"THE FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN" Witnesses For Jesus Christ (5:6-10) by Mark Copeland


Witnesses For Jesus Christ (5:6-10)


1. Earlier in his epistle, John stressed two important things...
   a. That Jesus Christ has come in the flesh - 1Jn 4:2
   b. That those who believe Jesus Christ has come in the flesh are "of
      God"; indeed, they have been "born of God" - 1Jn 4:2; 5:1a

2. In the text for our study (1Jn 5:6-10), John offers several 
   "witnesses" in support of these claims made about Jesus...
   a. The key word is "witness", and in various forms is found eight 
      times in our text (nine, if you count verse 8)
   b. The word in Greek  is "martureo" {mar-too-reh'-o}, and it means:
      1) "to be a witness, i.e. testify"
      2) "to give evidence for, to bear record:

[In our lesson we shall briefly list these "Witnesses For Jesus Christ"
and see how each of them has their part in providing evidence about 

We begin with two witnesses, actually, who together tell us something 
about Jesus coming in the flesh...]


      1. Evidently there was a doctrine that denied Jesus Christ as 
         coming in the flesh - 1Jn 4:1-3; cf. 2Jn 7
      2. A heretical movement later known as Gnosticism was developing
         at this time
      3. One representative of Gnosticism, a man named Cerinthus, taught:
         a. That the divine Christ descended upon Jesus at the time of his baptism
         b. And then left him before he died on the cross
      4. Thus the Gnostics claimed that the "Christ" did not experience death

      1. The "water" likely refers to Jesus' baptism, and the "blood" 
         to His death on the cross
      2. John's emphasis is that Jesus Christ came by both water and 
         blood, and not by water only - cf. 1Jn 5:6a
      3. Thus emphasizing that not only was the Christ present at the 
         baptism, but that He also suffered in the flesh on the cross

[Like the stones set up by Jacob and Laban served as a "witness" (cf. 
Gen 31:43-52), so the waters of Jesus' baptism and the blood that 
flowed from His side offer testimony concerning who Jesus Christ truly was.

But these two "witnesses" (water and blood) are not alone, they are 
joined by another...]


      1. Because of His involvement in the earthly life of Jesus, the 
         Spirit can testify to...
         a. The conception of Jesus - cf. Mt 1:20
         b. The baptism of Jesus - cf. Mt 3:16
         c. The temptation of Jesus - cf. Lk 4:1
         d. The ministry of Jesus - cf. Lk 4:18
      2. According to Jesus, the Holy Spirit was to testify about Jesus
         - Jn 15:26
      3. The Holy Spirit did this by inspiring the apostles and 
         confirming their word with spiritual gifts - cf. Jn 16:13-14;
         He 2:3-4

      1. The Spirit, the water, and the blood, all three bear witness,
         and agree as one
      2. That is, they all testify that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh!
      3. The significance of having three witnesses agreeing may be 
         taken from the requirement found in Deut 19:15, "by the mouth
         of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established."

[At this point we might simply note that most translations omit the 
words from "in heaven" (vs. 7) through "on earth" (vs. 8).  Apparently
there is good reason for doing so, since these words are found only in
four or five manuscripts, and none dating earlier than the 14th century
A.D.  They are not found in literally thousands of manuscripts dating 
much earlier.  They are likely a gloss.

As we continue, John mentions yet another witness...]


      1. "If we receive the witness of men..."
         a. This is a simple conditional sentence that is true to fact
         b. It means "Since we receive the witness of men..." (which we
            do in courts of law, don't we?)
      2. Any witness of God would naturally be greater than that of man

      1. Certainly God has born witness to Jesus on several occasions
         a. At His baptism - Mt 3:17
         b. At the mount of transfiguration - Mt 17:5
      2. It is probable, though, that John has reference to the witness
         of the blood, the water, and the Spirit, that together they 
         form the witness of God

[So we have three witnesses who in agreement speak for the fourth witness (God).

When a person believes the testimony given about Jesus as the Son of 
God, there is even a "fifth witness", that such faith will result in 
one being "born of God"...]


      1. This statement is reminiscent of Jesus' words in Jn 7:16-17
         a. Those who do the will of God (as taught by Jesus)...
         b. ...shall know that the doctrine of Christ is truly from God
      2. Likewise the one who believes in the Son, receives 
         confirmation "in himself"...
         a. About who Jesus truly is
         b. How one who believes in Him is "born of God"

      1. As such, one must be very careful with it
      2. Many people can easily deceive themselves into thinking that 
         some feeling is an indication that they are saved, or that God
         has confirmed something to them - cf. Pr 14:12; 16:25
      3. But if we believe (and act upon) the witness of God concerning His Son...
         a. Revealed in His Spirit-inspired Word
         b. Which agrees with the witness of the water and the blood
         ...then we will have confirmation in ourselves that Jesus is 
         truly the Son of God!
      4. One way we have confirmation is the change that takes place in
         our lives as we grow in Christ
         a. Just as our love for one another is an indication of 
            passing from death to life - cf. 1Jn 3:14
         b. Just as our unity with one another is evidence that Jesus
            was truly was sent from God - cf. Jn 17:20-23

1. These are the "witnesses", then, that John offers in support of Jesus Christ...
   a. That He came in the flesh
   b. That those who believe Jesus is the Christ are "born of God"

