"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God" (Jn 1:1). He is "the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father" (:18). He said to the Father, "'You loved Me before the foundation of the world'" (17:24). Jesus said it was "'the glory which I had with You before the world was'" (:5). This was before the Creation. "He is before all things" (Col 1:7). Jesus has "neither beginning of days nor end of life" (Heb 7:3). He says, "'I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end'" (Rev 22:13). He is "the same yesterday and today and forever" (Heb 13:8). "'I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am'" (Jn 8:58). "In Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form" (Col 2:9). This relationship is cited as having been predicted by a prophet regarding a Messiah being born in Bethlehem (Mt 2:4). The facts are scripturally correlated. The scriptures are "God-breathed" (2Ti 3:16) as the Spirit "carried along" (2Pe 1:21) the writers. What is written about Jesus is from the Spirit. God "has testified concerning His Son" (1Jn 5:9). Jesus said the Holy Spirit would "teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you'" (Jn 14:26 NIV). That is why they had knowledge impossible to know otherwise. Jesus was "in the beginning with God" (1:2). "All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being" (:3). "'You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Your hands'" (Heb 1:10). "For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible" (Col 1:16). "The world was made through Him" (Jn 1:10). It is He "for whom are all things, and through whom are all things" (Heb 2:10).
Adam and Eve disobeyed God (Ge 3:6). One of God's responses was to the serpent. He said, "'I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head'" (:15). When you consider God had said to Adam, "'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth'" (1:28), Eve's seed could be anyone. But God had a plan. Ultimately an angel announced that, "today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord'" (Lk 2:11). Matthew records a "genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David" (Mt 1:1). "Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah" (:16). The name "Christ" means that God had anointed him supernaturally with power to accomplish what he had been assigned to do. It was further explained that "'the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end'" (Lk 1:32-33). Jesus asked the Pharisees, "'What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?'" (Mt 22:42). They answered, "'The son of David'" (:42).
The Jews believed this because of what Nathan prophesied to King David that, "the Lord also declares to you that . . . I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you . . . and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever'" (2Sa 7:11-13). David prayed that God would "'confirm it forever, and do as You have spoken'" (:25). Even though there is no eschatological foundation in the Old Testament for a Davidic dynasty, Jews regarded the promise as God potentially returning to restore Israel's monarchy. There is a Hebrew word "mashah" which deals with anointing with oil. The word "mashiach" comes from it which refers to the "anointed one" who would become this messianic king. Paul said to the Thessalonians, "'This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ'" (Ac 17:3).
Peter explained "'that God had sworn to [David] with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne'" (Ac 2:30). "'He was a prophet'" (:30) and predicted "For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay" (Ps 16:10). "Surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret counsel to His servants the prophets" (Am 3:7). Peter said that David "'looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ'" (Ac 2:31). "'This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses'" (:32). He also said that Jesus was "'delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God'" (:23). God's plan is cited by Matthew (Mt 1:22-23) when he quotes the prophecy "the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel'" (Isa 7:14). Matthew also speaks of the prophecy regarding the Messiah being born in Bethlehem (Mt 2:6) quoting "'from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity'" (Mic 5:2).
At Corinth Paul began "solemnly testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ" (Ac 18:5). The angel had said "there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord" (Lk 2:11). He was "born for you." Mary was told "'you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins'" (Mt 1:21). Scripture says Jesus is Lord. Jesus confessed, "'You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am'" (Jn 13:13). Peter stated "that God has made Him both Lord and Christ'" (Ac 2:36). "Every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord" (Php 2:11). When a person is referred to as a "lord" it means he occupies a supreme place.
