The Pope, the Salvation of the Jews, and Calvinism, Part 4 (OT background)

abraham god calling himIf around 20 AD you were to ask a typical First Century Jew whether the Exile is over, he would have said “No.”

You might reply, “But you’re no longer in Babylonian Captivity. How can that be?”

He would explain, “It’s true that we’re no longer required to live in Babylon, but we are now forced to live under the oppressive rule of Roman, swine-eating dictators who care nothing for God, his Torah, or his Temple.

“The Exile only ends when the prophecies about the end of Exile come true. We are still under Exile because —

  • “We’re under Roman rule.”
  • “The Kingdom of God has not come.”
  • “The Messiah has not come.”
  • “The Spirit has not yet been outpoured.”
  • “The Shekinah (Glory) of God has not appeared in the Holy of Holies, and so God has not accepted Herod’s temple as he accepted the Tabernacle and Solomon’s Temple.”
  • “The gift of prophecy such as we had in the days of Isaiah and Jeremiah has not returned, as promised by the prophet Joel.”
  • “The priesthood is corrupt and the high priest is descended from the wrong descendant of Aaron.”
  • “No descendant of David sits on the throne. The Edomite Herod (or one of his sons) rules Judea on behalf of Rome, even calling himself ‘king of the Jews.'”
  • “Elijah has not appeared to prepare the way for the Messiah.”
  • “The New Covenant promised by Jeremiah in chapter 31:31 ff has not yet come true.”
  • “God has not circumcised the hearts of his people, as he promised in Deu 30:6.”

Now, with the coming of John the Baptist, followed by Jesus, followed by Pentecost, the picture has begun to look very different. In fact, the biggest problem with claiming that these things had happened was (a) continued Roman rule, (b) the crucifixion of Jesus, and (c) the refusal of most Jews to accept Jesus as Messiah. After all, the Messiah was expected to be a great general who’d lead the Jews to overthrow the Romans, and Jesus died on a Roman cross. Nothing could be less like the Messiah most Jews expected.

But if a Jew were willing to accept the idea of a spiritual kingdom, the idea of the Messiah as the Suffering Servant in Isaiah, and that Jesus and his church are the new temple in which God dwells by his Spirit, then Christianity fits the prophesied end of Exile very nicely.

Nonetheless, God had promised the Kingdom to the Jews, and the Jews by and large rejected Jesus. If God has perfect foreknowledge, how could such a thing be? While there are a few OT verses that speak of the Gentiles or “the nations” entering the Kingdom, how could it be that the church was quickly becoming mainly Gentile?

So to a Jew steeped in the Law and the Prophets, Christianity didn’t fit the prophecies because God had made promises to his people, the Jews, to return them from Exile and to be their God. This didn’t seem to be happening — and this threatened the faith of many Jewish Christians as well as creating confusion as to the role of Gentiles in the church.

Perhaps if we made the Gentiles convert to Judaism, more Jews would be converted and God’s destiny promised his people would come true? So perhaps the solution is circumcision or honoring Jewish food laws or otherwise being scrupulous about Jewish identity markers? Perhaps being so loose in our attitudes toward the Gentiles is offending God? Perhaps we should make entry more difficult for Gentiles and keep this a largely Jewish movement?

The Messiah had a task: to rebuild or cleanse the Temple, to defeat the pagans, to rescue Israel and bring God’s justice to the world. Anyone who died without accomplishing these things, particularly one who attacked the Temple and died at the hands of the pagans he should have been defeating, leaving Israel unredeemed and the world still unjust, was obviously not the true Messiah. This is why it took something utterly extraordinary to make anyone suppose that Jesus was in fact the Messiah. Paul is clear: It was the resurrection that marked Jesus out as “son of God” (v. 4). The resurrection reversed the verdict that all thoughtful first-century Jews would have passed on Jesus at the time of his crucifixion. If such a Messiah could not be fitted in to existing conceptions of what Israel’s God was supposed to be doing, that was too bad. The existing conceptions would have to be rethought around him. That, indeed, was the intellectual dimension of Paul’s lifework.

N.T. Wright, “The Letter to the Romans,”  in The Acts of the Apostles-The First Letter to the Corinthians (vol. 10 of New Interpreters Bible, Accordance electronic ed. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2002), 418.

Why did Paul write Romans?

You see, to know why Paul wrote Romans, you need only ask what questions he bothers to answer, and the climax of the book is plainly Rom 8 – 11. Rom 8 speaks of the impact of the Spirit on the lives of Christians, but it also speaks of the fulfillment of the OT prophesies regarding what the Spirit would do for God’s people —

(Deut. 30:6 ESV)  6 And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.

(Isa. 32:14-17 ESV)  14 For the palace is forsaken, the populous city deserted; the hill and the watchtower will become dens forever, a joy of wild donkeys, a pasture of flocks;  15 until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is deemed a forest.  16 Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field.  17 And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.

(Isa. 44:3-5 ESV)  3 For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.  4 They shall spring up among the grass like willows by flowing streams.  5 This one will say, ‘I am the LORD’s,’ another will call on the name of Jacob, and another will write on his hand, ‘The LORD’s,’ and name himself by the name of Israel.” 

(Jer. 31:31-34 ESV)  31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah,  32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD.  33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” 

(Jer. 32:37-42 ESV)  37 Behold, I will gather them from all the countries to which I drove them in my anger and my wrath and in great indignation. I will bring them back to this place, and I will make them dwell in safety.  38 And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.  39 I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them.  40 I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.  41 I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul.  42 “For thus says the LORD: Just as I have brought all this great disaster upon this people, so I will bring upon them all the good that I promise them. 

(Ezek. 11:19-20 ESV)  19 And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,  20 that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. 

(Ezek. 36:26-27 ESV)  26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

(Ezek. 37:1-14 ESV) The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones.  2 And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry.  3 And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

And I answered, “O Lord GOD, you know.”  

4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.  5 Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live.  6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the LORD.”  

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone.  8 And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them.  

9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord GOD: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.”  10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.  11 Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’  12 Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel.  13 And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people.  14 And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the LORD.” 

(Joel 2:28-32a ESV)  28 “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.  29 Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit.  30 “And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke.  31 The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.  32 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

These passages are largely unfamiliar to Christians, but these were very familiar to any First Century Jew. (They are prominent in intertestamental literature, such as the Book of Jubilees.)

The Jews prayed daily for the coming of the “prophet” of Deu 18 and the Messiah of Psalm 2 and for all the other things that were to mark the end of the age and the beginning of the messianic age.

Profile photo of Jay Guin

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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62 Responses to The Pope, the Salvation of the Jews, and Calvinism, Part 4 (OT background)

  1. David says:

    Good thoughts that can open up the Scriptures like never before. Thanks for pointing us in this direction the last few years. For me it has helped solve the riddle of John 3:5. Jesus was probably referring Nicodemus to Ezekiel 36 :24…ff, where the NT idea of the new birth is fully described. Yeah, I know that’s and old interpretation from Calvin. I rejected it years ago, but I am beginning to think he was correct.

  2. Mark says:

    Thanks for mentioning these Jay.
    The Isaiah and Jeremiah prophesies are typically read during Advent in “high church” tradition. They make the gospel make more sense as the gospel writers presumed the people (at least the Jews) knew the writings of the prophets.

  3. Jim H says:

    This series is great! To see and begin to understand the mind of the Jew is paramount to an understanding of Romans. Thanks Jay!

  4. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    David,

    (Ezek. 36:24-27 ESV) 24 I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

    There are several OT prophecies that associate the Spirit with water. This is a particularly apt one.

  5. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Mark,

    Thanks. I didn’t know that about Advent. But these texts breathe new, deeper meaning into countless NT texts, such as Rom 8. I mean, you can’t follow Paul’s point in Rom 8 unless you know what “led by the Spirit” and “the Torah of the Spirit of life” mean — and these are allusions to these very passages. Paul writes assuming that we’ve read the Prophets.

  6. Dwight says:

    I think sometimes we need to temper our concept of the Jews rejecting Jesus.
    The Jews who were Jews indeed who held to Judaism, did in fact reject Jesus and they could be called Jews because they were/are still that and still followed the Jewish leaders, etc.
    But there were plenty of Jews that did follow Christ, but when you read of them in the gospels they are no longer “Jews”, but saints, brothers, followers of Christ, even though they are still Jews in many or most of the things they do.

  7. David says:

    Jay

    It would seem that Ezekiel in Ezek 36:24-27 speaks of two “operations” of the Spirit on the Israelites The cleansing from sin, represented by the sprinkling of clean water, and the infilling so as to keep God’s commandments. The infilling or indwelling of the Spirit is mentioned numerous times in the NT. The only obvious reference in the NT to the cleansing by the Spirit is I Cor 6:11 (“You were washed, you were justified….”). Only mentioned once, but its plainly there.

