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The God of Christians

Reader comment on item: NATO's Turkey Challenge
in response to reader comment: Worshipping the Word of the LORD; The Holy One of Israel

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Jun 7, 2018 at 00:25

Hi, Tovey

Thank you for responding.

"εν αρχη ην ο λογος και ο λογος ην προς τον θεον και θεος ην ο λογος ; ουτος ην εν αρχη προς τον θεον!"

That is exactly what the scripture says. It talks about God, and about His spoken word (Logos). It says nothing about Jesus.

"What we have here is that Yeshua was in the beginning with God"

We have nothing of the sort.

"He is called the Word here."

"He" is God, not Jesus.

God did not occupy the person of Adam, but fellowshipped with him as the greatest part of His Creation. A moot point; but for the record,

Acts 17:
[28] For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

"He (Adam) is called the first man."

1 Cor. 15:
[45] And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

This doesn't actually say, so far as I can see, that Adam was the first man. What it does exactly say, is that there were TWO men, "Adam"; the first Adam was made a living soul (nephesh chaiah, transl. as psuchen zosan), and the last Adam (Jesus) a quickening spirit.

For the purposes of our discussion, "man" (anthropos) referred to both Adam of the garden, and to his analog, Jesus. Both are described as human beings. In the same manner in which Adam received the spirit of human life from God, so did Jesus also receive God's holy spirit -- as, indeed, have all born-again Christians. Jesus is our elder brother in the spiritual family of God, just as Adam was our elder brother in the human family of God.

Now, concerning resisting temptation, you wrote,

"Have you read what James is saying 4:7): 'Submit yourselves to God'...only then can we resist the Adversary"

James
[7] Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James gave two instructions here; but he did not say that the first depended on the second. Indeed, one might construe that truly submitting to God REQUIRES resisting the devil; as we can only serve one master at a time. You continued,

"8) 'get closer to God, and He will respond in closeness to you,' remembering the context; that our closeness is by being submitted to the Word of the LORD."

Certainly, we should submit to the logos, the spoken word of God. In fact, I wonder whether anyone or anything can indeed resist it. What you are obviously trying to do, though, is say that we must submit to JESUS in order to draw close to God. This closes the loop on your circular reasoning. While we should certainly submit to Jesus' commandments (which are given on behalf of God), your underlying reasoning is false: NOWHERE in the Bible, does it say that Jesus is God, nor that he is the word of God.

Once we sweep away (falsely) supposed Christological implications, we are left with the question of whether unregenerate man is capable of resisting the devil. He is. This is the essence of free will, and the basis of repentance. If you are a Calvinist of the Dordrecht Confession, you may dispute this; James, however, says we have free will:

James:
[8] Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

We cannot DEFEAT the Devil, but by the intervention of God; but for our part, we are commanded always to draw near to Him.

We are freed from the power of sin, by faith in Jesus' resurrection:

Hebrews 2:
[14] Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
[15] And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
[16] For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.

It was not through any supposed divinity of Jesus, therefore, that we are set free: It is through his humanity.

These ought not be difficult things to understand. They should be equally understood by Daniel Pipes, and by any reader here: The Devil has held us bondage, all our lives, through fear of death. We can confess this, or we can deny it; it is nonetheless true. Those bonds are broken, when death is abolished; and God abolished death in Jesus by raising him from the grave. If one believes this, then he is set free from his own death, for he trusts that God will deliver us as well, as many as trust in Him. But if we trust in God for our own resurrection, we must also trust that He rose Jesus; and if we do not confess faith in the one, we cannot claim faith in the other.

My favorite saint in the Bible, is "Saint Thief", the man dying on the cross next to Jesus. He had led a life of sin, and indeed was being punished for it; but HE was convinced that Jesus would be freed from the power of the grave -- at a moment when Jesus himself was probably tormented by doubts. After his brief conversation with Saint Thief, his work on earth was over, completely fulfilled: He had come to seek and save the lost; and he had just finished his mission.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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