DISCIPLES OF JESUS MINISTRY

Where He leads us we will follow

GRACE

God’s unmerited favour

 

  By  R. McGough

 

                                                             Introduction

 

     To simplify the gospel of the Kingdom of God or as it is more commonly known the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ; the New Testament uses one word, and that word is the term grace, we will recognize how important our understanding of this will be as we explore further this important attribute of God, one of his many attributes. We will also look at the Old Testament’s definition of grace.

 

     Thomas Olden‘s definition:      “Grace is the favor shown by God to sinners. It is the divine goodwill offered to those who neither inherently deserve nor ever hope to earn it. It is the divine disposition to work in our hearts, wills, and actions, so as actively to communicate God’s self giving love to humanity.”(1)   

      

         Before you and I can understand the meaning of grace, we must first of all experience it, for that to happen we need to acknowledge our own sinful nature, and our need of grace. When we come to that point of recognizing our need of God’s grace and we do something about it, by accepting his grace. Jesus then honours us: “(Matt.5:3.) “ Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.”

      The grace of God as seen in the New Testament’s understanding of it is that the word brings together all of the benefits of God to mankind, one of them being the most important doctrine of all salvation, all freely given to us by God. But more importantly, the grace of God is in the invisible power he provides to those who are fettered by their own self will, and which also brings his healing to their bruised spirit. If there is an expression to sum up the doctrine of Salvation it can only be grace. We must also understand that it is God who makes the initiative to bend down to his fallen race to provide salvation towards them.

 

          I have previously said that the grace of God can also be found in the Old Testament, but the fullest fulfillment of it is in the New Testament which was made visible in God’s Son Jesus Christ. However, we will look at the Old Testament’s understanding of it. The attribute of grace found in the Hebrew of the Bible is the word chen, which is a noun, translated as either grace or favor.

          The two most prominent words for grace which are to be found in the Old Testament are the adjective, gracious, and the verb, to be gracious. Our adjective, “channun” and then the verb, “chanan”. Nehemiah the prophet writes in his book of the adjective, “gracious,” Hebrew: “channun.”  (Neh.9:17.)   “…But you are God, Ready to pardon, Gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, Abundant in kindness, And did not forsake them.” He has had first hand experience of God’s gracious acts towards him, and his people. We can also find that this word gracious is more often than not extended to include the term compassion. (Ps. 111:4.)  “He has made his wonderful works to be remembered; The Lord is gracious and full of compassion.”  God is very different in his nature compared to fallen humanity. (Jonah.4:2.) So he prayed to the Lord, and said, “Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that you are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.” We need to look at Jonah’s reaction to God when he was given his directive of what he was to do. It was one of immense displeasure and anger. (Jonah.4:1.)  But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry.” Quite a contrast to God’s attitude who wanted to show compassion to the people of Nineveh. (Jonah, 4:11.) “And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left- and much livestock?” (Isa.30:18.) Therefore the Lord will wait that he may be gracious (chanan) to you. He continues to wait to show his unmerited favor to the fallen in today’s world made visible to us through Jesus Christ his Son the next part of the study from the New Testament perspective.

          We find the New Testament’s definition of grace from the fourth gospel according to John, but we turn to Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth for its technical definition: (2.Cor.12:9.) And he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Grace in this context comes from the New Testament Greek word, charis, (khar-ece); Strong’s # 5485; The term comes from the root expression, chara. Meaning to rejoice, and charis causes rejoicing. The chief word to describe God’s grace which he provides to sinful mankind is described as unmerited favor, a free gift, a blessing that is certainly not deserved.

         Turning to the fourth gospel according to John, he more than any other New Testament author brings the activity of God’s grace towards mankind to the final pinnacle in his narrative of it, describing the birth of his Son Jesus Christ to the world, God becoming man. He becoming the flesh of a man is the significance of becoming the Incarnate one. (Jn.1:14.) “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as the only begotten of the Father full of grace and truth.” It can be said that the grace of God the Father reaches its height in the visibility of it appearing in the birth of human flesh in his only begotten Son Jesus Christ, the ultimate pinnacle of his grace, the unmerited favor manifested to us in his Son the Lord Jesus Christ, he is the visibility of the Father’s grace towards us.

          John.1:16. “For of his fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.” John instructs us that the grace of God comes from his fullness. He does not give from the impersonal nature of his separateness from this world; on the contrary he is very personal, he, and the Son are one that makes him very personal. (Jn.14:11.) “Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me, or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves.” We can go as far as to say, God meets our needs in the person of the man Jesus Christ, God, and man, his Son, our Lord, providing to us his power, and provision. To know the grace of God towards us is to know the love of his Son Jesus Christ as fully as our spirit and intellect can receive or intelligence. (Ephes.3:19.) “…to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

              

                                                              

                                             

                                      

 

 

                                                 (i) God’s unmerited favour

                                       

                                  

                                         The Apostle Paul’s interpretation of Grace

 

      Paul really knew from his encounters with the living God the experimental life of grace, because he experienced it in his life, as can be seen in his letters of the New Testament. He was the first apologetic of the faith. His interpretation of grace was through experience, and the guiding influence, and power of the Holy Spirit. The name apologetic comes from the expression apologetics, describing individuals who defend the Christian faith with a reasoned logic, Paul was such a person. Nobody better than Paul knew what the contribution of God’s grace meant to him, it radically changed his life. You can say, it revolutionized his whole idea of God. He rebuked those who after their conversion to Christianity turned back to the Law of Moses, seeking circumcision of the flesh. ( Gal.5:4). “ You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by Law; you have fallen from grace.” Estranged means no longer living with your husband or the husband is no longer living with his wife. Those who now looked to the Law after conversion had cut themselves off from Christ their justification was no longer under God’s grace. The apostle knew from part of his life long experience particularly before his conversion the futility of trying to keep the Law of Moses, and that it could not work you could not earn or work for your salvation.

      After his radical transformation  to Christianity, from his confrontation with the risen glorified Christ, on the road to Damascus, he became the greatest exponent of God’s grace to humanity. He became the apostle of God’s grace the very first New Testament theologian. The grace afforded to Paul would leave its mark upon his earthly life. In point of fact, his calling was because of God’s grace which was extended to him, made visible by the risen glorified Lord’s meeting with him upon the road to Damascus. God’s unmerited favor in which the apostle Paul was one of its chief’s recipients, how fitting that he was called by God to write a doctrine upon this amazing subject, because he more than any other had experienced it in his life.

     Chief to Pauline thought regarding a more explicit elaboration upon the subject of grace is what is closely aligned to it in close proximity we have the power, which comes from God’s grace. The word grace still retains its meaning of unmerited favor, but from that favor we have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit, graciously provided to us from God. The unmerited favor of God provides to the believer through the gift of the Holy Spirit the ability to live a Christ like life, with that being the case God’s unmerited favor is expressed in the believer’s life. According once again to Pauline thought under the influence of the Spirit of God the grace which God freely bestows upon the believer gives that person the source of power, guidance, and direction. For those who know God through the grace revealed to us made visible by the resurrected glorified Lord, Jesus Christ, what is contained within that grace forwarded to the believer is the Spirit of God to them which will energize and give them the ability to overcome the enemy of this age.

    Turning to the fourth gospel according to John he makes the comment: “For of his fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.” (Jn.1:16.) Quote “The fact that John states that grace comes from His fullness teaches that grace is more than God’s disposition or impersonal favor. It is God meeting us at our point of need in the person of Jesus Christ, including all His power and provision.”p1444. New Spirit Filled Life Bible. Publisher .Thomas Nelson.