    Nicodemous in John 3, being a teacher of the Law, should have been aware of the prophetic rebirth to be wrought by God, by water and Spirit, as spoken of by Ezekiel.

    Conclusion: To be born of water is not a reference to the ritual of baptism, per se, but to that which the ritual represents, a cleansing from sin by the Spirit.

  8. Larry Cheek says:

    David,
    It appears to me that you are using the Spirit to cleanse us of sins. Christ cleanses us from sin. The Spirit has done nothing to pay the price of sins and obtain the power to be a mediator between God and man. The Spirit has never been identified in scripture to forgive of sins or to cleanse of sins.

  9. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Larry and David,

    There are other scriptures that associate the Spirit with the forgiveness of sins. Several actually.

    (Tit. 3:4-7 ESV) 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

    The Greek grammar here is challenging, but I think a good case can be made that “of the Holy Spirit …” modifies by washing and renewal. I wrote a post on this a long time ago.

    (Acts 2:38 ESV) 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    You may be familiar with this one. It could be reasonably read as, if you’re baptized for the forgiveness of your sins, you’ll receive this forgiveness due to receiving the Holy Spirit.

    (1 Cor. 6:11 ESV) 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

    The washing, sanctification (making holy), justification are all grammatically “by the Spirit.”

    (Jn. 4:13-14 ESV) 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

    “Living water” is plainly the Holy Spirit. John 7:37-39. The Spirit brings eternal life.

    (Joel 2:28-32a ESV) 28 “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. 29 Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit. 30 “And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. 32 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.

    The association of the outpouring of the Spirit with forgiveness is explicit. First comes the Spirit so that forgiveness may follow.

    (Ezek. 39:28-29 ESV) 28 Then they shall know that I am the LORD their God, because I sent them into exile among the nations and then assembled them into their own land. I will leave none of them remaining among the nations anymore. 29 And I will not hide my face anymore from them, when I pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, declares the Lord GOD.”

    God’s promise to restore the fortunes of Israel is, of course, a promise of forgiveness, and it’s tied to the outpouring of the Spirit.

    If you take the baptism of Jesus as prototype of Christian baptism, then the receipt of the Spirit is tied to being declared “my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” And I think this is exactly what the passage teaches.

  10. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    PS — I believe our forgiveness is fully Trinitarian. All three members of the Godhead participate — which is ample justification for Jesus’ teaching that we be baptized in all three names.

  11. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    David,

    Your interpretation of John 3:5 very reasonable. I’m pretty much persuaded that it has to be right or else the passage contradicts —

    (Jn. 3:18 ESV) 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

    This is part of the very same discussion, and if Jesus’ point is the absolute necessity for water immersion, then how could he say 3:18? Surely, Nicodemus left confused hearing both 3:5 and 3:18.

    Of course, Jesus’ speech to Nicodemus is filled with OT allusions. For example, “only Son of God” refers to Psalm 2 unmistakably. There are many others.

    It’s not that Jesus is not wanting Nicodemus to be baptized. Jesus is not a Baptist. Rather, the subject of the conversation is not immersion for forgiveness; it’s the receipt of the Spirit and forgiveness. Jesus said,

    (Jn. 3:10-12 ESV) 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?”

    Jesus seems to think that he’s talking about things obvious from the OT. Salvation by grace through faith. The coming outpoured Spirit. All are plainly found in the OT. Water baptism is not.

    Being “born again” is really “begotten again,” I think, because the Greek refers to being begotten when a father is in mind; birth when a mother is in mind. The Greek itself is ambiguous. Hence, it refers to Psalm 2 — “Today have I begotten you” and similar passages.

    In the Torah, God declares the Israelites his sons. They became begotten of God. Romans and Greek would say “adopted” but the Jews had no adoption system. Hence, what Paul calls “adoption” in his letters to Gentiles is begotten-again-ness to the Jews. To become a true son of God — a true Israelite entitled to the blessings found in the covenant with Abraham, that is, counting faith as righteousness etc. — Nicodemus, a Jew, had to again become God’s son — not by birthright from Abraham but by the Spirit.

    And, of course, it’s no coincidence that Jesus himself was begotten again by the Spirit. Again, Jesus was a prototype of Christianity. When we are begotten again, we become like Jesus. We repent to follow in his footsteps, to become his disciple, to be reshaped into his image.

    So your view of John 3:5 leads to far richer, deeper understanding of Christianity than the traditional reading.

    And yet this is not to deny that baptism is the moment of our salvation. Just that baptism is not the cause or root of our salvation. It’s about being begotten again by the Spirit — having our spiritual DNA re-written by the Spirit. Which normatively happens at water baptism. But baptism is not the magic. It’s not what changes us. It’s God and Jesus working through the Spirit.

    And they are not required to withhold their Spirit just because we mess up the baptismal theology. After all, we’re not saved by the water.

    I don’t understand why we so insist on getting the water exactly right and care next to nothing about really understanding the Spirit part.

  12. Larry Cheek says:

    Jay,
    I never studied Greek. But, either the Greek is totally different rendering than what has been translated or the English classes that had have been very flawed. The diagramming of the sentences according to my English studies will not produce the results that you are suggesting.

  13. Monty says:

    So in John 3:3-5 Water means spirit and Spirit means spirit? One is figurative and the other is actual? That seems odd. It makes more sense(to me) that either they are both literal or both metaphorical. No wonder NIcodemus was so mixed up. So, the interpretation is we are born of Spirit and Spirit?

    Perhaps Jesus’ mystification with Nicodemus was that people were being immersed into “new life”(forgiveness of sins) all around him(like when the wind blows through the trees)the Spirit was moving among the people and he failed to see it, he failed to see it all around him but the evidence was slapping him in the face, not that he didn’t pull baptism out of the O.T. when it wasn’t there. He was a teacher in Israel but he failed to see the movement of God.

    When Jesus said, “except a man be born again he can’t see the kingdom of God.” It would seem that there is a requirement on man to be born again unless we are to just wait for the Spirit. ” You must be born again,” Of course the answer is to believe in Jesus. But you must be born by or through water and the Spirit. Paul states,”By one Spirit we were all baptized into one body”. Here again is the literal Spirit baptizing folks through a baptism(literal water) they all shared in, making them one. “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ”. Paul closely associates baptism to being put into the body of Christ and putting on Christ. In Romans 6 he associates it with newness of life(born again?) baptized into his death ,in order that we may live a new life. One seems predicated on the other. And of course as baptism into Christ is predicated on believing in Christ. There seems to be a flow here that many seem to want to section off into different segments, like damming up a river.

  14. laymond says:

    Monty, what if it means we have to be buried in water as a sinner, and raised from that water, a Christian follower of Jesus. (born of water). A new man.
    Then as Paul stated, when we die we are buried a natural body, and raised a spiritual body. (born of spirit). A new being.
    Even those of us who will not die before Jesus returns, our body will be changed from a natural body, to a spiritual body. (born of spirit) a different being.
    If these two things do not happen, we will not be allowed into God’s Kingdom. pretty plainly stated in scripture.
    God is a spirit, and God’s kingdom is a spiritual kingdom.

  15. David says:

    Monty

    “So in John 3:5 water means Spirit and Spirit means Spirit?”

    I understand your question. That’s the same question I had years ago when I first read the interpretation, and the main reason I rejected it then. It didn’t make sense. But, when you read Ezekiel 36: 24-36 don’t you interpret water to mean Spirit, and Spirit to mean Spirit? If Ezekiel can speak like that, then Jesus can too.

    There are other passages in both the Old and NT where water means Spirit and Spirit means Spirit. In John 7:37-39, John explains that when Jesus said “water” he meant the Spirit that was later to be given to those who believe. Many others where the Spirit is poured, sprinkled, flows, immerses.

    My other objection to this interpretation of John 3:5 was that Calvin had gone fishing for a way to explain the verse his way, and had found it in an obscure passage from the OT. I have since learned that passages like Ezek 36: 24-36 were only obscure to me, not to people like Jesus and Nicodemus. The passage is about God restoring His people to Him in the coming Kingdom. It would have been on the front burner as the Jews of that time were expecting the Messiah any day.

  16. Dwight says:

    In Ezek.36:24-36 I see two things happening a metaphorical cleansing, which was always done with water and then an insertion of the new heart and new spirit. The spirit could not inhabit the unclean vs.29. To the Jews water was either associated with cleansing and/or life. Thus Noah could be saved by water. In this the water was not the spirit, but made way for the spirit.

    John 7:37 “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” does have water being equated with spirit, but this had to do with the water and spirit both flowing and cleansing and saving in type.