2. The first four (water, blood, Spirit, God) provide their evidence 
   whether you believe them or not; but if you will believe them, then
   you will receive the fifth (the witness in yourself)!
3. But suppose you do not believe the four witnesses?  John says you 
   then make God a liar! - cf. 1Jn 5:11b

Do you wish to stand before God on the day of judgment and answer why 
you believed Him to be a liar?  How much better to believe on the Son,
and through obedient faith become His child! - cf. Ga 3:26-27

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Believing What Jesus Believed by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Believing What Jesus Believed

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

It has become increasingly popular to accept certain parts of the Bible and to reject other parts. Such amazing events as the miracle of Creation, Jonah’s being swallowed by a sea creature, and the Flood of Noah often are brushed aside as mere myth, while more “credible” things such as the teachings of Jesus are accepted as fact. Although this line of reasoning might have some initial appeal to our “enlightened” society that rejects biblical miracles off hand, it contains a major flaw. When the teachings of Jesus are analyzed, it can be shown that Jesus Himself believed and taught the Old Testament stories that some label as myth.
For instance, the story of Jonah has come under attack due to its extraordinary details. According to the Old Testament Scriptures, God’s prophet Jonah disobeyed the Lord and was swallowed by a great sea creature. For three days, he dwelt as a damp denizen of that creature’s belly, until finally he was vomited onto the land and given another chance to obey God. To certain scholars, the story of Jonah finds a place in the Scriptures, not as a factual narrative of a specific historical account, but as a myth or allegory. What did Jesus believe about the story of Jonah? His sentiments in this regard were emphatically stated.
Then certain of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, Teacher, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given it but the sign of Jonah the prophet: for as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall stand up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, a greater than Jonah is here (Matthew 12:38-41).
Quite clearly, Jesus accepted the story of Jonah as an accurate description of a real, historical event. He included not only the fact that Jonah spent three days in the belly of the fish, but also affirmed that the city of Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah. If the story of Jonah were simply an allegory or myth, Jesus’ entire point about being in the belly of the Earth for as long as Jonah was in the belly of the fish would be weakened to the point of ridiculousness. For, if Jonah wasn’t ever really in the belly of the fish, then what would that say about the Son of Man actually being in the belly of the Earth?
Another story endorsed by Christ is the formation of man and woman at the beginning of Creation. Some scholars, in an attempt to find a compromise between the Bible and organic evolution, have postulated that the Creation account of Genesis need not be taken literally, and that room can be found in Genesis to accommodate the idea that humans evolved gradually in Earth’s recent past. What did Jesus say about this idea?
During His earthly sojourn, Christ spoke explicitly regarding Creation. In Mark 10:6, for example, He declared: “But from the beginning of the creation, male and female made he them.” Note these three paramount truths: (1) The first couple was “made”; they were not biological accidents. Interestingly, the verb “made” in the Greek is in the aorist tense, implying point action, rather than progressive development (which would be characteristic of evolutionary activity). W.E. Vine made this very observation with reference to the composition of the human body in his comments on 1 Corinthians 12:18 (1951, p. 173). (2) The original pair was fashioned “male and female”; they were not initially an asexual “blob” that eventually experienced sexual diversion. (3) Adam and Eve existed “from the beginning of the creation.” The Greek word for “beginning” is arché, and is used of “absolute, denoting the beginning of the world and of its history, the beginning of creation.” The Greek word for “creation” is ktiseos, and denotes the “sum-total of what God has created” (Cremer, 1962, pp. 113,114,381, emp. in orig.). Christ certainly did not subscribe to the notion that the Earth is millions or billions of years older than humanity.
Accepting the testimony of Jesus Christ further demands that the global Flood of Noah be taken as a literal, historic event. The Lord Himself addressed the topic of the great Flood in Luke 17:26-30 (cf. Matthew 24:39) when He drew the following parallel:
And as it came to pass in the days of Noah, even so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise even as it came to pass in the days of Lot; they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but in the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all: after the same manner shall it be in the day that the Son of man is revealed (emp. added).
The Lord depicted an impending doom that was to befall the Jews of His day who would not heed the Word of God. For the purpose of this article, however, note the context in which Jesus discussed the Flood destruction of Genesis 6-8. He placed the Flood alongside the destruction of Sodom, and He also placed it alongside the destruction of the ungodly at His Second Coming. John Whitcomb correctly noted that the word “all” must refer to the totality of people on the entire Earth in Noah’s day, and in Sodom during Lot’s time. Jesus’ argument would be weakened considerably if some of the people on the Earth, besides Noah’s family, escaped the Flood, or if certain Sodomites survived the fiery destruction sent from Heaven (1973, pp. 21-22). It is evident from the text that Jesus affirmed that the same number of ungodly sinners who escaped the Flood will be the same number of disobedient people who escape destruction at His Second Coming—none. From His remarks, one can clearly see that Jesus accepted the Genesis account of a global flood as a historical fact.
The sayings of Jesus contain numerous references to some of the Old Testament’s most extraordinary events. A person cannot consistently maintain a belief in Jesus and His teachings, while denying the details of the accounts that He endorsed as factual. The testimony of Jesus and the factual accuracy of the stories He commended stand together.


