All Scripture is God-breathed…

Road to Emmaus  by James J. Tissot

Road to Emmaus
by James J. Tissot

I had hoped to have written today’s post a bit sooner; nevertheless, I am grateful that God has granted me the grace and mercy to share another post on this fine Monday morning. As I have been spending a great deal of time in prayer regarding His plans for my life and my involvement within the local church (each year, twice a year, our local church engages in 21 days of prayer and fasting seeking God’s Will for our fellowship, our families, and our individual walks), this blog has come to mind repeatedly. I am reminded that I am not to take this blog lightly, that I cannot simply post what I like and rely on the first amendment to shield me from these writings. Rather, that as I commit myself to the study of God’s Word, and share here what I learn in the Scriptures, by the Grace of God by His Holy Spirit, that I do so prayerfully and humbly.

In the last post, we started to look at the subject of Biblical submission, that is, submitting to God and His Word in righteousness. Before continuing, I do think it important that we spend time again looking at the authority of the Scriptures. So, consider this a companion to the last post, because one cannot effectively discuss submission, without clearly and completely discussing authority.

Let us begin with the Apostle Paul’s instruction to Timothy, in which he declares:

2 Timothy 3:16 (NASB, emphasis mine) 16 All Scripture is [a]inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
Footnote: [a] 2 Timothy 3:16 Lit God-breathed

I don’t normally include the footnotes in these posts; however, I couldn’t find a translation of the this passage that included the literal meaning of the Greek in the text. Every translation I searched included the literal meaning of the Greek as a footnote, and I believe it is important for us to recognize. Now, there is nothing wrong with the word “inspired” here, but I want to examine the literal “God-breathed” for a few moments.

Psalm 33:6 (NASB, emphasis mine) 6 By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host.

Genesis 2:7 (NASB emphasis mine) 7 Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

So, you see, the connection of all of Scripture to the Breath of God is an important one to maintain. As Paul wrote in Acts 17:28a (KJV), “For in him we live, and move, and have our being;” {oh yeah… I went old-school on that one 😉 }.

I mention this because in the past couple of decades we’ve seen a surge in the number of non-denominational Churches both here and abroad. There is a breaking away from the major hierarchies and set doctrines of these Churches that can be traced back to the reformation of the Roman Catholic Church. No doubt breaking away from false teaching, false doctrine, and corrupt leadership is necessary, but to do so without reconnecting to the authority of Scripture only leaves you floating aimlessly in a sea of organizations of men. Without a firm grasp on the authority of Scriptures, we cannot hope to remain submitted to God in keeping with His word, thus our attempts at reformation degrade into mere rebellion.  I’ve spoken to so many Christians who have left the church because they were hurt, mistreated, or lied to… only to reject all authority and to purpose within their hearts never to submit to “anyone but the Holy Spirit”. But to do so without acknowledging fully the authority of Scriptures is both reckless and rebellious and is a popular snare of the devil in our present culture and age.  It is to this generation that I hope to reach and reaffirm the authority of whole of Scriptures and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is why I’m focusing primarily in the New Testament affirmations of the Divine authority of scriptures. Let us continue on then…

I’d like to take a moment to look at one of the coolest accounts of Jesus after His resurrection found in Luke 24. I urge you strongly, to read the whole chapter… and then re-read it. It happens that as the women returned from finding the tomb of Jesus empty, and having been spoken to by Angels of the Lord, and shared their testimony with the disciples, that most did not believe. They were in mourning. Imagine for a moment, that only 3 days ago you saw your mentor, beloved teacher, Savior tortured and killed… you would undoubtedly have clouded judgement as well, would you not? But Peter took off running to see for himself. I love Peter… but that’s not where we are going right now, just setting up the backdrop for begins in verse 13:

Luke 24:13-17 (NASB, emphasis mine) 13 And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 And they were talking with each other about all these things which had taken place. 15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them. 16 But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him. 17 And He said to them, “What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?” And they stood still, looking sad.

