Category Archive Bible Exegesis

ByQuits Sabio

Obedience for the sake of Joy

Hebrews 13:17 is quite hard for some preachers to preach on. And even more so hard for the congregation to follow. The reason is that there are abusive leaders and that we don’t want to have someone in authority over us. We live in democracy. We are concerned primarily with our freedom and our profit. Here I will present first a balance view of church leadership and how the congregation should respond to the call for obedience and submission, and second, the motivation behind this, namely Joy.

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ByQuits Sabio

Marriage, the display of Christ’s union with the Church

We live in times where pervertion of marriage is rampant. Love is reduced to mere feelings and unabated sexual intercourse, both inside of marriage and outside of marriage. The concept of a covenant love is foreign to most of the world, and even within the so called evangelical church. No wonder that relationships are too shallow and can’t withstand great trials. Instead, in just a whim, marriages are broken and their main reason was “irreconcilable differences”. Here are some pratical pointers to help couples strengthen their marriages and also the rest to have a high view of biblical marriage and covenant love.

1.Wife…

  • Submission of wife to her husband is not a blind submission. Submission to your husband is likened only to the submission of the church to Christ. Take note of that little word “as”. It doesn’t mean that they are the same in all respect. Your husband is not Christ. Your husband is not infallible. He is a sinner like you. Which also means, patience towards your spouse is necessary. If your husband is asking you to do something that is against the head of the church, our Lord Jesus Christ, obey Jesus without usurping your husband’s authority. With gentleness and patience, tell him that you belong to Christ ultimately, and not to him.
  • Our body parts follow what our heads will. It is not the hand that dictates to the head to move. It is the other way around. However, when a body part is not functioning the way it should be, it means one of two things, either the head is not functioning right or it’s the body that is not functioning right.
  • Submit to your husband because the head saves the body. The head will tell the body if the water is hot or the weather is cold. So long as your husband functions the way he should be by God’s design, follow him in everything.
  • Christ’s Church will persevere to the end, so should you also wives, persevere with your husbands.

Arcing

2.Husband…

  • Love your wife in such a way that she will be sanctified, without blemish, taken care of, just as Christ loved the church.
  • A biblical and right way of loving ourselves is by loving others
  • Christ loved his body, and the members of his body are those who are united with him. Husband love your wife because she is your body as she is united with you.
  • Christ will never leave nor forsake his church, so should we husbands to our wives.

3.Marriage is momentary, Christ and the Church is not

  • Marriage is likened unto Christ and his church not the other way around.
  • Distortion of marriage is an evidence of a distorted view of creation and the Gospel(new creation).
  • Christ dying for his church is not an after thought in the mind of God.

    Devotion
    Loving our own bodies is not a sin in of itself. Neither loving one’s own life. In fact the scripture assumes that we do love our lives and bodies. It doesn’t command us to love ourselves(because we’re doing this already), nor does the scripture forbids it. Loving one’s life and body is not the same as selfishness. It is self-love apart from loving God first and loving others is selfishness. When Christ said in John 12:25 “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”, he is not saying not to love your life at all, but that we should not love our lives the way the world does. The reason I say that is because of the result and motivation for not loving our lives in this world, namely eternal life. Is wanting eternal life not loving one’s life? In other words, we’re just merely exchanging it for something better. So when the scripture said that we should love one another as we love ourselves, husbands love your wives as you love your own bodies, and love is not self seeking, it is not telling us to disregard ourselves, but that we should first and foremost love others without any pretense, not taking advantage of them, not abusing them. Christ does not abuse, mistreat, and hate his own body(the church), so do you of your own body, therefore don’t abuse, mistreat and hate others, but instead love them.

    ByQuits Sabio

    Intentional Love by Intentional Meeting Together

    Verse 24 is one of the exhortations(Verse 22-23) of the author to his readers, grounded in Christ’s accomplishments for us in verses 19-21. Read More

    ByQuits Sabio

    What the true Light is not

    Scripture Text: John 1:6-9

    As we approach the celebration of Christmas, the birth of our saviour and Lord Jesus Christ, I think it is only fitting to discuss something about him. In the synoptic gospels we will find generally what is the human portrait of the Christ. That is not to say that they are silent about Christ’s deity. But compared to John’s gospel account, they only present to us vignettes of truths about Christ’s divine nature. Matthew begins his gospel with a genealogy tracing Christ’s kingly line. Mark didn’t bother to trace his lineage, instead he starts with Christ’s service, his ministry. Luke does account for us Christ’s genealogy, a human ancestry, pointing to the fact that he is the seed of the woman in Genesis 3, but Luke didn’t begin there. He starts with the birth of a man, John the baptist. But the closest to Jesus, apostle John starts with the very beginning. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.

