Defining ‘Truth’

Posted by admin on 1 November 2020 in Colossians, Hebrews, John, Proverbs |

Today, let us define ‘Truth’ in John 1:17b (“grace and truth came through Jesus Christ”)

The Reality as opposed to a shadow

The law is mere a shadow of the reality, but truth is the reality (Colossians 2:17, Hebrews 10:1) [2].

What reveals and assures what grace does

Grace always forgives and gives, and truth reveals and assures both the forgiveness and the gifts [3].

Divine Thought

Grace is Divine love and truth is Divine thought [4].

The Revelation of God

John 1:14 said, “…who came from the Father, full of grace and truth”. So, the Son was full of grace and truth as He came from the Father. In the light of v14, we can render v17b as follows.

“God showed his love and revealed the truth about himself through Jesus Christ.” [5] ‘This focus upon truth as the revelation of God’ fits well with the following verse (John 1:18) [5].

Truth as opposed to Gnostic and all other heresy

It is truth as opposed to Gnostic and all other heresy [6].

Finally, let us learn about 'faithfulness'.

Faithfulness describes God’s attribute of truth [7]

God’s ultimate expression of love and his absolute faithfulness to his covenant are both seen in Jesus Christ [6].

God is abounding in love and faithfulness. See Exodus 34:6.

And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, ‘The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,

Proverbs 3:1a says,

“Let love and faithfulness never leave you;”

References

[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version (Anglicised Edition, 2011). (2011). (Revised and updated edition). London: Hodder & Stoughton.

[2] Lange, J. P., & Schaff, P. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: John (p. 77). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[3] Lenski, R. C. H. (1961). The interpretation of St. John’s gospel (p. 93). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House.

[4] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). St. John (Vol. 1, p. 22). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[5] Newman, B. M., & Nida, E. A. (1993). A handbook on the Gospel of John (p. 26). New York: United Bible Societies.

[6] Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (Jn 1:17). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.

[7] https://www.shema.com/gods-attributes-gods-faithfulness-and-truth-3033/

 

Grace

Posted by admin on 25 October 2020 in Genesis, James, John, The Book of Romans |

Today, let us study on ‘Grace’ in John 1:17b (“grace and truth came through Jesus Christ”)

I. Definition

Grace is a free gift from God. The gift is ‘righteousness’ (precisely, the Righteousness of God, as opposed to self-righteousness). The Righteousness of God is the ticket to the Paradise.  So, the gift is also ‘salvation’.

II. Origin

Grace began with Abraham’s righteousness of faith (Genesis 15:6) [2] well before the law was given.

Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

God credited ‘belief (faith)’ to Abram as righteousness. Abram was renamed Abraham (Genesis 17:5).

III. Faith vs Work

The difference between ‘work’ and ‘faith’ is explained in Romans 4:4-5.

Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.

We can become righteous only by ‘faith’. Why can righteousness not be obtained by ‘work’ (= by keeping the entire law of Moses)?

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. (James 2:10)

Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. (Romans 3:20)

IV. Conclusion

Even though we are sinners according to the law, we can be forgiven by grace.

Grace is free to us, but costly to God [3] because He had to pay for the penalty of our sins on the cross.

References

[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version (Anglicised Edition, 2011). (2011). (Revised and updated edition). London: Hodder & Stoughton.

[2] Lange, J. P., & Schaff, P. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: John (p. 77). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[3] The Grace of God Revealed in Jesus Christ. Dec 2016. https://www.bbgb.org/the-grace-of-god-revealed-in-jesus-christ

Grace and Truth through Jesus Christ

Posted by admin on 18 October 2020 in Colossians, Hebrews, Isaiah, John, Matthew, The Book of Romans |

John 1:17grace and truth came through Jesus Christ

I. The Law gave them the shadow but not the reality (Colossians 2:17, Hebrews 10:1) 

The law was ‘given’ (17a). The Jews relied on the law and boasted in God (Romans 2:17).