The “them” in v13 refers to those disciples who heard the testimony of the women who had seen the empty tomb. But why did Jesus not just appear in full glory like, “here I am, BAM”? let’s read on, because the answer to this question is absolutely beautiful…

Luke 24:18-27 (NASB, emphasis mine) 18 One of them, named Cleopas, answered and said to Him, “Are You the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?” 19 And He said to them, “What things?” And they said to Him, “The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people, 20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to the sentence of death, and crucified Him. 21 But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened. 22 But also some women among us amazed us. When they were at the tomb early in the morning, 23 and did not find His body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said that He was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just exactly as the women also had said; but Him they did not see.” 25 And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

Wow. You see… Jesus wanted His disciples to understand who He was and what had just happened in context of the Scriptures. He later reveals Himself to His disciples… but first, He chose to explain to them what they needed to know about Him… beginning with Moses and with all the prophets… Praise the Lord! While Jesus, being the Son of God, and already the first-born from the grave (resurrected) already bears all Authority in Heaven and Earth, He still chose to demonstrate His authority to His disciples by walking them through the scriptures. If Jesus chose to reveal Himself to His disciples in this manner, then we, too should likewise turn to the whole of Scripture to understand, proclaim, and reveal Jesus, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.

One more example before we close today. Let us return to the Apostle Paul for an example of how we are to share the Gospel as stewards of His word. Lets look at his letter to the Thessalonians. In the opening chapters of this letter, Paul is giving thanks for the faithfulness of the believers. One of the things for which Paul expresses thankfulness is particularly striking:

1 Thessalonians 2:13 (NASB) 13 For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.

So we have here that the Apostle is thankful that the believers accepted their words as the Word of God. But how is it, then, that such Authority could have been given to Paul by these believers? That they would not only accept their words as being of God, but that they “became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen…(v14)”. Thankfully, we have the account in Acts to bring us up-to-speed on what took place.

Acts 17:1-4(NASB) Paul at Thessalonica
17 Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 2 And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.” 4 And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women.

This Jesus…is the Christ.” Paul reasoned with them from the Scriptures. That is where he derived his authority to preach, proclaiming the Jesus who had stopped him on the road to Damascus was in-fact the Christ. The authority isn’t in the vision, it’s in the Scriptures. Paul’s eyes needed to be opened, just as the eyes of the disciples that were walking on the road to Emmaus needed their eyes to be open.

It is my sincere prayer, that these posts spark a desire in your heart to read these scriptures for yourselves, and to get the full context of each passage. As I read/hear these passages I get a sense of what the disciples shared with one another after Jesus revealed Himself to them.

Luke 24:31-32 (NASB) 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. 32 They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?”

May the Holy Spirit do likewise in your hearts as you search the Scriptures, and submit to the authority of God and His Word.

In Him,
FS

The Righteousness of Biblical Submission

Christ in Gethsemane by Heinrich Hofmann

Christ in Gethsemane by Heinrich Hofmann

We live in a society that absolutely rejects the notion of submission. For most Americans, submission is a sign of weakness, inferiority, and failure. What’s worse, there is a disturbing upward trend in deviant fetishism that seeks to add a very sick and twisted meaning to submission, due in large part to a recent publication of filth I don’t care to mention. To put it bluntly, submission is a dirty word in our society. There is a very good reason the enemy works so diligently to pervert, distort, and redefine “submission” and what it means to submit. As we will see in the Scriptures, the reason is that submission to God and the authority of His Word is our only hope for salvation. While that may seem like a “given”, I urge you to bear with me and see if we might dig a bit deeper into what it means to submit to God and His Word.

