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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Slaves and Masters: Ephesians 6:5-9

Ephesians 6:5-9

“Slaves and Masters”

5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters
with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart,

Question: What made them masters? What made them slaves?

In order to become a slave…what happened? You owed! Who? The Master. You owe…you then must obey. It’s a contract. Slaves obey…thus fulfill your contract by doing your job. Why with reverence? The reverence is for your overseer. He has a job to do and you are working for him. Why with fear? In this scenario, it is about respect for his right to judge your work. Why with sincerity of heart? Sincerity of heart is simply concentrating on doing the job.

just as you would obey Christ.
6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you,
but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.
7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men,
8 because you know that the Lord will reward
everyone for whatever good he does,
whether he is slave or free.

Would you obey Christ? Why? Is it because it is the right thing to do? Why obey the masters? Again, it is the right thing to do, for it is a contact that you have placed yourself in. The contracted job needs to be done whether the master is watching you or not. Your True Master is God who is in heaven and sees all. He knows how you became a slave…he knows what you are capable of. Isn’t He the One who gives you the strength to accomplish the task?

9And masters, treat your slaves in the same way.
Do not threaten them,
since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven,
and there is no favoritism with him.


Isn’t this true for both slave and master? There is no need to threaten…the purpose is to get the job done. Be reasonable in getting the job done. The masters role is to use the contracted help in order to get the job done. He is not the creator of the slave. He owns the contract…not the slave. Remember in the times of slavery talked about in the Old Testament, these contracts have a time limit. Slavery then in the times of Christ and before, and slavery that we know about today (for example, making people “cattle” in which they are owned) are two entirely different things. One is a time limited contract, and the other is permanent ownership.

Can you see how this verse has a “layered meaning”. First, for this world and how it can be viewed…and second, how this verse is also talking about the condition of the body after the time line or “this life” is over?

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Humanity and Divinity of Jesus

Apollinarius, Nestorius, and Eutyches did not set out to invent unorthodox Christologies. On the contrary, they developed their views in response to what they considered to be unworthy beliefs about Jesus Christ. Remember that these three were church leaders, known for their piety. In the Church today, there are faithful people who might share some of their views.

Imagine that you are talking with a friend from church about salvation through Christ. This person says, “I believe that Jesus was completely God. How could he have done all those miracles and lived without sin if he wasn’t fully divine? But I have hard time seeing Jesus as relating to me, because he was so perfectly divine. How does he know what I go through? He was God, so everything must have come so easily for him.” How would you respond? Write a message to your friend, explaining your beliefs about the humanity and divinity of Jesus.


I would start by confirming the fact that my friend who believes that Jesus was 100% God, is a huge hurdle to theologically overcome, but is essential for salvation. My congratulations would be extended in this revelation, and I would explain the issue of “I have a hard time seeing Jesus relating to me, because He was so perfectly Divine” in the following message:

Dear Brother / Sister,

Praise the Lord for revealing the Truth that indeed our Lord was 100% divine. Allow me to explain the Truth that He was also 100% Man and why this is so important…

There are two main reasons that I will point out that are important to reflect on:

1) Kinsman Redeemer
2) Jesus knows all things regarding the nature of mankind and can help in all issues pertaining to the flesh.

Point #1: Kinsman Redeemer

As in Levitical Law and as illustrated in the Book of Ruth…the rule is this:

If you became so poor that you had to sell yourself into slavery (like the slavery you sold yourself into by sinning), the only way that you can get out of bondage is:

1) Person must be of kin
2) Person must have the price
3) Person must pay the price

The Kinsman Redeemer act was fulfilled because:

1) Jesus was born of a woman and was thus born into mankind making him KIN…
2) Jesus lived a perfect life without sin, thus had the ability to NOT physically die
3) Jesus paid the price by being crucified and thus the world owes Him his life back.
Since the world cannot give Him his life back, the world owes Him life. This catch-22 means that He has conquered death in this world.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him (He shall give life to---authors added here) shall not perish but have everlasting life.

Point #2 He knows all things regarding Human Nature

Since we have established your Truth that Jesus is completely God…let us look at why it is so important to establish the Truth of what it means that he is also completely Man.

The Lord came and lived in a tent of flesh among us. 100% God became Man and thus is 100% God and 100% man. Jesus knows what it is to suffer, has personally witnessed what it is to have ailments, to become possessed, to cry, to laugh, to live in this world…look at what Jesus did in his time in this tent of flesh. You have a personal advocate with the Father who truly understands the condition of mankind! He understands everything that a man or woman can endure on their time on earth. An angel cannot claim this knowledge! The ascended Jesus can personally and thoroughly understand your petitions as both God and Man! There is no other point in the history of this world that this claim can be made. If you have any issues pertaining to the flesh, the humanity of Jesus KNOWS 100% what is needed for you! If you have any issues pertaining to the spirit, the divinity of Jesus KNOWS 100% what is needed for you!

Rest in this fact!

I depart with the following Scripture passage:

2 Corinthians 5:19

“that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation."


Pelagius and Romans Chapter 5

Augustine’s argument against Pelagius was based on Romans 5. Read Romans 5 for yourself and construct your own understanding of salvation. Can you see the basis for Augustine’s argument? Can you think of passages in Scripture that might support Pelagius? How would you describe a theology of sin and salvation to a person who was exploring the Christian faith?