    The problem I have with water being spirit in John 3:5 is that either he is being redundant or making a point about water and the spirit as Monty pointed out. “So in John 3:5 water means Spirit and Spirit means Spirit.” So “you are born of the spirit and the spirit.”
    It makes no sense, even if he had used water to refer to the spirit previously.
    Either water is equated with spirit or it is not. Here they are side by side in action and not explaining one another.

  17. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Dwight, David, and Monty,

    There is a Greek construction called a hendiadys where two words are connected with “and” but the meaning is combination. In English, I might say that I’m going to town and getting an ice cream cone. The real meaning is that I’m going to town “to” get an ice cream cone.

    Hence, in John 3:5, “water and Spirit” could mean “water that is Spirit” or “spiritual water.”

    Calvin rejected a reference to baptism here, and proponents of baptismal regeneration are hard put to explain a reference to Christian baptism by Christ to Nicodemus long before Pentecost and the institution of the NT church. We may understand the expression “born of water and of the spirit” as a hendiadys. There is no article in the Greek text which reads simply “water and spirit.” Hendiadys is a figure of speech in which two nouns connected by and are used instead of one noun and an adjective. The second noun has the force of a superlative or emphatic adjective. In John 3:5 the meaning is, therefore, “spiritual water.” This is essentially the same conclusion Calvin reached. He saw water and spirit as signifying the same thing.
    Would “spiritual water” have conveyed anything to Nicodemus? Assuredly it would. He was well aware of the waters of separation (Num. 19) and the cleansing waters specifically associated with obtaining “a new heart” and receiving God’s Spirit (Ezek. 36:25–27). The Lord Jesus was showing him that these had to be understood as references, not to sacramental ablutions, but to the activity of the Holy Spirit. Paul follows the same line of thought in Eph. 5:26, “the washing of water by the word.”

    Alan Cairns, Dictionary of Theological Terms, 2002, 60.

    The most plausible interpretation of ‘born of water and the Spirit’ turns on three factors. First, the expression is parallel to ‘from above’ (anōthen, v. 3), and so only one birth is in view. Second, the preposition ‘of’ governs both ‘water’ and ‘spirit’. The most natural way of taking this construction is to see the phrase as a conceptual unity: there is a water-spirit source (cf. Murray J. Harris, NIDNTT 3. 1178) that stands as the origin of this regeneration. Third, Jesus berates Nicodemus for not understanding these things in his role as ‘Israel’s teacher’ (v. 10), a senior ‘professor’ of the Scriptures, and this in turn suggests we must turn to what Christians call the Old Testament to begin to discern what Jesus had in mind.
    Although the full construction ‘born of water and of the Spirit’ is not found in the Old Testament, the ingredients are there. At a minor level, the idea that Israel, the covenant community, was properly called ‘God’s son’ (Ex. 4:22; Dt. 32:6; Ho. 11:1) provides at least a little potential background for the notion of God ‘begetting’ people, enough, Brown thinks, that it should have enabled Nicodemus ‘to understand that Jesus was proclaiming the arrival of the eschatological times when men would be God’s children’ (1. 139). Far more important is the Old Testament background to ‘water’ and ‘spirit’. The ‘spirit’ is constantly God’s principle of life, even in creation (e.g. Gn. 2:7; 6:3; Jb. 34:14); but many Old Testament writers look forward to a time when God’s ‘spirit’ will be poured out on humankind (Joel 2:28) with the result that there will be blessing and righteousness (Is. 32:15–20; 44:3; Ezk. 39:29), and inner renewal which cleanses God’s covenant people from their idolatry and disobedience (Ezk. 11:19–20; 36:26–27). When water is used figuratively in the Old Testament, it habitually refers to renewal or cleansing, especially when it is found in conjunction with ‘spirit’. This conjunction may be explicit, or may hide behind language depicting the ‘pouring out’ of the spirit (cf. Nu. 19:17–19; Ps. 51:9–10; Is. 32:15; 44:3–5; 55:1–3; Je. 2:13; 17:13; Ezk. 47:9; Joel 2:28–29; Zc. 14:8). Most important of all is Ezekiel 36:25–27, where water and spirit come together so forcefully, the first to signify cleansing from impurity, and the second to depict the transformation of heart that will enable people to follow God wholly. And it is no accident that the account of the valley of dry bones, where Ezekiel preaches and the Spirit brings life to dry bones, follows hard after Ezekiel’s water/spirit passage (cf. Ezk. 37; and notes on 3:8, below). The language is reminiscent of the ‘new heart’ expressions that revolve around the promise of the new covenant (Je. 31:29ff.). Similar themes were sometimes picked up in later Judaism (e.g. Jubilees 1:23–25).
    In short, born of water and spirit (the article and the capital ‘S’ in the NIV should be dropped: the focus is on the impartation of God’s nature as ‘spirit’ [cf. 4:24], not on the Holy Spirit as such) signals a new begetting, a new birth that cleanses and renews, the eschatological cleansing and renewal promised by the Old Testament prophets. True, the prophets tended to focus on the corporate results, the restoration of the nation; but they also anticipated a transformation of individual ‘hearts’—no longer hearts of stone but hearts that hunger to do God’s will. It appears that individual regeneration is presupposed. Apparently Nicodemus had not thought of the Old Testament passages this way. If he was like some other Pharisees, he was too confident of the quality of his own obedience to think he needed much repentance (cf. Lk. 7:30), let alone to have his whole life cleansed and his heart transformed, to be born again.

    D. A. Carson, The Gospel according to John, The Pillar New Testament Commentary, (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans, 1991), 194–195.

    Harry M. Orlinsky describes the phenomenon in the following terms: “A figure of speech in biblical Hebrew that is well known to scholars but rarely recognized in the traditional translations is hendiadys (Greek for ‘one through two’), where essentially one thought is expressed by means of two words connected by ‘and’.” (1969:36). If Spirit and life” is here taken as a hendiadys,* then it is possible to take the phrase to mean “Spirit who gives life.” Such an exegesis is in keeping with John’s theology, in which he refers to the Spirit as life-giving, and it is also in keeping with his Semitic Greek style. This interpretation also fits the over-all context of the discourse on the bread of life, in which there is an implicit contrast between Jesus and Moses; and one is reminded of 2 Corinthians 3:6 (“The written law brings death, but the Spirit gives life”). If this exegesis is followed, then the following translation results: “The words I have spoken to you are/bring God’s life-giving Spirit.”

    Barclay Moon Newman and Eugene Albert Nida, A Handbook on the Gospel of John, UBS Handbook Series, (New York: United Bible Societies, 1993), 653.

    John 3:5.—This is literally, “Except a man shall have been begotten of water and spirit.” There is no article to either of the two nouns.
    That only one thing is meant by the two words is clear from verses 6 and 8, where only the Spirit (the one) is mentioned.
    The Lord is speaking to Nicodemus of “earthly things” (see verse 12). And as “a master in Israel,” he knew (or ought to have known) perfectly well the prophecy of Ezek. 36:25–27 concerning the kingdom (not the Church). Concerning Israel, in the day of their restoration to their own land, Jehovah had declared: “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean … And I will put my spirit within you,” etc.
    The cleansing of that day is not to be with literal water, as in the ceremonial cleansings of the Law, but with the Spirit of God.
    Hence only one thing is meant:—“Except a man be begotten of water, yes—and spiritual water too, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” That spiritual water stands, by another figure (Metonymy), for the Holy Spirit Himself: as is clear from John 7:38, 39: “water—(But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive …).”
    Hence there is no reference here to ceremonial or ecclesiastical water—but to that baptism of the Spirit which is the one indispensable condition of entering into the kingdom of God; a moral sphere, which includes and embraces the Church of God, here and now, as well as the future kingdom foretold by God through the prophets.

    Ethelbert William Bullinger, Figures of Speech Used in the Bible, (London; New York: Eyre & Spottiswoode; E. & J. B. Young & Co., 1898), 664.

  18. laymond says:

    In English, I might say that I’m going to town and getting an ice cream cone. The real meaning is that I’m going to town “to” get an ice cream cone.

    Hence, in John 3:5, “water and Spirit” could mean “water that is Spirit” or “spiritual water.”

    Jay, I am not an English major, and I don’t believe Jesus was either, but when you use the conjunction and, you are tying together two of something, plans or events , something.

    When you say, ” I’m going to town and getting an ice cream cone.” you are tying together two events, we don’t really know why you are going to town, we just know while you are there you will get ice cream. and when you say, “I’m going to town “to” get an ice cream cone.” we know your purpose for going to town.

    I really don’t understand the difficulty, of knowing what Jesus was referring to.

  19. David says:

    Here is another water and Spirit passage Isaiah 44:3-4:

    “For I will pour water on the thirsty land

    and streams on the dry ground

    I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring and blessings on your descendants

    They will spring up like grass in a meadow

    like popular trees by flowing streams.”

