Lesson 21: The Practical Benefits of Union with Christ, Part 2 | Biblical Foundations for Living

Lesson 21: The Practical Benefits of Union with Christ, Part 2

In Lesson Twenty, we studied three of the practical benefits of union with Christ, each of these the result of the Holy Spirit’s work in the life of the believer. [They were perseverance (the believer will continue in the faith), assurance (the believer is confident that he is saved), and sanctification (the believer progressively grows in godliness).] The Holy Spirit is the source of all practical benefits of union with Christ. The purpose of this lesson is to introduce you to the Bible’s teaching on the nature and work of the Holy Spirit and to examine some additional benefits the believer experiences as a result of His ministry. In this lesson, we will study:

1. The nature of the Holy Spirit [i.e. what the Holy Spirit is like]

2. The work of the Holy Spirit [ i.e. what the Holy Spirit does]

I. The Nature of the Holy Spirit

There are many misconceptions as to the nature of the Holy Spirit. Because of the teachings of some cults and Eastern religions, some have concluded that the Holy Spirit is simply a force or another word for the power of God.

[It’s not just cults and pagan religions who have done this. Some so-called Christian denominations deny the trinity (e.g., United Pentecostals). They teach modalism, that is, that God manifests Himself in 3 different ways. This is wrong. Unitarians began by denying the trinity, and are now more or less agnostics.]

The Bible, however, presents two very clear truths about the Holy Spirit’s nature:

A. The Holy Spirit is a person .

1. The Holy Spirit possesses the components of personality.

Lesson One identified three distinct components of personality: thinking (mind), acting (will), and feeling (emotion). The Bible indicates that the Holy Spirit possesses all three.

And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit. – Romans 8:27

All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.   1 Corinthians 12:11

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.   Ephesians 4:30

[Remember that the components of personality are intellect, emotion and will.]

2. The Holy Spirit is referred to with masculine personal pronouns.

The Holy Spirit is called “he,” not “it.”

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.   John 16:13

[In the KJV, the Holy Spirit is occasionally referred to as “it” (c.f. Rom 8:16). But this is because the Greek word pneuma is a neuter word, which means a pronoun modifying it must also be neuter, hence, “it.” Newer versions render the word “he.” ]

B. The Holy Spirit is God .

1. The Holy Spirit is closely associated with God.

Certain passages associate the Holy Spirit with God the Father and God the Son.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.   Matthew 28:19

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.   2 Corinthians 13:14 (See also 1 Peter 1:2.)

[In these verses the Holy Spirit is put on equal footing/status with God and Jesus.]

2. The Holy Spirit possesses the attributes of God.

Among these attributes are omnipresence (Psalm 139:7), omnipotence (Luke 1:35), and eternality (Hebrews 9:14).

3. The Holy Spirit is equated with God.

The Bible sometimes uses the words “God” and “Holy Spirit” interchangeably.

Then Peter said, “You have lied to the Holy Spirit . . . . You have not lied to men but to God.”   Acts 5:3 4

II. The Work of the Holy Spirit

A. The work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament

The doctrine of the Holy Spirit is not as fully developed in the Old Testament as in the New. This is due to the fact that the Old Testament emphasized the unity of God in order to counteract the tendency of the people to worship many gods (polytheism). [“poly” means “many.” There are a few indications of the Triunity of God in the OT; the NT is where this doctrine is fully expounded.] This does not mean, however, that there are no references to the Holy Spirit’s work in the Old Testament.

1. The Holy Spirit was active in Creation .

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters   Genesis 1:2

2. The Holy Spirit gave prophecies and Scripture .

For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.   2 Peter 1:21

3. The Holy Spirit enabled men to perform specific tasks.

The Old Testament frequently refers to the Spirit of God “coming” upon the leaders of Israel to enhance their ability to govern the nation. Since Israel was to be under God’s rule (a theocracy), theologians call this the “ theocratic

anointing .”

So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power.   1 Samuel 16:13

[Note that David was already saved and indwelt (permanently reside within) by the Holy Spirit at this point. This was a special anointing of God for a certain job – to be king.

The Holy Spirit also enabled men to perform other tasks (Exodus 31:1-5).

4. The Holy Spirit was active in the salvation of men .

Old Testament revelation of the Holy Spirit’s work in salvation is sparse. Furthermore, the Old Testament often uses different words to describe salvation than those found in the New Testament. Nevertheless, the Bible indicates that the Holy Spirit was instrumental in the salvation of Old Testament believers in many of the same ways in which He is involved in our salvation today. He regenerated (John 3:3 10) [this context is still part of the OT dispensation], indwelt (Numbers 27:18), and guided (Psalm 143:10) the Old Testament believer.

Note: Some falsely conclude from David’s words in Psalm 51:11 (“Do not take your Holy Spirit from me.”) that the Holy Spirit did not permanently indwell the Old Testament believer. However, David’s concern is the loss of the Holy Spirit’s theocratic anointing, not the loss of His permanent indwelling.

[Some teach that the Holy Spirit came upon and then left OT believers rather than indwell them permanently as the NT teaches. We believe that He both regenerated and indwelt like He does today. It would be nearly impossible to explain the spirituality of the OT believer without regeneration and indwelling.]

B. The work of the Holy Spirit in the life of Christ

1. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit.

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.”   Luke 1:34 35

2. Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit “came upon” Jesus at His baptism. This was the culmination of the Old Testament theocratic anointing, enabling Him to function as the perfect prophet, priest, and king.

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.   Matthew3:16

3. Jesus ministered by the power of the Holy Spirit.

But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. – Matthew 12:28

C. The work of the Holy Spirit in the world

1. The Holy Spirit applies common grace .

The Holy Spirit limits the progress of sin in the world (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7) and extends God’s goodness to all men (Matthew 5:45).

[Remember what “common grace” is? It’s the fact that God does not allow man to be as sinful as he could be. God restrains sin and allows people do some measure of civic or cultural “good,” although this “good” is not meritorious. It’s common because it extends to all men in common.]

2. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin .

When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.   John 16:8

Note: This passage is the climax to a series of statements made by Christ concerning the work of the Holy Spirit through the apostles to produce Scripture. Thus, conviction occurs through the Word of God.

[Note that we tie a subjective, “feeling” type of thing to the Word of God. Conviction should lead to repentance of sin and a changed life, i.e., sanctification. So sanctification/spiritual growth is tied directly to access to the Word of God.

Also, conviction is specifically tied to sin and salvation. The Holy Spirit does not convict about decisions in general. I.e., we should not say that God convicted us about going to a certain college or marrying a certain person. E.g., “I really felt convicted that God wanted me to buy this car.”]

D. The work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the New Testament believer

Below are some additional benefits the Holy Spirit applies to the believer as a result of his union with Christ.

[These are the “practical benefits” mentioned in the title of the lesson.]

1. The Holy Spirit indwells believers.

Believers have a personal and permanent relationship with God through the Holy Spirit’s indwelling. The Holy Spirit’s indwelling occurs at the moment of salvation and continues throughout the believer’s life.

You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.   Romans 8:9

[God resides in the believer. Should we expect to “feel” the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit? No. How then do we know that He’s there? By faith. We believe what God said.]

2. The Holy Spirit illumines the believer’s mind.

The Holy Spirit teaches the believer the significance of Scripture. This means that He convinces us of our need to obey the Scriptures (see Lesson Six).

But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit  just as it has taught you, remain in him.   1 John 2:20, 27

[We differentiate between the “meaning” and the “significance” of a text. Anyone who can use the language can get the meaning of a text. But only those who are saved can appreciate the significance of a text. Significance has to do with the application of the meaning. The Holy Spirit illuminates our minds to the significance of God’s word.]

Note: The above reference does not imply that one does not need to study the Bible for himself (2 Timothy 2:15) or be taught biblical truth by others (1 Timothy 3:2). The “anointing” mentioned above is a reference to the Holy Spirit’s work of illumination.

[The anointing is not some extra kick or jolt of power for soul-winning or preaching. It is the ability to understand and apply the Scripture to your life.]

3. The Holy Spirit enables believers to serve the church.

The Holy Spirit gives at least one spiritual gift to each believer for the purpose of ministry in the local church (1 Corinthians 12).

[There are lots of people today who want to exercise their gifts for the building up of the universal body of Christ. They kind of “free float” without any connection to a church, which is wrong. One is to exercise his gifts in the context of an organized group of believers, i.e., a church.]

Learning to Live It

1. A friend of yours tells you that ever since he trusted Christ he has been praying to receive the Holy Spirit. What should you tell him?

If he has trusted Christ, he already has the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:9). One receives the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation. One need not pray to receive him. If one does not have the Holy Spirit, he is not saved.

2. “Church is a human organization. I don’t need to be taught by men  I have the Holy Spirit to teach me.” What is wrong with such thinking?

1. The church is not essentially a human organization. Christ called it “my church.” 2. Christians are commanded to be a part of a local church and serve there. 3. As part of a church, one should be willing to be taught by others. Pastors are set over the flock to teach them. 4. It’s this kind of thinking that leads to heresies and cults. It’s a blatantly inaccurate statement in light of such verses as 1 Timothy 3:2

The Holy Spirit does teach us, but He uses the Word of God and the teaching of others as the means whereby He does so. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit’s job is to convince us of the significance of Scripture, not the meaning. It is our job to ascertain the meaning of Scripture via our personal Bible study and the teaching of others.

3. Some people teach that David’s prayer in Psalm 51:11 (“Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.”) is proof that one can lose his salvation. What is wrong with such an interpretation of this verse?

David is not speaking of losing the Holy Spirit’s indwelling, but of losing the Holy Spirit’s theocratic anointing. He is asking God not to do to him that which He did to his predecessor, Saul (1 Samuel 16:1, 13-14).

