By Dr. S. W. Marais

LESSON 1 Anthropology: the Study of Man in his Moral
and Religious Aspects.

Lesson Purpose
The purpose of this lesson is to introduce the student to a study of man in his moral and religious aspects, especially man as a sinner. Lesson Outcomes
Upon completion of this lesson the student will; See how God has revealed the account of how he created man and the purpose for his existence. Understand the concepts of holiness and sin. He will see God’s plan of salvation from sin and the restoration of the image of God in man. He will also see the provision that God has made in Jesus Christ for man to be made holy and to live a life of holiness. Anthropology: the study of man in his moral and religious aspects.
The term Anthroplogy means the science of man. It is used both in a scientific and a theological sense. As a science it deals with the problems of primitive man, the distinction of races, their geographical distribution and the factors which enter into mans development and progress. Anthropology In the theological sense, is limited to the study of man in his moral and religious aspects. The divine revelation as found in Holy Scriptures must be our authority concerning the origin of man. We are taught that man was created by God. Genesis 2:7. Man was created a unique being. He belongs to the earth, but when God breathed into him, he took on a unique nature akin to God. He belongs both to the earth and spirit order of being. He is made in God’s likeness (John 3:9). God created him “. . . to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever” as the Westminster Creed teaches. Part of his being like God is sharing in the struggle against the devil and his angels. Satan and his kingdom of evil spirits represent everything that is anti - God. Man was created by God to be part of this cosmic struggle. Man will yet be the one to bring in the end and he will celebrate with the God-Man total victory, culminating in satan’s downfall and the complete destruction of the kingdom of evil. Man was created in the image of God. Gen 1:26 “Let us make man in our image, The first respect in which man was made like God was the possession of personhood. He was self aware, conscious of his own identity and able to study it objectively as well as with the ability to study outside of himself. He was not an animal or linked to them. Unlike animals, he had memory, reason, imagination, inventiveness and creativity, and the ability to project himself into the future. He also had the power to act. He could move at will, he could predesign and follow through on things, he reacted to stimuli, and exercised control over the environment and animals. He did not act by instinct as animals do. He was a thinking, feeling and acting creation. He now had the ability to communicate with others and be aware of their individuality. He could not only communicate with others but also spiritually with God. He was a creation in touch with two worlds – the physical and the spiritual. He was born to live forever – he was an immortal soul. Even after he had sinned and death came upon men, mankind lived on. The dissolution of the body does not mean the end of the person, in fact, God’s plan included a new body to replace the old. His personhood and his immortality are what are called the “natural image” of God in man. He was, however, also created in the moral image of God. This is a fundamental character likeness of God in man. Just as God is holy in moral character, so man was created holy. Man was created by God to function as a natural holy person. Only a holy person is a normal human being as God intended. When he is unholy, he is abnormal and corrupt. While his personhood could not be lost without him ceasing to be, the same cannot be said of holiness. Man without holiness may be a sinner but he is still man. It is well to remember that man’s condition can change and was not locked into being holy. Being a free moral agent ,through his wrong choices, he changed and became unholy. God could not conceivably become unholy and remain God, but man can become unholy and remain man. 4 .Man’s holiness is derived and dependent and therefore admissible.( it may be lost ). Man still has the God-given ability to change, as will be seen in God’s plan of salvation in Christ. 5.Deep down inside, man wants to be holy and wants to grow to be Godlike. That is the way he was created; he was not created neutral . He was not created merely with a capacity for holiness; the holiness was created with his creation and not given as a special gift at a later time, as taught by the Roman Catholics. Certainly not as Pelagius taught that holiness was a result of his choices. Adam was created holy. 6.Both Adam and Eve were satisfied and content with God’s requirements for they continued in fellowship with Him and they had a spontaneous bent towards obedience and a relationship with God. They lived in perfect shalom ( peace) in the garden in communication with God and each other. The primal relationship was three-fold; they worshipped God as their creator, they served God as Owner/Sovereign, and they enjoyed fellowship with God as Father. 7. The Spirit of God communicated with the spirit of man, Person to person. God’s Spirit was dwelling in him. Man was not God’s co-equal; he needed the Holy Spirit all the time in him to impart and keep him holy, to keep him spiritually alive and strong, and to teach and guide him. The presence and the power of God’s Spirit in man is what makes man holy, alive spiritually and Godlike. But this kind of relationship was not yet complete. Man had to be given the occasion to become ethical. He had been preconditioned, so to speak, to make right choices, for without making real choices he would not change into a mature and growing individual as God had planned for him to become. Someone has written that the pair still had a “sub-ethical holiness”, even though holy. “ Holiness is not complete until it is tested”. (Taylor 1985.37). Up until this time they had walked willingly but without a crisis. They had not faced a seductive temptation and only in this manner could their native goodness be either corrupted or confirmed. It was God’s time for them to do battle with the evil one. Apart from such ethical holiness they would be less than their potential as persons and as free moral agents. The record of Genesis tells of the sad account of the fall of man and his plunge into the darkness of sin and death. However, probably the saddest of all was that he had not only broken fellowship with God and lost his holiness, but he had brought himself and his offspring under the direct sphere and rule of satan. To some degree he even gave the devil a kind of legal right over himself which took the death of God’s Son to break. (Heb. 2:14; John 12:31; 14:50; 16:11; 1 Cor. 2:6; Eph. 2:2, Rev. 12:10-11.) These thoughts need to be expanded somewhat, so the student living under an African philosophy/theology can put them into perspective. Some see what is called sin merely as an absence of life force, and only power from God can restore this life force and when you have strong power you are strong and when you have little power you are weak. Much African belief is based on an incorrect understanding that the Holy Spirit is the life force in man and therefore this way of thinking and believing is brought into the practice of many churches, through the ‘prophet’ and others, who have a strong life force themselves. When the life force is weak in a person he is open to all sorts of sicknesses and evil spirits coming into his life and it takes a strong life force to make him strong again. This can only be done by the one who has the power to achieve this through various means. He can use, spells, counselling and in some cases calling on the assistance of the ancestors for help. The person following his instructions is usually restored. This is why the Western theology has been labelled the “white man’s theology” as it does not deal adequately with man’s real problem, lack of life force, the devil and his demons. Many atonement theories teach that when man is “in Christ” he is covered with the righteousness of Christ, but nothing is really changed in him, in the sense that he remains a sinner because he will always be imprisoned by the ‘flesh’, which is matter therefore evil and sinful, even when he becomes a Christian and has the Spirit. It follows that they have to teach that Adam handed over a sinful body to his offspring and that all men are sinners as a result. Everything about man is now sinful because of the fall and just about all he can expect from God is to be forgiven by God because the price was paid by Jesus for him on the Cross. They go further and add that the only way for you to get to heaven as a sinner was for God to decree him to be saved. The reason for believing this is because of the teachings of Augustine who was influenced by the Greek philosophers who taught that all matter is evil and man’s body, being matter, was sinful. It has already been stated that it would take a pronouncement or a decree by Almighty God to accomplish the salvation of man which He did through election but, it had to go to its logical conclusion that if God chose and decreed some to be saved, then those who are not saved must also have been decreed by God to die and go to hell. The other weakness of this whole system of thinking is that it leaves man uncertain of his future in God. He does not know and will not know until he reaches the other side of death as to whether he was one of the chosen or not. Many theologians of this school of thought lived beyond their theology for they say “I am a sinner saved by grace” but do not have any assurance that it really is so. Others say, “Once saved, always saved” on the basis of having received Jesus as their Saviour. That may be true to make such a statement once they get to heaven, but they cannot really tell anyone that here and now for how do they know that they have been chosen from all the others to be saved? It has already been shown that God created man in His own image . . . which made man both a human and a spiritual being. He was created with the personhood of two natures, being spiritual and the other human. This does not mean that he was a little replica of God. He is not a god at all; he is a created being, created by the one and only true God. Man was, therefore, created in the natural image of God, and he could communicate with God who is Spirit and with other creations of God. Adam spoke to God. He also spoke to Eve, also a human being. He spoke to the serpent (satan). This means that because he could communicate with God who is Spirit, he had to be spirit too. His personhood had to have a fundamental character likeness. Since God is Holy, as we know, man had to also be holy. Holiness may be said to be the nature of human nature in two respects. It is so part of man that he cannot be a whole person or a fully human being without it. He cannot function properly without being holy. It was part of who he was when he was created. Only a holy person is a normal man; to whatever extent he is unholy to that extent he is abnormal, corrupt and a sinner. While his personhood could not be lost without him ceasing to be, the same cannot be said about holiness. This was the part of him that was spiritually alive, by being in unbroken fellowship with God’s Holy Spirit who kept him alive spiritually and holy. He was to discover that while holiness was natural to him as