"THE EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS" Our Condition Outside Of Christ (2:1-3) by Mark Copeland

                     "THE EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS"

                 Our Condition Outside Of Christ (2:1-3)


1. In the last half of chapter one, we saw where Paul mentioned several 
   things for which he had been praying in behalf of the Ephesians:
   a. That they might know God - Ep 1:17
   b. That they might know the hope of His calling - Ep 1:18a
   c. That they might know the glorious riches of His inheritance in the
      saints - Ep 1:18b
   d. That they might know the exceeding greatness of God's power toward
      believers - Ep 1:19

2. In a previous lesson we briefly noted that Paul equated this great 
   power with the working of God that was exercised...
   a. In raising Jesus from the dead and exalting Him to be the head of 
      all things - Ep 1:20-23
   b. In our own conversion, when God took us who were "dead in sin" and
       made us "alive together with Christ" - Ep 2:1-7

3. In order that we might appreciate more fully the grace and power that
   was at work in our conversion, this lesson will focus on the 
   description of our condition BEFORE our conversion
   a. For we will not likely appreciate our PRESENT wealth, unless we 
      fully appreciate our FORMER poverty!
   b. Without a proper appreciation of our PRESENT wealth, we will not 
      likely heed the exhortations found later in this epistle (e.g., 
      Ep 4:1,17; 5:1-2)

[As we consider, then, "Our Condition Outside of Christ", we learn that 
prior to our conversion we were truly "the walking dead"!  For as Paul 
states at first, we were...]


      1. Not in the sense of being devoid of ANY good or godly desires
         a. As some who believe in "Total Hereditary Depravity" would 
         b. For consider that most of those people whose conversions are
            described in Acts were "God-fearing, Bible-believing" people
            BEFORE their conversion!
            1) The thousands of "devout men" in Jerusalem for Pentecost 
               - Ac 2:5
            2) The Ethiopian Eunuch, who had traveled great distances to
               worship God and was reading Isaiah when Philip found him 
               - Ac 8:27-28
            3) Cornelius, a devout God-fearing Gentile who "prayed to 
               God always" - Ac 10:2
            4) Lydia, a prayerful woman "who worshipped God" - Ac 16:
            5) The "fair-minded" Bereans - Ac 17:11
            6) Saul of Tarsus (i.e., the apostle Paul) - Ac 22:3; Php 3:
      2. Rather, "dead" in the sense of being "separated" from God
         a. Just as "physical death" is a separation of body and spirit 
            - cf. Jm 2:26
         b. So "spiritual death" exists when we are separated from God 
            - cf. Ro 6:23; Is 59:1-2
      1. Our separation from God has been brought about by "trespasses 
         and sins" - cf. Ro 6:23
         a. "trespasses" (deviations from the straight and narrow path, 
            Hendriksen) - what we might call "sins of COMMISSION"
         b. "sins" (inclinations, thoughts, words, and deeds which "miss
            the mark" of glorifying God, Hendriksen) - including what we
            might call "sins of OMISSION"
      2. "trespasses and sins" that WE committed...
         a. As made clear in verse two of this chapter ("in which you 
            once walked...")
         b. Not those of our forefathers - cf. Ezek 18:20

[Before our conversion to Christ, then, we were "dead" because of our 
OWN sins, and as such, spiritually separated from God, even if we were 
as religiously devout as those described in the book of Acts.  That 
should tell us something about the terribleness of sin!

But the terribleness of sin becomes clearer as we learn what sort of 
"company" we kept before our conversion.  For though "dead", we were...]


      1. Before conversion, one walks "in conformity with the customs 
         and manners of the world at large" (Barnes)
      2. The moral condition of those still "in the world" is described 
         more fully in Ep 4:17-19
         a. Alienated from the life of God because of ignorance and 
            hardened hearts, those "in the world"...
            1) Walk in the futility of their mind
            2) Have their understanding darkened
         b. Being past feeling, those "in the world"...
            1) Give themselves over to licentiousness
            2) Work all uncleanness with greediness
         -- Sounds pretty much like our own present generation, doesn't 
      3. With keeping such "company" before one's conversion, you can 
         understand why they are spiritually "dead" (separated from God) 
         - cf. 1Jn 2:15-17

      1. Before our conversion, it is not just the "world" we walk 
         according to, but "him" who Paul describes as:
         a. "the prince of the power of the air"
         b. "the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience"
      2. This can be none other than Satan himself!
         a. The great "Adversary" (the word "satan" literally means 
            "adversary") who seeks to "devour" all he can 
             - cf. 1Pe 5:8
         b. Those "in the world" are under his influence, captives to do
            his will - cf. 2Ti 2:26
      3. Those still under his influence are called the "sons of 
         disobedience", because they serve him rather than obey God!

[Influenced by Satan, walking "according to the course of this world", 
we can see why a person before their conversion is truly "dead in 
trespasses and sins"!

But is this also true of those devout, religious souls who are not yet 
"in Christ"?  Like those devout Jews at Pentecost, the Ethiopian Eunuch, 
Lydia, the Bereans, Saul of Tarsus, and God-fearing Gentiles like 

Yes!  For as Paul says in verse 3, "among whom ALSO WE ALL once
conducted ourselves...".  Yes, even the religiously devout before 
conversion to Christ were...]