       From a New Testament stand point the teaching of God’s grace or unmerited favour towards mankind finds its initiation in the gospel of God, otherwise known as the Good News of God the Father, which was revealed by his Son the Lord Jesus Christ to humanity, and continues to be revealed to mankind. We must continue going back to this very important doctrine, no matter how long we have been in the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ to allow the Spirit of God to provide us with a fresh impetus. (Rom.1:1.)  “Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God.” It is through grace (unmerited favor,) that mankind can be justified without any cost through being redeemed in and through Christ Jesus. Although in the text it reads, “Through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” It is best understood as being delivered by the payment of a ransom, usually money, for someone who has been kidnapped, but in this case, particularly the New Testament’s meaning, it is the deliverance from  the evil of this age, and the penalty of sin, paid by the blood that was shed upon the cross by Christ Jesus. He through these means justifies mankind, once they have accepted him are declared righteous in the sight of God the Father, and covered or imputed with his righteousness. (Rom.3:24, 25.) “…being justified without any cost by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, (25) whom God sets forth as propitiation by His blood, through faith to demonstrate his righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed.”  The very undeniable fact is as we can see from the above texts which states that we have received God’s grace by the one man God’s Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. The grace which is spoken of here was acquired by the death of the crucifixion of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, upon the cross, and then raised to life by his Father on the third day. Access to this grace can only come from our Lord Jesus Christ. Furthermore; the doctrine of grace is developed further under Pauline thought, and theology, described as the grace of God, which can be seen in the gift of one man, which is also seen as the grace of that one man, Jesus Christ. So powerful is the love of God released towards us in the person of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, it enabled him to victoriously triumph over God’s judgment brought about by one man’s disobedience Adam, effecting the whole human race for generations to come until God’s Son our Lord Jesus Christ came into the world. Praise God! (Rm.5:15.) “But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.”

    We can also say that the salvation afforded to us is of God’s gracious free will of unmerited favour summed up in one word his grace towards us. (Ephes.2:8, 9.) “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, (9) not of works, lest anyone should boast.” It can also be said that the unmerited favour of which we enjoy comes from the initiative action of the one triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit by showing kindness, and love to us, which is of the grace of God, further to that, he rebirthed our spirits by the gift of the Holy Spirit to provide eternal life for the future, and energize us to please him in our earthly lives.

     (Titus.3:4-7.)  “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, (5) not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, (6) whom He poured  out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, (7) that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

 

                                          (ii)   God reforms his church

 

               From roughly the end of the third century A.D. onwards the doctrine of God’s grace towards all humanity had been almost lost to the traditions of men, and legalistic rules to be obeyed at all costs in order to gain salvation, the ecclesiastical trappings of the earthly church. It was a time of dark despair for lesser mortals as viewed by the Roman Catholic Church Hierarchy, but all was not lost, God already had someone in mind to revive his Church.

               The person whom God had in mind was born into the world in 1483 A.D. who would later on become a Roman Catholic Monk; little did he know of God’s plans for him. It was while he was studying that the Spirit of God came upon him giving him the proper interpretation of the Apostle Paul’s chapters in the New Testament upon the subject of God’s grace to all. From that tiny beginning Martin Luther would become to be known as the earliest reformer to start the great Reformation of the Roman Catholic Church of the 16th century A.D. But regretfully instead of listening to the truth of God, they excommunicated him, who promptly started a church under his own name, but that was not his intent, he had wanted to see his own church come under the reformation of God’s Spirit.

            God’s unmerited favour which is summed up in the one word, grace, waits for each generation to rediscover that all they need to live the Christian life to the full is to be found in God’s grace towards man. It is in the very grace of God that we find the power of the Holy Spirit to enable us to grasp how to become more like our risen glorified Lord, Jesus Christ. (2) Quote. “Even evangelicals need to be reoriented from time to time. Philip Yancey, Scott Hoezee, Chuck Swindoll, and Jerry Bridges have provided the evangelical community- and all Christians, for that matter- with life transforming treatments of the liberating truth of the grace of God to help us in that process.”

            We see what the grace of God meant to Paul in his conversation with Timothy in his first letter to him. (1.Tim.1:13, 14.) It is in Paul’s testimony to Timothy in which we find the goodness of God’s grace towards him. This unbelievable goodness of God’s grace is extended to all who accept his Son Jesus Christ as Lord, believable, and yet unbelievable the mercy God wants to extend to man through the grace of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. “… although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a violently arrogant man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. (14) And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.”

        Grace, that is, God’s unmerited favour is available to the whole of mankind, while they still live, and breathe under God’s control, with his limitless patience towards every man and woman, to allow them to consider the claims of the gospel of his Son Jesus Christ upon them. The very same claims he has upon you, and me. (1.Tim.1:15-17) “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptances, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. (16)  However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.(17) Now to the King eternal, immortal invisible, the only God who alone is wise, be honour and glory forever and ever.” Amen. Patience and longsuffering as God sees it can only be described of him alone, because it is infinite, and eternal, as he is, gracious in his grace towards us.

          The highest moment of the manifestation of God’s grace towards us must be when he stooped down to the earth in the person of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who becomes a man, but he is both God and man, but no longer has the power as one who is God. What an astounding humiliation for the one who is God to be stripped of his power to please his Father on our behalf, nothing like it had been seen before, and never again, this plunges the depths, and beyond of both the Father, and the Son’s magnanimous favour towards us, which is not merited by us in any capacity, commonly known as our Lord’s Incarnation, God becoming man and God in the flesh, and it can be said it is the greatest sign of God’s unmerited favour towards us or one of the earliest signs of. The Apostle Paul often spoke of it in his contributions of his writings to the New Testament. See his second letter to the church at Corinth. (2.Cor.8:9.) “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through his poverty might become rich.”

 

                                  (iv) The mercy that God provides through grace.

     

       Everything in Pauline thought and theology, especially salvation comes under the heading of grace, including our Christian life. Most importantly relating to the Pauline theology on grace, another aspect of it comes under the sub heading of our Christian life is consecration, and sanctification of each individual disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ of which Paul exhorts the practical side of in his letter to the church at Rome: we can see this in its universal world wide application to God’s people wherever they are. (Rom.12:1.2.)  “I beseech you therefore; brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. (2) And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” The mercies of God of which you and I enjoy can be said are the cornerstone of what Paul has already said in His letter to Rome. God’s mercies in which he supplies to us through his grace, as revealed towards us in the person of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ is the proper instrument to interpret the next three chapters of Paul’s letter to the saints at Rome, (Rom.9-11.) which has met with controversy from some areas. As has been said earlier, consecration is for our bodies. It is not an airy fairy idea or a heavenly celestial concept with no substance, grace should affect the whole of our lives not something that is remote in our imagination. But it is inappropriate to analyze or study the remaining doctrines outside of the doctrine of grace; they are all under its banner, the doctrines of predestination, election, assurance, apostasy, and glorification, and much more.

         The very centre of Paul’s doctrine of grace which we find in the gospel of God or God’s unmerited favour which also finds its expression in the good news of God finds an expansion of this in Paul’s letter to the church at Rome, (Rom.8:28-30.) “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (29)  For him He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called, whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified these He also glorified.” All of these come to us from the unmerited favour of God which is under its umbrella.

        

       God’s tremendous promise has brought, and brings comfort and great encouragement down through the ages to the believers of every century, that everything works for our good, because of our love for God, once again the mercy and the goodness of God that he continues to shower upon us. Further elaboration of that is the fact that nothing will ever separate us from God. (Rom.8:37, 39.) The assurance of the assuring words of God that he will finish the work he started within us, marvelous is his mercy, and compassion to behold.

