Monthly Archives: December 2016

What is true forgiveness?

WHAT IS TRUE FORGIVENESS?

by Shawn Brasseaux

One documentary featured a Jewish lady who survived the Nazi Auschwitz concentration camp of the early 1940s. All these decades later, she claims to have forgiven the Nazi doctor, Mengele, who directed the medical experiments performed on her, her late twin sister, and other Jewish twins. Many Jews, including other survivors, were upset with her. They could not understand how she could forgive such atrocities. As expected, some reacted by expressing great disapproval of her.

At one point, she discussed her “forgiveness of Nazis” at a center for Jewish studies. She received a barrage of angry complaints from Jewish “scholars.” One man exclaimed, “We do not owe anyone forgiveness!” (Evidently, he had not studied what Moses wrote in the Jewish Torah in Leviticus 19:18?) Another person argued we should not forgive those who have wronged us until they have changed their ways. Yet another said we cannot simply “forget the past.”

When asked to defend herself, the dear Jewish lady could only describe her “forgiveness” as a way for “inside healing.” Her motivation, although heartfelt, would not last. It was all just idle speculation; not one person in the documentary, including her, had any idea of true forgiveness. They guessed and discussed, but it was just vain imaginations. Most were bitter, angry people who refused to let go of the past. They envied her for getting on with her life.

Friends, it is no mystery that our world, full of crimes and injustices, abounds with hurt and hurting people. Whether the Holocaust, a World War, an unfair family matter (child custody battle, divorce, abuse, et cetera), or the like, forgiveness is the only answer to move forward in life. Unfortunately, the average person—even common church member—has no clue whatsoever about forgiveness. They simply do not know. Many misconceptions about forgiveness only further confuse.

We just have to look at Ephesians 4:32 and see what true forgiveness entails! “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).

It is evident from their eponymous epistle that the Ephesian believers were mature Christians. Ephesians is certainly a more advanced version of the grace teaching found in the book of Romans. Believers in Ephesus were surely no Corinthians (extremely carnal and worldly), but they still had their own problems. Friends, that should tell us something. Contrary to those who hold to the nonsensical idea of “entire sanctification,” spiritual maturity does not mean sinlessness! Some of the common sins in Ephesus are exposed in the context of Ephesians 4:32. The Holy Spirit through Paul wrote to correct such un-Christian behavior.

Let us begin reading in verse 31 and continue into verse 32: “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice; And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Now we proceed to dissect these two verses into their individual thoughts. Nine particular terms or phrases can be extracted: “Let all (1) bitterness, and (2) wrath, and (3) anger, and (4) clamour, and (5) evil speaking, be put away from you, with all (6) malice; And be ye (7) kind one to another, (8) tenderhearted, (9) forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

The first six items are spoken of in a negative light. Therefore, they need to be “put away” (removed) from the Christian’s life. Such actions are contrary to our identity in Christ. They do not belong in our lives because they are not the fruit of the Spirit of God. Then, there are three positive actions in this passage. These three belong in the Christian’s life; the final clause is the key to experiencing them in your Christian life. Now, we proceed to define all nine items. Having a working knowledge of them will help us better understand Ephesians 4:32 and thereby forgiveness.

Verses 31 and 32 contain nine items worth discussing: “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice; And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