      1. Conducted himself "in the lusts of our flesh"
         a. "Living to gratify the flesh" (Barnes)
         b. As described in Ro 7:14-24, even one who desires to do 
            good, outside of Christ finds himself "enslaved" to the "law
            of sin" in the members of his flesh
      2. Fulfilled "the  desires of the flesh and of the mind"
         a. The "desires of the flesh" are those "unrighteous cravings, 
            such as belong to and are spawned by the flesh" (Hendriksen)
         b. The "desires...of the mind" would include "all kinds of 
            hostile, self-righteous, and/or immoral plans and 
            cogitations, which finally result in wicked deeds"

      1. "just as the others", Paul says, placing himself before 
         conversion on the same level as the "sons of disobedience" 
         described in verse two
      2. All are "children of wrath" (or "sons of disobedience") "by 
         a. Some understand this "nature" to be something one is born 
            1) This passage (Ep 2:1-3) does not actually say "when" we
               began to be "children of wrath"
            2) Only that before we became "children of God" (at our 
               conversion), we were "children of wrath"
         b. The term "nature" can be understood as "a mode of feeling 
            and acting which by long habit has become nature" (Thayer)
            1) In the context of Ep 2:1-3, Paul is not talking about 
               sinful conduct committed by ancestors, the consequence of
               which is felt by their descendants
            2) But sins in which "YOU once walked", "WE all once 
               conducted ourselves", i.e., sins PERSONALLY committed
         c. Therefore, because of our "conduct" before our conversion, 
            we developed a "nature" that resulted in our being:
            1) "sons of disobedience" - 2:2
            2) "children of wrath" - 2:3


1. We have seen that "Our Condition Outside Of Christ" is one in which 
   we are...
   a. Dead in trespasses and sins - Ep 2:1
   b. Walking with the world and the devil - Ep 2:2
   c. Fulfilling the desires of the flesh and mind - Ep 2:3
   -- And thus "sons of disobedience", and "children of wrath"!

2. How can such "sons of disobedience" and "children of wrath" ever 
   a. "holy and without blame"? - Ep 1:4
   b. Receive the "adoption as sons"? - Ep 1:5
   c. And be "accepted" by God? - Ep 1:6

3. The answer will be explained more fully in Ep 2:4-10, where we 
   learn of "Salvation By Grace Through Faith"
   a. We will examine that answer in detail in our next lesson
   b. But for now, compare carefully Ep 2:5 with Col 2:11-13

Have you experienced the working of God's grace in your life, by being 
buried with Christ in baptism where your sins are "cut away" and then 
raised with Christ, thereby "made alive together with Him"...?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Does Matthew 18:11 Belong in the New Testament? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Does Matthew 18:11 Belong in the New Testament?

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


My resources are limited to find a decent enough answer for the passage at Mt. 18:11. I would like to know why or why not it should be in our Bibles.


During the early centuries of Christianity, copies of New Testament books were made by Christians as those books came from the hands of the apostles. Then copies were made of copies, and then copies of copies of copies, and so on. It was inevitable that slight/minor changes would occur in some copies. In later years, New Testament books were copied by monks and even by professional copyists who did so for their living. Those who became very familiar with the synoptic Gospel accounts sometimes unnecessarily attempted to harmonize them with each other in those passages that are parallel, even though the Holy Spirit used different wording in, say Matthew, than He did in Luke, where the same incident is reported. Hence, copyists sometimes introduced words from one Gospel account into another to force them to be uniform in wording. That is clearly what happened with Matthew 18:11. Somewhere along the line, a copyist who was very familiar with Luke introduced the words of Luke 19:10 into the copy of Matthew 18 that he was making. The words are authentic from Luke’s pen, but were not written by Matthew. Many manuscript copies do not contain the verse, but the copies that ultimately influenced the KJV were copies that had the interpolation introduced. Observe that no doctrine of Scripture is placed in jeopardy and no new information is added to the text by such variants in certain copies, and the original text is still preserved in the aggregate of manuscripts. See our article at: http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=5196&topic=103.

God's Electrical Heavens by Branyon May, Ph.D.


God's Electrical Heavens

by Branyon May, Ph.D.

