Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Defiling Root of Bitterness

Two Streams of Grace into the Believer’s Life
Empowerment and Chastisement

4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. 5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. 12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; 13 And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. 14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; 16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. 17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears” (Hebrews 12:5-17).

The book of Hebrews is filled with warnings to people who think they can believe almost anything, or worship in almost any way, and still consider themselves to be saved.  We have such a warning as this in Hebrews 12:4-17.  The warning regards compromise and is twofold in its application.

1. A professing Christian’s compromise may reveal a lack of understanding (Matthew 13:19) regarding the objective facts of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and resultantly misplaced faith.  The warning is that such a person may not really be saved.  This possibility is something those willing to compromise doctrine should carefully consider and evaluate regarding the reality of their own faith.
2. When a professing Christian compromises the truth that he professes to believe, such compromise is sin.  He should expect to be supernaturally chastised for such an act of disobedience.  If chastisement does not happen, he should understand that the lack of chastisement regarding the compromise of the Gospel manifests that he is really not a child of God after all in that God chastises His children when they disobey.  Such a person really fails of the saving “grace of God” (Hebrews 12:15).  The word “fail” in Hebrews 12:15 is from the Greek word hustereo (hoos-ter-eh'-o), which essentially means to come short of in the sense of missing it

The question to which Hebrews 12:5-6 refers is the “exhortation” of Proverbs 3:11-12.  In the context of Hebrews chapter twelve, the reference is used to correlate “chastening of the LORD’ as a blessing that belongs to the intimacy of a genuine relationship with God as the believer’s “Father.”  The intent of the correlation is that God does not chastise or discipline people who are not His children “by grace through faith.”  We should not try to escape persecution, afflictions, and/or various kinds of difficult situations through compromise.  God may be using these very things to try the genuineness of our faith (James 1:3). 

11 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: Anchor12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth” (Proverbs 3:11-12).

Every believer has filial obligations (that which is befitting to a son or daughter) as the children of God.  As a child of God, a believer is given much more than a mere escape from condemnation.  Every believer who is “born again” of the Spirit of God “by grace through faith” has literally become a child of God.

The moment a believer becomes a child of God; he takes upon himself the Name of God.  With the Name of God comes all the responsibilities to protect the testimony with which the Name of God identifies him.  To fail in protecting the testimony of what the Name of God represents is essentially what is involved in taking God’s Name in vain, which is the predominant sin of any sin a believer commits.  To take God’s Name in vain is to live in any way that might reflect a distorted image of God in the world.

“Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain” (Exodus 20:7).

          When God says His children are not to “take” His Name in vain, He does not mean use.  “Take” is from the Hebrew word nasa' (naw-saw') meaning to accept or to carry.  To “take” the Name of God is like a wife taking the name of her husband or as a child takes the name of his father.  This is exemplified in Genesis 4:25-26.

25 And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew. {Seth: Heb. Sheth: that is Appointed, or, Put} 26 And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD {lit., to call themselves by the name of the Lord}” (Genesis 4:25-26).

          Anytime a professing believer lives in a way that is contradictory to the Word of God (any sin, any action, and/or any inaction) that might cause someone to get a false impression of God or what Christianity is all about, that person has taken God’s Name in vain and perverted the glory of God.

8 Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient {just what is needed} for me: 9 Lest I be full, and deny thee {belie thee; meaning to give a false idea or misrepresentation}, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and {by stealing} take the name of my God in vain” (Proverbs 30:8-9).

          This is why God hates any form of idolatry.  Idolatry causes men to form a false image of God and when they think of God or pray to God.  They form a mental picture and think about that false image in their minds.
          A central concern of a spiritually revived child of God is the sanctity of the Name of the Father.  A true child of God is concerned about his own testimony and image, because his testimony and image misrepresents Who God is and what God allows.  The spiritual child of God is concerned about how he lives, because he is reflecting the image of God through his way of life.
As a believer is confronted in life by persecution, afflictions, and/or various difficult situations, we are to act upon them in two specific ways as directed by God in Hebrews 12:5:

1. “despise not thou the chastening of the Lord”
2. “nor faint when thou art rebuked of him”

The word “despise” is from the Greek word oligoreo (ol-ig-o-reh'-o), which means to disregard.  The idea of the meaning is to give “chastening” little or no value.  The word “chastening is from the Greek word paideia (pahee-di'-ah), which refers to tutorage.  The idea in this word is educational training through practical discipline.  The end result is an outcome where the individual chastened learns to be proactive in his own discipline and begins to acts responsibly according to the Father’s will.