  • Bitterness—“intense antagonism or hostility.” The Bible says this characterizes lost mankind (Romans 3:14).
  • Wrath—“strong, stern, or fierce anger; deeply resentful indignation; ire.” Idolaters in Ephesus were very angry—“full of wrath”—when their religion was threatened (Acts 19:28).
  • Anger—“a strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong; wrath; ire.”
  • Clamour—“raise an outcry.” This was the “great cry” when Israel’s religious leaders argued (Acts 23:9); Jesus’ “strong crying” when He prayed to Father God in Gethsemane (Hebrews 5:7); the “loud cry” of an angel concerning judgment (Revelation 14:18). In the context of Ephesians, it means shouting over others—a crowd whose conversation is indistinct chatter.
  • Evil speaking—“harmful or immoral words.” Transliterated, the Greek word is blasphemia. This means “to speak evil,” and the context of Ephesians 4:31 implies “gossip” and/or “slander.”
  • Malice—“desire to inflict injury, harm, or suffering on another, either because of a hostile impulse or out of deep-seated meanness.” Paul discouraged the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 5:8; 1 Corinthians 14:20) and the Colossians (Colossians 3:8) from behaving this way. Maliciousness also characterizes lost people (Titus 3:3). Peter instructed the kingdom saints of Israel’s program to avoid malice too (1 Peter 2:1).
  • Kind one to another—“gentle; sympathetic.” In stark contrast to how the world hates us (1 John 3:12,13).
  • Tenderhearted—“pitiful; well-compassionate” (cf. 1 Peter 3:8). The idea is opposite a hard heart, one that feels no sympathy and is unaffected when others suffer.
  • Forgiveness—“send away.” This definition is the answer to all the confusion as to what forgiveness is and what forgiveness is not. It is such an intricate topic that we now proceed to discussing it in-depth!

In the Greek New Testament, “forgiveness” is aphesis, derived from aphiemi. Aphiemi is translated elsewhere in our King James Bible as “leave,” “forgive,” “suffer” (that is, “permit”), “forsake,” “let alone,” “remit,” “send away,” “omit,” and others. Notice this sampling of its usage by our 1611 King James translators.

It is used when the disciples “forsook” Jesus at His arrest (Matthew 26:56; Mark 14:50). Or, when they “forsook” their nets to follow Him years earlier (Mark 1:18). Also, when “sending away” a multitude (Mark 4:36). It was employed to describe Israel’s religious leaders “laying aside” the commandment of God to keep their religious traditions (Mark 7:8). Also, it is used to explain the husband “putting away” his wife during divorce proceedings (1 Corinthians 7:11,12). Or, to highlight the apostate Ephesian group of Jewish kingdom saints who had “left” their first love, Jesus Christ (Revelation 2:4).

Misconceptions abound when people think of or hear the word “forgiveness.” One common error is to think that forgiveness means pretending like no one did them wrong. Thus, they refuse to forgive others. Friends, contrary to popular belief, forgiveness is not “sweeping wrongs under the rug.” If we are to truly forgive, we must do it the way God did. We must think of forgiveness as God does.

Dear friends, we see true forgiveness by looking closely at Ephesians 4:32. The word “forgiveness” carries the idea of “leaving behind,” “sending away,” “laying aside.” But, exactly where are we to “leave” those wrongs done to and against us? To where should we “send” them “away?” Where should we “lay” them “aside?” Again, we see true forgiveness by carefully considering Ephesians 4:32. God did not merely instruct us to forgive others; He told us exactly how to do it. We are not left to wonder, to guess, to do our best and hope we forgave. All we have to do is look to Jesus Christ—“even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Forgiveness becomes ever so clear!

Sins—wrongdoings—can and do come between others and us. Someone doing us wrong becomes a hindrance to fellowship. Likewise, as children of Adam, our sins have come between God and us. Long, long ago, before we were even born—yea, before anything was created—God looked down through time to see us, the human race. He saw all the troubles we would cause His creation. What a mess it would be! Still, He valued free will so much. He risked His purpose and plan to allow us opportunity to follow or reject Him. Above all, He would make provisions to cover those mistakes of ours. Despite everything sinful man would do to mess up His creation, He would still bring about His will.

Friends, the cross of Christ was not an afterthought or an accident. It was in the mind of the triune Godhead all along (Acts 2:23). Father, Son, and Holy Spirit simply let man and Satan in their free will carry it out in blindness (Acts 3:17). Sinful man and Satan had no idea God would use the death of His Son for good (1 Corinthians 2:6-8)! On that awful cross, the blood of Jesus Christ, needed to wash away our sins, was shed so abundantly. “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13).

While mankind was going on in his sinful ways, God sent His Son. Romans 5:6-8 explains: “[6] For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. [7] For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. [8] But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Rather than pretending like mankind had no sins, God saw those sins and He punished His Son for those sins. With the sin-debt paid in full, forgiveness was (and is) now possible… for us and others!