a human being, it is not inseparable from his human nature. Man has the capacity to change and God had warned him of this change if he ever disobeyed - and we know how he changed from being holy to becoming unholy. Not to allow for this change through his given power of choice which all humans have, is to overstress the sovereignty of God in his life and make him a puppet. Man was not programmed by God to sin. He listened to the wrong advice of the serpent and made a wrong choice and, in so doing, suffered the consequences of his choice to be disobedient to God’s commandments. At that time, his communication on a truly holy level was broken and he became unreconciled to God and was banished from God’s Presence as well as from the Holy Spirit’s power in his life. He went dead spiritually and because the Holy Spirit was no longer imparting the quality of God’s life to him, he became unholy. The consequences which followed became clear to him. Without realising it he had become reconciled to satan and was now under his influence. He was not just someone who had committed an act of sin, his whole life had now come under the principle of the law of sin and death. Not only was he spiritually dead but he would now suffer death physically and eternally. Let this point be clear that he did not merely have the capacity to be holy when he chose to be, rather he was created holy. He had an upward pull towards God all the time and this choice when he faced temptation was not just given for that test. Their whole human/holy natures at no time found resistance against God’s requirements for them. The fellowship he enjoyed with God was admissible (allowable} but need never have been broken or lost, but he was persuaded by the subtle deceiver. When he fell, God’s Spirit withdrew from man, but this Holy Spirit must not be confused with the Image of God in man. To be ethical, this created inclination which man had towards his Creator, became ethical in the test. Man could have chosen to obey God and have experienced the joy of having a deeper, more appreciative and meaningful love for his creator. God would have moved him to the next step in His plan for him. His life would have been elevated to a fully ethical and mature level. Apart from such ethical holiness they were less than their potential as persons and free moral agents. We have seen that God set up a government over man that demanded at its very core man’s rule over himself. He was the one who would make his own decision over the prohibition that required self restraint. Here lies the heart of the birth of what in ethical terms would be called sin. The test was really between God and self for the allegiance of the soul. Was God going to be God in man’s life or was he going to listen to satan who had made the same mistake of being his own god? We know the outcome of his choice; he decided to go it alone and be his own god, but only to discover that he had brought his life under the anti-god principle of sin. Man’s moral nature became evil and was no longer good. The fact that man was tempted from an external source shows that the temptation did not arise from any evil inclination or moral defect in Adam and Eve. There is nothing wrong with humans when they are tempted. It is what they choose to do with the temptation that carries either good or bad consequences. 14.Therefore sin entered the human race by unbelief and can only be banished by faith. They doubted, opening the door to unbelief, culminating in disobedience and rebellion. God had said, then satan changed what God had said, and they moved from what God said to believing what satan said. So it is today, the evil one uses the same tactic today to entice man to sin. Yet God is still clear in what He is telling man to do. 15. The consequences of their wrong choices were evident. Adam and Eve’s minds now rejected God’s Word as the only Truth. Their love was turned inward and they now loved their own ways. Their wills rejected God’s authority and enthroned themselves as their own god and authority, which is called the principle of sin. 16. It has been seen that man’s nature is so created that it will only function within the framework of God’s will. Man had presumed too much. He thought that his say and choices would make him more knowledgeable and wiser only to discover that when he played god he lost his holiness, bringing guilt and shame and an experienced knowledge of disobedience and sin. Gone was the presence of the Holy Spirit and His peace and joy. They discovered they were powerless to operate on a holy, powerful and spiritual level. Worst of all, they were lost and alone, unable to get back into fellowship with God. They also discovered that the inclination to do good was gone and their hearts and minds were now filled with fear and uneasiness. They knew they had lost God and His blessings and discovered that they wanted to hide from Him. Everything God had given them was good. Now it was all gone. Before, Adam was a live spirit and a human being; now he was a human being with a dead spirit. They were dead to all God’s benefits. He soon discovered that being his own god was not what he thought it would be for there was an influence in him now t hat gave him a bent towards doing evil. 17.But what is meant by sin? It is not something on its own, in fact, it is not a substance, a commodity, a thing, as so many believe. Sin is a religious concept. Sin is not human nature, sin is foreign to man. There has to be God before we can have a knowledge of sin. Wrong is a deviation from what is right. If there is no rightness there can be no wrongness. Even before this, there has to be some standard of rightness. Here are at least three philosophies of rightness and wrongness : Ethical anarchy . . . that every man is a law unto himself Ethical relativism, that rightness or wrongness are determined either by society on the situation itself, or a combination of both. This school of thought denies all moral absolutes. Ethical absolutism . . . that morality is rooted in God, that His authority in the realm of ethics is absolute, and final, unchanging and universal. Violation of God’s standard is sin and conformity is rightness (holiness). This is known as legal sin. If someone unintentionally breaks the speed limit, it is still a legal violation and he is still guilty and must pay the fine. 18.Wesley said that unintentional harmatia (falling short) is not sin “properly so called” because it lacks the element necessary to make sin wicked – evil willing. This alone makes sin a moral evil that requires condemnation and disapproval. This is the difference between a legal concept of sin and an ethical concept. But what about accountability? By this we mean a person is accountable, we hold him responsible as an intelligent moral agent to justify and be accountable for his deeds both by God and man. If his deeds are wrong it implies ‘blameworthiness’ and it is proper to blame him and impose penalties on him. If he is not responsible he is not blameworthy, therefore, there must be guilt. e.g. an idiot cannot be held responsible, nor can infants. Men, also, cannot be held responsible for knowledge they do not have or have had no opportunity to acquire. Thirdly, man must have freedom to choose or else there can be neither sin or righteousness. Then there is the choice itself which results in feeling guilty or vindicated. All of these elements are present in a Biblical and ethical view of sin. Taylor summarises the Wesleyan position on sin in the following manner when he says :“But in all these forms the underlying elements of sin as biblically conceived are present. In these elements we distinguish with Christian view of sin from : a) a Gnostic, which tends to define sin as ignorance; b) the existential and neo-orthodox (e.g. Reinhold Niebuhr), which tend to trace man’s finiteness, implying that his culpability (deserving to be blamed) is diluted by the inherent weakness of nature; c) The Calvinist and Lutheran views, which so stress the legal concept of sin that it is overextended to include a moral shortcoming; and which also so stress man’s irremediable depravity, that no deed can ever escape sin’s taint. “ These latter are not profounder views of sin (as often claimed) but shallower, for they minimise man’s true culpability, on one hand, while at the same time postulating an inherent defect beyond the reach of corrective grace.” (Taylor. 1985. P. 59, 60) At no time must this ethical view of sin be pushed to mean only the intention of the person and not the revealed standard of God. The sin of Adam and Eve was fully ethical. It was accountable wrongness before God. They had been given a clear standard by God which was fully understood by them. They acted in freedom as fully responsible persons and they wilfully disobeyed God. They HARMARTIOLOGY - THE DOCTRINE OF SIN
Lesson Purpose
The student here is helped towards having a right conception of sin. Lesson Outcomes
After have completed this lesson the student will; Have examined the concepts of sin. He will have been exposed to a scriptural view of sin. He will examine his own understanding of sin in the light of scripture. Will form and align his conception of sin with the scriptures. Man, before the Fall, was studied in Lesson 1 under Anthropology and Lesson 2 now deals with man after the Fall. The term harmartiology is derived from one of several terms used to express the idea of sin. Harmatia .signifies a deviation from the way or end appointed by God, and applies to both the act and the resulting condition of sin. We have seen that man by his very constitution is a self-conscious, self-determining being. He is a free moral agent and can perform moral action. He knew God’s law from the beginning and knew the blessedness of obedience to God’s law, at the same time being aware of the consequences. He had a choice – obey or disobey. This is what gave Man was created holy with a bent toward the right, but it was not a fixed state. It could be changed. His knowledge was not omniscient and deception was possible. There were susceptibilities in him to sin and they lay in two directions – a lower and a higher. As a human being he was susceptible to the gratification of his physical desires which, normal in themselves, became the occasion of sin. From his higher or spiritual side as a human he may become impatient with his growth rate and open himself to suggestions which would seem to hasten the accomplishment of what he may interpret as God’s purpose. The use of false means in the attempt to attain good ends is a part of the deception of the evil one. Man was expected by God to obey, showing that he was free to choose. Satan through the serpent presented God’s gifts in a false and illusory light. He is a deceiver – he offered man an illusory image of his freedom. The deceitfulness of sin is evident in that it was so subtle in that it appeared to be good for man. ‘Something that feels so right cannot be wrong.” As a result, the external stages can be observed : Sin began in a self-separation of the will of man from the will of God He was tempted naturally; his normal desires were aroused and sought Satan addressed these natural desires. The natural, innocent desire to know With the injection of doubt, the desire for legitimate knowledge passed into a Acting on his own initiative, making himself separate from God, he brought about the “I am my god principle” into effect. 