       However in the continuing three chapters of Romans the apostle Paul introduces the idea of predestination, and then stretches it to include election, that which has caused down through the centuries great debate. What was the significance behind his words, when he used the phrase: “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined,” Whatever the interpretation surely the only one to think of is that he, and she, whom he already knew, before anything was, he predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the goal he set in motion for every believer, sanctifying them into the one body, known as the church of the  Lord Jesus Christ, which every believer is a member of introducing the doctrine of sanctification, and to then be resurrected on the final day,and then glorified with our Lord, totally beyond our human reasoning to grasp hold of , but our spirit rejoices immensely at the prospect, what we have here is reality, not a dry as dust academic Biblical Theology.

       I was given a sound piece of advice from one of my tutors at college quite a long time ago, and it has stuck with me, there is no such thing as a closed systematic theology, you cannot stick God in a book, and close the covers upon him, the Bible is there for us to get to know him, and through his Spirit, he speaks to us outside of it, because he is outside of it.

      The will and purpose of God is worked out in his method of sanctification of the present life, and the church, and carries on into the life to come in the new bodies provided to us, raised, and then glorified ( Rom.8:30.). “Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called these He also justified; and whom He justified these He also glorified.” A note of caution in regard to Paul’s ideas on the doctrine of predestination, he did not intend it to be thought of as coming from a god who must cause his control to be absolute over the individual person, our God is not like that. We can see that in the previous text from Paul’s letter to the church at Rome, he speaks of being called by God, with that being the case the response of accepting God’s calling is down to the individual.

      We can say, with confidence that the doctrine of predestination is experienced by God’s people who know him experientially through his grace or unmerited favour which predestination is part of which he bestows upon them.

 

                             (v)     God’s grace an active part of the Christian life.

 

     From the very beginning of our conversion to Christ Jesus the unmerited favour of God will be active in each of us until we are called home. Grace is not static; it is active in all who commit themselves to God. Grace is always active in the believer God’s unmerited favour being shown to others, through each individual believer, from that we can see God is always active in the believer, illuminating his favour upon them like light shining in the darkness of this world. No where else in the New Testament than the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth is this better expressed concerning the active dynamics of grace in the believers life.( 1.Cor.15:10.) “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” Therefore from the Apostle Paul’s point of view, although he was laboring for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ, it was not really him that was doing it, but the grace of God compelled Him. How do we understand this? I think a good analogy would be to think of the Apostle Paul as an earthen vessel with the active dynamic grace being in him, driving him on for the purposes of God. I think we can safely say that this is an indirect reference to God the Holy Spirit, who resides in the spirit of every believer. He works to bring God’s grace into our lives, he executes or initiates in the beginning at the moment of conversion our salvation, part of God’s grace, and mercy towards us. To some extent it concerns predestination, and election, but not the whole picture. The apostle Paul was very Christological, that is to say, that in his theology, closely entwined with Christology, as far as he was concerned, almost everything, I would go so far as to say, in his view everything is related to Christ, particularly the doctrines of predestination, and election taking the centre stage.

                             (vi) God the Father elected us in and through His Son

 

      Having ended on the note of predestination, and election under the grace of God or his unmerited favour, we will now look at his process of the divine election, and also look at the other contributors of this doctrine outside of Paul to the New Testament. But we will look at it primarily as being chosen by God through his Son the Lord Jesus Christ. This marks out the believers as being the recipients of God’s unmerited favour, the choice is of God’s, not because we deserve it or have earned it, only because he loves us. Jesus is recorded by the Apostle Matthew vocally speaking upon this doctrine, (Matt.24:22.) “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” Now we turn to what the apostle Paul taught upon the subject: (Rom.8:33.) “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is       a God who justifies,” he also writes of the election to the saints at Colosse. (Col.3:12.) “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;”

         The greatest exposition of our predestination, and election, in my view, is found in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the saints at Ephesus.  (Ephes.1:3-14.) When reading this passage of Scripture one cannot help but notice its highly Trinitarian content, that is to say, what is on view here is the three persons of the godhead, each equally God in their own right, but still one God, but that is another study.

        We still have under consideration God’s doctrine of grace or his unmerited favour of which believers receive the blessings of on a daily basis. I have already said earlier, the initiative of the grace, which we have already received, comes first and foremost from God the Father; the idea of it finds its root in Him, as does everything, infact everything of this passage points to him, he has blessed us with every spiritual blessing, (1:3,) provided to us his redemption, (1:7,) given to us his divine seal, (1:13.) Equally as important, all of these blessings from God the Father are provided to us in his Son Christ Jesus. Although the whole idea of God’s unmerited favour is provided to mankind finds its root in him, his choice is to reveal it in, and through Christ. The same idea is carried into Paul’s letter to the church at Colosse, continuing the theme of everything that God does is in and through his Son Jesus Christ, concerning creation, and redemption ( Col.1: 15,16.) “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. (16)  For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.” Therefore, although the whole plan of the doctrine of grace proceeds from God the Father his choice is to reveal it to mankind through his Son Jesus Christ.

       What is unanimously agreed in the passage under consideration is the origin of choice belongs to God of those whom he has chosen for himself (1:4,)    “…just as He chose us in him before the foundation of the world,” He, is God the Father, Him, is his Son, Jesus Christ. God the Father planned it, executed through God the Son, Jesus Christ by the help of God the Holy Spirit. God had already chosen those who would be his, which is covered by the doctrine of predestination, who they are is left to his knowledge of them, who will be revealed, when they respond to the preaching of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Not everyone will be saved, because God does not force himself upon anyone. See the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians: ( 1.Cor.1:18.) “ For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” We must never think of God the Father and the Son working separately, both work along with each other in harmony. Not only has the Father chosen us for himself, he has also adopted us in and through his Son Jesus Christ. (1;5.) “ …having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,”  When we think of God, we must also think of the three individuals, not necessarily in that order, but each of them make up the trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, commonly known as the godhead or the one triune God. All three are involved in the grace that is forwarded to us.

 

 

                                   (vii) Whom God already knew.

 

                What is the foreknowledge of God as he sees it? We can only look to his word to be able to supply the answers, especially, once again the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Rome. ( Rom.8:29.30.)  “  For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified these He also glorified.”

            The inescapable conclusion from the beginning of the passage is the fact that not all will meet the remit of the first clause of the sentence, “ For whom He foreknew,” because it only concentrates upon those who voluntarily have accepted God’s Son Jesus Christ to be Lord, and which is the only course open for God’s predetermined plan to conform them into the image of his Son. Therefore, the Apostle Paul is focusing upon God’s plan for his elect, which also indirectly speaks of those who have chosen not to believe. It is upon this basis of what God already knew in regard to who would accept or reject his Son Jesus Christ as Lord the former he has destined for glory.

           But down through the ages from the 16th century A.D. onwards a number of weak interpretations of God’s word have come to the fore. The thoughts of the hyper Calvinistic views on predestination are one of them. But would Calvin agree with it? We will never know. They reject the above conclusion; foreknowledge according to their thinking is on personal terms with no acknowledgement to God’s intervention of choice to provide his salvation to us on his previous knowledge of our decisions. The hyper Calvinistic interpretation on predestination is very extreme adding on things I believe are in error. We have the idea coming from their conclusions that because God has already chosen the elect, there is no necessity to preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, that somehow or other God through his Spirit will speak to them individually on a personal basis, because he already knows who they are. I agree God will speak to individuals on a personal basis, but that is not the only way he works, it also denies the great commission that our risen Lord gave to his apostles. Evidence of this is found in the gospel according to Matthew: Matt.28: 18-20. And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. (19) Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. The reality of living in the Spirit of God can be seen here, you can feel Him speaking to us through the various passages of Scripture that has been under our scrutiny.