Father God took our offenses against Him, all of man’s sins, and He placed them on Jesus Christ. As the Passover lamb’s blood was shed and applied to Jewish doorways, so the Death Angel would pass over them while judging Egypt, the blood of our Passover lamb was shed at Calvary to protect us from God’s wrath in hellfire. “For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7b). “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God…” (1 Peter 3:18). He put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26b). In Scripture, “forgiveness” means, “send away,” “forsake,” “let alone,” “lay aside.”

Romans chapter 4: “[1] What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? [2] For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. [3] For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. [4] Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. [5] But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. [6] Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, [7] Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.”

And, Ephesians 1:7: “In whom [Christ Jesus] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” Also, Colossians 1:14: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” Finally, Colossians 2:13: “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him [Christ Jesus], having forgiven you all trespasses” (cf. Ephesians 4:32).

God’s forgiveness of us provides us with a pattern of how we are to forgive others. Friends, lest bitterness result, we must send it away by faith to Calvary’s cross where God’s Son died to put it away!

CONCLUSION

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32). What is true forgiveness?

At a Bible conference, I overheard a man talking with one of my pastor friends. Steeped in denominationalism, he was chiefly confused about whether God had forgiven him. He struggled with the so-called “Lord’s Prayer” (“Our Father” Prayer). Specifically, Matthew chapter 6: “[14] For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: [15] But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” The poor man needed to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). The “Our Father” Prayer was spoken to Israel (Matthew 15:24)—not us Gentiles (Matthew 10:5-7)!

God’s spokesman to us, the Apostle Paul, on this side of the Cross, tells us God has forgiven us all our sins. We do not have to beg or wonder! In Christ, forgiveness is total, free, and forever. He forgave us because of what Jesus Christ did at Calvary, not because of our religious performance (Ephesians 4:32). We are already forgiven in Christ. As God forgave us, we forgive others. Lost people will have their sins taken care of at two places—the cross of Christ if they trust Christ before physical death, or eternal hellfire if they do not trust Christ before physical death.

One of Satan’s schemes to destroy the local assembly is when Christians do not forgive each other as God for Christ’s sake has (past tense) forgiven them. Second Corinthians chapter 2 warns about bitterness: “[10] To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; [11] Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”

Forgiveness is not pretending like nothing happened. You have been wronged, and God punished Jesus Christ for that sin. Forgiveness is sending the shame, guilt, and pain to Jesus Christ’s cross (where God dealt with our sins). We need not keep dredging up the past, beloved. We learn from our mistakes, and are thankful Jesus Christ has already provided our forgiveness forever! 🙂

Also see:
» We are saved by faith, but are we blessed by works?
» Must I maintain fellowship with God?
» Once Christians fall into gross sin, will God use them again?

Why did God want to kill Moses in Exodus 4:24?

WHY DID GOD WANT TO KILL MOSES IN EXODUS 4:24?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Exodus chapter 4 says: “[24] And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him. [25] Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me. [26] So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision.” This is a very strange and intense passage. Yet, it is true. The Bible says God actually wanted to kill Moses! Why was God so harsh? Was God not extreme in seeking Moses’ life simply because he had not circumcised his son? We will take our Bibles and search the Scriptures for enlightenment.

God’s words in the previous verses help us. Exodus chapter 4 again: “[21] And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go. [22] And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: [23] And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.”

Israel was God’s “firstborn son,” meaning His nation of servants. The Abrahamic Covenant was the first and foremost agreement that set Israel aside as God’s nation. We must consult Genesis chapter 17 at this point. About 450 years prior to Moses in Exodus chapter 4, the LORD God appeared to Abraham (still called “Abram” at that time) to tell him more about the Abrahamic Covenant he had first given him back in chapter 12 many years earlier.

Genesis chapter 17: “[1] And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. [2] And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. [3] And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, [4] As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. [5] Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. [6] And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. [7] And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. [8] And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.

“[9] And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. [10] This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. [11] And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. [12] And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. [13] He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. [14] And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.”