7. Now man could only pass on this ‘fallen state’ to his offspring. They were in the image of fallen man, after the image of Adam. He was now deprived of God’s Holy Spirit and depraved to the extent of being enslaved to satan. In the process he lost his moral likeness to God, he was no longer holy but unholy and sinful. He had lost spiritual discernment. He now possessed a bent towards sin and evil as well as moral inability or weakness in the presence of sin. However, he was not totally destroyed as a human being. He was not an animal for some of the image of God which was marred still remained in him, kept there by the prevenient Grace of God, good, love and freedom, and these things his heart longed for. Looking at the nature and the penalty of sin as an actual experience in the It has been mentioned that harmatia signifies a falling away from . . . a missing the mark. Associated closely with the word ‘iniquity’ which means a wrong aim. Both terms must not be limited to a mere act, for they also mean sin as a disposition or a state. Harmatia conveys the idea that man does not find in sin what he seeks therein; he finds it a state of delusion and deception. Another word which signifies sin as an act of transgression is parabasis. This limits the idea of sin by the idea of law. (Rom. 4:15). It is the transgression of a positive demand and requires either subjection or transgression. This is possible only to moral and rational beings. As already stated idiots and infants are not sinners although wrongdoers. Parapiptein regards sin as a breaking of a covenant because between God and man it is personal. God is the law-giver hence to transgress the law is personal disobedience to God. God has spoken to men in love, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets,” (Matt. 23:37-40). Therefore sin flowing from a lack of love is both an act and a quality of being. “All unrighteousness is sin”. John 5:17. All adikia is sin. The meaning is ‘crookedness’ or bending what is right. It signifies perverted actions but more in the sense of a state of unrighteousness or disorder arising from such perversion. Sin is replacing God with self. 11 Tim. 3:1-2 “They were lovers of themselves.” This adika signifies a state or condition. Another word is anomia and means lawlessness. “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law; for sin is the transgression of the law. 1 John 3:4. Here transgression does not simply mean the overt act, but as a lack of conformity to the law; at its heart is hostility or rebellion. Something is wrong in man that is why he lives lawlessly. Although there are many other words that teach the same lessons about sin, it will suffice to use one more, that being asebia, or ungodliness. It carries the thought of a character unlike God. It describes a state or condition in man characterised by the absence of God. Because God’s Spirit was no longer in Adam and Eve, they had nothing of God to hand over to their offspring. They were God-less and that is what they transmitted to the human race – Spirit-less man. (Greek word meanings summarized from Wileys Christian Theology Vol 2 p 82 – 86) Man’s death spiritually is due to the withdrawal of the Holy Spirit as the bond of union between the soul and God. Man lost his holiness and became deprived of all the powers of his moral nature. He is known as a sinner and his fallen nature is known as the flesh or sarx, which is his whole being. He has been separated from God and is on his own. The loss of the Holy Spirit leaves man’s heart an abandoned temple. Nothing remains – he is in control of himself - apart from God; so he really worships himself. He is now the ruling self in his life but only as the propped up ruler for now he is under the influence of the spirit of satan. He being now ‘flesh’ becomes the opposing rule of the Spirit. Paul in Gal. 5:16-25 refers to either being under the sway of sarkikos (sinful nature) or pneumaticos (Spirit). As a result man finds that his normal desires become warped and twisted; they are human and normal, belonging to his humanity but under the sway of the fleshly (sinful) leaning and become concupiscence or inordinate desire. 9.Other terms used to expand their meaning : carnal phronema (mind). A mind set, focused on the things that pertain only to the sarx (fleshly desires). James 1:14, 15) uses the term epithumia meaning lust. It has gone far beyond a normal desire; it is out of control. It consumes and drives a man. Looking at an alcoholic lusting for a drink explains this state well. It is in a body craving a fix or a drink. It is in the eyes of the beholder and dwells on pornography and like sins, and it pays any price to possess, whether it be money or position, but it has to be number one. 10. Looking at ungodliness, we must remember that man was created to grow in godliness with all that God had in mind to follow but he sinner and now grows “unto more ungodliness”, simply because human nature was created to grow. Man retains his personality with all its powers but now he exercises them apart from God. Therefore, he operates from a self-centered basis and not a Spirit basis. Sin is not a something that attached itself to man but rather it is now a bias of all his powers that are centred on self, hence a darkening of the intellect, an alienation of affection and a perverseness of the will. 11. The Wesleyan position is that from the moment of man’s sin, God’s prevenient grace was in operation. It was not a determining influence, only an enabling influence. Some feel that Adam’s ability to choose at all shows God’s grace, but here it applies the grace that allows choice is present. Any one can turn to Christ at any time; they do not need to be drawn with irresistible grace. “What is meant here is that the impairment of moral ability in the Fall is sufficiently restored to make the exercise of free agency once again possible.” (Taylor 1985. P. 74). 12. Some of the evidences of inborn sinfulness. In John 3:6 when Jesus said to Nicodemus that he needed a birth from above to enter the Kingdom of God, he also told him that “that which is born of the flesh is flesh.” He was teaching him that human nature as it is, as procreated from one generation to another, is spiritually dead. Parents cannot produce members of the Kingdom of God. They are powerless to do so. It requires a miracle by the Spirit of God to change an unholy person into a Kingdom person. The whole of Romans Chaps. 6-12 shows the struggle of the man enslaved to the flesh and gives man the way out by the “Law of the Spirit in Christ Jesus.” Rom. 8:2. It is much more than forgiveness and the power to overcome. It is to be free from sin (Rom. 6:22). It is not the life of Rom. 7 that is the normal life but the life of Romans 8 and 12 that we read about in 8:12-17. It is all about living free from the control of the flesh and only under the control of the Spirit. 8:6. Clearly Paul is describing a condition in human nature that is the real cause of sinning and the explanation for sin’s universality. It was not part of human nature as created but now normal to man under the sin principle. Eph. 4:22-24, the “new man” which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness “is the antitheses of the old man which is corrupt . . . which is to be put off.” It does not ask only for a change of lifestyle but a transformed nature. Mark 7:21-22. Jesus said that it was sin in man’s heart that defiled him. He had something wrong inside of him that made it impossible for him to live a holy life well-pleasing to God. His source needed to be cleansed, not merely his actions to be forgiven. What he needed was to be delivered from the sinful nature, the sarx spirit over which he really had no control. God was not going to simply give him power to control this spirit that would not be subject to His control. Could it be because man, the real culprit, was still clinging to it? God’s way is not a half measure but a full deliverance and an ongoing cleansing of the child of God. The only thing is, God will not force this on someone for that is the way He created Adam and Eve. It is according to what they really want; it has to do with personal choice. There has been an accusation brought against holiness preachers, especially by the early writers, that they taught that the carnal nature or the sin nature in man was a commodity. Some had even seen Wesley teaching this because of his use of the term ‘eradication’. That is why so many have said that Wesley taught sinless perfection because they thought he meant eradication of the a thing called sin asif he meant a substance, that is not what he taught at all. Even when reading where past theologians have used this term, it is difficult to draw the conclusion that they were speaking of a “something in man that could be literally removed” as the germ of disease ; it seems they were using these terms to illustrate a truth. Many of them were living in a day of new discoveries in the medical world and used the new terminology just as theologians do today. This must be allowed when studying these godly men. They were not trying to sell a new philosophy but attempting to be true to the saving and sanctifying truth as revealed in God’s Word. Many theologians of the past who wrote to discredit the holiness teaching fell into this error themselves but in spite of their theologies, lived pleasing and holy lives unto the Lord. Some of these tended to put too much emphasis on the will of man. They spoke of the will as the mainspring of both character and destiny. Their language implies a personification of the will as if they were talking about some sort of independent agency or entity. The will, as a thing in itself, is nothing and does nothing; it is the total man who is involved in his decisions, not his will. Man cannot say, “I can’t seem to give over my will entirely to God.” What he should rather say is “I am not yet willing to yield myself entirely to God.” Man is a moral being and is responsible for what he does as a whole person. Others imagine that because their bodies are sinful (all matter being evil) that they are not responsible for their actions before God. They are deluding themselves. It is like those who say that they are yet carnal; they can only do carnal-human things and God understands and accepts them because He has already forgiven them of all sins in Christ, sins past, present and future. Man’s nature as he is born into the world is corrupt, averse to God, without spiritual life, and is inclined to evil continually. He is not responsible for this nature, hence no guilt or demerit attaches to it. Not that depravity is not uncondemnable but because it was the atoning work of Christ which reversed the penalty. Therefore man is not guilty for so-called inbred sin. He becomes responsible to either accept or reject this offer, and he can, because of the grace of God is freely bestowed on all men through Jesus Christ. Wesley taught that all men from the moment of the Fall are under the Grace of God. That was His plan before the foundation of the world. Eph. 1:4. The way has been cleared for all men to approach God on the grounds of the shed blood of Jesus, and to actualize their deliverance from this evil nature, by grace through faith alone. .A sinner is separated from God, became subject to the self and is incapable of any spiritual restoration in himself. Fallen man although free moral agent, is not able to do good apart from the Holy Spirit in his life and cannot save himself. He also has a secret filthiness in his flesh and his spirit which is the source of all carnal manifestations. It is an evil principle of sin that controls him. It is not only the past sins of these manifestations that must be dealt with but he must also be delivered from its power and cleansed entirely from its presence. Gal. 5:24. “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts”. Naturally, the body carries the consequences and scars of the sinful life, the mind has to relearn ways of holy living and the will has to be strengthened through right choices but the new child of God has a new bias towards growing in Christlikeness. SALVATION IN CHRIST