4. A pastor is leading his congregation into some debatable practices. When the deacons question some of his decisions, he responds by quoting 1 Chronicles 16:22 (“Do not touch my anointed ones.”). Does this verse teach that the pastor has a special anointing from God?

no, it refers to the king in the theocratic kingdom, not the church. Here is where it is necessary to make a clear distinction between Israel and the church..

Why were men in the Old Testament anointed by the Holy Spirit?

to enable them to lead the theocracy. Those serving in the offices of prophet, priest, or king were anointed.

Who was the last person to receive the theocratic anointing?


Lesson 20: The Practical Benefits of Union With Christ, Part 1 | Biblical Foundations for Living

Lesson 20: The Practical Benefits of Union with Christ, Part 1

Union with Christ not only has many positional benefits but several practical benefits as well. [What do we mean by “positional”? A change in status/standing. What were these benefits? Justification (being declared righteous), Adoption (being taken into God’s family) and Eternal Security (once saved, always saved.)] Because of his union with Christ, the believer experiences a number of benefits in daily life.

In this lesson, we will study three of the practical benefits of union with Christ:

1. The benefit of perseverance

2. The benefit of assurance

3. The benefit of sanctification

I. The Benefit of Perseverance

Perseverance means that a believer will continue to live as one who is saved. Genuine believers will persevere, or remain committed, in two key areas. These areas serve as two tests of genuine salvation.

A. The doctrinal test: Genuine believers remain committed to the Word of God.

By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.   1 Corinthians 15:2

But now He has reconciled you . . . if you continue in [the] faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.   Colossians 1:22 23

Both of these passages stress the need for continual commitment to the gospel. The phrases, “the word” and “the faith,” however, broaden the commitment to include all basic Christian doctrine. A true believer will not reject the gospel nor the major doctrines of the Christian faith (such as the deity of Christ and the inerrancy of Scripture). If one does so, he demonstrates that he is not genuinely saved.

[Is there room for doctrinal disagreement? Yes, up to a point. Can a person not believe exactly like me and still be saved? Yes. Also cf. 1 John 2:19]]

B. The moral test: Genuine believers remain committed to growth in godliness.

We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.   1 John 2:3 4

Because a genuine believer is a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), he will change the direction of his life. He will have a desire to grow in the knowledge of God and obey Him. If there is no desire to grow and obey, it may be due to the fact that he is not really saved.

Note: It is possible for genuine believers to temporarily rebel . However, such rebellion is in deed only (rejection of God’s Word is impossible for a true believer). [It is possible for believers to misunderstand or be misled. Thus true believers may be a part of an errant denomination, movement, or group.] Three principles should be noted, however. First, believers who do not grow are the exception rather than the rule . Second, believers who rebel in these areas have no biblical basis for assurance of their salvation (1 John 2:3 4). [That is, such a person has no firm basis on which to be sure they are saved. If there is no evidence of salvation, there is no assurance of it.] Finally, believers who rebel in these areas should anticipate God’s discipline rather than His blessing. Such discipline may be very severe. For example, the members of the Church at Corinth rebelled by disrespecting the Lord’s Supper. As a result, God severely disciplined them.

That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have [died].   1 Corinthians 11:30 (See also 1 John 5:16.)

II. The Benefit of Assurance

Another practical benefit of being united with Christ is assurance of salvation. Assurance of salvation is the confidence the believer has that he is genuinely saved. [That is, one does not continually doubt it, worry about it, and wonder if he really is saved. He’s confident that he is. Assurance is often confused with eternal security. They are like two sides of the same coin. Assurance is the believer’s confidence that he is saved. Eternal security is the fact that God keeps the believer saved.] There are three things which God uses to give assurance of salvation. All three of them must be present in the believer’s life in order for him to have a biblical basis for believing that he is saved.

[Explain difference between assurance (a subjective confidence that you are really saved) and eternal security (the fact that one cannot lose his salvation).]

A. The genuine believer believes the promises of God to save and keep him.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.   John 3:16

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. – John 10:28-29

[God has promised to save people and to keep them saved. What would have to be true if God did not keep believers saved? 1. He’s not powerful enough; 2. He lied.]

B. The genuine believer will persevere in faith and good works.

Christian assurance is inseparably linked to perseverance. If one who claims to be a Christian does not continue in his commitment to correct doctrine and a life of obedience, he has no biblical basis for believing that he is saved.

[If one is not persevering in faith and good works, can he be confident that he is saved? No, he has no basis to think that he is saved.

What are some evidences (“vital signs”) of salvation? Several are found in 1 John:

  1. Walking in the light, i.e., living a godly life (1:5-7)

  2. Obeying Christ’s commands (2:3-6)

  3. Love for other believers (3:14-17)

  4. Orthodox doctrine (correct belief) (4:6)

Those who display such evidences of salvation in their lives have good reason to have confidence that they are truly saved. Those lacking such evidences have no reason to think that they are saved.]

C. The genuine believer receives the Holy Spirit’s inner testimony .

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.   Romans 8:16

Using the Word of God , the Holy Spirit convinces the believer that he is a child of God. He convinces him of the truthfulness of those verses which promise that God will save and keep those who accept Him as Lord and Savior.

[Note that the inner testimony applies specifically to one’s assurance of being saved. It does not apply to other things, like what one should do or where to go, etc. ]

III. The Benefit of Sanctification

Sanctification is the setting apart of the believer by God. It has both a positional and a practical aspect. The positional aspect is the fact that God has set apart all believers from the world and to Himself. [This occurs at the moment of salvation. It is not a sensory/emotional experience.] The practical aspect deals with the continual, progressive change that takes place as the believer matures spiritually.

[Practical sanctification is also known as progressive sanctification. The believer’s life should be characterized by continual, progressive growth in godliness. There will be setbacks, but the general tendency will be toward growth.]

A. Sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit .

God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit. – 2 Thessalonians 2:13

The Holy Spirit changes believers through their knowledge of Scripture (John 17:17). Thus, if one is to live a sanctified (holy) life, he must study the Bible, the tool the Holy Spirit uses to help him grow.

[Growth as a Christian is directly tied to Bible study/reading/meditation. The more familiar you become with the Bible, the more biblical you start thinking, and the more biblically you start living. Thus, you can’t grow much apart from access to God’s Word, both written and proclaimed (preached).]

B. Sanctification involves the believer’s active obedience .

Some people view the Christian life as a series of mystical experiences in which the Holy Spirit “ moves ” them. According to this school of thought, the believer is always passive , waiting for the Spirit to move him to pray, witness, etc. [E.g., some Pentecostal groups just wait for God to “say something” in their meetings.] Though sanctification is the work of the Spirit, God never commands the believer to wait for some “moving.” He simply commands him to live obediently.

Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.   2 Corinthians 7:1

[Thus, we take an active roll in growth. We don’t just wait for it to happen. It takes discipline: Bible study, prayer, rejection of sin, acceptance of responsibilities, etc.]

C. Sanctification involves a change in direction .

Before one comes to Christ, he is a slave to sin. After God saves him, however, his direction in life changes. From that moment on, he separates from wickedness and embraces godliness.

1. The believer separates from wickedness.

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and [Satan]? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?   2 Corinthians 6:14 15

The “yoke” in this passage refers to a union between two or more people. A believer has no business uniting with an unbeliever.

[The context of the above verse deals with false teachers. Hence the command applies to contact/interaction/participation with those who hold wrong doctrine. Paul’s not saying we can’t be friends or associates with unbelievers.

Cf. also Eph 5:6-8, 11. Separation has been a key factor in Fundamentalism. Back in the 40’s-50’s a group of Evangelicals decided to reject separation in favor of inclusion. These people are called “New Evangelicals.” Many of them would agree substantially with us doctrinally, but are out of order when it comes to practice.]

2. The believer embraces godliness.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. – Colossians 3:1

D. Sanctification is the natural result of saving faith .

Some people [E.g., Charles Ryrie, Zane Hodges ] teach that a person may trust Christ as Savior at a point in time without an accompanying commitment to obey Him. Such a commitment may come at a later point in time. According to this view, the Christian life is centered around two spiritual “high points”: the time of salvation and the time of dedication . [This allows for two classes of Christians: Those who are not dedicated/committed and those who are.] This separation of dedication from salvation is unbiblical, for the Bible indicates that:

1. Saving faith itself is an act of obedience .

He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.   2 Thessalonians 1:8

[Cf. also John 3:36 — “obey” is parallel/synonymous with “believe.” Belief is obeying the gospel.]

2. Saving faith is described as obedient faith.

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.   James 2:14 17

The question James is asking in this passage is: Can a nonworking faith save? His conclusion is: No! Such a faith is dead. Like empty words, it accomplishes nothing. Commitment to obey Christ cannot be separated from true faith.

[It’s necessary to reemphasize that a non-committed Christian is not allowed for in the NT. Discipleship/dedication is assumed to be the normal state of affairs. Commitment is not just for “super” Christians. There is no special category for those who claim to be saved yet have no fruit to indicate they are saved. Those who have no evidence have no assurance, and they may have exactly what James is talking about: “dead” faith (i.e., no faith).]

Note: There are times in the believer’s life when he makes important decisions to dedicate himself more fully to his Savior. In fact, the Christian life is really a day by day, moment by moment process of dedicating oneself to Christ. What is unbiblical is the idea that dedication to Christ is an option for the believer. Faith without dedication is a faith that does not save.

Learning to Live It

1. A friend of yours claims that no one can know for sure that he is saved. Is this true?

No. 1 John 5:11-14. Also, the NT authors all knew they were saved and wrote to people as if they could know that they were saved. Further, if one did not know for sure himself that he was saved, why would he ever witness to someone else? Thus there would be no evangelism.