When Peter explains Jesus' position he shows "'having been exalted to the right hand of God . . . [he] received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit'" (Ac 2:33). Being exalted would be occupying a "supreme place" and he can be referred to as "Lord." To prove it Peter explains that from Jesus' position "'He has poured forth this which you both see and hear'" (:33). This is substantiated because he quotes "'It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind'" (Joe 2:28). Even Jesus refers to prophecy to make a point. He asks the Pharisees, "'How does David in the Spirit call Him 'Lord,''"(Mt 22:43) for "'if David then calls Him 'Lord,' how is He his son?'" (:45). The reference is "The Lord says to my Lord: 'Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet'" (Ps 110:1). Jesus was proving that he was the Messiah and "no one was able to answer Him a word" (Mt 22:46).
Part of Jesus' assignment was "to teach and preach in the cities" (Mt 11:1). But he told them, "'My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me'" (Jn 7:16). This is not to conclude that he was just a messenger. After the resurrection he declared, "'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth'" (Mt 28:18). "'All things that the Father has are Mine'" (Jn 16:15). Jesus had told them to wait until he sent the Holy Spirit (Lk 24:49) "'whom the Father will send in My name'" (Jn 14:26). Jesus told them "'when He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth'" (16:13). All scripture is true. "'He who sent Me is true'" (8:26). Jesus said that the Spirit "'will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak'" (16:13). Jesus had said "'the things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world'" (8:26). He said that the Spirit would "'glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you'" (16:14). Jesus always gave God credit. When he quoted Exodus 20:12 he said it was the "'commandment of God'" (Mt 15:3) and that "'God said'" (:4) it. When he quoted Exodus 3:6 he said it was "'spoken to you by God'" (22:31). When teaching he asked "'have you not read?'" (19:4) and declared they were "'not understanding the Scriptures'" (22:29). He quoted Deuteronomy 8:3 to prove, "'It is written'" (Lk 4:4) and Isaiah 29:13 to emphasize Isaiah's prophecy (Mk 7:6). He knew that the "Jews ask for signs" (1Co 1:22) so he gave them the "'sign of Jonah the prophet'" (Mt 12:39). He also quoted Psalm 110:1 as an example of an Old Testament anointing where "'David himself said in the Holy Spirit'" (Mk 12:36). This confirms that, "'He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you'" (Jn 14:26). "'I did not come to abolish [the Law] but to fulfill'" (Mt 5:17). "'My words will not pass away'" (24:35).
There is a second kind of birth. Jesus said "no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit" (Jn 3:5-6). This is possible whereby "all of us who were baptized into Christ" (Ro 6:3) were "all baptized by one Spirit" (1Co 12:13). Therefore "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation" (2Co 5:17). Furthermore Jesus will "baptize you with the Holy Spirit" (Mt 3:11). "If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ" (Ro 8:9). It is not God's will that anyone should perish (Mt 18:14). The gospel is "the power of God to salvation" (Ro 1:16). To keep from perishing, the gospel provides "a righteousness that is by faith . . . [so that] the righteous will live by faith" (:17). The theme of Romans is justification by faith. No one lacks faith because it "comes by hearing" (10:17). "What may be known about God is plain because God has made it plain" (1:19 NIV). The truth (:18) is more accurately defined in verse 25 as the "truth about God." The truth is "known" (:19,:21), "seen, understood" (:20), "knowledge" (:28), and "knowing" (:32). "What may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them" (:19 NKJV). "Since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities . . . have been clearly seen" (:20). They include his eternal power and deity.
God is "clearly seen" (Ro 1:20) and "they knew God" (:21). "God made it evident to them . . . since the creation of the world" (:19-20). They saw "His invisible attributes . . . through what has been made so that they are without excuse" (:20). This includes "His eternal power and divine nature" (:20). This revelation is "faith [which] comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ" (10:17). In Greek it is "rhema" which means the "Living Word" or God himself speaking. It would "show the work of the Law written in their hearts" (2:15). "God made it evident to them" (1:19) and since it was "within them" (:19) "the word is . . . in your heart (10:8). God has allotted to each a measure of faith" (12:3). Even Paul recognized that he "received [his revelation] from the Lord" (1Co 11:23) and he "received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ" (Gal 1:12). This was "the word of faith which we are preaching" (10:8). Therefore "believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (10:9). How do you hear with your heart? "'If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him'" (Rev 3:20). Communication is "inspired by God" (2Ti 3:16). "The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit" (Ro 8:16). When Peter heard, Jesus said, "'flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven'" (Mt 16:17). It is by "faith which comes through Him" (Ac 3:16). "By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God" (Eph 2:8-9).