    Arcing:

     

     

    Odd interruption in verses 6-8 of John chapter

    In a gospel that more specifically deals with the deity of Christ, you wouldn’t expect to have an introduction about a mere man right in the middle while introducing Jesus Christ as the Light. Verses 6-8 is very odd for me. First because it seems abrupt. Second because it’s hard to relate with the rest of the passage. What’s the point of bringing up John the baptist? At first glance it seems anticlimactic. So how does it relate to the preceding and following verses?

    1.The contrast between a man and God – verses 6-8 is not a useless interruption. John is describing for us the Light by telling us who John the baptist is not. He is not the Light. Hence by implication, everything that was said about him, a mere man, is not the Light.

    • The Light was not a mere man born into the world that was sent from God. He is God, He always is, and he came into the world. In verse 6a, the NET says “a man came”, or literally in greek, “come into being”. John the baptist was just a man, in which there was a time he never was. Yes he is special in the sense that he was sent from God. But nevertheless still a mere man. John is not the Light. In verse 9a however, here’s where the original language did not fail me, it says “Being the true light”. Now that’s a clear way of distinguishing between a mere man and a divine person. The divine always is. He didn’t came into existence. All exist because of Him(John 1:3).
    • The Light did not come to testify about anyone else but himself. John was sent to testify about someone other than himself (v.7b). But by contrast in John 8:18 Jesus said “I am the One who testifies about Myself, and the Father who sent Me testifies about Me.”
    • The Light is not a mere instrument to enlighten, He is the very source of Light. John was sent so that everyone might believe through him(v. 7c). He is just a means, but Jesus is the source of faith. John can only testify but he cannot make anyone believe his testimony.

    2.Our calling as a witnesses to the Light

    -God uses means that would testify about the Light

    -We are the means by which God would grant faith to others

    ByQuits Sabio

    The End by which God Chose us

    Grace alone is the efficient cause of salvation. Justification by Faith alone is the material cause of the reformation but its formal cause is Scripture alone. Justification by faith is just a shorthand of Justification by Christ alone, because it is not our faith that justifies, it’s the object of our faith that justifies. Read More

    ByQuits Sabio

    The Gospel, the Genitive and the Prepositions

    Date: October 9, 2016

    Title: The Gospel, the Genitive, and the Prepositions

    Scripture: Romans 1:16-17

    Outline:

    • Introduction
    • Martin Luther’s hatred of Romans 1:17
    • The reason why we need not be ashamed of the Gospel
    • What is the “Righteousness of God”?
    • What does “from faith for faith” means?

    16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

    Romans 1:16

    Introduction:

    Reformation Month has come. October 31 2016 will be the 499th anniversary of the Reformation. It was the day when an Augustinian monk nailed his Ninety-Five theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg, Germany. That monk was Martin Luther, the great protestant reformer. We are one of the few celebrating this momentous event in history and rightly so, because we call ourselves reformed. That’s why we as a church have dedicated this month in preaching the reformation truths that was recovered by the reformers.

    Here I’ll be discussing about the article which according to brother Martin: “the article by which the church stands and falls.”, namely “Justification by Faith Alone”. And we will turn our attention to Romans 1:16-17. My aim is to answer why we need not be ashamed of the gospel, what is “the righteousness of God”, and what does “from faith for faith” means.

    Martin Luther’s hatred of Romans 1:17

    Martin Luther doesn’t always like verse 17. As a monk who’s struggling with his conscience and spirituality, verse 17 is the most frightening reality, because he knows that he is unrighteous and that the gospel reveals the righteousness of God. But to us, this is our hope and comfort. That’s why we will spent much of our time on verse 17.

    The reason why we need not be ashamed of the gospel.

    But before we go there, let’s answer the question “why we need not be ashamed of the gospel?” first. Let’s look at the preceding text where verse 17 was used to support. In verse 16, Paul said that he is not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the greek. Verse 16b is the reason why Paul was not ashamed of the Gospel, take note of the conjunction “for”. Meaning, his confidence was based on God’s power. But what is “the power of God” being referred to here? Is it the power of God by which one is converted or regenerated from spiritual death to spiritual life? Or is it God’s power to bring to ultimate or final salvation those who will keep on believing? Both are true statements and can be supported by different passages of scriptures. But in verse 16, which is it? I would argue that it is the latter. It is God’s power to bring those who would continue in faith to final salvation. I say that because of the present participle “believes”. It is a present ongoing faith. Yes we are said to be saved when we are regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit through his word, but here it is a salvation that is promised to those who persevere in faith. Don’t get me wrong, those whom God regenerated are the same people who will continue believing and hence eventually be saved. However, what is being stressed here is the ongoing power of God for salvation to those who will keep believing. We don’t have to be ashamed of the gospel because the gospel is not a power that will just get you half way through, its power is as good as the continuing faith wrought by the Holy Spirit through the same gospel.

