I Cor 15 Is Establishing The Resurrection Of Our Human Bodies

May 3, 2018

I heard my friend John Gibson preach a great sermon today which proved absurd the 70Aders position that I Corinthians 15 is not talking about the literal resurrection of our individual human bodies from the grave. As we will see, it is easy to determine from the context that it most certainly is.

The chapter begins in verse 4 and following by talking about the resurrection of Jesus’ body. Surely no one would deny Jesus’ resurrection was of his literal human body, especially in light of what Jesus said after his resurrection in Luke 24:39 “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.”

Back to I Cor 15 – Paul then asks in verse 12 “Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?” This shows conclusively that the resurrection Paul is trying to establish in the chapter is the resurrection of our individual body because he suggests that if one claims this type of resurrection does not exist, then Jesus’ resurrection did not happen. This argument only makes sense if the resurrection under consideration is the same type of resurrection as the resurrection of Jesus – a bodily resurrection.

Paul makes the same point, this time in reverse, in verse 13 “But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen.” How can that argument follow unless the resurrection Paul is contending for is a literal bodily resurrection as Jesus’ was?

Again in verse 16 “For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised.” If Paul was only talking about a figurative resurrection (having nothing to do with the human body) in AD 70, then how would its non existence prove Christ’s bodily resurrection non existent?

Next notice verse 20 “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.” The first fruits of something means more of the same is to follow. In this case, since Jesus’ individual human body was raised from the dead, then the more to follow would have to be the resurrection of our individual human bodies.

The 70ADers position that these verses are just talking about the church springing to life when the old Jewish system was destroyed in AD 70 makes no sense at all in light of passages like Acts 24:15 that teach both the “just and unjust” will be resurrected. If only the church (the faithful) are under consideration, then how does that fit the fact that the unjust will also be raised? But if we are talking about a resurrection of our human bodies, then the unjust being included makes perfectly good sense – they will be resurrected unto condemnation (John 5:29).

Christians should learn a lesson from this absurd position: Let passages mean what they say instead of trying to “spiritualize” everything.

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How Does God Draw The Sinner?

April 26, 2018

For sure the Bible teaches God draws the sinner (John 6:44), but is it forced like the Calvinists say, or is it more like how I am drawn to a delicious piece of pecan pie? The very next verse indicates the latter is true. God draws by teaching and our learning (verse 45), not through force – “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom 10:17).

This is also indicated by a verse like John 12:32 – “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” If draw means force here, then universal salvation is true because the verse days Jesus “will draw all men.” And notice how Jesus draws – by the motivation / thankfulness of us knowing what He did for us on the cross.

The same thing is seen in Rom 2:4 – “the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance.” There is a big difference between leading someone to do something and forcing them to it. II Pet 3:9 says “The Lord is … not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance,” but if God were forcing the issue, all would come to repentance since God desires such of all.

This is confirmed by passages like II Thess 2:14a – “Whereunto he called you by our gospel.” The gospel calls/asks us to serve God; it is not forced upon us. God draws/calls us through means of the gospel similar to how God gives us our daily bread (Matt 6:11) – via our jobs (means). Rom 1:16 (“The gospel of Christ … is the power of God unto salvation”) proves the same point. “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt 22:14), so obviously God’s calling to serve him does not make anybody serve Him.

That is why it is our duty to try to “persuade” men (II Cor 5:11) to trust and obey God (Heb 5:9). Since it is not forced, the Bible indicates some will not be “willing” to come (John 5:40).

Conclusion: Are we allowing our hearts to be drawn to serve God? Are we allowing God to use us (through His word) to draw sinners to Christ?

Does God Force Faith Upon A Chosen Few?

April 19, 2018

Calvinists take Eph 2:8 (“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God”) to mean God gives us faith in the sense it is forced upon the elect; they have no choice. But they are misunderstanding the grammar in the verse. The gift in the text is salvation, not faith. Notice famous Greek grammarian A.T. Robertson’s comment upon this very point – “’Grace’ is God’s part, ‘faith’ ours. ‘And that’ (‘kai touto’). Neuter, not feminine ‘taute,’ and so refers not to ‘pistis’ (feminine) [faith] or to ‘charis’ (feminine also) [grace], but to the act of being saved by grace conditioned on faith on our part. Paul shows that salvation does not have its source … in men, but from God.” (Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol IV, page 525)

Of course, God does give us faith, but it is not forced. Many times, God does things through means. For example, God hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Exod 7:13, 9:12, 10:1, 20, 27, 11:10, 14), but also Pharaoh hardened his own heart (Exod 8:15, 8:32, 9:34). The harmonization is that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart through means (relief from the 10 plagues), and not against his will.

It is the same with our heart / spirit:

● Ezek 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you

● Ezek 18:31 Cast away … all your transgressions … and make you a new heart and a new spirit

Do you see how God gives us a new heart and spirit, but it is not forced; we have a part to play?

