Saturday, January 5, 2008

He That Believes

“John testified about Him and cried out, saying, ‘this was He of whom I said, He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me. For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace’.” (John 1:15-16 NASU)

Grace upon grace

The Apostle John has said in verse 14 that Christ was “full of grace and truth.” Of that “fullness” he now says that all have received; that is, all who believe derive from his abundant truth, mercy and grace to understand the plan of salvation, to live lives of holiness; and thus partake of the numerous blessings, which He came to impart by His teachings and His sacrificial death. Thus grace and truth are realized through faith in God’s Son Jesus Christ. For it is by grace through faith that we receive the fullness of Christ and through Him the fullness of God, grace upon grace.

14 “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.” 16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

Whoever believes in Him

To believe is more than an acknowledgment or an agreement with a known truth. In the context of verses 15 and 16 it means whoever remains steadfast as in Genesis 15:6 where Abraham had been steadfast in the Lord’s commandments and the Lord “reckoned it to him” as righteousness; for other examples see Exodus 4:1; Numbers 14:11; etc.

To believe is also to be persuaded of God’s revealed truth; such as in Acts 17:4 after hearing the preaching of the gospel many were persuaded to join Paul and Silas; for other examples see Acts 27:11; 28: 24; etc.; and to also adhere to and rely on God’s promises; as the centurion did in Matthew 8:13 and the synagogue official in Mark 5:35-43; etc. Thus it must be that being persuaded of God’s truths, adherence and reliance upon these truths, is the evidence of what one believes in the eyes of his Creator.

Looking deeper we find that believing or faith, in a scriptural sense, represents four principal ideas.

  1. The first is personal confidence and deep trust in God;

  2. and having a spiritual understanding of the essential body of truth as revealed by the Holy Spirit (Luke 18:8; 1st Corinthians 16:13; 2nd Corinthians 13:5; Colossians 1:23; 2:7; Titus 1:13; Jude 3);

  3. and further, having the fruit of the Spirit manifested in the believers life as a witness to others of total trust in God (Galatians 5:22-23);

  4. and finally, and of most importance is that Christ must be the object of faith (Galatians 3:23-26).

The above being understood, the reader must also understand there can be no believing unto salvation without the anointed preaching of this Gospel: a dispensation of love, mercy and grace from God alone, proclaimed by the Apostle Paul to be “the Gospel of peace; glad tidings of good things.” (Romans 10:15)

13 for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.” 14 “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher"” (Romans 10:13-14 NASU)

How then will they call on Him (Christ) in whom they have not believed?

The good news of salvation through Jesus must be preached, proclaimed in the world to bring about conviction of sin, repentance and obedience of the faith.

How will they believe in Him (Christ) whom they have not heard?

The Apostle answers this question in verse 17, “So faith comes from hearing” (Romans 10:17f NASU). The word of God preached by an anointed preacher quickens the ear of the sinner who is spiritually dead in his sins and causes him to hear.

How will they hear without a preacher?

“And hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17ff NASU). One who anointed of God to preach the gospel must present the gospel to the sinner.

How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” (Romans 10:14-15 NASU)

How will they preach unless they are sent?

“The word of Christ” (Romans 10:17ff NASU) meaning: the word of the “anointed one;” such as the preacher that is called, prepared and sent of God. Or if the reader prefers the translation that reads: “the word of God”—as preached by the “sent” (meaning: sent of God) or the anointed preacher of faith.

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” — that is, the word of faith which we are preaching.” (Romans 10:8 NASU)

The word of faith, which we are preaching,

The gospel message having now been preached is not a far off, having been heard it is now in your mouth and in your heart.

that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;” (Romans 10:9 NASU)

Confess with your mouth

Confess with your mouth that which is now in your innermost being, in your soul through the persuasion of the truth proclaimed to you, you will be saved.

10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”

James C Sanford

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