The Marian dogmas of Rome, start with Rome’s view of an impotent Jesus, whose atoning cross work was anything but sufficient. Rome’s teaches that the work of Christ merely made “a pathway” for man to justify himself by adding to the work of Christ by performing “required meritorious works” (such as water baptism, charity, religious devotion to Mary, Sacraments, etc.). Rome believes that man assists Christ in the salvific process—thereby denying that the alone cross work of Christ was sufficient.

Rome’s esoteric (self-salvation) system is a system of “and (&)”:

  • Jesus and Mary. 
  •  God’s universal plan & man’s so-called free will. 
  •  Faith + works such as water baptism, sacraments, holding to all the Marian doctrines, fide implicita, that is, an uncritical blind “implicit faith” in the Roman Catholic Church). 
  •  Intercession & prayers to Jesus & Mary & so called saints. 
  •  The cross & perpetual sacrifices of Christ at the Mass. 
  • Biblical doctrine & the Church. 
  •  Scripture & so-called tradition of uninspired men. 
  •  Christ & the Pope, etc.

 

Contrary to the biblical doctrine of Christ, the Christ of Rome is anything, but a powerful Savior. The Roman Christ does not and cannot save alone, instead it is a shared cross work that Rome embraces. Rome asserts a false Christ who did not become perfect man (due to the Transubstantiation)[1] nor did He become the righteousness of all who believe (John 1:14; Phil. 2:7-8; 1 Cor. 1:30-31). Rome’s doctrines greatly oppose so many fundamental biblical teachings, especially on justification and the atonement. For example, Rome’s denial of justification through faith alone, apart from works, leaves the Roman Catholic with no assurance of salvation in this life nor glorification in the afterlife.

 

According to Rome, a so-called “saved” person now could always forfeit his or her justified status by a lack of performance (esp. unconfessed mortal sins). Refuting Rome’s claim, the Bible is rich with passages that teach that justification is a one-time permanent, objective, declaratory act of God pronouncing a sinner not guilty through the instrument of faith. (Rom. 4:6-8; 5:1). A regenerated justified Christian is sealed for eternity. As Christ promised, all the ones the Father gave to Him (John 6:37), “I lose nothing but, raise it up at the last day” (John 6:39, cf. v. 44). In Romans 4:8, Paul states that there is not even a possibility that such a one justified by faith apart from works would have any sin against them. Even more, passages such as John 10:28; Romans 8:1, 28-39; 1 John 5:12; and Hebrews 13:5 clearly affirm the preservation of true believers against Rome’s unbiblical soteriology.    

The Marian Dogma                            

Among the massive documents and books regarding the Marian doctrines of Rome, is the renowned book, The Glories of Mary, written by Alphonsus Liguori, which became one of the most commonly used manuals of Catholic teaching and devotion to the Virgin Mary.[2] Note some samples, which delineate the Roman view of Mary (emphasis added):    

“On account of the merits of Jesus, the great privilege has been granted to Mary to be the mediatrix of our salvation” (169).

“So, says St. Bernard, We have access to Jesus Christ only through Mary. And St. Bernard gives us the reason why the Lord decreed that all men should be saved by the intercession of Mary. . . .” (191-92).

“If you ever wish for another advocate with this mediator, invoke Mary, for she will intercede for you with the Son. . . . He who neglects the service of Mary shall die in sin . . . He who has not recourse to thee, oh Lady, will not reach paradise. . .. That those from whom Mary turns away her face, not only will [they] not be saved, but can have no hope of salvation” (228, 256).

“Mary is called the Gate of Heaven, because no one can enter into heaven, as St. Bonaventure declares, except through Mary” (744).

These are only a few samples of Catholic voices affirming Rome’s distinctive Marian doctrines.

The Catholic Church is a life of embracing and practicing perpetual idolatry in giving Mary what is reserved for God alone—namely, religious worship.

Because of Catholic tradition, Roman apologists err enormously regarding the lexical-semantic of the Greek noun douleia (Latin, dulia, “service”) and the verb douleuō (“to serve”) in a religious context—in both in the OT (LXX) and NT. There is a simple explanation here which does not require a lengthy corrective. To avoid the charge of idolatrous worship to Mary, Rome developed a three-tier scheme in which they distinguish between so-called service or honor given to Saints and Mary, and worship given to God denoted by three Latin terms:

I Dulia from the Greek noun, duleia (“service, slavery, bondage”); from the verb douleuō (“to serve, be enslaved, be in bondage”). Catholics are taught to give dulia, that is, “service” (veneration) to so-called canonized “Saints,” who previously died.

II Hyper-dulia (“super-superior service”) is given to Mary alone.

III. Latria from the Greek noun, latreia .(“the service or worship of God” – Rom. 12:1; Heb. 9:1); from the verb latreuō (“to give religious honor, worship” – Dan. 7:14; Luke 4:8; Phil. 3:3; Heb. 9:14), which is reserved for and given to God alone.

