FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD AND THE DEITY OF CHRIST

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. ~ 1 John 4:1-3

The confession that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh speaks to the deity of Christ. In chapter one, John refers to Jesus as the word of life and the eternal life which was with the Father from the beginning, and was manifested to us.

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. ~ 1 John 1:1-3

John refers to the deity of Christ at the very outset of his epistle by referring to Jesus as the word of life and eternal life. John testifies that Jesus, the Son of God, is the eternal life which was with the Father from the beginning.

John uses similar language in his gospel.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men… And the Word was made 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 1:1-4

John is heavy on the deity of Christ, such much so, that John declares that fellowship with God is contingent Jesus being divine: That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

Fellowship with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ is fellowship with the God and the One whom John claims is eternal life. In chapter 2, John addresses fathers, young men, and little children (most likely these are references to spiritual growth). To the fathers, he says, I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning (2:13) and,  I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning (2:14). 

At the close of his epistle, John declares Jesus is the true God!

And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. this is the true God, and eternal life. ~ 1 John 5:20

Now, with regards to John’s statement concerning the confession that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, Jesus was God revealed in the flesh. Every spirit that does not confess God (in the person of Jesus Christ) was manifested in the flesh is the spirit of anti-Christ.

The Spirit of God exalts Christ. The spirit of anti-Christ makes less of Christ. One does not have true fellowship with God if he does not have fellowship with that eternal life which was with the Father from the beginning and was manifested in the flesh.

To claim otherwise is to be a liar and a deceiver.

Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. ~ 1 John 2:22-23

(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. ~ 1 John 1:2-3

THE LAW IN NEW TESTAMENT DOCTRINE

When the New Testament teaches that we are no under the law, it is referring to the letter of the Law – the specific commands and instructions given to Israel through Moses.

In this respect, Christ is the fulfillment of the Law as Paul says in Romans 10:4.

Does this mean that the Law no longer has any relevance for us now that Jesus has fulfilled the Law and established the New Covenant? Not at all.

The law is indeed beneficial for us, for the teachings and instructions given to Israel under the Law were preparatory for the doctrines given to us in the New Covenant, in Christ. It is very important that we make the distinction between the letter of the Law and the preparatory nature of the law with regards to New Testament doctrine.

The New Testament writers repeatedly make appeal to the Law for doctrine and instructions. Allow me to give you some examples of what I mean.

In 1 Corinthians 9, the apostle Paul makes appeal to the Law in his letter to the Corinthians that ministers are entitled to be supported.

13 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?

14 Even so hath the Lord ORDAINED that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. ~ 1 Corinthians 9:13-14

Notice that Paul’s position that ministers are entitled to support is predicated on the ordination of God established under the law.

Later, in chapter 14, Paul makes appeal to the Law regarding the use of tongues in a public assembly: In THE LAW it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. ~ Corinthians 14:21

In the text above Paul quotes from the book of Isaiah, meaning that Paul’s view of the Law was broader than just the 5 books of Moses. The prophets were the interpreters of the Law in view of the coming Messiah, Jesus.

According to Paul, the church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone. ~ Ephesians 2:20

The apostles were appointed to lay the foundation of New Testament doctrine and they did so under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The prophets, who interpreted the Law, prophesied of the coming of Jesus by the Spirit of Christ that was in them.

A few verses after citing to the book of Isaiah regarding the use of tongues, Paul again, refers to the Law for doctrine in verse 34.

Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience AS ALSO SAITH THE LAW. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:34

If we were more studious of the preparatory nature of the Law, rather than being conditioned to dismiss the law, we might come away with a better understanding as to what Paul is really saying when he declares that women should keep silence in the churches.

Over and over again, the New Testament writers appeal to the Law to support their teachings. Consider the words of the apostle Peter: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation ~ 1 Peter 1;15.

Peter is quoting God’s words to Israel found in Leviticus 11:44-45, 19:2; and 20:7

Let’s consider these three texts from Leviticus.

44 For I am the Lord your God: ye shall therefore SANCTIFY YOURSELVES, and ye shall BE HOLY;

45 FOR I AM HOLY: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. For I am the Lord that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY. ~ Leviticus 11:44-45

Notice in verse 44 God commanded the Israelites: SANCTIFY YOURSELVES. Peter uses this same language in chapter 3 within the context of living godly and holy.