According to atmospheric scientists, the Earth has a functioning dynamic global electric circuit. “In the conventional picture, the main components of Earth’s global electric circuit include thunderstorms, the conducting ionosphere, the downward fair-weather currents and the conducting Earth” (Su, et al., p. 974). [The ionosphere is a portion of the upper atmosphere composed of ionized particles formed by the x-ray and ultraviolet irradiative effects of the Sun.] In a greatly simplified picture, the global electric circuit can be viewed as a large spherical capacitor (i.e., a device for the storage of electrical charge). In this model, the ionosphere serves as the upper boundary, and the ground serves as the lower boundary. Between these two boundaries, scientists have measured an existing potential difference of 300,000 volts (Pasko, 2003, 423:927). The electric potential that exists due to this natural capacitor is vital to the global electric circuit. The balance of this potential is vital to the proper functioning of the atmospheric system. Victor Pasko, professor of electrical engineering at Penn State University, commented: “There are many components contributing to the balance of potential between the plates, but two are critical: thunderstorms, of which there are about 2,000 globally at any given time and which act as batteries charging the capacitor; and fair-weather regions, in which the capacitor can discharge continuously through the weakly conducting atmosphere” (p. 927). During fair weather, there is a continual discharge occurring in the global electric circuit. This discharge has been estimated to account for a leakage of approximately one kiloampere, on the global scale.
The traditional view held that the role of thunderstorms was to counteract the continual fair-weather discharge, by acting as a generator driving current into the Earth’s capacitor, both recharging and maintaining the potential difference found between the ionosphere and ground. However, the discovery by Su and his colleagues has introduced another aspect to thunderstorm activity. As Pasko remarked, there is “a new factor in the model of the Earth’s electrical and chemical environment” (p. 927). These “gigantic optical jets” have acted against the commonly held view of thunderstorms as recharging mechanisms; rather, the measurements support the view that they serve to discharge the global capacitor, removing approximately 30 Coulombs each, from the ionosphere. The researchers stated that this would account for only a fraction of one percent of the total charge in the atmosphere, but does “account for a substantial fraction of charges residing in the lower ionosphere” (Su, et al., p. 976). With the new data, Su and his colleagues concluded: “[T]he conventional picture of the global electric circuit needs to be modified to include the contributions of gigantic jets and possibly sprites” (p. 974).
In addition to the electrical environment, Pasko also mentioned that these jets present a new factor in the chemical environment. Oxygen is one of the primary constituents of Earth’s atmosphere, accounting for approximately 21%. Oxygen is considered a diatomic element, meaning that it has an affinity for being paired with itself, as in atmospheric oxygen (O2 ). The explosion of thunder that can be heard is the result of a rapid expansion of air. The expansion of air is caused by the intense heating of atmospheric molecules by the electrical discharge. As it extends, lightning scorches the air, reaching temperatures more than four times hotter than the surface of the Sun—nearly 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit. According to John Roach, writer for National Geographic, lightning produces “enough energy to keep a 100-watt light bulb lit for three months” (2003). Through its electrical nature, lightning also has the capacity to ionize particles. It has been documented that lightning has the capacity of initiating chain reactions, whereby atmospheric oxygen molecules are dissociated, leading to the formation of ozone. This process has been duplicated in the production of industrial ozone for the past century (see van Veldhuizen, 2000). Concerning their chemical effects, Pasko commented: “The ionization created by a gigantic jet is likely to have a significant chemical effect on that volume of atmosphere” (p. 928). He went on to correlate the known surface effects with the high-altitude conditions that would be present in TLEs. He commented that in high altitude situations, streamers would “have the ability to produce highly active chemical species and can effectively ‘treat’ thousands of cubic kilometers of atmosphere” (p. 928). Finally, Pasko concluded: “So the known chemical impact of streamers may be a good indication that TLEs noticeably affect the chemistry of the atmosphere” (p. 929).


The atmosphere is of vital importance to all life on Earth. It contributes to more aspects of life than we are able to quantify, or that could be qualified. For the evolutionist, the changing, early atmosphere of the Earth accounts for the chance emergence of life and the subsequent organic evolutionary process. However, scientists constantly are being confounded by their observations. Although men have been viewing the natural world since the dawn of time, there continues to be an unending stream of intricacies to discover.
Concerning the atmospheric discoveries mentioned, scientists have declared: “It has not been clear, however, whether all the important components of the global circuit have even been identified” (Su, et al., p. 974). They also have commented: “This field is in its infancy, and it remains to be seen how important the electrical and chemical effects of the gigantic jets and other TLEs are for our planet” (Pasko, p. 929). The design of the Earth’s atmosphere continues to impress humanity’s combined intellectual prowess. When discussing the driving forces behind the formation of lightning, Roach described the particle collisions that are needed to produce a separation of electrical charge, which results in the imbalance between cloud and ground. Senior meteorologist Stephen Hodanish of the National Weather Service concluded that a correction (i.e., lightning) for this imbalance results because, “Mother Nature doesn’t like to see that” (as quoted in Raoch, 2003). By ascribing the ultimate cause to an ethereal Mother Nature, Hodanish unknowingly proved the presence of design. Whether it was his intention or not, Hodanish’s comments illustrate the extent of naturalism that now pervades science, and the extent to which that naturalism has reached even into the common aspects of everyday life. Yet, by the scientists’ own admission, it is known that with the brilliantly obvious effect of lightning, there also is a brilliantly obvious Cause.
In the book of Job, the inspired writer penned the words of Elihu, as he declared God’s majesty: “He spreadeth abroad the cloud of his lightning: and it is turned round about by his guidance” (Job 37:11). And to Job, the questions were asked: “O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God. Dost thou know how God layeth his charge upon them, and causeth the lightning of his cloud to shine? Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge?” (Job 37:14-16). Job was chastened for placing honor upon himself, neglecting to acknowledge The Most Honorable. For that, Job was reproved—by God Himself.
“Suffer me a little, and I will show thee; for I have yet somewhat to say on God's behalf ” (Job 36:2). In discussing such wonderful design, we also must pay tribute to the Designer; in standing in awe of such an incredible effect, we also must stand in awe of the far greater Cause. As Elihu boldly proclaimed in the verse above as he rebuked Job for self-righteously questioning God’s majesty, we, too, ask, “on God’s behalf,” that time be taken to behold the extraordinary design that is present in the world around us. We must not ascribe it to some mystic, ethereal force; rather, we must acknowledge the ever-so-loving and familiar Father Who can be clearly seen and perceived (Romans 1:20), and Who is “upholding all things by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3).


Pasko, Victor P. (2003), “Atmospheric Physics: Electric Jets,” Nature, 423:927-929. June 26.
Pickrell, John (2003), “Huge Mystery Flashes Seen In Outer Atmosphere,” National Geographic News, [On-line], URL: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/06/0625_030625_atmospherethunder.html, June 25.
Roach, John (2003), “Key to Lightning Deaths: Location, Location, Location,” National Geographic News, [On-line], URL: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/05/0522_030522_lightning.html, May 22.
Su, Han-Tzong, Rue-Ron Hsu, A.B. Chen, Y.C. Wang, W.S. Hsiao, W.C. Lai, L.C. Lee, M. Sato, and H. Fukunishi (2003), “Gigantic Jets Between a Thundercloud and the Ionosphere,” Nature, 423:974-976. June 26.
Van Veldhuizen, E.M. ed. (2000), Electrical Discharges for Environment Purposes: Fundamentals and Applications (Nova Science: New York).