Cremer, H. (1962), Biblico-Theological Lexicon of New Testament Greek (London: T & T Clark).
Vine, W.E. (1951), First Corinthians (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Whitcomb, John C. (1973), The World That Perished (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).

Babylon the Great Has Fallen by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Babylon the Great Has Fallen

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Babylon was one of the richest cities in the world during the years 740 B.C. to 680 B.C. During these “glory days,” the city prospered like it had the Midas touch; everything it touched seemed to turn to gold. It was located between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers—a strip of land so agriculturally productive that today it is known as the “fertile crescent.”
But its agriculture and well-watered plains were not the reason it was famous. Babylon gained its reputation because of its high, massive walls and its strong defensive battlements. In fact, ancient writers described walls that were 14 miles long on all four sides of the city and that reached heights of over 300 feet—taller than most building today. Not only were the walls long and high, but in some places they also were 75-feet thick. But the wall was not the only form of defense. The Euphrates River surrounded the city, making a perfect moat that ranged anywhere from 65 to 250 feet across. This wall/moat combination appeared to make the city unconquerable.
Yet in spite of the strong military and defensive strength of the city, God’s prophets foretold its destruction. In Jeremiah 50:9, the prophet declared that God would “raise and cause to come up against Babylon an assembly of great nations from the north country.” This prediction probably seemed unfounded at the time it was made, because none of the countries in the north came close to having enough strength to defeat Babylon. But years after the prophecy, Cyrus, king of the Medo-Persian Empire, mounted a huge force of many different nations and marched southward against Babylon.
The details of the fulfillment are amazing. Jeremiah recorded that God had declared: “I will dry up her sea and make her springs dry” (51:36). Again the prophet foretold: “A drought is against her waters, and they will be dried up. For it is a land of carved images” (50:38). Also, the prophet promised that the Lord had spoken: “I will prepare their feasts; I will make them drunk, that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep and not awake” (51:39).
Now listen to the story as history unfolds. The Euphrates River ran underneath the great walls of Babylon. After a siege of two full years, Cyrus was able to divert the river to make it flow into a huge marsh on the western side of the city. By doing this, he “dried up the rivers” of Babylon and provided an easy way for his soldiers to enter under the city walls where the water used to flow. But the Babylonians inside the city had no idea what was taking place. They could have defended the city, but instead they were feasting and getting drunk. Cyrus ordered his men to act like drunken revilers, and by the time the Babylonians knew what had hit them, the city was filled with enemy troops and who ultimately conquered it.
Even though the above circumstances would be enough to prove the accuracy of the prophecy of Jeremiah (and thus the Bible), the prophet’s predictions do not stop there. Chapters 50-51 of Jeremiah’s book are filled with more futuristic condemnations of Babylon, all of which were fulfilled in the smallest detail. Truly, the words spoken by the prophet did come to pass.
Time after time, the Bible has been “dead on” when it has predicted the future. Secular records document the facts about Babylon. So what does this prove? It proves one simple thing—that God Himself inspired the words written between the covers of the Bible. And because that is the case, every human being should welcome the Bible “not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

Babel: More Historical Confirmation of the Bible by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Babel: More Historical Confirmation of the Bible

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

The Bible possesses the attributes of divine inspiration with sufficient internal evidence to establish its divine origin. Hence, when it relates a historical incident that occurred thousands of years ago, one would naturally expect that such an incident might well be noted in other historical accounts from antiquity. Of course, one would not expect all, or even many, of the details to match exactly for at least two reasons: (1) the oral transmission of history is inevitably subject to human frailty, including both accuracy of memory and temptation to embellish, and (2) false religion has the tendency to distort and recast history in order to suit its own purposes and achieve its own agenda. An excellent example of these tendencies is seen in the multiplicity of, and variety in, the multitude of accounts of the great Flood of Noah’s day.1 Though they differ widely from culture to culture, country to country, and century to century, nevertheless, they share substantial agreement in too many significant features not to have arisen from the same historically factual event.
Consider another great event whose historicity is set forth in Scripture as factual:
Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. Then they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” …So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth (Genesis 11:1-9).
The great Joseon (Chosun) nation was a Korean dynastic kingdom that flourished for five centuries (1392-1897).2 During the 17th century, Korea was largely closed to the West and somewhat of a mystery to Europeans. But for a group of wayfaring Dutchmen on a journey to Japan, that all changed in 1653 when their ship “De Sperwer” (The Sparrowhawk) was shipwrecked on Jeju (formerly Cheju-do) Island off the coast of South Korea. The 36 survivors were taken into custody by the local prefect and, within a year, transferred from the island to the capitol of Seoul on the mainland where they spent the next 12 years. At the end of 13 years, in September 1666, eight survivors managed to escape to Japan. One of those survivors, Hendrick Hamel, spent the ensuing year in Nagasaki writing an account of his observations and experiences in Korea, which was published in 1668 under the title Journal van de Ongeluckige Voyage van ‘t Jacht de Sperwer. In what was essentially the first Western account, Hamel provided the world with a firsthand description of Korean society and culture. Only recently was his account translated accurately by a Dutchman based on the original manuscript.3
Apart from his fascinating assessment of Korean life in the 17th century, Hamel provides a portrait of religious life, including the customs and practices of Confucianism. At one point in his narrative, he makes a passing remark concerning the beliefs held by the Confucian monks: “Many monks believe that long ago all people spoke the same language, but when people built a tower in order to climb into heaven the whole world changed.”4 Keep in mind that Hamel encountered the monks’ belief circa 1660. No one knows for how long this belief was part of the religious traditions of Korea. Hamel claims that “many” of the monks believed the matter, and that the event occurred “long ago.”
Observe that the belief of the non-Christian monks regarding the Tower of Babel contained four salient points that explicitly and directly connect with the biblical account:
  1. The entire world’s population spoke a single language;
  2. The people constructed a tower;
  3. Their stated goal was to climb into heaven;
  4. Their efforts affected the entire world.
All four of these features are included in the biblical record found in Genesis 11:
  1. “[T]he whole earth had one language and one speech” (vs. 1).
  2. “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower” (vs. 4).
  3. “a tower whose top will reach into heaven” (vs. 4, NASB).
  4. “So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city” (vs. 8).
Christianity and the Bible have nothing to fear from the unbelief, skepticism, and hostility of infidelity. The more information surfaces from history and nature, the more the Bible is confirmed in its uncanny accuracy and supernatural endowment.5