This distinction of three kinds of service/worship is not biblically valid. First, nowhere in Scripture does it teach that faithful Christians should give dulia (Greek, duleia) and especially Rome’s concocted term, hyper-dulia to creatures, in a religious context. Second, this distinction of three kinds of service/worship is biblically wrong. Semantically, to give dulia to anyone in a religious context is the same as giving latria (Greek, latreia)—they both denote worship reserved for God alone.

Hence, by Catholics praying to creatures giving them dulia (religious veneration), bowing before statues of Mary is the very thing God prohibits. Paul strongly expresses this point in Galatians 4:8: “However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves [‘you served,’ from the verb douleuō] to those which by nature are not gods.” Paul was clear: “to serve” (from the verb i.e., to give dulia) anyone other than God in a religious context is biblically wrong—it is simply- idolatry. Paul sees the unconverted pagans as doing this: “When you did not know God”—you were giving dulia to creatures. Regarding idols and false gods, God commands His people in Exodus 20:5: “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I the LORD your God, am a jealous God.” The Hebrew word translated “serve” (NASB, ESV, KJV, etc.) is from abad (“to work, serve”), which is the most usual English translation of the term. In a religious context, however, to serve God is the same as worshiping Him—an action reserved for God alone (Exod. 4:23; 20:5; Mal. 3:18 et al.).

In many OT passages, however, there are more than a few standard versions that translate abad as “worship” at Exod. 3:12; Ps. 2:11; Isa. 19:23; Jer. 35:15 et al. The NIV translates abad as “worship” at Exodus 20:5: “You shall not bow down to them or worship them” (same at Exod. 3:12; Isa. 19:23). In the Septuagint (LXX), abad is frequently translated as latreuō (“to worship, serve”; Exod. 3:12; 20:5; etc.) and also translated as douleuō. In other words, in a religious context, both latreuō and douleuō mean the same thing—to give divine worship.

These Marian doctrines are purely outside of and against Scripture. In fact, aside from a passing reference of the virgin birth of Jesus in Gal. 4:4 (without mentioning Mary by name), after Acts 1:14, Mary is never mentioned again in any NT Epistle. Neither Jesus, nor any of His disciples, nor any NT Apostle prayed to her or referred to her as “Our Queen, “Our Life,” “Our Hope,” “Our Mediatress,” “Our Advocate,” “Our Salvation,” etc.


Notes

[1] Rome’s pagan doctrine of Transubstantiation makes Jesus’ body ubiquitous. In other words, day after day millions of Catholics around the world receive the Eucharist at the Mass, and simultaneously eat the literal body, and ingest the literal blood of Christ, “with his soul and his divinity” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, para. 1413)  This clearly implies that Jesus’ physical body is ubiquitous—namely, it’s in multiple places at the same time! This contradicts the biblical teaching: “The Word became flesh” (John 1:14); “having been made in the likeness of men.” In this way, Rome deforms, and thus denies the biblical view of the incarnation of the Son.

[2] Historically, the Roman Catholic Church has named only 37 Doctors of the Church (with Irenaeus, A.D. 180, being the last one named).

 

The Holy Spirit

1) Is called God and Lord in a religious context.  

2 Is identified as YHWH.

3) Possesses the divine attributes.

4) Accomplishes divine works.

5) Was worshiped as God; that is, in the same way as that of the Father (and Son).

6) Possesses personal attributes and characteristics affirming His personhood.

7) Is a distinct person from the Father and the Son.

 

Biblical Data

 1) Just as the Son is, the Holy Spirit is referred to as God and Lord in a religious context.

The biblical authors were strict monotheists (i.e., believing in one God), they present the Holy Spirit as truly God distinct from God the Father and the Son, Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is called Theos (“God”). In Acts 5:3-4, the personhood of the Holy Spirit is unquestionably seen by the fact that only a self-aware “person” can be lied to—one cannot lie to a rock or electricity.

In verse 4, the person of the Holy Spirit, to whom Ananias lied, is called Theos (“God”). After Peter harshly asked Ananias, “Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?” Peter then explained in the next verse, “You [Ananias] have not lied to men but to God.” Also, in the narrative (5:9), the Holy Spirit is called, “the Spirit of the Lord.” The OT, the phrase, “the Spirit of the Lord [YHWH]” occurs two-dozen times. “The Spirit of YHWH” was indeed God. The Holy Spirit is called Kurios (“Lord”) in a religious context (2 Thess. 3:5). As mentioned above, the NT authors cited OT passages referring to YHWH and applied them to the Holy Spirit. The person of the Holy Spirit is referred to as both God and Lord in a religious context, thus, ontologically (in essence).

 

2) The Holy Spirit is identified as YHWH.

