equal with God in verse 18. He claims to see God and is shown all things by Him in verses 19-20. He claims to be the final judge of all in verse 22.

Jesus commands that all honor the Son just as they honor the Father in verse 23. He claims He’ll one day raise the dead in verse 25 and claims His will is identical to the Father’s in verse 30.

Chapter 10 finds Jesus nearly stoned again claiming to be God. In chapter 19 He is crucified because He claimed to be the Son of God. But in chapter 20 Jesus’ tomb is empty because He is God and death cannot contain Him!

The Gospel of Mark: Christ Suffers & Serves

In our last post we talked about how the Gospel of Matthew presents Christ as King. In this study we’re going to look at the messianic theme of suffering and serving and how this theme is presented in the Gospel of Mark.

As we mentioned last time, we aren’t saying that one Gospel only presents one messianic theme; but just that each emphasizes one theme a bit more than others.

Christ, the Suffering Servant

Though a King, the Old Testament prophets said that the Messiah was going to be rejected. He’s despised, rejected, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief and one who was to be despised in Isaiah 53:1-3. He is a sanctuary for some but a stone of stumbling for others in Isaiah 8:14.

The prophets also said the Messiah would be a sacrifice. He was to be cut off (or killed), but not for Himself, Daniel 9:26 tells us. He’s wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, His soul a sin offering, the Lord lays our sin on Him, and He makes intercession on our behalf in Isaiah 53.

This is the Suffering Servant presented to us in the Gospel of Mark.

The Gospel of Mark can be divided into two sections: The Service of Christ (Chapters 1-13), and the Sacrifice of Christ (Chapters 14-16).

Mark focuses more on what Jesus did rather than what He said. We find more miracles than parables. Three times in the first chapter alone we find Jesus healing people. Overall, Mark records nineteen miracles in only sixteen chapters.

Most of these miracles involve Jesus feeding the poor and healing the sick. “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister,” Mark 10:45 tells us.

In chapter 11 we find Jesus willingly entering Jerusalem knowing He would be crucified there. Judas plots to betray Him and the Apostles forsake Him in chapter 14. Jesus is alone as He is tried, beaten and sent to the cross in chapters 15.

In chapter 16, after He’s resurrected, Jesus seeks out those who abandoned Him, restores their faith, and sends them out into the world to tell about the Suffering Servant Messiah who died for those He loved.

Next: The Gospel Of Luke; Christ is Perfect Man