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Martin Luther’s 95 Theses.

Disputation of Doctor Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences
by Dr. Martin Luther, 1517
OCTOBER 31, 1517
Out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to light, the following propositions will be discussed at Wittenberg, under the presidency of the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and of Sacred Theology, and Lecturer in Ordinary on the same at that place. Wherefore he requests that those who are unable to be present and debate orally with us, may do so by letter.
In the Name our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
1. Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said Poenitentiam agite, willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance.
2. This word cannot be understood to mean sacramental penance, i.e., confession and satisfaction, which is administered by the priests.
3. Yet it means not inward repentance only; nay, there is no inward repentance which does not outwardly work divers mortifications of the flesh.
4. The penalty [of sin], therefore, continues so long as hatred of self continues; for this is the true inward repentance, and continues until our entrance into the kingdom of heaven.
5. The pope does not intend to remit, and cannot remit any penalties other than those which he has imposed either by his own authority or by that of the Canons.
6. The pope cannot remit any guilt, except by declaring that it has been remitted by God and by assenting to God’s remission; though, to be sure, he may grant remission in cases reserved to his judgment. If his right to grant remission in such cases were despised, the guilt would remain entirely unforgiven.
7. God remits guilt to no one whom He does not, at the same time, humble in all things and bring into subjection to His vicar, the priest.
8. The penitential canons are imposed only on the living, and, according to them, nothing should be imposed on the dying.
9. Therefore the Holy Spirit in the pope is kind to us, because in his decrees he always makes exception of the article of death and of necessity.
10. Ignorant and wicked are the doings of those priests who, in the case of the dying, reserve canonical penances for purgatory.
11. This changing of the canonical penalty to the penalty of purgatory is quite evidently one of the tares that were sown while the bishops slept.
12. In former times the canonical penalties were imposed not after, but before absolution, as tests of true contrition.
13. The dying are freed by death from all penalties; they are already dead to canonical rules, and have a right to be released from them.
14. The imperfect health [of soul], that is to say, the imperfect love, of the dying brings with it, of necessity, great fear; and the smaller the love, the greater is the fear.
15. This fear and horror is sufficient of itself alone (to say nothing of other things) to constitute the penalty of purgatory, since it is very near to the horror of despair.
16. Hell, purgatory, and heaven seem to differ as do despair, almost-despair, and the assurance of safety.
17. With souls in purgatory it seems necessary that horror should grow less and love increase.
18. It seems unproved, either by reason or Scripture, that they are outside the state of merit, that is to say, of increasing love.
19. Again, it seems unproved that they, or at least that all of them, are certain or assured of their own blessedness, though we may be quite certain of it.
20. Therefore by “full remission of all penalties” the pope means not actually “of all,” but only of those imposed by himself.
21. Therefore those preachers of indulgences are in error, who say that by the pope’s indulgences a man is freed from every penalty, and saved;
22. Whereas he remits to souls in purgatory no penalty which, according to the canons, they would have had to pay in this life.
23. If it is at all possible to grant to any one the remission of all penalties whatsoever, it is certain that this remission can be granted only to the most perfect, that is, to the very fewest.
24. It must needs be, therefore, that the greater part of the people are deceived by that indiscriminate and highsounding promise of release from penalty.
25. The power which the pope has, in a general way, over purgatory, is just like the power which any bishop or curate has, in a special way, within his own diocese or parish.
26. The pope does well when he grants remission to souls [in purgatory], not by the power of the keys (which he does not possess), but by way of intercession.
27. They preach man who say that so soon as the penny jingles into the money-box, the soul flies out [of purgatory].
28. It is certain that when the penny jingles into the money-box, gain and avarice can be increased, but the result of the intercession of the Church is in the power of God alone.
29. Who knows whether all the souls in purgatory wish to be bought out of it, as in the legend of Sts. Severinus and Paschal.
30. No one is sure that his own contrition is sincere; much less that he has attained full remission.
31. Rare as is the man that is truly penitent, so rare is also the man who truly buys indulgences, i.e., such men are most rare.
32. They will be condemned eternally, together with their teachers, who believe themselves sure of their salvation because they have letters of pardon.
33. Men must be on their guard against those who say that the pope’s pardons are that inestimable gift of God by which man is reconciled to Him;
34. For these “graces of pardon” concern only the penalties of sacramental satisfaction, and these are appointed by man.
35. They preach no Christian doctrine who teach that contrition is not necessary in those who intend to buy souls out of purgatory or to buy confessionalia.
36. Every truly repentant Christian has a right to full remission of penalty and guilt, even without letters of pardon.
37. Every true Christian, whether living or dead, has part in all the blessings of Christ and the Church; and this is granted him by God, even without letters of pardon.
38. Nevertheless, the remission and participation [in the blessings of the Church] which are granted by the pope are in no way to be despised, for they are, as I have said, the declaration of divine remission.
39. It is most difficult, even for the very keenest theologians, at one and the same time to commend to the people the abundance of pardons and [the need of] true contrition.
40. True contrition seeks and loves penalties, but liberal pardons only relax penalties and cause them to be hated, or at least, furnish an occasion [for hating them].
41. Apostolic pardons are to be preached with caution, lest the people may falsely think them preferable to other good works of love.
42. Christians are to be taught that the pope does not intend the buying of pardons to be compared in any way to works of mercy.
43. Christians are to be taught that he who gives to the poor or lends to the needy does a better work than buying pardons;
44. Because love grows by works of love, and man becomes better; but by pardons man does not grow better, only more free from penalty.
45. Christians are to be taught that he who sees a man in need, and passes him by, and gives [his money] for pardons, purchases not the indulgences of the pope, but the indignation of God.
46. Christians are to be taught that unless they have more than they need, they are bound to keep back what is necessary for their own families, and by no means to squander it on pardons.
47. Christians are to be taught that the buying of pardons is a matter of free will, and not of commandment.
48. Christians are to be taught that the pope, in granting pardons, needs, and therefore desires, their devout prayer for him more than the money they bring.
49. Christians are to be taught that the pope’s pardons are useful, if they do not put their trust in them; but altogether harmful, if through them they lose their fear of God.
50. Christians are to be taught that if the pope knew the exactions of the pardon-preachers, he would rather that St. Peter’s church should go to ashes, than that it should be built up with the skin, flesh and bones of his sheep.
51. Christians are to be taught that it would be the pope’s wish, as it is his duty, to give of his own money to very many of those from whom certain hawkers of pardons cajole money, even though the church of St. Peter might have to be sold.
52. The assurance of salvation by letters of pardon is vain, even though the commissary, nay, even though the pope himself, were to stake his soul upon it.
53. They are enemies of Christ and of the pope, who bid the Word of God be altogether silent in some Churches, in order that pardons may be preached in others.
54. Injury is done the Word of God when, in the same sermon, an equal or a longer time is spent on pardons than on this Word.
55. It must be the intention of the pope that if pardons, which are a very small thing, are celebrated with one bell, with single processions and ceremonies, then the Gospel, which is the very greatest thing, should be preached with a hundred bells, a hundred processions, a hundred ceremonies.