Which Law Was Abolished? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Which Law Was Abolished?
by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

A great deal of confusion exists in the religious world concerning what spiritual law man is under today. Some say the old law still is binding—all of it. Others say that most of it has been abolished, but that some of it still is in effect. Many simply pick and choose laws out of both testaments and abide only by those that are appealing to them. Much of the confusion today about the old law and the new law is a result of the false teachings of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. This intensely evangelistic group teaches that the Ten Commandments still are binding in the present age. Although most Christians readily agree that nine of the Ten Commandments either are stated explicitly or are implied in the New Testament (and thus binding today because they are part of the new law), Seventh-Day Adventists actively teach that the Ten Commandments (including and especially the command to observe the Sabbath day—Exodus 20:8) are part of “God’s unchangeable law” (from the Seventh-Day Adventist’s official Web site—www.adventist.org/beliefs). Whereas certain parts of the Old Testament have been abolished, they insist that God intended for the Ten Commandments to be an eternal covenant that all of His children must follow.
In response to such teachings, some Christians (like myself) quickly cite passages of Scripture that indicate the old law has been taken away. For example, the writer of Hebrews plainly stated that “if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second” (8:7). Then, quoting the prophet Jeremiah, he wrote: “Because finding fault with them, He says: ‘Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt’ ” (8:8-9; cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34). Elsewhere, the apostle Paul stated that Christ has “wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14, emp. added). The old law has become “obsolete” (Hebrews 8:13; cf. 7:12; Ephesians 2:14-16). Although we still can learn numerous valuable lessons and principles about how to live godly lives from the old law (cf. Romans 15:4), we are bound by it no longer.
What some like the Seventh-Day Adventists teach, however, is that that God gave two laws on Mt. Sinai. They differentiate between the Ten Commandments and the ceremonial laws, saying that one (the Ten Commandments) is the Law of God and the other (the ceremonial laws) is the Law of Moses. Moreover, they assert that all of the passages in the Bible that refer to the old law being abolished are speaking of the ceremonial laws and not the Ten Commandments, which (they stress) were written with the very finger of God (Exodus 31:18).
Those who separate the “the Law of God” and “the Law of Moses” (in an attempt to find approval for continuing to follow portions of the old law) fail to realize that the Bible does not make such distinctions. Ezra read from “the Book of the Law of Moses,” which also was called “the Book of the Law of God” (Nehemiah 8:1,18). Luke recorded that after Mary gave birth to Jesus “when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord’), and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, ‘A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons’ ” (Luke 2:22-24, emp. added). The Law of Moses and the Law of the Lord were the same thing and still are. When writing to the brethren in Rome, the apostle Paul quoted from the Ten Commandments and taught that it was part of the old law to which they had “become dead…through the body of Christ” (Romans 7:4,7). In his second epistle to the Corinthians, Paul wrote:
[C]learly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart…. But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious…. For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious (3:3-11, emp. added).
What was “passing away”? The law written on the “tablets of stone.” What was the law “engraved on stones” that was given to Moses on Mt. Sinai? The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20). In this passage, Paul teaches the very opposite of what Seventh-Day Adventists teach—the Ten Commandments are not an eternal covenant.
The New Testament explicitly teaches that the old law has been abolished. Whether one is talking about the Ten Commandments or the ceremonial laws, the Law of Moses or the Law of God, all are considered the old law that no longer is in effect. Jesus Christ fulfilled that law and nailed it to the cross forever (Matthew 5:17-18; Colossians 2:13-17).

Did Jesus Condone Law-breaking? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Did Jesus Condone Law-breaking?
by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