After having taken into careful consideration the loving purposes of the Father in our “chastening,” then we should not “faint when thou art rebuked of him.”  “Chastening” should not discourage a believer, but it should rather encourage him.  When God chastens a believer, He is telling him there is an area of his life that needs his immediate attention.  Although God, like any father, never wants His children to live completely independent from Him, He does want His children to be mature enough that they do not need His constant leading.  He wants them to begin to govern their own lives according to the principles of righteousness established by Him in His Word.  “Chastening” is God working to get us to a place of maturity and self-discipline in our lives. 

The words “come short of it” in Hebrews 4:1 are also translated from the Greek word hustereo (hoos-ter-eh'-o), which is translated “fail” in Hebrews 12:15.  The warning regarding coming short of saving faith is continued into the rest of the text of Hebrews chapter four.

6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached {to the Jews in the wilderness in the water from the rock and the manna from heaven} entered not in because of unbelief: Anchor7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. Anchor8 For if Jesus {literally Joshua} had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. Anchor9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall {the idea is to begin to take flight and then fall to the ground in failure} after the same example of unbelief” (Hebrews 4:6-11).

The key to understanding the context of the verses of Hebrews 12:4-17 is found in verse 15; “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God.”  This statement parallels the statement of Hebrews 4:10 and is a similar warning.  The warning is about evaluating the reality of faith.  A faith that has not ceased to trust in “works” (Moralism or Ritualism) for salvation has not rested in Christ’s work and is still lost.  The words “looking diligently” encourage the professing believer to take careful consideration about what verse four says; “Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.”  The thing to be considered is that you might discover yourself to be short of the saving grace of God.  A similar warning is found in Galatians 5:1-12.

1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. 2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. 3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised {that a circumcised person is part of the Abrahamic Covenant because of physical circumcision}, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. 7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? 8 This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. 9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be. 11 And I, brethren, if I yet preach {justification through} circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased. 12 I would they were even cut off which trouble you” (Galatians 5:1-12).

Ephesians 2:8-9 says we are saved “by grace through faith.”  The phrase “by grace through faith” refers to the salvation referred to in the Abrahamic Covenant, which connects to the Protevangelium of Genesis 3:15.  When faith is misplaced in a false belief system or it is not sincere and genuine, it never touches the gift of salvation given by grace.  That kind of misplaced faith is not faith at all and it comes short of that grace and falls out away from it.  Such a person is not closer to being saved, but rather further away. 

Anonymous comments will not be allowed. 
Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Breaking the Shackles of Spiritual Bondage

Breaking the Shackles of Spiritual Bondage
Bondage to the “flesh” and its desires (lusts) is impossible to escape in the power of the “flesh.”  This is what Paul addresses in Galatians 5:13-26.  Escaping the shackles of bondage of a fallen, corrupt, and carnal nature is the first front of our spiritual battle ground.  The believer must learn to be habitually victorious on this battle front in that victory here is the essential necessity to being used of God for spiritual purposes. 

13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. 16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law” (Galatians 5:13-18).

          Jesus spoke of this in John 8:30-32 by using the words “continue in my word” to describe what Paul describes as walking “in the Spirit” in Galatians 5:16.  Jesus uses the words “continue in my word” as a defining descriptor of what it means to be His “disciple.”  In other words, it is a contradiction to consider yourself a disciple of Jesus and not live habitually according to the teachings of Jesus.

“As he spake these words, many believed on him. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:30-32).

Most of us are aware of the repeat criminal who spends sentence after sentence in prison.  This is life pattern known as recidivism.  In other words, this person continually returns to destructive life patterns.  These individuals live in a bondage to a lifestyle framed into their personalities that never allows them to be freed from their own carnality.  The reality is that even when they are not behind the physical walls of a state institution, their lives exist in a prison of their own corruption.

