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I received the following question:
I had a chat with a guy out here that told me my belief of how I’ve described my thoughts of the trinity sounds like Sabellianism. I don’t really understand what that is, even after reading the wikipedia definition. He said based on my choice of words to describe it sounds like that. I know I’m not the best with words or explaining sometimes. Can you help me on this thought/idea of what Sabellianism is and the difference between that and the Trinitarian belief? Thank you.
It is interesting that you bring this up, because at the Word of Truth Conference in California in 2013, Louis Tonetti mentioned that the teacher of a Greek class he was taking accused him of being a Sabellian when he expressed his views on the trinity, so it is certainly not just you. If you received our CD of the conference and listened to it, you probably heard that already.
The idea of Sabellianism sounds like it is that God is One God Who manifests Himself in different ways, rather than that God is three distinct Persons in unity. It still holds that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are God, but denies that they are distinct Persons within the Godhead, stating that they are simply different manifestations of the same Person. Read the rest of this entry »
I have a question for you. We have recently been studying/discussing the meaning and definition of “sin.” Does the definition change between the Old Testament, the Gospel Period, the Acts period, and now in the Dispensation of Grace?
The definition I’ve been given is “missing the mark.” Appropriate, but kind of vague.
My main question has to do with Christ Jesus. It focuses on sin, particularly referring to II Corinthians 5:20 & 21 – (20. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.)
Since Jesus “knew no sin”, it has been suggested that his only sin was the fact that he died. Can the unavoidable reality of death be a sin? I have a hard time accepting this concept. I lean towards the belief that death is the consequence of the original sin, not a sin itself.
Good to hear from you! Very good question. I will answer as best I can. Read the rest of this entry »
I received the following question:
From Deuteronomy 25:
“when the Lord your God has given you rest from your enemies all around“
Why do you think the LORD has NOW (I Samuel 14) decided to wipe out the Amalekites? The frequent wars that Israel is under with the Philistines under Saul does not seem to be “rest from your enemies.” It has been a long time since Moses declared these words. Do you think that Israel needed to “forget” about Amalek to prove that the LORD did not forget?
I think the “rest” referred to was simply a statement of the subjection of the land, which was completed in the days of Joshua. At any time after that, the LORD could have recalled His war against the Amalekites and had them wiped out. However, He chose to wait until the monarchy was in place, which was hundreds of years later. I suppose that several reasons could be suggested for this, and all would be speculation, since He does not state for us His reasons in this case. However, as for myself I would tend to look no further than the very reason He gave for waiting so long to give Abraham’s descendents the land of Canaan. That is, He says to Abraham in Genesis 15:16:
16. But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. Read the rest of this entry »
Here’s a question from one of my co-workers. I’ve done my best to answer his question on my own, but I’m needing a little more help because I think it’s a bit deeper than I have gone myself. “If God knew (or could have known) that Satan would fall and deceive Isha, why then did God create him?” Thank you in advance. I am always encouraged by your steady study and devotion to the truth.
Thanks for the great question! Hopefully I can help you figure out something to say that will make sense to your co-worker.
Ultimately, this goes back to one’s basic philosophy of God. Many people assume that God must know everything and must control everything. This seems to make sense to us humans, since to us, with only limited knowledge and partial control over our circumstances and surroundings, increasing in knowledge and in power/control is something we are always concerned with. Extrapolating from our perspective, we assume that since God could know everything and could control everything, then He must do so, for why would He not? Yet ultimately, I think there are things that, to God, are far more important than power and control and knowledge. God has access to all the power and control and knowledge that He needs to accomplish His purposes. He is not jealous of these things, or worried about losing them, as a human being might be. The things He is concerned with are far more important. Read the rest of this entry »
How can the father and the son of the father be ONE God?
How can the sender and the one the was sent be ONE God?
How can 3 divine beings be One God?
How can 3 separate independent speakers be One God?
How can God and His son be One God?
if the father and jesus are One God this means the father did and said what jesus did and said because u say they are the same God,One God
this means the father also took a human flesh
u can not say the father did not take a human flesh because u say the father and jesus are one god the same god
I am happy to answer your questions here.
