John, The Gospel of Grace (3)


The opening words of John’s gospel are:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

In the last post we mentioned Christ’s deity. Right away John made the case that Jesus was God. Before time and space Jesus the Word was there. Now in verse 3 he builds on the first 2 verses. Not only was Jesus the full expression of God, and He was with God  and was God before time, He was actively involved in the creation of everything. What an emphatic statement to a people who doubted that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God! John wrote so plainly he can not be misunderstood.

All things were made though Him (John 1.3a)

Nothing that exists is excluded. The stars in the heavens, the sun at midday, the moon at night, the seas, the land, and every living thing were created through him. He goes on to say even more convincingly,

and without him was not any thing made that was made (John 1:3b)

Just in case you weren’t paying attention closely John says “All things” were made through Jesus and, without Him was not “any thing” made that was made. If this seems familiar, it should.

Paul made the same case.

 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:16,17)

Paul expands the truth of the creation through Christ to even the things we can’t see and that the molecules of “things” cohere, or stay together because of Him. When you sit on a wooden chair the reason it is a solid and will bear your weight is found in the person and power of Jesus Christ, Son of God.

Remember Jesus’ words to his disciples near the end of Matthew?

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:17b)

“ALL” authority leaves nothing out. Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. He is God, He calls the shots. He was before creation, He was God in creation, and He is the God we patiently wait for to come for us to bring us to himself.

Jesus can create life because He is life!

More next time.

Royce Ogle

 

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John, The Gospel of Grace (2)


I think of the Gospel of John as an overview of the New Testament. The aged apostle wrote his gospel many years after all of the other books of the NT were written. The only older writings are 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John, also written by this author. John was certainly familiar with all of the other previous writings. He had decades to read, think about, and teach what he had learned from other NT authors.

The Gospel of John is akin to a “closing statement” like an attorney would make after presenting his case with all the nuances and details of evidence. It is a summary statement hitting every important mark on the person and work of Jesus Christ the Son of God. Some writers have called John the “spiritual gospel” and it is. I call it the “Gospel of Grace” and along the way I think you too will see this important book as spiritual and filled with grace.

This book is focused on Jesus Christ. “What He said, what He did, and who He was is the final and decisive statement from God to the human race.” (John Piper) This statement mirrors Hebrews 1:1-2

1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

John opens his book with one thing in mind, to confirm the deity of Jesus. The first verse of chapter one begins with “In the beginning”. Most believers will recognize those three words right away. Genesis 1 begins with the same words. The Greek translation of those Hebrew words in Gen 1 and the words John penned in Greek are precisely the same exact words.

Before “In the beginning” there was no time, no earth, no stars in the heavens, nothing…but God and His glory. John makes the case that before time and before creation Jesus was there.

 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.

“Word” in verse one is the English translation of the Greek word “logos”. It is the root word from which we get our word “logo”. A company has a company “logo’ and that symbol embodies the idea of who the are and what they offer.

Another way to think about “word” in this passage is our common use of words. For example, when you see this arrangement of letters, a p p l e, you immediately think of the fruit. When you see the letters c a r, you at once know exactly what is being spoken of and have some image in your mind. A word embodies an idea. Well, Jesus is the “Word” of God in the same way.

 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. Heb 1:3

Want to see what God looks like, what He is like, what he does? Look at Jesus. Over and over Jesus made the case, “If you have seen me you have seen the Father”. (John 14:9)

Read this book through carefully, paying attention to every word recorded and you will learn about God, because this gospel book is about the Word who is God.

May you be blessed as you read the Word.

Royce Ogle

The truth about Atheism


One of the greatest rebukes of human beings is found in the Bible in the 14th and 53rd Psalms “The fool says in his heart there is no God”.

There is none more foolhardy than the one who declares “There is no God”!

Atheism stands alone as the most absurd belief system of human history. Applying only elementary logic leads to this determination and raises an interesting question. Why would any sane person rail against what does not exist? If those who claim to be atheists really believed what they claim they would be silent in regard to “God”. But they are instead becoming more aggressive, not content to not believe God exists, but are working to remove any mention of God from the public square and to belittle those who do believe in God.