Many Christians live in similar spiritual bondage.  Even though they may not commit the crimes that would put them behind bars, they constantly live in the shackles of sin; spiritually dysfunctional in every real way.  They want to be used of God, but cannot escape the bondage of their own depravity.  They tend to destroy the lives around them rather than build others up in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus. 

Moment by moment of each day, we choose to what we will be in bondage.  Not all bondage is bad.  Some things to which we are bound are good and righteous.  A man who is committed to his wife and family is bound to them.  That is a good bondage.  A person committed to obedience to God is bound to Him.  That, too, is a good bondage.  These are good bondages because they are honorable and righteous things that benefit everyone involved.  Yet there is a bondage that is totally self-occupied.  This is a matter of a choice of the will; to whom we will yield our will.    The Apostle Paul said:

“I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness” (Romans 6:19).

Bondage to what is right is a noble position.  Yet the important truth here is that we can choose to whom or to what we will be in bondage.  That choice is a gift of God.  Again this is about what Paul elaborates in Romans 8:15-21.

“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15).

“Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:21).

3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. 8 Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. 9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? 10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. 11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain” (Galatians 4:3-11).

The truth is that we will always be in bondage to something; “uncleanness” and “lawlessness unto lawlessness” or “righteousness unto holiness.”  The former imprisons us. The latter sets us free.  The only way we can be sure of what is right and what is wrong is to have an absolute standard - a proven standard.  Therefore, righteousness must be determined solely on the basis of understanding the Word of God.  If that is not our final standard, we will ultimately reduce ourselves to our own authority.  In that case we will determine our own morality and immorality.  That is called Secular Humanism.  Unfortunately, the Scriptures record many individuals who claimed to be God’s people, but actually were functionally Humanist.

God warned the nation of Israel: “Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes” (Deuteronomy 12:8).  Why would God give such a warning?  He gave this warning because He knows that such a mindset will result in spiritual bondage that imprisons.  Was this warning heeded?  We need only look a little latter in their history to find the answer.  

“In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6).
The problem was not that they did not have an earthly king.  The problem was that they failed to recognize and submit to their heavenly King.  This submission is what defines our understanding of the Lordship of Christ.  Lord is not a title given to Jesus by His subjects.  It is a position of authority which He possesses.  To be right in your own eyes makes you king or Lord.  That is a decision of the will that will always cause you to end up in spiritual bondage.  

To recognize God as the supreme authority in our lives, is to recognize He rules by the instruction of His inspired Word (II Tim. 3:16-17).  To live by this revelation is to put ourselves in bondage to Him.  Such bondage actually proves to be freedom.

What has happened to our society as it has decided to abandon, reject, and castigate the absolute moral values of God’s Word?  Here are some statistics from years ago in an article entitled The Way It Ought to Be by Rush Limbaugh:

1. After World War II, 80% of children grew up in intact families with two biological parents who were married to each other.
2. By 1980, only 50% could expect to spend their whole childhood in an intact family.
3. According to social and scientific evidences, children in families disrupted by divorce and out-of-wedlock birth do considerably worse academically, socially, and economically than children with intact families.
4. Children of single parents are 600% more likely to be poor and will usually stay poor.
5. These kids are two to three times as likely to have emotional and behavioral problems.  They are more likely to drop out of school, to get pregnant as teenagers, to abuse drugs, and to get into trouble with the law.
6. Children who grow up in these environments tend to be less successful as adults-particularly in love relationships and in the workplace.

This is the type of bondage that Secular Humanism produces.  Secular Humanism does so while preaching freedom and personal liberty.  The reality is that this giant social experiment with the lives of millions of children is a complete and absolute failure.  Yet, even with the overwhelming evidence against it, people continue to place themselves and their children into the hands of those who want to continue the experiment.  God has made a concluding statement for all of this:

“For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up” (Hosea 8:7).