Physical circumcision was not an option in Israel’s program. God had commandednot requested—that every male descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob be physically circumcised. Why? That physical circumcision was a sign of the Abrahamic Covenant, and that covenant gave Israel her identity as God’s (set-apart) nation. As Acts 7:8 says, the Abrahamic Covenant is “the covenant of circumcision.” Yet, here was Moses in Exodus chapter 4, the leader of Israel, and he had a son whose physical appearance did not reflect his nation’s spiritual standing before JEHOVAH God. Moses’ son did not the physical circumcision that his nation’s covenant demanded. Genesis 17:14 had said: “And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.” It was a most serious problem for Moses’ son to be uncircumcised!

Moses’ wife Zipporah called him a “bloody husband” because of the circumcision she had to perform on their son (Exodus 4:26). She greatly disliked this rite but executed it in a successful attempt to spare Moses’ life. Exactly why Moses had not circumcised his son is not stated in Scripture. Yet, we know Moses, his wife, and their son lived with the Midianites (Moses’ wife’s family) for 40 years (see Exodus 2:15–Exodus 3:1). They may have influenced Moses not to do it. Since returning to Egypt with him, and in a matter of life or death, however, Moses’ wife was forced to do it and she did it!

Also see:
» Was God “unfair” in striking Uzzah dead?
» Why did Israel have to keep so many strange laws?
» Was God “unfair” to punish us for Adam’s sin?

Why should I go to church?

WHY SHOULD I GO TO CHURCH?

by Shawn Brasseaux

When you talk about people going to church, the first verse that comes into people’s minds is Hebrews 10:25—“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” This verse, however, has absolutely nothing to do with attending weekly church services. It has absolutely nothing to do with anyone living today. Rather, Hebrews 10:25 is very important to Israel in the end times. You can learn more by referring to our Bible study on Hebrews 10:25 (find the link at the end of this article).

If you want a verse that talks about “going to church,” you can try Acts 20:7: “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” This specifically talks about members of the Church the Body of Christ assembling for fellowship and Bible study. Paul’s instructions to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:13 are: “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.”

As grace believers who understand what God is doing today in this the Dispensation of Grace, we go to church:

  • To fellowship with God’s people (1 Corinthians 11:33).
  • To study the Holy Bible (King James Bible) (1 Timothy 4:13,15,16).
  • Not to gain God’s blessings (Ephesians 1:3).
  • Not to be entertained (2 Timothy 4:1-5).
  • Not to keep the Sabbath (Colossians 2:16).
  • Not to obtain salvation (Titus 3:5).
  • Not to “be in God’s presence/house” (2 Corinthians 6:16; cf. Acts 17:24).

According to Paul’s epistles, “going to church” is not assembling in some million-dollar auditorium, where wheelbarrows are pushed around as “collection plates.” Neither is “church” a place where we go to feel “emotional highs” and to enjoy “ear-tickling motivational sermons.” Nor is “church” a time where we crank up loud music in order to appeal to the world. Yes, that is today’s average (so-called) “‘Bible-believing’” (!) church, but God’s definition is otherwise.

The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy regarding the local assembly of the Body of Christ: “[15] But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. [16] And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (1 Timothy 3:15-16).

As people who have trusted in Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, we are one body, the Body of Christ. We are united forever because of the eternal life we all now have in Christ. We gather in local assemblies to study God’s Word rightly divided (dispensationally), so we can then scatter throughout the region and share with others sound Bible doctrine (the Gospel of Grace to the lost, and Pauline dispensationalism to the saved). One of the assets that Father God has given us is the ministry of the local church. These are a group of saints dedicated to the work of the ministry. They desire to cooperate with one another to share the Gospel of the Grace of God with this lost and dying world, and to share the Message of God’s Grace with other Christians so they understand what God is doing today.

The Bible describes the ministry of the local church in Ephesians 4:11-16: “[11] And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; [12] For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: [13] Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: [14] That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; [15] But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: [16] From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”

A FEW WORDS ABOUT GRACE BIBLE CONFERENCES

Grace Bible conferences are also a great time of fellowship and edification. It is nice to see old friends in the ministry as well as new ones. It is nice to fellowship with each other around our Saviour (Jesus Christ), our final authority (King James Bible), and our apostle (Paul). It is nice to have delicious food for the (temporary) outward man to enjoy, but more importantly, strong spiritual meat on which the (eternal) inner man can feast forever!