A legitimate question arises. Why not set out to disprove the existence of blue and purple polka-dot elephants? The reason this movement has never launched is that no sane person believes blue and purple polka-dot elephants exist. If an atheist were honest why would he waste one breath trying to disprove what obviously doesn’t exist? The clear answer is, atheists are not honest. I’ll say more about this later.

The other logical dead end for atheism is the moral argument. Any time a self declared atheist makes a moral judgment he has just confirmed the existence of God. If God really does not exist, then we humans find our ancestry someplace in premortal slime, we only exist due to a cosmic chance, or accident, at best. Pond scum is not intrinsically moral. Of all the animals, only humans have any sense of morality. Fish eat their young; and every carnivore is one at the expense of some other of his fellow animals. I have seen some dogs that were loyal friends to their masters but not one had any sense of right and wrong. The only feeble answer for this obvious dilemma of logical thinking is evolution. Since animals have been around as long as humans and many would argue they predated man, why have they not evolved to a moral awareness? There is no answer forthcoming.

When considering the question of atheism and the validity of atheists I have two choices. First, I can do what almost everyone does, including the best theologians, and just take them at their word and believe they really don’t believe God exists. Or secondly, I can believe what God says. This is what He says.

Forthe wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory ofthe immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”(Romans 1:18-32 ESV)

“The fool says in his heart There is no God”. (Psalms 14 and 53)

God’s revelation to us is clear. The inspired words of the Apostle Paul are a striking rebuke of anyone who says God does not exist. I have highlighted many of the central truths of this passage of Scripture. It is clear that God has revealed himself to every man at some level. And He has done it to the degree that man is without excuse. No person of any age can say I am an honest unbeliever.

Wicked men have known about God but have chosen to suppress the truth about him and to believe a lie and are thus correctly called “fools”. It is not that self proclaimed atheists do not believe there is a God, the truth is they hate God and are deceitful, foolish, faithless, and ruthless and more.

So the next time you see an atheist on TV trying to get a nativity moved from a city square, or the 10 Commandments removed from a court house, you now know what the true motive is. That person hates God. It is not that he doesn’t believe God exists.

This same passage also clearly explains the militant aggression of the homosexual rights crowd. The root motivating cause is unbelief.

Immediately preceding the verses quoted above from Romans chapter 1 is the cure for atheism, homosexuality, murder, theft, lying and every other flaw of sinful man’s nature, the good news about Jesus Christ.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith”.(Romans 1:16,17 ESV)

God’s one and only Son, Jesus Christ is God’s righteousness. Those who put their trust (faith) in Him are made righteous based wholly upon the life, death, and resurrection of the God-man Jesus Christ.

God loves atheists and every other denomination of sinners equally and continues to make a loving plea to all men, Repent and turn to Christ for forgiveness of sin, eternal life, and perfect righteousness resulting in becoming God’s dear child and being loved by God just as He loves Jesus.

Jesus is the only way to the Father, please consider Him.

His peace,

Royce

The Deity of Jesus …Fact of fiction #3


 

As Jesus begins His great high priestly prayer in John 17 He says to the Father in verse 5 “And now Father, glorify me with your own presence with the glory I had with you before the world existed”.

In Philippians 2:6-8 we read “(Jesus)Who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross”. Jesus “was in the form of God”, was equal (equality) with God, “made himself nothing”, and “humbled himself”. Here it is clear that Christ’s life transcends both time and eternity.

The same idea is conveyed in John 1 where it says in verse 14 that He “became flesh and dwelt among us”. Unique among all humans who ever lived He clearly lived before His birth.

Further in John’s account in 6:62 He said to his disciples “Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before”? And in John 8:58 the familiar verse “Before Moses was I AM”. There was no doubt to the hearers that His claim was that he lived before Moses and that He is God. The “I AM” is a translation of Yahweh, or more correctly YHVH, the name reserved and revered as the name of the God of Israel. Jesus claimed to live before Moses and to be God in the same breath.

(It is wonder that anyone can reject these plain truths of the Bible, even Jesus’ very words, and still proudly refer to themselves as Christians.)

Post # 4 will prove without any doubt that Jesus is God to any person who wants to know the truth.

In Him,
Royce