Posts tagged ‘Holy Spirit’

Baptism… its Godly essence!

Attended mass today at a Roman Catholic Church & must say I was impressed to hear some sound Biblical preaching… which is always welcome among those Catholics/Christians, who are not embarrassed of the Gospel for its incapacity to please people’s love for sin.

The Priest sought to explain why Jesus was baptized though He is/was without sin. If we are to understand the nature of Jesus Christ, we must know that He is fully God & also fully man. Sacraments instituted in the Church are only those, which Christ has established. Now concerning baptism, it is circumcision carried forward from the Old Testament. As Isaac was circumcised when he was 8 days old (Gen 21:4), so too Jesus was circumcised when He was an infant (Luke 2:21)! Knowing John was only a few months older than the man Jesus Christ, the baptism of Jesus as an infant is ruled out.

John 1
32 John testified saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him.
33 “I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’

Luke 1
34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.

1 John 5
7 For there are three that testify:
8 the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.
9 If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for the testimony of God is this, that He has testified concerning His Son.
10 The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son.
11 And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

The Baptism of Christ is therefore seen that is was not about Christ having sin in Himself to required repentance but that the testimony of God be witnessed concerning His Son, that the Lord Jesus Christ is thee Messiah, anointed by the Holy Spirit (Jn 1:32-33 & Lk 34-35).

Genesis 17 (Circumcision was given to MEN ONLY, as being dedicated to the Lord)
12 And every male among you who is eight days old shall be circumcised throughout your generations, a servant who is born in the house or who is bought with money from any foreigner, who is not of your descendants.

23 Then Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all the servants who were born in his house and all who were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s household, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the very same day, as God had said to him.

Romans 2 (Baptism is given to MEN & WOMEN, as being dedicated to the Lord)
14 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves,
15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,
16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.
29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.

Knowing Baptism replaces Circumcision (Gen 17:12-23 & Rom 2:14-29), infant baptism is hence Biblical. However many disagree with this, even among those who were baptized as infants, as I too once did. It must be understood that parents baptizing their children as infants, are taking the responsibility of bringing their children up to know and serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15). So it is that these children baptized as infants and unfortunately later as adults again (Eph 4:5), are unable to decipher that the poor Godly stewardship their parents exercised over them, is the reason they found interest in God outside their immediate family. Such is the spiritual ignorance (Hos 4:6) most Christian households are dealing with. As it is with any conversation you have, it is very important to see scripture in the context of scripture, to know what God is speaking out, to you, through the 66 books of the Bible. Adult baptisms as adult circumcisions (Gen 17:12-23 & Rom 2:14-29), were only required by new converts to Christianity (Spiritual Israel) and such was not just given them as individuals but to their whole household (Acts 16:27-33) including children.

Hosea 4
6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

Acts 16
27 When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped.
28 But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!”
29 And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas,
30 and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
The Jailer Converted
31 They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house.
33 And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household.

What is essential in baptism is a heart ready to receive the Lord. If you have a heart filled with love for yourself, you can recite your baptismal promises till Christmas comes and goes without making any difference in your life.

Understanding that the Church is Israel (Eph 2:11-13) since Adam i.e. counted as Abrahams spiritual descendants (Gal 3:29), we learn that Baptism points to being born of God (Jn 3:3) as in born from above, so that our hearts may proclaim Jesus is Lord and believe in His resurrection as victory over death (Rom 10:8-11). Now to steer of the Charismatic definition of Holy Spirit baptism, I need to state (Jn 3:3, 19-21 & 16:8-13)- that being born from above has to do with being convicted as a sinner in the light of God’s majesty unto repentance to believe the Gospel (Mk 1:15)& so receive the righteousness of God over our own (Jn 12:24-26).

John 3
18 “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.
20 “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
21 “But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”

Luke 23
39 One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!”
40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?
41 “And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”
42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!”
43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

To conclude, I must state: one who repents of Himself to receive Christ as Lord is saved though he/she may not be baptized before they fall asleep but this cannot easily excuse those who refuse or delay their baptism out of: the fear of men OR out of the overwhelming love they may have for themselves.