1  See Kyle Butt and Harrison Chastain (2015), “Noah’s Flood and The Epic of Gilgamesh,” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=5194&topic=100; Eric Lyons and Kyle Butt (2003), “Legends of the Flood,” Apologetics Presshttp://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=9&article=64.
2  The following historical details are gleaned from Gari Ledyard (1971), The Dutch Come to Korea(Seoul, Korea: Royal Asiatic Society); Keith Pratt and Richard Rutt (2013), Korea: A Historical and Cultural Dictionary (London: Routledge).
3  Hendrik Hamel (1668), Hamel’s Journal: And, A Description of the Kingdom of Korea, 1653-1666, trans. Jean-Paul Buys (Seoul, Korea: Royal Asiatic Society, Korea Branch, 1994 edition).
4  Ibid., p. 61.
5  My thanks to Shane Fisher, missionary to Korea, for calling my attention to this  fascinating incident.

Teachings of Jesus (Part 32) Forgiveness by Ben Fronczek

Teachings of Jesus (Part 32) Forgiveness

Did you ever do something kind of foolish or stupid to someone else, and even though you tried to make it right and said that you were sorry you felt like you were never really forgiven? Maybe you messed up at your job, or did or said something that disappointed, or hurt a loved one or friend. I don’t know about you but I think it kind of hurts when you don’t feel or know that you were really forgiven when you really did your best to make it right.
I think it is interesting how in Luke chapter 17 Jesus warned His disciples about being a stumbling block, and possible causing another to sin; and then in the next few verses to follow He talks about the need to forgive.
Luke 17:1-5 says  “Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. 2 It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. 3 So watch yourselves.
“If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 4 Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”
5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!””
The Biblical meaning forgiveness is “To free fully, to relieve, release, dismiss, or figuratively to let die, pardon or let go, to loose, send away, or liberate.
The effects of being unforgiving, can be hurt feelings, it can cause bitterness, anger, resentment, sometimes rage, broken relationships, broken homes, even division in the Body of Christ. For the one who chooses not to forgive it can destroy friendships. It can steal one’s joy. It may cause one to only focus on the past sin, and it can sap our energy to live in the present. It can even effect our prayer life.
In Mark 11:24-26 it says, “24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
When you forgive, you resolve to pardon the sin of the guilty one and let them go free. The one that forgives moves beyond the offence and they show that they care more about the person than the wrong he or she has committed.
Genuine forgiveness not only liberates, and frees the guilty person and allows them to live without the burden of guilt which comes from committing offence; it also frees the one who does the forgiving from possibly holding a grudge for years.
In Matt 18:21-35 says   21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’
30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
In this parable a king is settling accounts with his servants when he found one owing 10 thousand talents. The amount is so great that there is no conceivable way in which he could pay the king back. This amount he owed was at least equivalent to twelve million dollars or more in our currency.
It was 50 million denarii, and one denarii was a normal daily wage. What Jesus was doing was illustrating that our debt to God as totally beyond our ability to make it right or pay Him back.
The king decided to collect what he could, and ordered the man and his family to be sold. But the man fell on his face and begged the king for patience, promising to pay back everything.
And yes, he was forgiven his debt because the king was gracious and the man had a humble attitude. And even though he promised to do his best to pay the king back, the king probably realized there was no way he could. Here we see the example of the guilty being liberated; the King forgave his debt. This is Jesus’ illustration of how liberating it is to be forgiven of our sin by God.
But unlike God, human nature is prone to resent rather than release, to demand rather than to forgive. And Jesus goes and adds a new development to the story.
The forgiven man, who should have lived in gratitude and been more gracious because he was freed from his own debt, went out and met a man who owed him 500,000 times less than he owed the king. He demands payment of the money owed him. And even though the man who owed him money begged for patience, he forgot the grace shown to him earlier by the king and had this poor man thrown in jail until he could pay the debt.
His behavior was so disgraceful and ungracious his fellow servants were shocked at his lack of mercy and grace, so they reported the incident to the king. The king became so angry with this man he forgave he called him in and put the same judgement on him that he did on his debtor, throwing him into prison until he could pay the debt h owed. The point of the parable is that our heavenly Father will do the same with us if we do not forgive. We must forgive to be forgiven!!!
But what do I do If someone keeps sinning against me over and over? What do I do?
Look at what the Word of God has to say about this.
Luke 17:3-4 “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 4 Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”
An important thing to remember as a believer is “Forgiveness is the foundation for a Christ Centered Life”. Jesus came and was willing to die for each of us so that we could be forgiven for an untold number of sins.
But if a person does something to offend us it’s not inappropriate to confront them about the offence. Jesus said, “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them”
I think more problems can develop if there is a lack of communication, especially if you are upset with someone concerning how they may have wronged you and then don’t say anything.
Jesus addresses how to deal with offences amongst fellow Christian in Matthew 18:15-17. He said, “15 “If another believer sins against you,[e] go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. 16 But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. 17 If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.”