How does God assure His children?

through His promises to keep the believer saved, the believer’s perseverance, and the inner testimony of the Holy Spirit

If this person has good reason to doubt his salvation, what might you conclude?

He may not be saved, or he may have been taught wrong doctrine, or he is mistaken. Never falsely assure someone who may not be saved. No evidence = no assurance.

2. While talking to a Christian friend about his backslidden condition (he no longer attends church, he doesn’t read his Bible, etc.), he replies, “I’m waiting for God to show me what He wants me to do.” What is wrong with your friend’s thinking?

God has already shown him what He wants him to do in His Word. He simply has to start doing that which God has already told him to do. He should not wait for God to “move” him or show him in some special way to obey.

Lesson 19: The Positional Benefits of Union with Christ | Biblical Foundations for Living

Lesson 19: The Positional Benefits of Union with Christ

Upon being united with Christ through faith and repentance, the believer immediately receives several benefits.

[Remember that union with Christ is another way of referring to salvation. Union with Christ highlights the idea that the benefits of Christ’s life and death have been imputed to the believer. Since the relationship between Christ and the believer could be described as a “union,” the phrase “union with Christ” is an appropriate synonym for “salvation.”]

The benefits of union with Christ, which we will study in the following three lessons, can be divided into two types:

1. The positional benefits

2. The practical benefits

Positional benefits are those blessings which the believer possesses but does not experience . That is, God brings about a change in the believer’s position or status without the believer sensing or perceiving such [i.e., feelings/emotions. The change is real but non-perceptible]. For instance, the Bible states that believers have been adopted by God into His family. A believer does not feel this adoption take place. Nonetheless, he has been legally adopted by God and is now His child.

[“Position” has to do with one’s standing before God. One’s position before salvation is that of being alienated, an enemy, under the wrath of God, etc. At salvation, that position changes. One is forgiven, justified, adopted into God’s family, etc. So positional benefits are those benefits one receives because of a change in status/standing. One does not feel or notice or empirically sense this change.]

This lesson will focus on three of the positional benefits of union with Christ:

1. Justification

2. Adoption

3. Eternal Security

[Justification and adoption are things that happen to us; at salvation, we are justified and adopted. They are changes in status/standing/position. Eternal security is a bit different. It is more like a result of salvation than a position, but it is a benefit that results from our new position.]

I. Justification

Justification is the act of God whereby He declares a sinner to be legally righteous and treats him as such. Justification does not mean “to be made righteous” but “to be declared legally righteous.” When one is saved, he does not become righteous; he is still a sinner. Rather, God declares him legally righteous because of his union with Christ.

A. Justification is a work of God .

It is God who justifies.   Romans 8:33

B. Justification is by faith .

Know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.   Galatians 2:16

[“Ideas have consequences.” This idea was the cause of the Reformation. Martin Luther was convinced that a man was justified by faith in Christ rather than by obeying the RC church. This is also what sets us apart from all works-oriented religions. They believe man is justified by works. We believe man is justified by grace through faith.]

C. Justification is a result of the believer’s union with Christ.

At the moment of salvation, Christ’s righteousness is imputed to the believer. Consequently, when God looks at him, He does not see his sinfulness; rather, He sees Christ’s righteousness. As a result, God is able to declare him righteous.

God made [Christ Jesus] who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.   2 Corinthians 5:21

Through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. – Romans 5:19

[So the only righteous we have is that which is given to us at the moment of salvation. The righteousness that we have is Christ’s righteousness. Think of it as a bank transaction. Forgiveness takes away your debt and justification gives you a positive balance.]

D. Justification produces a peaceful relationship with God.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.   Romans 5:1

[Before salvation, the opposite was true; we were enemies of God. This is also called reconciliation – the restoration of a positive relationship.]

II. Adoption

Adoption is the legal placement of someone into a family as a son . At the moment of salvation, God places you into His family and gives you all the rights and privileges of a son; God is your legal Father.

[Like justification, adoption is a legal or judicial concept. Whose family is one in before salvation? Satan’s. This is contra the liberal idea of the “universal Fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of man.” E.g., the song “Let There Be Peace on Earth” — “. . . with God as our Father, brothers all are we.” Hogwash.]

A. Adoption is the work of God .

In love [God] predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.   Ephesians 1:4 5

B. Adoption is by faith .

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.   Galatians 3:26

C. Adoption is a result of the believer’s union with Christ.

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.   Galatians 3:26 27

Note: To be baptized or immersed into Christ is another way of describing union with Him.

[How is baptism comparable to our relationship with Christ? In baptism/immersion, one is engulfed, totally covered by the water. When one accepts Christ, he is totally committed to Him, it’s a total, radical life change that “covers” every aspect of life.]

D. Adoption has practical results.

1. The leading of the Holy Spirit

Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.   Romans 8:14

One of the results of being an adopted son of God is the Holy Spirit’s leading. Using the Word of God , the Holy Spirit leads or guides the child of God.

[To be led by the Holy Spirit is not some sort of mystical sensation, hunch, or feeling that you ought to do something. Practically speaking, it is merely submitting to the Word of God. To be led is to be controlled, and being controlled is simple obedience. Note also that the Spirit of God will never lead someone contrary to the Word of God (contra being “slain in the Spirit”). If you want the Holy Spirit’s leading in your life, you’ve got to get the Bible in your life.]

2. Loving discipline by God the Father

And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?   Hebrews 12:5 7

God does not punish believers as He does unbelievers. Rather, He disciplines believers out of love, desiring to do what is best for them. His goal for us is not necessarily happiness and prosperity , but Christ-likeness . He disciplines us with that goal in mind.

[What if one is disobedient and receives no chastening/discipline? C.f. Heb 12:8. It’s an evidence that one is not part of the family. Contra the health and wealth gospel.]

III. Eternal Security

Eternal security refers to the fact that all true believers are kept saved by God. A true believer cannot lose his salvation.

[Don’t confuse eternal security with assurance of salvation.]

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.   Philippians 1:6

A. Eternal security is a work of God .

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.   John 10:28 29

B. Eternal security is a result of the believer’s union with Christ.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.   Romans 8:1

Note: To be “in Christ” is another way of describing union with Him.

C. Eternal security is God’s will for all believers.

And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me.   John 6:39

[What are some of the things that would have to be true if eternal security were not true? 1. God was unwilling to keep us saved; 2. God was unable to keep us saved; 3. God was wrong when he elected us; 4. God has to throw us out of his family; 5. God has to take back the righteousness He imputed to us; etc, etc, etc. Obviously, it is impossible to undo salvation.]

Recap & Review

In this lesson, we have learned:

1. Justification is a positional benefit of union with Christ. Justification is the act of God whereby He declares a sinner to be legally righteous and treats him as such.

2. Adoption is a positional benefit of union with Christ. Adoption is the act of God whereby He legally places the believer into His family, giving him all the rights and privileges of a son.

3. Eternal security is a positional benefit of union with Christ. Eternal security is the work of God whereby He keeps saved those whom He has already saved.

Learning to Live It


1. During a conversation at school, a Catholic friend says to you that a person is made righteous by following Christ and the teachings of the church. Are sinners ever made righteous?

No, sinners are not “made” righteous; they don’t suddenly become sinless. They are “declared” righteous because of the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to them.

Can sinners follow Christ?

no (They are unable and unwilling.)

Is one justified by following the teachings of a church?

no, unless that church teaches the gospel. (One is justified by faith in Christ alone.)

2. During a conversation with a friend, you find out that he claims to be a Christian but does not believe in eternal security. In fact, he says that he was saved, lost his salvation, and then was saved again. What should you say to him?

A Christian cannot lose his salvation because God says so in His Word (John 6:39, 10:28-29, and Philippians 1:6). Furthermore, to claim one can lose his salvation is either to call God a liar (He doesn’t do what He promises.) or to imply that He is not omnipotent (He is unable to do that which He has promised to do.). Further, I would question the validity of any salvation that could be lost. The friend has not truly understood the person and work of Christ or the positional changes that occur at salvation, and may not really be saved.

What are those who believe one can lose his salvation really trusting in? Their own power/good works/ability. If so, are they really trusting Christ? No. Of course, they could just be mistaken because they were taught wrong. That is, they really are saved, but have not been taught correctly on this matter.

Lesson 18: The Divine Conditions for Union with Christ | Biblical Foundations for Living

Lesson 18: The Divine Conditions for Union with Christ

We learned in Lesson Seventeen that there are two human conditions for union with Christ, repentance and faith. This lesson will show that every aspect of man’s union with Christ is the outworking of God’s sovereign plan . Because unsaved man is totally depraved, he is unable and unwilling to pursue a relationship with God. His sinful nature will not allow him to do so. God must initiate salvation by giving man the ability to repent and trust Christ. This lesson will focus on the following divine conditions for union with Christ:

1. Election

2. Regeneration

I. Election

[Election is one of those doctrines that many don’t really understand. Some are almost afraid of it–they don’t even want to discuss it. Election is often associated with Calvinism because it is one of the outstanding aspects of Calvinism. Election is a clearly-taught doctrine of Scripture. One should not misunderstand or fear it.]

Election refers to the fact that God chooses those who will be saved.

A. The biblical description of election

1. Election is unconditional .

“Unconditional election” means that God did not choose us based upon anything we have done or will do.

a. Election is not based upon works .

. . . in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls . . . .   Romans 9:11 12

b. Election is not based upon future events .

Some people teach that God looks into the future and chooses those who will some day choose Him. However, this idea contradicts several biblical teachings:

1) The fact of God’s sovereignty (See Lessons Two and Three.)

[If God were in control of events/history, he would not have to look into the future to see what was going to happen. He would know the future because he planned it all out. Election is based on the fact that God has planned future events, not that He merely knows them.]