Lesson Purpose
The purpose of this lesson is to introduce the student to the only way of salvation from sin, that being through faith by grace in the shed blood of Jesus alone. Lesson Outcomes
Understand his own personal needs in the light of scriptural teaching. He will be encouraged to act in faith according to the light he receives. Christ Jesus the Lord is man’s only door through which he can enter and once again be reconciled to God. There is no other way. In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no man cometh to the Father, but by me.” Peter said, “There is no other name under heaven given to man, by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12. The Bible in Matt. 1:21 tells us clearly that Jesus came to save man from sin, also clearly taught in Heb. 7:25 “to save completely those who came to God through Him.” 1.The Biblical basis and History of the Atonement The Primitive Period is everywhere characterised by sacrifices and they are recorded as an essential element in any approach to God. In Gen. 3:21. “Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin and clothed them.” This verse implies the first shedding of blood, but by God and not by man. God took the initiative to clothe man’s nakedness. Man was unable to atone for himself in any way. Adam’s nakedness spoke of his disobedience, guilt and sin before God and here we see God’s mercy reaching out to cover man’s shame and guilt. It involved the forfeiting of a life, pointing to the coming Lamb of God as was promised in 3:15 when speaking to the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel.” Then there is the account of Cain and Abel. “Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and his offering.” Gen. 4:3, 4). This scripture with Heb. 11:4, “By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous. God testifying of his gifts, and through it he being dead still speaks.” But it is connected again to the shedding of blood. We must take note of two things, the first: that the blood sacrifice was offered in faith, and the other was that it was divinely approved. The Bible does not go so far as to say that the sacrifice of an animal was essential but it seems to be implied. Some say that because it was given in faith it was acceptable but others see the part played by the shedding of blood providing a substitute. Then there is the sacrifice of Noah offered immediately upon leaving the ark. “And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord and took every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the Lord said in His heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake.” Gen. 8:20,21. Here again was the shedding of blood, for Noah would not have burned these animals alive as an offering, and God was satisfied and approved. In Genesis 15:9-21, we find Abraham offering up animal sacrifices in obedience to the command of God. The acceptance of the offering is shown by “the burning lamp” which passed between the pieces and hallowed them. 2.The sacrifices were regarded as expiatory in character (expiation – making amends or paying a penalty). In Gen. 9:4 “But the flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.” The blood was prohibited because it was the sign of atonement, the means of acceptance by God. It was obedience by faith even when it was not clear to them and it was counted as obedience and righteousness because it was the God-given way for their atonement and acceptance by God. Rom. 4:3. While these sacrifices had no power in themselves to atone for sin, as shown in Heb. 10:1-4, they were not merely ceremonial. They spoke of faith and obedience to the way that God revealed as an atonement. Their efficacy (the power of producing effects) lay in the power of Christ’s sacrifice to come, to which, as types and symbols, they pointed forward in faith. It was the agreed way for man to approach God, it was a covenant, based on shed blood. In Hebrew the word which is translated sacrifice or atonement signifies “to cover” or “to hide”. Since God is holy and unapproachable to sinful man, it is thought that the word to cover means a defensive cover for those who would approach Him. However, there is the meaning of the life forfeited as given in place of the sinner and on those grounds freedom from guilt and forgiveness and reconciliation given by God. The idea is not that man was hiding under the cover so that God could not see him, but that his sin was taken on by the death of the sacrifice Sin was paid for by death and symbolically in the Old Testament agreement, man had exchanged places, thus receiving the life that had been forfeited on his behalf. It represented in this case the pure life that the sinner should have. Hereby, the sacrificial lamb became the symbol of the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world, whose life atoned for the sin of the world. Rom. 3:25 “Him, God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” The sacrifices not only pointed to Christ as the great antitype (pointing to real) but they were also showing the true nature of His human sacrifice. It could only be done by God’s chosen sacrifice, for no one was allowed by God to sacrifice himself. It would have been suicide. It could only be done by the Righteous Servant of Jehovah, hence there developed in Israel the Messianic ideal. Through Him there would come a new and holy, powerful people of God, and His Rule would include all mankind. Under the Mosaic economy (the time of Moses) the sacrifices of the law revealed the vicarious death of the Messiah, developed later in the prophetic era. The promise was that God’s Spirit would be restored and given again to the people of God and the Messiah would reign again. The prophets made this clearer and prophesied His sacrificial suffering and death. Perhaps the height was reached in Isaiah 53:4-6, 10, 11 . . . “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed . . .” None greater has ever been written about the Lord Jesus, the Christ. 6.This brings us to the New Testament conception of Sacrifice. The conception of Christ’s atoning sacrifice as found in the Old Testament is the completion of that which has already been foreshadowed in the foregoing sacrifices. Christ is described as having died according to the Scriptures. Our Lord Himself represents His death as a ransom for no man had power to take it from Him. This is why He came into the world. It was God’s plan before the foundation of the world. Rom. 3:21-26. The New Testament regards Christ as a propitiatory sacrifice which is accepted by God. 7.The motive for the Atonement is found in the love of God. John 3:16, 17 .“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son . . . For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved.” Christ’s life and death are expressions of God’s love. Christ was and is God who is love in action towards us. The Cross then is God’s greatest testimony of His love for us. 8.Ralph Earle says, “But the atonement is something more than the forgiveness of sins. It means not only at-one-ment of fellowship but at-one-ment of character. . . . this atonement is far more than a legal transaction . . . In the New Testament, redemption is explained primarily, not in concept of law, but of life and love. (Geiger 1965 : p. 174). A theory of atonement that leads to a mere interpretation of holiness without adequate imparted holiness is not really holiness to the person. He has to be made holy, not just reckoned holy by God when he really is not. 9.God does not give Jesus to some in a closed transaction, for love needs and requires a personal response to be ethical and real. By this is meant that God does not choose to save some people and call them with irresistible grace and then gives only these elect forgiveness from past, present and future sins, bringing them into an eternal standing of being just before Him. This stems from the penal satisfaction theory of the atonement. Those of this view see Christ’s death as the exact penalty or payment in full for the sins of the elect (only) for sins already punished can have no further power. Salvation then is a pronouncement by God and damnation is also decreed by Him. Man needs nothing more, for he is perfect in Christ, sanctified in Christ and made righteous in Christ, no matter how he lives from now on, once in Christ always in Christ. This results in an anti-holiness bias towards those who teach that God has chosen everyone to be saved in Christ and Christ, through His death and resurrection, has made it possible for anyone, anywhere, to respond to Him by grace through faith and be recreated in Christ. 11 Cor. 5:17. By responding to Him in faith it becomes a love relationship. But salvation is much more than merely being in Christ. It is now Christ living in us. Speaking to this, Dr William Greathouse says, “This view of Gustaf Aulen calls the Christus Victor Idea of Christ’s Atonement. Christ died and rose, not to cover up sin but to destroy it. His work was first and foremost a divine victory over the powers of evil that have held humanity in bondage. In His flesh-and-blood body, the Son of God, by His death and resurrection, has dethroned satan and abolished sin and death.” (1977 : p.55). This salvation is not forced upon anyone. Naturally, the unfulfilled and incomplete Image of God in man will want to respond to this message of love. This is why everyone should be given the opportunity of choosing by grace through faith God’s invitation in Christ. 