But SANCTIFY the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear… ~ 1 Peter 3:15

Now consider Leviticus 19:2 and 20:7

Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy. ~ Leviticus 19:2

SANCTIFY yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the Lord your God. ~ Leviticus 20:7

The same doctrine given to Israel regarding being holy and sanctifying themselves, is given to the church. With Israel it applied to the outward life in the flesh and their approach to God under they types and shadows. Concerning the New Testament Church, it applies to the inward life in the hidden man of our heart, from whence we are called to live a holy life, in and through Christ.

Finally, I would like to share something I recently addressed in my writings. I addressed an error which has spread within the Charismatic movement: “getting drunk in the spirit.” This practice is spiritually in error because it is in conflict with the whole counsel of scripture.

I will not go into all the details here, but would like to show how the teachings and instructions given under the Law would benefit us if we’d follow the lead of the New testament authors in how they interpret the Law for doctrine, correction, and instruction.

In Leviticus 10 we read how the two sons of Aaron (Nadab and Abihu) took it upon themselves to go against the command of the Lord by offering “strange fire” on the altar of the Lord. The consequence for this sin was fatal as they suddenly fell dead in the presence of God.

God is Holy, and these two sons of Aaron offered strange fire before the Lord. They sinned against God by disobeying the command of God in the things which pertained to a foreshadowing of Christ.

This outward service of the Law under which Nadab and Abihu were judged, has been annulled by the death of Christ on the cross. The priesthood to which these sons of Aaron belonged is defunct. Yet the truth in Leviticus 10 for how we should reverence the presence of God is still pertinent for us today.

After the death of Nadab and Abihu, God commanded Aaron regarding how he and his descendants were to serve as priests in the presence of God. Among those instructions, God said the following to Aaron:

Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean… ~ Leviticus 10:9-10

The priests were to minister in the presence of the Lord in soberness, and not in a drunken stupor. They were to minister in the presence of the Lord with a sober mind so that they would have good judgment and be able to rightly divide between that which was holy and unholy, and between that which was unclean and clean.

The same truth applies to us today. We have many directives in the New Testament instructing us not to be drunk, but to be sober minded. Yet within the Charismatic movement, there are those who get worked up into an inebriated or intoxicated frenzy, slurring their words, and so doing they dishonor the holy presence of God. Such behavior is unsound doctrine, and condemned by the whole counsel of scripture, and leads many people into error.

When a minister is unable to preach or teach the Word of God because of drunkenness or intoxication of any kind, it is “scripturally” a sign of judgment and not blessings – and this is what the Law supports in doctrine.

ARE ALL YOUR PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE SINS ALREADY FORGIVEN?

The teaching that God has forgiven all your past, present, and future sins is a very dangerous teaching.

If you will bear with me for a few minutes, I will explain from the word of God exactly why this view is wrong. There is much more I could say than you will read here, maybe I will write more on this topic, but I want to briefly show you why this teaching is error according to scripture.

First, allow me to say that God has made “provision” for the cleansing of all your sins through the sacrifice of Jesus. Jesus is our advocate with the Father when we sin. So please don’t misunderstand me in this regard.

However, the ideology that all your future sins are already forgiven (which implies you don’t need to repent when you sin, because God can’t see your sins) is scripturally in error.

Allow me to explain with one simple question: Was the apostle Paul inspired by the Spirit of the Lord to write to the Corinthian Church?

Certainly he was.

If God doesn’t see the believer’s sins and the Holy Spirit doesn’t convict believers of sin, why did God, through his Holy Spirit, inspire Paul to address the sin of fornication within the church at Corinth?

Why did Paul, inspired by God, rebuke the Corinthians for not grieving because of the sin of fornication in their midst?

In 1 Corinthians Paul says: It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. ~1 Corinthians 5:1-2

If Paul inspired by the Spirit of God, reprimanded the Corinthians regarding this sin, God obviously knew about their sin. In fact, Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit chides these believers for permitting a sin that not even unbelievers commit.

Now consider what Paul says to these same believers in 2 Corinthians:

For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow works repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world works death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.  2 Corinthians 7:8-11 

According to the Bible, God saw the sin of fornication which the Corinthians were allowing in their midst, and after Paul rebuked them they repented.

Those who teach that God does not see your sins after you are saved because all future sins are forgiven, are teaching error. Did God see the sin of Corinthian believers? Absolutely! And he can see mine and your’s too.