They didn't apply their knowledge since "they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks" (Ro 1:21). It was a deliberate decision because "they did not see fit to acknowledge God" (:28). They "suppress the truth" (:18). They "exchanged the glory" (:23) and "the truth of God for a lie" (:25). In their pride they claimed "to be wise" (:22) and "worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator" (:25). By their behavior they sealed their own fate. When they "became futile in their speculations" (:21) it gave "birth to sin . . . [which] brings forth death (Jas 1:15). Therefore God "gave them over" (Ro 1:24, 26, 28) to the desires of their hearts. "Their foolish heart was darkened" (:21) in the form of "impurity" (:24) and "degrading passions" (:26) which are acts of sexual indecency. They received "in their own persons the due penalty of their error" (:27). Finally "God gave them over to a depraved mind" (:28) and worse things happened.
What do you think the destiny of those who "suppress the truth in unrighteousness" (Ro 1:18), "exchanged the truth of God for a lie" (:25), and "do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness" (2:8) will be? There will be "wrath and indignation . . . tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil" (:8-9). You take the wrong direction when you don't "honor Him as God or give thanks" (1:21). When you claim "to be wise" (:22) yourself and do "not see fit to acknowledge God any longer" (:28) you become "selfishly ambitious" (2:8). You serve instead "the creature rather than the Creator" (1:25) and your "heart was darkened" (:21). "You are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of . . . the righteous judgment of God" (2:5). Your "end will be according to their deeds" (2Co 11:15). But if you go the right direction there will be "glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good" (Ro 2:10). If you don't "hold fast . . . until the end" (Heb 3: 6) then you won't be saved.
Having the truth is crucial since "they perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved" (2Th 2:10). They "suppress the truth by their wickedness" (Ro 1:18). The knowledge of God was accessible but people closed their minds to it. "They did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God" (:28). The truth of God has been "clearly seen . . . [and] men are without excuse" (:20). It is a matter of what one decides in his mind. "Their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened" (:21). They didn't glorify God or give thanks (:21) and then "claimed to be wise" (:22). "God sent them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness" (2Th 2:11). "Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts" (Ro 1:26). God had protected them before. But "since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over [again] to a depraved mind" (:28). "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he" (Pr 23:7).
The writer of Hebrews was encouraging Jews to keep the faith. Many of them had been indoctrinated into Judaism and there was undoubtedly pressure on them to return. They were warned not to "drift away" (Heb 2:1) and not to "neglect so great a salvation" (:3). The gospel is "the power of God for salvation to every one who believes" (Ro 1:16) because "in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith" (:17). "It was at the first spoken through the Lord" (Heb 2:3) and "God [was] also bearing witness with them" (:4). Then "it was confirmed to us by those who heard" (:3). The author reminds them to "pay much closer attention to what we have heard" (2:1). He asks "how shall we escape?" (:3) if we ignore what we have heard. He warns about "falling away from the living God" (3:12) "whose house we are" (:6). Not "any one of you should seem to have come short of [the promise]" (4:1). We are "partakers of a heavenly calling" (3:1) and "partakers of Christ" (:14). It is because "we have had good news preached to us" (4:2). But it is necessary to "hold fast our confidence" (3:6) and "the beginning of our assurance" (:14). We are to cling to "the boast of our hope firm until the end" (:6). "Show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end" (6:11). Remember that "faith is the assurance of things hoped for" (11:1). The author goes as far as to say "let us fear while the promise remains" (4:1). The danger is that "you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin" (3:13). "Today, if you would hear His voice, do not harden your hearts" (Ps 95:7-8). "Take care, brethren, lest there should be any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart" (Heb 3:12).
