PART 14 THE SPIRITUALITY PUZZLE
PART 14 The Spirituality Puzzle
What causes someone to become a child of God and have assurance of eternal life?
Beware of another Salvation Message
Throughout the Epistles believers were warned about not following another gospel (salvation message). What was it about this other gospel that was considered false teaching? If we could find this out, this would help us in knowing what kind of information constitutes a false gospel and therefore what information should not be contained in the true gospel.
Let’s begin by taking a look at Paul’s displeasure with the saints at Galatia, some of whom had removed themselves from the gospel he presented to them to another gospel.
9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
The apostle Paul was speaking to the Christians at Galatia in relation to what we have been studying about, i.e. the salvation message. Apparently, they had been instructed in a different gospel, another gospel, by false teachers called Judaizers, Jewish Christians, the gospel of whom was different from the one they heard from the apostle Paul. With this in mind, Paul said, may those who might teach you another gospel be accursed. The Greek word for “accursed” is transliterated as anathema and it means divine judgments would soon follow191.
This is a very serious matter. The seriousness of which reminds me of the story in 1 Corinthians chapter 11 when the Gentile and Jewish Christians got together to enjoy a meal together in what was called an agape feast. In the early church, believers would meet every day for this get together. Later, it was changed to meeting once a week.
It was not only for fellowship, but also to provide physical nourishment for the poor. Apparently, instead of waiting for everyone to attend, those who were considered wealthy became impatient and decided to consume their own food and drink, and because of such many of them became drunk. When it was time to partake of the Lord’s supper, those who arrived after all the food and drink were consumed looked on the bread and wine with natural and not spiritual nourishment. The result was that many in the assembly were disciplined by God and as such became weak (a lack of spiritual comfort and peace; a loss of communion with God192), sickly (without physical strength due to bodily sickness and disease193), and many slept (many died, the result of their sickness), because of not respecting the Lord’s Supper.
The difference between what happened concerning disrespecting the Lord’s Supper and trying to determine which salvation message being as the apostle Paul would call it, the grace of Christ is that I’m sure those who disrespected the Lord’s Supper knew they were doing such. In this case, we don’t clearly know as of yet which one of these two salvation messages is the one and only one. Therefore, there is no accountability insofar as discipline was concerned.
6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
Paul was not only upset with them, but might we say surprised of the short duration between the conversion of some by means of the grace of Christ (to a participation in the salvation procured by His Son on the Cross, it was on a basis, not of works, but of a salvation unmerited by them and freely bestowed194) to another gospel (a gospel of legalism which adds work to faith195).
7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
Romans 11:6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
And then Paul constitutes this false gospel as an opposition gospel which was really not an alternative one196 at all. He then identifies those who were teaching these untruths. And believe it or not they were Christians, fellow Jewish Christians, otherwise known as Judaizers, who were disturbing their fellow believers mentally by changing the gospel of grace which Paul preached, to the reverse of what it was, a message of salvation by good works, legalism.
The end of this declaration concludes with what it was that was being perverted, the grace of Christ, which is otherwise described as the good news with Christ as the content197. I hope you caught that. The grace of Christ is described as Christ as the content. Nothing is to be added to it or taken from it.
To summarize, this other gospel is described as being a gospel of legalism, which adds work to faith198. What else we have learned is that the true gospel, the grace of Christ contains content about Christ as the good news.
What else can we find out about ‘another gospel’? Please go to 2 Corinthians 11.
Ye Might Well Bear with Him
Suggested Reading: 2 Corinthians 11:1-33
3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
The apostle Paul is very concerned about the Christians at the church of Corinth, who were susceptible to false teachers and their destructive teachings. He used the example of the serpent and Eve in the garden of Eden. He said that he feared that as by many means, as the devil beguiled (deceived) Eve by his subtilty (shrewdness; the possibility insinuated by the serpent, of GOD not having her truest interests at heart, and of this ‘other’ professing friend being more concerned for her than GOD199) and caused her to disobey God’s instructions, so likewise if they accepted false doctrine they too, their minds (thoughts) would be corrupted (filled with unholy plans, and purposes, and desires200; and as such be lead astray from the simplicity the “singleness of purpose,” that is, a “full” or “total” devotion201) that is in Christ. In the next verse, he clearly tells them exactly what to look out for in their messages, which are scripturally false, and as such to not submit or even tolerate those who proclaim them.
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.