The Five Solas

“Sola” is Latin meaning “alone” or “only”. The Five Solas are the Latin slogans that emerged from the Reformation with the intention to summarize basic theological principles to distinguish the teaching of the Believing Church from the Humanist teachings that weighed down the Church of that day.

The 5 Solas with their scripture references are as follows:

1. Sola Fide, by faith alone.

Romans 3:28-31
For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.
Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

James 2:17
So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

What is faith? It is the very essence of belief, when a person says he has faith in something, it refers to his trust in that same thing. Faith in God is trusting in Him and when you truly believe in something, it shows in the way you go about your life and so says James 2:17. Faith is God given (Romans 12:3) and not all have it because God is Sovereign to the extent that if He does not give something in particular to the person, that person will not even have the desire for that particular thing. Salvation through faith simply means that you know what God has done for you, which He may not have done for many others and so He lets you know and it is because He lets know that you are given the power to believe. So it is through your faith alone that He tells you that you are saved.

2. Sola Scriptura, by Scripture alone.

Gal 3:8
And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”

Gal 3:22
But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

Heb 4:12
The word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. It cuts all the way through, to where soul and spirit meet, to where joints and marrow come together. It judges the desires and thoughts of the heart.

2Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction for right living, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

From the scripture of Gal 3, you will notice scripture being spoken of like a person. John 1 and Mat 1:18-20, shows the work of the Spirit, in Christ taking Human form. From Numbers 11:25 we see also that Moses too had the indwelling of the Holy Spirit implying that it was the Holy Spirit in Moses who worked as mediator between God and the Israelites in Exodus 32. Heb 4:12 says that the word of God is alive that is, His Spirit is alive and is God. When the Bible says that faith comes from hearing, it refers to listening to His Spirit. This Spirit Sovereignly works in the whole world but speaks intimately only to the Church, the people called to believe from different tribes and nations.

Many of you will not agree with I am going to say now but I am convinced this is true. The word of God in the Bible is the Holy Spirit given to the Church. The early Church in the first two centuries did not have the Bible as we know it today and so the Spirit edified the Church through the gift of tongues and prophesies with interpretations (1Cor 14:26) but that was a time when the Word of God was not as yet compiled into the Bible. From the time the Church complied all it had received into the Bible, the revelations in tongues or prophesies have ceased for nothing can be added (Rev 22:18-19) nor taken away (Ecc 3:14) from the revelation of the Word, God has given His people in the Bible. Sola Scriptura!

3. Sola Gratia, by grace alone.

Eph 2:8-9
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

2Timothy 1:9
who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,

Romans 3:23-24
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

According to “The Economist”, the whole world is in debt, with the third world countries in lesser debt, such as Kenya with a public debt of nearly $ 15 billion (as of June 2012); while developed countries like the US have a public debt of nearly $ 9 trillion (as of June 2012). So the question is, where is all the money in the world going, if everyone is in debt?

Why don’t you give grace a thought, or does the world expect to pay off God in circumstances, where they not only don’t have money but are well over their heads in debt. Why???? Because the world is living off His grace and doesn’t even know it. The reason man can never pay the price of his Salvation is because all that he is and calls his own is not really his but belongs to God, everything a man has, is borrowed, given by the grace of God. Man is held accountable even if he takes his own life because even his own life does not belong to him but belongs to God and this is spoken of beautifully in Psalms 49.

You can therefore come to the conclusion that ‘borrowing man’ can never merit Salvation, be it by prayer, fasting, holy places, charity or whatever. Man goes to heaven seeing only the goodness of God’s grace and not admiring his own delusional merit.

4. Solus Christus, through Christ alone.

Have you heard of the term “Christophany”, these were the manifestation of Christ in the Old Testament. Since the revelation of the invisible God has only been made known through Christ (John 1:18), in the Old Testament the manifestations of Christ were referred to sometimes as the Angel of God and varied in some other in places. I’ll give you two or three that even bears reference to His Deity.