10.The ceremonial law, with its sacrifices and sin offerings, provided a temporary means of atoning for transgressions of the Law and the Ten Commandments (Gal. 3:19, Heb. 9:7) all pointed to Christ. They taught the necessity of obedience, holiness and the shedding of blood as a means of remission for sins (Heb. 9:1-15). These sacrifices pointed forward in faith to the efficacy of Christ’s sacrifice in fulfilling the demands of the Law. Speaking about this doctrine of the Atonement, John A. Knight says, “The Atonement provides more than a forgiveness of sins and adoption into the family of God. The main thing in man’s salvation is not removal of guilt, but the actual transformation of a sinner into an obedient child of God.” (1995 : p. 87). Still speaking about the response we make by grace through faith to the Lord Jesus Christ, John A. Knight continues in this vein, “A decisive transition is made in the moment of conversion, at which time every Christian is initially sanctified or made holy. The true Christian enjoying continuing sanctification seeks to live out this new relationship and under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit, moves normally to the next critical stage of Christian development in the life of holiness – entire sanctification and beyond.” (1995 : p.90). In the early centuries of Christianity, the idea of human freedom was never questioned. The Gospel was believed and preached to be a “whosoever believeth” gospel, and it was presumed that men were free to respond in faith. The issue came into force in the fifth century in a debate between Augustine and Pelagius. Pelagius repudiated the idea that man has to be a sinner because he had a corrupt nature. He argued that each man is his own Adam with a perfectly free will to decide what direction his life would take. He said that if he did not want to sin, he did not have to. He made the mistake of confusing the free will with grace. If you choose on your own to obey Christ you can; the choice is entirely yours but he was wrong for all need the grace of God to come to God. Augustine disagreed and said that every man must have the internal grace of God in him, healing his will but he will always be a sinner. But in his strong emphasis against Pelagius he came out fostering the idea of predestination and it became all grace and nothing of man. In fact, even man’s placing faith in Christ was taken as works. The outcome was that man became saved by the sovereign grace of God alone. If it is by grace alone and none can respond without this irresistable grace, and those not given this grace cannot respond. The Protestant Reformation rejected the idea of Pelagius, as taught by Thomas Aquinas in the Catholic Church because it was based on the doctrine of works. Luther believed that man before God was so totally corrupt that “all his virtues are but splendid vices.” He emphasised that faith was the exclusive gift of grace. Again, the pendulum had swung too far for by “faith” he meant the faith given only to those chosen by God to be saved, the ones who had been predestined to salvation, thereby denying man his free will altogether. John Calvin followed these teachings and systematized these ideas in his Institution of Christian Religion. They had reacted too far against the Catholic doctrine of salvation by good works. This was taken even further by Beza who taught that if God elects some to go to heaven then He must also elect the rest to go to hell. This became known as double predestination. Wesley saw that Augustine and his followers had so depraved man that they had even made his human nature to be so sinful that it was unsaveable. Even after he had become one of the elected and predestined ones, man was matter and all matter was considered evil. Only his soul could be saved. Augustine had brought in this thought through his own earlier association with Greek philosophy. Of course, Wesley believed in original sin and the depravity of man but in the sense that because man was deprived of the Holy Spirit, he was therefore depraved and in this state could do nothing of himself to become spiritually alive. However, he recognised every man’s God given ability to believe and accept Christ as his Saviour to be saved, and to know it through the witness of the Spirit. Wesley believed every person was kept saveable and given faith to believe if they so chose, by the prevenient grace of God, and also seen in the scriptures as the invitation of God for all men to be saved. Naturally, it was really all of God for only God alone made this possible through the atoning work of Christ on the sinners behalf. But it was an offer open to all sinners. This prevenient grace was not just unmerited love. It was God’s love in action and it was also enabling grace given to each one who believes the gracious ability to respond to the call of the gospel. Man could also reject this call once heard. It was never irresistible grace. Salvation, then, is by divine grace, not by human endeavour. First, our salvation is by God’s gracious provision in the Cross of Jesus. He died where we should have died, He took the place of every one of us. Calvinism came out teaching a limited atonement in that Jesus only died to save those chosen by God to be saved. There was no provision made to those chosen to be damned. Imagine what they will say one day at the great white judgement throne of God! Rev. 20:11ff. Secondly, salvation is by God’s gracious assistance through the Holy Spirit. He awakens the sinner to his lost condition and his need to trust Jesus as his Saviour. He converts the sinner and He then cleanses him; but more than just bringing him into right standing, justified; He regenerates him and creates him into a child of God and abides in him. Wesley called this God’s grace that is “free for all, and free in all.” So it is through the free grace of God that all men can be saved and sanctified. Scriptural Terms used to express Atonement The words are propitiation, redemption and reconciliation. Propitiation – hilasterion – refers to the lid or covering of the ark of the covenant which stood in the holy of holies. When the blood was sprinkled it became known as the place of atonement. This is where God met man on the grounds of the shed blood. This was the blood of the slain sin offering which was sprinkled in the presence of where the Shekinah of God appeared between the cherubim and over the mercy seat. This foreshadowed what was to become in reality the shedding of the blood of Jesus for all sinful men. This was the price that Jesus paid for the salvation of all men. The sacrifice was His own blood. All men may draw near to God on the grounds of the shed blood of Jesus. Hebrews 9:28 uses the word anaphero which means “to bear up our sins, to take upon oneself and to bear our sins i.e. to bear the penalty of sin, to make expiation for sin. He was both the offerer and the offering. In His death Jesus opened the way for anyone to approach God and in so doing, He was putting into action God’s love in forgiveness and God’s grace in acceptance. The way was cleared of all hindrances. Those who identified by faith their sinfulness with the suffering Saviour were being invited to be cleansed with His blood. It was to be an act of faith by grace on their behalf. His dying did not save them; each one has to individually and personally appropriate His saving work of grace by faith. The price was His death, the shedding of His blood, and in this manner He redeemed us. He bought us back from the slave market of sin and reconciled us back to God. Reconcile means He brought man back into fellowship with God. Man was at one with God, at one with the Father, at one with the living Son of God – Jesus, and one with God the Holy Spirit. He was at home, adopted as a full child of God. John 1:12. The ransom price is the blood of Christ, Matt. 20:28, 1 Tim. 2:6, 1 Peter 1:18, 19. This ransom price secured for mankind the deliverance from the bondage of sin, from the curse of the Law. Gal. 3:13. from the power of sin. John 8:34, Rom. 8:13:23 This deliverance is also called redemption, meaning being redeemed from; the guilt of sin, from the reigning power of sin, and from the in-being of sin. This will be dealt with further in the next lesson. THE EXTENT OF THE ATONEMENT
The purpose of this lesson is for the student to see that the Atonement is universal. LESSON OUTCOMES
Upon completion of this lesson the student will; Be motivated to share the gospel of saving grace in Jesus Christ with everyone. He will realized that there is no scriptural basis for a limited atonement, but that Jesus included every man in His atoning work on the cross. He will believe that it is God’s plan that all men everywhere be saved. “This does not mean that all mankind will be unconditionally saved but that the sacrificial offering of Christ so far satisfied the claims of the divine law as to make salvation a possibility for all. Redemption is therefore universal or general in the provisional sense but special or conditional in its application to the individual. It is for this reason that the universal aspect is sometimes known as the sufficiency of the atonement.” (Wiley 1952:p. 295). The final authority for such claims must come from the Scripture for theologians The first is the statement of our Lord, “that the Son of Man came . . . to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matt. 20:2p. Taken in relationship to this verse is the text of Paul and is evidently a quotation from the previous scripture, “who gave himself a ransom for all.” 1 Tim. 2:6. Notice that His life becomes Himself, the purchase price, the personal Redeemer, and the many becomes all. Here are some scriptures which teach that the atonement of Christ is universal : John 3:16, 17. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son . for God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be “saved.” Rom. 5:8,18. “But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. . . . Therefore, as through one man’s offense, judgement came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous acts, the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.” 1 Cor. 5:14, 15. “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus, that if one died for all, then all died, and He died for all, that those who live, should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them, and rose again. 1 Tim. 2:4 “who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the Truth.” 1 Tim. 4:10 “. who is the Saviour of all men, especially of those who believe.” Heb. 2:9, 10:29 “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. . . . of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace.” (New King James version). 11 Peter 2:1 “. . . even denying the Lord who bought them.” 1 John 2:2, 4:14 “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not ours only but also for the whole world. . . . And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Saviour of the world.” In the same vein the Scriptures speak of the universal proclamation of the Gospel and its accompaniments: Matt. 24:14, 28:19, Mark 16:15, Luke 24:47, Rom. 14:15, “. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died.” Wesleyan Arminianism with its emphasis upon moral freedom and prevenient grace holds to the universality of the atoning work of Christ for all men (not leaving out even one, like Judas), by grace, and available by faith. Even though many theologians in general, have to agree with Scripture that teaches the universality of the atoning work of Christ, they say that God knew who would be saved, so Christ is sufficient to save all those whom God knew will be saved. They are locked in to the Westminster Confession which says “By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His Glory, some men and angels are predestined unto everlasting life and others foreordained to everlasting death. The Atonement, even though offered in Christ to man personally, must not be so individualised that its real good is lost, and that it is simply God choosing who and how many are to go to heaven and the exact number chosen to go to hell. It is rather to be understood as the making of a new people of God, a new place. Olin Curtis says, “What was God’s primary purpose – what was He trying to do in redemption? . . . There is I am satisfied; only one final answer possible : to obtain a race of holy persons. He was not trying to get here and yonder, a separate moral person, ready to enjoy the divine glory, No, God wanted an entangled race – a personal organism of holy men – that was God’s aim . . . Out of the Adamic race, broken in organism, and doomed to destruction as a race, the work of Christ is to secure a new race completely personal, completely organic, and completely holy.” (Curtis 1956 : p. 317, 318). This means that Christ has by His death and resurrection made it possible for everyone and anyone to be saved by His grace and through their faith in Him. By so doing, He restored all men to a state of salvability, for He provided for all persons unconditionally, this free gift of grace. It is hardly conceivable that the sinful race would have been allowed to continue and multiply in its sin and depravity, if no provision had been made for them to be saved. Another benefit of the Atonement was that man would be aided by the Holy Spirit who convicts, awakens, draws, performs the saving and sanctifying of the person who believes. Then there is the Intercession of Christ. The New Testament does not teach that the work of Christ ceased with the coming of the Holy Spirit. We know from His side He completed His atoning work perfectly and that the Father as governor was satisfied fully from His position. Rather this completed atoning work was the ground for His work for His administration, which He Himself was to continue through His Spirit. He died for the sins of the past, as demanded under the Old Agreement, that He might establish a new covenant. He made out a new will and He arose from the dead to become the executive of His own will. He now carries into effect through His Spirit, the merits of His atoning death. “It is Christ who died . . . who maketh intercession for us.” Rom. 8:34. “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father.” 