56. The “treasures of the Church,” out of which the pope grants indulgences, are not sufficiently named or known among the people of Christ.
57. That they are not temporal treasures is certainly evident, for many of the vendors do not pour out such treasures so easily, but only gather them.
  58. Nor are they the merits of Christ and the Saints, for even without the pope, these always work grace for the inner man, and the cross, death, and hell for the outward man.
59. St. Lawrence said that the treasures of the Church were the Church’s poor, but he spoke according to the usage of the word in his own time.
60. Without rashness we say that the keys of the Church, given by Christ’s merit, are that treasure;
61. For it is clear that for the remission of penalties and of reserved cases, the power of the pope is of itself sufficient.
62. The true treasure of the Church is the Most Holy Gospel of the glory and the grace of God.
63. But this treasure is naturally most odious, for it makes the first to be last.
64. On the other hand, the treasure of indulgences is naturally most acceptable, for it makes the last to be first.
65. Therefore the treasures of the Gospel are nets with which they formerly were wont to fish for men of riches.
66. The treasures of the indulgences are nets with which they now fish for the riches of men.
67. The indulgences which the preachers cry as the “greatest graces” are known to be truly such, in so far as they promote gain.
68. Yet they are in truth the very smallest graces compared with the grace of God and the piety of the Cross.
69. Bishops and curates are bound to admit the commissaries of apostolic pardons, with all reverence.
70. But still more are they bound to strain all their eyes and attend with all their ears, lest these men preach their own dreams instead of the commission of the pope.
71. He who speaks against the truth of apostolic pardons, let him be anathema and accursed!
72. But he who guards against the lust and license of the pardon-preachers, let him be blessed!
73. The pope justly thunders against those who, by any art, contrive the injury of the traffic in pardons.
74. But much more does he intend to thunder against those who use the pretext of pardons to contrive the injury of holy love and truth.
75. To think the papal pardons so great that they could absolve a man even if he had committed an impossible sin and violated the Mother of God–this is madness.
76. We say, on the contrary, that the papal pardons are not able to remove the very least of venial sins, so far as its guilt is concerned.
77. It is said that even St. Peter, if he were now Pope, could not bestow greater graces; this is blasphemy against St. Peter and against the pope.
78. We say, on the contrary, that even the present pope, and any pope at all, has greater graces at his disposal; to wit, the Gospel, powers, gifts of healing, etc., as it is written in I. Corinthians xii.
79. To say that the cross, emblazoned with the papal arms, which is set up [by the preachers of indulgences], is of equal worth with the Cross of Christ, is blasphemy.
80. The bishops, curates and theologians who allow such talk to be spread among the people, will have an account to render.
81. This unbridled preaching of pardons makes it no easy matter, even for learned men, to rescue the reverence due to the pope from slander, or even from the shrewd questionings of the laity.
82. To wit:–“Why does not the pope empty purgatory, for the sake of holy love and of the dire need of the souls that are there, if he redeems an infinite number of souls for the sake of miserable money with which to build a Church? The former reasons would be most just; the latter is most trivial.”
83. Again:–“Why are mortuary and anniversary masses for the dead continued, and why does he not return or permit the withdrawal of the endowments founded on their behalf, since it is wrong to pray for the redeemed?”
84. Again:–“What is this new piety of God and the pope, that for money they allow a man who is impious and their enemy to buy out of purgatory the pious soul of a friend of God, and do not rather, because of that pious and beloved soul’s own need, free it for pure love’s sake?”
85. Again:–“Why are the penitential canons long since in actual fact and through disuse abrogated and dead, now satisfied by the granting of indulgences, as though they were still alive and in force?”
86. Again:–“Why does not the pope, whose wealth is to-day greater than the riches of the richest, build just this one church of St. Peter with his own money, rather than with the money of poor believers?”
87. Again:–“What is it that the pope remits, and what participation does he grant to those who, by perfect contrition, have a right to full remission and participation?”
88. Again:–“What greater blessing could come to the Church than if the pope were to do a hundred times a day what he now does once, and bestow on every believer these remissions and participations?”
89. “Since the pope, by his pardons, seeks the salvation of souls rather than money, why does he suspend the indulgences and pardons granted heretofore, since these have equal efficacy?”
90. To repress these arguments and scruples of the laity by force alone, and not to resolve them by giving reasons, is to expose the Church and the pope to the ridicule of their enemies, and to make Christians unhappy.
91. If, therefore, pardons were preached according to the spirit and mind of the pope, all these doubts would be readily resolved; nay, they would not exist.
92. Away, then, with all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, “Peace, peace,” and there is no peace!
93. Blessed be all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, “Cross, cross,” and there is no cross!
  94. Christians are to be exhorted that they be diligent in following Christ, their Head, through penalties, deaths, and hell;
95. And thus be confident of entering into heaven rather through many tribulations, than through the assurance of peace.
Disputatio pro Declaratione Virtutis Indulgentiarum
Amore et studio elucidande veritatis hec subscripta disputabuntur Wittenberge, Presidente R. P. Martino Luther, Artium et S. Theologie Magistro eiusdemque ibidem lectore Ordinario. Quare petit, ut qui non possunt verbis presentes nobiscum disceptare agant id literis absentes. In nomine domini nostri Hiesu Christi. Amen.
1. Dominus et magister noster Iesus Christus dicendo ‘Penitentiam agite &c.’ omnem vitam fidelium penitentiam esse voluit.
2. Quod verbum de penitentia sacramentali (id est confessionis et satisfactionis, que sacerdotum ministerio celebratur) non potest intelligi.
3. Non tamen solam intendit interiorem, immo interior nulla est, nisi foris operetur varias carnis mortificationes.
4. Manet itaque pena, donec manet odium sui (id est penitentia vera intus), scilicet usque ad introitum regni celorum.
5. Papa non vult nec potest ullas penas remittere preter eas, quas arbitrio vel suo vel canonum imposuit.
6. Papa non potest remittere ullam culpam nisi declarando, et approbando remissam a deo Aut certe remittendo casus reservatos sibi, quibus contemptis culpa prorsus remaneret.
7. Nulli prorus remittit deus culpam, quin simul eum subiiciat humiliatum in omnibus sacerdoti suo vicario.
8. Canones penitentiales solum viventibus sunt impositi nihilque morituris secundum eosdem debet imponi.
9. Inde bene nobis facit spiritussanctus in papa excipiendo in suis decretis semper articulum mortis et necessitatis.
10. Indocte et male faciunt sacerdotes ii, qui morituris penitentias canonicas in purgatorium reservant.
11. Zizania illa de mutanda pena Canonica in penam purgatorii videntur certe dormientibus episcopis seminata.
12. Olim pene canonice non post, sed ante absolutionem imponebantur tanquam tentamenta vere contritionis.
13. Morituri per mortem omnia solvunt et legibus canonum mortui iam sunt, habentes iure earum relaxationem.
14. Imperfecta sanitas seu charitas morituri necessario secum fert magnum timorem, tantoque maiorem, quanto minor fuerit ipsa.
15. Hic timor et horror satis est se solo (ut alia taceam) facere penam purgatorii, cum sit proximus desperationis horrori.
16. Videntur infernus, purgaturium, celum differre, sicut desperatio, prope desperatio, securitas differunt.
17. Necessarium videtur animabus in purgatorio sicut minni horrorem ita augeri charitatem.
18. Nec probatum videtur ullis aut rationibus aut scripturis, quod sint extra statum meriti seu augende charitatis.
19. Nec hoc probatum esse videtur, quod sint de sua beatitudine certe et secure, saltem omnes, licet nos certissimi simus.
20. Igitur papa per remissionem plenariam omnium penarum non simpliciter omnium intelligit, sed a seipso tantummodo impositarum.
21. Errant itaque indulgentiarum predicatores ii, qui dicunt per pape indulgentias hominem ab omni pena solvi et salvari.
22. Quin nullam remittit animabus in purgatorio, quam in hac vita debuissent secundum Canones solvere.
23. Si remissio ulla omnium omnino penarum potest alicui dari, certum est eam non nisi perfectissimis, i.e. paucissimis, dari.