    In this passage, is it the pouring out of water that makes the descendants spring up, or the pouring out of Spirit that makes the descendants spring up? I am inclined to say that in this passage water is Spirit and Spirit is Spirit.

  20. laymond says:

    David said; ” I am inclined to say that in this passage water is Spirit and Spirit is Spirit.”
    David , I suggest you read Isaiah 43, then read 44. The thing water, and spirit have in common is they both give life. they both quench thirst , water quenches the thirst of the body, spirit quenches the thirst of the soul.

  21. Dwight says:

    Many things are tied together by type, but that doesn’t make them the same. A bear and a tiger are animals, but a bear isn’t tiger. The phrase “lions and tigers and bears, oh my” relates a connection of man eating animals, but not the exactness of similarities as a lion isn’t bear or a tiger.
    Water and spirit are the same in that they give life and perhaps cleanse, but to say water, doesn’t say spirit, unless otherwise noted in scripture as it was in places. This doesn’t argue for when you see water and spirit together that you really mean spirit and spirit, which makes no sense.
    Isiah 44 is talking about blessings from God, water on a dry land would be a blessing and the spirit on the descendants would be to, so the connection is a blessing, but not that the water is the spirit. Sometimes we can read too much into something that could be just what it says.
    “born of water and spirit”, means born of water-baptism (new birth) and the spirit (new birth).

  22. Larry Cheek says:

    Jay,
    I will refer to date and time of the previous comments I want to address so anyone can review them.
    David made a comment on January 14, 2016 at 8:54 pm
    I responded to that comment on January 14, 2016 at 9:53 pm
    You responded to both of us on January 14, 2016 at 10:25 pm
    As you are offering support for a concept that (forgiveness comes through the outpouring of The Spirit) you use several passages and apply a testimony to them which I believe is not being portrayed as you project. I will address those passages with my critique.
    You mentioned, “The Greek grammar here is challenging, but I think a good case can be made that “of the Holy Spirit …” modifies by washing and renewal.”
    I believe that the portion of this passage you are referencing is, “by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior”. The first portion of your statement that I am concerned with is that (the Holy Spirit) is the object performing the action. The next verse explains, “6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior”. The HE here is not the Holy Spirit, it is not Christ, it is God. The Holy Spirit is being acted upon (directed by) God to be poured out upon (us). Totally dependent upon Christ’s actions in becoming our Savior. Having said that, it would be a mistake to apply that this outpouring of the Spirit upon anyone who did not accept Christ as their Savior. This is exactly the position we are discussing in relationship to the concept that The Jews do not need Jesus.
    There would be a very good case here though when the text says, “by the washing of regeneration” being the action which precedes God pouring out the Spirit. The same context would support that this is the action which is performed by Christ, as he forgives sins and God then accepts those whom he has cleansed, followed by God outpouring the Spirit. The Spirit is not the cleansing agent. Jesus was given the power to forgive sins upon the earth. He performed many miracles and mentioned his powers to do that upon many occasions.

    I believe that this has to left in its completeness to convey the analysis that I will apply.
    (Acts 2:38 ESV) 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
    Your statement, “You may be familiar with this one. It could be reasonably read as, if you’re baptized for the forgiveness of your sins, you’ll receive this forgiveness due to receiving the Holy Spirit.”

    There is a progression of action displayed in this statement. Peter is directing his audience to perform this action, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, when anyone in the audience then has completed this instruction, the (and) connects the added benefit to the forgiveness of sins, provided by God as the example in (Tit. 3:6 ESV) outpouring of The Holy Spirit upon the individuals who have completed the instruction. Forgiveness is completed through the individual obeying the instruction and is a precedent of reception of The Holy Spirit. Those in the audience who did not obey did not receive. If The Holy Spirit had been responsible for the pouring out upon The Jews there that day, all would have received. The Holy Spirit was limited to those who believed, the individuals were in control as to reception of the Spirit.
    “(1 Cor. 6:11 ESV) 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
    Your comment about this verse, “The washing, sanctification (making holy), justification are all grammatically “by the Spirit.””
    It is impossible to identify The Spirit as the agent which has performed the actions in this verse and leave Christ out of the action. Christ and the Spirit of God are working together to complete the actions of (washing, sanctified and justified). Acts 26:18 identifies the source of forgiveness and never mentions The Spirit. Heb 10:10 and 14 are very direct in establishing the source of sanctification.
    (Joh 17:19 ESV) And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

    (Act 26:18 ESV) to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

    (Heb 10:10 ESV) And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

    (Heb 10:14 ESV) For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

    “(Jn. 4:13-14 ESV) 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.””
    “Living water” is plainly the Holy Spirit. John 7:37-39. The Spirit brings eternal life.
    This (water) is not being poured out upon anyone. Jesus states that, “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him”, an action which is controlled by the receiver, not something which is poured out upon everyone. Notice there is even a growth to take place after the receiver is given the water. The water (Spirit) as you have identified is not fully developed at reception. Is a portion of the Godhead not perfect? The application of The Holy Spirit to this message is not a representation of the description of The Holy Spirit. But, it could be representative of baptism in water and fit very well.

    “(Joel 2:28-32a ESV) 28 “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. 29 Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit. 30 “And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. 32 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”
    Your comment, “The association of the outpouring of the Spirit with forgiveness is explicit. First comes the Spirit so that forgiveness may follow.”
    Jay, is God really pouring out His Spirit upon the Nation of Israel while they are rebellious and sinful? Notice the preceding communications in Joel.
    Joel 2:12-14 ESV “Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; (13) and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. (14) Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the LORD your God?

    Return is specified many times in this passage, it explains how and leaves a message concerning those who (will not turn and relent) that he will leave blessings behind. In the passages following notice that he is addressing those who have become his people. Does God ever call those who do not obey his people in a relationship as his sons and daughters?

    Joel 2:19 ESV The LORD answered and said to his people, “Behold, I am sending to you grain, wine, and oil, and you will be satisfied; and I will no more make you a reproach among the nations.

    Joel 2:23 ESV “Be glad, O children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given the early rain for your vindication; he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the latter rain, as before.

    Then we continue to the text you have quoted in (Joel 2:28-32a ESV). They have returned to the Lord between verse 14 and verse 27. They had been forgiven in verse 18, (Joel 2:18 ESV) Then the LORD became jealous for his land and had pity on his people.
    God again began to identify them as his people. Notice, there was a time lapse between their forgiveness and the message that you have quoted about the pouring out of the Spirit. The Spirit was not responsible for their forgiveness.

    I really have struggled to understand how these passages fit, especially in light of the context which they are written. Jay says that, “God’s promise to restore the fortunes of Israel is, of course, a promise of forgiveness, and it’s tied to the outpouring of the Spirit.” There is no mention of any promise and there is no mention of any forgiveness. The nation is not in the focus of this message. Notice verse 36:(21) and (22) that God said he was using them to portray himself, what was happening to them was not with them in mind but displaying that HE is the God of Israel, to the balance of the world. That concept is so important that he states it again in verse 36:32.
    The Spirit that God said he would place in them would, “(27) And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” This does not sound anything like forgiveness to me; he is controlling them, to show the world that He is in control. See the earlier text in Ezekiel below for support.
    (Ezek. 39:28-29 ESV) 28 Then they shall know that I am the LORD their God, because I sent them into exile among the nations and then assembled them into their own land. I will leave none of them remaining among the nations anymore. 29 And I will not hide my face anymore from them, when I pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, declares the Lord GOD.”

    Eze 36:18-24 ESV So I poured out my wrath upon them for the blood that they had shed in the land, for the idols with which they had defiled it. (19) I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed through the countries. In accordance with their ways and their deeds I judged them. (20) But when they came to the nations, wherever they came, they profaned my holy name, in that people said of them, ‘These are the people of the LORD, and yet they had to go out of his land.’ (21) But I had concern for my holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations to which they came. (22) “Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. (23) And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Lord GOD, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. (24) I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. Eze 36:25-36 ESV I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. (26) And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. (27) And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. (28) You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. (29) And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. And I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you. (30) I will make the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field abundant, that you may never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations. (31) Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations. (32) It is not for your sake that I will act, declares the Lord GOD; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel. (33) “Thus says the Lord GOD: On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places shall be rebuilt. (34) And the land that was desolate shall be tilled, instead of being the desolation that it was in the sight of all who passed by. (35) And they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden, and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.’ (36) Then the nations that are left all around you shall know that I am the LORD; I have rebuilt the ruined places and replanted that which was desolate. I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it.