Even though they had the law, they didn’t know grace and truth. Their hearts were far from the Lord (Isaiah 29:13).

They brought to Jesus a woman caught in the act of adultery, who should be stoned according to the law, but they were so ignorant that the law condemns not only the woman but also themselves, not to mention that their intention to trap Jesus through this case was so wrong (John 8:3-11, neither do I condemn you). They didn’t know they were hypocrites (Romans 2:21-23, Matthew 23:13-39). They were in darkness and they needed the true light, Jesus.

II. Grace and Truth through Jesus Christ (17b)

Grace and truth had to ‘come’ [2] over (17b).

Many prophets and righteous people have been longing to see ‘grace’ and hear ‘truth’ but did not see or hear it (Matthew 13:17). Grace and truth revealed and declared by Jesus make the believers in A.D. greater than John the Baptist or any other great men before him (Matthew 11:11).

References

[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version (Anglicised Edition, 2011). (2011). (Revised and updated edition). London: Hodder & Stoughton.

[2] Lange, J. P., & Schaff, P. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: John (p. 77). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

The Word became flesh (Part 3a)

Posted by admin on 11 October 2020 in Exodus, James, John, The Book of Romans |

III. Grace and Truth (16, 17)

 See v16.

16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.

This emphasizes ‘grace’ – grace upon grace, abundant grace.

See v17.

17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

“For the law was given through Moses” (17a)

The law is righteous. Through the law, we can understand God’s justice. For example, without knowing the law, we can’t exactly know how much the thief must make restitution. According to the law, the thief should pay back ‘five times’ for cow and ‘four times’ for sheep if the animal was killed or sold (Exodus 22:1), ‘double’ if the animal is alive and not sold (Exodus 22:4), and ‘double’ for silver or goods (Exodus 22:7). Through the law, we can understand human rights. For example, if you find out someone stole yours, you can know you have the right to ask him/her double or more depending on the situation. You become fair and wise!

But we can’t become righteous or saved by keeping the law because it is impossible to keep this ‘written code’. If you keep everything in the law and break one thing in the law, you become a lawbreaker (James 2:10) and condemned by the law. The law is powerless to save us (Romans 8:3) but teaches us that we are sinners (Romans 3:20).

The Word became flesh (Part 2)

Posted by admin on 4 October 2020 in 1 Peter, John, Matthew |

II. John’s Testimony about Jesus (15)

 See v15.

15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, ‘This is the one I spoke about when I said, “He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.” ’)

This John is Baptist (or Witness) John. He was an excellent prophet like Elijah. So, people could think he might be the Messiah. But, he was not the light, but a witness to the light (John 1:8), expressing himself as ‘the voice’ (John 1:23). John made it clear “Jesus is greater”. The reason John told was that Jesus was ‘before’ him, even though he was born 6 months earlier than Jesus on the earth. We learn that it is important to know and testify the fact that the Word existed before the creation, before you, I, and any of us were ever created.

Regarding to minimum preparation for witnessing as a believer, one may refer to 1 Peter 3:15. As a disciple, one may refer to Matthew 28:18-20.

The Word became flesh (Part 1)

Posted by admin on 27 September 2020 in John, Uncategorized |

Let us study John 1:14-18.

I. The Word became flesh (14)

See v14.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

“The Word became flesh” (14a)

‘the Word’ existed before the creation, before our time and space ever existed. ‘the Word’ was intimate and together with God. ‘the Word’ was God (John 1:1).

This Word was born as a baby to be with us. His name is Jesus. Hallelujah! This is Good News of Great Joy (Luke 2:10)! Great Joy is from the Salvation gracefully & mercifully given to those who do not deserve. This joy is for everyone (Luke 2:10, John 1:9). He was conceived in Virgin Mary through the Holy Spirit. His Father was literally God in heaven. We celebrate this event every year. This event is Christmas! Merry Christmas!