  1. The fact of man’s complete sinfulness (See Lesson Twelve.)

[Man is totally depraved and would not choose God if given the chance. God must choose man.]

  1. The fact that faith and repentance are gifts from God (See Lesson Seventeen.)

[Man does not “work up” the ability to repent and trust Christ. God must give him this ability. God initiates the process and carries it through.]

4) The meaning of the word “ elect

The Greek words translated “elect” or “choose” refer to one’s free choice of a course of action apart from any outside influence. If God chooses us because He knows that we will someday choose Him, then He has not chosen freely . In fact, He has not chosen at all. He has only agreed with our choice of Him . This is contrary to the meaning of the words “elect” and “choose.”

2. Election is God’s free choice of individuals .

The object of God’s election is not a plan or a group; rather, it is individuals.

From the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.   2 Thessalonians 2:13

For he chose us in him. – Ephesians 1:4

3. Election is the result of God’s purpose and pleasure .

For [God] says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.   Romans 9:15 16

In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.   Ephesians 1:5

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.   Ephesians 1:11

4. Election defined

Based upon the Bible’s teaching on election, we can define it this way: Election is the work of God before time in which He freely chose those who will receive the gift of eternal life. This choice is based solely upon God’s purpose and pleasure and is completely independent of man’s will.

Note: Election is an aspect of predestination . Whereas predestination refers to God’s planning of all events, election refers to God’s choosing of those whom He will save.

B. Objections to election

Following are various objections which are sometimes raised against the idea of unconditional election:

[The following are reasons why people react so strongly against the idea of God freely choosing some to be saved. See if students can come up with these reasons before stating them. ]

1. Unconditional election is unfair .

If God chooses to save some and not others, is He not being unfair and partial? This question is based upon the mistaken idea that we somehow deserve to be saved. Partiality and unfairness come into play only when one does not receive what he deserves. God would be unfair if everyone deserved eternal life and He granted it to only a few. Since no one deserves or seeks it, and since God “owns” eternal life, He may freely give it to whomever He wishes. Some may ask, “Why hasn’t God chosen to save everyone ?” Instead, we should ask, “Why has the perfect, holy, and pure God chosen to love and forgive any of our wicked, evil, and rebellious race?”

[It’s a good thing God isn’t fair with us, otherwise, we’d all be going to hell. The fact that God chooses to save some is pure grace. He can do whatever he wants. E.g., if I decide to give some of you $10.00 and not others, that’s my prerogative. I don’t have to give anyone anything. The fact that I do is purely my decision. Same with salvation. ]

2. Unconditional election contradicts man’s free will .

People sometimes reject unconditional election because they believe that man’s will is absolutely free. However, the Bible teaches that man’s will is not completely free. It is controlled by sin . Man’s “free” will is not free to choose God or salvation but only those things which are contrary to God and His salvation.

[Because of depravity, man will choose evil every time. Also, to say that man does not have an absolutely free will is not to say that man is merely a robot following some divinely written program. We do make real, spontaneous choices, but our choices are also part of God’s plan. From our perspective, our choices seem to be free, but in reality it is certain that we will make the choices we do. God renders our free choices certain. ]

3. Unconditional election contradicts passages concerning God’s will .

[God] wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.   1 Timothy 2:4

[God] is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.   2 Peter 3:9

Some assume from these two verses that it is God’s will that everyone be saved. However, if God willed that every man be saved, then that is what would happen. We know from other Scripture, however, that this [that everyone is saved] is not the case. Therefore, we would have to conclude that God planned the salvation of all mankind, but His plan is consistently thwarted. However, this [that God’s plan is thwarted] clearly contradicts the doctrine of God’s sovereignty.

How then should we interpret these verses? They are a description of God’s general desire rather than His specific will . God desires all men to be saved and gives them the opportunity to be so. However, because no man chooses to be saved on his own, God graciously gives some the ability to receive eternal life.

4. Unconditional election contradicts passages concerning God’s foreknowledge.

. . . chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.   1 Peter 1:2

On the surface, this verse seems to teach that God does elect some because He knows beforehand that they will trust Him. However, the true meaning of “foreknowledge” teaches otherwise.

Foreknowledge does not just mean to know something ahead of time. As mentioned in Lesson Two, God’s knowledge is active , not passive. He does not gain knowledge by watching events occur. Rather, He knows events because He is the author of them.

[Read Acts 2:23—foreknowledge here is obviously more than knowing ahead of time; it’s choosing ahead of time. We’ve seen previously that “to foreknow” is equal to “to choose.” God’s knowing-ahead-of-time is active. He knows because he planned the events–He determined that they would happen. Is it possible for God to look into the future to see that something would happen? No. That would mean that God learns things. He does not.

Also, foreknowledge is a relational term. God foreknows people, not events or things.]

5. Unconditional election makes God responsible for man’s condemnation .

There are some who believe that God elects some to be saved and the rest to be eternally condemned. This view is known as “ double predestination .” According to the Bible, however, man is responsible for his own damnation. The Bible nowhere blames man’s condemnation on God. God does not elect men to hell. He does, however, leave them to their own choice. Thus, men condemn themselves .

[God chooses some and leaves the rest. Also c.f. John 3:18 — unsaved man is “condemned already” because of unbelief, not because God has elected him to damnation.]

6. Unconditional election makes evangelism meaningless.

Some suggest that unconditional election makes such practices as witnessing and evangelistic preaching unnecessary because God saves men without our help. While it is true that God will accomplish His plan to save the elect, such a position misunderstands two important points: 1) God commands us to evangelize and holds us responsible to obey; 2) God has chosen to use men to communicate His message. Our labor is the tool which God uses to bring men to Christ and accomplish His purposes. God has chosen both the results and the means of His plan.

[One can be a 5 point Calvinist and still be zealously evangelistic. Spurgeon, for example, was a Calvinist. The belief in predestination and election in no way weakens one’s desire to win the lost. Read JI Packer’s Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God. ]

II. Regeneration

Regeneration refers to the fact that God gives spiritual life to those who will be saved.

A. The meaning of regeneration

Regeneration is the work of God in which He makes the spiritually dead sinner spiritually alive . It is the impartation of spiritual life to the spiritually dead. God grants spiritual life which enables men to repent and trust Christ.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions.   Ephesians 2:4-5

[There is some disagreement as to whether regeneration logically precedes repentance and faith, or is the result of it. The above paragraph indicates that regeneration is necessary prior to conversion–it gives one the ability to repent and believe. In reality, salvation is one immediate/instantaneous act. There is a logical order, but not a chronological one.]

B. The Agent of regeneration

The Holy Spirit is the One who makes the dead sinner spiritually alive.

He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. – Titus 3:5

C. The means of regeneration

The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God as the only means of producing spiritual life.

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.   1 Peter 1:23

[So the order is election (before time), regeneration, conversion. ]

Recap & Review

In this lesson, we have learned:

1. Election is a divine condition for union with Christ. Election is the work of God before time in which He freely chooses those who will receive the gift of eternal life.

2. Regeneration is a divine condition for union with Christ. Regeneration is the work of God in which He makes the spiritually dead sinner spiritually alive.

Learning to Live It

The statements below represent two unbiblical positions regarding the doctrine of election.

1. “Because God controls everything and chooses those whom He will save, I do not need to witness. God will save His elect in His own time. He certainly does not need me to help Him.” What is wrong with this statement?

God commands us to witness. Furthermore, our witness is the means God has chosen to reach the lost. God saves the elect through the witnessing activities of other Christians. He has chosen to use people to lead other people to Christ.

How might this position affect a church’s ministry?

It might kill any evangelistic outreach or missionary work.

2. “Yes, I believe in election, but God chooses those whom He knows will choose Him. He looks down the tunnel of time and sees that I am going to believe in Him. Because He foreknows this, He elects me to be saved.” What is wrong with this statement?

It reflects an incorrect understanding of foreknowledge. Foreknowledge is active. God chooses unconditionally, i.e. not based on what we will or won’t do. Furthermore, the above idea results in us doing the choosing rather than God doing it. God is not sovereign in this scenario. Finally, it makes God dependent on us rather than vice versa. It makes man, not God, in charge.

Lesson 17: The Human Conditions for Union with Christ | Biblical Foundations for Living

Lesson 17: The Human Conditions for Union with Christ

As stated in the Introduction to this section, the only way one can receive the benefits of Christ’s death is by being united with Christ. “Union with Christ” is one way of describing the relationship that exists between Christ and the believer begun at the moment of salvation. Union with Christ does not just happen. Certain things must take place before one is united with Christ. The conditions for union with Christ, which we will study in this lesson and the next, can be divided into two types:

1. The human conditions for union with Christ

[That is, what is required that I must to do be saved.]

2. The divine conditions for union with Christ

[That is, what is required from God for me to be saved.]

The human conditions for union with Christ are those aspects of salvation in which man participates with God. While the Bible teaches that these aspects are initiated and empowered by God, man plays an active and necessary role. This lesson will focus on the following human conditions for union with Christ:

1. Repentance

2. Faith

[It is very important that both of these be emphasized. Without both of these there is no true salvation. Many people who make professions of faith never really got saved at all because they did not couple faith with repentance. Both are necessary.]

I. Repentance

A. The meaning of repentance

1. Wrong views of repentance

a. Repentance is not simply sorrow for sin.

When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse.   Matthew 27:3

[Judas was sorry about what he had done, and he even admitted his guilt, yet there was no true repentance. Sorrow for sin is part of it, but not all of it.]

b. Repentance is not penance .

Penance is a Roman Catholic idea involving: 1) confession to a priest; 2) the priest’s pronouncement of absolution [restoration to good standing] ; and 3) an assignment of works to do or prayers to say. Penance assumes that Christ’s work was not sufficient and teaches that salvation involves the sinner’s good works . Penance is completely unbiblical.