    My conclusion Christ has full control over who receives forgiveness. Individuals receive forgiveness when submitting to his instructions. The Holy Spirit is only given to those who have been forgiven/cleansed by the blood of Christ.
    To change that order could mean that those Jews whom the Catholics believe do not need Jesus, men could believe that those Jews are saved by The Spirit without ever accepting Christ.

  23. Dwight says:

    I don’t think we understand the HS and the role and the action of the HS as much as we would like to and this applies to God and Jesus as well upon the man. Sometimes we have to do what we have to do and expect the promise of God to be fulfilled whether we can define it or not. In Acts 2:37-39 “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
    This is a power packed section.
    1. The people, Jews are convicted and ask about what they must do.
    2. Peter tells them what to do, “Repent and be baptized”.
    3. It is assumed they have faith, but this faith is a quickly established belief that becomes faith upon their response and action.
    4. Peter also tells them that when they repent and are baptized they will “receive the gift of the HS.”
    5. The gift of the HS is either salvation or the HS itself or possibly both, but it was the promise that secured the salvation of the faithful, not the HS, although the HS might have been a catalyst.
    6. But the people weren’t being baptized to receive the HS, but salvation. The HS was a by-product of their response and action and surrender.
    7. The promise was to the Jews and also “to all those who are afar off”, meaning others, presumably the gentiles.
    8. This receiving of the HS was anything like what happened to the 12 apostles earlier.
    9. Back to the beginning, it was the Jews that received the message and opportunity first to be saved, which means although they were given priority in the process, but they weren’t given salvation carte blanche. What they went through was what the gentiles would go through later. They would have to hear, be convicted, have faith, repent and be baptized into Christ and then live in Christ.
    God is not a respecter of persons, meaning that God doesn’t just give someone a pass because of who they are. Abraham the Father of the Jews didn’t even get to set foot in Canaan, due to his sin.

  24. laymond says:

    Larry; Until we acknowledge The fact that where the Holy ghost is mentioned, it refers to The Spirit God. or a spirit of God, such as ” the spirit of truth”. which is a part of God, Just as “The Word” is a part of God from the beginning. (I use the word “part” as identifying aspects of God )

    Jhn 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
    Gen 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

    Gen 41:38 And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? ( ” a man in whom the Spirit of God is ” )
    Gen 41:39 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art:

    Mat 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
    Luk 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
    ( I don’t notice where Jesus is to be called the Son of the Holy Ghost
    and if the two were separate beings, in a trinity, Jesus would be the son of the third person of the trinity)

    Mat 19:16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
    Mat 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
    (if you wish to argue that the Holy Spirit is not good , Go ahead and speak your reasons for doing so.)

    I see the pouring out of the “spirit” on God’s people as the spirit of truth, also known as “the comforter, and The word of God, or God’s word. The word of God has been poured out for all people, all we have to do is “sop it up” or soak it up.

  25. Dwight says:

    Laymond, I used to work at a family business (it was my family and I was the son), but not all within the family business was family, even though we were all employees. Even the angels work for God, but none of them were called the Son of God and while the HS was of God, it wasn’t either called the Son of God. The HS is not Jesus, which accounts for where Jesus was baptized and the HS came upon Jesus and God spoke and said of Jesus (not the HS) “this is my Son in whom I am well pleased”.
    In regards to the HS that is my understanding as well, and I think Larry’s, but I think his point and it would be mine is that the HS is upon an acceptance of Christ and not before. And while the word came through the HS, not everyone accepts the word/Jesus and thus will not be accepted by the HS.
    John 4:24 is about man’s spirit in relation to God’s aforementioned nature of being spirit, but this is not arguably the HS. This is like saying man is flesh, God is spirit, and man must be less fleshly to relate to God.
    Gen.1:2 talks about not the nature of God who is spirit, but the Spirit of God. I am flesh and my dog is flesh, but I am not a dog and my dog can fetch a stick while I send it to fetch it.
    The context is just as important as seeing the word spirit in the verse as it defines the spirit in question.

  26. laymond says:

    Dwight, I don’t know what brought on the story of your family business, but anyway how does it explain the relationship between God/ the Father, and the Holy Spirit. I don’t know how you understood what I was saying, but here is what I meant to say straight out. Jehovah, God, the Father, the creator, and the Holy Spirit/Holy Ghost, all address the Almighty God in different aspects of his being.
    The only time I used Jesus, was to say that if Jehovah, God, and the Holy Spirit/Holy Ghost, are not the same being. Then Jesus is the offspring of the third person of the trinity god.

  27. Dwight says:

    Your last statement prompted my story on the family business in that God and Jesus are family, but the HS is in the family business and of the same nature as God and Jesus, but not God or Jesus. The HS need not be a family member as you seem to want to suggest on that level. Jesus can be the Son of God and is never referred to as the Son of the HS. My last entry on this thread.

  28. David says:

    Jay

    Would the language in our pledge of allegiance to the flag contain an English version of a henidiadys? In it we pledge to both the flag and the republic, when the flag and the republic mean the same thing.

  29. laymond says:

    Dwight said, “Your last statement prompted my story on the family business in that God and Jesus are family, but the HS is in the family business and of the same nature as God and Jesus, but not God or Jesus.”
    That explains it all The Holy Ghost is a hired hand in the God business. Or is he a cousin ?

  30. Alabama John says:

    Many treat the HS just as they do today the holiday for Martin Luther King but leave out the birthday today of a hero to many named Robert E. Lee.
    We as humans pick and choose who to follow and who is important just as we have since the beginning.
    We’ll not change.

  31. laymond says:

    I am sure you are right John not many people actually follow Jesus anymore, Not many even believe what he said, the gospel is out dated . most today follow beliefs that are not written in the pages of the bible, yet they will swear the bible (in total) is breathed out by God. He just left a few really important things out of the message. I noticed you hardly ever comment any more I hope it is not out of frustration.

  32. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    David,

    This is a truly excellent example. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hendiadys is as helpful as any other article I could find.

    “The flag and the republic for which it stands” means “The republic for which the flag stands.” We can’t truly have allegiance to a flag. The republic is the true object of the pledge.

    As noted in the linked article, the “and” form often sounds more rhetorically powerful to the ear, even though the meaning is clearly to combine the two nouns with one subordinate to the other. Several good examples are given, but the Pledge of Allegiance is a really good one.

  33. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Larry,

    I don’t understand your conclusion at all. You say,

    My conclusion Christ has full control over who receives forgiveness. Individuals receive forgiveness when submitting to his instructions. The Holy Spirit is only given to those who have been forgiven/cleansed by the blood of Christ.
    To change that order could mean that those Jews whom the Catholics believe do not need Jesus, men could believe that those Jews are saved by The Spirit without ever accepting Christ.

    I don’t conclude that because Spirit does X, Jesus does not do X. Why not? Why can’t X be a joint effort? Why does it have to be one or the other?

    Therefore, saying that the Spirit is part of the process by which we are forgiven, not merely a product of our forgiveness, no more excludes Jesus from the process than it excludes God or the person being forgiven. It wouldn’t be surprising at all to find that all three members of the Trinity are involved in our forgiveness. After all, even under your view, both the Father and the Son are. Why doesn’t including Jesus exclude God the Father? Then why should including Jesus exclude the Spirit?

    So, of course, faith in Jesus is required for forgiveness. But that doesn’t mean that the Spirit isn’t part of the washing process.

    (2 Cor. 3:5-6 ESV) 5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

    (Jn. 6:63 ESV) 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

    The Spirit “gives life.”

    Then again,

    (Deut. 30:6 ESV) And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.

    Compare this with —

    (Rom. 2:28-29 ESV) 28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

    In Deu, circumcision of the heart is by your “LORD God.” In Rom, it’s “by the Spirit.” Is there a difference?

    In Deu, life is promised from the LORD God. Same in Rom 2:7. But 5:17 says we “reign in life” through Jesus. 5:21 says we receive life “through Jesus.” 8:11 says that God will give us life “through his Spirit.” So is it through Jesus or through the Spirit? Which one? Well, it’s plainly both.

    So for to say that the Spirit is involved in our forgiveness does not remotely mean that Jesus therefore is not. There are many things that both the Spirit and Jesus do. After all, they are part of the same God. They are not distinct beings. They are one and they are three. Therefore, there is naturally a degree of overlap or fuzziness around the edges. And we shouldn’t ever insist that only member of the Godhead may do a particular task. They will often work together.

    Just so, both Jesus and the Spirit mediate for us.

    (1 Tim. 2:5-6 ESV) 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

    (Rom. 8:26-27 ESV) 26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

    It’s hard to find much difference between being a mediator, an intercessor, and a Paraclete. It seems that the Spirit and Jesus do this together.

