PART 2 CHURCH TEACHINGS

Wed, 12/01/2021 - 3:15pm

PART 2 CHURCH TEACHINGS

2

TO LEARN ABOUT THE FOUNDATIONAL AND INTELLECTUAL DOCTRINES OF THE FAITH                                    

Another reason why we should attend 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 that there are no longer any apostles or prophets, thus leaving the administration in the hands of the pastor-teachers. Whether this is true or not will be discussed in another study.    

This study can get tricky because what exactly are the truths of the faith 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 would even advocate that this confession should be made to a priest.    

Furthermore, certain sins are classified as being unforgivable if not confessed and turned from. These sins, which are called mortal, they would say will cause a believer to lose their eternal standing with God. If, however, there is no evidence of any severe sins in a believer’s life, only lesser ones, called venial, then it’s 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 prayers to be offered by those in attendance to help expedite his/her journey to heaven from this intermediate place of punishment, which is called Purgatory.

And are far as when sins are forgiven, there is also divergence on this. There is quite a contingent of churches that 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 (regenerated) and would go to hell at death.

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

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 God the Father forgive us our sins. The word forgive means to be restored to fellowship with Him along with recovering the rule of the Holy Spirit.   

You could probably mention any doctrinal teaching, and I would guess that what is taught is presented with a different perspective depending on the church you are attending. So, where does this leave us? I will say it like this. You should be following 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 never has or never will 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 is the teachings about the Christian faith that will be presented to you by those in authority. The first classification I will call Absolute Doctrines, Stability Doctrines, or Foundational Doctrines. These are doctrines upon which our faith stands. Another way of saying this is that they secure us in our faith. Some of them will evidence which member of the Trinity originated the divine plan for humankind, 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 won’t just be mentioned by name but will be substantiated as being valid 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.15 Each member possesses the same divine attributes (sovereignty, righteousness, justice, love, eternal life, omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, immutability, and truth). However, they don’t 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., like angels or someone like the first man Adam, both of whom fell). 

The first member of the Trinity that we’ll look at more closely is Christ, and we’ll 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.16 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 character17) of God (the Father), thought it not robbery to be equal with God (He 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 God18).

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

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

    

Is there a Scripture that 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 (ho Theos), is forever and ever. In Greek, the word O is not found 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 saith, Thy throne (kingdom), the God, is forever and ever. Jesus is called the God (ho Theos).

    

Is there a Scripture that 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 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’s 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.19 Therefore, Jesus is deity.    

So, 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’ll attempt to answer are as follows. 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 attempt to answer is this. 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, the Holy Spirit, 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 proceeds received from selling a piece of land, which they initially promised to give all of which to the church to help those in need who were being persecuted by the Roman government. Peter was discussing this change of heart with Ananias and told him that he had lied to the Holy Spirit and as such hast not lied unto men, but unto (to) God (Theoo). This affirms that the Holy Spirit is God.

The final member of the Trinity we’ll look at is called God the Father. Some of the questions we’ll attempt to answer concerning Him are the following. 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 divine 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 Greek of the 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 has 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 shadow20… which 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 (besides 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 is that there is only one God, God the Father.

The other way to look at this is that each of the two members of the Trinity mentioned here is assigned a different title of deity. There is 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.21 So, we could surmise 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 following doctrine is of most importance and yet, in many cases, neglected (disregarded) 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 OF CHRIST

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 canceled their debt (providing forgiveness), thus satisfying the justice 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;

When Jesus died physically on the cross by the giving up of His ghost (His human spirit), He descended into hell (Hadees) in order to preach (made an official announcement) unto the spirits (the 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-entered 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).

The next topic we’ll take a look at is called salvation. This word is used to describe another foundational doctrine and is mentioned quite frequently in Christian settings. However, how what was received that pertained 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 (an 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 the 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’m 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 that don’t support this perspective.

 

  • 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. Suggested Reading: 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.

 

  • A child who is unable to make a 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, who died of sickness.

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.              

David made the comment that he would meet up with his son in the future when his time came to pass on from this life. This probably referred to a place called Abraham’s bosom, which is where the Old Testament saints would go at death during the Age of the Jews. Suggested Readings: 1 Samuel 12:15-23; Luke 16:19-31; Luke 23:39-43; 1 Peter 3:18-20

 

  • Water baptism does not forgive sins.