Christ’ Manifestation in the flaming bush; Exodus 3: 2, 4, 6. It is written, the Angel of the Lord that appeared as a flame of fire in the bush, spoke from the bush as the Lord.

The Manifestation of Christ as three people, Abraham bows to them (Gen 18:2-3) and refers to them as Lord. While one remains with Abraham and two of them go to Sodom and Gomorrah, yet the one says that He (Lord) will go down to Sodom and Gomorrah.

The Manifestation of Christ, as the man who wrestles Jacob in Gen 32:24-30 and the words of Jacob in verse 30 are “”For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.”

Through Christ alone, says that Salvation was worked out by the Only Being who is worthy before God and that is God Himself viz. Jesus Christ. Worthy ONLY is the Lamb (Rev 5:11-14).

1Corinthians 8:6
yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

Col 1:13-20
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,
and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

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

5. Soli Deo Gloria, glory to God alone.

Psalms 115:1
To you alone, O LORD, to you alone, and not to us, must glory be given because of your constant love and faithfulness.

Isaiah 42:8
“I alone am the LORD your God. No other god may share my glory; I will not let idols share my praise.

Isaiah 48:11
What I do is done for my own sake— I will not let my name be dishonored or let anyone else share the glory that should be mine and mine alone.”

Romans 16:27
To the only God, who alone is all-wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever! Amen.

Finally God (Father, Son and Spirit) shares His glory with no other. There is no being as perfect as God and if God were to allow any other being: be it the angles, seraphim or the prophets, who are all imperfect in His sight, to even share His glory, then God would not be truthful and faithful but God loves His own perfection as He delights in Himself (Jeremiah 9:24).

Armour of God!

Though this world may seem to move from bad to worse, I know that God is as much as in control now as He ever was and as He will be forever. For as much as He is glorified in being a creator over creation, he is glorified is being a redeemer over His vessels of mercy and also glorified in His anger over His vessels of wrath. It is not for God or the Christian to worry as to what the world is coming to because God is Sovereign but it would be of much help to the Christian to wear the full armor that God has given him, to withstand days of peril.

Eph 6:13-17
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;
17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,

The “belt of truth” in verse 14 is something that fastens the armor of God upon the believer. Let’s read Rom 1:18.

Romans 1:18
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

Just as if I were to say that my glass is only filled half way or that my glass is still half empty would both be true, hence from Romans 1:18 we can also say “God’s mercy has been made known from heaven touching godliness and righteousness of men, who by their righteousness stands firm in the truth.” We therefore see that the breastplate of righteousness that is held-fast to us by truth protects our bosom so that our hearts entertain nothing else (Proverbs 6:24-27) other than God (Deut 6:5 and Jer 31:33). This, my friend is the mark of a people and belong to God.

From Eph 6:14, we see that the believer is called to have readiness to preach the Gospel as Jesus says in Matthew 28:18-20 that All Power has been given unto Him and we are therefore commanded to go into the nations and bring in the good news of Jesus Christ, the Gospel of peace! That the people may adhere to the One God in the Father, Son and Spirit, as He promised to remain with His people till the end of age.

Romans 10:13-15
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

About the shield of faith in Eph 6:15 that extinguishes the fiery dart of Satan. We know God Himself promised to shield Abraham (Gen 15:1) and it was because Abraham believed that it was credited to him as righteousness (Gal 3:6). The Bible also tell us in 1John 5:5 that it is in believing in Jesus in which we have the shield of faith that quenches the fiery darts of the enemy (1Peter 5:8-9).

Also, you are not fully sheltered if your head is not protected. For in this battle that happens for the time that God has decreed, a blow to head can prove to be fatal and if God has called you to receive His helmet of salvation (Psalms 140:7) then it implicitly implies that He will give you His full armor, which is a privilege the world has not seen.

Habakkuk 3:13
You went out for the salvation of your people, for the salvation of your anointed. You crushed the head of the house of the wicked, laying him bare from thigh to neck. Selah.