So, here it is. Paul is essentially saying, if you hear anything in what is said that I am warning you about now, then get out from under it. To say it bluntly, leave, get out of there. What was it that they should not look for and what is it that they should look for in teachings concerning what should not be and what should be contained in the content of the salvation message? We will begin by presenting what should not be, followed by what should be.
~ Someone who preaches another Jesus, a different Jesus that is not consistent with the facts about Jesus202. This is all about His identity. They will say he was only a teacher, prophet, a perfect man, and even the Son of God. It is true that he was a prophet, a teacher, a perfect man (sinless), and even the Son of God, but so much more. And there is one thing they deny about his identity which is paramount to salvation. With their uncharacterization, of who he is, this allows them to proclaim that all the roads (teachings of) i.e. Buddah, Allah, Mohammed, etc., will bring their followers to the same place at physical death.
Scriptures tell us that he pre-existed time along with God the Father and the Holy Spirit who are together called the “Eternal Powers” or as some call them, the trinity. And the one thing they deny about his identity which is paramount to salvation is that he is deity, God incarnate, undiminished deity (fully God) and true humanity (fully man). John 1:1; 1 John 4:1-3; Colossians 1:17; John 8:58; Philippians 2:6
~ If you receive another spirit, such as a spirit called a life force or the power of God.
There is only one spirit that unless we are indwelt by, we will not be able to experience God the Holy Spirit’s presence and guidance; we will have no access to God the Father; and we will not have the only evidence that proves to God that we are owned by Him, and that is the person, one of the members of the trinity, the Holy Spirit, who is deity.
~ If you accept another gospel. This false gospel not only conveys a different Jesus, as one who is not deity, but also as one who could not pay for the sins of the whole world, as one who was not raised from the dead, as one who did not pay for the penalty of sin, as one who did not satisfy the justice of God. Barnes Commentary says that these false gospels are desirable because they are more worthy of your acceptance - one more free, more full, more rich in promises; one that revealed a better plan of salvation, or that was more full of comfort and peace203.
The true gospel (good news) of Christ proclaims that he is deity, who left heaven and came to earth in the form of a man being conceived by the Holy Spirit and born to a virgin named Mary. He lived a sinless life listening to and obeying the instructions of God the Father while being sustained by the Holy Spirit. He died in our place as the substitute to pay the penalty owed due to Adam’s sin in the garden of Eden, being raised from the dead after three days meaning his sacrifice satisfied the justice of God, never to die again, and ascended into heaven to be seated at the Father’s right hand. John 1:1; Philippians 2:7; John 8:58; Matthew 1:19-20; Philippians 2:7-8; John 5:19; Hebrews 4:15; Romans 5:18; 1 Corinthians 15:4-9; Acts 1:9-10
So, what can we say we have learned about what a false gospel proclaims and conversely what the true gospel declares?
Another gospel or false gospel:
●Is a message of salvation by good works, of legalism. Galatians 1:6-8
●Is described as the good news about someone else other than Christ being the content. Galatians 1:6-8
●Denies Jesus identity, as being deity. 2 Corinthians 11:1-33
●Denies that the Holy Spirit is a person and deity. 2 Corinthians 11:1-33
●Denies that Christ came to earth as deity being conceived by the Spirit and born to a virgin, whose nature is both undiminished deity (fully God) and true humanity (fully man). And neither was he sinless, nor did his sacrifice on the cross accomplish anything, who was never raised from the dead, and having died as an earthly human being of no divine origin. 2 Corinthians 11:1-33; Philippians 2:6-11
Likewise, the true gospel, the true salvation message:
●Is not a message of salvation by good works, of legalism. Galatians 1:6-8
●Is described as Christ being the content. Galatians 1:6-8
●Declares Jesus as being deity. 2 Corinthians 11:1-33
●Declares that the Holy Spirit is a person and deity. 2 Corinthians 11:1-33
●Declares that Christ did come to earth as deity being conceived by the Spirit and born to a virgin, whose nature is both undiminished deity (fully God) and true humanity (fully man). Who was sinless, died on a cross to pay the penalty for sin, was raised from the dead after three days satisfying the demands of the Father’s justice, and ascended into heaven to be seated at the Father’s right hand. 2 Corinthians 11:1-33; Philippians 2:6-11
Does anything that we have found out here help us to distinguish the salvation message of Repentance and Belief to the salvation message of Repentance, Belief, Water Baptism, and Godly Works? I would say no, but it was an interesting study. Is that it?
Is there anything else that we should look at before drawing a conclusion as to which salvation message is the one that causes an unbeliever to find God or become his child and bring assurance of eternal life? There was something that was mentioned earlier in this study, but was not elaborated on.