Anonymous comments will not be allowed. 
Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Jesus Christ Our Lord

Studies in the Epistle of Paul to the Romans
Jesus Christ Our Lord
1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, 2 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) 3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; . . .” (Romans 1:1-3).
The prophecies regarding the promise of the Messiah are very detailed.  All these prophecies concern various aspects of the ministry of the eternal Son of God revealed in His Name used by Paul in verse three.  Some of these prophecies are already fulfilled while many others are yet to be fulfilled.  These prophecies are details of events concerning “Jesus Christ our Lord.” 

In this short phrase, we have three distinctive revelations regarding the Person of Jesus.  Jesus is His Name.  Christ and Lord are titles defining Who Jesus is. 
Jesus is His Personal Name revealing the purpose of His incarnation as the Savior of sinners.
“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
The name Jesus is from the Greek word Iesous (ee-ay-sooce') and is the Greek form of the Hebrew JehoshuaJehoshua means Jehovah is salvation.  Jesus is God incarnate.  The eternal Son of God was incarnate to be the Savior of all humanity and restore lost dominion over the first creation lost due to Adam’s sin. 

All three of the words “Jesus Christ our Lord” are intricately connected to the word Saviour and Redeemer in the doctrines of salvation and redemption.  Therefore, these five words (Jesus, Christ, Lord, Saviour, and Redeemer) are doctrinally inseparable.  In other words, anytime we see one of these five words used in Scripture, we can read the doctrinal significance of the others into any text.  Although these five words are not synonymous with one another, the use of any one presumes the doctrinal context of the others. 
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).
“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (II Peter 3:18).
The terms the Lord Jesus Christ have become so familiar in use that they communicate little more than a Name.  If you are on a first name basis with the Lord Jesus, you have presumed an intimacy that does not reflect the respect His Name deserves.  Jesus is referred to as Lord one hundred and eighty-five times in the New Testament.  When we hear the terms the Lord Jesus Christ used, they should immediately cause us to think in terms of holy reverence.  These terms should cause our minds to bow in humble adoration and reflect upon these terms to generate worship of the One with which the terms identify. 

The terms the Lord Jesus Christ are not common words identifying a common person.  These terms identify the holy, incarnate Creator of the heavens and our Earth.  We will all stand before Him one day and give account of our lives of which He is fully aware, knowing the intimate details of every thought, emotion, and action of our lives.  We all would do well to reflect upon the meaning and significance of each of these terms so that the proper attitude and worship can be created when we use these terms. 
Christ is from the Greek word Christos (khris-tos') and is the Greek form of the Hebrew Messiah (mashiyach; maw-shee'-akh). 
The title Christ reveals Jesus as the Anointed One.  As the Anointed One, Jesus is the fulfillment of all Old Testament prophecies regarding His coming to fulfill the Law for us and propitiate God.  The title Christ relates to the anointing of Jesus as the supreme Prophet, Priest, and King.  The synoptic Gospels (Matthew Mark, and Luke) present Jesus the Christ as Prophet, Priest, and King. 

Matthew presents Jesus the Christ as the Covenant King fulfilling the Davidic Covenant as “the righteous Branch” (Jeremiah 23:5 and 33:15). Mark presents Jesus the Christ as the Servant Priest (“Servant Branch,” Zechariah 3:8).  Luke presents Jesus the Christ as “the Son of man . . .come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).  This mission describes the nature and purpose of the many parables of Jesus taught in the Gospel of Luke.  The Gospel of John presents Jesus the Christ as Deity and as the Son of God (John 20:31). 
“The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken” (Deuteronomy 18:15).
“20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: 21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. 22 For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you” (Acts 3:20-22).
“18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. 19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: 20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all” (Genesis 14:18-20).
“1 For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; 2 To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; 3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually” (Hebrews 7:1-3).
“Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:7).
“32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:32-33).
“3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints {lit: nations}. 4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest” (Revelation 15:3-4).
The word “Lord” is from the Greek word kurios (koo'-ree-os) and is the Greek form of the Hebrew word Jehovah.  This Greek word is usually used when quoting an Old Testament in any Greek verse where Jehovah is used in the Hebrew.  This name reveals the supremacy of Jesus in His Sovereignty as Creator and Redeemer.  The words Christ and Lord are inseparable in the identity of Jesus. 

Jehovah is always referred to as the One coming in the Old Testament prophecies relating to the coming of Messiah.  The Christ (Messiah) is the incarnation of the Lord (Jehovah).