The Pharisees certainly did not think that the Son of God was beyond reproach. Following Jesus’ feeding of the four thousand, they came “testing” Him, asking Him to show them a sign from heaven (Matthew 16:1). Later in the gospel of Matthew (19:3ff.), the writer recorded how “the Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?’ ” It was their aim on this occasion, as on numerous other occasions, to entangle Jesus in His teachings by asking Him a potentially entrapping question—one that, if answered in a way that the Pharisees had anticipated, might bring upon Jesus the wrath of Herod Antipas (cf. Matthew 14:1-12; Mark 6:14-29) and/or some of His fellow Jews (e.g., the school of Hillel, or the school of Shammai). A third time the Pharisees sought to “entangle Him in His talk” (Matthew 22:15) as they asked, “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” (22:17). The jealous and hypocritical Pharisees were so relentless in their efforts to destroy the Lord’s influence that on one occasion they even accused Jesus’ disciples of breaking the law as they “went through the grainfields on the Sabbath…were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat” (Matthew 12:1ff.). [NOTE: “Their knowledge of so trifling an incident shows how minutely they observed all his deeds” (Coffman, 1984, p. 165). The microscopic scrutiny under which Jesus lived, likely was even more relentless than what some “stars” experience today. In one sense, the Pharisees could be considered the “paparazzi” of Jesus’ day.] Allegedly, what the disciples were doing on this particular Sabbath was considered “work,” which the Law of Moses forbade (Matthew 12:2; cf. Exodus 20:9-10; 34:21).
Jesus responded to the criticism of the Pharisees by giving the truth of the matter, and at the same time revealing the Pharisees’ hypocrisy. As was somewhat customary for Jesus when being tested by His enemies (cf. Matthew 12:11-12; 15:3; 21:24-25; etc.), He responded to the Pharisees’ accusation with two questions. First, He asked: “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests?” (12:3-4). Jesus reminded the Pharisees of an event in the life of David (recorded in 1 Samuel 21:1ff.), where he and others, while fleeing from king Saul, ate of the showbread, which divine law restricted to the priests (Leviticus 24:5-9). Some commentators have unjustifiably concluded that Jesus was implying innocence on the part of David (and that God’s laws are subservient to human needs—cf. Zerr, 1952, 5:41; Dummelow, 1937, p. 666), and thus He was defending His disciples “lawless” actions with the same reasoning. Actually, however, just the opposite is true. Jesus explicitly stated that what David did was wrong (“not lawful”—12:4), and that what His disciples did was right—they were “guiltless” (12:7). Furthermore, as J.W. McGarvey observed: “If Christians may violate law when its observance would involve hardship or suffering, then there is an end to suffering for the name of Christ, and an end even of self-denial” (1875, p. 104). The disciples were not permitted by Jesus to break the law on this occasion (or any other) just because it was convenient (cf. Matthew 5:17-19). The Pharisees simply were wrong in their accusations. The only “law” Jesus’ disciples broke was the Pharisaical interpretation of the law (which seems to have been more sacred to the Pharisees than the law itself). In response to such hyper-legalism, Burton Coffman forcefully stated:
In the Pharisees’ view, the disciples were guilty of threshing wheat! Such pedantry, nit-picking, and magnification of trifles would also have made them guilty of irrigating land, if they had chanced to knock off a few drops of dew while passing through the fields! The Pharisees were out to “get” Jesus; and any charge was better than none (1984, p. 165, emp. added).
Jesus used the instruction of 1 Samuel 21 to get the Pharisees to recognize their insincerity, and to justify His disciples. David, a man about whom the Jews ever boasted, blatantly violated God’s law by eating the showbread, and yet the Pharisees justified him. On the other hand, Jesus’ disciples merely plucked some grain on the Sabbath while walking through a field, an act that the law did not forbid, and yet the Pharisees condemned them. Had the Pharisees not approved of David’s conduct, they could have responded by saying, “You judge yourself. You’re all sinners.” Their reaction to Jesus’ question, however, was that of hypocrites who had been exposed—silence.
Jesus then asked a second question, saying, “Have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless?” (Matthew 12:5). Here, Jesus wanted the Pharisees to acknowledge that even the law itself condoned some work on the Sabbath day. Although the Pharisees acted as if all work was banned on this day, it was actually the busiest day of the week for priests.
They baked and changed the showbread; they performed sabbatical sacrifices (Num. xxviii. 9), and two lambs were killed on the sabbath in addition to the daily sacrifice. This involved the killing, skinning, and cleaning of the animals, and the building of the fire to consume the sacrifice. They also trimmed the gold lamps, burned incense, and performed various other duties (McGarvey, n.d., pp. 211-212).
One of those “other duties” would have been to circumcise young baby boys when the child’s eighth day fell on a Sabbath. The purpose of Jesus citing these “profane” priestly works was to prove that the Sabbath prohibition was not unconditional. [NOTE: Jesus used the term “profane,” not because there was a real desecration of the temple by the priests as they worked, but “to express what was true according to the mistaken notions of the Pharisees as to manual works performed on the Sabbath” (Bullinger, 1898, p. 676).] The truth is, the Sabbath law “did not forbid work absolutely, but labor for worldly gain. Activity in the work of God was both allowed and commanded” (McGarvey, n.d., p. 212). Coffman thus concluded: “Just as the priests served the temple on the Sabbath day and were guiltless, his [Jesus’—EL] disciples might also serve Christ, the Greater Temple, without incurring guilt” (p. 167). Just as the priests who served God in the temple on the Sabbath were totally within the law, so likewise were Jesus’ disciples as they served the “Lord of the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:8), Whose holiness was greater than that of the temple (12:6).


Bullinger, E.W. (1898), Figures of Speech Used in the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1968 reprint).
Coffman, Burton (1984), Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Abilene, TX: ACU Press).
Dummelow, J.R. (1937), One Volume Commentary (New York: MacMillan).
McGarvey, J.W. (n.d.), The Fourfold Gospel (Cincinnati, OH: Standard).
McGarvey, J.W. (1875), Commentary on Matthew and Mark (Delight AR: Gospel Light).
Zerr, E.M. (1952), Bible Commentary (Raytown, MO: Reprint Publications).

Chalk One up for Academic Freedom by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Chalk One up for Academic Freedom