On Christmas, the whole world celebrates with great joy, playing carols, sending greeting cards, having family gatherings, enjoying the holidays, and helping the poor.

“and made his dwelling among us.” (14b)

 His name is also Immanuel (Matthew 1:23, Isaiah 7:14), meaning ‘God with us’. In the Old testament, God descended on Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:18), revealed His Glory, and gave the Law through Moses. This was an awesome event! But ‘God made His dwelling among us’ is even more awesome!! Amen.

“We have seen his glory” (14c)

Jesus performed numerous awesome miracles that no one has seen before. This is glorious! He taught the awesome Truth like no other. This is glorious! He died for our sins, raised in three days, and became the king of kings, and the lord of lords (Revelation 19:16, Philippians 2:9-11). This is glorious! Overcoming temptations, answering to tricky questions without being trapped, being a man with the Word within, … There are many other glories we can see about Him.

“the glory of one and only son” (14d)

The Word was one and only son of God before the creation (Hebrews 1:2). Also, on the earth Jesus was literally one and only son of God, who was conceived in a virgin called Mary through the Holy Spirit.

“who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (14e)

Grace is mercy. Grace is Grace because it was given to those who do not deserve. Jesus forgave and healed many people while the Law would condemn them.

Jesus is the Truth (John 14:6). Jesus lived and taught Truth such as hate your life to keep it for eternal life (John 12:25, Matthew 10:39, Luke 17:33), serve to be great (Matthew 20:26-27, Mark 10:43-44, Luke 22:26), narrow gate to life; wide gate to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14, Luke 13:24) to name a few. His entire life was full of examples for all mankind to follow.

The true light that gives light to everyone

Posted by admin on 20 September 2020 in John |

John 1:6-13

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

(message)

John 1:5 says that the darkness has not comprehended or understood the light. Then, how on earth anyone will recognise and believe the light?

I. The world needed a witness to the light (6-8)

John 1:6-8 tell us about Witness (and Baptist) John sent from God to help us believe. John 1:5 (the darkness not understanding the light), John 1:10 (the world not recognising Jesus), John 1:11 (the world not receiving Jesus) show importance of witnesses and their evangelism. A witness can help those not recognising or receiving (v10-11) receive and believe (v12-13).

II. The true light that gives light to everyone (9-11)

John 1:9 declares the great news of “the true light that gives light to everyone” coming into the world. Here, ‘light’ is ‘life’ in the Word as already mentioned in John 1:4.

V10 (not recognising him) shows the world is ignorant, spiritually blinded and spiritually dead.

John 3:18-20 explains the reason of v10 and v11 as below.

18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.

The reason is ‘They loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil’ (darkness would hide them, but light would expose them). ‘Evil doers will not come to the light in fear that the light will expose their evil deeds.’

III. The amazing gift: the right to become children of God (12-13)

See v12.

12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—

V12 becomes possible through testimonies of witnesses (7,8). The right to become children of God became available and possible through Jesus. This right is the greatest gift. As shown in the Old Testament, God performed awesome miracles proving He is One and True God. He is the right object of worship for all mankind. Finding Him out is already so great blessing but the right to become His children is the greatest blessing. Children of God is born of God (13d). They are not of

  • natural descent (13a): physical birth [2]
  • human decision (13b): self-determination [2]
  • a husband’s will (13c): the choice of another person [2]

References

[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version (Anglicised Edition, 2011). (2011). (Revised and updated edition). London: Hodder & Stoughton.

[2] Gangel, K. O. (2000). John (Vol. 4, p. 12). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

In Him was Life

Posted by admin on 13 September 2020 in Colossians, Jeremiah, John |

John 1:1-5

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

(message)

Welcome! The Word is who became Jesus. Let us learn about Him.

See v1.

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

“In the beginning was the Word” (1a): The Word existed before the creation and from the eternity.

“the Word was with God” (1b): The Word (God, the Son) was together and intimate with God (God, the Father).

“the Word was God” (1c): The Word (the Son) was one of the Triune God (the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit).