The reality of God is something that is not entirely comprehensible from the human standpoint. We cannot fully understand God because He is above us and greater than we. If we could fully comprehend God, that would mean He was small enough to be fully understandable by human intellect, which would not be very impressive for God, do you think? Read the rest of this entry »
Can you help explain to me the example of God as being like the reservoir? Also, what is the Holy Spirit’s position in that example? And do you believe in the Trinity?
The example of a vast reservoir in a desert was first given by Otis Q. Sellers, that I know of. A man who is lost in the desert and dying of thirst stumbles upon the reservoir. However, it is surrounded by a great wall, which is too high and sheer for him to cross. He is only feet away from more water than he could ever need to survive, and yet he cannot access it because of the wall. He can smell the water, hear the water splashing, even taste the water on the air as it wafts to him over the wall. Yet all the time he cannot get to it. He needs that water to live, and yet it is totally out of his reach, though he is ever so close to it.
Yet as he travels along the wall hoping to find some way to access the vast pool of water within, he comes to a rise in the ground along the reservoir, and finds that on the top of this hill, because the reservoir is very full, the water has come out beyond the wall into a pool that lies alongside the wall. Now, the man is saved, for though he still cannot access the vast reservoir of life-giving water within the wall, he can access this pool that has formed outside its walls. This pool is an extension of the reservoir, and yet it is accessible to the man. He is able to drink from it, and be saved. Read the rest of this entry »
I received the following question:
Can you please explain the apparent conflict behind a God who never changes (James 1:17), and a God who not only changes His mind (Jonah 3:10 and Exodus 32:14), but also became flesh (John 1:14). Does God change?
James 1:17. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
Jonah 3:10. Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.
Exodus 32:14. So the LORD relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people.
John 1:14. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
It is absolutely true that God does not change. This is made clear in Scripture. A better example than James 1:17 is, perhaps, Numbers 23:19, where God says to Balaam and Balak, “God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: hath He said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?”
You did a good job of pointing out passages where God does seem to change. He changed His mind and didn’t destroy the Ninevites. He changed His mind and didn’t destroy the Israelites. And the fact that God became a man and dwelt among us seems to fly in the face of Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Yet certainly the author of Hebrews was well aware of the fact that Christ became a Man and dwelt among us. He would not have contradicted a crucial doctrine like this. What is the difference, then, and how is it that God can sometimes change? Read the rest of this entry »
I received the following question:
I am dealing with a heresy there which says that one should not worship Jesus. They say you should worship the Father, but Jesus just didn’t want to be worshiped. So they will pray to the Father, through Jesus but never to Jesus. Can you show that we should worship and pray to Jesus, directly?
The best book to go to to show the Godhood of the Lord Jesus Christ is the book of John. There, we read, in John 1:1:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
That this Word is the Lord Jesus is established in verses 14 and 15:
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, ‘This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’’”
That the Word is the Lord Jesus is plain, and that the Word was God is established in verse 1. Read the rest of this entry »
Have you considered the topic I mentioned in my last message on “What Is God Doing, Anyway?” I think knowing the purpose of God in His works today is perhaps one of the most important things a Christian can know. But, before we learn what God’s purpose for today is, we must know what His ultimate purpose is. Read the rest of this entry »
I suppose one of the most important, as well as perhaps the most frustrating, studies for a new Christian is the study of God’s present work and how God deals with us as believers. We come into our Christian life supposing that now that we are on the side of God, great blessings must be just lined up waiting to come our way. That God has a definite program and plan for us we are certain, and we look to our church leaders and the mature Christians around us to point us in that direction and explain to us just exactly what God is doing and what we are to expect from Him. All too often, though, the message which young Christians get concerning God’s dealings with us today are either confused, incomplete and dissatisfying, or just plain wrong. In some ways, the church leaders and mature Christians no more understand God’s workings than do the young Christians, and thus can provide all too little leadership or help in this area. Thus the young Christian is left on his own to learn through experience the way God is dealing with people today. How many young Christians have started out fired up for the Lord and certain that God is going to do thus and thus and thus for them, only to discover that their expectations just do not pan out? And all the older Christians can do is watch with sympathy but all too little explanation. Read the rest of this entry »