 

         Why, while studying the teachings concerning the doctrine of God’s grace do we look at the thoughts of men upon the subject? To hear what the Spirit of God had to say through them, to uplift our spirits, and guard them from error.

        However; a rebuttal of the extreme views of the hyper Calvinistic understanding of predestination came from the Theologian Jacob Arminius born 1560 and died 1609 his contribution to the debate became known as Arminianism which holds the view that the hyper Calvinistic interpretation of  predestination is in error, because it only offers atonement to a limited few. The Arminius stance on predestination is that our election is according to the predetermined knowledge of our faith, which is possessed by God who provides us with the belief to believe that his Son, Jesus Christ died for the whole world, making his grace, something you find hard to resist. Arminius accepts the possibility of falling into apostasy, that is, denying the claims of Christ upon the life of a believer, after accepting them, and moving away from faith.  

       Is it possible to loss faith? I do not believe so, but it is possible to show a form of godliness, that requires neither faith, nor salvation. We can read of this in the Apostle Paul’s second letter to Timothy: 2.Tim.3: 2-5! (2)  For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, (3) unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self control, brutal, despisers of good, (4) traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, (5) having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”   

 

       The passage just mentioned from Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy is proof that not every believer who confesses Jesus Christ as Lord is in any shape or form genuine, but that is another study.

       Turning to the doctrine of God’s grace for the whole of mankind the question must be asked what part will God’s own people Israel have? The argument being grace is for all, even although the individual is free to choose his own path rejecting the offer of grace, but we are talking about a whole race of people, who have rejected the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, who formerly belonged to God under the Old Testament, if we are able to phrase it as such? What are we to therefore make of God’s sovereign will and purpose of his saving grace for the whole of the human race? Are we really sure, and positive about the outcome of our faith, can God really be trusted? We need to ask the question of how God’s people the Jews, and the Gentiles all fit together under the Lord’s plan of salvation, an integral thread of the Doctrine of God’s grace.  Paul the Apostle addresses such vexing questions in his letter to the believers in Rome, although it takes three chapters to sufficiently answer in detail what the remedy would be, the remedy being God’s mercy. (Rom.chs.9-11.) See Paul’s Letter to the believers in Rome: (Rom.11:30-33.) “For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have obtained mercy through their disobedience, (31) even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. (32) For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. (33) Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!”  He, that is Paul, addresses the issue at hand, while writing to the believers in Rome. What is of chief concern are both the disobedience of God’s own people, the Jews, and the Gentiles, including the rest of the nations in the heart, and mind of Paul. He first addresses their disobedience towards God that is, the Gentiles, and other non Jews, who are believers. He further as a Jew himself converted to Christ makes an astounding claim that it is through his people’s disobedience God’s chosen race, that they have received mercy. Israel will always be God’s chosen people; the church is the vine that has been grafted on to the true Israel, like the Apostle Paul who was converted to Christ the Messiah. Even although, even now Israel was still continuing to be disobedient, when seeing the mercy afforded to the Gentiles by God that at some point they may be provided with the same quality of mercy. But going back to what Paul had said earlier, (11:26, 27.)  And so all Israel will be delivered, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion; And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; (27) for this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.” Not all of God’s chosen race will be saved, the Apostle Paul does not teach it in his letter to the church at Rome. (10:2, 3.) “For I bear them witness that they have zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. (3) For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.” You therefore cannot have a right relationship standing before God, unless you come to him through faith alone in Christ. When the apostle uses the word all, he is meaning it in the sense he used it for the Gentiles (11:5, 25.) (5)  “Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. (25) For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own estimation, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” There will be a huge turning of God’s own people Israel to Christ, once the fullness of the Gentiles is reached. However; both Jew and Gentile including the whole of humanity God destined to be disobedient towards him in order that he would show mercy on all.( 11:32.) “For God has shut them all up to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.” The challenge that continues before us is the fact, which will always be the case, until we are called home is the battle of our faith against our unbelief. The conclusion of chapter eleven turns our eyes to the greatness, and the glory of the omnipotent eternal God. (11:36.) “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” Our response is to fall on our knees in worship giving Him all the praise and the glory.

               Salvation comes from God’s grace, otherwise known as his unmerited favour, that is, the doctrine, we are studying, believing or belief to believe God’s salvation, which comes from his grace, is another doctrine, which is under the doctrine of his unmerited favour, commonly known as his grace. There is more to discuss concerning the doctrine of God’s grace, which he affords to us, making it visible in the person of his Son, the risen. Glorified Lord. Jesus Christ. A note of caution, the study of God’s word is not to inflate our oversized intellectual egos, rather bring us closer to God with the help of God the Holy Spirit in making us more like his Son, our risen Lord. Jesus Christ in the lives we lead on earth. By this very same grace that God has given to us, he has provided Spiritual gifts to each of us, but not to be used selfishly for our own ends, they are for the edifying ,and building up of the body Of Christ ,which we are members of being his church. The Apostle Paul writes of this in his first letter to the believers at Corinth. (1.Cor.12:7.)  “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.” Almost an echo from the Fourth Gospel from the pen of John, the apostle of Jesus Christ. (Jn 1:16.) “For of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.” We who have received the grace of God must in turn show that grace to one another, who are in the body of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, which is his church.

 

                                                        Bibliography

             (1) P106.  Truth Aflame.  Author. Larry.D. Hart. Publisher .Zondervan.

                               Scriptures from the New Spirit Filled Life Bible

                             New King James Version. Publisher. Thomas Nelson.

 

  

 

Doctrine of God by Raymond McGough


                                                                   The

                                                          Knowledge of God

The knowledge and wisdom of God is available to mankind, but the route to it is through his Son Jesus Christ and his cross. How wonderful that the person who made us had a plan b to come and rescue us from our rebellion against him by providing a way of escape from our sins, when we accept that it is the beginning of our Knowledge of God  

     Paul the apostle had a lot to say regarding the wisdom of God to the believers of the first century equally valid for the Christians of today and the future. We turn to his first letter to the church at Corinth for some valuable insight: (1.Cor.2:7, 8). “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predetermined before the ages for our glory, (8) which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”   There is in these two texts two different wisdoms opposed against each other, the wisdom of God against the wisdom of the world. God’s wisdom overrides the wisdom of this world making it defunct, because it is completely opposed to the wisdom of this age. Mystery as the apostle Paul understands it, especially of God is that there is no great secret to it, difficult to interpret, it is only secret in the mind of God until he reveals this information to mankind. The information was and is the redemption of mankind which God had planned before the beginning of time. Had he chosen not to reveal it in and through Jesus Christ his Son it would have remained a mystery. Believers live by faith in a secret knowledge provided by God through his Son the Lord Jesus Christ operated by the influence and guidance of the Holy Spirit to those whom have accepted his Lordship over them. This knowledge is not available to those who do not believe despite whether the position that they hold is one of authority or not cuts no ice with God.