24. Falli ob id necesse est maiorem partem populi per indifferentem illam et magnificam pene solute promissionem.
25. Qualem potestatem habet papa in purgatorium generaliter, talem habet quilibet Episcopus et Curatus in sua diocesi et parochia specialiter.
1. [26] Optime facit papa, quod non potestate clavis (quam nullam habet) sed per modum suffragii dat animabus remissionem.
2. [27] Hominem predicant, qui statim ut iactus nummus in cistam tinnierit evolare dicunt animam.
3. [28] Certum est, nummo in cistam tinniente augeri questum et avariciam posse: suffragium autem ecclesie est in arbitrio dei solius.
4. [29] Quis scit, si omnes anime in purgatorio velint redimi, sicut de s. Severino et Paschali factum narratur.
5. [30] Nullus securus est de veritate sue contritionis, multominus de consecutione plenarie remissionis.
6. [31] Quam rarus est vere penitens, tam rarus est vere indulgentias redimens, i. e. rarissimus.
7. [32] Damnabuntur ineternum cum suis magistris, qui per literas veniarum securos sese credunt de sua salute.
8. [33] Cavendi sunt nimis, qui dicunt venias illas Pape donum esse illud dei inestimabile, quo reconciliatur homo deo.
9. [34] Gratie enim ille veniales tantum respiciunt penas satisfactionis sacramentalis ab homine constitutas.
10. [35] Non christiana predicant, qui docent, quod redempturis animas vel confessionalia non sit necessaria contritio.
11. [36] Quilibet christianus vere compunctus habet remissionem plenariam a pena et culpa etiam sine literis veniarum sibi debitam.
12. [37] Quilibet versus christianus, sive vivus sive mortuus, habet participationem omnium bonorum Christi et Ecclesie etiam sine literis veniarum a deo sibi datam.
13. [38] Remissio tamen et participatio Pape nullo modo est contemnenda, quia (ut dixi) est declaratio remissionis divine.
14. [39] Difficillimum est etiam doctissimis Theologis simul extollere veniarum largitatem et contritionis veritatem coram populo.
15. [40] Contritionis veritas penas querit et amat, Veniarum autem largitas relaxat et odisse facit, saltem occasione.
16. [41] Caute sunt venie apostolice predicande, ne populus false intelligat eas preferri ceteris bonis operibus charitatis.
17. [42] Docendi sunt christiani, quod Pape mens non est, redemptionem veniarum ulla ex parte comparandam esse operibus misericordie.
18. [43] Docendi sunt christiani, quod dans pauperi aut mutuans egenti melius facit quam si venias redimereet.
19. [44] Quia per opus charitatis crescit charitas et fit homo melior, sed per venias non fit melior sed tantummodo a pena liberior.
20. [45] Docendi sunt christiani, quod, qui videt egenum et neglecto eo dat pro veniis, non idulgentias Pape sed indignationem dei sibi vendicat.
21. [46] Docendi sunt christiani, quod nisi superfluis abundent necessaria tenentur domui sue retinere et nequaquam propter venias effundere.
22. [47] Docendi sunt christiani, quod redemptio veniarum est libera, non precepta.
23. [48] Docendi sunt christiani, quod Papa sicut magis eget ita magis optat in veniis dandis pro se devotam orationem quam promptam pecuniam.
24. [49] Docendi sunt christiani, quod venie Pape sunt utiles, si non in cas confidant, Sed nocentissime, si timorem dei per eas amittant.
25. [50] Docendi sunt christiani, quod si Papa nosset exactiones venialium predicatorum, mallet Basilicam s. Petri in cineres ire quam edificari cute, carne et ossibus ovium suarum.
1. [51] Docendi sunt christiani, quod Papa sicut debet ita vellet, etiam vendita (si opus sit) Basilicam s. Petri, de suis pecuniis dare illis, a quorum plurimis quidam concionatores veniarum pecuniam eliciunt.
2. [52] Vana est fiducia salutis per literas veniarum, etiam si Commissarius, immo Papa ipse suam animam pro illis impigneraret.
3. [53] Hostes Christi et Pape sunt ii, qui propter venias predicandas verbum dei in aliis ecclesiis penitus silere iubent.
4. [54] Iniuria fit verbo dei, dum in eodem sermone equale vel longius tempus impenditur veniis quam illi.
  5. [55] Mens Pape necessario est, quod, si venie (quod minimum est) una campana, unis pompis et ceremoniis celebrantur, Euangelium (quod maximum est) centum campanis, centum pompis, centum ceremoniis predicetur.
6. [56] Thesauri ecclesie, unde Pape dat indulgentias, neque satis nominati sunt neque cogniti apud populum Christi.
7. [57] Temporales certe non esse patet, quod non tam facile eos profundunt, sed tantummodo colligunt multi concionatorum.
8. [58] Nec sunt merita Christi et sanctorum, quia hec semper sine Papa operantur gratiam hominis interioris et crucem, mortem infernumque exterioris.
9. [59] Thesauros ecclesie s. Laurentius dixit esse pauperes ecclesie, sed locutus est usu vocabuli suo tempore.
10. [60] Sine temeritate dicimus claves ecclesie (merito Christi donatas) esse thesaurum istum.
11. [61] Clarum est enim, quod ad remissionem penarum et casuum sola sufficit potestas Pape.
12. [62] Verus thesaurus ecclesie est sacrosanctum euangelium glorie et gratie dei.
13. [63] Hic autem est merito odiosissimus, quia ex primis facit novissimos.
14. [64] Thesaurus autem indulgentiarum merito est gratissimus, quia ex novissimis facit primos.
15. [65] Igitur thesauri Euangelici rhetia sunt, quibus olim piscabantur viros divitiarum.
16. [66] Thesauri indulgentiarum rhetia sunt, quibus nunc piscantur divitias virorum.
17. [67] Indulgentie, quas concionatores vociferantur maximas gratias, intelliguntur vere tales quoad questum promovendum.
18. [68] Sunt tamen re vera minime ad gratiam dei et crucis pietatem comparate.
19. [69] Tenentur Episcopi et Curati veniarum apostolicarum Commissarios cum omni reverentia admittere.
20. [70] Sed magis tenentur omnibus oculis intendere, omnibus auribus advertere, ne pro commissione Pape sua illi somnia predicent.
21. [71] Contra veniarum apostolicarum veritatem qui loquitur, sit ille anathema et maledictus.
22. [72] Qui vero, contra libidinem ac licentiam verborum Concionatoris veniarum curam agit, sit ille benedictus.
23. [73] Sicut Papa iuste fulminat eos, qui in fraudem negocii veniarum quacunque arte machinantur,
24. [74] Multomagnis fulminare intendit eos, qui per veniarum pretextum in fraudem sancte charitatis et veritatis machinantur,
25. [75] Opinari venias papales tantas esse, ut solvere possint hominem, etiam si quis per impossibile dei genitricem violasset, Est insanire.
1. [76] Dicimus contra, quod venie papales nec minimum venialium peccatorum tollere possint quo ad culpam.
2. [77] Quod dicitur, nec si s. Petrus modo Papa esset maiores gratias donare posset, est blasphemia in sanctum Petrum et Papam.
3. [78] Dicimus contra, quod etiam iste et quilibet papa maiores habet, scilicet Euangelium, virtutes, gratias, curationum &c. ut 1. Co. XII.
4. [79] Dicere, Crucem armis papalibus insigniter erectam cruci Christi equivalere, blasphemia est.
5. [80] Rationem reddent Episcopi, Curati et Theologi, Qui tales sermones in populum licere sinunt.
6. [81] Facit hec licentiosa veniarum predicatio, ut nec reverentiam Pape facile sit etiam doctis viris redimere a calumniis aut certe argutis questionibus laicorm.
7. [82] Scilicet. Cur Papa non evacuat purgatorium propter sanctissimam charitatem et summam animarum necessitatem ut causam omnium iustissimam, Si infinitas animas redimit propter pecuniam funestissimam ad structuram Basilice ut causam levissimam?
8. [83] Item. Cur permanent exequie et anniversaria defunctorum et non reddit aut recipi permittit beneficia pro illis instituta, cum iam sit iniuria pro redemptis orare?
9. [84] Item. Que illa nova pietas Dei et Pape, quod impio et inimico propter pecuniam concedunt animam piam et amicam dei redimere, Et tamen propter necessitatem ipsius met pie et dilecte anime non redimunt eam gratuita charitate?
10. [85] Item. Cur Canones penitentiales re ipsa et non usu iam diu in semet abrogati et mortui adhuc tamen pecuniis redimuntur per concessionem indulgentiarum tanquam vivacissimi?
11. [86] Item. Cur Papa, cuius opes hodie sunt opulentissimis Crassis crassiores, non de suis pecuniis magis quam pauperum fidelium struit unam tantummodo Basilicam sancti Petri?
12. [87] Item. Quid remittit aut participat Papa iis, qui per contritionem perfectam ius habent plenarie remissionis et participationis?
13. [88] Item. Quid adderetur ecclesie boni maioris, Si Papa, sicut semel facit, ita centies in die cuilibet fidelium has remissiones et participationes tribueret?
14. [89] Ex quo Papa salutem querit animarum per venias magis quam pecunias, Cur suspendit literas et venias iam olim concessas, cum sint eque efficaces?
15. [90] Hec scrupulosissima laicorum argumenta sola potestate compescere nec reddita ratione diluere, Est ecclesiam et Papam hostibus ridendos exponere et infelices christianos facere.
16. [91] Si ergo venie secundum spiritum et mentem Pape predicarentur, facile illa omnia solverentur, immo non essent.
17. [92] Valeant itaque omnes illi prophete, qui dicunt populo Christi ‘Pax pax,’ et non est pax.
18. [93] Bene agant omnes illi prophete, qui dicunt populo Christi ‘Crux crux,’ et non est crux.
19. [94] Exhortandi sunt Christiani, ut caput suum Christum per penas, mortes infernosque sequi studeant,
20. [95] Ac sic magis per multas tribulationes intrare celum quam per securitatem pacis confidant.