See v2.

He was with God in the beginning.

V2 summarizes or repeats v1a and v1b. The Word was together and intimate with God from the eternity.

See v3.

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

The Word is the Creator of the universe. This fact is also written in Colossians 1:15-17.

See v4.

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

Here, ‘life’ is eternal life (John 5:24), abundant life (John 10:10), the resurrection (John 11:25-26), and the spring of living water (Jeremiah 2:13).

See v5.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Here ‘overcome’ is ‘understand/comprehend’. When the Word came to the world as Jesus, they did not recognize Him (the Creator) (John 1:10) and did not receive Him (the Owner) (John 1:11).

The Unclean and the Clean

Posted by admin on 6 September 2020 in Exodus, Genesis, Leviticus, Proverbs |

Ezekiel 44:23
23 They are to teach my people the difference between the holy and the common and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean.

I. The sin of ‘not teaching the unclean and the clean’ (Ezekiel 22:26)

Via the prophet Ezekiel, God pointed out the sins of priests in Jerusalem (she) in Ezekiel 22:26.

26 Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common; they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean; and they shut their eyes to the keeping of my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.

According to Ezekiel 44:23, “how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean” should be taught. As we are the creature with the image of God (Genesis 1:27), we should differ from other animals in knowing the unclean and the clean.

II. The result of not knowing the unclean and the clean (Proverbs 26:11)

Proverbs 26:11 describes the behavior of animals such as dogs without knowing the unclean and the clean.

11 As a dog returns to its vomit,
so fools repeat their folly.

All human would know their vomit ‘unclean’ and do not eat it. But dogs do not know ‘what uncleanness is’ and so eat it.

III. The unclean and the clean in Leviticus (Leviticus 11-15)

The 1st five books among 39 books in the old testaments of the Holy Bible are called the books of the Law, written through the great servant of God, Moses. They are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Leviticus consists of 27 chapters. Let us study the unclean and the clean written in Leviticus.

Leviticus 11-15 teach ‘the unclean and the clean”. Leviticus 11 is on the unclean and the clean in food. Leviticus 12 is on purification after childbirth. Leviticus 13-14 are on skin diseases and moulds. Leviticus 15 is on discharges causing uncleanness.

While recommending to read Leviticus 11-15, I take Leviticus 15:16 as an example, that teaches the uncleaness from ‘semen’ in particular.

16 ‘ “When a man has an emission of semen, he must bathe his whole body with water, and he will be unclean till evening.

Different people may apply this knowledge in different ways. Some people may ignore it. Some people may even oppose it. Some people may consider this applied only to the priests inside the ancient or future temple in Jerusalem.

Before reading this part of the Holy Bible last year, I was completely ignorant about this uncleanness and its effective time (till evening). So, even when I was unclean, I moved around and met people. The result was that I felt something affected those I met on that day. I felt sorry to them, but I didn’t know what it was. After reading the word of God, I recognized ‘uncleanness’ first time, became careful and, as a matter of manner, if possible, avoided to go too close to others when I became unclean so as not to defile them. Only the word of God enabled this knowledge in me. Otherwise, I would have stayed ignorant however many years I might have been living. How important to read the Holy Bible!

IV. Sexual Sins and Penalties (Leviticus 18, 20)

Leviticus 18:1-30 is on unlawful sexual relations. The penalties of such sins are written in Leviticus 20:10-21, most of which require death.
Particularly, ‘childlessness’ is the penalty in Leviticus 20:21.

‘ “If a man marries his brother’s wife, it is an act of impurity; he has dishonoured his brother. They will be childless.

V. More Commandments (Leviticus 19)

Leviticus 19:1-37 contains commandments some of which overlap ten commandments (Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 5).

Leviticus 11-20 that include the above three sections are recommended to read.