“The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD {Y@hovah; yeh-ho-vaw', the self-existing One}, make straight in the desert a highway for our God” (Isaiah 40:3).
“5 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. 6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS {Y@hovah tsidqenuw; yeh-ho-vaw’ tsid-kay’-noo}” (Jeremiah 23:5-6).
However, another prophetic detail in Romans 1:3 regarding the coming of Messiah is that He would come through a specific genetic line.  He would be born of the lineage of David.  “Was made” (Romans 1:3) is from the Greek word ginomai (ghin’-om-ahee).  It can mean to come into existence or to begin.  It also can mean to appear in history or come upon the stage of events in time. 
The Son of God exists eternally, but Jesus has a beginning in history (time).  Jesus is the Name of the eternal Son of God once His deity was united with humanity.  “Was made” refers to that point in history when the Son of God became man through the incarnation, conception, and birth.
“The seed” in “the seed of David” (Romans 1:3) is from the Greek word sperma (sper’-mah).  In plants, sperma refers to the seed which contains the germ of the next generation (just as seed is kept from the harvest for the next year’s sowing).  In humans, sperma refers to the semen virile and the product of this semen is all future offspring and generations in a family.  The eternal Son of God stepped into history through the “seed of David” as foretold through prophecy.  Salvation would come through the nation of Israel, the tribe of Judah, and the lineage of David.  The prophecy concerning Jesus as the Lion of Judah of the tribe of David will ultimately be fulfilled in the Millennial Kingdom.
“And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof” (Revelation 5:5).
There is great theological significance to Jesus being “the seed of David.”  This phrase connects every believer to the Kingdom of Jesus Christ as “joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17).  In first century Roman law, a seven-sealed scroll was used to transfer the title of assets of a deceased person to his heir.  This “seven sealed scroll” is the title deed to the dominion over the entire earth. Revelation 5:2 asks the question, “Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?”  This would require a man, but not just any man.  It would require a perfect man.  It would require a sinless man. According to Revelation 5:3, not one single human being was found who met the criteria necessary to lay claim to the title deed of dominion over the earth. 

In the curse of the first creation, the first Adam (and humanity) lost dominion over the earth to Satan.  In the work of the cross, Christ (the last Adam and the God\man; I Corinthians 15:45) won victory over the curse and purchased the possession of that dominion back through His redemption.  When Christ finally takes this title deed of dominion over the earth, He will do so to transpose His authority to the church during the Kingdom Age.  The title deed of dominion over the earth is the Church’s inheritance in the Kingdom.
“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, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14).
“18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come” (Ephesians 1:18-21).
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” (Colossians 1:12).
“Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:24).
“To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you” (I Peter 1:4).
The dominion over the earth, restored in the Kingdom Age, is the inheritance “reserved in heaven” for us.  In Revelation 5:4, John wept much because “no man” was found worthy to open and read the book.  Immediately one of the twenty-four “elders” steps forward and encourages John with the words “weep not.”  There is a man who is worthy.  There is someone who has “prevailed.”  It is the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” and “the root of David.”  Both of these terms signify the lineage of the Man who would be able to claim the title deed to the dominion over the earth.  It is also a reminder of the coming Kingdom over which Messiah would rule on the throne of David.  It is the Lord Jesus Christ, who will share His Kingdom rule with His bride, the Church.
“Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:7).
 After one of the “elders” asks John to “behold” the “lion of the tribe of Judah” and the “root of David,” John turns to see.  However, he does not see what he expects to see.  Instead he sees something else “in the midst of the throne” at the middle of this heavenly scene.  He sees “a lamb as it had been slain.”
The word “lamb,” as used of the resurrected and glorified Jesus Christ, is used twenty-seven times in the book of Revelation.  The use of the word “lamb” identifies the Redeemer with His redeemed.  It is by the means of His sacrifice at Calvary that He has “prevailed” to open the book and lay claim to the title deed of dominion over the earth for all the redeemed of mankind.