  34. Alabama John says:

    Laymond, I held in my hand this week one of the old original bibles, It had no verses or chapters or even page numbers. The last word on the page was the first word on the following page. of course it was in Latin. To understand it you had to have a priest as by far most could never understand it by themselves. Then I also held one very old Bible by Luther in Greek that also had no verses or chapters. Few understood it either without explanation. In both cases my, how the explanations differed. Much like they do today with the King James in English. For an example look at the debates on here differing on the chapters and verses of the books included in the King James. Now over 3000 denominations last I heard.
    Instead of seeing the bible as a law book, I believe its best to believe it is the ‘Good News” and if you love God and your fellow man more than the LAW, you will live a happier life and be closer to God, the one in heaven instead of the God many worship and carry in our hands.
    Remember the Gutenberg press that first printed the Bible as invented in 1440 and the first Bible was printed in 1452. Having a bible was not common, actually very few had one, they were very expensive and even if it was available, most in the world could not read anyway.
    I pray we will stop the arguing and debating and start loving God and each other more. That is clearly told us out of Jesus mouth and all Bibles from the beginning agree on that.

  35. Dwight says:

    On a technical basis it appears as it is God, the Father who grants forgiveness, now that Jesus isn’t here to do it personally, after all Jesus told us to pray to God, “forgive us our sins” and we were supposed to do this through Jesus as the mediator. Now the HS might be the power behind it but it is God who grants it upon His will. Arguably we can say that while all three might (might) be involved in the forgiveness process, we at least know who is in direct charge of it. The Spirit might be outpoured, but it is God who outpours it. All are subject to His will.

  36. Dwight says:

    True that A.J. Discussing scripture is nice and important, but living it is the goal. The people Jesus spoke to didn’t have the NT and barely had access to the OT. Most of the time they had to go to a synagogue to hear it read or be given it like Jesus was and allowed to read it.

  37. laymond says:

    Alabama John, I am glad for you to hold such aged books, but that is what they are, and they remain books written by man whether Latin, or Greek they are records produced by human beings, and not something to be worshiped . I am not saying that I would not have taken advantage if the opportunity had been presented to me. That said I did something that means much more to me, this very morning, I talked to God. And God talks to me every time I open the pages of the bible, (the recorded history of man and his God ) in search of answers, In search of the truth.
    Dwight, I thank God every day for his word delivered to us by Jesus Christ. Yes living ” in the word” is essential to salvation, but we first need to know “the truth”, before we can live it.
    Many who read, the bible refuse to believe in it. So they refer to what others have written, that backs their own belief. None of these so called holy men, can compare to Jesus Christ. Yet there are many who prefer their teachings over that of Jesus. Jesus said there is one God over all, man says there are three gods acting as one, who do you think is winning? Jesus said he is not God, men say he is, who is winning there? Jesus said we should be baptized, men say, not necessary, who is winning there? on and on the list goes. and I have my doubts it will change anytime soon.
    But it will change, because, the bible tells me so.

  38. Monty says:

    The Patristics pretty much in agreement with water in John 3: 3-5 referring to baptism. The consensus (as far as I can find) is that the vast majority of the “big name” ECF’s believed it had to do with water baptism and also the overwhelming majority of the recognized scholars of the reformation the past 200-400 years.

  39. Dwight says:

    Monty, I think you are correct in your analysis. The interesting thing about when we see water and spirit together and water is meant to relay spirit the bible points that way actually indicating this. In John 3:3-5 it just says “water and spirit” without indicating whether water meant spirit, which is redundant, or even if spirit possibly meant water (also redundant). Until it is descript by context, it is non-descript by context.

  40. Alabama John says:

    laymond, prayer is the key to heaven but faith unlocks the door. I sure agree with that!

    The teaching that all that didn’t do and didn’t believe throughout the ages just as we in the church of Christ do have been and still are lost is a terrible error in my opinion.

    I don’t want to hear that anymore.

    Those who died without having the word just right, as fits most of us, as we obey, by faith, what Available Light we individually through out time have and have had, This will be considered by God in the judgment.

  41. laymond says:

    I think you are right John, if we have to be perfect to get to heaven, how are we going to be made perfect after we get there.?

  42. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Monty,

    The Reformation leaders were very split on the question. Remember that Calvin, Zwingli, and Knox all would have taken the Calvinist (or “Reformed”) view of John 3:5. Luther took the more traditional view. I think Wesley did as well, although George Whitefield would have followed the Calvinist line.

    Among the Restoration leaders, Thomas Campbell followed Calvin’s view (until his death). A. Campbell published a brief article from T. Campbell near the end of T. Campbell’s life affirming a Baptist/Calvinist view of baptism. Barton W. Stone did not take the Calvinist view (salvation happens at the moment of faith) but would come close to my own view, which is that God’s intention is that we be baptized and receive salvation and the Spirit at that time — but God is not going to damn those who come to him with genuine faith (which includes penitence) and misunderstand God’s will regarding baptism. He saw the possession of the Spirit, evidenced by faith in Jesus and fruit of the Spirit, as the ultimate test of salvation, far more so than water baptism.

    You are largely right regarding the ECFs. I list quotes from many in my ebook Born of Water. But the ECFs were also not as strict as most within the Churches of Christ. Because baptism was often delayed, many unbaptized believers were martyred for Christ. The church concluded that “baptism of blood” was sufficient; that is, martyrdom would substitute for water immersion. Augustine and Ambrose allowed a “baptism of desire.”

    “The chief witnesses from Tradition are St. Ambrose and St. Augustine. In the funeral oration on the Emperor Valentine II, who died without Baptism, St. Ambrose says: “Should he not acquire the grace for which he longed? Certainly: As he desired it, he has attained it . . . His pious desire has absolved him” (De obitu Valent. 51, 53). St. Augustine declared: “I find that not only suffering for the sake of Christ can replace that which is lacking in Baptism, but also faith and conversion of the heart (fidem conversionemque cordis), if perhaps the shortness of the time does not permit the celebration of the mystery, of Baptism ” (De bapt. IV 22, 29). In the period of early Scholasticism St. Bernard of Clairvaux (Ep. 77 c. 2 n. 6-9), Hugo of St. Victor (De sacr. 116, 7) and the Summa Sententiarum (V 5) defended the possibility of Baptism of desire against Peter Abelard. Cf. S. th. III 68, 2.”

    Hence, while the ECF’s read John 3:5 to require water baptism, they did not always require water baptism. They allowed exceptions.

  43. Dwight says:

    I agree Jay, the coC has narrowed the understanding of baptism to the point that they don’t even understand it in many ways. Baptism does mean immersion, but the biblical understanding of immersion isn’t only immersed “in”, but immersed or surrounded by. This is explained by the many times baptism is used.
    In I Cor. 10:2 “all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.”
    In I Peter 3 “eight souls, were saved through water. There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God),”
    When we get to the HS and water baptism we often separate the baptism as “into” and “done by” , but they were both baptisms.
    Interestingly though I Cor. 10 remarks that the Israelites were baptized “in” the cloud and sea, even though the cloud was formed around them, while God held up the sea.
    Then there is the relation to us being buried with Jesus, but not realizing that Jesus wasn’t buried by being let down into the ground, but by being put into a cave.
    Our strictness on baptism has limited us to a certain form and against reality.
    I do admit that the scriptures do show a baptism into a body of water and there is a certain sense of helplessness when being laid down and brought up by another and a sense of being washed or cleansed.
    But then again, in the absences of water, as they did in the early church, a good sprinkling might be the closest thing that one could get to it in certain situations. And we condemn it.

  44. Dwight says:

    Now in regards to the concept of “baptism of blood”, this was understood and recognized posthumously. But they didn’t allow exceptions up to the point of death. But after the point of death they understood that it was out of the hands of the people and themselves. Otherwise they always required water baptism in some form.

  45. Larry Cheek says:

    Jay,
    You said, “I don’t understand your conclusion at all.” In reference to my conclusion following.
    My conclusion Christ has full control over who receives forgiveness. Individuals receive forgiveness when submitting to his instructions. The Holy Spirit is only given to those who have been forgiven/cleansed by the blood of Christ.
    To change that order could mean that those Jews whom the Catholics believe do not need Jesus, men could believe that those Jews are saved by The Spirit without ever accepting Christ.

    You presented several questions which were pointing to a concept that God, Christ and The Holy Spirit all three are involved in our forgiveness.
    I will start with this portion to explain why I have believed that Jesus is only member of the Trinity who is forgiving sins. First, I was not aware that my message conveyed that I believed that God was directly offering us forgiveness through Jesus. (This will be seen in the Revelation portion.) As you have indicated in this statement. “It wouldn’t be surprising at all to find that all three members of the Trinity are involved in our forgiveness. After all, even under your view, both the Father and the Son are.”

    I know that God and Jesus are both in each other as mentioned by Jesus in these verses.
    Joh 14:10-11 ESV Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. (11) Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
    Joh 14:20 ESV In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.