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

For several decades now, the theory of evolution has maintained an unwarranted, undeserved strangle hold on practically every public school science curriculum across our nation. Those who have dared question the beloved dogma have been intimidated, threatened, fired, and mocked for their dissenting views. One of the primary reasons for this censure is that the tenuous theory does not find evidentiary backing from any major field of science. While its proponents boast about the theory’s virtual factuality and the mounds of evidence that “prove” it to be the fundamental scientific theory, hard core, experimental evidence in favor of the theory has been lacking for years—a fact which has been admitted by evolutionists in their more candid moments (see Miller, 2004).
It is refreshing to see that there are those who have the courage to stand up and allow the purported evidence for evolution to be examined critically. On November 8, 2005, the Kansas Board of Education adopted new public school science standards that open the door for critical evaluation of the erroneous theory of evolution, as well as for consideration of alternative ideas of origins such as intelligent design. An article by John Hanna of the Associated Press explained that the new standards “say high school students must understand the major evolutionary concepts. But they also declare that basic Darwinian theory...has been challenged in recent years by fossil evidence and molecular biology” (2005).
Of course, the proponents of evolution are irate. Leading evolutionist and educator Eugenie Scott was quoted as saying, “We can predict this fight happening elsewhere” (Hanna, 2005). I think they certainly can predict that this fight will happen elsewhere. It is high time that the theory of evolution be evaluated critically and be seen for what it really is: a fallacious theory based more upon a belligerent adherence to the philosophy of materialism than an honest assessment of scientific discovery.
Kansas Board of Education member, Kathy Martin, responded to the board’s decision by saying: “Students will be informed and not indoctrinated” (Hanna, 2005). Her assessment hit the nail on the head. If evolution is such a well-grounded, virtual fact, it should be able to withstand a critical evaluation, and it should outstrip competing ideas. The fact that evolutionists do not want any other information considered is a telling hint that, deep down, they know their precious doctrine cannot withstand the test. In desperate efforts to keep evolution entrenched, evolutionists will claim that all other ideas (such as intelligent design) are unscientific, only held by ignorant radicals, backdoor advances of fundamentalist Christianity, and other such diversionary tactics. In reality, they are simply trying to draw attention away from the real issue: Does accurate, scientific evidence confirm the theory of evolution? Those on the Kansas Board of Education, and an increasing number of truth-seekers, are beginning to realize that the overwhelming answer to that question is a resounding “No!”


Hanna, John (2005), “Evolution Critics Score Win in Kansas,” [On-line], URL: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=1295774.
Miller, Dave (2004), “Atheist Finally ‘Sobers Up,’” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2662.

General Pace and General Washington by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


General Pace and General Washington

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

General Peter Pace, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—America’s top military figure—recently evoked a storm of angry protests from gay-rights advocates and liberal politicians (Jelinek, 2007). The reason? He made the following statement: “I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts. I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is okay to be immoral in any way” (Madhani, 2007).
General Pace is in good company. After all, when serving as the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, the Father of our country was apprised of a homosexual in the army. The response of General Washington was immediate and decisive. He issued “General Orders” from Army Headquarters at Valley Forge on Saturday, March 14, 1778:
Courtesy Library of Congress: www.loc.gov
At a General Court Martial whereof Colo. Tupper was President (10th March 1778) Lieutt. Enslin of Colo. Malcom’s Regiment tried for attempting to commit sodomy, with John Monhort a soldier; Secondly, For Perjury in swearing to false Accounts, found guilty of the charges exhibited against him, being breaches of 5th. Article 18th. Section of the Articles of War and do sentence him to be dismiss’d the service with Infamy. His Excellency the Commander in Chief approves the sentence and with Abhorrence and Detestation of such Infamous Crimes orders Lieutt. Enslin to be drummed out of Camp tomorrow morning by all the Drummers and Fifers in the Army never to return; The Drummers and Fifers to attend on the Grand Parade at Guard mounting for that Purpose (“George...,” underline in orig., emp. added).
Observe that the Father of our country viewed “sodomy” (the 18th century word for homosexual relations) “with Abhorrence and Detestation of such Infamous Crimes.” All General Pace said was that “we should not condone immoral acts”—and many want to hang him!
The nation continues its headlong plunge into the abyss of perversity, immorality, and degradation. The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy implemented under the Clinton presidency would be viewed by the Founders of the Republic as a mockery of morality, decency, and military decorum. The Commander-in-Chief of America’s first military would be aghast if he were here today to witness the moral decline that has infiltrated the military and the nation. He was simply reflecting the nation’s commitment to the Christian moral framework on which the Republic was based. He embraced God’s own assessment of the sin of homosexuality: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites...will inherit the kingdom of God?” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).


“George Washington, March 14, 1778, General Orders” (1778), The George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799, from ed. John C. Fitzpatrick, The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799, [On-line], URL: http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/mgw:@field(DOCID+@lit(gw110081)).
Jelinek, Pauline (2007), “No Apology From Gen. Pace for Gay Stance,” Fox News, March 14, [On-line], URL: http://www.foxnews.com/wires/2007Mar14/0,4670,MilitaryGays,00.html.
Madhani, Aamer (2007), “Top General Calls Homosexuality ‘Immoral’,” Chicago Tribune, March 12, [On-line], URL: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-070312pace,1,4954133.story? ctrack=1&cset=true.

Did Jesus Deny His Deity? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Did Jesus Deny His Deity?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

