Saturday, July 26, 2014


Is there a difference between knowing that God is capable of saving us, and being assured of that salvation? Paul talks about assurance, not capacity. We are not waiting to see if Christ is capable of being victorious. Christ is victorious! He lived a perfect life in our sinful flesh. He died the second death. He was resurrected and taken to Heaven in glory. Christ endured all that we will experience, and He has given us that which made His victory possible: the Holy Spirit and His power. Christ has assured salvation for us all, that is, the whole world, on the cross. His resurrection is the proof of this. Are we still at war? A look at prophecy will remind us that we still are. But do not fear. There is provision for this too. Salvation is in three stages.

Have you noticed the verb in the verses dealing with salvation or deliverance is in three different tenses: Past, present, future? That is because salvation is in three stages. On the cross Christ paid the world’s penalty for sin. As the scripture states, “the wages of Sin is death.” But thanks be to God, we can be assured that Christ’s blood paid the price. Titus 3: 5-6 says,

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;
Titus 3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

We are thus justified. In other words, the cross allows for the Righteousness of Christ to be imputed to us. We are declared Righteous through the merits of Christ (Romans 5:1).
The next stage is in the present tense. We are currently being saved.1 Corinthians 1:18 is a good example,

1Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

This stage of salvation imparts His righteousness to us. It sanctifies us. It saves us from the power of sin. That is why 2 Peter 2:9 says, “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations…” We are thus assured that not only will we not die eternally, but that in our sinful flesh we can have perfect and sinless characters, as Christ did.
The last stage of salvation is in the future tense. We will be saved. Matthew 10:22 states, “…he that endureth shall be saved.” Other examples are Mark 16:16, John 10:9, and Acts 15:11. This is glorification. This shall happen at Christ’s second coming. When “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (1Co 15:52). And we shall be saved from the presence of Sin.
Christ went through these three stages and was victorious. He assures those who believe by faith, that His grace is sufficient and complete, and that they too, are being, and will be victorious.

Now let us look further on grace.  Why do we need it?  Let us start by reading what Paul says in Romans,
Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
Romans 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
Romans 3:12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

We do not have ways of producing inside of us what we need to rid ourselves of Sin.  So, the cure must be supplied.   We need a daily dose of God’s grace.  This is what Christ has done.  We read in Romans,

Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

So, only Jesus can supply it.  And, He has supplied grace to every man, “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ” (Ephesians 4:7).  (A measure of faith is also given to every man – Romans 12:3).  And, it is by faith that we accept it (Romans 5:2).  You can try to ignore the problem or even misdiagnose it; you are still a sinner in need of grace. Remember, we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8). 

So, what is grace?  The dictionary defines it as: a. the free and unmerited favour of God shown towards man, and b. the divine assistance and power given to man in spiritual rebirth and sanctification.  Strong’s concordance defines it as: the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.  Both definitions agree that beyond just unmerited favor, or undeserved mercy – which implies that it is a gift - grace is a power or influence from God given to man to transform man into His likeness.  Paul elaborates on this concept in Ephesians 2: 1 – 5 and 8,

Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
Ephesians 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Ephesians 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Ephesians 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

It is grace that provides the right “spiritual nutrients” to rid us of Sin and fill us with the Love of God.  Ellen White says,

“We are naturally inclined to desire our own way and will, but when the transforming grace of Christ takes hold upon our hearts the inquiry of our souls is, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" When the Spirit of God works within us, we are led to will and to do of the Lord's good pleasure, and there is obedience in heart and action....” (That I May Know Him, p. 150).

The question is: will we by faith accept the grace of God?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Holy Spirit

The Best Type Of Witness

Judgment trials always use witnesses.  witness is someone who has first-hand knowledge about a crime or dramatic event through their senses (e.g. seeing, hearing, smelling, touching) and can help certify important considerations to the crime or event. We know that lawyers – on both sides - use witnesses to testify either for or against the defendant.  We have also learned that there are different types of witnesses.  A witness who has seen the event first-hand is known as an eye-witness. A material witness is an individual who contains information "material" to a criminal proceeding.  Character witness talk about the defendant to convince the jury that there is no way this person could have done what he or she is accused of.  Then there are these expert witnesses.  They do not know the defendant, nor did they see what happened.  They take the evidence found in the crime scene, which technically speaking was there, and in a sense, speak what the evidence says in words the jury will understand. 

The Spirit is to testify of Jesus.  Let's read John 15:26,

John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of Me:

(Notice that it is Christ and the Father who promised to send us the Holy Spirit).  In the Biblical Greek, to testify means to be or bear witness, give testimony, have a good report, to affirm that one has seen or heard or experienced something, or that he knows it because taught by divine revelation or inspiration.  Who best to testify than the One who was there throughout the whole process?  Let us look at this list that shows how the Spirit was involved with Jesus. 

  1. The Holy Spirit conceived Jesus (Matthew 1:1820). 
  2. He filled Jesus with His presence (Luke 2:40). 
  3. The Holy Spirit was there when John baptized Jesus giving His approval to Jesus (Matthew 3:16). 
  4. The Spirit led Jesus where He should go (Luke 4:1,14). 
  5. Jesus performed miracles through the power of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:28). 
  6. Jesus admitted that all He was able to do was due to the Spirit being upon Him (Luke 4:18). 