It’s not that we are not willing to forgive, but the church is encouraged to dis-fellowship the person with the hope that they will wake up and humble themselves and get back on the right track.
But even if the offender does not repent I believe that it is still wise if the innocent party learns how to forgive the person. Why? Because it frees their own heart and mind from potential bitterness and anger that may develop and fester if they don’t. We should not allow anyone to steal our joy and peace of mind that Jesus wants you possess; especially not because of another one’s foolish behavior.
Story of A Bitter Mother:
There is a story of a woman, whose daughter had gone off and married a man much older than herself. This had caused her mother a lot grief and sorrow, not only just because of the age difference, there were other things she disapproved of.
But, after some time, the mother had made up her mind to go visit her daughter and her new son-in-law. But, because of her own bitterness she wasn’t sure how to present herself at her daughter’s door. So being a woman of prayer she went to her local church, and asked the minister to help her find God in all this.
After some time of meeting with her, the minister suggested she go sit in the sanctuary in silence for a while. As she entered the sanctuary she looked at a stained glass window with the picture of Jesus on it and went and knelt down below it in silence.
As she was kneeling there she felt this overwhelming presence of God. It was just as if huge vacuum cleaner came down and sucked all the bitterness out of her, and she was at total peace.
Then through all of this the Lord brought to her a word of wisdom. In a thought, came these very clear words, “DO NOT LOOSE YOUR PEACE OVER SOMEONE ELSE’S SIN, BUT ONLY OVER YOUR OWN.”
The point of this story is that it was not just the daughters disrespect that was robbing her of her peace, but it was her own BITTERNESS that had robbed her of her peace and joy.
This doesn’t mean that we should not grieve because of a loved one’s sin, but we should not lose our peace. Remember the joy of the Lord is your strength.
1 Peter 3:8-12 says, “8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.
11 They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.””
So many times our natural reaction is to retaliate against those who have hurt us, but, look at what Peter says to do, “Give a blessing instead” (v.9). If you do, God will bless you.
Consider how to be a forgiving person in this life. I will help find peace and victory in your own life.
You may ask the question, “How am I going to live like this when people grind me the wrong way?”
Maybe the best thing to do is to do what that first guy that owned the King 10,000 talents didn’t do after he, himself was forgiven. Maybe we should first consider how much we have been forgiven.
How many times have you sinned against the Lord? If you are like me, more times than you can count. Yet He has forgiven you and me over and over, and over and over and over.
I have to admit; I almost never get upset on the road when people make stupid mistakes driving, like forgetting to put on their turn signal, or even pulling out in front of me. Why don’t I get upset? Because I know that I occasionally make the same mistake and so I therefore have not right to get upset with others who do the same. And because I do this I save myself the frustration of getting upset over their short comings and mistakes.
‘But to forgive them seven times?’ Jesus goes on in Matthew 18:21-22 to tell Peter this, 21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times
77 times?? No wonder the apostle said, “Lord increase our faith.”
In other words, ‘Be a totally forgiving person.’
Jesus wants us to be the kind of person who is always ready to forgive.
Do allow another someone else’s weakness and sin to rob you or even destroy your peace, rather you can become stronger and victorious and more like Christ when you learn to forgive and let those things go.

The Biblical Doctrine of the Godhead by Wayne Jackson


The Biblical Doctrine of the Godhead

Since the late second century A.D., controversy has existed concerning the nature of the Godhead. Is God a solitary person—simply manifested in three forms? Or do three separate personalities exist, each of whom possesses the nature of deity? Is the popular doctrine of the Trinity true or false?
Though the word “Trinity” is not explicitly found in the Bible, the teaching that there are three individual personalities of divine nature (known in the New Testament as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is thoroughly scriptural, and has been generally acknowledged by the writers of “Christendom” since the apostolic age.
Around A.D. 190, Theodotus of Byzantium advocated the absolute personality of God. Asserting that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were one person, he sought to propagate his views in the church at Rome. He is said to be “the first representative of Dynamistic Monarchianism whose views have been recorded” (Newman 1931, 198).
Later, however, the “oneness” heresy found its fullest expression in Sabellius of Libya, who commenced the publication of his errors about A.D. 260. Sabellius denied the doctrine of the Trinity, maintaining that God is uni-personal, and that the names Father, Son, and Holy Ghost merely designate the same person in different capacities. As the Father, God created the world; as the Son, he redeemed it; as the Holy Ghost, he sanctifies the elect. These three, he said, are no more different persons than the body, soul, and spirit of man are three persons (Sanford 1910, 827).
In modern times, this doctrine has been taught by the United Pentecostal Church and other religious groups. It is, however, false. This survey will show: (a) The Scriptures do teach the concept of monotheism, i.e., there is one God—one unified divine nature. (b) However, the divine nature, i.e., the nature or quality which identifies one as deity (as opposed, for example, to the angelic or human natures) is shared by three distinct personalities, and that these personalities are characterized in the New Testament as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each of the three personalities of the Godhead is eternal and equal in essence, though they may assume individual roles in their respective work (which may involve subordination).