It is the same with repentance. God grants repentance (Acts 11:18b), but He does that through leading people to repent through their recognition of His goodness. (Rom 2:4).

The following passages show God gives us faith by providing the power of divine persuasion:

· Rom 10:17 faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God

· Rom 1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel … for it is the power of God unto salvation

· John 6:65,44-45 no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father … No man can come to me, except the Father … draw him … And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

Then comes voluntary acceptance.

Jesus has done His part to save us on the cross. Now it is up to us to do our part, to believe (John 3:16). God does not do the believing for us.

Why Is The Acts 20:7 Lord’s Supper Example Important?

April 13, 2018

Faithful Christians eat the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week for a reason. They are following the precedence set for us in Acts 20:7. But why is the Acts 20:7 example important, and not just happenstance? Let’s address that question …

• The mention of the Lord’s Supper in connection with the first day of the week was not just said in passing. I like the way Johnny Stringer put it: “One indication that the particular day on which they observed the Lord’s Supper was significant is the fact that Luke deliberately specified the day. As he described the many events recorded in Acts, how often did he specify the day of the week on which an event occurred? Does he ever make a point of mentioning that a thing occurred on the 2nd day of the week? Or the 4th? … when Luke is careful to specify that the brethren observed the Lord’s Supper on that day, we must conclude that their observing it on that particular day was a matter of significance. In addition, we learn from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians that Christians regularly assembled on that day, for the church at Corinth as well as the churches of Galatia were commanded to make a collection on the first day of the week.”

• It was done by a group of Christians.

• It was done by a congregation meeting together (I Cor 11:18,20,33) during a worship service.

• It was accompanied by preaching.

• It was determined before hand by the disciples (the congregation) that they would come together on the first day of the week for the purpose of eating the Lord’s Supper. This is why they came together!

And so it is clear the Acts 20:7 first day of the week Lord’s Supper example is not just what some individuals did incidentally.

Does the congregation you worship with follow the example of Acts 20:7 regarding eating the Lord’s Supper?

How Often Should Congregations Partake Of The Lord’s Supper?

April 5, 2018

Acts 20:7 reads “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.”

I Cor 10:16 (along with I Cor 11:17-34) proves the breaking of bread in Acts 20:7 is referring to the Lord’s Supper, not just to a common every day meal in order to satisfy hunger. So it is obvious the disciples partook of the Lord’s Supper on the first day of the week in Acts 20:7, and the following passages show we should emulate such example – Phil 4:9, 3:17, I Cor 4:16, 11:1, II Thess 3:7,9, Heb 6:12, I Thess 1:6.

But to illustrate how Acts 20:7 is teaching we should eat the Lord’s Supper every First Day of the week, notice Exodus 20:8 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” That verse does not say, “remember every sabbath day,” it just says, “remember the sabbath day.” So how did the Israelites know they were supposed to keep holy the seventh day of every week? Because every week had a seventh day in it. Likewise, we know that we should eat the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week, because every week has a first day in it.

Conclusion: The Bible teaches that congregations must come together to eat the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week.

Is It Wrong To Be A Legalist?

March 29, 2018

I had a caller on my March 4 Bible Crossfire SiriusXM radio program accuse me of “legalism.” What he meant by that term is that I was trying to follow God’s law too strictly.  Most of us should know this accusation is absurd. We should inherently know that being legalistic with God’s law is not a bad thing. What do you think God would want us to be – illegal? Of course God wants us to obey His law in all aspects. John 14:15 reads “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

Many people equate being legalistic with Phariseeism. But the Pharisees were never condemned for following God’s law too strictly. Jesus said in Matt 23:2-3 – “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.” So the Pharisees were condemned for not obeying God’s law, the very opposite of legalism.

It is actually a good thing to follow God’s law strictly, to the letter. Jesus goes on to say in Matt 23:23 – “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” The Pharisees were indeed criticized for ignoring many weightier matters of the law, and so they were encouraged to start following the weightier matters, but not to ignore the lighter (smaller) matters either.

We are instructed to follow all of God’s New Testament laws, no matter how unimportant we might deem one of them to be. Such careful obedience is a matter of respecting God (Eccl 12:13 “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man”). James 2:10 confirms this by saying “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”  Jesus put it this way in the great commission (Matt 28:20) – we are to “observe ALL things whatsoever I have commanded you” – not just the commands we deem important.

The same strictness was also expected under the old law – Matt 5:18-19 said “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

I think we would realize this if we just understood that John 8:32 is saying that only “the truth shall make you free.” So we can never be too careful in learning, obeying, and teaching the truth. Jesus made an argument in Matt 22:32 for the truth of the resurrection just based upon the fact that a word was in the present tense. And Paul made a argument for the truth just based upon the fact that a word was singular (not plural) in Gal 3:16.