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;

Romans 6:3-4 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.

The sins of the whole world were forgiven at the cross. When we read from certain verses that seem to indicate that a person’s sins were forgiven at water baptism, what this really means is that it’s 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 was mentioned in conjunction with water baptism, which signified 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 won’t take place unless the unbeliever was baptized in water for the forgiveness of sins and along with this evidences good works. If water baptism does take place, salvation is conditional based on a witness of good works. As we can see, according to this perspective, there are a lot of components.

Let’s take a look at the five reasons that dispel this gospel approach.

 

  • Repentance and belief are 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.

 

  • Water baptism is not the basis for the forgiveness of sins.

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

 

  • Water baptism is not necessary for the salvation process.

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

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

 

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

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?

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’s 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.

 

  • The substantiation of salvation is not good works but the indwelling Spirit.

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

Good works can be difficult to differentiate as to whether their motivation is from the sin nature or the filling (guiding; leading; control) of the Spirit. What produces good (godly) results in a believer’s life 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 renewing of the mind refers to thinking with God’s Word or divine perspective concerning ourselves, others, and the circumstances of life. The result of such will be the spiritual characteristics of the Spirit being expressed by us toward others.

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

 

View #3: Repentance and Belief

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:

Unbelievers who respond to the gospel will receive the indwelling Spirit along with additional spiritual benefits.

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 Christ22): it is the gift of (not a purchase from) God: Not of works (of human activity), lest any man should boast.

There is nothing that we can perform meritoriously to secure our salvation, which is received solely by God’s grace and through faith (our belief – non-meritorious).

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 left to look at. While we might not cover all of them in this study, we’ll cover most of them. The next one we’ll take a look at is called the atonement.

 

THE ATONEMENT

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.

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 to satisfy the justice of God the Father. The Father made Christ 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.

The ensuing foundational doctrine we’ll look at next is called redemption.

 

REDEMPTION

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

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

This is the deliverance from the judgment of our sins.

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

 

THE BLOOD

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

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, i.e., of Christ’s death on the cross, the giving of His life.

The next foundational doctrine has been looked at earlier. Let’s add a few thoughts to it.

 

FORGIVENESS OF SINS

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;

The forgiveness of sins means to blot them out; to not 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, the forgiveness of sins was also provided.

Believe it or not, there is contention in theological circles as to the occurrence of the forgiveness of sins not 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 the different perspectives on this subject. Is this view supported by Scripture? If not, what scriptural arguments could be used to dispel it?

 

  • The 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.

 

  • The 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;

 

  • The 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.

A clearer perspective as to whether water baptism forgives sins can be found in the book of Colossians.

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;

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 (of your body) of which uncircumcision is a sign of, has he (God the Holy Spirit) quickened (made alive) together with Christ, having forgiven you (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. Most of the original New Testament manuscripts were written in what was called Koine Greek, the common language of the people at that time. Some of it, very little, was written in Aramaic. When a verse was translated into English, sometimes the structure of the sentence appeared to be saying one thing when it actually was not. This is mainly the case when a participle appears in Scripture in the Aorist tense. This begs the question. What is a participle? And what is the Aorist tense?

A participle can also be known as a verbal adjective, and it 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 what kind of action is being expressed by the verb. In this instance, the action is denoted as occurring at a point in time. In any verse, if we’re 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 movement of the principal verb or verbs in the verse of Scripture. In other words, this rendering will bring about an awareness of something happening before something else that we weren’t able to tell from the English translation. 

So, with this in mind, the words having forgiven are, you guessed it, an Aorist Participle, which tells us that the forgiveness of sins (the minor verb) occurred prior to the quickening (the major verb) 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. 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 study. 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. And second, that water baptism does not forgive sins.

Another foundational doctrine that we’ll take a look at next is called 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 Father’s 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. 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 the Father’s validation that the redemption paid by Christ on the cross was accepted23 by Him.

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.

After He was 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 was proof that the atonement and forgiveness for sin accomplished its purpose, i.e., to satisfy the debt owed to the justice of God. It also proved that Christ is who He said He was, i.e., 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, He paved the way for all who believed in God as He was revealed from dispensation to dispensation to enter heaven. Hallelujah!