    There are many more verses which could be referred to but that concept is not the subject I am addressing here, but these should be sufficient to portray that there is much unity between the actions of both God and Jesus.

    I do believe that all reading this blog would believe that Jesus would never usurp authority over God. And that Jesus would never announce that he performed actions which God had not given him responsibility to do. With that in mind notice these statements from Jesus. The relevance of these communications from Jesus is that he is identifying that he personally is responsible as the (I AM). He is not portraying that this is a shared position with God or The Holy Spirit.
    Joh 6:35 ESV Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
    Joh 8:12 ESV Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
    Joh 8:24 ESV I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”
    Joh 8:51 ESV Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.”
    Joh 8:58 ESV Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”
    Joh 9:5 ESV As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
    Joh 9:39 ESV Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.”
    Joh 10:7-8 ESV So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. (8) All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.
    Joh 10:11 ESV I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
    Joh 10:14-17 ESV I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, (15) just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. (16) And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. (17) For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.
    Joh 10:27-30 ESV My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. (28) I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. (29) My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. (30) I and the Father are one.”
    Joh 11:25-26 ESV Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, (26) and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
    Joh 13:20 ESV Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”
    Joh 14:6 ESV Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
    Joh 15:1 ESV “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.

    Jesus identifies The Holy Spirit and the work it performs.
    Joh 14:26 ESV But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
    Even though they are believers they have not received it yet but, he promises that they will receive it soon.
    Act 1:5 ESV for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
    Here he gave them The Holy spirit prior to the Day of Pentecost.
    Joh 20:22 ESV And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
    He also gave the Apostles the power of administering forgiveness of sins.
    Joh 20:23 ESV If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

    John the Baptist specifies that the Holy Spirit is being given by or controlled by Jesus.
    Mat 3:11 ESV “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
    Mar 1:8 ESV I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
    Luk 3:16 ESV John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
    Joh 1:33 ESV I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’

    Peter identifies that obedience precedes the reception and remembered what the Lord had said about The Holy Spirit .
    Act 5:32 ESV And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”
    (Act 11:16 ESV) And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’

    Notice what Paul expected. He knew they were believers and should have received The Holy Spirit. Learning that they knew nothing about The Holy Spirit, his next response was about who they were baptized into. He did not question that they had not been baptized. His response was a statement which confirms that belief only, which they already had, would not cause them to receive The Holy Spirit, and being baptized into something other than Christ would not bring them The Holy Spirit. They understood their next obligation and were baptized into Christ then were given The Holy Spirit by Paul. Paul did not give The Holy Spirit to them just because they were believers.
    Act 19:2-5 ESV And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” (3) And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.” (4) And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” (5) On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
    These men did not receive The Holy Spirit even though they had believed and been baptized by John. They believed in Jesus but were baptized prior to receiving the Holy Spirit.

    Throughout The Book of Revelation Jesus and God are in center stage The Holy Spirit is not even mentioned. Jesus is still being addressed as the only cleansing agent. Rev 1:5 who has freed us from our sins by his blood and it was his shed blood which has ransomed people for God 5:9, 7:14.
    Rev 1:4-8 ESV John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, (5) and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood (6) and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (7) Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen. (8) “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

    I always thought verse 8 was speaking of God, but the (who was) only fits Christ. This next passage connects the first and the last in the same likeness as verse 8 and 22:13.

    Rev 1:17-18 ESV When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, (18) and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.

    Rev 5:9-10 ESV And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, (10) and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”

    Rev 7:9 ESV After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,

    Rev 7:13-17 ESV Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” (14) I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (15) “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. (16) They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. (17) For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

    Rev 21:27 ESV But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

    Rev 22:12-17 ESV “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. (13) I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (14) Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. (15) Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. (16) “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” (17) The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

    Paul did not receive The Holy Spirit as soon as he believed.
    Act 9:17 ESV So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized;
    Paul’s account of this event later does not indicate that he received The Holy Spirit as he was gaining his sight. But defiantly states that his sins were still present after receiving his sight and was instructed how to have them removed. Until we can verify that those who are not forgiven have received The Holy Spirit, we have to understand that Saul/Paul did not receive it until after baptism.
    Act 22:12-16 ESV “And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, (13) came to me, and standing by me said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that very hour I received my sight and saw him. (14) And he said, ‘The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth; (15) for you will be a witness for him to everyone of what you have seen and heard. (16) And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’

    In the next verses they/we are told of a promised sealing. Notice, this was not a communication to unbelievers, it was to those who had believed and obeyed (past tense) the message of the Gospel.
    Eph 1:13 ESV In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
    Eph 4:30 ESV And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
    God also gives the Holy Spirit but not to those who have not been adopted as children.
    Luk 11:13 ESV If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

    So why are we involved in this discussion about The Holy Spirit? What is it that is misleading of the definition of The Holy Spirit?
    I believe that it is because we are looking at the wrong sources for the identity of The Holy Spirit. We are looking to see it in action within men’s lives, and supposing the actions seen to be The Holy Spirit. The only time that I can remember the scriptures giving us instructions to observe a man’s life in prospective as to whether he is filled with The Holy Spirit is when he is being evaluated for a position of leadership. The problem with that is that all who have committed to Christ following his instructions are supposed to have been given The Holy Spirit. So what is the directive looking for in evaluating The Holy Spirit in a proposed leader? I believe that it is, if he is allowing The Holy Spirit to dominate his actions, does he submit and display Christ’s attitudes. Not, does this man have it and others in the congregation do not. The message is to insure that no one is placed into a leadership role who is not submitting to guidance provided by The Holy Spirit. We must remember that Jesus identified The Holy Spirit as a helper Joh 14:26 ESV .

    Then, of course we notice many men who have been self elevated into a perceived status above other Christians, claiming they are special because they have been gifted, endowed with a special measure above others. These men who self elevate are impostors of their perceived position. The men I know whom I believe are filled with The Holy Spirit are some of the most humble men on earth, they project Christ in their everyday lives, leading by example, in opposition as to the individual who obviously believes that he is a gift to the Community, Church, Sheepfold of Christ. The World can spot this easier/quicker than we can.

    Now for the pouring out of The Holy Spirit, some will claim that God did exactly that to them while they were unbelievers, they then modified their lives in alignment to the Spirit. Well I cannot find an example of God ever doing that in that manner in scripture. In The OC God did raise up men, kings, leaders, prophets etc. but, have you found those in The NC? There is one more qualifier from non believers. He used believers as such. When they became rebellious The Spirit was removed.

    On more event from The OT scriptures should be noted. King Saul had The Spirit of God. But because of disobedience it was taken away from him and he was given a harmful spirit by The Lord.
    (1Sa 16:14 ESV) Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and a harmful spirit from the LORD tormented him. 15 And Saul’s servants said to him, “Behold now, a harmful spirit from God is tormenting you. 16 Let our lord now command your servants who are before you to seek out a man who is skillful in playing the lyre, and when the harmful spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will be well.”

    (1Sa 16:23 ESV) And whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed and was well, and the harmful spirit departed from him.

    (1Sa 18:10 ESV) The next day a harmful spirit from God rushed upon Saul, and he raved within his house while David was playing the lyre, as he did day by day. Saul had his spear in his hand.

    (1Sa 19:9 ESV) Then a harmful spirit from the LORD came upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his spear in his hand. And David was playing the lyre.

    My conclusion again is that Jesus is in complete control over who receives forgiveness. God and The Holy Spirit are active in preserving obedient believers toward the goal of all three. If we become rebellious to the instructions of Jesus, The Holy Spirit will leave us.

  46. Dwight says:

    Larry, Although I agree that Jesus is the path to forgiveness, I don’t believe he is the one who is exclusive or primary in forgiving. When Jesus told them to pray, he said , “Our Father in heaven,Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
    Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors….”
    Jesus told them to pray to God for forgiveness.

    Mark 11:25 ““And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.”
    Acts 8:22 “Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.”
    James 5:15 “And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”

    Man was never instructed to pray to Jesus and/or especially for forgiveness.
    Even Jesus prayer on the cross, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

    Now our prayers are mediated through Jesus to God, but they are still going finally to God.
    And while Jesus might have had the power to forgive sins directly, it is much like baptism, we are instructed in a path to reach God. Baptism isn’t even to reach Jesus, as Jesus himself said, “no man comes to the Father but through me.”
    We have to reach Jesus, the Son, to reach God, but Jesus isn’t the final destination. God the Father is.