Biblical Monotheism

Monotheism is the belief in one God, in contrast to polytheism, the notion that numerous gods exist. Unquestionably, the Bible affirms the concept of monotheism. In the first commandment of the Decalogue, Jehovah charges, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). Again, “Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah” (Deuteronomy 6:4). Or, “Jehovah, he is God; there is none else besides him” (Deuteronomy 4:35, 39; 1 Kings 8:60; 1 Chronicles 17:20; Isaiah 43:11; Zechariah 14:9).
In the New Testament, Paul says that “God is one” (Galatians 3:20), while James notes: “You believe that God is one; you do well: the demons also believe, and shudder” (James 2:19). Clearly, therefore, the oneness of God, in some sense, is a biblical truth. The question is: what does Scripture mean by one God?
In the Old Testament, the words eleloah, and elohim, from related roots, are generic designations of God. The New Testament term is theos. These appellations, when used of the true God, simply suggest the nature or quality of being divine — deity. The word “God” is not the name of a personality; it is the name of a nature, a quality of being. When it is said, therefore, that there is but one God, the meaning is: there is but one divine nature. There is a unified set of traits or characteristics that distinguish a personality as God.

The Divine Three

It is also clear that the Scriptures teach that there is a personal distinction between those individuals identified in the New Testament as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and these persons are in some sense three. Study very carefully the following passages in which the persons of the divine Godhead are distinguished: Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19; Luke 1:35; John 14:26; 15:26; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 2:18; 4:4-6; 1 Peter 1:2; Jude 20-21; Revelation 1:4-5.
It is obvious that these inspired verses reveal three separate persons. Furthermore, additional biblical data reveal that each of these three persons is God — i.e., each possesses the quality or nature of deity. The Father is deity (Ephesians 1:3), as is the Son (Hebrews 1:8), and so also the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4). Any elementary student of logic knows perfectly well that the Godhead cannot be both one and three without a logical contradiction being involved — if the adjectives “one” and “three” are employed in the identical sense. But the fact of the matter is, they are not used in the same sense. There is but one divine nature, but there are three distinct personalities possessing that unified set of infinite qualities. Thus, there is no contradiction at all.
Without a recognition of the above principle, some Bible passages would be difficult to harmonize. For example, in Isaiah 44:24 Jehovah affirms that he “stretches forth the heavens alone; that spreads abroad the earth (who is with me?).” So, God was alone. Yet in John 8:29 Christ said, “And he [the Father] that sent me is with me; he has not left me alone.” And so, Jesus was not alone, for the Father was with him; correspondingly, the Father was not alone. The question is: how can God be both alone and not alone?
In Isaiah’s passage, God (the one divine nature) was being contrasted with the false gods of paganism; the personalities of the Godhead were not a consideration there. In John 8:29, the relationship of two divine personalities (Father and Son) was in view. Different subjects, but no discrepancy. Similarly, when a certain scribe affirmed that “he [God] is one; and there is none other but he” (Mark 12:32), he was correct. He was declaring monotheism, as suggested above. In another setting though, Christ, revealing a distinction between himself and the Father, said: “It is another that bears witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesses of me is true” (John 5:32).

