“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
1) If It Had Been an Angel Instead… (Tom Edwards)
2) Repentance Only (Frank Himmel)
3) Raised Before Burial? (Ronnie E. Hinds)
If It Had Been an Angel Instead…
What if God would have sent a heavenly angel to become a man who would live among humanity for 33 years and then terribly suffer and die on that torturous cross in order to willingly make an atonement for every sinner?! If God would have done it that way, I imagine every believer would be truly thankful and would recognize God’s love and concern for each one of us.
But how much more, therefore, should we appreciate and be grateful for what God actually did?! For He did not send an angel, a created being that is much inferior to God; but, instead, He sent His only begotten Son who is the Creator of all (Jn. 1:3; Col. 1:16), who is just as much God as the Father Himself (Phil. 2:6; Jn. 1:1-3,14) and has existed throughout all eternity (cf. Micah 5:2; Jn. 8:58; Isa. 9:6; Heb. 7:3). For Jesus is “the radiance” of His Father’s glory and “the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power” (Heb. 1:3). Jesus is “the Word” that was “in the beginning with God,” “and the Word was God” (Jn. 1:1,2; cf. Heb. 1:8). And that “Word” also “became flesh, and dwelt among us…full of grace and truth” (Jn. 1:14). So in Christ, “all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Col. 2:9). And this is why Jesus was able to say, “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him and have seen Him” (Jn. 14:7). For “He who has seen Me has seen the Father…” (v. 9).
How much more superior is God to a heavenly angel? Would it not be a greatness beyond all we have ever known or could even imagine? And, yet, it was the eternal Son of God — not one of the creation, not a lesser being, but the Creator Himself — who was and is as much Deity as the Father, who suffered and died on a cruel cross for every one of us sinners!
But what of those who say they believe in Jesus, but do not see Him as who He truly is? That to them, Jesus was just a created being, less than God, and not the same as the eternal God. Can they be as impressed of the Lord’s sacrifice, or find it as meaningful, as do those of us who truly do see Jesus as having been in heaven in an equality with God the Father, prior to coming to our world?
So in God sending not an angel, but Jesus to make an atonement by His own death for every lost soul, we see the greatest of all expressions of love for all of us who are unworthy sinners who could never earn nor deserve such infinite favor!
God’s love for us, as seen at the cross of Christ, is overwhelming and impelling. In 1707, Isaac Watts wrote the following hymn about it, entitled, “When I Survey The Wondrous Cross”:
“When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
“Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.
“See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
“Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.”
Thanks be to God for sending the best and greatest so that even we who are the worst and least can escape the wrath to come and be eternally blessed in heaven’s bliss!
Jesus truly did His part in making the atonement and the way of salvation possible. Now we must each do our part in humbly submitting our lives to Him by our faith, repentance, confession of faith in Christ, and being baptized in water so that we may also benefit from that sacrifice that can cleanse of every sin – and then strive to maintain that faithful relationship with God, as we await the coming of our Lord! (cf. 1 Jn. 1:6,7; Rev. 2:10).
If the Bible teaches anything, it is that we are justified or saved by faith. Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). Some take this a step farther, however. They assert that we are justified by faith only, apart from anything else we may do. Thus, one is right with God at the point in time at which he believes in Jesus. As one creed puts it, “Wherefore, that we are justified by faith only, is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort” (25 Articles of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Article IX).
Faith-only advocates often try to build their case on verses that talk about faith as a condition of salvation but do not mention any other requirement. John 3:16 and Acts 16:31 are favorites. The argument is, because these say nothing about confession, baptism, etc., those things are not essential to salvation.
Using this approach, one could just as easily build a good case for salvation by repentance only. Consider the following passages:
“Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. And Jesus said to them, ‘Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish’” (Luke 13:1-5).
In the great commission, Jesus ordered “that repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47).
Thus, in his second gospel sermon, Peter preached, “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away” (Acts 3:19). And Paul concluded his great sermon at Athens with these words: “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31).
None of these passages mention faith (see also Acts 11:18; 26:20; 2 Peter 3:9; etc.). Shall we therefore conclude that faith is not essential? Of course not. In these references, repent is used to summarize man’s response to the gospel, just the terms believe and faith are used in others.
Instead of pitting one verse against another, take into account all the Bible says on the subject. “The sum of Your word is truth” (Psalm 119:160).
— Via Pathlights, August 14, 2016
Raised Before Buried?
Ronnie E. Hinds
I have asked this question before, but I want to ask it again. Did Jesus’ resurrection occur before He was buried? Before you think I have completely lost all sense of sanity, you need to understand that millions of people, maybe even you, appear to believe that is what happened. Let me explain.
Romans 6:4 says, “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Note the comparison between Christ and us. “That just as Christ…even so we also.” What happened to Christ? “Raised from the dead.” What parallels that for us? “Walk in newness of life.” What events preceded those? For Christ, His burial. For us, baptism. Now if we can have “newness of life” BEFORE baptism, as many teach and believe, then, to maintain the parallel, you must believe Christ was raised before He was buried. “Absurd,” you say. I know! That is why I teach baptism is essential to be saved, to become a Christian.
— Via Bulletin Articles from the Collegevue church of Christ, December 20, 2015
“Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law And keep it with all my heart” (Psalm 119:34, NASB).
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM (worship)
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)