It is Jesus Who loosens the seven sealed scroll thereby releasing the horrible catastrophes in the seven-year Tribulation and the judgment of the nations (Revelation 6:1).  The Lion was the ancient banner under which the tribe of Judah marched and encamped.  It was their insignia because of Jacob’s prophecy of Genesis 49:9-10. 
“9 Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? 10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be” (Genesis 49:9-10).
The tribe of Judah bore this insignia with great pride, knowing that it was a testimony that God had chosen their tribe to be that through which Messiah (Shiloh) would come.  This relates to the next description of Christ as “the Root of David.”  David was of the tribe of Judah.  Christ speaks of this as a reminder in His concluding statements to the local churches in Revelation 22:16:
“I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star” (Revelation 22:16).
Jesus is both the Creator (“Root,” or source) of the Davidic line of Kings and an “offspring” of it in His incarnation.  This speaks clearly to both His Deity and Sovereignty.  This is a reminder of the coming Kingdom.  The Messiah would set upon the Throne of David in the Kingdom on earth.  This has yet to be fulfilled and so is used as a consistent reminder of that which is still to come.  Christ has instructed Christians that a major part of their prayer life ought to be preoccupied with praying for the coming of His Kingdom on earth.
“And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth” (Luke 11:2).
“The seed of David according to the flesh” (Romans 1:3) refers to the fulfillment of all the prophecies as to the seed of David and all the promises to David himself.  Although the Bible is predominantly Christological, John chapter one and Hebrews chapter two give us the greatest Christological details. 
“1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 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” (John 1:1-14).
“1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. 2 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; 3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; 4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will? 5 For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. 6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? 7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: 8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. 9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. 10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. 13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. 14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. 17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour {give relief to those suffering} them that are tempted” (Hebrews 2:1-18).

Anonymous comments will not be allowed. 
Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Gospel Concerns the Son of God

Sermon Audio (NOT RECORDED)
Studies in the Epistle of Paul to the Romans
The Gospel Concerns the Son of God

Is the “doctrine of Christ” an essential element in the explanation of the Gospel?  This is an important question that needs to be addressed.  Many Evangelicals these days would say that the “doctrine of Christ” is NOT an essential element in the explanation of the Gospel.  This heresy is the substance of Ecumenical Evangelism, which de-emphasizes the doctrine of Christ and a biblical response to the Gospel of salvation for some silly notion of pseudo-unity.  

We need only look to one warning in Scripture to see that such people are absolutely wrong.  They are not only absolutely wrong, but they are absolutely wrong in ways critical to a biblical salvation decision and what defines belief in Christ.  Critical to this is the deity of Jesus as Jehovah incarnate.  Therefore, to believe and confess Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:9) is to understand and recognize the Sovereignty of Jesus as the final authority in one’s life.

“7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. 9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth {stay or dwell} not in the doctrine {teaching} of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth {stay or dwell} in the doctrine {teaching} of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (II John 1:7-11).

Obviously, according to II John 1:11, the true Christian is not to have any type of a working relationship in ministry cooperation with someone who does not abide in the teachings of Jesus.  The teachings of Jesus are to be viewed as the boundaries for sacrosanctity defining the Christian’s life and biblical evangelism. 

The true Christian should be preoccupied with knowing the teachings of Jesus (discipleship) and living, or observing, those teachings.  When we consider the substance of the teachings of Jesus, we must understand that this includes Jesus’ teachings about Who He is as well as His teachings regarding how He expected people to be “born again.  This includes how they were expected to live AFTER they were “born again.”  Jesus extensively taught about Who He is as recorded in the four Gospels.  Rightly understanding the doctrine of Jesus Christ is critical to understanding the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

In other words, if the doctrine of Jesus Christ is corrupted, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is corrupted, which will lead to false professions and false Christianity.  This is the substance of what Paul is addressing in Romans 1:3. 

“1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, 2 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) 3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;” (Romans 1:1-3).

The “gospel of God,” to which Paul was “separated unto,” concerns the Son of God, “Jesus Christ our Lord.”  In other words, the Gospel is Christo-centric If the incarnation of the eternal Son of God in Jesus is taken away from the Gospel, the Gospel is no longer good news.  The Gospel is not about sociological reformation (the Social Gospel).   The Gospel is not about a good man with great philosophyThe Gospel is an historical account of God’s love sent to earth written in the Heart of the eternal Son of God incarnate in human flesh.  The Gospel is about the eternal Son of God becoming man for the purpose of redemption.  This means His dying in the place of sinners.  Paul puts it another way in the book of Hebrews.