Old Testament Evidence of Divine Plurality

The biblical doctrine of the Godhead is progressive. By that we mean that the concept unfolds, being gradually illuminated from the Old Testament to the New Testament. Nevertheless, the multiple personalities of the holy Godhead clearly are distinguished in the Old Testament.
(1) “In the beginning God [elohim — plural] created [bara — singular]” (Genesis 1:1). In the plural form elohim, many scholars see a “foreshadowing of the plurality of persons in the Divine Trinity” (Smith 1959, 11). Adam Clarke declared that the term “has long been supposed, by the most eminently learned and pious men, to imply a plurality of Persons in the Divine nature” (n.d., 28). Richard Watson wrote that elohim “seems to be the general appellation by which the Triune Godhead is collectively distinguished in Scripture” (1881, 1024).
Though some scholars call this plural form a “plural of majesty” (i.e., a suggestion of multiple majestic traits), Nathan Stone observed that the plural of majesty “was not known then” (1944, 12). Professor Harold Stigers noted: “A multiplicity of personalities in the Godhead, implied in the creative process in the use of the titles ‘God’ (1:1) and ‘Spirit of God’ (1:2), is involved in the creative and redemptive work of God” (1976, 47).
(2) Multiple divine personalities are alluded to in such passages as follows:
  • “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). (Note: this cannot refer to angels, as is often claimed, for angels are themselves created (Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 148:2, 5), not creators; and the context limits the creating to God [v. 27].)
  • “The man is become as one of us, to know good and evil” (Genesis 3:22).
  • “Come, let us go down, and there confound their language” (Genesis 11:7). (Incidentally, “come” in the Hebrew text is plural, so that the divine spokesman must be addressing and acting in union with at least two others [Thiessen 1949, 126].)
  • “And I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” (Isaiah 6:8).
  • “Remember also thy Creator [Hebrew plural] in the days of thy youth” (Ecclesiastes 12:1).
(3) Numerous other passages reveal a distinction of personalities within the Godhead:
  • In Genesis 18:21, Jehovah, temporarily assuming the form of a man, visits Sodom. Surveying the evil of that area, this “Jehovah” then “rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from Jehovah out of heaven” (19:24). Two persons are clearly denominated “Jehovah.”
  • “Thus says Jehovah, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, Jehovah of Hosts: I am the first, and I am the last; and besides me there is no God” (Isaiah 44:6). (Note: the language of this verse is applied to Christ in Revelation 1:17.)
  • In Zechariah 11:12, 13, Christ prophetically says: “And I said unto them, if ye think good, give me my hire; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my hire thirty pieces of silver. And Jehovah said unto me ...”
  • “Jehovah [the first person] said unto my Lord [the second person], Sit thou at my right hand” (Psalm 110:1).
  • “Jehovah [the Father] laid on him [Christ] the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).
  • “The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against Jehovah, [the Father] and against his anointed [the Son] saying, Let us break their bonds asunder, And cast away their cords from us” (Psalm 2:2, 3).
This is but a fractional sampling of a vast amount of Old Testament evidence for the plural personalities of deity.

New Testament Evidence of Divine Plurality

There are many obvious indications of distinction between the Father, the Son, and the Spirit in the New Testament. For instance, there is the clear case of the baptismal scene of Christ, where Jesus is in the water, the Father is speaking from heaven, and the Spirit is descending as a dove (Matthew 3:16-17).
Then there is Matthew’s record of the “great commission” where baptism is “into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). The term “name” (Greek onoma) stands for becoming the possession of, and under the protection of, the one into whose name an individual is immersed (Arndt and Gingrich 1967, 575), and its singular form here likely stresses the unity of the holy Three. The multiple use of the article “the” before the words Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, however, according to a well-known rule of Greek grammar (Dana and Mantey 1955, 147), plainly demonstrates that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are separate persons, and not merely three manifestations of one person (Warfield 1952, 42).
There are other New Testament evidences revealing a distinction between the divine persons of the holy Godhead:
(1) Christ is said to be a “mediator” between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5). The word “mediator” translates the Greek mesites (from mesos, “middle,” and eimi, “to go”), and so literally, a go-between. Arndt and Gingrich note that the term is used of “one who mediates between two parties to remove a disagreement or reach a common goal. Of Christ with the genitive of persons between whom he mediates ...” (508). Clearly, Christ cannot be a mediator between God and man if he is the totality of the holy Godhead.
(2) In John 8:16-17, the Lord cited the Old Testament principle of multiple witnesses for legal documentation. He is countering the Pharisaic allegation that his witness is not true (v. 13). He reasons, therefore, that just as the law requires at least two witnesses to establish credibility, so the Lord is “not alone”; he bears witness of himself, and the Father bears witness of him. If Jesus is the same person as the Father, his argument makes no sense!
(3) Christ once taught: “I am the vine, and my Father is the husbandman” (John 15:1). In the same allegory he identified the disciples as “branches.” The narrative thus has three principal features: husbandman (the Father), vine (the Son), and branches (disciples). It is not difficult to see that there is as much distinction between the husbandman and the vine as there is between the vine and the branches.
(4) “But of that day nor that hour knows no one, not even the angels in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father” (Mark 13:32). While Jesus was upon the earth, he knew not the time of the judgment day. The Father, however, did know! Thus, clearly the Father and the Son were not the same person. Similarly, “And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him” (Matthew 12:32). The contrast here between the Son and the Holy Spirit plainly shows that they are not identical in personality. These two arguments make it certain that Christ was neither the Father nor the Spirit.
(5) In speaking of Christ’s subordination to God, Paul says: “[T]he head of Christ is God” (1 Corinthians 11:3). Edward Robinson noted the use of “head” (Greek kephale): “Trop. of persons, i.e., the head, the chief, one to whom others are subordinate” (1855, 398). Would it make any sense to speak of one being head of himself?
(6) Jesus is said to be “the very image” of the Father’s substance (Hebrews 1:3). Of the word “image” (Greek charakter), W. E. Vine observed:
In the New Testament it is used metaphorically in Heb. 1:3, of the Son of God as ‘the very image (marg. – the impress) of His substance,’ RV. The phrase expresses the fact that the Son is both personally distinct from, and yet literally equal to Him of whose essence He is the adequate imprint (1940, 247).
(7) The following passages contain contrasts which reveal a distinction between the Father and the Son:
  • Christ did not seek his own will, but the will of his Father (John 5:30).
  • His teaching was not his, but the Father’s (John 7:16).
  • He came not of himself, but was sent of the Father (John 7:28; 8:42).
  • He glorified him (John 8:54).
  • The Father does not judge, but has given judgment unto the Son (John 5:22).
(8) The Jews had neither heard the Father’s voice, nor seen his form at any time (John 5:37; cf. 1:18). But they had both seen and heard Christ. Hence, he was not the same person as the Father.
(9) There are many grammatical forms which show the distinction between the persons of the Godhead. In addition to plural pronouns (e.g., “our,” “we,” “us”[John 14:23; 17:11, 21]), prepositions frequently function in this capacity. The Spirit is sent from the Father (John 15:26). In the beginning Christ was with(Greek pros) God (John 1:1). He spoke the things which he had seen with (Greek para) him (John 8:38), and he came forth from the Father (John 16:27). All created things are of the Father, and through Christ (1 Corinthians 8:6). Through Christ we have access in the Spirit unto the Father (Ephesians 2:18).
Conjunctions can also indicate a distinction. He that abides in the teaching of Christ has both the Father and the Son (2 John 9). Jesus rebuked the Jews: “Ye know neither me, nor my Father: if ye knew me, ye would know my Father also [Greek kai—as an adverb]” (John 8:19). Comparative terms reveal distinction. Though Christ did not hold onto his equality with God (Philippians 2:6)—in terms of the independent exercise of divine privileges—nonetheless, in essence he was equal with God (John 5:18). In Christ’s subordinate position, though, the Father was greater than he (John 14:28).
(10) Many verbal forms indicate that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are separate in personality. The Father sent the Son (John 7:29), and the Son sent the Spirit (John 15:26). The Father loves the Son (John 3:35) and abides in him (John 14:10). The Father gave the Son (John 3:16), exalted him (Philippians 2:9), and delivered all things unto him (Matthew 11:27). Jesus commended his spirit into the Father’s hands (Luke 23:46) and ascended unto him (John 20:17). The Bible contains many such expressions which are meaningless if the Father, Son, and Spirit are the same person.
If we were so disposed, not only could we introduce a number of additional biblical arguments, but we could also show that the writers of the first several centuries of the post-apostolic age were virtually one in affirming that the Godhead consists of three separate, divine persons. Concerning the matter of their being three persons in the Trinity, A. C. Cox wrote: “Evidences, therefore, are abundant and archaic indeed, to prove that the Ante-Nicean Fathers, with those of the Nicean and the Post-Nicean periods, were of one mind, and virtually of one voice” (1855, 49).