[You may have heard of Catholics doing all sorts of things, like crawling on their knees up long flights of stairs, whipping themselves, repeating long prayers over and over–these are all examples of penance. A priest tells the person that he has to do this stuff in order to pay for his sin.]

2. The biblical view of repentance

The biblical word translated “repentance” literally means to “ change one’s mind .” Repentance is a change of mind regarding God and sin . It is the change of mind away from sin and to God. This change of mind involves more than one’s opinion. It involves a rejection of sin and a commitment to God.

[Think of repentance as making a 180 degree turn. You were going one way, but after repentance you’re going the exact opposite way. It’s a change of mind and will. ]

a. Repentance involves a change of mind regarding sin .

1) It requires a knowledge of one’s sin.

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. – Psalm 51:3

2) It requires a genuine sorrow for one’s sin.

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation.   2 Corinthians 7:10

3) It requires the rejection of one’s sin.

. . . repentance from acts that lead to death.   Hebrews 6:1

[The emphasis is on the word “from.” Repentance is turning from sin to God. ]

4) It requires a desire to seek God’s pardon for one’s sin.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.   Psalm 51:1-2

Some people [i.e. Hodges, Ryrie, Dallas Sem.] teach that repentance is simply a change of mind regarding Christ . However, any definition of repentance which leaves out the idea of a conscious and active rejection of sin is inadequate.

b. Repentance involves a change of mind regarding God .

I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance.   Acts 20:21

Prior to salvation, man embraces sin and rejects God. Repentance is that act which reverses man’s allegiance. In repentance, one decides to reject sin and embrace God.

[Add this: c. Repentance results in changed behavior.

Acts 26:20 “but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.]

B. The origin of repentance

1. Repentance does not originate in man .

Unsaved men are completely rebellious and have no desire for God. They are unable and unwilling to change their minds regarding sin and God.

The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.   Romans 8:7

2. Repentance originates with God .

Repentance is a gift of God. Because the totally depraved sinner is incapable of repenting, God must give him the ability to do so.

God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel.   Acts 5:31

“So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.”   Acts 11:18

. . . in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth.   2 Timothy 2:25

II. Faith

The Bible describes several different kinds of faith. The faith necessary for salvation is commonly referred to as “saving faith.”

A. The meaning of saving faith

1. Saving faith requires knowledge . [intellectual content]

Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.   Romans 10:17

What must one believe in order to be saved?

The gospel message includes the fact of man’s condition (sin), God’s remedy for that condition (the person and work of Christ), and the response God requires in order for that remedy to be applied to the sinner (faith and repentance). In order for a man to be saved, he must understand that he is a sinner who has fallen short of the standard of perfection demanded by a holy God and is, therefore, deserving of sin’s penalty, namely, death; that the God-man, Jesus Christ, has met the standard by means of His sinless life and has paid the penalty by means of His sacrificial death; and that by responding in faith and repentance he can be justified in God’s sight as a result of Christ’s work (both His sinless life and sacrificial death) being imputed to him.

2. Saving faith requires assent.

But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. – Matthew 13:23

One must not only know certain facts in order to be saved, but he must also realize that they apply to him. In the parable of the sower, the only one of the four who exercised saving faith was the one who not only comprehended the facts (“hears the word”) but also perceived their significance (“understands it”). It is not enough for one to acknowledge that he needs a Savior, nor is it enough for one to acknowledge that Christ was the Savior. Saving faith involves the acknowledgement that Christ must become my Savior.

[This is what we mean by “assent:” One must apply the facts to his own life.]

3. Saving faith requires commitment . [an exercise of the will]

That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. – Romans 10:9

Saving faith involves a commitment to follow Christ in obedience. It is a commitment to Christ as both Sin bearer ( Savior ) and Master

( Lord ).

[The aspect of trust or reliance would come under this. When you trust Christ as your savior, you are committing yourself to him, putting your full faith and confidence in Jesus as your savior. Concepts such as loyalty and commitment to Christ are consistent with saving faith.

These are three aspects of faith, but they are not three separate steps. When one hears, understands, and responds by putting his confidence/trust in Christ, he has exercised faith. ]

B. The object of saving faith

In order to be saved, one must have faith in both the person and work of Jesus Christ .

Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.   Acts 16:31

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.   Romans 3:22

[If a person says “I believe in Jesus,” is he necessarily saved? No. C.f. Matt 7:21-23. There are certain things one must believe about Jesus. So faith involves believing in Jesus and believing certain things about Jesus.]

C. The origin of saving faith

1. Saving faith does not originate in man .

Man cannot produce saving faith. He neither seeks it nor initiates it.

a. Saving faith does not come from knowing historical facts .

The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner.   Acts 26:26

In this passage, Paul acknowledges that King Agrippa knows much about the gospel message. Because Christ’s death was a well known fact, and His message was being openly proclaimed, the king could not claim ignorance. However, King Agrippa did not trust Christ. While faith must be based upon factual information, the knowledge of such information alone does not produce saving faith.

[This is why we don’t emphasize all the evidences of the Christian faith. People do not ultimately get saved because the are persuaded that the facts of the Bible are true. Neither do people reject Christianity because they are skeptical about the Bible’s truthfulness. Saving faith originates in God, not man. ]

b. Saving faith does not come from human logic .

For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.   1 Corinthians 1:21

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.   1 Corinthians 2:4 5

While faith is logical, human logic alone cannot produce faith.

[Some men have come up with detailed, complex methods of “proving” the existence of God, the truth of the Bible, etc. We don’t use them because, while our faith is reasonable, it does not rest upon logic alone.]

2. Saving faith originates with God .

Saving faith involves a knowledge of the facts of the gospel and the use of logic to understand such facts. However, neither historical facts nor human logic produce saving faith. Like repentance, saving faith is a gift of God. God graciously gives the rebellious sinner the faith to believe.

On arriving there, [Paul and Barnabas] gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.   Acts 14:27

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith  and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.   Ephesians 2:8

The structure of the Greek sentence in Ephesians 2:8 indicates that the word translated “gift” refers to the whole process of salvation. Faith is certainly one of the elements in that process. From these texts it is clear that faith is something God must give.

Note: Repentance and faith are simultaneous, that is, they happen at the same time. You cannot have one without the other. They are inseparable.

I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.   Acts 20:21

Repentance and faith are the two aspects of the one act commonly referred to as conversion .

[In the study of repentance and faith, two things God requires of us to be saved, we see that God is responsible for both of them. Man cannot/will not repent or believe on his own. Both are gifts from God.

Some say that salvation is purely belief in Christ without any mention of repentance. This definition of salvation comes short. Repentance is part of the equation. One must turn from sin to God. ]

Learning to Live It

1. While on vacation, your family attends a church where the pastor preaches a salvation message. In his sermon he says, “You must trust Christ and repent.” He then defines repentance by saying, “Repentance is a change of mind regarding Jesus Christ. You must stop rejecting Him. Turn to Him today and reject Him no longer.” What is missing from this pastor’s definition of repentance?

any mention of sorrow for one’s sin or a desire to turn away from it. What that pastor is really doing is redefining repentance.

Can a person truly be saved if his repentance does not include admitting and rejecting his sin?

No, he has not really repented

2. You and a Christian friend begin to witness to a fellow teenager. In the course of the conversation, your friend launches into a logical defense of the Bible in an attempt to convince this unsaved teen to believe in Christ. Will this kind of logic cause him to believe? Why or why not?

no; Belief is not dependent upon a logical understanding of the facts or being convinced that they are true. One is not saved by being convinced of the facts.

He is not in a state of neutrality; rather, he is predisposed against God. He is unable and unwilling to positively respond (1 Cor 2:14). He will always misinterpret such facts.

What is the more biblical approach to take when witnessing?

Use the Bible, the only means whereby one can be saved (Rom 10:17). Present the gospel clearly, accurately and biblically. Let God do the work necessary to bring a person to faith.

Lesson 16: The Work of Christ and the Christian Life | Biblical Foundations for Living

Lesson 16: The Work of Christ and the Christian Life

We have learned that Jesus Christ is the unique God man and that His work is sufficient for man’s salvation. Having discussed the work of Christ both before and within time, we will now study the practical results of His work for the believer.

I. Christ’s Work Before Time and the Christian Life

In the previous lesson, we learned that Christ’s work began before the creation of time. Christ was active in planning the events of history, including the salvation of believers, in eternity past.

A. Because of Christ’s work before time, we are saved .

1. The requirements for salvation were planned for before time.

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed . . . but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.   1 Peter 1:18 20 (See also Revelation 13:8.)

This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.   Acts 2:23

Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.   Acts 4:27 28

These passages indicate that the work of Christ within time was the result of His work before time. The ultimate cause for the events which brought about our salvation is the plan of God.

2. The recipients of salvation were chosen before time.

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.   Romans 8:29 30

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.   Ephesians 1:3 5

[Note that our choice of Christ within time is the result of God’s choice of us before time. ]

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.   Ephesians 1:11

Note that God chose people, not facts. That is, these verses refer to who God foreknew, not what He foreknew. They refer to a relationship prior to time.

[It is important to understand the idea of God’s “foreknowledge” at this point. What is it? Is it just knowing something before it takes place? That’s what some people think it is–advanced knowledge. But it’s more than that. Read Acts 2:23, Romans 11:2. These verses show that foreknowledge is a choice before hand that a certain thing will happen. Thus in Romans 8:29, “foreknew” carries the idea of selection/choice before hand, not just advanced knowledge. God did not choose us based on what He saw we would do on our own (an Arminian idea).]

B. Because of Christ’s work before time, we can approach the future with confidence .

The triune God determined future events before the beginning of time. We can thus be confident that whatever happens is part of God’s wise design.