Finally, you also need a device of attack and what we have been given is the sword of Spirit i.e. the Word of God – The Bible, which is a weapon given to us by His Spirit in His wisdom.

Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

I kept this for last; Brother/Sister now that you have seen the splendid Armor presented to you, here is its purpose:

Ephesians 6:11-12
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

If you think the opposition is big then this should console you: God controls the opposition! Do you know how some vaccines are made in the field of medicine? The actual virus is taken, made handicapped and injected into the body. The virus cannot really do much harm but what happens is that the body starts producing antibodies, which builds up the immune system against that disease and this is probably how God Sovereignly uses Satan and all his dominions to build God’s people.

A Complete Revelation!

Have you ever pondered on the word “revelation”? How does it feel when you have an epiphany moment, when something is made known to you i.e. your understanding is enlightened. It is something that makes you pause for the moment to grasp the reality you have encountered.

Have you ever admired a beautiful sunset? Or maybe had your breath taken away by a beautiful landscape? Have you ever looked with smile at a flower or have you dived in tropical waters and been overwhelmed by the beauty and color of the corals and fish? Have you remained silent in a quite countryside and admired the starry sky? These are some of the many heart stopping moments but the reason we are left speechless is because we are admiring the handiwork of Someone. The human subconscious is such that it takes continuous pleasure in what constructively delights its senses and the amazing thing is, on this planet only man can stand in awe of artwork, whatever kind it may be, because that is how man is wired. People are made in such a way that their appreciation last for things that are only worked/made in earnest. This is why when man sees the handmade of God he stands in awe, many times without giving God the full credit because the ability to grasp the revelation of the creation was not granted to all.

Creation as beautiful as it may be is not a complete revelation by itself because it needs to be conjunct with the revelation of God in order to be complete since creation owes its existence to God. The revelation of God was made known in Christ and like the revelation of creation, the revelation made known in Christ was also not granted to all.

John 1:18
No one has ever seen God. The only Son, who is the same as God and is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

Colossian 2:2-3
2 that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

The unique thing about the revelation that Christ brought is: 100% deliverance done 100% by God. You see there are many who staunchly believe in the existence of God but most of them feel left to themselves to work out their own righteousness before God because God has not touched them with the Salvation worked out completely on the cross.

Hebrews 2:9-10
But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.

After Jesus worked out our salvation on the cross came the sustenance of the Holy Spirit, which was to bring the revelation of Christ into people of all kinds, going down generation after generation, those who have been called by God before the foundation of the world.

If you would like to look deep then the Word (Christ) came into human existence (John1) through the Holy Spirit (Luke 1), who came from the Father (John 14), if you are able to figure this out then you will see that these (Father Son and Spirit) are three distinctive Persons of Deity who are the same God.

John 1:1, 14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
..
The Word became a human being and, full of grace and truth, lived among us. We saw his glory, the glory which he received as the Father’s only Son.

Luke 1:35
And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.

John 14:26
the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

Now coming back to the revelation of the Spirit, do you know that the “word of God” known more commonly as the Bible, is a 100% product of the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 6:17
the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

2Peter 1:19-21
19 So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. 20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21 FOR NO PROPHECY WAS EVER MADE BY AN ACT OF HUMAN WILL, BUT MEN MOVED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT SPOKE FROM GOD.

So you see that the Bible is a complete revelation for the believer to know God, allow me to back this statement with scripture.

2Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

1John 2:27
But as for you, Christ has poured out his Spirit on you. As long as his Spirit remains in you, you do not need anyone to teach you. For his Spirit teaches you about EVERYTHING, and what he teaches is true, not false. Obey the Spirit’s teaching, then, and remain in union with Christ.

So you see of the revelation of the Holy Spirit is complete in the Bible which fully (100%) delivers the revelation of Christ to the believer, who also fully receives the revelation of creation from the same Bible. In fact this revelation is so perfect (Psalms 19:7) that Bible ask the believer not to exceed what is written (1 Cor4:6) and those who teach outside the Bible are actually in darkness (Isaiah 8:20).

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