The New Testament writers repeatedly testified to the fact that, though Jesus “was in all points tempted as we are,” He was “without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Paul claimed that Jesus “knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Peter said that Christ “committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth”—that He was the perfect sacrificial Lamb, “without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 2:22; 1:19). Likewise, John wrote that in Christ “there is no sin” (1 John 3:5). Jesus was supremely “pure,” “righteous,” and “good” (1 John 3:3; 2:1; John 10:11,14).
Additionally, the New Testament has much to say about the divine nature of Christ. Jesus claimed to be the Messiah (Mark 14:62; John 4:25-26), Whom Isaiah prophesied would be “Mighty God” and “Jehovah” (Isaiah 9:6; 40:3). Jesus accepted worship while in the form of a man (John 9:38)—implying that He, too, was Deity (Matthew 4:10; cf. Acts 12:21-23; 14:14-15). Jesus forgave sins, which only God can do (Mark 2:5-10). The apostle John said that Jesus “was God” (John 1:1). Jesus claimed to be “one” with God (John 10:30), leading His hearers to believe that He made Himself “God” (10:33). And, after the apostle Thomas called Jesus “Lord” and “God” (John 20:28), Jesus immediately acknowledged Thomas’ faith, rather than deny the deity that Thomas had just professed. In his letter to the Philippians Paul wrote that Christ Jesus “being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God” (Philippians 2:6). In fact, “in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9).
In light of the fact that the Bible claims repeatedly that Jesus was both “good” and “God,” some contend that in Mark 10:18 (and Matthew 19:17) Jesus said just the opposite. In an article titled “New Testament Contradictions,” Paul Carlson stated that Mark 10:18 (among other passages) is “an embarrassment to the church,” as it indicates “Jesus did not consider himself sinless” (1995). By saying, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God” (Mark 10:18), allegedly “Jesus made a clear distinction between himself and God,” and, according to Muslims, Matthew and Mark “believed that Jesus was not God” (“The Bible Denies…,” 2014, emp. added). According to skeptic Dennis McKinsey, in Mark 10:18, “Jesus is not only admitting that he is not perfectly moral but that he is not God” (McKinsey, 2000, p. 247).
Does Jesus actually admit not being “good” and “God” in Mark 10:18? How did Jesus respond to the wealthy young ruler who asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” Did He deny being perfectly moral and Divine? The simple fact is, Jesus never denied being good or God.
So what did Jesus mean? Before answering this question, one must keep in mind that Jesus often responded to questions in unexpected, masterful ways. He offered thought-provoking, soul-searching answers (often in the form of questions) that, unfortunately, many people have misinterpreted. [Consider, for example, when the Pharisees asked Jesus about why His disciples allegedly broke the law of Moses and plucked heads of grain as they walked through the fields on the Sabbath. Rather than explicitly deny that the apostles were disregarding the Law of Moses, Jesus asked His accusers two very appropriate (and very perceptive) questions:
Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? (Matthew 12:3-5).
Although many have misinterpreted Jesus’ response on this occasion to justify situation ethics, Jesus did nothing of the sort. The only “law” that Jesus’ disciples broke while going through the grain fields (Matthew 12:1-8) was the Pharisaical interpretation of the Law (see Lyons, 2003 for more information; see also Miller, 2004).]
The rich young ruler was confident in his keeping of various commandments (Mark 10:20), but he surely never thought that Jesus would instruct him to sell whatever he had and give it to the poor—to leave everything and follow Him (10:21). Similarly, when the young ruler initially came to Jesus, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” he never expected Jesus to say, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God” (10:17-18).
The young man seems to have regarded himself as “good” (since he professed to have kept all of the commandments that Jesus mentioned—Mark 10:20). Perhaps the gentleman simply wanted to know—from one good man to another good man (a “good teacher”)—what do I need to do to inherit eternal life. Rather than immediately answer the young man’s question, however, it seems Jesus first wanted (1) to humble him, by highlighting that he was not as “good” as he considered himself to be, and (2) for him to realize Who exactly he was questioning. He wasn’t merely petitioning a “good” (Greek agathosman.
The Bible records various (mere) human beings who were called “good” (agathos). Luke recorded that “Barnabas was a good man” (Acts 11:24). Paul indicated that Christians are to “do good to all” (Galatians 6:10). (Are Christians who do good, “good” Christians?) Even Jesus stated previous to His encounter with the rich young ruler that “a good man out of the good treasure of his heart, brings forth good things” (Matthew 12:35). Thus, clearly when Jesus spoke to the wealthy ruler He was not using “good” in the sense of a man being “good.” Rather, He was using it in the sense of God being absolutely,supremely good. The kind of goodness to which He referred belonged only to God. The only way man can objectively call someone “good” is if there is an ultimate standard for goodness—the supreme, unblemished, good God.
Jesus never said what skeptics, Muslims, and others allege He said—that He was not good, or that He was not God. Instead, Jesus attempted to get the rich young ruler to see the implications of calling Him “good teacher.” Do good (merely) humanteachers claim to be the Messiah? Do good men accept worship and honor due only to God (John 5:23)? Do good men claim to have the power to forgive sins? Absolutely not! But Jesus had the power to forgive sins. He actually claimed to be the Messiah and accepted worship. So what was Jesus implying when He asked the young ruler, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God”? As Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe observed:
Jesus was saying to him, “Do you realize what you are saying when you call Me Good? Are you saying I am God?”… Jesus was forcing him to a very uncomfortable dilemma. Either Jesus was good and God, or else He was bad and man. A good God or a bad man, but not merely a good man. Those are the real alternatives with regard to Christ. For no good man would claim to be God when he was not. The liberal Christ, who was only a good moral teacher but not God, is a figment of human imagination (1992, p. 350).
To contend that Mark 10:18 proves that Jesus thought Himself to be neither morally perfect nor God is (1) to disregard the overall context of the Bible, (2) to twist the Scriptures like untaught and unstable people do—“to their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16), and (3) to take a superficial reading of the text. Far from denying the deity of Christ, Mark 10:17-22 actually affirms it. The young ruler “called Christ a ‘good teacher,’ with no indication that he understood Jesus to be the Messiah. Jesus seized on the word ‘good,’ pointed out that if the man thought He was good, then He must be God” (Roper, 2:203), because only God is innately and supremely good.


“The Bible Denies the Divinity of Jesus” (2014), A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam, http://www.islam-guide.com/ch3-10-1.htm.
Carlson, Paul (1995), “New Testament Contradictions,” The Secular Web, http://infidels.org/library/modern/paul_carlson/nt_contradictions.html.
Geisler, Norman L. and Thomas A. Howe (1992), When Critics Ask (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books).
Lyons, Eric (2003), “Did Jesus Condone Law-Breaking?” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/AllegedDiscrepancies.aspx?article=1276.
McKinsey, Dennis (2000), Biblical Errancy (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books).
Miller, Dave (2004), “Situation Ethics,” Apologetics Press, https://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1064.
Roper, David (2003), The Life of Christ (Searcy, AR: Resource Publications).