Again, we saints are not assembling to feel religious, but rather to be reminded of God’s life in us. We saints are not assembling to be entertained, but rather to be edified by God’s Word rightly divided. We saints are not assembling to fill our minds with complex denominational doctrines, but rather to fill our hearts with the simple doctrine that is in the King James Bible. We saints are not assembling to exalt preachers, but rather to encourage one another to continue in sound Bible doctrine. We saints are not assembling to tell God the Holy Spirit what He should be doing in the present-day, but rather to let God the Holy Spirit tell us what He is doing so we can by faith do that as well.

It is because of 1 Timothy 4:13 that, at our Bible conferences, we “give attendance” (or, pay attention to) “reading,” “exhortation [encouragement/advice],” and “doctrine [teaching].” Very rarely is the Bible actually read in “Christian” churches today. They read novels, commentaries, and Greek grammars, but not much Bible (unless it fits the system the denomination promotes). Oftentimes, the “encouragement” in “Christian” churches today is some feel-good message instead of a sound (“healthy”) message. Very rarely is “doctrine” mentioned in most “Christian” churches today. “Boring” Bible study and “divisive” doctrine have been replaced by moving, jumping, and singing. No need to wonder why the professing church is so impotent and functionally dead!

Above all, we meet together to glorify our Lord Jesus Christ, right now, and forever! At the local grace church, there is sound Bible doctrine to be learned and saints with whom to fellowship. They are a great source of encouragement and refreshment for you, so please attend grace Bible conferences and grace services whenever you can! I say that from personal experience!

Also see:
» Does Hebrews 10:25 mean we should go to church?
» Should women serve in the ministry?
» Should we observe the Lord’s Supper?

NOTE: The 10 messages from the 2016 Slidell Grace Bible Conference are now on YouTube and are available for viewing!

 

Which counts the most—how you start, or how you finish?

WHICH COUNTS THE MOST—HOW YOU START, OR HOW YOU FINISH?

by Shawn Brasseaux

“Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry” (2 Timothy 4:9-11).

In these verses, we see two saints—profitable and unfaithful, and unfaithful and profitable.

Second Timothy chapter 4 is Paul beginning to conclude his farewell epistle. Guilty of preaching an “illegal religion,” the aged Apostle awaits his beheading. Sitting in a cruel dungeon in Rome, he writes to Timothy one last time, urging the young man to come to the prison as quickly as possible. Why? Paul explains that “only Luke” remains with him. His other ministry companions are travelling, possibly visiting local grace assemblies on his behalf. In 2 Timothy 4:9-11, two contrasting names are set in bold relief.

First appearing in Paul and Barnabas’ apostolic ministry at the very end of Acts chapter 12, John Mark is Barnabas’ nephew (Colossians 4:10). He travels with Paul and Barnabas during their first apostolic journey (Acts chapters 13-14). By the start of their second apostolic journey, Barnabas wants to take John Mark with them but Paul refuses because John Mark had previously abandoned them around Acts 14:24. Barnabas and Paul, due to this momentous disagreement, go their separate ways at Acts 15:36-41.

Just over 10 years later, in Acts chapter 28, Demas appears in Paul’s ministry. Paul greets the Colossian believers on behalf of Demas (4:14). In Philemon 24, the companion epistle, Paul calls Demas a “fellow-labourer.” Most definitely, Demas was very useful to Paul’s ministry. Oh, but what a tragedy! A few years later, Paul writes 2 Timothy 4:10: Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world….” Demas’ precise motives are unknown.

Friends, just think! The actions of John Mark and Demas are written down forever in God’s Word! John Mark, once unfaithful, returned to Paul’s ministry at the very end. Demas, once faithful, abandoned Paul’s ministry at the very end. Brethren, just think! Those you expect to stay with the truth, they may not! Those you expect to never embrace the truth, they just may!

Also see:
» How does one know if he or she is maturing in the Word of God?
» Once Christians fall into gross sin, will God use them again?
» Why do some Christians persistently behave like lost people?

Could you explain 1 Timothy 2:15?