Baptism in the Name of Jesus Only

Before concluding, we need to address the Oneness Pentecostal idea that only certain words may be spoken during a baptismal ceremony (e.g., “I baptize you in the name of Jesus Christ”). Oneness clergymen contend that should the statement be made, “I baptize you into the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,” it would be a violation of Scripture, and thus negate the validity of the immersion. This exhibits a lack of biblical information on this theme.
First, let us note the illogical consequences of such a doctrine. If a specific set of words is to be pronounced at the time of a baptism, exactly what are those words? A brief look at the New Testament will reveal that a variety of expressions are employed when the terms “baptize” and “name” are connected. Observe the following:
  • “... baptizing them into (eis) the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).
  • “... be baptized ... in (epi) the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 2:38).
  • “... baptized into (eis) the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 8:16).
  • “... baptized in (en) the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 10:48).
  • “... baptized into (eis) the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:5).
These passages contain five variant phraseologies. Which one is to be pronounced at the time of the baptism, to the exclusion of the others? The truth of the matter is none of them has reference to any set of words to be pronounced at the time of baptism.
Second, the language is designed to express certain truths, not prescribe a ritualistic set of words. If the phrase “in the name of Christ” implies the saying of those words in connection with the act to which they are enjoined, what would Colossians 3:17 require?—“And whatsoever ye do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Accordingly, one would have to preface every word and act with the phrase “in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Such highlights the absurdity of the Oneness position.
Wayne Jackson
  • Arndt, W. F. and F. W. Gingrich. 1967. Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
  • Clarke, Adam. n.d. Clarke’s Commentary. Vol. 1. Nashville, TN: Abingdon.
  • Cox, A. Cleveland, ed. 1885. Ante-Nicene Fathers. Vol. 6. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co.
  • Dana, H. E. and J. R. Mantey. 1955. A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament. New York, NY: Macmillan.
  • Newman, A. H. 1931. Manual of Church History. Vol. 1. Chicago, IL: American Baptist Publication Society.
  • Robinson, Edward. 1855. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. New York, NY: Harper and Brothers.
  • Sanford, E. B., ed. 1910. A Concise Cyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. Hartford, CT: S. S. Scranton.
  • Smith, R. Payne. 1959. Genesis. Ellicott’s Commentary on the Whole Bible. Vol. 1. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
  • Stigers, Harold. 1976. A Commentary on Genesis. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
  • Stone, Nathan. 1944. Names of God. Chicago, IL: Moody.
  • Thiessen, H. C. 1949. Lectures in Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
  • Vine, W.E. (1940), Expository Dictionary of the New Testament (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell).
  • Warfield, Benjamin. 1952. Biblical and Theological Studies. Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian and Reformed.
  • Watson, Richard. 1881. A Biblical and Theological Dictionary. Nashville, TN: Southern Methodist Publishing House.
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Published in The Old Paths Archive