I wanted to illustrate two points: first, what my idea of salvation is in regards to Romans 5...and second, to bring this topic to current understanding within the whole Church...Protestant and Roman Catholic/Orthodox:

First, in regards to Romans 5, I agree that physical death entered into this world through Adam (Romans 5:17). It is a fact that all men and women physically die from Adam till now. Is this a physical or spiritual death? Or both? Sin is passed through the father's seed, hence another reason why the Holy Spirit conceived Jesus in Mary's womb and Joseph had to "adopt" Jesus. We all agree that Jesus was "sinless" and thus, the Original Sin problem is conquered through the conception of the Holy Spirit in Mary.

Before the Law, one must asked the question if sin was reconcilable. I believe that in the times before the Law, judgement was personal according to how one lived...listening to the Lord or choosing the word of Satan.
When the Law was received through Moses, it served as a means to reconcile, if followed correctly. Who followed this correctly? For all men and women have died? Paul states in Romans 5:12 that "all have sinned" and thus all will die. There is a question mark on the destination of the soul or where their soul goes...heaven or hell.

Forwarding through to the New Testament...the first sin is the sin that kills you...and there is a need for salvation. The Law serves as a mirror to realize the imperfection and need for salvation through Jesus....all men and women physically die...but NOT spiritually and this is the "fulfillment of the Law" through the act of Jesus conquering death of the body and soul by His crucifixion. Original sin exists for all of us, and thus is fulfilled through physical death...but there is still the concern of the soul...does this die with the body or lives eternally? This is the reason for why Christ had to die...in order for us to be justified through faith so that we do not die spiritually...Satan does not receive our body AND soul, Satan can keep the body, but the soul is Christ's ....because of the original sin of Adam...we must die physically until the "New Heaven and New Earth".

Now to the second point....
I have attended through the years, a Bible study where one of my friends attended Dallas Theological Seminary and Golden Gate Baptist Seminary. If you would like to confront the question of "original sin" and the differences in belief today in the Church between Augustine and Pelagius...all you need to ask is the following question...

If a baby who is 2 months old dies, and is not baptized, will it go to heaven or hell?

First, allow me to expound on Orthodox and Roman Catholic views...they would state that this is the reason for the belief in "Limbo" or Purgatory. Second, if the baby was baptized...it would go to heaven. Third, if the baby was not baptized, it would possibly go to Purgatory or hell depending on the sins of the father. (This was explained to me by a Christian Brother when I attended Catholic high-school).

My friend in this Bible Study explained his beliefs through the following statements...he refuses to believe in a "punishing" God and thus does not believe in "Original Sin". His beliefs are that the human will must become developed so that one can consciously choose to break the Law...until that happens...the baby goes to heaven. The question is when does a conscious human will develop? Five, six or seven years old, or before? Until one is aware of God's Law and is aware of choosing between the Commandments and sin...it is wrong to condemn a baby or child. Hence, if one is not aware of why they are being baptized by water...there is no point.

The differences in doctrine of Original Sin still exist today...some of the Protestant community do not believe in this doctrine and those of the Orthodox./Roman Catholic denomination adhere to the teaching of Augustine.

I personally do believe in both Original Sin and condemnation through the deliberate breaking of the Law requiring then faith in the Creator, who lived in a tent of flesh and was crucified for the promise of Salvation. The condemnation of Original Sin is fulfilled through the fact that all men and women physically die...and justification for the eternal life of the soul comes through Christ who will thus bring a New Heaven and New Earth just as it was supposed to be with Adam and Eve once again through the resurrection of the dead " physical bodies". Our soul is Christ's and not under Satan's ownership... however, Satan does take ownership of our physical bodies upon our death and Christ will fulfill the promise that we live eternally when the New Heaven and New Earth is fulfilled as in John 's Revelation.


Thursday, January 01, 2009

Should the Bible contain 66 books?

The professor has recommended including the Old Testament Apocrypha in your devotional reading. If you have never read these works, find a copy of the Bible that includes them and peruse one or more books. What themes, language, and theology in the Apocrypha are similar to those in the Old Testament canon? If you were at the Council of Carthage, what stand would you have taken on these works? Do you find texts in the Apocrypha that would cause you to doubt whether they should be included in the canon?

When I read Macabees, I couldn't help but think that this book was written in a similar style as Judges, Kings, and Samuel. This book would fall under the category of "history" and I see nothing in it that is historically incorrect or misleading. The only statement I could make about it in a negative way is that God is not speaking in this book, it is a man who is writing down these events.

Esdras was a very interesting work. I cannot help but see similarities between the book of Daniel and Esdras. I would categorize these book as definitely prophetic. The three headed eagle in II Esdras 11:1, captured my attention and thoughts for a while! I see nothing wrong with Esdras and feel that they are prophetically inspired!

I do have a question... Where is the Book of Enoch in this list? The Ethiopian bible still has this book as the very first work in place of Genesis. I studied the history of this book a while ago, and can only remember that (and I am paraphrasing here) it was "too scary" for the public.

Here is a link to this work: http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/boe/

If I was at the Council of Carthage, I would have agreed that these works were to remain as part of devotional reading and would agree that they should be incorporated into the study of Scripture. The only reason I would not include some of them would be based off of what is being told and by whom...God or man?