[God has from eternity past planned what is going to happen, so history is not mere chance, random happenings. There is a definite goal toward which history is progressing. God, who is loving, kind, and wise, is directing history to His desired ends. Thus we may look forward with confidence, knowing that God is in control and that all things will end up as they should be.

The problem comes for us when we see bad/evil things happen, like crime or natural disasters–how could God allow/do such a thing? While it’s impossible to know why God does certain things, we can be sure it’s all part of God’s program/plan and that God is still in control.]

Note: The events of human history, including the events of our individual lives, are the fulfillment within time of that which God determined in eternity past. The believer’s assurance of life in eternity future is possible only because of God’s work in eternity past . One is eternally secure because the process of salvation began before time and extends eternally. Thus, the doctrine of eternal security is based upon the doctrine of election .

II. Christ’s Work Within Time and the Christian Life

A. Because of Christ’s work within time, we understand more fully the character of God .

At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “. . . My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”   Mark 15:33 34

The death of Christ on the cross displayed the character of God. The cross helped solve the tension between the justice of God and the love of God. His justice required a perfect sacrifice for sin. His love moved Him to become that sacrifice on our behalf. In addition to the attributes of justice and love, the cross also displayed the holiness of God. On that fateful day when the innocent, spotless Lamb of God took our sin upon Himself, the Father was unable to look upon His Son. His holiness prevented Him from looking upon sin.

Your eyes are too pure to look on evil. – Habakkuk 1:13

B. Because of Christ’s work within time, we understand more fully the true meaning of love .

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.   John 3:16

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.   John 15:13

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.   1 John 3:16

At the cross, God revealed the true meaning of love by giving Himself for our salvation.

[We’ve got to get rid of this romantic, emotional, worldly idea of love. Love is a choice to do what is best for the other person, to sacrifice your self, your desires, your possessions, etc., for the good of another. This means: 1. You don’t have to wait until you feel something to love someone; 2. You can love someone you don’t even like very much; 3. Much of what passes for love really is not true love.]

C. Because of Christ’s work within time, we have a right relationship with God.

1. Our slavery to sin is finished, and we are now slaves to righteousness . We call the act of being purchased out of the slave market of sin redemption .

Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey  whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.   Romans 6:16 18

[The above verse has only two options: slave to sin or slave to righteousness. No one is truly free. Everyone is a slave. ]

2. Our separation from God is finished, and we are now reconciled to God. We call the act of being restored to a friendly relationship with God reconciliation .

For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.   Romans 5:10 11

The work of Christ removed the separation between God and man caused by sin. Christ has restored for us that which sin had destroyed: fellowship between God and man. We are no longer God’s enemies.

3. Our liability to God’s wrath is finished, and we are now able to please God. We call the act of appeasing God’s wrath propitiation .

God presented [Christ] as the one who would turn aside his wrath, taking away sin through faith in his blood.   Romans 3:25 [NIV footnote]

Jesus appeased God’s wrath toward sin by His death on the cross. Although previously unable to do anything pleasing to God (Isaiah 64:6), Christians are now able to do things which are acceptable to Him.

[Liability to wrath or punishment is called guilt. We are truly guilty for our sin. At salvation, God removes our guilt, and thus we are no longer liable/blameworthy to suffer the penalty of sin or be exposed to God’s wrath.]

4. Our condemnation by God is finished, and we are now declared righteous . We call the act of being declared righteous justification .

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.   Romans 8:1

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.   Romans 5:1

God has declared all unbelievers guilty and, therefore, under condemnation. However, He has declared believers righteous.

[Justification is a positional thing – it describes our relationship with God. We are declared to be righteous, just like a judge declares someone not guilty. This does not mean that we will live perfectly righteous lives, but that our standing with God is righteous.

The opposite of each one of the above things is true of the unbeliever. The unsaved are enslaved to sin, separated from God, under God’s wrath and condemned. Each one of those relationships changes when one gets saved.]

Note: The new life that we experience upon salvation is the outworking of the new position we enjoy in Christ. This is similar to the fact that, in the mind of God, the work of Christ was completed before time began, even though its outworking occurred within time. So too, what is considered as being completed in God’s mind is worked out in our daily experience .

Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.   John 19:30

Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.   Philippians 2:12 13

[Positionally, our salvation is a completed thing. We are saved. Experientially, we continue to “work out” our salvation on a daily basis. ]

D. Because of Christ’s work within time, we eagerly expect His return.

While we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. – Titus 2:13

The hope of Christ’s future return to receive His own is based upon His Resurrection and Ascension . Because Christianity is based upon belief in a living Savior, Christians worldwide wait for the “blessed hope” of the Lord’s return.

Recap & Review

In this lesson, we have learned:

1. Because of Christ’s work before time, we are saved and can approach the future with confidence.

2. Because of Christ’s work within time, we understand more fully the character of God and the true meaning of love, have a right relationship with God, and eagerly expect His return.

Learning to Live It

1. Your cousin, who enjoys discussing biblical issues, gets into a discussion with you at a family gathering. In the midst of the conversation, you realize that he does not believe in eternal security based upon his belief that eternal life begins at death. At what point in time does eternal life begin for the believer?

at the moment of salvation

What are some Scripture passages which support your conclusion?

John 3:36 and 5:24–“has eternal life” is in the present tense, i.e., it’s happening now.

Is a believer’s salvation within time the true beginning of the process?


If not, when did the process of our salvation begin?

with God’s choice in eternity past

Therefore, on what doctrine is eternal security based?


2. A best-selling song declared: “Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.” Is this lyric true?

no, in fact, the whole self-love/esteem thing is unbiblical. We love ourselves too much.

What are some Scripture passages which define the true nature of love?

John 3:16, Romans 5:8, 1 John 3:16 and 4:9-10

Lesson 15: The Work of Christ | Biblical Foundations for Living

Lesson 15: The Work of Christ

As stated in Lesson Fourteen, what we do is a reflection of who we are. Having learned who Christ is (His person), we can now proceed to study what He has done (His work). This lesson will discuss:

1. The work of Christ before time

2. The work of Christ within time

[When did time start? With creation. Before that was eternity past. Time will end with the creation of the new heaven and earth after the Millennium (2 Pet 3:10-13; Rev 21:1). Before creation and in the eternal state there was/will be no time as we know it. ]

I. The Work of Christ Before Time

In Lesson Thirteen, we learned that many people mistakenly believe that Christ came into existence at the birth of Jesus. As a result, they believe that His work is limited to the time following His birth. However, the Bible teaches that the triune God was active prior to Creation. Because Christ is God, He was active prior to the beginning of time.

A. Christ was active in planning the events of history .

“Have you not heard? Long ago I ordained it. In days of old I planned it; now I have brought it to pass.” – Isaiah 37:26

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. – Psalm 139:16

[Everything that happens is part of God’s plan for the universe. Things happen because God determined that they would. If this is true, what are some consequences? Nothing happens by pure chance. There is a purpose for everything. God is in control of everything. There is not such thing as random or chance occurances.]

B. Christ was active in planning the salvation of believers .

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.   Ephesians 1:4-5

[The words “in him” or “in Christ” describe salvation. Holy Spirit baptism places us “in him” at the moment of salvation. ]

In [Christ] we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.   Ephesians 1:11

It is interesting to note that God’s plan for history included Christ’s sacrifice of Himself. Therefore, Christ was involved in planning His own death.

. . . the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.   Revelation 13:8

[Is the salvation of an individual purely his own decision? No. Why not? God planned it. One is saved as a result of the out-working of the plan of God. God saves who he has chosen to save.]

Note: Although the above verses specify God the Father as the One doing the planning, both God the Son and God the Holy Spirit played an active role in these events as well.

II. The Work of Christ Within Time

Not only was Christ active prior to the creation of time, but He has also been active since then.

A. Christ’s work in the past

1. Christ created the universe.

Through [Christ] all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.   John 1:3

For by [Christ] all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.   Colossians 1:16

2. Christ revealed God. [“Reveal” means “to make known.”]

No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.   John 1:18

Jesus answered: ” . . . Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”   John 14:9

Note: As the God man, Jesus Christ made God known as no other prophet could (such as Moses, Elijah, and others in the Old Testament). He perfectly fulfilled the Old Testament office of prophet .

In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.   Hebrews 1:1 2

3. Christ made salvation possible.

a. Jesus Christ satisfied the required penalties of God’s Law.

1) Jesus Christ died as our perfect substitute .

The Bible states that “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23) and that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Because all men are sinners, they all deserve death. Jesus Christ died in our place.

[This is what we call the vicarious or substitutionary atonement. Our relationship with God is made right through the sacrificial death of Christ on our behalf. The death of Christ satisfied God’s wrath against sin. Christ paid the penalty in our place.]

Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.   Isaiah 53:4 6

He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.   1 John 2:2

2) Jesus Christ’s perfect sacrifice removes the guilt of the believer.

Because of his sin, every person stands guilty before God. The substitutionary death of Christ is the means by which God removes the guilt of every believer.

[Christ’s death is the basis of our forgiveness. God did not just wipe away our debt. He didn’t just cancel the punishment due the crime. Had he done so, he would not have been just/fair. Someone had to pay the price/penalty for sin. Jesus did. Because Jesus died for us, we don’t have to. Jesus paid the debt, he suffered the consequences for us.]

But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. – Hebrews 9:26

b. Jesus Christ satisfied the positive demands of God’s Law.

1) Jesus Christ lived a life of perfect obedience .

Some assume that Christ’s perfect life means only that He did not do anything wrong. However, Christ was perfect not only because He did not do anything wrong, but also because He did everything right, thereby fulfilling all the righteous requirements of God’s Law. We say that Jesus died for us, but often forget that He lived for us too!

Although [Christ] was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.   Hebrews 5:8 9

[C.f. also Matt 5.17]

2) Jesus Christ’s perfect life is imputed to the believer.