Theology

Baptism in Acts Chapter 10

As Peter starts his sermon it is important to remember the context. In context, this occurs immediately after Peter’s vision of the unclean animal’s being lowered down on the sheet, and God telling him to kill and eat. This was God instructing Peter that the gentiles are included in the New Covenant.

9 And on the next day, as they were on their way and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. 10 But he became hungry and was desiring to eat. And while they were making preparations, he fell into a trance 11 and *saw heaven opened up, and an object like a great sheet coming down, lowered by four corners to the ground, 12 and there were in it all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the sky. 13 And a voice came to him, “Rise up, Peter, slaughter and eat!” 14 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything defiled and unclean.” 15 Again a voice came to him a second time, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider defiled.” 16 And this happened three times and immediately the object was taken up into heaven.
Acts 10:9-16

Peter begins to preach the gospel of Jesus for the gentiles in vv. 34-36. “34 And opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most truly comprehend now that God is not one to show partiality, 35 but in every nation the one who fears Him and does righteousness is welcome to Him. 36 As for the word which He sent to the sons of Israel, proclaiming the good news of peace through Jesus Christ–He is Lord of all– ”

He calls the Jews who were there to recall the first baptism mentioned in Acts chapter 10. It was John’s baptism of Jews for repentance. This is the baptism that Jesus participated in to fulfill all righteousness as as Jew. Even though He was not guilty of sin, nor did He need to repent of anything. He did it to fulfill all righteousness. This baptism of Jesus is not the baptism of New Covenant believers. We see later in Acts 10 which is the gentile believers being baptized as New Covenant believers. “37 you yourselves know the thing which happened throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. 38 You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. 39 And we are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a tree. 40 God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He appear, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. 42 And He commanded us to preach to the people, and solemnly to bear witness that this is the One who has been designated by God as Judge of the living and the dead. 43 Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.””

While Peter was preaching the gospel of Jesus to them, God poured out the Holy Spirit on them. This anointing was much like the anointing of the Apostles, and their disciples, who were with them at Pentecost. We know the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. We know it is the means He has ordained for the elect to come to the Faith. These gentiles who were there in this mixed crowd were born again by the preaching of the gospel of Jesus. Otherwise the Holy Spirit would not have been poured out on them in the fashion it was. They were speaking in tongues and magnifying God. In the next moment Peter addresses the mixed crowd. His question is an imperative in the form of an interrogative. 47 “Can anyone refuse water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did?” 48 And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for a few days.”

As you can see, saving faith and repentance are the preconditions for believer’s baptism. Over time, I will continue to post these articles on believer’s baptism until I have went through the entire New Testament. It is important for people to realize that baptism does not expiate sin. It does not regenerate the sinner to new life in Christ. It certainly does not justify the sinner to God. It is one of two sacraments of the New Testament Church. It is a symbolic death, burial, and resurrection of the believer where they are identified with their risen Savior, and Lord, Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit Poured out on the Gentiles

34 And opening his mouth, Peter said:
“I most truly comprehend now that God is not one to show partiality, 35 but in every nation the one who fears Him and does righteousness is welcome to Him. 36 As for the word which He sent to the sons of Israel, proclaiming the good news of peace through Jesus Christ–He is Lord of all– 37 you yourselves know the thing which happened throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. 38 You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. 39 And we are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a tree. 40 God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He appear, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. 42 And He commanded us to preach to the people, and solemnly to bear witness that this is the One who has been designated by God as Judge of the living and the dead. 43 Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”
44 While Peter was still speaking these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the word. 45 And all the circumcised believers who came with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and magnifying God. Then Peter answered, 47 “Can anyone refuse water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did?” 48 And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for a few days.”
Acts 10:34-48 Legacy Standard Bible

Theology · Uncategorized

Baptism in Acts Chapter 8

There are only about three sections in scripture that can be twisted into seemingly supporting the heresy of baptismal regeneration, but the tremendous weight of the entirety of scripture crushes the arguments based on those sections. I will go through the rest of the New Testament, as I have been doing, to demonstrate this. Keeping in mind the greater context of Acts chapter eight, please note the two instances of baptism here are preceded by faith in Jesus. The crowd of people in the first instance was comprised of men and women. The second instance was the individual Ethiopian eunuch of Candace, Queen of the Ethiopians.

In the first instance we read, “But when they believed Philip proclaiming the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, both men and women.”