There is a legal saying that possession is nine-tenths of the law. So if you "have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift" (Heb 6:4) you have an entitlement. Also, if you "have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come" (:5) you demonstrate ownership. These are heavenly, not worldly, characteristics. "Ground that drinks the rain which often falls upon it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God" (:7). However, if they "then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance" (:6). "They have escaped the defilements of the world by knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2Pe 2:20). "It would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment delivered to them" (:21). Therefore, be mature and train yourselves to put the use of your spiritual senses into practice "to discern good and evil" (Heb 5:14).
Tabernacle worship signified that "the way into the holy place [had] not yet been disclosed" (Heb 9:8). It meant that sacrifices were "offered which [could] not make the worshipper perfect in conscience" (:9). But then "through His own blood, [Christ] entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption" (:12). He will now "cleanse your conscience from dead works" (:14) to serve God. A new covenant is therefore created "since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions" (:15). "All things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (:22). "Where a covenant is, there must be the death of the one who makes it" (:16). A covenant is a legal agreement whereby a testator writes a will making a bequest of what belongs to him to the heirs of the inheritance. Consequently "He is a mediator of a new covenant" (:15). "He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises" (8:6). "We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Heb 10:10). "He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified" (:14). "'You are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect'" (Mt 5:48). "'I am the Lord who sanctifies you'" (Lev 22:32). "You were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ" (1Co 6:11). Therefore "we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus" (Heb 10:19). "Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith" (:22). "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful" (:23). "We are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preservation of the soul" (:39).
You are "enlightened" (Heb 10:32) "after receiving the knowledge of the truth" (:26). "Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ" (Ro 10:17). Jesus said, "'Your faith has saved you'" (Lk 7:50). "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for" (Heb 11:1). "In hope we have been saved" (Ro 8:24). Faith is "the conviction of things not seen" (Heb 11:1) which is "your confidence" (10:35). It produces "endurance, so that . . . you may receive what was promised" (:36) and be able to "run with endurance the race that is set before us" (12:1). "The righteous will live by his faith" (Hab 2:4). Noah became "an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith" (Heb 11:7). Abraham received faith "when he was called" (:8) "from hearing" (Ro 10:17) by the Lord saying "'Go forth from your country . . . to the land which I will show you'" (Ge 12:1). "He who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him" (Heb 11:6). "In hope against hope he believed" (Ro 4:18) and "did not waver in unbelief, but grew strong in faith" (:20) "being fully assured that what He had promised, He was also able to perform" (:21). "Sarah herself received ability to conceive . . . since she considered Him faithful who had promised" (Heb 11:11). "Consider Him . . . so that you may not grow weary and lose heart" (12:3) by fixing [your] eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfector of faith" (:2).
The author of Hebrews said that at the start they "endured a great conflict of sufferings, partly, by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations" (Heb 10:32). Jesus said, "'In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world'" (Jn 16:33). Does that mean we'll always be prosperous and healthy? Paul asks, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine" (Ro 8:35)? He answers "in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him" (:37). He also states that God "always leads us in His triumph in Christ" (2Co 2:14). The author encourages them to "remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body" (Heb 13:3). He cites "you showed sympathy to the prisoners, and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and an abiding one" (10:34).
The author warns them about "thinking of that country from which they went out" (Heb 11:15). He replies that there is a better "heavenly one" (:16) namely "a city for them" (:16). God "warned them on earth" (12:25) and "warns from heaven" (:25). There's a tendency to treat intangible things as unrealistic because you have to put food on the table and take care of your family. However, the author wants heavenly things to be meaningful. He invites them to come to "the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem" (12:22). "Angels . . . and the church of the first-born" (:23) are there. Plus "God, the Judge of all" (:23) is there as well as "Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant" (:24). "Much less shall we escape who turn away from Him" (:25).