  47. Larry Cheek says:

    Dwight,
    I hope I did not mislead anyone into believing that I was projecting that God could not/would not forgive sins. The concept that I initially noticed was that the Holy Spirit forgave sins. I have never found a place in NC that identified that to have taken place. It is recorded that The Holy Spirit does intercede for us where we are not able to express our words.
    (Rom 8:26 ESV) Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
    But, unless I am very mistaken, the Spirit does not intervene in behalf of anyone who has not accepted Jesus and obeyed his instructions. I have not found evidence that suggests that God forgives or accepts anyone into the kingdom who has not accepted and obeyed Jesus.
    Anyone who accepts Jesus and obeys his instructions, is then born again into the family of God and God will treat him as a son granting him forgiveness for any sins he commits. Does God do this without his asking through prayer? Jesus instructed his followers to pray and ask for these things.
    My post was being directed to the concept of The Holy Spirit granting forgiveness. From previous communications I anticipated that many believe that, “if we see evidence of a Christ like Spirit in an individuals life”, who has not obeyed Jesus, the Spirit could have forgiven and saved that individual and we should accept them as Brothers in Christ.

  48. Dwight says:

    True Larry, this concept could very well include atheist who do good things for others. While the HS might facilitate forgiveness, it is not the forgiver or the avenue. Forgiveness is through Jesus…the way to God.

  49. laymond says:

    “Anyone who accepts Jesus and obeys his instructions,”

    Larry, you have made the same mistake many people make. The message, thus the instructions are not from Jesus, they are not Jesus’ instructions, they are from God, the Father. I don’t know why people leave the true messenger out of the mix, and accredit the middle man with creating the message. Jesus has denied this interpretation more than once, yet there are some who insist on that wrong teaching. That untruth. Whether a message is delivered by word of mouth, or pen in hand does not change the origin of the message.

    I believe Jesus said he spoke the words given him by the Father. And if I am not wrong, God came up with the way for forgiveness of sins, Sins against God can only be forgiven by God. I believe the lord’s prayer asks that we be forgiven as we forgive those who sin against us. we are the only one who can forgive transgressions against us. And if we can’t forgive, why would we expect a gift that we won’t give our self .

  50. Dwight says:

    John 8:31 “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.”
    Jesus can indeed be said to have instructions and they be his words, even as they come from God the Father, who he ascribes them to as he often did, but-
    John 14:23 “Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.”
    Jesus was the Word and the carrier of the word of God, but they were spoken by him. He was the messenger with true authority.

    Now in regards to forgiveness Jesus personally forgave people of their sins, which only God could do, which upset the Jewish leaders to no end, after all this was blasphemy.
    Matt.9:2 “Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.”
    He forgave the man on the cross next to him.
    It was clearly within his power to do so.

    But then again when it came to those who were crucifying him he said, “Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.”
    Jesus was asking for mercy on those who didn’t understand fully what they were doing.

  51. laymond says:

    Dwight everything Jesus did was through faith in God. Just as we have faith that God is true to his word.
    Just like we have faith that Jesus went to heaven and sat down on the right hand of God. I don’t recall where Jesus called back to the apostles and said, OK men I am here now get to work doing what I gave you to do. But we have faith that God’s word is true. We know for a fact that if Jesus is not there, we don’t have a chance. we all run on faith.

  52. laymond says:

    And oh by the way, we have faith that the written Gospel, and the biblical story is true, why because it is the only hope we have. So we believe. or we have faith, whichever you prefer. but it all begins with GOD.

  53. Dwight says:

    Laymond, It is a rather simple thing to understand. Before Jesus the word wasn’t here, but Jesus, the Word, came to earth to share the gospel that wasn’t here before He came (John 1). The apostles followed Jesus as did the people to gain the word and salvation.
    You don’t seem to recognized the scriptures that were put forward in response to your “And if I am not wrong, God came up with the way for forgiveness of sins, Sins against God can only be forgiven by God.”
    Where it is clear in Matt.9:2 “Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.” Either Jesus is a delusional liar or He is God by your own admission.

    No one has ever argued we don’t live by faith in Christ. No one. It is interesting that those people that had faith in God, the Jews, had to have faith in Jesus as the savior in Acts 2 and through which salvation came.
    Acts 20:21 “testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”
    Gal.2:16 “knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.”
    Gal.3:26 “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”
    I Tim.1:14 “And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.”
    I am moving on.

  54. laymond says:

    Dwight, said ” Either Jesus is a delusional liar or He is God by your own admission. ”

    As you know I have never said Jesus was God, and neither did he. so you may call him any name you wish. Many times in many ways he said just the opposite , or do you think he was lying to this man as well?
    Mar 10:18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.
    Do you think Jesus said (yeah I am a god but I am not a “good” god, so don’t call me good)
    I think you better hope Jesus does forgive sins. Against him. People call Jesus a liar every time they say Jesus was really God.

  55. Dwight says:

    Laymond, so you are saying Jesus wasn’t good? I doubt it.
    What Jesus was doing was deferring the honor and glory of goodness to God, his father, even though Jesus was undoubtedly good. He was sinless.
    Jesus never put on airs or placed himself over God, his father.
    He remained humble.

    Your comment of “And if I am not wrong, God came up with the way for forgiveness of sins, Sins against God can only be forgiven by God.”

    is countered by scripture where Jesus did forgive sins.
    Matt.9:2 “Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.”
    The Jewish leaders considered Jesus a blasphemer in this.
    So it comes down to either Jesus being God or him blaspheming.

  56. Larry Cheek says:

    Laymond,
    I thought that you once said that you had been cleansed by the Blood of Jesus or that equivalent. Am I wrong?

  57. Larry Cheek says:

    Laymond,

    I did accidentally run across this statement from years ago.
    Laymond says:
    December 29, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    “Jerry, I do have the spirit of Christ, because I received/accepted Christ as my savior at baptism. That is how we all receive the spirit today, as our savior. It only has one miraculous aspect to it, and that is the saving power of Christ. No indwelling involved here, just forgiveness and , acceptance/ adding.”

    I really have not understood your later comments to place Jesus into this position that you have portrayed here. Have you had second thoughts?

  58. Larry Cheek says:

    The concept which was discussed above about the verse.
    (Joh 3:5 ESV) Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
    Which attempts to modify the term, “born of water” into a term indicating Spirit has been on my mind lately.
    Notice this for reference, but bear in mind the same concept was stated several places.
    David says:
    January 17, 2016 at 1:26 pm
    Here is another water and Spirit passage Isaiah 44:3-4:

    “For I will pour water on the thirsty land

    and streams on the dry ground

    I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring and blessings on your descendants

    They will spring up like grass in a meadow

    like popular trees by flowing streams.”

    In this passage, is it the pouring out of water that makes the descendants spring up, or the pouring out of Spirit that makes the descendants spring up? I am inclined to say that in this passage water is Spirit and Spirit is Spirit.

    “I am inclined to say that in this passage water is Spirit and Spirit is Spirit.”

    I believe this appears to be being used to remove the importance of baptism in water.

    There have been many references made to ECF’s and their understanding of the event through their writings. But I noticed that no one referred to the testimony of the Three whom John had written.
    1Jn 5:5-8 ESV Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (6) This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. (7) For there are three that testify: (8) the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.
    If we allowed the term water in John 3:5 to be only a metaphor of Spirit, then John The Apostle would have misrepresented water. Placing it into an equal status with the Spirit and with The Blood of Jesus. Is there any other usage of water in the scriptures that could possibly give it the status which is portrayed here, except the use of it in baptism?

  59. laymond says:

    Jhn 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
    Jhn 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
    Jhn 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

    1Jo 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
    1Jo 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
    1Jo 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

    Larry the above scripture pretty much encapsulates my christian belief.
    It seems that I might be the only one on this blog that believes that the quoted scripture is the absolute truth.

    Jesus is the only begotten Son of God.

  60. Dwight says:

    No Laymond, we all believe that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, but you reject that he is really the Son of God in that he is not of the lineage of God, which would make him deity. It is strange that you will recognize that God is the light and yet we are told in John 1 that Jesus is the light, which came to earth. Either one is wrong or they are both right.

  61. laymond says:

    Dwight, you seem to think because I say God, is the light, and Jesus is the light that was sent to the world. Says that God, and Jesus are one and the same. The very fact that Jesus was said to be the image of God tells us he had to also be the light, but the light of the world. Jesus said, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
    there is a difference there, whatever Jesus was it is because God made him so. God also made light. Let there be light, and there was light. although the light Jesus represented, and the first light God made, are different, they both made it so man could see. Jesus could leave the earth, and the sun would not go dark. When the Spirit of God leaves the earth, the sun will cease to be. The sun and moon are the lights of God, the light of Jesus was knowledge.

    Mat 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
    Jhn 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

    Jhn 9:4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
    Jhn 9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

    Jhn 12:46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

    2Co 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
    2Co 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
    2Co 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

    Rev 21:23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
    Dwight said ” Either one is wrong or they are both right.” They are both right Dwight.

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