“1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by {literally, in} his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:1-3).

Hebrews 1:1-2 could be translated, “God, who in many parts and in many different ways spoke in the past, unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days (of the Old Covenant) spoken to us in His Son Jesus, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the ages (dispensations)”.
In the Old Covenant, God used prophets to communicate His message to man.  He did so, not in one lump sum or always in the same manner.  He did so in different ways through various prophets.  He spoke to them with an audible voice, in dreams, and by visions.  He sent angelic host to speak to them.  On numerous occasions, the pre-incarnate Son of God spoke with them (known as a Christophany).  God’s message to the people of the New Covenant came as a Person.  God’s revelation of Himself is not just what Jesus said, but who and what He is as well.
Hebrews 1:3 tells us that Christ “by Himself purged our sins.”  This is the only purgatory mentioned in the Bible.  The finished work of Christ on the Cross of Calvary is our purgatory (place of purging from sin).  He has already purged (Aorist tense) our sins.  This purging refers to taking something unclean and, therefore unacceptable to a relationship with God, and making that thing or person clean.  This is a critical truth to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  This truth is the very foundation for reconciliation with God and the possibility of fellowship with God. 
When Hebrews 1:3 tells us Jesus “sat Himself down,” it means after a finished work was done.  A finished work allowed a person to sit down.  A central truth to the epistle to the Hebrews is the finished work of Jesus Christ.  This truth is central to dealing with the heresy of Sacramental and Sacerdotal Theology.  What Christ did, He did once for all.  The once for all sacrifice of Christ never needs to be repeated in a sacrament.  Nothing can be, or needs to be, added to what Christ has already done.  Again, this is the substance of the statement of Hebrews 10:10; “By the which will we are sanctified {i.e., ‘made holy’, perfect tense, passive voice, which is why the words ‘for all’ are added in italics for clarification after the word ‘once’} through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

“28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. 29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost” (John 19:28-30).

Jesus is not on the Cross today.  He is not continually dying to give us forgiveness of sin.  Such nonsense is absolute heresy and a complete corruption of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  His once for all sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary has “once for all” propitiated God’s wrath on sin, fully satisfied and remitted the penalty of sin, and is fully capable of justifying “whosover will” respond to the Gospel according to the detailed directions given in Scripture (repent, believe, confess, call, and receive).  Jesus has “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3, 13, 8:1, and 10:12); the position of power and judgment of the Majesty on high. 

These are all essential truths to a biblical faith decision to trust in Christ for the gift of salvation.  This is why Ecumenicism and Ecumenical Evangelism are so dangerous to the doctrine of salvation.  In Ecumenicism and Ecumenical Evangelism, the corruptions of the Gospel in various ways by different denominations of Christianity (falsely so called) are tolerated and minimized to the place where all these false responses to the Gospel are accepted as equal.  Toleration in Ecumenicism simply means they will not talk about their obvious differences accepting every position as equal and all under the big umbrella of Christianity.  Such nonsense is a huge corruption leading many well-meaning people into disobedience regarding the Bible’s teaching on the “doctrine of Christ” (II John 1:9).
The term Son of God has definitive doctrinal significance and meaning.  Many people refer to Jesus as the Son of God without any comprehension of the doctrinal significance of the terminology.  The doctrinal significance and meaning of the term Son of God is essential to the Gospel message.   George W. Zeller and Renald E. Showers give a threefold theological significance to the term Son of God in their book The Eternal Sonship of Christ (published by Loizeaux Brothers, Inc.)

A son is a separate person from his father.

“19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. 20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. 21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will” (John 5:19-21).

“37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:37-40).

A son is the heir, not the servant, of his father (Primogeniture).

“1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; 2 Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. 3 For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. 4 For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. 5 And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; 6 But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end” (Hebrews 3:1-6).

“5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? 6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. 7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. 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. 9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. 10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: 11 They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; 12 And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. 13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Hebrews 1:5-14)?