Appendix. Exodus

The Law is written in Exodus as well. In Exodus 19, God descended in Mount Sinai. Ten commandments are written in Exodus 20 and others are in Exodus 21-24. God gave details on the tabernacle and they built them in Exodus 25-40. Particularly, God gave Moses two stone tablets of the covenant law inscribed by the finger of God in Exodus 31. In Exodus 32, they committed the idolatry by making the golden calf, and Moses broke the stone tablets to pieces in anger. Moses had closer encounter with God and God gave Moses two stone tablets again in Exodus 33 and 34. So, it is recommended to read Exodus 19-24 and 31-34.

References

[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version (Anglicised Edition, 2011). (2011). (Revised and updated edition). London: Hodder & Stoughton.

The Sins that brought the End

Posted by admin on 30 August 2020 in 2 Kings, Ezekiel |

Ezekiel 22:1-31

In chapter 22 of the book of Ezekiel, God declares through His prophet, Ezekiel to reveal the sins of Jerusalem that caused the coming judgement of God.

I. Bloodshed and Idolatry that brought the Judgement of God (1-5)

In Jerusalem (her), they have shed blood and have become defiled by the idols they have made (2, 3,4a). Note that two sins (bloodshed and idolatry (detestable practices)) were pointed out three times in verse 2, 3 and 4a.

Resultant judgement of God:

  • Her end has come (4b)
  • Becoming an object of scorn (4c)
  • Becoming a laughing-stock (4d)
  • Becoming an object of mockery (5)

II. The 1st List of Sins that brought the Judgement of God (6-12)

  • In this city, princes misuse their power to shed blood (6).
  • In this city, they have treated their father and mother with contempt (7a).
  • In this city, they have oppressed the foreigner and ill-treated the fatherless and the widow (7b).
  • In this city, they have despised God’s holy things and desecrated God's Sabbaths (8).
  • In this city are slanderers who are bent on shedding blood (9a).
  • In this city are those who eat at the mountain shrines and commit lewd acts (9b).
  • In this city are those who dishonour their father’s bed (10a).
  • In this city are those who violate women during their period, when they are ceremonially unclean (10b).
  • In this city, one man commits a detestable offence with his neighbour’s wife, another shamefully defiles his daughter-in-law, and another violates his sister, his own father’s daughter (11).
  • In this city are people who accept bribes to shed blood (12a).
  • They take interest and make a profit from the poor (12b).
  • They extort unjust gain from their neighbours (12c).
  • They have forgotten God (12d).

III. The Exile and the Siege of the City Foretold (13-22)

God foretold the Exile. See v15.

15 I will disperse you among the nations and scatter you through the countries; and I will put an end to your uncleanness.

Before the Exile took place, Jerusalem had been sieged by Babylon for 1.5 years until all food ran out in the city (Jeremiah 39, 2 Kings 24:10-17). This was foretold in v17-22.

IV. The 2nd List of Sins that brought the Judgement of God (23-29)

More sins in Jerusalem (her) are listed below.

  • Sins of Princes: There is a conspiracy of her princes within Jerusalem like a roaring lion tearing its prey; they devour people, take treasures and precious things and make many widows within her (25).
  • Sins of Priests: Her priests do violence to God's law and profane God's holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common; they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean; and they shut their eyes to the keeping of God's Sabbaths, so that God is profaned among them (26).
  • Sins of Officials: Her officials within her are like wolves tearing their prey; they shed blood and kill people to make unjust gain (27).
  • Sins of Prophets: Her prophets whitewash these deeds for them by false visions and lying divinations. They say, “This is what the Sovereign LORD says”—when the LORD has not spoken (28).
  • Sins of People: The people of the land practise extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and ill-treat the foreigner, denying them justice (29).

V. No Mediator Found (30-31)

God considered an alternative to the judgement through a right person. However, when he looked for a mediator, He found none. See v30.

30 ‘I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so that I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.

So, God went ahead with His judgement as He planned (31).

References
[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version (Anglicised Edition, 2011). (2011). (Revised and updated edition). London: Hodder & Stoughton.

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