What did the first Christians believe? by Roy Davison


What did the first Christians believe?
Some two thousand years have passed since a Carpenter in Galilee began proclaiming a message that would change the world. He said He would form a fellowship that would last forever (Matthew 16:18). Shortly after His death the church of Christ was established. His teachings were scattered as with the wind to all parts of the world.
But that was long ago. Much has happened since then. Many false teachers have arisen as Jesus predicted. In our time people are confronted with such an array of conflicting doctrines and practices that many do not know what to believe.
Why not go to the source and ask: “What did the first Christians believe? What was the church like in the beginning?”
In the Bible, in the New Testament, the first century church is described.
It is regrettable that in our time many who call themselves Christians do not really believe much of anything! The first Christians had a faith that conquered the world.

What is faith?

By accepting reliable testimony we can know things we did not experience personally. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
Have you heard someone say, “I'll only believe that when I see it”? This is not reasonable, because if you see something, faith is not required.
Faith is the acceptance of testimony. For example, how do you know that Socrates was a Greek philosopher? You know this by faith. You believe what Plato and others wrote about him, although Socrates himself did not leave any writings.
Faith in God is based on evidence and testimony. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (Psalm 19:1). The creation proves God's existence. We accept the proof.
If you saw the words, “God is good,” formed with sea shells on the sand by the sea, what would you conclude? Could anyone make you believe that the waves had accidently washed the shells into such a form? No, you would know that someone had been there before you, who formed the words on the sand.
When we observe the intricate systems of life on earth, we know Someone made these things: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead” (Romans 1:20).
John says that Christian faith rests on testimony: “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son. He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son” (1 John 5:9, 10).
We accept many things by faith in the testimony of men. God's testimony is greater. There is no excuse for not accepting the truths to which He testifies. If we reject God's testimony we are calling Him a liar.
Faith is a valid method of gaining knowledge. Some say, “You do not know God exists, you justbelieve He exists.” They are mistaken. I know God exists. My knowledge is based on faith, that is true. But the testimony is reliable and the evidence is conclusive, irrefutable.
Do you know that Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo? Yes, you know this, but not because you participated in the battle, but by faith in written testimony.
In the same way, we know that Jesus rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). Christian faith is based on the testimony of eyewitnesses. Their testimony is recorded in the New Testament.
John testifies: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life - the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us - that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us” (1 John 1:1-3).
Peter testifies: “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2 Peter 1:16).

The first Christians believed God.

“Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
The first Christians not only believed that God exists, they also believed His testimony, the word of God.
“For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

The first Christians believed the Scriptures.

Jesus taught that the Scriptures are trustworthy. He said. “The Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35).
Jesus confirmed events in the Old Testament. He referred to the creation of Adam and Eve (Matthew 19:4). He mentions the murder of Abel (Matthew 23:35). He speaks about Noah and the flood (Matthew 24:37, 38). He mentions the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Matthew 10:15; 11:23, 24). He refers to Lot's flight from Sodom and to his wife who became a pillar of salt (Luke 17:28, 29, 32). Jesus refers to the time when it did not rain for three years and six months because of Elijah's prayer (Luke 4:25). He mentions the healing of Naaman the leper (Luke 4:27). He said that “Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish” (Matthew 12:40).
People who deny the truth of these happenings in the Old Testament have no right to call themselves Christians because they do not believe Christ. He taught that these things happened. As He told the Jews: “If you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (John 5:46, 47).
The first Christians considered the New Testament writings to be Scripture. Peter refers to the letters of Paul as Scripture (2 Peter 3:14-16). Paul quotes from the gospel of Luke (Luke 10:7) as Scripture (1 Timothy 5:18).
The first Christians believed that the Scriptures were inspired by God: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17), “knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20, 21). The words used came from God: “These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches” (1 Corinthians 2:13). Through “prophetic Scriptures” the gospel would be “made known to all nations” (Romans 16:26).

The first Christians believed Jesus.

They believed that He is “the Christ, the Son of God” (Matthew 16:16). They believed that He rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-6). They believed that He has “all authority in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). They believed that He is “the head of the body, the church” (Ephesians 1:22, 23). They believed that He is coming again (Revelation 1:7). They believed that He will “be Judge of the living and the dead” (Acts 10:39-43).

The first Christians believed there is one faith.

Paul speaks of “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5). He warns, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5). Jude writes that Christians must “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

The first Christians believed that Jesus is the Savior of the world.

This message they called 'the gospel', 'the good news'.
They believed that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, 24) and that salvation is only through Christ, “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24), “for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). He is “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
They viewed faith and confession as essential: “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10).
They believed that a spiritual rebirth is required. “Unless one is born again ... Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:3, 5).
The first Christians believed that this spiritual rebirth takes place at baptism from which one rises “to walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-5).
Paul explained that “according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).
Peter commanded, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). They believed that sins are washed away at baptism: “Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins” (Acts 22:16) and that baptism “now saves us ... through the resurrection of Christ” (1 Peter 3:21). Jesus declared, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16).

What did the first Christians believe?

Based on conclusive evidence and divine testimony, they believed in God, and that He makes His will known through Scriptures. They believed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. They believed that there is one faith and that Christians must maintain that faith. They taught that faith, repentance, confession and baptism are essential for salvation.
To be saved we must believe what the first Christians believed. Only if we have their faith can we have the salvation and hope they had. Amen.
Roy Davison
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers.
Permission for reference use has been granted.

Published in The Old Paths Archive