      Even for those of us whom have known the Lord for a long time, we find it very difficult with our human nature to understand that God has no place for our human intellectualism when self is the overriding factor. When this comes to the surface it causes divisions amongst the church of Christ. We find such divisions in the church of Corinth. (1.Cor.1:11-14.) They had been boastful about the leaders who had baptized them. “For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are quarrels among you. (12)  Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Christ,” (13) “Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? (14) I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius,” The whole thrust of knowing God having his knowledge is to be like his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to be like him, we need the power, influence, and guidance of God the Holy Spirit enabling us to overcome our sinful nature, to have the knowledge God wants to impart to us is no mere academic exercise. (1.Cor.1:27-29.) “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;(28) and the insignificant things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things that are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, (29) that no flesh should glory in his presence.” When we use our intellect and intelligence to dominate our influence over others provided to us from God for our own purposes that are of the flesh, and the age we live in, this had crept into the church at Corinth. Unfortunately worldly pride had come into the members of the body of Christ in the local church of Corinth. Paul highlights these problems in his first letter to them. It led to division amongst each member of the church. A number of them claimed to be baptized by different leaders of the same church, each claiming them to be far superior to the other. When division like this occurs it is of the flesh and not of God. Men like to boast of themselves, even in Christian circles, robbing God of his glory. (1.Cor.1:10-17.) (10) “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.(11) For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you.(12)  Now I say this, that each of you says, “ I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “ I am of Cephas,” or “ I am of Christ,” (13) Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? (14) I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, (15) lest anyone should say I baptized in my own name. (16) Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas. Besides, I do not know whether I baptized any other. (17) For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.” How difficult to understand or comprehend the wisdom of God as magnified through our risen glorified Lord with his cross ,without accepting that we are creatures condemned to a life without him. I believe the greatest difficulty that we of the household of God have is in realising that without the knowledge God provides to us manifested in and through the risen glorified Christ operated by his Spirit our greatest intellects are like the dust of the earth, because we use it for our own personal advantage, instead of helping others which is the wisdom of this age. Paul describes such knowledge as absolute foolishness in his first letter to the Corinthian Church. (1.Cor.1: 1:18-19. (18) “ For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.(19) For it is written: “ I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” We have to remember that this was written not to unbelievers, but to those who had already accepted Christ as Lord. The human mind can be a devious root to evil and ungodly pursuits within those who have accepted salvation from the Lord with the battle of the spirit against the flesh being constant until we are called home to glory. Not only had this occurred within their ranks the very same boastful pride had entered into the possession of having Spiritual gifts. (1.Cor.12-14.)

   The apostle Paul repeatedly called upon them to repent from these worldly ways to go back to Christ and his cross. Not to go searching after miracles for their own sake, and knowledge, whether through revelatory experiences or boastful intellectualism. He called upon them to drop this pretext and centre all of their heart, intellect, and spirit focussing them upon Christ, because in him is the power and the very wisdom of God. (1.Cor.1:24.) “But to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” Jesus Christ our Lord is what we are not our wisdom.  (1.Cor.1; 30,)  “ But of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God- and righteousness and sanctification and redemption-“ Therefore with that said in the apostle Paul’s first letter to the saints at Corinth, like them we are nothing without Christ, let all the glory be given to him. God’s wisdom transcends all of human thought and his intellect that even his foolishness is more intelligent than men and his weaknesses being stronger than that of men. But there are times in our shallowness we think we know better than God, this presumption and arrogance causes mayhem, until we repent and are driven back to Christ, and his cross. (v.25) “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” We therefore should not boast in ourselves and what we are doing, and what we have done, but what God has done through us in and through his Son Jesus Christ our risen glorified Lord. It is only when we acknowledge our frailty and the weaknesses of our humanity in our intellect, and physic to God in our honesty before him in prayer that he will answer by sending his Spirit into ours, which will transcend all our earthly wisdom enabling us to receive the things of God. The wisdom that God affords to us through his Son, our risen glorified Lord, Jesus Christ, through the work of the Holy Spirit, operating or working within our own hearts, and our spirit is for no mere academic exercise, we are to use it in order to conform and commit our lives in sacrificial living towards the risen Christ. This is precisely the knowledge of God in the eyes of those who are genuinely his, mere words without the power of God being behind it accomplishes nothing. I believe it is worth reading what Paul had to say upon this very important subject to the believers at Corinth in his first letter. (1.Cor.2:1-5.) “And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the mystery of God. (2) For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (3) I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. (4) And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power (5) that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” The Holy Spirit is the vehicle which God the Father and Jesus Christ his Son and our risen Lord use to make vocal in us the things that the two being one would want us to make known to his people and the world. Human wisdom is too often founded on faulty values and limited knowledge. The wisdom of God is that attribute of God by virtue of which he always acts with full knowledge and correct values.46 

         To enhance the wisdom or knowledge God has already provided to believers who have accepted God’s Son as Lord we find in the Old Testament the books described as Wisdom Literature, these are as follows: Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and others. These particular books convey true teachings in the form of art which brings forward right logic bringing proper actions that is ultimately to please God. Proper and true knowledge according to Holy Scripture is only found in God, he is the source of all that is true. He is a practical, and knowledgeable God, nothing goes amiss in his eyes.

      The wisdom of God can also be seen in his creation, we find the Psalmist describing this for us. (Ps.104:24) “O Lord, how manifold is your works! In wisdom you have made them all. The earth is full of your possessions.” Not only the Psalmist we also find God giving a descriptive account of his creation, a tremendous insight into the wisdom of God to Job. See the latter chapters of the book of Job 38-41. One text is particularly telling which we find in Job chapter 38 and verse 4, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.” These few words from God show just how insignificant the human race would be without him. But yet with a few words to Job he imparts the creative part of his wisdom to a mortal made by him as we all are. We find proof both in Holy Scripture and the universe itself the wisdom or knowledge of God permeates in what he has already made as well as being in his active creativity of what he is making, because he is never static. The author of the book of Proverbs affirms this from the Old Testament. (Prov.3:19.) “The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; By understanding he established the heavens.” We turn to Jeremiah the prophet while under the influence of God’s Spirit corroborates what God had said to Job. (Jer.10:12.) “He has made the earth by his power, He has established the world by his wisdom, And has stretched out the heavens at his discretion.” However the pinnacle and the final superior revelation of the knowledge or wisdom of God are to be found in his Son Jesus Christ, our risen resurrected glorified Lord. Again it is the apostle Paul we turn to for his evidence of this in his letter to the believers at Colosse, a godly man, while under the influence of the Spirit of God contributed so much to the New Testament.( Col.2:3.) Speaking of our risen glorified Lord this is what the apostle Paul had to say to them, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,” as has been said before the wisdom of God has been seen and is seen in Christ and his cross. ( 1.Cor.1: 18,19,) (18) “ For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (19) For it is written: “ I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”  But the power and wisdom of God can be visibly seen in the visible and invisible church of our Lord Jesus Christ worldwide and universal. This was planned in the foreknowledge of God between the one triune God before the outset of time and human history. It is through the church of Christ that both Jew and Gentile will be reconciled. However this had been previously hidden in the council and purposes of God in ages past until the birth of his Son Jesus Christ in whom he revealed this great plan of Redemption to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places which is found in the apostle Paul’s letter to the believers in Ephesus. (Ephes.3:9-10,) (9) “ and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; (10)to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the rulers and powers of the heavenly places.” I can understand why godly Christian men and women use the grey cells of the brain with the help of God’s Spirit to understand and interpret Scripture, but it is not enough to overcome the dark invisible forces of the air, only the Spirit of God can enable us to overcome these evil influences. When we realise our fleshly wisdom is not enough to overcome the world that we live in, and we cry out in our weakness to God to help us, only then do we really lean on the wisdom of God, seeing the insurmountable difficulties we are facing He miraculously provides an answer when to our human logic, and reasoning there did not seem to be an answer God has graciously provided one, this is the many varied aspects of his wisdom that he imparts to us. It took quite a few decades for God to change my very conservative interpretation of Holy Scripture to make me realise that no matter how big a person’s intellect is and the profession they hold, including my own, the Holy Spirit brings God’s final word on the matter in anything we do, and say, after all the Scriptures instruct us not to rely on our own intellect, but to rely on his, it is only when we do this that the wisdom of God will permeate the whole of our being, enabling us through God’s Spirit to become more like Christ, our Lord on a daily basis, helping us to show the fruit of the Spirit to all whom we come across.