COULD YOU EXPLAIN 1 TIMOTHY 2:15?

by Shawn Brasseaux

“Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.” First Timothy 2:15 can be a difficult verse at first glance, but it is really quite simple. In this Bible study, we will scan the context to shed light on this most mysterious verse. To the Scriptures!

The context begins at verse 9, so will start there: “[9] In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; [10] But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. [11] Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. [12] But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. [13] For Adam was first formed, then Eve. [14] And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. [15] Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.”

While the above verses can describe Christian women in their day-to-day living at home or in public, it really is how they are to behave in the local church, amongst other Christians in an assembly setting. (The behavior of Christian men is found in verse 8.) Please bear in mind that the entire Book of 1 Timothy is how the local church is organized and functions.

Verses 11-14 are a reminder that Christian women are to submit to male leadership in the assembly (or, by extension, in the marriage relationship—see Ephesians 5:22-24 and Colossians 3:18). Remember, as Paul points out, Adam was created first, then Eve. This was the order Satan caused Eve to ignore back in Genesis chapter 3 when he tempted her. Recall that God gave Adam the commandment about not eating the forbidden fruit in Genesis 2:16-17. Adam was expected to relay those instructions to Eve. Either Adam failed to properly communicate those words to Eve, or she simply forgot them. Whatever the reason, she misquoted God in Genesis 3:2-3, which eventually led to Satan getting the advantage and causing man to fall into sin. God wants the local church to guard against such a disaster from re-occurring. Remember, if the local assembly loses its testimony, there goes God’s testimony in the community!

Paul says Eve was “deceived” whereas Adam was “not deceived” (1 Timothy 2:14). Satan confused Eve so that she was seduced, distracted, from God’s Word. Had she submitted to Adam’s headship, he would have been able to help her remember what God had originally said (since Adam, recall, had been entrusted with those directions first). Furthermore, Adam knew exactly what Satan was doing with Eve, and yet Adam did nothing to stop it. Adam refused to function as the head of his wife. So, both Adam and Eve were at fault. Neither Adam nor Eve behaved as God intended—both failed to function in their respective roles. Men/husbands are to lead their women/wives into God’s truth, both in the marriage relationship and the local assembly. Paul highlights in 1 Timothy 2:14 how Eve “being deceived” was “in the transgression.” In verse 15, he shows Christian women how not to transgress as Eve did. He is also going to implicitly state how men can avoid repeating Adam’s mistake.

With all of that said, verse 15 is much clearer: “Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.” In spite of Eve being “in the transgression” (verse 14), a Christian woman today can be “saved” from Satan’s influence. The Christian woman can overcome where Eve failed. This is where people can get a little silly, so we need to exercise caution here. “Saved” in this context does not mean justification and going to heaven, but rather deliverance from Satan getting the advantage as he did with Eve. If the Christian woman will fulfill her God-given role (“childbearing”—cf. 1 Timothy 5:14), and “they continue” (not “her” but “they,” meaning she and her husband) as God intended—respecting the role of male leadership—they will not repeat the mistakes of Adam and Eve in Genesis chapter 3.

The Christian husband/man and Christian wife/woman are to “continue in faith,” remembering and believing what God said about marriage and the role of the sexes. (Adam and Eve failed to do this.) The husband and wife are to “continue in charity,” looking out for each other and seeking each other’s best interest, being vigilant against Satan’s attacks. (Adam and Eve did not do this.) The husband and wife are to “continue in holiness with sobriety,” acting like God’s people (who they are) with a mind that thinks like God’s people would. (Adam and Eve did not do this either.)

CONCLUSION

First Timothy 2:15 is God’s design in keeping Satan from causing trouble in the local church (as well as in the marriage relationship). There is spiritual safety for women if they submit to God’s order and role of the sexes. With Spirit-filled men leading local assemblies and marriages, Satan has a harder time deceiving the women like he did Eve. If you want to see chaos in an assembly where women are usurping that authority over men, confusing the role of the sexes, just take a look at Corinth. See 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 and 14:33-35. For more information, please refer to our “head coverings” article linked below.

Also see:
» Must Christian women wear head coverings?
» How does Satan operate today?
» Did Adam die or did he not die in Genesis 3?