(Acts 8:12 Legacy Standard Bible)

https://accordance.bible/link/read/LSB#Acts_8:12

12 ὅτε δὲ ἐπίστευσαν τῷ Φιλίππῳ εὐαγγελιζομένῳ περὶ τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τοῦ ὀνόματος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἐβαπτίζοντο ἄνδρες τε καὶ γυναῖκες. Acts 8:12

You can see that they believed the good news of what Jesus had accomplished on the cross, that Philip had preached. Then they were baptized. The Greek word is the same one translated as, “faith” in other sections of scripture. The word is, “ἐπίστευσαν.”(episteusan) It means; “to believe, put one’s faith in, trust, with an implication that actions based on that trust may follow; (pass.) entrust”

In Acts 8:25-40 we read about the Ethiopian eunuch coming to the true faith. The eunuch was returning to Ethiopia after visiting Jerusalem to worship. Implying he had believed in God in some fashion, probably in Judaism. It is interesting to note that as a eunuch he would not have been allowed access to the temple, or to become a full proselyte to Judaism. This eunuch was in service to the Queen of Ethiopia as her treasurer, or minister of finance in modern terms. The Bible mentions her as being called Candace. This could very well be a title like Caesar, and not truly her name.

As a wealthy, influential, and powerful convert to Judaism, the eunuch had access to the Jewish scriptures as evidenced by him reading from the scroll of Isaiah in the middle of nowhere on his way back to Ethiopia. One has to wonder what other texts he had access to due to his position. It is also interesting that he didn’t understand what he was reading until the appointed time of God intervening by sending Philip to him via the direction of one of His angels/messengers to preach the good news of Jesus.

The portion of the scroll of Isaiah that the eunuch was reading from was Isaiah chapter fifty three. This section is a prophecy about the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ. We read that God extended His grace to the eunuch by directing Philip to preach the Messiah to him. Consequentially, due to his conversion he desired baptism. Then returning to Ethiopia he would have been obedient to Jesus in sharing the same life giving good news to the people he had acquaintance with. Delivering the faith to the people of Ethiopia extended God’s grace to them likewise and providentially. Historically there has been a Christian presence in Ethiopia to this day, despite the influence of the evil Roman church in Europe, and the Antiochians in the east. The eunuch believing what Philip had preached to him about Jesus from the scroll was the impetus of his desire for baptism. God sovereignly arranged for the eunuch to be truly believing, and for him to return to Ethiopia, and spread the faith.

Theology

Molinism Seems Silly

I think the inveracity of Molinism can be demonstrated by considering the attributes/perfections of God in relation to each other. Consider the perfect omniscience of God in conjunction with His aseity, and eternality. God has perfect knowledge. He possesses this complete, and unerring knowledge inside of time, and outside of time. He possesses this knowledge eternally. He has never, not known, what He has done. I write in the past tense of what He has done to illustrate that in eternity, His will is already a reality that is not to come, but is actual at the moment of His one word being spoke, but logically preexisted in Him. For us it is like ripples on a calm lake that emanate from a central impetus. This is due to our nature as temporal, finite, creatures. Time unfolds for us here. Eternity is an anthropologically unseen reality without the dimension of time. For us time, and space are connected in a profound way, as we cannot move through one without moving through the other. Consider God’s omnipresence as well. He is present in times, outside of times, and in between times. This last notion demonstrates His hyperdimensionality, and this necessitates God being more than one person, thus Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Trinity). Only one has locus in spacetime, and that is the Son. The Father and the Spirit are both spirit. They do not have physical bodies, and the attribute of simplicity is found in their lack of parts. According to His attribute of aseity, He is perfectly without need, and has always been, is being, and will always be. He is not a created being, but the Creator of all beings that have existed, exist, and will exist. To exist means to come out of nothing, into being. This can only be said of creatures, not God Himself. He is being. To us, the future is uncertain. It hasn’t been actualized yet in temporal existence. We are temporally bound to this existence which will one day be destroyed by God with fire, and remade incorruptible, and will not be destroyed again. Those in Christ will be with Him in eternity. Those outside of Christ will be in Hell, undergoing conscious eternal torment, for all eternity at the hand of God, who is the just judge. Their punishment will bring glory to God by being vessels of His wrath on which His perfect justice is demonstrated. Those in Christ will bring glory to God, by being rescued by the grace of God, demonstrating His mercy.

Molinism is the attempt of the earthly bound mind to fit God into their small diorama of existence, and morality. For them, a God who does not create them with a completely autonomous free will is the author of evil, and a puppet master. This is ludicrous to anyone who has even superficially examined God’s perfections in relation to themselves. That is my overly judgmental opinion, and I understand if you don’t find it amiable.

eccumenism · heresy · Theology · Uncategorized

Since When do Heretics Care What the Bible Says?

Have you noticed that heretics only seem to care what God says in His word when they are,

  1. Eisegeting the text to support their pet heresies, or false teacher.
  2. Telling you not to judge them/their heresies/their teacher.
  3. Telling you that you can never truly know the truth, so their teacher’s teachings are true.  You just haven’t matured enough yet to get them.
  4. Telling you that you are the one causing division, and not seeking peace, and unity.
  5. When they are playing the martyr for everyone to see.
  6. When they are playing the Pharisee card on you.

They arm themselves with the typical list of verses like arrows in a quiver to shoot your way when you expose them.  We’ve all seen the verse torn out of context with a brand new meaning attached to it that it never had in context.  Purgatory for instance, when you call it out there will be someone who cites 1 Corinthians 3:12-15.  When they are telling you not to judge them they pull out the old trusty Matthew 7:1-2.  Get ready for a mind blower.  You can’t know the truth because, Isaiah 55:6!  Here is the big unity one folks, 1 Corinthians 1:9.  I love it when they apply this one to themselves, Matthew 10:20.  You can basically take any verse that speaks negatively about Pharisees, and apply them willy nilly to your theological foes.  They are basically get out of jail free cards for many different losing positions because the person on the receiving end is a legalistic meany!

One thing you’ll notice if you look into their eisegetical abuses is that the scriptures they cite often times refute the point they are trying to make when you honestly read them in context.  Don’t expect to get them to change their minds when you demonstrate that.  Many of these folks are so concretely convinced that it will take a miracle from God to open their eyes, and ears.  If you run in to that situation, the quicker you realize it the better.  Then you can pray for them, and stop arguing.  Please don’t say, “I’ll pray for you.” in that snarky tone of voice.  Just pray for them without telling them.

They don’t want to hear what God says in His word if any of what you are quoting takes away from what they are teaching.  They use the Bible to attempt to shut up attacks against their heresies, or golden calf of a teacher.  Being a Reformed Baptist, I get called a heretic, and have many of these things said about me.  I don’t accuse someone of heresy lightly.  Heresy is more than heterodoxy.  Heresy is when you are teaching something that negates one of the primary articles of faith.  Heresy is heterodox, but not all heterodoxy is heresy.  A false teaching that doesn’t address one of the primary articles of faith is heterodox.  If a person teaches that Jesus was not God incarnate, they are teaching a heresy.  If a person teaches that Jesus was solely a man, they are teaching heresy.  If a person teaches that you should go to Church on Saturday, they are teaching a false teaching, but it isn’t heresy.

We have all been in groups on social media where we have encountered horrendous abuses to God’s word.  Due to my Bible reviews, I’ve been in many groups that were supposed to be solely about the material features of a particular Bible.  I don’t know how many times some actual heretic has come in, dropped a heretical statement on the sly, and then when people like myself mention that they are teaching heresy, and need to stop, they play it off as if they were actually asking something else.  Due to the rules of the group, I, or people like me get scolded by the admins.  Well, I am shrinking my presence in those groups.  My echo chamber is getting smaller.  One day it might be so small that there is no echo, it will only be the sound of one man’s voice.  I hope it won’t be mine, but that of Christ, from His word.   Remember, Salvation is of the Lord.  Repent of your sins, and trust solely in Christ for your justification.  Persevere in the Faith, and we’ll be with Christ in eternity.  Sola on my brothers, and sisters!

prophecy · Theology · Uncategorized

For Thirty Pieces of Silver.

