Monday, January 25, 2010


If you are a genuinely born of the Spirit of God Christian, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, you are redeemed. If not, you're not.

The New Testament uses two different Greek words that are translated "redeem":
exagorazo - used four times in the N.T. (Gal. 3:13; 4:5; Eph. 5:16; Col. 4:5), means to buy, to buy back, to buy out, to redeem.

lutroo - used three times in the N.T. (Luke 24:21; Titus 2:14; I Pet. 1:18), means to redeem or release by paying a full ransom, to rescue.

lutrosis - the noun form, used three times in the N.T. (Luke 1:68; 2:38; Heb. 9:12), means redemption.

apolutrosis - used ten times in the N.T. (Luke 21:28; Rom. 3:24; 8:23; I Cor. 1:30; Eph. 1:7, 14; 4:30; Col. 1:14; Heb. 9:15; 11:35), is a stronger form of lutrosis meaning a releasing, a payment for a ransom.

lutron - a related word which means ransom (Matt. 20:28; Mark 10:45).

antilutron - also translated ransom (I Tim. 2:6).

(from The Expanded Vines, by W.E. Vine; The New Englishman's Greek Concordance and Lexicon, by Wigram - Green)

Redemption, therefore, involves a buying back of something, a ransom being paid, resulting in a releasing, a deliverance, a rescue.

In order to understand the importance and great value of redemption in the Bible, four questions need to be answered. Let's let the Bible itself do the job:

  1. Why is there the need of redemption? Galatians 3:13 says, "Christ has redeemed us out of the curse of the law." Ephesians 1:7 and Colossians 1:14 show that redemption is related to the forgiveness of offenses, the forgiveness of sins. Titus 2:14 reveals that redemption is from all lawlessness. And First Peter 1:18 says that redemption is from a vain useless manner of life. Redemption is necessary because of the curse of the law, offenses, sins, all lawlessness, and a vain useless manner of life.

  2. How was this redemption accomplished? According to Romans 3:24-25; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; Titus 2:14; Hebrews 9:12, 15; and First Peter 1:18-19, redemption was accomplished in and through Christ, the sacrificial Lamb of God, by His death on the cross and the shedding of His precious blood.

  3. How is this accomplished redemption received and applied to us? According to Romans 3:22-24; Galatians 3:11-14; Ephesians 1:13-14; and First Peter 1:18-21, redemption is received and applied by and through faith in Jesus Christ, by believing in Him.

  4. What is the result of redemption? The result of redemption is being justified (next week's topic) freely by His grace (Rom. 3:24), receiving sonship, becoming sons of God (Gal. 4:5-6), and God purifying to Himself a particular people for His own possession (Titus 2:14; Rev. 5:9).

From beginning to end, the story of redemption looks something like this:

  • God created us in His image and likeness (Gen. 1:26-27). We were made by God and for God. We belonged to Him.

  • But we were deceived by the Devil and disobeyed God (Gen. 3:1-13). This disobedience was the source of all sin and death (Gen. 2:17; Rom. 5:12). This offense of disobedience also resulted in condemnation to all men (Rom. 5:16,18). The sin and death that resulted from this disobedience put us in a condition of bondage; we became slaves (John 8:34; Rom. 6:6; Heb. 2:15; II Pet. 2:19).

  • Eventually, because of transgression against God, He established the law as a kind of guardian (Gal. 3:19, 24). Although this law was holy, righteous, good, and spiritual (Rom. 7:12, 14), we were not able to keep it because of the weakness of our flesh (Rom. 8:3), and it became a curse (Gal. 3:10, 13). God intended that the law would only be temporary until He would send His Son to accomplish redemption (Gal. 3:19).

  • Then, at the time predetermined by God, He sent forth His Son (Gal. 4:4) who died on the cross in order to give His life as a ransom for all (Matt. 20:28), to redeem us and make us His sons (Gal. 4:5), and become once again His people for His eternal possession (Titus 2:14).

So, if you have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, you are no longer under the law, but under grace; you are no longer to be a slave of sin, but of righteousness; and you no longer belong to or are to serve the Devil, but to God (Read Romans 5:12 through 6:23).

If not, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, trust in Him, have faith in Him, and you will be redeemed. And as we will see next week, you will also be justified by His grace (Rom. 3:22-24).

To print or download a copy of this blog, click here.

Monday, January 18, 2010


The word "incarnation" is not used in the Bible.

But a proper knowledge of this crucial truth in the Scriptures is essential to fully understand and appreciate God's plan for redemption and the goal of our salvation. I would even say that the incarnation is the beginning of the manifestation of the gospel of God and a revelation of His eternal purpose.

Incarnate -- to give bodily form and substance to, to give a concrete or actual form to.
Incarnation -- the embodiment of a deity or spirit in some earthly form, the union of divinity with humanity in Jesus Christ. (Webster)

I believe the greatest question anyone could ever ask is "Who is Jesus Christ?". Even Jesus himself asked his disciples this exact question (Matt. 16:13-15). Was he really God? And if so, how could that be? How did that happen? What does this mean? Or was he just the Son of God? In what way was he the Son of God? And was he a genuine man? Was he just like us? Did he ever sin? Was he even tempted to sin? What kind of man was he?

All of these questions and more are answered in the incarnation!

There is a wonderful verse in the Old Testament that says, "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6). This verse is clearly a prophecy concerning the birth of Jesus Christ. A child, a son, who is called the Everlasting Father. A mystery? Yes! But a mystery that has been uncovered. Read Romans 16:25-26.

Now let's take a look at some of what the New Testament says about this mystery of the incarnation:

Matthew 1:18 -- "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit."

- A child conceived of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the young virgin Mary.

- He would be called Jesus, which comes from the Hebrew name Joshua and means "the salvation of the Lord." He was to save his people from their sins (Matt. 1:21).

- He would also be called Emmanuel (Matt. 1:23) meaning "God with us"; the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14. Jesus! Emmanuel! God with us! This is the incarnation; God becoming man; divinity putting on humanity; God manifested in the flesh; the eternal, being clothed with the temporal; God and man becoming one!

John 1:1, 14 -- "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.... And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."

- The Word was God; the Word became flesh.

- No one had ever seen God; now He was embodied in the flesh (Col. 1:19; 2:9).

- His opposers knew He was making Himself equal with God (John 5:18).

- He told them that if they knew Him, they would know the Father (John 8:19).

- At least four times, He told them He was in the Father and that the Father was in Him (John 10:38; 14:10-11; 17:21).

- He told His disciples that if they have seen Him, they have seen the Father (John 14:7-9).

Romans 1:1-4 -- "Paul, a bond servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead."

- The gospel of God, which is also called the gospel of the promise (Acts 13:32), is concerning both the incarnation and the resurrection of the Son of God.

- His humanity was in the lineage of David; His divinity was from the Holy Spirit of which He was conceived.

Romans 8:3 -- "For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh."

- Although He was a genuine man, He came only in the likeness of the flesh of sin.

- Yes, as a man He was tempted like us (Heb. 2:18).

- Yet, He was without sin (Heb. 4:15).

- Through Mary, God took on humanity; He put on the likeness of the flesh of sin. But having been conceived of the Holy Spirit and not the seed of man, the sinful nature was not passed on to Him.

Now that we have some basic understanding of the manifested mystery of the incarnation of God, the next question to ask is "why?". For what reason did God become a man? Why did divinity become one with humanity? My simple answer would be: to accomplish redemption and produce many sons of God (Gal. 4:4-5).

Since next week's topic will be on redemption, followed by other related topics including the salvation which makes us sons of God, I expect that a greater understanding and appreciation of the incarnation will develop during this period of time. Glory be to God!

To print or download a copy of this blog, click here.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Gospel

Greek - euangelion, meaning good news, glad tidings

Latin - evangelium

English - evangel, this is the anglicized form of the word (meaning it is adapted from a foreign word for English usage).
Therefore, to evangelize is to spread the good news and an evangelist is one who announces the good news.

There are 27 books in the New Testament of which the first four, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, are called the four gospels. As we now know, gospel means good news, glad tidings.
Therefore, the four gospels are four different accounts of the good news.

So what exactly is this good news? What are these glad tidings?

Let's take a look!

  • According to Matthew, it is the good news of the kingdom (4:23; 9:35; 24:14).

  • According to Mark, it is the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (1:1), and the good news of God (1:14).

  • According to Luke, it is the good news of the kingdom of God (4:43; 8:1; 16:16).

  • Although John does not directly use the word "gospel", his writing nevertheless reveals both the way of entrance into the kingdom of God (3:3, 5) and its nature (18:36). It is also one of the most marvelous and excellent portions of the Bible concerning the life and death, and the person and work of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

From these four books, we discover that the gospel is the good news of God, the kingdom of God, and Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

What else does the New Testament say about the gospel?

  1. It is called the gospel of the promise (Acts 13:32).

  2. Jesus and the resurrection were announced as the gospel (Acts 17:18).

  3. Paul called it the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24).

  4. It is concerning both the incarnation (next week's topic) and the resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God (Rom. 1:1-4).

  5. It is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes (Rom. 1:16).

  6. The righteousness of God is revealed in it (Rom. 1:17).

  7. There are some who distort and pervert it (Gal. 1:7).

  8. Paul announced the Son as the gospel (Gal. 1:16).

  9. It is called the gospel of your salvation (Eph. 1:13).

  10. When Jesus came, He announced peace as the gospel (Eph. 2:17).

  11. Paul preached the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel (Eph. 3:8).

  12. It is a mystery which has been made known (Eph. 6:19).

  13. It is something to be advanced and defended (Phil. 1:12, 16).

  14. Paul talks about the hope of the gospel (Col. 1:23).

  15. God calls people through the gospel (II Thes. 2:14).

  16. It is called the gospel of the glory of the blessed God (I Tim. 1:11).

  17. Death is nullified, and life and incorruption are brought to light through the gospel (II Tim. 1:10).

I encourage you to take some time to open your Bible (or use some electronic device) and look up all the verses listed above. By doing so, I believe you will gain a deeper understanding of, and greater appreciation for this wonderfully good news.

How should we respond to this gospel?

First -- Repent and believe in it (Mark 1:14-15).

Then -- Conduct yourself in a manner worthy of it (Phil. 1:27).

And -- Go and proclaim it to all the creation (Mark 16:15).

What happens to people when they repent and believe?

  1. They receive forgiveness of sins and are justified by God (Acts 13:38-39).

  2. They are born of God and enter His kingdom (I Cor. 4:15; Col. 1:12-13).

  3. They have eternal life (I John 5:11-13).

Note: This is just a brief description of what happens at the time one repents and believes. Much more detail could be given, but I will be covering these topics in the weeks to come.

Why do so many people not believe this good news?

  1. Because Satan has blinded their thoughts (II Cor. 4:3-4).

  2. Because of the hardness of their heart (Eph. 4:17-18).

  3. Because they love darkness and their evil works (John 3:19-20).

What will happen to them if they disobey the gospel?

  1. They remain condemned (John 3:17-18).

  2. They will pay the penalty of eternal destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His strength (II Thes. 1:8-9).

But keep in mind that: God desires all men to be saved and does not intend that any should perish. Read First Timothy 2:4 and Second Peter 3:9.

In brief, the gospel of God is the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, including all that He is and all He has done for our salvation and the glory of God.

I now conclude this week's post with these words from the apostle Paul:

"Now I make known to you, brothers, the gospel which I announced to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, through which also you are being saved, if you hold fast the word which I announced to you as the gospel, unless you have believed in vain. For I delivered to you, first of all, that which I received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He has been raised on the third day according to the Scriptures" (I Cor. 15:1-4).

Repent and believe in the gospel, and you shall be saved!

To print or download a copy of this blog, click here.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Bible

We begin our 52 biblical topics with the Bible itself.

Greek – biblia, books
from biblion, book
from Byblos, papyrus (a plant that was used as material for writing)
from Byblos, an ancient Phoenician city from which papyrus was exported

The Bible, which is the word of God, is the most important and wonderful book that has ever existed. It is a revelation of God Himself and an unfolding of His eternal purpose. No one can truly know God or the true meaning of life apart from knowing the content of this book.

The Bible is an amazing book for countless reasons. To list a few:
1) It was written over a period of approx. 1500 years (about 1400 B.C. to 90 A.D.).
2) It was written by around 40 people from many different places and walks of life.
3) Yet, it flows from beginning to end as a complete disclosure of the heart and plan of God.
4) It is the best selling and most read book of all time.
5) There are approx. 100 million copies sold every year.
6) It is the most translated book ever.
7) It is available at least in part to approx. 98% of the world in their own spoken language.
8) It has survived for thousands of years in spite of its enemies' many attempts to destroy it.

But what is most wonderful about the Bible is that it is a revelation of God Himself and His love and desire for us. It is God-breathed (II Timothy 3:16), and came forth from those who were moved by the Spirit of God (II Peter 1:21). It testifies concerning Jesus Christ (John 5:39; Luke 24:27, 44) and makes men wise unto salvation (II Timothy 3:15). Faith comes by hearing it (Romans 10:17), as it conveys the seed of the divine life through which we are born of God (I Peter 1:23). It is both spiritual milk and bread for spiritual growth (I Peter 2:2; Matthew 4:4), and it makes men of God complete and fully equipped for every good work (II Timothy 3:17).

More Facts about the Bible

• The original writings had no separation for chapters, verses, or even words
(and of course no inserted outlines).
-- chapter divisions were added in the early 13th century.
-- verse divisions were fully developed by 1551.
• The Old Testament was written mostly in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek
(there are a few small portions written in Aramaic).
• There appear to be at least 200 different translations of the Bible in English alone.
• It is composed of two testaments, meaning covenants or agreements.
-- the Old Testament having 39 books
-- the New Testament having 27 books
• The Canon of the Bible, which comes from the Greek, KANON (meaning a rule, a standard for measurement), refers to the final determination of the books that were to be included in the Bible having been divinely inspired by God.
-- the 39 books of the Old Testament were canonized by the early 2nd century A.D.
-- the 27 books of the New Testament were canonized in 397 A.D.

Some Brief History of Bible Translation

The Septuagint – meaning 70, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament said to be translated by 70 Jewish elders in 70 sessions sometime around 200 years before Christ. It was used extensively by the apostle Paul and the early church.

The Vulgate – meaning common, the Latin translation of the Bible from the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament by Jerome at the end of the 4th century and beginning of the 5th. He accomplished this work in approx. 20 years.

1380-1384 – During this time, John Wycliff and his coworkers translated the entire Bible into English from the Latin Vulgate.

1525 – William Tyndale finished the first translation of the New Testament from Greek to English.

1611 – The King James Version was published. It became the most popular translation during the 17th and 18th centuries.

1881-1885 – English Revised Version
1901 – American Standard Version
1946-1952 – Revised Standard Version
1963-1971 – New American Standard Bible
1973-1978 – New International Version
1979-1982 – New King James Version

(These are just a few of the more popular versions. For additional study, I recommend a little book called The Complete Guide to Bible Versions, by Philip W. Comfort. For more in depth study read How We Got Our Bible, by W.H. Griffith Thomas; The Origin of the Bible, by Philip W. Comfort; and Evidence That Demands a Verdict, Vol. 1, by Josh McDowell.)
*Note: All of the above books were used as reference for the producing of this document.

I conclude this post with inspiring quotes from some who experienced the blessing and power of reading God’s word:

“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” (George Washington)

“I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good from the Savior of the world is communicated to us through this book.” (Abraham Lincoln)

“The Bible is no mere book, but a Living Creature, with a power that conquers all that oppose it.” (Napoleon)

“The New Testament is the very best book that ever was or ever will be known to the world.” (Charles Dickens)

To print or download a copy of this blog, click here.