[What does “impute” mean? To charge to one’s account. Thus, the perfect law-keeping of Christ is charged to us. So by the sacrificial death of Christ we are forgiven, and by the perfect life of Christ we are given a righteous/meritorious standing. It’s not enough just to be forgiven; you have to have a righteous/holy standing. ]

When one becomes a Christian, God imputes to him the righteous life of Jesus Christ. Christ’s righteousness is credited to his account.

For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.   Romans 5:19 (See also 2 Corinthians 5:21.)

4. Jesus Christ rose from the dead .

Christ’s resurrection separates Him from all other religious leaders. The founders of all other religions are dead. Christ, however, rose from the dead on the third day, just as He said He would.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.”   Matthew 28:5 6

[How important is the resurrection? What would happen to Christianity without it? 1 Cor. 15 — without the rez. the whole thing would be one big lie, worthless and meaningless.]

B. Christ’s work in the present

1. Jesus Christ preserves the universe.

[Christ] is before all things, and in him all things hold together. – Colossians 1:17

[God’s power holds the universe together. ]

2. Jesus Christ intercedes for believers.

Christ speaks to the Father in behalf of believers.

[An intercessor is a go-between, a mediator (1 Tim 2:5), one who speaks to someone for someone else. John 14:6–no one comes to God but through Christ.]

Christ Jesus, who died  more than that, who was raised to life  is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.   Romans 8:34

Note: As the God man, Jesus Christ can intercede for us as no other human priest could (such as Aaron, Eli, and others in the Old Testament). Jesus Christ perfectly fulfills the Old Testament office of priest .

[The Bible uses the term “advocate” to describe Jesus as our intercessor. Like a lawyer, He pleads our case before God.]

C. Christ’s work in the future

God is the king of His creation in spite of the attempts of Satan and mankind to dethrone Him. Jesus Christ will one day return to establish His kingdom and reign as the supreme king.

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads

the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:

KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.   Revelation 19:11 16

Note: As the God man, Jesus Christ will rule as no other human king could (such as Saul, David, and others in the Old Testament). Jesus Christ will perfectly fulfill the Old Testament office of king .

[When will this happen? 7 Years after the rapture, the millennium will begin–1000 years of the literal rule of Christ on the earth. Jesus will be here, in person, ruling the earth from a throne in Jerusalem.]

Recap & Review

In this lesson, we have learned:

1. Christ was active before time. He planned the events of history and the salvation of believers.

2. Christ has been, is, and will be active within time. He created the universe, revealed God, made salvation possible, and rose from the dead. He preserves the universe and intercedes for believers. He will one day return to establish His kingdom.

Learning to Live It

1. While talking to you about Christ’s death on the cross, a friend asks, “How old was Jesus when He died?” You tell him, “About thirty.” He then asks, “Why did He wait until He was thirty?” How should you respond?

There needed to be enough time for Christ to meet the positive demands of God’s Law by living a life of perfect obedience.

2. After you explain to an unsaved friend that salvation is a free gift that one cannot earn, he refuses to accept Christ on the grounds that it seems too easy. What misconception does your friend have?

1. that salvation is cheap It was not. Jesus paid for it with His life. 2. That salvation is not a major step in one’s life. Salvation is a total change of life, a major decision.

What distinction would be helpful in clearing it up?

Free does not necessarily mean cheap. Salvation is free, but it cost God dearly. Also tell him about the changes salvation brings. It’s costly to be a Christian.

Lesson 14: The Person of Christ & The Christian Life | Biblical Foundations for Living

Lesson 14: The Person of Christ & The Christian Life

Our previous lesson focused on the unique person we call the God man, Jesus Christ. We learned that Christ possesses two natures. He is fully God and fully man at the same time. One might wonder how such a complex doctrine has any practical value.

This lesson will point out the practical value of the doctrine of the God man. Because He is God, Christ is to be exalted above all others. As a man, He has experienced the cares and difficulties of everyday life. As both God and man, He is able to provide all that is needed for our salvation.

I. The Deity of Christ and the Christian Life

A. Because Christ is God, He demands and deserves our worship .

Our English word “worship” comes from the Old English word “ worthship .” We worship God by recognizing His worth or value. As God, Christ is of infinite value and is, therefore, worthy of our worship.

[A good synonym for “worship” is “to respect” or “to honor” or “to reverence.” Why do we call the church service “worship”? Because during it we seek to honor/pay respect to/reverence God. Note that we give worship to God. Instead of going to church to get something out of the services, we ought to go to give worship to God.

What kind of atmosphere is best for worship? Slap-stick? Laid back? No. Reverential, serious, orderly, biblical.

We should honor/value Christ because He is God the Son. ]

1. We are to worship Christ because of who He is .

For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father”? Or again, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son”? And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”   Hebrews 1:5 6

2. We are to worship Christ because of what He has done .

You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things. – Revelation 4:11

B. Because Christ is God, He demands and deserves our obedience .

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”   Matthew 28:18 20

We have learned in previous lessons that God is sovereign (i.e., He has all authority). Thus, He demands obedience from all men (including the unsaved). The believer’s obedience, however, should flow from a heart that desires to please God by living a life which displays His worth (Colossians 1:10).

[Interesting that in John 3:36, believing the gospel is equated to obeying the gospel. Your lifestyle and behavior display how much God means to you. ]

C. Because Christ is God, He demands and deserves our devotion .

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God  this is your spiritual act of worship.   Romans 12:1

[What is devotion? It’s our commitment to Him, or desire to put Him and His will first in our lives. Worship and devotion are very closely tied ideas–almost synonymous.]

II. The Humanity of Jesus and the Christian Life

A. Because Jesus is a man, He empathizes with us.

[Empathy means “feeling with.” We empathize with someone when we feel his/her pain or truly understand his/her trouble, etc.]

As stated above, Jesus was fully human. As a result, He understands our struggles as one who has known the pain of everyday life. He is able to empathize with us as one who has experienced life’s trials first hand.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are  yet was without sin.   Hebrews 4:15

B. Because Jesus is a man, He dignifies the human body.

[“To dignify” means “to give value to” something. ]

Throughout the centuries, many cults (and even some well-meaning Christians) have devalued the human body. Some have viewed the body as inherently evil and, therefore, of less value than man’s spirit. However, the Bible places great importance upon man’s body. This is especially seen in the fact that Christ took upon Himself a human body.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.   John 1:14

[An old philosopher (Plato) popularized the idea that body is low/sinful while the spirit is high/good. This developed into the idea (Gnosticism) that all material objects are evil while the mind or spirit is good. Plato said, “The body is the prison house of the soul.” So the Gnostics exalted ideas and downplayed the material, including the human body. Today, it’s just the opposite: we exalt the body or the image and downplay the inner man. The right philosophy is that both soul/spirit and body are valuable and sanctified. ]

III. The Uniqueness of Jesus Christ and the Christian Life

What we do is a reflection of who we are . Accordingly, what Christ has done is based upon who He is.

A. Because Jesus Christ is both God and man, we can know God.

[To “know God” is to be saved. The word “know” denotes a close personal relationship. See Matt 7:21-23]

1. Because Jesus is a man, He could live a human life and die a human death.

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil–and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death . . . . For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, . . . that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. – Hebrews 2:14-17

[If Jesus was not truly a man, his suffering a death would be meaningless. His humanity made his suffering and death possible. We should not downplay the importance of Jesus’ humanity.

2. Because Christ is God:

a. He was able to satisfy the positive demands of the Law by living a sinless life.

For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.   Romans 8:3 4

b. He was able to satisfy the required penalties of the Law by dying a sacrificial death.

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.   Galatians 3:13

[The fact that Christ was God made is suffering and death effective. The death of a regular human doesn’t do anything for others. But the death of Jesus is beneficial for others. He was able to die for me. No one else could do that. C.f. also 2 Cor 5:21.

We say that Christ was both actively and passively obedient. That is, he (actively) obeyed the OT law perfectly, thus fulfilling it and allowing the merit of a perfect life to be imputed to us. On the other hand, he (passively) took the punishment for sin–death–for us and thereby made it possible that we wouldn’t have to do so. Both his obedience and his punishment are imputed to the believer’s account. ]

B. Because Christ is both God and man, we can trust God.

At the conclusion of Section Three (the doctrine of man), we were left with a dilemma: the Scriptures reveal a God who is totally sovereign but who, as part of His plan, allowed evil to enter the universe. Many have questioned God’s character in light of the existence of evil. If God is sovereign, He certainly could have prevented evil. However, He did not choose to do so; therefore, He must not be good. Jesus Christ was God’s answer to this accusation. By entering the corridors of time in the person of Jesus Christ, God Himself suffered the consequences of evil to a far greater degree than any one of us ever have or ever will. Thus, even though evil exists, we can still trust God’s goodness.

[In other words, God solved the problem of evil through the death of Christ. The atonement destroyed the power of evil and made salvation possible.

Can we know why God allowed/planned the entrance of evil in the first place? No.

Will evil ever be totally eradicated? Yes, in the eternal state there will be no evil. Eventually, God will right every wrong and reward every good work. Justice will be done. Rewards and punishments will be justly handed out.]

Learning to Live It

1. You have a friend who made a profession of faith last year at camp but has not shown any evidence of it. One day you ask him about his spiritual condition, and he responds, “I believe that Jesus is the Son of God.” Do you have reason to question the reality of his profession? Why or why not?

yes; because his conduct does not correspond with his profession. Remember that God demands our worship, devotion, and obedience. If none of this is evident, it is evident that the person is not really saved.

Is it possible for one to be saved and show absolutely no evidence of it? no

2. A recent controversy has arisen among some well-known Christian leaders concerning the blood of Christ. According to some, Christ’s blood was not human blood but special, divine blood. Is this accurate?