Legalism (following God’s law strictly) is a good thing, not a bad thing. Jesus said as much in in John 15:14 – “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”

To can listen to my 4-1-2018 Bible Crossfire radio program on “Legalism” at http://www.bibledebates.info/BibleCrossfire/BibleCrossfire-180401.mp3

David Just Thought He Was Forsaken In Psalms 22:1?

March 23, 2018

In the last few years I’ve run into some Christians who assert David was mistaken about being forsaken in Psalms 22:1. They say David felt forsaken, but really wasn’t.

They are in effect saying David was inspired but wrong. Here is what David actually said in Psalms 22:1-2:

· why hast thou forsaken me?

· why art thou so far from helping me?

· [why are you so far from] the words of my groaning? – NKJV

· I cry in the day time, but thou hearest not

· [I cry] by night, but have no audience – Geneva Bible

Was David wrong when he wrote those words through inspiration? The Holy Spirit is the real author of Psalms 22:1-2. Was the Holy Spirit mistaken?

If the writer of Psalms 22:1 was inspired but wrong, then how can we trust anything in the Bible? For example, how do we know Paul’s prohibition against women preachers in I Cor 14:34-35 is God’s truth, and not just how Paul “felt” at the time (as some claim)?

Suppose for the sake of argument that David was wrong. Wouldn’t that mean Jesus was also wrong when He applied these words to himself on the cross? That would certainly become a “sticky wicket,” wouldn’t it?

Does Salvation By Grace Mean Homosexuals Will Be Saved?

March 15, 2018

Gay Church members claim they are saved because salvation is by grace. It is true passages like Eph 2:8-9 teach salvation is by grace. Of course “grace” means that God’s salvation is FREE, but grace doesn’t mean that God’s salvation is unconditional.

Our obedience does not earn our salvation (Eph 2:8-9), but nonetheless, our salvation is conditioned upon our obedience (verse 10):

· Luke 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

· Matt 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

· James 2:24 Ye see … that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only

· Heb 5:9 Jesus became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him

Homosexual or not, if you are a believer, are you backing up your belief with an obedient life?

Repentance is one of those required conditions:

· Luke 13:3 except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish

· Acts 19:18 And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds

Repentance requires the cessation of all homosexual relations.

The “unrighteous (including homosexuals) shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (I Cor 6:9). That is why it is said of homosexuals who had become Christians, “such were some of you” past tense (I Cor 6:11). They had changed.

If you would like to enroll in our free “Jesus The Way” Bible correspondence course, send me your regular mailing address.

What Saves – A Faith That Will Work, Or A Faith That Is Working?

March 8, 2018

I was asked recently by someone I was studying with – What saves, (1) faith that will work or (2) faith that is working? Though I obviously think the former is a very good thing, I answered that the latter is the correct answer. Let me provide some evidence for you to consider …

First notice Gal 5:6 – “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.” Doesn’t that verse answer our question directly? Here is how the ESV translates that – “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” So it is not just faith that avails (in regards to salvation); it is a faith that is working. Not only that, but it must be a working faith that has “love” as its motivation.

Next consider an illustration. Here is Heb 11:30 “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.” Of course this is not talking about salvation, but notice how the Israelites’ faith did not avail (in regard to war victory) until their faith worked.

Thirdly notice Gal 3:26-27 which actually touches on our question as it specifically relates to baptism – “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Verse 26 is letting us know that our salvation is conditioned upon our faith. All certainly agree on that. But verse 27 pinpoints as to when we are saved by faith. As you know, the word “For” that begins verse 27 means “to introduce the reason.” So verse 27 is saying – the reason a person is a child of God by faith is because he has been baptized into Christ. See my point here? – it takes a faith that is working to become a child of God / get into Christ.

Question: Didn’t Saul have the kind of faith that would work when he said to Jesus in Acts 9:6 – “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” Then why were his sins not washed away at that moment? You will remember that at least three days later, he was told to do something so that his sins would be washed away (Acts 22:16). So Paul was not saved when he first had the kind of faith that will work; instead Paul was saved when his faith did work.

What About Proof Texting?

March 1, 2018

Many denominational believers, and even some Christians, have a problem with what is commonly called “proof texting.” That is the practice of proving a particular doctrine with a Bible text.

This practice is not without a multitude of precedence in the Bible. Jesus constantly “proof texted.” You probably remember Jesus using three separate proof texts to reply to the devil’s three temptations of Him in Matt 4:1-11.

Also consider the example of when the Sadducees argued “that there is no resurrection” (after life) in Matt 22:23ff. Jesus responded to them in verses 31-32 by saying “… as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” Jesus used one verse of old testament scripture to conclusively prove their false theory incorrect. I for one am glad Jesus did this, because I might not have noticed that this verse was so good against the no resurrection theory. Evidently the Sadducees had not regarded the passage in that light either.

I Thess 5:21a reads “Prove all things.” We should never be ashamed to do just that. One scripture that is conclusive on a subject is enough. More verses is even better, but God only has to say something one time for it to be true.