Let’s investigate this scripturally and see where this gets us.
Which Comes First, the Chicken Or the Egg, i.e. the Power Or the Indwelling?
This was mentioned earlier in this study, but not much was elaborated on it. What was discussed, i.e. the filling of the Spirit and the indwelling of the Spirit? According to the salvation message of Repentance and Belief the indwelling of the Spirit must come before the filling or they could occur simultaneously. The salvation message of Repentance, Belief, Water Baptism, and Godly Works proclaims that at times the indwelling of the Spirit occurred before the filling and at other times the filling occurred before the indwelling.
What I am going to focus on is the filling occurring before the indwelling. You’ll see why as we proceed.
Before I give you examples of such, the first thing we should know is, what does the word filling mean?
Let’s go to the book of Acts.
Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Jesus told his disciples before he ascended that they would receive power after the Holy Spirit came upon them. This word “power” means the power for witness (of the gospel) and service204 (exercise the gifts of the Spirit). It can also mean to be supernaturally empowered. And that this power would be received after the Holy Spirit came upon them. The words “come upon” are used of the Holy Spirit, descending and operating in one205.
Stay in the book of Acts and proceed ahead to chapter 2.
Filled with the Holy Ghost
Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
On the day of Pentecost, the apostles received this power that was spoken earlier to them by Jesus in Acts 1:8. However, a different word is used here to express this, that being the word “filled”. What does this word mean? The word filled means to be filled with God’s power for witness (of the gospel) and service206 (exercise the gifts of the Spirit). It can also mean miraculous power. Both words “power” and “filled” seem to essentially mean the same thing.
Please go to the book of Ephesians.
Be Filled with the Spirit
Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit
This verse has been looked at a couple of times in this study. Let’s take a fresh look at it again.
We are commanded to be filled with the Spirit. The words filled with the Spirit or wording similar to these are found at least four or five times in the Epistles. The word “filled” refers to the believer being under the Spirit’s control. But it also suggests the idea that this condition occurs because the believer has yielded themselves to Him. When we are yielded to him, he is said to control us in our mind, emotions, and will207. And as we learn how to consistently be under his control, we will increasingly manifest his fruit i.e. love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.
I think that now we have a pretty good idea as to how each of the remaining two salvation messages will define the word filling, and as such this will substantiate each of their perspectives on filling and indwelling. I am going to repeat what was said in the beginning of this chapter, however, where the word filling occurs, I will include its definition. According to the salvation message of Repentance and Belief the indwelling of the Spirit must occur simultaneously with or come before the filling [to be filled with God’s power for witness (of the gospel) and service208 (exercise the gifts of the Spirit); to be under the Spirit’s control, when we are yielded to him; and when this is such we will manifest his fruit i.e. love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance]. Whereas, the salvation message of Repentance, Belief, Water Baptism, and Godly Works proclaims that at times the indwelling of the Spirit occurred before the filling [to be filled with God’s power for witness (of the gospel) and service209 (exercise the gifts of the Spirit); to be supernaturally empowered to manifest the gifts of the Spirit] and at other times the filling (to be supernaturally empowered to manifest the gifts of the Spirit) occurred before the indwelling. Do you recognize the difference between how the word filling is defined?
The salvation message of Repentance, Belief, Water Baptism, and Godly Works would say that the filling could occur before the indwelling. As for the apostles in Acts 1:8, they contend that they were already saved, received the power (the filling) of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost to manifest His gifts, and received the indwelling Spirit later, when they were baptized with water. At the house of the gentile Cornelius and his household from Acts 10:44, they would claim that the words “fell on” refer to the Spirit providing them with power to evidence His gifts (speaking tongues and praising God). Then following this confirmation that God was ushering the gentiles in to the kingdom, Peter ordered them to be baptized where they received the indwelling Spirit.
Furthermore, the salvation message of Repentance and Belief would contend that in order to be filled you must be indwelt by the Spirit beforehand or simultaneously. Why, because how can someone be yielded to the Spirit and manifest his power or fruit if He is not residing within them?
It seems like each time I am ready to present the closing remarks another thought comes into my mind. This one relates to the forgiveness of sins and final judgment. Let’s see how these two topics relate not only to one another, but also the salvation message.
195Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament.
197UBS New Testament.
198Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament.
199Jamieson, Faucet, and Brown.
201UBS New Testament.
202UBS New Testament.
204The Bible Exposition Commentary/New Testament.
207The Bible Exposition Commentary/New Testament.
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