1 John 2:1. As a consequence of Christ’s intercession for us, the Holy Spirit is given as an intercessory presence within the hearts of men. “. . . but the Spirit maketh intercession for us . . . according to the will of God.” Rom. 8:26, 27. The Intercession of Christ at the right hand of God, and the intercession of the Spirit within, are in perfect harmony. Repentance presupposes the sinful condition of mankind. Man needs help in seeing his lostness and to restrain him from utter despair as a result of this revelation. This the Holy Spirit gives to him by the grace that God gives before man is saved. (Prevenient grace and Preventing grace). But now man also needs help to turn to Christ and this ability the Holy Spirit gives to him willingly. Man has then to make his own decision either to accept or to reject Christ’s offer. He can only make real choices because of the grace of God working in him. Nowhere does the scripture teach such a thing as “irresistible grace.” It is the Holy Spirit who brings contrition or godly sorrow for sin. It is a sorrow that yearns to depart from sin and moves to Christ as the only answer for his lostness. The sinner is enabled to see sin from God’s point of view and is open to God’s plan of salvation from sin. Next, the Holy Spirit enables the sinner to confess his state of sin before the holy and just God and he sees that he stands condemned and liable to condemnation and eternal death. He realizes that he is utterly helpless before God’s law which condemns him as a sinner. Repentance then moves the sinner to accept God’s cure in Jesus Christ. The power is Gods’ but the act of choosing Christ is necessarily his own, enabled by grace given. When a person does not repent it is because he will not, and not because he is decreed by God to refuse Christ. All men are guilty and will die and go to hell if they do not accept God’s provision in Christ for all. They can never blame God for their failure to believe for all men by prevenient grace can believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. Finney said that it was a turning from a state of consecration to self, to a state of consecration to God. This is a state of the soul consequent to the act of repentance. Penitence stays with the Christian for the rest of his life. It is the attitude which belongs to every born again believer and will exist in every stage of his life, some believe, even into eternity. It is this penitent attitude in the spirit of the new creation in Christ that becomes as a growing hatred for sin which leads a person to the point of seeking full cleansing from sin. 1 John 1-7. When a person repents and believes his faith becomes saving faith. It is not man simply changing himself by some positive mental attitude. The nature of faith, in general, is to believe there is a higher power, a Creator, a God. It can even go so far as believing that man is a sinner and that Christ is the only Saviour, but that does not save anybody. Faith, pistis, means “to trust” and carries the idea of trusting. The individual becomes convinced to the point that he places his faith in that which he is now convinced is truth and trustworthy to him. He commits himself to that knowledge or person who has given him this understanding. A person becomes totally convinced that he can fully trust, so he acts by accepting and believing, and he is at peace with his decision because the doubt and turmoil have gone. All of these are involved in believing. Saving faith is not a different kind of faith but a trust in the one making the offer and a full commitment to His Truth. It is turning to Christ as the Truth and the only way of salvation and, therefore, is a personal trust in Christ as his personal Saviour. The one making it all happen is the Holy Spirit. He is the efficient cause of this faith. Man cannot get this far on his own. The instrumental cause is the revelation of the truth concerning his need and the answer in Jesus as his Saviour alone, as Wesley always emphasised when he constantly preached “that Christ loved me, and gave Himself for me.” Faith says, I “I trust Him so much to save me that I give myself entirely to Him.” It is a personal decision made in the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. It is never an easy believe-ism, but a full handing over, to become a disciple of the Teacher, Master, Jesus. Faith, then, is the act of the entire being under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Some Christians believe that if they can just get a person to respond to the Gospel presentation by consenting and praying, that this naturally means they are sinners now saved by grace, stemming from the idea that they really will only respond because they are the chosen and elected ones to be saved. That is not saving faith – that is general faith. There has to be repentance, penitence, a forsaking and confession of sin and a full commitment to Christ. No one is against calling people to respond to God and then to be properly counselled in the way of salvation. To be awakened is not being saved. Saving grace is that act by which the prevenient grace of the Spirit passes over into the regenerate life of the believer. Thus the faith which saves becomes the faith which is a law over being. The initial act becomes the continuing attitude. “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him, rooted and built up in Him, and established in faith.” Col. 2:6, 7. This faith becomes “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” Rom. 8:2. . It is also a faith that works by love and steps into this world and its needs, knowing that the Christ who now lives within will continue His will and ministry to the needs of others through him. He understands that “faith without works is dead.” James 2: 19, 20, 26. Conversion is another term used to describe the process by which the soul turns from sin to salvation. Peter preached, “Repent ye therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out.” Acts 3:19. Also used in John 12:40, Matt. 18:3, Luke 22:32, Acts 3:26, Acts 26:18, James 5:19, 20. . Barnwell says in Connecting to Christ that, “ Repentance is the precondition for saving faith and without it saving faith is impossible. Faith, in turn, is the only condition for salvation. It begins in the agreement of the mind and the consent of the will to the truth of the Gospel, but issues in a complete reliance of the whole person in the saving ability of Jesus Christ and a complete trusting of oneself to Him as Saviour and Lord. Saving faith is expressed in a public acknowledgment of His Lordship and an identification with his church” ( Barnwell:117) The Wesleyan position is that through enabling grace, preveniently bestowed, man turns to God and then is regenerated. This turning then is his conversion. One of the most clear statements about the new life enjoyed in Christ, is, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, (creation), old things have passed away; behold all things have become new. 2 Cor. 5:17. This is the greatest witness to Christ being Truth. He creates new men and women and they become part of a new race, the new Israel. It is a three-sided miracle, known commonly as conversion, since from the one side it is justification, from another it is regeneration, and the other side being adoption. Barnwell again says that, “ We believe that when one repents of personal sin and believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, that at the same moment that person is justified, regenerated, adopted into the family of God, and assured of personal salvation through the witness of the Holy Spirit.---“ Ibid:117) 11.Justification is defined as that gracious and judicial act of God by which He grants full pardon of all guilt and complete release from the penalty of sin committed, and acceptance as righteous, to all who believingly receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. (Manual : Church of the Nazarene). 12. This is by solafides, faith alone. “. . . therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without deeds of the law.” Rom. 3:21-26, 28. This teaches that man’s righteousness has utterly failed. God has disclosed His righteousness in the Gospel in providing the atonement in Christ, opening the way for Him to forgive the penitent believer in Jesus. On these grounds a man is justified by faith, without any deeds of his own. Paul underlines this truth, that even Abraham was justified through faith “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness.” Rom. 4:3. Nowhere is it intimated that Christ’s personal obedience to God is substituted for what the sinner is supposed to do. Man has failed and has to accept that the way to salvation has been opened to him through the death and resurrection of Jesus. He either accepts this work on his behalf or he rejects it. Christ does not transfer His righteousness upon the elected ones, covering them up so God cannot see that they are still sinful. No. Every sinner has to come to Him for a “recreation” which involves forgiveness, justification and regeneration. A sinner becomes a holy follower of Jesus Christ. Therefore, justification is much more than “just standing before God as if righteous; in Christ he really stands righteous before God because he has been pardoned on the grounds of what Jesus did in his place. He has also been declared righteous by the Judge Himself, so he is fully accepted as a son into the family of God. 13. He has really been regenerated. It is “regeneration, or the new birth; that gracious work of God whereby the moral nature of the repentant believer is spiritually quickened and given a distinctly spiritual life, capable of faith, love and obedience.” (Manual) Regeneration means “to be again”, and occurs only twice in the Bible , Matt. 19:28 and in Titus 3:5. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” Other terms that describe the work of regeneration are, “born of God.” John 1:13, “born again” John 3:3, “born of the Spirit” John 3:5-6, “quickened” Eph. 2:1, 3, “passed from death to life” John 5:24. Regeneration then as represented as a divine generation. “Of His own will begot He us with the Word of Truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of His creatures” (new creations – own words) James 1:18. Also, as a divine creation, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.” Eph. 2:10. Regeneration is also represented as a divine resurrection. “And you hath He quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins.” Eph. 2:1. “And you being dead in your trespasses and sins and the circumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven all your trespasses.” Col. 2:13. 14.Viewed from the angle of adoption, Wiley defines adoption as “the declaratory act of God, by which upon being justified by faith in Jesus Christ, we are received into the family of God and reinstated in the privileges of sonship.” (Christian Theology 2: p. 428). 1 John 3:2, Gal. 3:26 “Since we are children of God, we are heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, the Son.” Rom. 8:15 “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, “Abba Father.” Born again believers are all children of God and have an inheritance in heaven reserved for them. 1 Peter 1:14, Luke 11:32 “Do not fear little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” At His return, Christ will “manifest” all this to the children of God. Rom. 8:18-23. Here then is the witness of God’s Word that all believers are the children of God, but they also have in them the witness of the Holy Spirit bearing witness with their Spirits that they are the children of God. “And hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He hath given us.” 1 John 3:24, 1 John 4:13, 2 Cor. 1:22 “. . . hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” The submissive heart is the wax, the Holy Spirit is the Sealer, and the Image of Christ (the image of God) is the visible mark of identification. The seal is both an assurance to the believer and a sign to the world. The earnest is the down payment God makes of His Spirit, as a guarantee that everything else to come will be available to finally complete the transaction and then there is the witness of the human spirit. I perceive that since receiving Christ I am a new person, all things have become new. I am a Christian. LESSON 5 HOLINESS IS LIVING RIGHTEOUSLY
To teach the student the way of Righteousness as taught in the Scriptures. LESSON OUTCOMES
Upon completing this course the student will; Have to examine his own life and faith in the light of these scriptural teachings. Understand the importance of living righteously. The real purpose of reconciliation “that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” 2 Cor. 5:21. The Kingdom of God is “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Rom. 14:17. This dikaiosune – is real righteousness of life and character as well as justification Peter understood it the same way; Christ bore our sins, not as a substitute for our righteousness, “but that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24. When the Corinthians are said “to be sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints” 1:2, they are called to be holy in life. They were to be free from those habits and evil that they had acquired through their own choices. 1 Cor. 5:9-11. But they needed something more. They needed cleansing from the inherited nature that came through the Fall. This was the real cause of their coming short in living out the life of holiness. It is not long that as a born again believer, the Christian becomes aware that not only did he need forgiveness and become a new creation, but that his new life now brings him into a struggle with the sin nature in him, which he is unable to control, suppress or discipline. When he really wants to serve God to the fullest it seems as if something is holding him back and he really can’t keep up doing what he knows he ought to be doing. He knows that he has been forgiven, justified, reconciled to God and initially sanctified. The life that he lives is in a very real sense different from his previous life of sinning. Even his mind has grown in truth and he is aware of a growing to be Christlike but there is this nature in him that still has a bias towards the fleshly desires. He cannot understand why it is so when he does love the Lord. Some have told them he will always feel this way because he will always have the sinful nature for it is the nature which all humans were born with and is therefore part and parcel of being a human being. He then sets about trying to suppress these “human” desires, now sinful desires, and becomes a sort of spiritual balancing artist. Sometimes he seems able to control himself and at other times is disgusted with what he thinks, says and does, and gets into a cycle of longing to be free, suppressing and controlling word, thought and deeds that are biased towards sinning, and then feeling guilty, repenting, getting cleansed, and then starting the cycle all over again. Eventually this starts to become a lifestyle. He is even taught to resist the devil but it does not always work out and he becomes discouraged. Some seek all sorts of experiences to empower themselves to live above these failures but there seems to be no power experience that really works, so they carry on and eventually accept this as the normal Christian experience. They really believe that they cannot be delivered from this sinful nature in this life, but take refuge in the belief that once saved always saved, so they do not have to worry about anything else. God will do what He is meant to do, for He elected them to this life and there must be an ultimate purpose to it all. The scriptures, however, do teach that Jesus Christ has provided a way for the deliverance of the Christian from the sinful nature and that it is an experience that is possible in the here and now by grace through faith. It is called Entire Sanctification. There are basically four positions concerning the subject of holiness : All evangelical Christians hold it is a Bible doctrine, that it includes freedom from sin, that it is accomplished through the merits of Christ’s death and that it is the heritage of those who are already believers. (Wiley. Christian Theology : p.441). They differ in the following ways : that holiness is concomitant with regeneration and completed at that time another says it is a growth from the moment of being saved until the moment of others say that man is made holy in the article of death Wesleyans believe that holiness begins in regeneration but is completed as an instantaneous work of the Holy Spirit subsequent (something more after salvation) to regeneration We need to ask the question, what does the Scripture teach about Holiness? It is the will of God that His people be holy. “For this is the will of God even your sanctification.” 1 Thess. 4:3. “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the Body of Christ once for all”. Heb. 10:10. God commands holiness. “Be ye holy for I am holy”. 1 Peter 1:15. God has promised to sanctify His people. “I indeed baptise you with water unto repentance, but He that cometh after me He shall baptise you with the Holy Ghost and with fire. Whose fan is in His hand and He will thoroughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner, but He will burn the chaff with unquenchable fire. Matt. 3:11, 12. It is evident that it is the Spirit of Christ who sanctifies holy and purifies the people from the chaff in their lives. It must also be noted that this promise was meant to be fulfilled at Pentecost as it was, but it was the Christians who were purified. This work of grace was for Christians. We read in Rom. 12:1-2, “Present yourselves . . . . .” to God. Only a Christian has a new and initially sanctified life to present to God. The sinner, before his conversion, has nothing to give. Also, the bent towards the world was to be renounced and transformed so that they could prove God’s will in their lives. They would have power to produce the fruit of the Spirit. They would operate from a basis of God’s love, and they would have a powerful and dynamic ministry. The rest of Chap. 12 speaks of the gifted ministries, building relationships and growing in Christlikeness, even loving their enemies. When examining this doctrine from the Scriptures it is interesting to see how the Greek tenses support the belief in an instantaneous work, e.g. Acts 15:8-9 the word “purifying” is in the aorist tense – instantaneously. The word “present” in Rom. 12:1 is again the aorist tense, meaning a simple act not needing to be repeated. “And they that are Christs have crucified (aorist – a single definite and completed act) the flesh, with its affections and lusts.” Gal. 5:24. “And the very God of peace sanctify (aorist) you wholly . . .” 1 Thess. 5:23. “That He might sanctify (aorist) the people with His own blood.” Heb. 13:12. 1 John 1:9 “If we confess (present tense) our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive (aorist) us our sins, and to cleanse (aorist) us from all unrighteousness. Here forgiveness and cleansing are spoken of as completed acts, both done by our Lord, two distinct works of grace. Just as justification was not gradual but in one moment, so cleansing from all sin is also a work of one divine moment. It is not the generic nature of man that must be cleansed for that would make him something other than man. But this generic has other kinds of being. It has personality, conscience and ability to change. Man also has a spirit. It is here that change can take place, in his moral and spiritual nature, and it is beneath all of these that “self” influenced and controlled by the sinful nature lurks. This is where the principle and proneness of sin lies and it is here that he needs to be delivered and cleansed from this “flesh” that is not subject to God’s will. Rom. 8:4-6, 7. Also Gal. 5:16-21, 24-25. Vs. 24, 25, “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” He is definitely talking to Christians who know Christ and in Rom. 12:1-2 he beseeched them to present themselves totally to Christ, so that they are His, in the sense that He is their Lord and King, and fully reigns in every area of their lives, especially in the areas of their moral and spiritual lives, and when invited to fill those areas with His Holy Spirit, His presence and power expels the power and presence of the devil’s influences and control over them, and imparts the quality of His pure life and power into their lives. It is a definite work, subsequent to regeneration. That is why some call it the “second blessing”. We must keep the emphasis on the work of the Holy Spirit, for in reality it is not just a blessing but a conscious yielding to God for Him to fill the life with the Holy Spirit. We must be careful not to make so much of the experience of entire sanctification (that is the term used) that we draw attention away from the Holy Spirit now filling our lives. It is a new relationship with Him as God the Spirit. He is not apart from God or a mere influence of God or some impersonal power. His Presence alone makes us holy and keeps us holy. This experience of heart holiness does not dehumanise us, in fact, it makes us more fully human, and our natural desires and instincts are brought under His control. We are really free to be ourselves. God does not want to destroy the self, He wants to restore it to its original creation, in the image of God. The crucifixion of self is not the death of self; it is the death of the old self, and the empowering into a new self. The human nature is neutral but was born under the bias to sin because of Adam’s moral nature