    What is the “righteousness of God”?

    We can now turn to verse 17 because verse 16b is being supported by it. “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed..”, again take note of that little word “for”. Indeed it is the reason or grounds, but it is the one where Martin Luther got into trouble.the gospel is not a power that will just get you half way through, its power is as good as the continuing faith wrought by the Holy Spirit through the same gospel. For him, how can this be good news? Since I am unrighteous, and God is righteous, this is no gospel. No sinner can stand at the sight of a righteous and holy God. Brother Martin said this because at that time, he only had one category of “righteousness of God” in his mind, namely God’s attribute of righteousness. However, there are at least three ways scholars view the genitive “of God”.

    1. Genitive of source (“from”)- God is the source of the the righteous status that is counted to believers as a result of God’s justifying act.
    2. Subjective genitive – God’s very act of justifying us or declaring us righteous
    3. Possessive genitive- God’s possession of righteousness, might be construed also as attributive genitive.

    So which is it? I assert that Paul intended it to be nuanced. Meaning it doesn’t have to be “either or”. They’re all in the mind of Paul when he said “righteousness of God” in verse 17. Here are at least 3 reasons why I believe that’s the case:

    1. If we read further in verse 18 , the unrighteousness of man is highlighted and the wrath of God is revealed(compare it with verse 17, the righteousness of God is revealed). That calls attention to God’s attribute of righteousness and that God cannot sweep man’s unrighteousness under the rug because he upholds his righteousness.
    2. In verses 17b Paul likened the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith with a quote from Habakkuk 2:4. See the word “as” or “just as” there. At first glance it seems that there is no point of comparison, because in the first half of verse 17, the righteousness is of God, but in the latter half it is now referring to someone else’s righteousness. Now since Romans 3:10 is quite clear that no one is righteous no not one, therefore that man’s righteousness cannot be his. It must belong to another, namely God. Only then the comparison would make sense, because in that way, it is God’s own righteousness that’s imputed to a sinner. God is the source. It’s an alien righteousness. A righteousness that is from another. The same righteousness that is God’s.
    3. Correlated with my second reason, how does one receive righteousness from God? Answer: by God’s act of counting or reckoning our faith as righteousness. You can’t have number two without asking this question.

    Therefore the gospel is God’s power for salvation, because it reveals that God is righteous and demands righteousness, that God is the source of righteousness, that God counts us righteous through our faith, and that God will vindicate his righteousness.

    What does “from faith for faith” means?

    This phrase, again is a matter of much debate. That’s where life and death hangs on: conjunctions, genitives and prepositions. Isn’t that amazing? Now we’re asking what Paul meant by the prepositions “from and for”. The greek ek denotes origin, and eis denotes direction, destination or goal. Those are the greek roots for the words exegesis and eisegesis. But here it is origin and goal. I take that to mean that from start to finish, the entirety of Christian life is of faith. Others interpreted it to be “from the faith (or faithfulness) of Christ to the faith of believers”. It’s more of causation and origin. I think it’s unlikely because of the parallelism Paul made with Habakkuk 2:4. From faith for faith is like saying “a life of faith”.

    John Piper also offered his interpretation of the text that I think is not that far from my own. 2 Corinthians 2:15-16 is indeed a good parallel:

    “For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.”

    See how grammatically it has the same structure with Romans 1:17a? So the key in understanding “from faith for faith” is how you interpret “from death to death” and “from life to life”. Here’s a quote from John Piper:

    “The most natural interpretation seems to be: when Paul’s message and sufferings meet with death in the soul, that leads to the final death of the soul. And when his message and sufferings meet with spiritual life, that leads to final life. Death is unresponsive to the gospel and is confirmed in its deadness forever. Spiritual life is responsive to the gospel and is confirmed and preserved for eternal life. So here in Romans 1:17 it says, ‘The righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith.’ That is, when the revelation of the gift of righteousness meets with faith it leads to future faith. Faith is the initial window of the soul that lets the light of the revelation of righteousness in. And when the light of God’s gift of righteousness comes in by faith, it powerfully works to awaken and sustain and engender more and more faith for the years to come.”

    It is not at all uncommon in the new testament that the command of faith is that of a persevering one. Saving faith is a living and abiding faith. And since the gospel is the power of God for final salvation, and faith cometh by hearing and hearing the gospel(the word of God) then this would mean that we should be utterly dependent on the gospel. Not only when we first believed it, but also with the rest of our lives. We can never outgrow the gospel. If we are to be finally saved, we need to live by, rest on, and get our strength from it.

     

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