30.pieces.silver01

In Exodus 21:32, we read that if your ox gores a slave belonging to someone else to death, you are to pay the owner 30 shekels of silver.  (“If the ox gores a male or female slave, the owner shall give his or her master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.”)  This section of Exodus is dealing with remuneration for losses, and legal consequences for personal injuries.  A slave was not an important person.  More than likely, this was a laborer.  The price was not inconsequential, but it was not extravagant either.  As you’ll come to see, it was definitely nowhere near enough to match the exceeding value of Christ, and His kingdom.

In Matthew Chapters 26, and 27 Judas arranges with the chief priests to betray Jesus to them, and caries out the betrayal.  He does all this for the price of a slave, 30 pieces of silver.  Matthew 26:14-16, “Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?” And they weighed out thirty pieces of silver to him. From then on he began looking for a good opportunity to betray Jesus.”  Matthew Chapter 26:20-25, “Now when evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the twelve disciples. As they were eating, He said, “Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me.” Being deeply grieved, they each one began to say to Him, “Surely not I, Lord?” And He answered, “He who dipped his hand with Me in the bowl is the one who will betray Me. “The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.” And Judas, who was betraying Him, said, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself.””

In Mathew 26:31 He refers to what He had revealed to the prophet Zechariah in Zechariah 13:7, “Awake, O sword, against My shepherd, against the man who is My Companion,” declares the LORD of Hosts. “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn My hand against the little ones.”  Since Christ is citing this about Himself in the book of Matthew we know that the verse in Zechariah is a prophecy about Him.  The same consequences of the shepherd being struck are mentioned also in the New Testament scriptures.  Mark 14:27, 28, “Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ …”  Matthew 26:56, ““But all this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures of the prophets.” Then all the disciples left Him and fled.”  John 16:32, “Look, an hour is coming and has already come when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and you will leave Me all alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.”

As well as a shepherd Christ is the suffering servant, and the sacrificial lamb, of Isaiah chapter 53.

The Suffering Servant

1Who has believed our message?

            And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

      2For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot,

            And like a root out of parched ground;

            He has no stately form or majesty

            That we should look upon Him,

            Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.

      3He was despised and forsaken of men,

            A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;

            And like one from whom men hide their face

            He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

      4Surely our griefs He Himself bore,

            And our sorrows He carried;

            Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,

            Smitten of God, and afflicted.

      5But He was pierced through for our transgressions,

            He was crushed for our iniquities;

            The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,

            And by His scourging we are healed.

      6All of us like sheep have gone astray,

            Each of us has turned to his own way;

            But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all

            To fall on Him.

      7He was oppressed and He was afflicted,

            Yet He did not open His mouth;

            Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,

            And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,

            So He did not open His mouth.

      8By oppression and judgment He was taken away;

            And as for His generation, who considered

            That He was cut off out of the land of the living

            For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?

      9His grave was assigned with wicked men,

            Yet He was with a rich man in His death,

            Because He had done no violence,

            Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

      10But the LORD was pleased

            To crush Him, putting Him to grief;

            If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,

            He will see His offspring,

            He will prolong His days,

            And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.

      11As a result of the anguish of His soul,

            He will see it and be satisfied;

            By His knowledge the Righteous One,

            My Servant, will justify the many,

            As He will bear their iniquities.

      12Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,

            And He will divide the booty with the strong;

            Because He poured out Himself to death,

            And was numbered with the transgressors;

            Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,

            And interceded for the transgressors.

Zechariah 11:7-14 “7So I pastured the flock doomed to slaughter, hence the afflicted of the flock. And I took for myself two staffs: the one I called Favor and the other I called Union; so I pastured the flock. 8Then I annihilated the three shepherds in one month, for my soul was impatient with them, and their soul also was weary of me. 9Then I said, “I will not pasture you. What is to die, let it die, and what is to be annihilated, let it be annihilated; and let those who are left eat one another’s flesh.” 10I took my staff Favor and cut it in pieces, to break my covenant which I had made with all the peoples. 11So it was broken on that day, and thus the afflicted of the flock who were watching me realized that it was the word of the LORD. 12I said to them, “If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but if not, never mind!” So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver as my wages. 13Then the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them.” So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the LORD. 14Then I cut in pieces my second staff Union, to break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.”

In context we see this is referring to Israel, and Judah.  God is no longer going to shepherd them, but as it refers to Christ prophetically we see Him as the shepherd sold for 30 pieces of silver.  There is a sarcastic mocking tone to this as 30 pieces of silver is an insult.  It shows how little Israel, and Judah valued God’s shepherding, and how little the Jews would value Christ, and His shepherding.  The money is ultimately thrown to the potter in the house of the LORD.

Matthew 27:1-10, “1Now when morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus to put Him to death; 2and they bound Him, and led Him away and delivered Him to Pilate the governor.

      3Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to that yourself!” 5And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself. 6The chief priests took the pieces of silver and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the temple treasury, since it is the price of blood.” 7And they conferred together and with the money bought the Potter’s Field as a burial place for strangers. 8For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9Then that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “AND THEY TOOK THE THIRTY PIECES OF SILVER, THE PRICE OF THE ONE WHOSE PRICE HAD BEEN SET by the sons of Israel; 10AND THEY GAVE THEM FOR THE POTTER’S FIELD, AS THE LORD DIRECTED ME.”

We can see the fulfillment of the prophecy in Zechariah 11 in Matthew 27.  There are a few possible explanations as to why in Matthew he says the prophecy came from Jeremiah instead of Zechariah.  One of those reasons is that it is a literary device referring to the more commonly known major prophet who mentions a field that the prophet was commanded to purchase, or it could be the way that the Old Testament was formatted in that time.  The scrolls would have been referred to by the name of the prophet that was the beginning of the scroll even though it contained the writings of the minor prophet as well.

By comparing these sections of scripture, it is evident that Christ is the Messiah, the shepherd, and He is the suffering servant.  The low value that was placed on Him was an insult.  That insult comes from impenitent, rebellious, proud, and wicked hearts.  For those who are being saved the exceeding value of Christ, and His kingdom are beyond measure.  As God says in Matthew 13:44-45, “44The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and in his joy he went and sold all he had and bought that field.

45Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls. 46When he found one very precious pearl, he went away and sold all he had and bought it.”  The Apostle Paul wrote this in his epistle to the Philippians 3:7-8, “7But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, …”  1 Peter 2:6-7, “6For this is contained in Scripture:

            “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone,

            AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”

7This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve,

            “THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED,

            THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,””

Christ Jesus, God in the flesh, the God man, hung in our place on the cross, punished for our sins as if they were His, bore our guilt and shame, was pierced, and bled…  The just wrath of God was poured out on Him, His Son to atone for those He chose in eternity past.  This should humble us.  This time of year when we celebrate Jesus’ birth, let’s remember why He came into the world this time, and think on how He will come again in the future.

God · Theology · Uncategorized

Jesus declares all foods clean, makes a way for men from all nations and tribes, and ultimately ends the sacrificial system with His sacrifice.