In the first chapter of the Gospel of John, we have the following introduction of Jesus Christ:

John 1:1-5 (NASB) The Deity of Jesus Christ
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

John 1:14-18 (NASB) The Word Made Flesh
14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 John *testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’” 16 For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. 17 For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

I like to start in the book of John, because I find that his intro does a wonderful job of introducing the Christ in such a manner that unifies the whole Bible. Right off the bat it is clear that in order to fully understand what it means to know Jesus involves studying all of God’s Word from Genesis through Revelation. If you’ll remember the wording of the prophecy in Isaiah 9:6 regarding the Messiah, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us”, you see here that John was pointing out that while His flesh was born that day, Jesus was given to us… ,”And the Word became flesh”.

Now, as Christians, we are to take Jesus as our example. What did Jesus have to say about the Law and the Prophets?

Matthew 5:17-19 (NASB)
17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus had every right, being God, to simply speak truth from His own authority. Why did He choose to return to scriptures time and time again? A common quick-answer given today is simply that He did so to demonstrate to us how we might live our lives. While there is truth in that, I believe that answer to be incomplete, and it leaves too much room for the enemy to inject into our minds doubts and false doctrines regarding the person of Jesus and the role of  biblical submission to Divine Authority. Jesus wasn’t just demonstrating submission to the scriptures and to God the Father, He submitted to the Father’s Will.  When He fasted for 40 days (Matt 4), He submitted to the Spirit, was led into the wilderness to be tempted, and He was hungry. Not an act just for demonstration’s sake, it was real. He resisted the temptation of the devil by referring to the Scriptures. That alone would make the point I’m trying to make, but look at His response to the second temptation.

Matthew 4:7 Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Jesus isn’t directing the quote at Satan, He presents the quote as a standard by which He must resist the temptation to put the Lord God to the test. Jesus is saying that He will not do what Satan suggested He do, because Scriptures clearly stay that we are not to test the Lord our God. Submission. Likewise in the response to the third and final temptation, Jesus isn’t commanding Satan ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’ He is saying that He is to worship the Lord God and serve Him only; therefore, He will resist the final temptation. Submission. Satan had to flee… and after he had run away, the angels came to minister to Jesus. I think that it is from this example that James writes

James 4:7-10 (NASB)
7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.

I look forward to returning to James 4 at a later date, but for now, I just wanted to point out that the Apostles understood submission because they saw it in the life of Jesus. In your own private reading time, examine for yourselves all of the times Jesus deferred to His Father in Heaven. In the book of John, He made it very clear to the Pharisees that He was the Son of God, and that He was sent by Him, and that His authority over sin, sickness, even the Sabbath was from God; however, He also deferred to God’s Will and Authority. Let’s go to another truly desperate and painful times when Jesus submitted to God the Father

Mark 14:36 (NASB) (Luke 22:39-46; Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42)
36 And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.”

Luke 23:34 (NASB) (On the Cross)
34 But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.

Luke 23:46 (NASB) 46 And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Having said this, He breathed His last.

Amen. Yes, Jesus demonstrated complete and total submission to God the Father… by being fully and completely submitted to God the Father. It is this point, this point exactly, that lead me to share this message today. If Jesus, being the Son of God, the Word of God, equal to God was righteous in His submission to God and the Word of God… where is it that we get this false notion that submission denotes inferiority? We submit to God not only because He is superior to us (because we are, in-fact, inferior to God) but because it is Right that we do so. If submission were based solely on inferiority of being then Jesus could not have submitted to God the Father, for He is in no way an inferior being. He submitted to the Authority of God the Father, because that is the design of God’s creation.

Pray about this, and settle it in your spirits. Biblical submission is righteousness in the sight of God. Submit therefore to God. There is much more to discuss concerning the righteousness of biblical submission. Know that the basis for subsequent discussion has been presented here, in that we must first submit to God, His Word, His Son, His Spirit, and His Will. We will take a prayerful look at what the scriptures have to say about submission, particularly in how we are to live our lives as Christians in society, family, and within the Church.

Until next time, May the Lord bless and keep you in His Will,

In Him,
FS

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