What comes next 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.

We’re told by Scripture that there is only one way to get to heaven. And that 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 only avenue that God has provided and approved of. If we believe there is another way, 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 think that the way to heaven is narrow because they would infer that this would make God unloving and discriminatory.

So, I ask you to consider these questions. Who else left heaven, was born of a virgin (had 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.

 

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

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;

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

 

  • Eternal 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:

The word water is not to be taken literally for water baptism but figuratively for the gospel of Christ. So, therefore, the salvation message would be water (the gospel message of repentance and belief) and the subsequent receiving of the indwelling Spirit.

 

  • Eternal salvation is based on the evidence of good works.

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.

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

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 might be evident but what they evidence are the characteristics of the old sin nature.

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.

Second, they might indicate that the proper teachings have been presented, but the believer has chosen not to learn and apply the protocol for putting on the new man or person they have been made to be at salvation.

 

  • Eternal Salvation can be lost because of habitual egregious sin.

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

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

The first one was called 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 chose to dwell in the plain of Jordan in a place called Sodom, while Abram decided to live in the Promised Land of 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. Eventually, two angels were 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 this 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. Suggested Reading: Genesis 11:31; Genesis chapter 13; Genesis 18:16-33; Genesis chapter 19.

The second person we’ll look at in this regard was called 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 described his life. Jealousy, pre-meditated murder, and 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 one of the enemies of Israel, the Philistines, he sought counsel from God as to the outcome of the fight. 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.

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.

The witch summoned 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 fight. And then Samuel made an astounding statement. 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. This begs the question. Where was Samuel?

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.              

Samuel was residing in a compartment at Hades called Abraham’s bosom, which was where every Old Testament saint went at physical death.

This proves that it’s not what someone does or what sins they commit which determine 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 and is seen by Him that way until their life is over, end of the 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 substantiate our belief system and ourselves, who are new creatures in Christ. These are just some of the doctrines that we should hear about from the pulpit that provide comfort and assurance about our faith. And this should not be the end-all. There are other doctrines that we should also hear that will provide us with further awareness of our faith. I will call this next group of principals, Intellectual Doctrines.

Pertaining to these, I will just mention some of their descriptive titles. The doctrine of Spiritual Blessings, the doctrine of 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. What one will find out concerning the teachings about any of these when attending different churches is that there will be different explanations when presenting and describing them.

You might respond by saying I’m born-again, I have received the indwelling Spirit, I hear teachings on Foundational and Intellectual Doctrines, and yet I’m 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 and eventually attended the same church where I received the indwelling Spirit. At that time, God’s presence was apparent. Soon thereafter, I attended weekly Sunday morning services and also 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 people to go to heaven and others to go to hell. Another learning was as to whether every believer could and should receive what is called the gift of tongues. Along with this, reminders of what kind of clothes to wear, of how long a persons’ hair should be, and of how much money a member should earn to make a living were often topics of discussion.

After a small group of young Spirit-filled believers left this church because of disagreement as to the teachings that were being conveyed to them by leadership, it seemed as if God’s presence was nowhere to be found. After I had been studying and teaching the Word of God for over thirty years, I believe I know now why this was the case.

One reason could be attributed to the loss of the corporate anointing. Most of the Spirit-filled believers left, leaving the majority of those who remained one could describe as being religious. Another reason could be that while many churches present the gospel and provide teachings on many biblical topics, both Foundational and Intellectual, they neglect or are misinformed about another kind of teaching which I will call Spiritual Growth Doctrines. These doctrines either are not taught at all or are taught with earthly or human wisdom, thus inhibiting the operation of the ministry of the Spirit, thereby obstructing the believer from experiencing God’s presence, whether during the gathering of the saints or outside of it. Are you ready to find out what these doctrines are all about? Please turn to the next chapter.

 

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Endnotes

15R.B. Thieme Jr., The Trinity (Houston, Texas: Berachah Tapes and Publications, 1993).

16R.B. Thieme Jr.

17Weust’s Word Studies.

 18Adam Clarke’s Commentary.

 19Weust’s Word Studies.

 20Adam Clarke’s Commentary.

 21Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament.

 22Weust’s Word Studies.

 23Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament