17) Original Sin, Imputation and Inability
23) The Atonement
26) Common Grace
32) Justification by Faith
a) General revelation is also called natural revelation.
b) It is what is seen of God’s existence and character in the created world.
c) “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. (Psalm 19:1)
d) Cosmological – The fact that the creation exists says to us God exists
e) Teleological – The design in creation and the purpose given to things describes parts of the creators character.
f) Anthropological – The design of the whole man (body, intellect, will, emotions, personality, etc.) speak of the creator who made him.
g) Special revelation – God is outside of creation and infinitely greater than man.
h) Man can know of God’s existence through general revelation but he can not find God without special revelation.
i) Special revelation is where God has to reveal himself to man.
j) God has done this by recording his special revelation in the scriptures.
k) Natural revelation gives us direction and confidence in our search for God.
l) Special revelation gives us the final authority and assurance regarding God’s nature and will.
m) Calvin said: “In the Bible we have the divine spectacles which bring the truths of natural theology into focus.”
a) Christianity is founded upon revelation from God through historical events.
b) Other religions are rooted in mythology or the cycle of nature.
c) God made himself known to people and
d) God was not revealed in philosophical ideals or in mystical experiences.
e) The Bible is not a collection of religious ideas of great thinkers. It is not a system of theological concepts. It is not a record of deep mystical experiences.
f) The Bible does not try to prove the existence of God, nor prove the deity of Christ. These facts are assumed true.
g) The Bible is a record of the history of a people God revealed himself to.
h) This history is recorded because it contains the acts of God. And the acts of God reveal who he is and what he is doing.
i) The main event in OT was exodus from
j) Historical events are revelatory only when they are accompanied by the revelatory word. God’s word causes events. These two (events/ words) are never separate. (Ezekiel 17:21)
k) In the Gospels the event is recorded: Christ died.
l) In the Epistles the word is recorded: Christ died for our sins.
m) The Word of God is spoken; the event of God occurs; the event is recorded in written words. . .this is the scriptural meaning of the term: “the Word of God.”
a) The Bible claims to be inspired (2 Timothy 3:16)
b) The church has held the Bible to be inspired through out church history (until modern times.)
c) God responds to his written word seeing to it that it has been fulfilled and continues to be fulfilled. “Scripture can not be broken.” (John 10:35)
a) Attributes of God (also, characteristics, perfections or essence of God) are revealed in scripture and demonstrated by God in his various works.
b) These attributes are often placed into two categories: Incommunicable and Communicable.
c) Incommunicable attributes are those that we find little or no resemblance in man. They are character traits of God that were not given to man in his creation.
d) These attributes would include:
e) These all emphasize the transcendence of God. Transcendent means that God is outside of creation. He is not bound by time or space.
f) All three members of the trinity possess and display these attributes
g) These are not parts of God but who God is.
a) God’s attributes (righteousness, holiness, love, etc.) can be distinguished but never separated.
b) For example: God cannot act in righteousness and at the same time violate his love.
c) Communicable attributes are those attributes that are found at some level within man.
d) God still possesses all his attributes at a level that cannot be communicable to man.
e) The Communicable Attributes:
1. Intellectual Attributes
2. Moral Attributes
f. Veracity (truthfulness)
3. Volitional Attributes
a. Sovereign Will
b. Sovereign Power
a) The doctrine of the Trinity explains that God is three persons in one substance or essence.
b) It is an attempt to explain what is revealed in the Scriptures.
c) The term trinity does not occur in scripture but the principle does. It is necessary to develop the doctrine in order explain the action and will of God who is revealed to us as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The 1647 Westminster Confession
“God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of secondary causes taken away, but rather established.”
b) Decree is a theological word that means God establishes the certainty of that which He has foreordained by decreeing it to be so. It is similar to approving the blue prints before construction begins.
c) God’s decree finalized his plan that would take a specific course of action once began
d) Daniel 11:36, speaking of the anti-christ: “The king will do as he pleases. . .He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place.”
e) Luke 22:22, “The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed, but woe to that man who betrays him.” (also, Acts 2:23; 4:27-28)
f) The decrees are eternal and are not subject to temporal conditions.
g) The decrees agree with God’s wisdom and are not simple impulses of sovereignty.
h) The decrees allow for secondary wills and causes so that they are not mere fate.
a) Election means to call out. It is selection and separation unto God himself
b) Election is the work of God. It is not people electing God.
c) Election does not separate some to heaven and some to hell, since all men have been condemned to hell already. (John 3:18)
d) Election separates from among condemned men some to fulfill God’s purpose and program.
e) Romans 9:11-16; Ephesians 1:4.
f) Election is the sovereign work of God, according to his own purpose and will predetermined by his foreordination, in which he selects those through whom the divine purpose will be fulfilled.
g) This is one of the Reformed doctrines that Galyn Wiemers considers to be a corruption of Christian theology. See his Romans series and the Epesians series with their notes for a rebuke of this dangerous doctrine.
a) Predestination in scripture always is qualified by a reference to the end or purpose we are predestined for.
b) “He predestined us to be adopted as his sons.” (Ephesians 1:4,5)
c) We are “predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.” (Ephesians 1:11,14)
d) “He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.” (Rm. 8:29)
a) A basic affirmation of the Christian faith is that God is the “Maker of heaven and earth.”
b) This doctrine has a profound significance for the entire structure of Christian thought.
c) God then is the author of the whole cosmos.
d) The universe has its beginning and end in God’s will
e) The universe is not independent of God, but its maintenance represents God’s continued oversight, power and ability
f) God did not create the universe out of existing “stuff” but out of nothing.
g) Prior to creation God was self-sufficient and majestically alone.
h) God is not dependent on anything.
i) God is the absolute judge and standard of truth and what is right.
j) God is responsible for our existence.
a) Angels are never part of the scriptural explanation of the order or natural things.
b) Angels exist, but we only know of them by revelation.
c) They intervene in the natural world, and when they appear they often are said to be “winds,” “fire,” “men,” “cosmic powers,” etc.
d) Angels are a class of servants and appear to have no purpose in themselves but find their purpose in serving God.
e) Angels always seem to be around and associated with the second member of the trinity (Son of God or Jesus).
a) The creator made the world with a full plan on what to do with it and full intention to care for it.
a) The God Christians believe in is the Lord of all.
b) What He once made, He now controls and continuously renews.
c) Nature in itself is a miracle for it constantly feels the impulses of God. This is the immanent God.
d) We call events beyond our science miracles.
e) Miracles are God operating in his freedom outside of nature as the transcendent God
a) Originally made in the image of God
b) Psalm 8 gives us the insight on God’s original purpose and position for man
a) Man was created by God and in the image of God, and the duty which God requires of man is obedience to his revealed will.
b) God has the authority by nature of his position (the creator). Man’s (the creation) non-negotiable response to this is obedience.
c) The relationship established in
d) It promised life as the reward of obedience (Dt.6:5,10-12; 30:15-20; Psalm 1; Romans 2:7-9)
e) Due to the failure of the man’s ability to live under the covenant of works the covenant of grace was introduced.
a) The origin of human sin is the willful self-corruption of the creature under temptation.
b) Sin first became actual in an order of personal beings known as angels.
c) The angels presumably had full understanding of the holy character of God and of God’s impartation of His holy character to his creatures.
d) The angels had the power of ethical spiritual choice and a group of them chose a deliberate act away from God.
e) Within the decrees of God there are decrees of the permission of things that God is not the author of.
f) The holiness of God does not say, “what ought not to be, ought not to be permitted.”
18) Original Sin, Imputation and Inability
a) Before the fall of man, God deals with man from man’s position of innocence.
b) After the fall, God must deal with man from a man’s position of a guilty rebel.
c) After the fall man is alienated from God and has had his nature corrupted.
d) If a relationship is to be restored it is totally by God since man is unable.
e) Any covenant that can be established by God with man must be a covenant of Grace. A covenant where God freely brings men who are wholly without merit into fellowship with Himself.
f) The promises must be gracious. The conditions imposed must be gracious. The guarantee of the blessing of the covenant must be based only on God’s character and also be gracious.
g) Abraham’s covenant was one that was rooted in electing grace.
a) The Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man for our salvation.
b) “Incarnation” (Latin for “becoming-in-flesh”) is the theological expression for John 1:14, “the Word became flesh.”
c) The incarnation of Christ implies His deity and humanity alike.
d) The one Who had His being eternally within the unity of the Godhead became man at a point in time, without relinquishing His oneness with God.
e) Becoming “flesh” does not mean a physical body only, but a complete human personality.
a) Philippians 2:7 says that Christ “emptied” Himself, taking the form of a servant, when He came incarnate into the world.
b) “emptied” is the Greek word “keno” and thus the Kenotic Theory
c) The Kenotic Theory basic basically answers the question, “What did the eternal Son of God empty himself of when he became a man?”
d) Four things are developed in answering that question
1. Kenosis does emphasize the divine initiative. Salvation comes from God.
2. Kenosis emphasizes the free, voluntary act of the pre-incarnate Son in choosing the path of humiliation.
3. Christ had a conscious restraint in the use of divine powers during the days of His flesh. It is significant to realize that this decisions was an ongoing, voluntary submission of Christ to live the life of humiliation. He could have stopped it at any time, and so could be the willing sacrifice up to the very moment of his death.
4. Kenosis preserved the doctrine of the real humanity of Christ.
a) Eleven NT books, by seven writers refer to Christ Exaltation.
b) The Resurrection and Ascension are closely united in apostolic writing
c) The Resurrection can not be reduced to a spiritual event.
d) Jesus Christ carried His humanity with Him back to heaven.
a) The three-fold division of the mediatorial work of Jesus Christ is:
1. Christ is prophet.
2. Christ is priest.
3. Christ is king.
b) These offices declare the:
1. Righteousness of God in Christ.
2. Mediation of God for our salvation.
3. Sovereignty of God in the world.
c) The prophet spoke from God to man.
d) The priest acted on behalf of men before God
e) The kingship is on two planes:
1. Christ’s kingdom is the kingdom of truth and righteousness in the hearts of men.
2. Christ will return to take his final assumption of power. His enemies will become His footstool; He will judge the world.
a) The atonement means that Jesus Christ in His death dealt completely with the problem that man’s sin had caused.
b) It includes Reconciliation, which means to “to cause to conform to a standard, to be adjusted.”
c) It includes Propitiation, which means to satisfy all the claims of divine holiness, righteousness and justice so that God is free to act on behalf of sinners.
a) The intercessory work of Christ presupposes that the predicament of man is not an alleged flaw in his existence but the enmity which separates the creature from the Creator.
b) Just as God provided a sacrifice to Abraham (the ram caught in the branches of the trees) Jesus Christ would be provided (also on a tree). This is the intercessory Work of Christ.
c) Pagan sacrifices are a gift offered to change the heart of God.
d) Judaism offers sacrifices in the hope of changing the heart of man to make him acceptable to God.
e) Christian revelation in both OT and NT teach that God intercedes, providing a sacrifice which changes the wrath of God into mercy and the sinner into a saint.
f) Christ intercessory work continues in heaven as he pleads for sinners.
g) In the OT the central moment for the sacrifice was not in the slaying of the victim but in what was done with the blood after the sacrifice.
h) Thus, Romans 8:34, “Is it Christ Jesus who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us?”
a) Abraham Kuyper, a Dutch theologian said:
“First, the work of the Holy Spirit is not confined to the elect and does not begin with their regeneration; but it touches every creation, animate and inanimate, and begins its operations in the elect at the very moment of their origin. Second, the proper work of the Holy Spirit in every creature consists in the quickening and sustaining of life with reference to his being and talents, and, in its highest sense, with reference to eternal life, which is his salvation.”
b) The secret of all spiritual power for the child of God lies in a proper relationship the Holy Spirit.
c) The work of the Holy Spirit in salvation: The Holy Spirit convicts the unbeliever of sin righteousness and judgment. The Holy Spirit brings faith to the unbelieving heart. When the soul enters the realm of salvation, he is born again. The new believer has a new nature.
d) The indwelling of the Spirit: The Spirit living or dwelling on the inside of the believer was a promise of Jesus and was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost. This presence of the Spirit is the seal of God until the day of redemption.
e) The Baptism of the Spirit: is defined in 1 Corinthians 12:13 as being placed in the body of Christ.
f) The Filling of the Spirit: This work is given to those who fulfill the conditions. It is a work of the Spirit which may be bestowed repeatedly and also withdrawn. All spiritual experience is related to this aspect of the work of the Spirit.
a) Common grace is understood to be the unmerited favor of God toward all men:
1. He restrains sin so that order is maintained, and culture and civil righteousness are promoted
2. He gives them rain and fruitful seasons, food and gladness and other blessings in the measure that seems to Him to be good.
a) Effectual calling is that mysterious, divine, and humanly inexplicable act of God through the Holy Spirit, which brings us into living fellowship with Jesus Christ.
b) It is different from God’s voice in nature and God’s voice in the written word.
c) Jesus said, “Many are called but few are chosen.”
d) Paul writes “. . .the power of God; who saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace.” (2 Tm.1:9; also 1 Peter 1:3; 1 Cor. 1:26-30)
a) Two Greek words:
1. Metamelomai – “to regret, to repent” and stresses a change of the will which results in change in single individual actions. It means to think differently or to have a different attitude toward sin and God. Translated: Repent.
2. Strepho- The basic idea of the word is to turn, and in most passages, where it denotes conversion, it is used in the active voice. (Active voice means the object is doing the verb.) In the passive voice it means “to be converted.”
b) Both words are used together twice in the New Testament (Acts 3:19; Acts 26:20)
c) In both cases the word for repentance precedes the other.
d) Both words are used to describe an experience which has two aspects:
1. turning away from displeasing God
2. turning to pleasing God.
e) Both words are used to denote the human volition and act by which a man who is convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit determines to make his life conform to the will of God.
f) Regeneration and justification are terms that denote God’s part in transforming an individual
g) Faith, repentance, conversion are terms to express man’s necessary response if regeneration is to be experienced.
a) Two words to explain the concept of faith:
1. BELIEF – is “intellectual assent, based on a sufficiency of evidence.”
a. It is not accounted to us for righteousness like Abraham’s, for we have not believed God but evidence.
b. No matter how much evidence we accept, our belief, or this level of faith, is no greater than the faith of Satan, fallen angels and demons. (James 2:19)
c. Knowledge can compel the intellect but it cannot compel the act of the will to go to the level of trust.
d. But . . .knowledge and knowledge are the basis for belief which is a precondition to trust.
e. To scorn knowledge and mental assent is to make faith a purely subjective experience which is fatal
2. TRUST – is the reliance upon and commitment to.
a. Trust is of the heart not the head.
b. “for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness.” (Rom. 10:10)
a) Mystical is used to suggest the wonder of our communion with Jesus Christ.
b) It speaks of the possibility and the reality of our personal and intimate union with the crucified, risen and exalted Lord.
c) Mystical union with Christ does not describe the total absorption of the believer in Christ or God. (This is seen in pagan and Eastern religions.)
d) Through out the scriptures God has walked with and talked with men. Ultimately Jesus became a man and lived with man.
e) 164 times in Paul’s writings “in Christ Jesus” is used. Paul used this to express the intimate, mystical union between Christ and himself and every believer.
f) Paul spoke of his own personal mystical experience when he said, “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me.
g) Paul’s mysticism was a reacting mysticism. God always has the initiative.
h) It was not in ecstatic elevations that the Christian finds glory, but in the cross of Christ and in us following him with our cross while anticipating the glory.
a) Adoption is our being received into the family of God and entitled to the inheritance of heaven.
b) Adoption includes:
1. the renewal of the soul’s true relation to God as a father
2. the bestowal of the privileges of sonship in this life and the life to come.
a) Perseverance refers to God’s work in the believer’s life that takes them to final salvation.
b) God preserves the believer; the believer perseveres through life.
c) God preserves through the believer’s perseverance. The believer’s perseverance is God’s gift.