                Where precisely does the knowledge or wisdom of God begin from the stance of Holy Scripture? It has to be from the opening sentence of the Book of Genesis, the very first volume of work of the Bible, and the Old Testament. (Gen.1:1.) “In the beginning God.” There is no argument for the existence of God by the author, in his intellect he affirms his existence, the church cannon accept the author’s evidence of there being one God, and his identity of being Moses. This I believe is the start of the knowledge of God from his written word. Additional corroboration of Holy Scripture can be found in the Book of Proverbs. (Prov.8:22-31.) (8) The Lord possessed me at the beginning of his way, before his works of old. (23) I have been established from everlasting, From the beginning, before there was even an earth. (24) When there was no depths I was brought forth, When there was no fountains abounding with water. (25) Before the mountains were settled, Before the hills, I was brought forth; (26) While as yet he had not made the earth or the fields, Or the primal dust of the world.(27)  When he prepared the heavens, I was there, When he drew a circle on the face of the deep, (28) When he established the clouds above, When he strengthened the fountains of the deep, (29) When he assigned to the sea its limit, So that the waters would not transgress his command, When he marked out the foundations of the earth, (30) Then I was beside him as a master craftsman; And I was daily his delight, Rejoicing always before him, (31) Rejoicing in his inhabited world, And my delight was with the sons of men. We have in the word of God and the wisdom of God the predetermined plans and purposes of God for the New Testament doctrine of the person and work of Christ. There is no other conclusion that can be had for the right reading of the passage just mentioned from the book of Proverbs. It can only be the Messiah.

    Verbally spoken the word wisdom is primarily uttered by the Apostle Paul in his first letter to the church at Corinth, logos sophias is vocally pronounced. (1.Cor.12:8) “…for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit.” Here we have not the general mention of knowledge, but the word logos, meaning a specific special knowledge from God given by God through the work of the Holy Spirit using the tongue of the believer to utter an inspired word from God which is taken from his vast reservoirs’ of godly wisdom. We only have the true inspired wisdom from God, which is centred upon the cross work, and the person of Christ. Finally; we who believe are to let the word (logos) of Christ dwell abide in us richly and deeply. (Col.3:16.) “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”


                   The Attributes of God under the doctrine of God

                                                         

                                  

   There is no more exciting or enthralling journey for the disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, than to take a look at whom God really is, as I am., and countless others who have surrendered their lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. This study is on his attributes what is characteristically God,


         I will make a start at looking at the holiness of God, his moral and ethical perfection. Many scholars and theologians would call it his wholly otherness. Whereas you and I had been born in sin, imperfect, God is not. We see his holiness been acted out against Israel his chosen people. Israel had already sinned and rebelled against God, now because of his holy character he was deciding what punishment to deliver against them. (Ex.33:3, 5 ;) “Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff necked people.” (5)  For the Lord had said to Moses, “Say to the children of Israel, “You are a stiff necked people. I could come up into your midst in one moment and consume you. Now therefore, take off your jewellery, that I may know what to do to you.” The holiness of God is not something to be trifled with. He would pass sentence and execute judgment some time later on. But they had been warned earlier of the consequences of being disobedient against the holiness of God. (Ex.20:1 – 4.)  (1)  And God spoke all these words, saying: (2) “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slaves. (3) You shall have no other gods before me. (4) You shall not make for yourself a carved image-any likeness of anything that is in heaven above or that is in the earth beneath or that is in the water under the earth.” There are no mistakes here God has warned Israel of what he expects of his people his holy character demands it of them. The holiness of God is stressed repeatedly in both the Old Testament and the New Testament but here we look at it in the Old Testament. Because of their immorality while Moses was on the mountain top with God they rebelled against him by making a golden calf by providing the goldsmith with their gold rings, bracelets, and necklaces. They had made for themselves a false idol.

    When Moses came back a second time to give Israel the tablets God had written his laws upon God reminded them that he is a jealous God ( Ex.34:14.)  “(For you will worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.)” He is still a jealous God. The New Testament does not replace the Old Testament; it brings quite a number of its prophecies to fulfilment, the most important one, the coming of the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore; he like his Father is a very jealous God, when we turn away from him his anger will wax hot against us. Still continuing with the holiness of God, he makes visible his glory in a pillar of cloud while talking to Moses in the tent of meeting. (Ex.33:7-11.) The most noticeable characteristics of the passage, despite the central action of God in conversation with Moses, are the reactions of God’s people, when they saw it, every man worshiped at the door of their tents. Such was the radiance of God’s holiness and glory from the pillar of cloud. They stood in awe of a holy and glorious God the only Lord God. What a great shame that a lot of this awe is missing from a huge proportion of Christ’s church towards him today.

        Moses had tremendous courage in his relationship with God, which at times verged upon him being quite impertinent towards God, seeing that he himself was mortal like we all are. He asked God if he could see his glory, without realising that if he looked upon the face of God, he would be completely consumed by his holy fire, because of sin, the curse that affects everyone today who does not know Jesus Christ as Lord. In reply to Moses request God graciously turns him down, but instead of turning him away he makes visible his other attributes to him, but not his glory. (Ex.33:20.)  But He said, “You cannot see My face, for no man shall see Me and live.” The very same principle applies to those who do not know Jesus the Anointed One of God, commonly known in our bibles as the Lord Jesus Christ. But as I have said, God manifested his other attributes by letting Moses see them, those under the major attribute of holiness. (Ex.33:19.)  Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” Obviously Moses is the recipient of God’s grace, and compassion in this instance, the benefactor of God’s qualities, characteristics, which is his attributes.

  An incredible scene of the highest drama unfolds to allow God to do for Moses what he had promised him. It illustrates God’s holiness in his mercy, graciousness, longsuffering, goodness, truth, forgiving iniquity, transgressions, and sin, and on the other side of his holiness, the perfect morality of his impeachable character he will not clear the guilty visiting the iniquity upon the fathers, and their children, and the fathers of their children. (Ex.34: 4 – 7.)  (4)  So he cut two tablets of stone like the first ones. Then Moses rose early in the morning and went up Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him; and he took in his hand the two tablets of stone. (5)  Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. (6) And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “ The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, (7) keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgressions and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and fourth generation,” but when this all happened God turned his back to face Moses so as not to consume him with his fiery fire. (Ex.33:23.) His holiness illustrated in his mercy, love, and compassion activated towards his faithful servant Moses. There are seven attributes that describes the central attribute of God’s holiness. These are as follows: wrath which can be described as his anger, righteousness his moral perfection, his mighty power as one who is God, his constancy, meaning he is always consistent with his character, never changes. Scholars and theologians describe it as his immutability. As the ever present God in his omnipresence he is everywhere, self creating, and self sustaining. He is eternally God without beginning and without end, his glory, and wisdom. These have all to do with his holiness

      Those attributes that speaks of the love of God are in the following manner: mercy, grace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, goodness, knowledge, 

        The men and women who slavishly commit their very lives like me to the Lord God will find themselves caught up without knowing it in worship of the one triune God, in this instance, the Lord God, while studying his attributes.


                                          The Holiness of the Lord God

    


       To get a proper view of the holiness of God we turn to the prophet Isaiah in his first meeting with God the Lord. However; it should be said he is not the only one who has an encounter with the living God, spoken of in the bible. Before we turn to Isaiah, try and put yourself in his footsteps, and envisage the drama unfolding. Unimaginable; the Lord discloses himself to a mere mortal. Isaiah sees an incredible vision provided to him from a gracious act of the Lord full of mercy, and compassion. (Isa.6:1.)  In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Does Isaiah really understand the significance of the Lord appearing in all of his holiness, splendour, and glory, sitting on his throne? No one will really know, but the vision would stay with him, with his faith, and belief remaining constant, which would lead to martyrdom.