being passed on minus the Holy Spirit, the source of God’s power and holiness in him. Now this position is restored by an act of God. Some have been influenced, to believe that the human nature is sinful because it is matter. No, Human nature is not sinful in this sense. It was his spirit side which became the open door to the sin nature because Adam had brought himself under the influence and presence of the devil, impregnating him with his nature and principles. Satan caused Adam to become his own god under his evil control; going to the very centre of his heart and will. This is the area which must be handed over entirely to Jesus. He must become the God that He is, at the very core of man’s existence. This what entire sanctification is; it is becoming completely holy in every area of one’s life so that in word, thought and deed, the Christian now becomes Christlike. This is the area where the Holy Spirit fills the Christian with God’s quality of love and continues to show him how to live and operate from a basis of His love (agape). “ We believe that sanctification is that work of the Holy Spirit by which the child of God is separated from sin unto God and is enabled to love God with all the heart and to walk in all His holy commandments blameless. Sanctification is initiated at the moment of justification and regeneration. From that moment there is a gradual and progressive sanctification as the believer walks with God and daily grows in grace and in a more perfect obedience to God. This prepares one for the crisis of entire sanctification which is wrought instantaneously when believers present themselves a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, through faith in Jesus Christ, being effected by the baptism with the holy Spirit who cleanses the heart from all inbred sin. The crisis of entire sanctification perfects the believer in love and empowers that person for effective service. It is followed by lifelong growth in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. The life of holiness continues through faith in the sanctifying blood of Jesus and evidences itself by loving obedience to God’s revealed will.” (Ibid:118, 119) This infilling of the Holy Spirit is not an end in itself. It is so that now God’s Spirit influencing and controlling the Christian’s heart and mind can teach him how to grow in Christlikeness from the old ways he learned from the devil’s influences and control. Rom. 8:4 . He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” . . . vs. 9, “But you are not of the flesh, but in the Spirit.” “Therefore brethren, we are debtors – not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh, for if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit, you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.” Rom. 8:12-14, vs 15-17 encourages all believers to go on and to claim everything that Jesus has planned for them to share with Him as children of God. His plan is family likeness in every respect. Many Christians do not know how to be filled with God’s Spirit and to continue in the life of being with the Holy Spirit. Some have never heard these truths; others are taught differently, and still others because of their beliefs about the sin nature and the human nature being one nature, are blinded to this teaching. Others outrightly reject the message of heart holiness because they do not want to hand themselves over entirely to Jesus, for personal reasons. But once seen, the light of entire sanctification cannot be rejected because it is accompanied by the illumination and conviction of the Holy Spirit which will continue in the heart and mind of the believer until he makes his full consecration to Jesus as Lord of his life. Some say that this all happened when they got saved. If they understood what they were doing when they invited Jesus into their lives and also understood that they were asking Him to cleanse them from the “flesh”, the sinful nature, being God, he could have done the work but it would still have been two works of grace, for God does two things He saves and then He sanctifies wholly. Under Count Zinzendorf’s teaching some made these claims, but Wesley believed that a person first became a new creature in Christ, and then as a new creation in Christ, he made a full consecration of himself to God and was entirely sanctified. Taylor makes an interesting observation in his book, Exploring Christian Holiness. He says, “It needs to be stressed also that we cannot speak of the carnal nature in the regenerate as we are compelled to speak of it in the unregenerate. In the latter it operates alone in full domination (apart from prevenient grace) and defines the character of the person. In this complex carnal-mindedness, the definitive term “enmity against God” is unmodified. In the Christian, however, the regenerate nature through the power of the Spirit is dominant. It is not enmity against God that defines the believer’s heart – his real self – but love. The carnal nature remains only in the sense that this believer becomes aware that self does not love wholly or perfectly. It is in opposition to “Egyptian throwbacks” “that, while subdued and latent, are nevertheless subtle pulls towards compromised devotion. The carnal nature in the believer therefore is only insipiently “enmity against God” for the carnal nature no longer defines the inner self in the way it once did. If this person ever again allows enmity against God to move into the centre, he is backslidden or at least backsliding.” (p. 153). When speaking about the Baptism with the Holy Spirit as the One who sanctifies entirely, we mean to take this work in the context of the Acts account. Here He filled the 120 believers who were already believing Christians. Reading through John 17, what Jesus said about His disciples also included all of these others. He named their position before God, vs. 6. He had manifested the name of God to them, and they belonged to God and were obedient to His Word. They recognised the words of Jesus as God’s truth, vs. 8, they believed He was the Son of God sent by the Father, vs. 8, God gave them to Jesus vs. 9, 10. They also belonged to Christ and was glorified in them. Jesus had kept them and they were one as He and the Father are one, vs. 11, 12. They were to experience His joy in them vs. 13, they were not of this world vs. 14. Jesus prayed that they be kept from the evil one, vs.15. They were part of the world as Jesus was not part of the world vs. 16. Sanctify them by your Truth vs. 17; I have sent them into the world vs. 18, for their sakes I sanctify myself that they also may be sanctified vs. 19. He prayed for all those who would believe in Him through their word vs. 20, all those would be one as Jesus and the Father are one vs. 21. He gave them His Glory, vs. 22, that they be perfect in one so the world may know God’s love, vs. 23; He wants them to be in heaven with Him so they can see His glory vs. 24, they know Him personally, vs. 25, Jesus wanted them to have His presence in them and also His love vs. 26. There had to be a time in their lives when this prayer of Jesus would be answered, and it was in Acts 2:4 in fulfilment both of His prayer and His promise, “You have heard from Me, for John truly baptised with water, but you shall be baptised with the Holy Spirit not many days from now, . . . and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance . . .” Acts 2:4. Just as He had prayed so it happened. They were cleansed from all carnality and empowered to obey Jesus. They knew and they testified that His Spirit was in them. Jesus was alive in them, His presence now sanctifying them, making their hearts pure. (Acts 15:8, 9.) They became the abiding place, the new Temple where God’s Spirit abided. Up until now He had only occasionally and temporarily come upon individuals and prophets in the past, but He came to abide in Jesus who baptised these Christians with the Holy Spirit, abided with them and continued to teach, guide, empower and make them holy. They were not merely the same saved Christians being set apart for ministry, but a new race of pure people, changed completely with Jesus at the centre of their lives. They were not their old selves. The defeated, disillusioned Peter before Pentecost, now filled with the Holy Spirit, became the new leader, “But Peter standing up with the eleven raised his voice and said to them . . .” Acts 2:14, and what he said among many other things was, “therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” 2:36 . . . He went on, “Repent and let everyone of you be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you shall receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit. For His promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off as many as the Lord our God shall call.” 2:38, 39. It is wonderful for people to receive the Spirit into their lives making them spiritually alive and it is just as wonderful to love Jesus, being filled with His Holy Spirit, cleansing them from all sin. This is God answering Jesus’ prayer, to sanctify His followers and what happened to them in that upper room is still happening today because He is interceding on behalf of all those who are still struggling under the influence and control of the ‘self first’ principle in their hearts and minds. The relation of purity to power, and the relation to both to the baptism with the Holy Spirit, is graphically expressed by Juji Nakada, cofounder with Charles Cowman of the Oriental Missionary Society, the name was changed to Overseas Missionary Society. He writes: “ I did not get inner satisfaction though I sought after the ‘Baptism with the Holy Ghost’ very earnestly. While I was seeking after this I found that my motive was questionable. I sought it simply because I wanted to become a wonderful evangelist. The ‘empowerment for service’ had a good sound to me. Through the scripture I slowly learned what I needed mostly was not power, but purity. I found my heart was not pure in the sight of God . When I began to seek after Holiness many people opposed me, telling me that ‘ as long as we live in this world we cannot be free from the evil nature’. But I thought that if God cannot change our disposition, wherein does Christianity differ from other religions? Even Buddhism teaches us to suppress the old nature. What I was seeking after was not another way of suppression, but to get free from Sin, the carnality which is enmity against God. When I fully surrended to Him He definetly answered my prayer and ‘baptized me in the Holy Ghost.” (Taylor:163) These are grace moments when the living Christ offers to baptise His children with His Holy Spirit and make them pure. Reference Materials referred to :
Barnwell. Ray E. Ed, 2002. Connecting to Christ – belonging Wesleyan Publishing Curtis, Olin Alfred. 1956. The Christian Faith. Kregal Publications, Grand Rapids, Geiger, Kenneth E. 1964. The Word and the Doctrine. Beacon Hill Press, Kansas Greathouse, William M. 1997. Love made Perfect. Beacon Hill Press, Kansas Greathouse, William M. 1982. Introduction to Wesleyan Theology. Beacon Hill Purkiser, W.T. 1978. Exploring our Christian Faith. Beacon Hill Press of Kansas Purkiser, W.T. Taylor, Richard S., Taylor, Willard H. 1977. God, Man and Salvation. Beacon Hill Press, Kansas City, Missouri. Taylor, Richard S. 1985. Exploring Christian Holiness. Vol.3. Beacon Hill Wiley, H> Orton. 1952. Christian Theology, Vol. 2. Beacon Hill Press, Kansas

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