Rough, Dirty Hands | Converse Life

While talking with a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time, it came to light that he and his family are no longer Baptists, but have joined the Messianic Jews. This seemed odd to me as I would assume that they would be in the Hebrew Roots movement as they are not Jews, but nonetheless the conversation continued. He used a few scriptural references to prove his points, but upon further examination, it seemed to me that the references he made actually prove his points to be false. It is a matter of having a framework of presuppositions to provide context by which to interpret the scriptural references cited. From my perspective, which I obviously think is correct, he is wrong, but from his perspective I am wrong. We talked for a bit longer, and agreed to disagree. Neither of us swayed the other.

He insisted that the New Testament scriptural references to food that Jews would eat excluded the foods that were unclean in the Old Testament. I conceded that to a Jew who was not a Christian, and even early converts, pork probably was not on the dinner plate, but I did not agree that pork is still of limits. He also insisted that we are still under obligation to follow all of the laws. He made no distinction between, the moral law, the ceremonial law, and the royal law. To that, I simply asked, “Do you make a booth outside your house and live in it for a week? Do you sacrifice animals in the temple, on the altar? Do you pay a temple tithe?” Of course we know the answers to those questions demonstrate an inconsistency in praxia.

In Mark chapter 7 we read about Jesus chastising the Pharisees.  He is telling them that having dirty hands and eating with them doesn’t defile you, but He is also saying that the food that goes in doesn’t defile you, as well as saying that ceremonial washings don’t help you.

Mark 7:1-23 “1The Pharisees and some of the scribes gathered around Him when they had come from Jerusalem, 2and had seen that some of His disciples were eating their bread with impure hands, that is, unwashed. 3(For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they carefully wash their hands, thus observing the traditions of the elders; 4and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they cleanse themselves; and there are many other things which they have received in order to observe, such as the washing of cups and pitchers and copper pots.) 5The Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?”

6And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:
‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS,
BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.

7‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME,
TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’

8“Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.”

9He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition. 10“For Moses said, ‘HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER’; and, ‘HE WHO SPEAKS EVIL OF FATHER OR MOTHER, IS TO BE PUT TO DEATH’; 11but you say, ‘If a man says to his father or his mother, whatever I have that would help you is Corban (that is to say, given to God),’ 12you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or his mother; 13thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that.””

14After He called the crowd to Him again, He began saying to them, “Listen to Me, all of you, and understand: 15there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man. 16[“If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”]

17When he had left the crowd and entered the house, His disciples questioned Him about the parable. 18And He said to them, “Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, 19because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.) 20And He was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. 21“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. 23“All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”

Mark 7:19 “ὅτι οὐκ εἰσπορεύεται αὐτοῦ εἰς τὴν καρδίαν ἀλλ’ εἰς τὴν κοιλίαν, καὶ εἰς τὸν ἀφεδρῶνα ἐκπορεύεται καθαρίζων πάντα τὰ βρώματα.”

Stephen preached about the cessation of the sacrificial system, and temple system, immediately preceding his martyrdom. That is why they killed him. He was preaching Christ as the fulfillment of these shadows and types. With His fulfillment of the sacrifice, He made a way for men from all nations and tribes to be the Church. The picture of clean Israel against a pagan backdrop, would be replaced with Peter rise up and eat! The picture of clean and unclean food is analogous to the people, and the analogy does not negate the truth behind it that also applies to the food, as we can see in 1 Timothy.

1 Timothy 3:14-1 Timothy 4:1-5

14I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; 15but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.

16By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness:
He who was revealed in the flesh,
Was vindicated in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Proclaimed among the nations,
Believed on in the world,
Taken up in glory.

1But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 3men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. 4For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; 5for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.”

Here we read Stephen’s testimony,

Acts 6:8-

“ 8And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people. 9But some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen, including both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and argued with Stephen. 10But they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. 11Then they secretly induced men to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.” 12And they stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes, and they came up to him and dragged him away and brought him before the Council. 13They put forward false witnesses who said, “This man incessantly speaks against this holy place and the Law; 14for we have heard him say that this Nazarene, Jesus, will destroy this place and alter the customs which Moses handed down to us.” 15And fixing their gaze on him, all who were sitting in the Council saw his face like the face of an angel.

1The high priest said, “Are these things so?”

2And he said, “Hear me, brethren and fathers! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, 3and said to him, ‘LEAVE YOUR COUNTRY AND YOUR RELATIVES, AND COME INTO THE LAND THAT I WILL SHOW YOU.’ 4“Then he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. From there, after his father died, God had him move to this country in which you are now living. 5“But He gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot of ground, and yet, even when he had no child, He promised that HE WOULD GIVE IT TO HIM AS A POSSESSION, AND TO HIS DESCENDANTS AFTER HIM. 6“But God spoke to this effect, that his DESCENDANTS WOULD BE ALIENS IN A FOREIGN LAND, AND THAT THEY WOULD BE ENSLAVED AND MISTREATED FOR FOUR HUNDRED YEARS. 7“ ‘AND WHATEVER NATION TO WHICH THEY WILL BE IN BONDAGE I MYSELF WILL JUDGE,’ said God, ‘AND AFTER THAT THEY WILL COME OUT AND SERVE ME IN THIS PLACE.’ 8“And He gave him the covenant of circumcision; and so Abrahambecame the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs.

9“The patriarchs became jealous of Joseph and sold him into Egypt. Yet God was with him, 10and rescued him from all his afflictions, and granted him favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he made him governor over Egypt and all his household.

11“Now a famine came over all Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction with it, and our fathers could find no food. 12“But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers there the first time. 13“On the second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and Joseph’s family was disclosed to Pharaoh. 14“Then Joseph sent word and invited Jacob his father and all his relatives to come to him, seventy-five persons in all. 15“And Jacob went down to Egypt and there he and our fathers died. 16From there they were removed to Shechem and laid in the tomb which Abraham had purchased for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.

17“But as the time of the promise was approaching which God had assured to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt, 18until THERE AROSE ANOTHER KING OVER EGYPT WHO KNEW NOTHING ABOUT JOSEPH. 19“It was he who took shrewd advantage of our race and mistreated our fathers so that they would expose their infants and they would not survive. 20“It was at this time that Moses was born; and he was lovely in the sight of God, and he was nurtured three months in his father’s home. 21“And after he had been set outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him away and nurtured him as her own son.22“Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds. 23“But when he was approaching the age of forty, it entered his mind to visit his brethren, the sons of Israel. 24“And when he saw one of them being treated unjustly, he defended him and took vengeance for the oppressed by striking down the Egyptian. 25“And he supposed that his brethren understood that God was granting them deliverance through him, but they did not understand. 26“On the following day he appeared to them as they were fighting together, and he tried to reconcile them in peace, saying, ‘Men, you are brethren, why do you injure one another?’ 27“But the one who was injuring his neighbor pushed him away, saying, ‘WHO MADE YOU A RULER AND JUDGE OVER US? 28‘YOU DO NOT MEAN TO KILL ME AS YOU KILLED THE EGYPTIAN YESTERDAY, DO YOU?’ 29“At this remark, MOSES FLED AND BECAME AN ALIEN IN THE LAND OF MIDIAN, where he became the father of two sons.