    While looking at this extraordinary vision unfolding before him he saw the seraphim, not just one, all crying out to one another. (6:3), And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of his glory!” The same refrain on the holiness of God is taken up by the prophet John when he was afforded a revelation from Jesus Christ in a vision of which he was part of recorded in the book of Revelation.(Rev.4:8). The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” The time of his coming is drawing nearer. Both of these great  visions afforded to Isaiah and then John in the New Testament illustrate the transcendent majestic glory and holiness of God, fully deserving of our eternal praise, sacrifice, love, and self abnegation denying oneself, handing ourselves completely over to the Lord.

         God’s holiness is like who he is inexhaustible, immeasurable, without depth, bottomless like an abyss. The question often asked by his servants is often who is like you God? The only sensible answer is nobody. Moses asked this very same question. (Ex.15:11.) “Who is like You O Lord, among the gods? Who is like You glorious in holiness, Fearful in praises, doing wonders?” From his song of praise in heart felt worship towards God. If only Christ’s body could show the same humility in worship towards God. The very same refrain in exaltation of the holiness of God is heard from Hannah in her song of praise towards God. We find the record of that in the first book of Samuel. ( 1.Sam.2:2).  “ No one is holy like the Lord, For there is none besides You, Nor is there any Rock like our God.” It is at once totally unimaginable to mortal intelligence, but nevertheless authentic, and genuine the worship of the Lord God who is  absolutely other in majesty of holiness, separate from us, but with us even although separated from his creation in his otherness, He who knows no beginning, and no end, eternal, the very centre of divine holiness. Men get down on your knees and worship while you breathe, and can.

     We must never see God in his holiness as being contradictory in his moral, and ethical perfection or in his purity. God is one, and all of his attributes are contained in the oneness of his entity; they do not divide the unity of who he is. I believe it would be profitable to look at the reaction of the prophet Habakkuk towards the Almighty Lord God. (Hab.1:12, 13). “Are you not from everlasting, O Lord my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O Lord, You have appointed them for judgment; O Rock, You have marked them for correction. (13) You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, And cannot look on wickedness.”  Within his soul and spirit Habakkuk knows of God’s holy morality and his perfect ethical standards in his absolute holiness. God made me, but he does not show only tolerance towards me, he loves me. Because of his holy moral character, and the fact of his love towards me he had to send his Son to die on a cross to enable his blood to cleanse, and cover my sins to appease his anger towards sin. Now when he looks at me he sees no sin. But we all need to understand the meaning of his holiness in regard to his moral perfection,

     This can be seen in the book of Hosea when God speaks to the prophet of how he loves his people. God can be angry at rebellion, but he is also loving and merciful to those who love and obey him. (Hos.11:8 – 9)  “How can I give up Ephraim? How can I hand you over Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I set you like Zeboiim? My heart turns over within Me; My sympathy is stirred. (9)  I will not execute the fierceness of My anger; I will not destroy again Ephraim. For I am God, and not man, the Holy One in your midst; And I will not enter a city with terror.” God is God in all of his attributes whether to show anger in his holiness or love depending on the circumstances of his people towards him.

       I have said that every quality in God finds their unity in him as a singular person. There are no different gods for different qualities. All the qualities or attributes are found in the one person of God. We will now look at his anger or divine wrath coming under his holiness. The divine wrath or anger in the holiness of his majesty is directed against all that is evil which opposes him. The letter of the apostle Paul to the saints in Rome is an excellent New Testament volume to turn to, because it is a much systemized account of the Christian faith, and gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. He provides a thorough work on the subject of God’s wrath.

       Paul writing to the saints in Rome writes of the revelation of God’s righteousness towards them in the gospel of his Son Christ Jesus. (Rom.1:16-17)  “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for every one who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (17)  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” But from that the apostle immediately turns to the unrighteousness and ungodliness of men, of which because God’s divine wrath is kindled against them. (Rom.1:18)  “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold down the truth in unrighteousness.”  God’s righteous wrath from the New Testament Greek word, orge is found no less than thirty six times in the New Testament, and of those thirty six times it is mentioned, twenty one of them are written of in the Apostle Paul’s letters. Twelve of them are mentioned by Paul in his letter to the saints in Rome. We must notice that in the passage of Romans I have just mentioned both God’s wrath and grace are revealed against the ungodliness of men. His grace is in the gospel of his Son Jesus Christ, the means whereby he provides an answer to mankind against his holy wrath, because of his righteous and moral character he directs against them, because of their total ungodliness. The free gift of grace is for all, by the same measure his wrath is directed against all. When Paul uses the word revealed, it is a continuous verb in the present tense, meaning it continuous to be active towards everyone; such is the mercy of God our Father. God’s holy anger which is being directed against us is in proportion the reason why he has provided us with the gospel. All of us need the salvation God provides to us through his Son our Lord Jesus Christ, because of our sin against which God directs his holy anger and impending judgment against our sin

      However; it is in the cross of the gospel of Christ we see the measure of sin against God, which has stirred his wrath against the sins of all. The cross illustrates the holy anger of the Lord God against sin, the very sheer volume of it, that activated the event of the cross on which the Lord of glory, Jesus Christ died. Without the gospel of Jesus Christ there would be no revelation of God’s anger, or of his grace. God’s forgiveness cost him his Son Jesus Christ his very life, when he was put to death upon the cross. There is no such thing of grace being given on the cheap. The price is huge which is the divine life of Jesus Christ sacrificed upon the cross to enable those who accept Jesus Christ as the risen glorified Lord to save them from God the Father’s wrath, which is to come. You cannot have salvation unless you are going to be saved from something, and that something is the wrath of God to come, and your spirit from being cut off forever. If you study closely the last text God’s wrath is already being revealed against those who have failed to accept the calling of the Lord Jesus Christ upon their lives by accepting him as Lord. It is happening now in a present and future historical context. (1:18) “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.”  

       Paul continuing in his letter to the saints in Rome writes of the anger of God, which is to be revealed on that final day, when the heavens and the earth are ended in the way we know of it today, which comes under the doctrine of Eschatology, better known as the end times. He warns of the impending judgment of God which will be concluded on the final day. (2:3). “And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God.”  The absolute stony unbelief of man has led to the hardening of the hearts of men down though the centuries that now in many quarters the mention of the gospel of Jesus Christ brings out a hostile reaction from the rebellious, but God’s righteous wrath awaits them upon the final day. (2:5) “But in accordance with your hardness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.”  Furthermore God will require by the hand of each person their individual guilt of sin on a personal basis to which he will judge, and execute his sentence upon. Each man and woman who refuses to acknowledge his Son Jesus Christ as Lord will be held personally responsible. (2:5 – 6) “But in accordance with your hardness and your unrepentant heart you are storing up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, (6) who will render to each one according to his deeds.” The proof and evidence for the doctrine of divine wrath is clearly taught in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the saints in Rome. However the doctrine of God’s wrath can be seen throughout the whole of Holy Scripture. But for you and me to see clearly the meaning of God’s wrath, and his righteousness, it can only be obtained by the light that the cross of Christ shines upon it. It is in the gospel of Christ Paul writing to the saints in Rome (Rom.1:16 – 18) we see visibly the anger or wrath of God in his judgment of sin and his righteousness that provides salvation. For further corroboration collaborating with what the Apostle Paul is writing of here we can turn to the gospel of John and read what our risen glorified Lord had to say upon the issue. (3:14 – 17)  (14) “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, (15) that whoever believes in Him should have eternal life. (16) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (17) For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” Jesus used a well known historical account to visualise judgment and salvation from the book of Numbers (Num.21: 4-9) When the men who had been bitten by poisonous snakes looked upon the bronze serpent lifted up on a pole, they would be saved from a poisonous death. By the same token when the Son of Man who is the Son of God would be lifted up upon the cross for all of our sins God’s judgment for us would fall upon him, and when we looked up to him in belief we would be saved by God’s provision of salvation through the means of Christ’s crucifixion, and resurrection on and from the cross. Glory, glory hallelujah, all of mankind should praise God.