“1 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; 2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. 3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ” (Galatians 4:1-7).

A son has the same nature as his father.

“9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath. 10 The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed. 11 He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk. 12 Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk? 13 And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place. 14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. 15 The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole. 16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. 18 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” (John 5:9-18).

“24 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. 25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. 26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and my Father are one. 31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? 33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. 34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? 35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; 36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? 37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. 38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.” (John 10:24-38).

“23 That all men should honour {revere, venerate, worship} the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. 25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. 28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (John 5:23-29).

The term Son of man denotes two natures perfectly united in Jesus Christ.  The term Son of God denotes the nature of deity.  The term Son of man denotes the nature of humanity, although sinless.
Here, we must briefly discuss two supposedly opposing theological arguments.  These arguments involve the eternal Sonship of the “Son God” and the incarnational Sonship of Jesus (“Son of man”).  The arguments are usually either/or.  The either the one or the other is why the theological tension exists.  The “Son of God” is the second Person of the Tri-unity of God and is eternally existent.  This is the eternal Sonship of the “Son of God.”  He is the Creator (Colossians 1:12-17).  Jesus has a beginning in time and history as the “Son of man.”  At the conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary, God created a perfect theanthropic union of God and man.  This is why the word “Son” is capitalized in the term “Son of man.”  Upon the incarnation, Jesus became a theanthropic union of perfect God and perfect man.  This is the incarnational Sonship of God.  If these things are not properly understood, the ignorance will create all kinds of other theological problems including the denial of the deity of Jesus Christ. 

The Heresy of Modalism

Modalism is a very common theological error concerning the nature of God.  It is a denial of the Trinity, or Tri-unity of the Godhead.  Modalism teaches that God is a single person who, throughout biblical history, has revealed Himself in three consecutive modes, or forms.  Thus, God is a single person who first manifested himself in the mode of the Father in Old Testament times.  They will say that at the incarnation, the mode was the Son.  After Jesus’ ascension, the mode is the Holy Spirit.  These modes are consecutive and never simultaneous.  In other words, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit never all exist at the same time, only one after another.  Modalism denies the distinctiveness of the three persons in the Trinity even though it retains the divinity of Christ.
Present day groups that hold to this error are the United Pentecostal and United Apostolic Churches.  These groups deny the Trinity, teach that the name of God is Jesus, and require baptism for salvation.  These Modalism churches often accuse Trinitarians of teaching three gods.  This is not what the Trinity is.  The correct teaching of the Trinity is one God in three eternal coexistent personages:  the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.


Tri-theism is the teaching that the Godhead is really three separate beings forming three separate gods.  This erring view is often confused by the cults as the same as the doctrine of the Trinity, which states that there is but one God in three persons:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  The doctrine of the Trinity is, by definition, monotheistic.  That is, it is a doctrine that affirms that there is only one God in all the universe.
Tri-theism has taken different forms throughout the centuries.  In the early church, the Christians were accused of being tri-theists by those who either refused to understand or could not understand the doctrine of the Trinity.  In the late 11th century, a Catholic monk of Compiegne in France named Roscelin considered the three Divine Persons as three independent beings and that it could be said they were three gods.  He maintained that God the Father and God the Holy Ghost would have become incarnate with God the Son unless there were three Gods.
Present day Mormonism is tri-theistic - but with a twist.  Mormonism teaches that there are many God’s in the universe, but they serve and worship only one of them.  The godhead for earth is to them really three separate gods: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.  They believe that the Father used to be a man on another world who brought one of his wives with him to this world.  They believe they both had bodies of flesh and bones.  They believe the son is a second god who was literally begotten between god the father and his goddess wife.  They believe Jesus and Satan are brothers.  They believe the holy ghost is a third god.  Therefore, in reality, Mormonism is polytheistic with a tri-theistic emphasis. 

Of course, tri-theism clearly contradicts the teaching of the Bible regarding monotheism - that there is only one God.

“Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me” (Isaiah 43:10).

“Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God” (Isaiah 44:6).

“Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any” (Isaiah 44:8).

Anonymous comments will not be allowed. 
Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.