30“After forty years had passed, AN ANGEL APPEARED TO HIM IN THE WILDERNESS OF MOUNT Sinai, IN THE FLAME OF A BURNING THORN BUSH. 31“When Moses saw it, he marveled at the sight; and as he approached to look more closely, there came the voice of the Lord: 32‘I AM THE GOD OF YOUR FATHERS, THE GOD OF ABRAHAM AND ISAAC AND JACOB.’ Moses shook with fear and would not venture to look. 33“BUT THE LORD SAID TO HIM, ‘TAKE OFF THE SANDALS FROM YOUR FEET, FOR THE PLACE ON WHICH YOU ARE STANDING IS HOLY GROUND.34‘I HAVE CERTAINLY SEEN THE OPPRESSION OF MY PEOPLE IN EGYPT AND HAVE HEARD THEIR GROANS, AND I HAVE COME DOWN TO RESCUE THEM; COME NOW, AND I WILL SEND YOU TO EGYPT.’

35“This Moses whom they disowned, saying, ‘WHO MADE YOU A RULER AND A JUDGE?’ is the one whom God sent to be both a ruler and a deliverer with the help of the angel who appeared to him in the thorn bush. 36“This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in the land of Egypt and in the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years. 37“This is the Moses who said to the sons of Israel, ‘GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN.’ 38“This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness together with the angel who was speaking to him on Mount Sinai, and who was with our fathers; and he received living oracles to pass on to you. 39“Our fathers were unwilling to be obedient to him, but repudiated him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt, 40SAYING TO AARON, ‘MAKE FOR US GODS WHO WILL GO BEFORE US; FOR THIS MOSES WHO LED US OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT—WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM.’ 41“At that time they made a calf and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands. 42“But God turned away and delivered them up to serve the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, ‘IT WAS NOT TO ME THAT YOU OFFERED VICTIMS AND SACRIFICES FORTY YEARS IN THE WILDERNESS, WAS IT, O HOUSE OF ISRAEL? 43‘YOU ALSO TOOK ALONG THE TABERNACLE OF MOLOCH AND THE STAR OF THE GOD ROMPHA, THE IMAGES WHICH YOU MADE TO WORSHIP. I ALSO WILL REMOVE YOU BEYOND BABYLON.’

44“Our fathers had the tabernacle of testimony in the wilderness, just as He who spoke to Moses directed him to make it according to the pattern which he had seen. 45“And having received it in their turn, our fathers brought it in with Joshua upon dispossessing the nations whom God drove out before our fathers, until the time of David. 46David found favor in God’s sight, and asked that he might find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob.47“But it was Solomon who built a house for Him. 48“However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says:

49‘HEAVEN IS MY THRONE,
AND EARTH IS THE FOOTSTOOL OF MY FEET;
WHAT KIND OF HOUSE WILL YOU BUILD FOR ME?’ says the Lord,
‘OR WHAT PLACE IS THERE FOR MY REPOSE?

50‘WAS IT NOT MY HAND WHICH MADE ALL THESE THINGS?’

51“You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did.52“Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become; 53you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it.”
54Now when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their teeth at him. 55But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; 56and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57But they cried out with a loud voice, and covered their ears and rushed at him with one impulse.58When they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him; and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul.59They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” 60Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep.

Christ’s fulfillment of the shadows, and types represented in the Patriarchs, ceremonies, and sacrifices, is inexpugnable. Anyone citing the false accusation against Stephen as evidence that we must keep all the laws of the Old Testament demonstrates their complete lack of understanding of the sermon Stephen preached and was killed for by men who were seeking to be justified by their own righteousness. Can your righteousness surpass that of the Pharisees?

gospel · Theology · Uncategorized

Justification by Faith and Galatians Chapter 3.

 

Are you having a difficult time with understanding justification?  Do you wonder if you have done enough to demonstrate that you are saved?  Do you question whether you are good enough, if there is enough evidence of your faith to be true?  Do you tend to be legalistic with yourself?  One of the dangers of, “navel gazing” (self-examination) is that we become self-absorbed, we lose proper perspective.  We begin to filter incoming information through a set of rules that constantly look at ourselves, and our performance, or lack thereof.

A filter is thing that removes particles from a stream, while allowing the rest of the particles to continue on to their destination.  This can be a data stream, electrical stream, light stream, basically anything that flows.  As we perceive information streaming in through our senses, we employ filters based on our cumulative view of the world (word view).  When that view is built on a solid foundation of objective truth, it will lead us to proper understandings of what has happened, is happening, and will happen.  We will filter out the untrue, and allow the truth to continue.  When our filtration system is built on a false worldview, we filter out some truth, and we look at the world and ourselves through a lie.

God has given us His word, and like Him it is truth.  We on the other hand, are fallible creatures, prone to accepting lies.  Even with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and His illumination of the Word of God for us, and to us, we still get things wrong.  This is yet another example of God’s grace towards His elect, we don’t have to get it all right, all the time, from the word go.  None of us die with all the answers in perfect comprehension.  In a sense, even the most spiritually mature Christian you know, will die with notions about God and His word that aren’t perfect.

Our works are tainted, our thoughts are tainted with sin and imperfection.  If you are relying on either of those to get some kind of assurance that you are in, then you are going to find your faith shaken on a regular basis.  Let’s look at Galatians 3 for a moment together.

Galatians 3 :: New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Faith Brings Righteousness

1 You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? 2 This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?

6 Even so Abraham BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. 7 Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. 8 The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.

10 For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM.” 11 Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” 12 However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, “HE WHO PRACTICES THEM SHALL LIVE BY THEM.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”— 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Intent of the Law

15 Brethren, I speak in terms of human relations: even though it is only a man’s covenant, yet when it has been ratified, no one sets it aside or adds conditions to it. 16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ. 17 What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. 18 For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise.

19 Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. 20 Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one. 21 Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. 22 But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

23 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.

Galatians 3 makes it clear that it is not our obedience to the law that makes us just, but rather our faith in Christ.  Do you want some assurance?  Believe in Christ and His work.  Trust Jesus alone, and don’t mix in your ability to know more than someone else, or do more.  Because neither of those things actually satisfy the law.  The law is intended to be impossible to satisfy so that you are driven humbly to your knees before Jesus with no defense left but Him crucified, resurrected, and ruling for eternity.  Repent of sin, and trust the Savior.

Theology

To Live is Christ.

Philippians 1:21-30

To Live Is Christ

      “21For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. 23But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; 24yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. 25Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith,26so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.

      27Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; 28in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God. 29For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.”

Paul, while in prison for preaching Christ crucified, wrote this for the Church in Philippi, “For to me, to live is Christ.” Then in v.22 explains what that means, “if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me;” His life was for the glory of God.  He was living, and working to produce fruit.  We know this to mean increasing the Kingdom of God by means of the gospel of Christ, the preaching of the word of God, and the teaching of the word of God. Paul had reason to want to depart this life.  He says, “I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better;” Consider from 2 Corinthians 11 how he was suffering for the gospel, and how even now he is imprisoned for it.  “…in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. 24Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. 25Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. 26I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; 27I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches…”  This was from Paul after being criticized over his Apostleship by the Jewish believers who were welcoming false apostles, but were opposed to Paul due in part to his lack of eloquence.  Paul had suffered for his Lord.  Jesus was His master, and he loved Him.  For him to stay and work was fine, but you can truly understand why he would also want to be with his merciful God.  Paul instructs the Church in Philippi to, “…conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ…” in v. 25 and explains why in v. 26, “so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with on mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for the, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God…” As the Church today, we should also follow Paul’s instructions to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.  In our testimony to the lost, as we live it out, If it be God’s will, they will also see that we have been, “granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,”  If we suffer for Christ’s sake we will share in the suffering of our brother Paul as well as our Lord Christ Jesus, and all martyrs, to this age and beyond until the return of Christ.  Maranatha!