God told Abraham, "'I will surely bless you and give you many descendants'" (Heb 6:13). This was God's oath so that we would "inherit what has been promised" (:12). It was "an oath through the One" (7:21) who spoke to Jesus. God wanted to make his purpose very clear to the heirs" (:17). Therefore Jesus "became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him" (5:9). The author of Hebrews tells them that he is "confident of better things that accompany salvation" (6:9). Jesus accomplished this "when He offered up Himself" (7:27) and "has become the guarantee of a better covenant" (:22). Accordingly "the Lord has sworn [by an oath, saying] . . . 'Thou art a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek'" (Ps 110:4). "The word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever" (Heb 7:28). The author of Hebrews was concerned about those "who are ignorant and going astray" (Heb 5:2) and those who were "slow to learn" (:11). He wanted to encourage the recipients of his letter. He cites that "God wanted to make the unchanging nature of His purpose very clear" (6:17) so that they "may be greatly encouraged" (:18). "He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them" (7:25). The author acknowledges they have "fled to take hold of the hope offered to us" (6:18). There is a "better hope, through which we draw near to God" (:19). "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure" (:19). Therefore "in order to make your hope sure" (:11) "we want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end" (:11). Also, "imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised" (:12). "If that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion for the second" (Heb 8:7). It would be "'not like the covenant which I made with their fathers . . . which they broke, although I was a husband to them'" (Jer 31:32). "'I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel'" (:31). "'I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people'" (:33). There is the "setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness" (Heb 7:18). It is by way of "another priest" (:11) "according to the power of an indestructable life" (:16). It brings in "a change of law also" (:12). "He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises" (8:6). He is a "high priest" (:1) "exalted above the heavens" (7:26) who is a "minister in the sanctuary in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man" (8:2). "He abides forever [and] holds His priesthood permanently" (7:24). "'Has He said, and will not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?'" (Nu 23:19).
Paul preached "Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake" (2Co 4:6) whereby "through us spreads everywhere . . . the knowledge of him" (2Co 2:14). Furthermore, "in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God (v.17)." He was sent to "preach the gospel-not with words of human wisdom" (1Co 1:17) but to "preach Christ crucified" (:23). He "did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom [but with] the testimony about God" (1Co 2:1). He "received from the Lord" (1Co 11:23) and "what I received I passed on to you as of first importance" (1Co 15:3). Paul was comitted to this "field God has assigned to us, a field that reaches even to you" (2Co 10:13). He did "have knowledge [and] made this perfectly clear to you in every way" (2Co 11:6).
The result of Paul's ministry was that "our testimony of Christ was confirmed in you" (1Co 1:6) in that God "has called you into fellowship with his Son" (:9). This applies to "all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (:2) because they are "sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy" (:2). Paul sought to reach everyone "so that by all possible means I might save some" (1Co 9:22). He was "not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they might be saved" (10:33). He saw "the message of the cross . . . to us who are being saved [as] the power of God" (1Co 1:18). He observed that "God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe" (:21). He considered himself as a servant "through whom you came to believe" (1Co 3:5). Believing is the key. Paul reminded them that "the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand [is how] you are saved" (1Co 15:1-2).
The Corinthian church was "enriched in every way" (1Co 1:4) yet still had problems. You would think that with the help of the Apostle Paul they wouldn't "sit in judgment" (1Co 9:3) of him. He was concerned that "when I come I may not find you as I want you to be" (2Co 12:20). Yet he was concerned that "your minds may somehow be led astray" (:3). You have to be careful what you tolerate in your mind because "a little yeast works through the whole batch" (1Co 5:6). They were susceptible because Paul said "you put up with it easily enough" (2Co 11:4). But it is dependent on that "you hold firmly to the word I preached [or else] you have believed in vain" (:2). It is a continuing process as you are "among those who are being saved" (2Co 2:15).