It is the Spirit's desire to with us as He did with Jesus.  Ellen White says,

"The Holy Spirit was the highest of all gifts that He could solicit from His Father for the exaltation of His people. The Spirit was to be given as a regenerating agent, and without this the sacrifice of Christ would have been of no avail.   The power of evil had been strengthening for centuries, and the submission of men to this satanic captivity was amazing. Sin could be resisted and overcome only through the mighty agency of the Third Person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fullness of divine power. It is the Spirit that makes effectual what has been wrought out by the world's Redeemer. It is by the Spirit that the heart is made pure. Through the Spirit the believer becomes a partaker of the divine nature. Christ has given His Spirit as a divine power to overcome all hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil, and to impress His own character upon His church." {DA 671.2}

The Holy Spirit is responsible for our new birth.  One cannot be born unless one is conceived first.  It is the Holy Spirit who spiritually re-conceives us for our new birth experience (John 3:5-8).  He fills us with His presence.  The sign of this are the Gifts and His fruit (1 Corinthians 12:4; Galatians 5:22-24).  He leads us where we should go.  Because, of the Spirit we will do even greater things than Jesus. 

We need not worry about what to say.  The Father and Jesus both want to send the Holy Spirit to us (Luke 1:13John 14:2615:26;1 Thessalonians 4:8).  The Holy Spirit will bring to remembrance what we are to say (Mark 13:11).  The Holy Spirit is our seal of promise unto the day of redemption.  What is a beautiful and reassuring promise: that He, who brought Jesus forth, will also bring us forth to Jesus? 

How does the Spirit do his work in us?  Ellen White tells us how,

The Comforter is called "the Spirit of truth." His work is to define and maintain the truth.   He first dwells in the heart as the Spirit of truth, and thus He becomes the Comforter. There is comfort and peace in the truth, but no real peace or comfort can be found in falsehood. It is through false theories and traditions that Satan gains his power over the mind. By directing men to false standards, he misshapes the character. Through the Scriptures the Holy Spirit speaks to the mind, and impresses truth upon the heart. Thus He exposes error, and expels it from the soul. It is by the Spirit of truth, working through the word of God, that Christ subdues His chosen people to Himself." {DA 671.1}

Ellen White reiterates this same point by saying that …,

"…The Holy Spirit glorifies God by so revealing his character to his people that he becomes the object of their supreme affections, and by making manifest his character in them. They see clearly that there was never any righteousness in the world but his, no excellence in the world but that derived from him.  The Holy Spirit glorifies God by so revealing his character to his people that he becomes the object of their supreme affections, and by making manifest his character in them. They see clearly that there was never any righteousness in the world but his, no excellence in the world but that derived from him {1888 1017.3}

The only thing that will prevent the Holy Spirit from fulfilling His work in us is ourselves.  Let us then allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in us.  The Holy Spirit is the greatest gift God gives to us.  We read in Luke 11: 13,

Luke 11: 13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?


Will we appreciate the gift?

Raul Diaz

Friday, July 4, 2014

Insight: What Jesus Teaches about the Father (The Godhead Theorem)

Originally published:  Friday, June 02, 2006

The Godhead Theorem

A theorem is a proposition that has been or is to be proved on the basis of explicit assumptions.  (Is the central activity of mathematicians.)  In other words there are things that we assume are true.  However, when we put some of those assumptions together, we derive other truths that are based on the assumptions being true.  The following is an example.  Let us assume that there is only one value "C."  Now, if we assume that a + b =c, and d + e =c, then a + b =d + e.  Is it too abstract for you?  Maybe if we try numbers.  If 3+1=4, and 2+2=4, then 3+1=2+2.  Pretty simple.  You may even say, "Common sense should tell you that."  However, as a friend says, "Common sense is not common."
Sometimes we are tempted to think that the Father is distant from us.  He is most times in Heaven, sternly looking down at us, waiting for us to make a mistake so He can make us a pillar of salt or sap us with a lightning.  But, that is very far from the truth.  We can use the principles of the theorem used in the above paragraph to demonstrate this.  . 
Let us look at John 14: 7- 10
 John 14: 7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
 John 14: 8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
 John 14: 9Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?
 John 14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?
Our first assumption is that although different persons, the Son and the Father are virtually equal.  Wherever the Son is, you also have the Father. 
Farther down on John 14 Jesus says:
John 14: 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
 John 14: 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
John 14: 8 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 
How can Jesus say, that He will come to His disciples, if HE just said He is leaving, and that is why He is sending the Comforter?  We see this repeated in the great commission in Matthew 28:20, "... and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world."
How can Jesus be with us until the end of the world and be in Heaven at the same time?  The answer to that is that, since His Spirit is one with Him, it may as well be Jesus.  So, when the Spirit indwells us, it may as well be the Father.  That is our second assumption.
Put the two assumptions together, and you get a theorem that states that if the Father is in the Son, and the Son is in the Spirit, then it must be that the Father is in the Spirit as He, the Spirit, indwells us.  By having this connection to the Spirit we are not only connected to the Son, but also to the Father.  So, the Father is not that far away after all, He is in us as the Spirit is in us.  What a marvelous truth!  The Spirit is not our nanny.  The Father loves us so He sent His Holy Spirit to indwell in us, so that through the Holy Spirit He can also indwell us.  What an awesome privilege we have, to be the abode of the King of the Universe.  Friends, let us not throw this away.  

Raul Diaz