d) Phil 1:6 – “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (also, 1 John 3:6-9; 4:4)
e) John 10:28 – “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” (also, John 10:29; Col. 2:2; 2 Tim. 1:12; 1 Pt. 1:5)
f) Romans 8:39, “. . .nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
g) Romans 8:34, “Who is it that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died – more than that who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” (also, Heb.7:24; 1 John 2:1; Luke 22:31,32; John 17:11-15)
h) 2 Corinthians 1:22, “He. . .set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (also, 2 Cor. 5:5; Eph. 1:13,14; 4:30)
i) The opposite view of the doctrine of perseverance is total apostasy after salvation which results in the believer forfeiting their salvation.
j) The doctrinal difference is fundamentally a difference between Protestants and Catholics.
a) God purchased His church at the cost of Christ’s blood Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:25)
b) It is through the church that God makes known his redeeming wisdom to the hosts of heaven (Eph.3:10)
c) The church is the pillar and foundation of truth in the world today. (1 Tim.3:15)
d) It is within the church that the individual Christian finds the ministries of grace, the means of growth and his primary sphere for service. (Eph.4:11-16)
e) The church is not a human organization but a divinely created fellowship of sinners who trust a common Savior and are one with each other because they are one with Him by the Holy Spirit.
f) The many local churches find their universal unity in Christ, the head of the church.
a) When we look at the Biblical principles of church government we see some guidelines but few details. In other words, God’s will is that there be organization, but gives many of the decisions over to the free will of man, hopefully redeemed man.
b) No church organization has yet been able to copy the exact form of the early church.
c) There must be some government for a body of people to function fairly and orderly.
d) There are two areas in church government:
1. The ministry of the Word of God. This essential for true and proper fellowship with God and with each other and with the world.
2. The auxiliary ministries in the church such as serving, organization, ruling. These gives the natural body stability.
e) Church government is the means and not the end.
f) Church leaders filled with the Spirit and wisdom will succeed in most any form of government.
g) If rulers lack these virtues, even the most clever policies will fail.
h) Too much government will lead to tyranny; too little leads to anarchy.
i) All church authority is subordinate to some other level of church government.
a) There are two observances that are maintained by all Christian groups:
2. The Lord’s Supper
b) Baptism is the rite by which a professed believer is inducted into the fellowship of the NT church.
c) More important than the method of Baptism, is the person who is being baptized. Are they a believer?
d) The Lord’s Supper was a memorial feast instituted by Jesus and the focal point of worship in the early church.
e) The primary significance of the Lord’s Supper is its representation of Christ’s death as the seal of the new covenant between God and man.
a) The Word of God
e) Holy Spirit
g) Work and Service
h) Special Human Relationships
a) In the OT the body remained on the earth but the soul passed into Sheol.
b) In the NT the body remains on the earth but the soul goes into the presence of God
a) The scripture teach explicitly that Jesus Christ will come a second time from heaven to earth personally, in his body and visibly.
b) This is the kingdom. He will come in glory
c) The new testament word is “parousia” and is used as a technical term to denote the return of Christ.
d) Postmillennialism – this is the view that says the
e) Amillennialism – (nonmillennarian) this rejects the idea of a golden age. Good and evil will continue side by side until suddenly Christ appears. Judgment follows and then the end. The millennial reign is occurring now on earth and/or in heaven where the martyred saints reign.
f) Premillennialism – insist on a literal interpretation of Rev. 20. The second coming of Christ inaugurates his reign known as the millennium. This teaching involves the rapture and detailed teaching concerning the tribulation and other end time events.
a) There will be a resurrection for the believers and the unbelievers (the righteous and the unrighteous.
b) Both will be judged by the Lord.
1. The believers will be judged for eternal rewards.
2. The unbelievers for eternal damnation.
a) The OT and NT insist on human survival after death.
b) The Bible teaches that death is not the loss of life but in every case in the Bible death results in an alteration of place for the soul.
c) Jesus said, “These shall go away into eternal punishment; but the righteous into eternal life.” (Mt.25:46)
Theology is that area of knowledge which is concerned with God, His purpose and relation to the world.
Systematic theology is the branch of theological learning which correlates the data of biblical revelation in order to exhibit the structure of Christianity, viewed as a system of doctrine and morals, and to vindicate this system against any competing view.