No; remember that we said above that Jesus was fully human. He had normal blood flowing in his veins.

If Christ’s blood was not human blood, what does this imply about His humanity?

that He wasn’t fully human. If he wasn’t fully human, then he couldn’t die for the sins of mankind. He also couldn’t empathize with us.

Lesson 13: The Person of Christ | Biblical Foundations for Living

Who am I? I am an undeserving recipient of God’s love.

Introduction to the Doctrine of Christ

The doctrine of Christ (or Christology) focuses on the person and work of Jesus Christ. An understanding of who Jesus is and what He has done is essential to a proper view of our identity as Christians.

As stated in the Introduction to this course, we are attempting to answer the questions, “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” Were it not for who Jesus is and what He has accomplished, our task would be finished for we have already learned who we are apart from Christ–sinners who have offended their Creator. We would be left without an answer to our second question, for a life lost in sin is meaningless. In Christ, however, God Himself became a man in order to conquer sin and, thus, give meaning to life.

This section will draw on concepts already learned in previous lessons. As both God and man, the person of Christ will reflect that which we have learned concerning God and man. The work of Christ will draw upon much of what we have learned concerning God’s character (for example, His justice requires that sin be punished) and man’s plight (he is a sinner in need of a Savior). May the study of this doctrine give us a greater appreciation for who Christ is and for what He has done on our behalf.

Lesson 13: The Person of Christ

Jesus Christ is absolutely unique. The Bible teaches that He is at the same time both fully God and fully man. Although a complete understanding of the person of Christ is beyond our comprehension, the Bible clearly teaches the amazing truth of the God-man.

This lesson will examine the biblical evidence for the dual nature of Jesus Christ.

[By “dual nature” we mean that Christ possesses both a human and divine nature. That is, He is both human and God at the same time. He possesses characteristics of both because He is both. This lesson examines the person of Christ, i.e., who he is.]

The Bible teaches that:

1. Christ is God .

2. Jesus is man .

3. Jesus Christ is the God-man .

Note: You will notice throughout this lesson that the name “Christ” is used when emphasizing the deity of the God-man, while “Jesus” is used when referring to His humanity. When these two names (Jesus and Christ) are combined, they signify both His deity and humanity.

I. Christ is God.

The statement, “Christ is God,” means that Christ possesses all the attributes (character qualities) that belong to God. In other words, all that is true of God applies equally to Christ. The word “ deity ” describes one who possesses the attributes of God. In Lesson One, we learned that there are three persons who possess the attributes of deity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. This lesson deals with the second person of the Triunity, God the Son.

A. The Bible teaches that Christ is God.

1. Christ existed before the birth of Jesus.

Many mistakenly believe that Christ came into existence at the birth of Jesus. However, the Bible teaches that Christ is eternal. As God, there was never a time when He was not.

a. Christ existed prior to Creation .

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

[The context of this verse clearly indicates that the Word/God is referring to Jesus. Christ, as the second person of the Trinity, eternally existed.]

b. Christ was active in Creation .

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.   John 1:3 (See also Colossians 1:16.)

Note: Since Christ was the Creator, He could not have been part of the creation.

c. Christ appeared in temporary human form throughout the Old Testament.

The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert.   Genesis 16:7

Who Was the Angel of the Lord?

Several facts have led most scholars to identify “the angel of the Lord” with Christ:

1) The use of the definite article (“the” angel)–Appearances of other divine messengers normally do not include the article (Luke 2:9 and Acts 12:7).

2) The angel of the Lord is equated with God and worshiped as God (Exodus 3:1-5).

3) The angel of the Lord never appears after Jesus is born.

d. Christ claimed to have existed prior to Abraham .

Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”   John 8:58

[When did Abraham live? Long before Christ, even before Moses. The statement implied more than the fact that Christ lived before Abraham. What is the implication of Jesus’ words “I am?” He is equating Himself with the God of the OT. In other words, He is claiming the name of God for Himself. Look at the next few verses to see how the Jews responded to this – they understood that he was equating himself with God, and they wanted to stone him for it.]

2. Christ is called the “ Son of God .”

In Scripture, “son of” often means “to possess the character qualities of” a person or object. For example, in Genesis 5:32 the original Hebrew literally says that Noah was the “son of 500 years.” Acts 4:36 says that the name “Barnabas” means “Son of Encouragement.” The title “Son of God” indicates that Christ possesses the attributes of God, a fact which even Christ’s enemies acknowledged:

“We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” Jesus answered them, “. . . Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?”   John 10:33 36

3. Christ is fully God.

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.   Colossians 2:9

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being.   Hebrews 1:3

[Some cults/religions teach that Christ is “a god” or somehow less than fully equal with God the Father. The Bible teaches that He is fully and equally God.]

B. Christ demonstrated that He was God.

1. Christ demonstrated that He was omnipotent .

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. -Mark 4:39

2. Christ demonstrated that He was omniscient .

Jesus knew their thoughts. – Matthew 12:25

3. Christ demonstrated that He was sovereign .

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”   Matthew 28:18

4. Christ demonstrated that He was holy .

Christ did not yield to Satan’s temptations (Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13).

These are the same attributes we studied in Section One (the doctrine of God).

II. Jesus is Man.

The statement, “Jesus is man,” means that He possesses all the attributes that belong to man. In other words, all that is inherently true of humanity applies equally to Jesus. This does not, however, include sinfulness. Adam and Eve were created truly human but were not created sinful. Therefore, sin is not essential to being human . Jesus, though fully human, was not sinful.

[You might say that Adam, Eve, and Jesus were the only truly human humans. Everyone else has suffered the damaging effects of sin and are thus less than what they were originally created to be.]

A. The Bible teaches that Jesus is a man.

1. Jesus is called a man .

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.   1 Corinthians 15:20 21

2. Jesus has the components of humanity (See Lesson Ten.).

  1. Jesus has a human body .

But the temple he had spoken of was his body.   John 2:21

[Some have taught that Jesus was a phantom/ghost. The Bible clearly presents Jesus as a man like other men. Does he still have a body? Yes.]

b. Jesus has a human spirit .

Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”   Luke 23:46

3. Jesus is called the “ Son of man .”

Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.   Matthew 20:28

Note: See above for the significance of the phrase “son of.”

B. Jesus demonstrated that He was a man.

1. Jesus experienced a human birth .

See Matthew 1 and Luke 2.

2. Jesus experienced mental, physical, spiritual, and social growth .

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.   Luke 2:52

3. Jesus experienced human emotions .

Jesus wept.   John 11:35

4. Jesus experienced human limitations .

Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well.   John 4:6

[Any such statements that imply Jesus’ changing, growing, being ignorant, etc., must be linked with/based upon the limitations of humanity. As God, Jesus could not have grown intellectually or been ignorant. But as man he could have. Thus any growth or development must be due to his humanity.]

Jesus is fully man. However, the Scriptures also teach that Christ is fully God. This gives us a complete view of the two natures of the God-man, both human and divine. One should not conclude from this, however, that Jesus Christ is two persons . The Bible is clear that He is a single person possessing two natures .

[The two natures of Christ (divine and human) are distinct from each other tho united in one person. The hypostatic union stayed intact in thru death. The two natures are united in one person, without confusion, conversion, division, or separation. We must neither divide the person nor confound the natures. His deity didn’t “leak” into his humanity or vice versa.]

III. Jesus Christ is the God Man.

In order to combine the divine and human natures into a single person, God did something unique.

A. The two natures were united at the incarnation.

The word “incarnation” means “to embody in flesh .” Theologians use this word to describe Christ’s entrance into the human race. John 1:14 says: “The Word became flesh.” The Bible describes how the incarnation took place:

1. The incarnation took place by means of the virgin conception and birth.

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High . . . .” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”   Luke 1:30 35

Note: The virgin conception was necessary in order to prevent a sin nature from being transmitted to Christ (See Lesson Ten on procreation as the means of transmitting the sin nature.).

2. The incarnation took place by means of an emptying .

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing [literally, “emptied himself”], taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.   Philippians 2:5 7

In the incarnation, Christ gave up the independent use of His divine attributes. This is not to say that Christ gave up His deity, but rather the independent display of His deity. Jesus occasionally displayed His deity, but would not do so apart from the will of God the Father.

Christ continued to be equal in essence with the other persons of the Godhead. However, He demonstrated a subordinate role or function in the incarnation (1 Corinthians 11:3).

B. The union of the two natures is permanent.

For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. – 1 Timothy 2:5

Notice that this verse refers to Christ as a man after His earthly ministry.

[It is important for us to neither confuse the natures of Christ nor divide the person of Christ. His humanity did not limit his deity, and his deity did not change his humanity. His personality (the “I”) resided in his deity as the second person of the Trinity/the Word. He did not have two separate personalities.]

Recap & Review

In this lesson, we have learned:

1. Christ is God. He possesses all the attributes of deity.

2. Jesus is man. He possesses all the attributes of humanity.

3. Jesus Christ is the God-man. He is both fully God and fully man at the same time. He is one person possessing two natures.

Learning to Live It

1. During lunch at school, you are drawn into a discussion about various world religions. A friend says, “I think all religions are good and were founded by good men. None are better, none are worse.” How should you respond?

Jesus was more than a man–He was God. Furthermore, Jesus demanded exclusive worship (John 14:6), thus placing Christianity on a different level than all other religions. Either Jesus is who He said He was and is, thus, to be worshipped exclusively or He was a liar and is, thus, not good.

2. A TV preacher [Kenneth Copeland] proclaimed to a national audience a few years ago: “Jesus said, ‘I am,’ and bless God I am too!” What was this preacher implying?

He was claiming to be divine by referring to himself by the divine name “I am.” Some charismatics teach that believers are little gods. But do we possess the attributes of deity? No.