   It is a sad day and age when we do not properly understand the righteousness of God, another attribute of his holy character. He deals with our unrighteousness, because he is a holy righteous God. But it is by his holy righteousness that he deals with unrighteousness by showing mercy, love, and compassion to those who sincerely seek his forgiveness. However to conclude the paragraph, God in his holy righteous character is able to deal with unrighteousness. 

     Because God is holy, and righteous he alone brings punishment and judgment upon the wicked.  He shall be seen in his righteous acts, and hallowed in them. (Isa.5: 16)  But the Lord of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, And God who is holy shall be hallowed in righteousness. We who know God like his people Israel, but unlike them having been born of the Spirit of God are expected to be righteous just as he is righteous in keeping his righteous laws with the help of the Holy Spirit. But that is in a New Testament context

      Because God is righteous morally, and ethically but full of mercy, and love Abraham intercedes before him for the righteous caught up in the midst of the evil population in the city of Sodom. (Gen.18:25)  “Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from you! Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?”

          The Lord of Glory while on earth, who was Jesus Christ in his earthly habitat, when preaching from his Sermon on the Mount commanded that his disciples should do all that they could for the Kingdom of God and his righteousness then all that they would need on earth would be provided for. We find the incident spoken of here has been recorded by one of our Lord’s disciple’s Matthew in his narrative of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Mtt.6:33)  “But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you,” Within the new kingdom set up by God the Father through his Son our Lord Jesus Christ, who reigns within us, God’s purpose is to make his righteousness shine through each redeemed individual who is committed to him in an attractive manner. To be morally upright in all of your dealings with men letting the holy righteousness of God shine through thereby attracting them to him. I believe there is always a social element to the gospel of God in which he is clearly interested in people, he obviously wants to show his righteousness through those who belong to him, and his Son our Lord Jesus Christ by showing his compassion for his justice, but at one and the same time being vocal about the Good News concerning his gracious offer of salvation from sin by accepting by faith the mercy, and forgiveness the Lord Jesus Christ is providing which will give the g greatest prize of all eternal life.

            What is truly astonishing is that God loves us so much that he wants to make us like him, without us being totally like him, and then he would not be God. Just as he is righteous he wants his righteousness to shine through us who are his people. But truly amazing according to Holy Scripture is the fact that God through his Son Jesus Christ provides to those who believe by faith have had his righteousness imputed to them as free gift from Him, and his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. See the Apostle Paul’s comments on this very crucial subject. (Rom.3:21-26) My question as addressing me is how do I respond to such an awesome and holy God covered in glory resplendent in righteousness?  I respond by being Christ’s disciple loving only him, and God the Father by obeying his instructions. My justification is through my belief and faith in Christ Jesus, who being a free gift from God his Father I am made righteous by my risen glorified Lord’s righteousness, with that being the case it his the righteousness of Christ I am imputed with, and not my own. (Rom.3:22, 23)  “Even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all who believe. For there is no difference; (23) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

            The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is a righteous God, but he is also a merciful, and compassionate God who is always ready to show his loving kindness to the inhabitants of the earth, which is commonly known as his unmerited favour. But the favour of God high lighted here are those who acknowledge through faith in Christ his atoning death receive from God as a free gift his righteousness continuing to trust his Son our Lord Jesus Christ.

            We therefore can say, having had the illumination of God the Holy Spirit enlightening our understanding on Pauline theology, which is enshrined in his letter to the saints in Rome, which is encased in the New Testament, and accepted by the Nicene Creed of the Apostolic Fathers as the very divine authority of God, spoken only by him, through his servants the New Testament authors, especially the apostle Paul’s contribution, specifically his letter to the saints in Rome. We find that the God righteousness. From this unshakable truth of his righteousness he springs into action by saving us from sin through Christ’s death upon the cross. The greatest achievement that God will ever do on the behalf of mankind by providing to us through the sacrificial death of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, a right standing with him.


    The power of God is constant, continues eternally with his glory, and wisdom


       An illustration of the mighty power of God is written of by the psalmist: (Pss.97:1-5.) He as Lord, and God reigns, there is no other like him. The very foundation of his throne is his righteousness and justice. However; the power he possesses is awesome, and the doctrine of the creation of the universe, and the earth is totally beyond the most fertile earthly imagination, just a little inkling of what he can do ( Gn.1:1-28.). We can also see God’s power in the redemption of his people seen in the life of Ezekiel.  (Ezek.36:21-24) He promised that he would bring Israel back to her own land and he would be hallowed in them before the eyes of the nations, absolutely colossal power. The absolute dynamism of the gospel itself shows the power of God to provide salvation for each person who has faith, but even there it is the power of God that provides faith. (Rom.1:16) “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” Paradoxically the absolute power of God is shown in his weakness, a fact the Apostle Paul tried to explain to the saints in Corinth. (2.Cor.12:9-10)  (9) And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I would rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ will rest upon me. (10) Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak I am strong.

     Is there really anything too difficult for our God? The answer is no. But because of his vast reservoirs of mercy and love towards his finite beings he holds back to provide a window in time for them to consider their position. As long as God’s grace continues finite man are in a position to make a choice.

      and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is a righteous God, but is also very gracious to his creatures, mankind. Righteousness being one of his central principles as an attribute of his. Furthermore he is active in his righteousness saving mankind from sin through the cross of Christ, and adding on to that what God has already achieved, and continuing to achieve as he provides to us his righteousness through his Son Jesus Christ, and Him crucified to enable God through him who was once scorned, and ridiculed suffering the ignominy of a criminal’s death is now resurrected, and glorified, through faith in him we receive the righteousness of God, the Lord of Glory Jesus Christ. Let us shout hallelujah, and praise his wonderful name.

     We can also say that our God, as well as being righteous, is a gracious God who mercifully provides his righteousness as a free gift to all of those of mankind who acknowledge, and will acknowledge the sacrificial death of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, as a means of his death brings forgiveness of sins to them, which provides the necessary atonement on their behalf before God our Father by putting their trust in him. But Paul more than any other of the authors of the New Testament profoundly expounds upon the righteousness of God, which is a major principle of Pauline theology more striking in his letter to the saints in Rome. I believe we can without fear call the righteousness of God one of his central attributes from which he springs into action by saving us from our sins through the cross of Christ our Lord, and by these very means he achieves his righteousness for us by providing us with it, and very importantly a right standing with him.


Recent Blog Entries

Newest Members

Recent Prayer Requests

  • healing

    Pray please for healing of my coxofemoral joints, my name is Konstantyn.
  • healing

    Pray please for healing of my coxofemoral joints, my name is Konstantyn.

Testimonials

  • "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CM5rIJEVCg"
    Mel
    My Testimony Of How God Answered The Prayer Of A Ten Year Old Bo
  • "The blog is nicely done. Attractive written shows its quality. Keep it up in this way. Thanks a lot Mulberry Outlet
    Priblylip
    burberry on sale

Donate!