In the OT, the Spirit of God was in fact God.  David rhetorically asks YHWH, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” (Ps. 139:7). The Hebrew parallelism here indicates that David sees YHWH’s Spirit as the very presence of YHWH. Further, throughout the OT, the “Spirit” (or “Spirit of YHWH/God”) shares the same attributes as YHWH. For example, He is presented as the Creator (Gen. 1:2; Job 33:4; Ps. 104:30); He abides with believers (Ps. 51:11; Isa. 63:10-11); He gives wisdom, understanding, and knowledge to men (Exod. 31:3).

Also, as with the Son, the NT authors cite OT passages referring to YHWH and apply them to the Holy Spirit (Acts 28:25-27, Heb. 3:7; 10:15; also cf. Acts 5:9 with Deut. 6:16).

3) The Holy Spirit possesses divine attributes.

As God, the Holy Spirit possesses the specific attributes that only God has. The author of Hebrews indicates that the Holy Spirit is eternal: “how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Heb. 9:14). The author of Hebrews refers to the Spirit as pneumatos aiōniou, lit., “Spirit eternal.” The same adjective (aiōniou, “eternal”) is used of God in Rom. 16:26: Theou aiōniou, “God eternal.” Thus, the person of the Holy Spirit is the eternal God—for only God is eternal.

4) The Holy Spirit accomplishes divine works.

For example, Holy Spirit is the agent of Mary’s pregnancy (Matt. 1:18); He regenerates a spiritually dead man (John 3:5; Titus 3:5); He dwells in/with the believer (1 Cor. 3:16); distributes spiritual gifts according to His own will (1 Cor. 12:11); seals believers for redemption (Eph. 1:13); and sanctifies believers and works in their life (Thess. 2:13). Only because the Holy Spirit is God, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent is He able to complete these acts. Moreover, Paul says in 1 Cor. 2:10 that the Holy Spirit “searches all things even the depths of God.” The Greek term translated “searches” is erauna (from ereunaō). This verb carries the idea of “logical investigation” (BDAG). The tense indicates that the “searching” is continuous and active—He is always searching, knowing all things at all times. In verse 11, the Holy Spirit is said to know the thoughts of God. Only God can know the thoughts of God.

5) The Holy Spirit was worshiped as God.

In Matt. 28:19, Jesus commands all new converts to be baptized into the name (i.e., “power, authority”) of the triune God. Water baptism signifies the unification or identification with whom the participant is being baptized—the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Another kind of religious worship is direct prayer. In Matt. 9:38, Jesus instructs His disciples to “beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” First, the fact that Jesus refers to “Lord of the harvest” in the third person (“His”, not “My” harvest) indicates that the “Lord of the harvest” is not Himself. Second, as seen, the Holy Spirit is called “Lord” several times in the NT in a religious context. Third, there is no contextual reason to believe that the “Lord of the harvest” is the Father. And finally, in Acts 13:1-4, the Holy Spirit sends out the laborers (“Barnabas and Saul”) to the missionary (harvest) field. As God, the Holy Spirit was worshiped and honored in the same sense as that of the Father and Christ.

                   

6) The Holy Spirit possesses personal attributes and characteristics affirming His personhood.

As seen, groups such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs) reject the personhood of the Holy Spirit equating Him to an impersonal force like electricity. However, the personhood of the Holy Spirit is biblically demonstrated and defined by the Holy Spirit’s use of personal pronouns and first person verbs of Himself and the personal attributes that the Holy Spirit possesses. The same biblical data that supports the personhood of God the Father is applied to the Holy Spirit.

– Personal pronouns and first person verbs. In the NT, personal pronouns are applied to the Holy Spirit. In Acts 10:19-20, for example, the Holy Spirit identifies Himself, not merely as “God’s activity,” but rather as egō (“I”), that is, a self-aware person:

19 “While Peter was reflecting on the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. 20 But get up, go downstairs and accompany them without misgivings, for I [egō] have sent them Myself.”

Note Acts 13:2, “While they were serving the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set Barnabas and Saul apart for Me for the work to which I have called them.’” Here the Holy Spirit not only issues personal commands, but refers to Himself as moi (“Me,” from egō) and uses the first person verb proskeklēmai (“I have called them”)—in the NT, this verb is only used of persons. not forces, nor modes, nor manifestations.

– Personal attributes and characteristics. It would be a fallacy of equivocation to equate person with people, as many anti-trinitarians do. Those who do so misunderstand the meaning of both terms. For example, angels fall under the category of “person,” but they are not “people.” Likewise, the Holy Spirit can be called and ontologically categorized as “person,” though He is not in the ontological class of “people” (same with the Father). So, all people are persons, but not all persons are people. Hence, God the Father, Satan, demons, angels, and the Holy Spirit are persons, but they are not people.

The Holy Spirit possesses many personal characteristics (as with the Father and Son) denoting that the Holy Spirit is a self-aware subject or Ego (i.e., person) cognizant of His own existence, which is clearly demonstrated by the specific personal characteristics or attributes He possesses:

He can be blasphemed (Mark 3:29, 30).

He can be lied to (Acts 5:3).

He intercedes or prays on the behalf of the believer (Rom. 8:26).

He issues commands (Acts 13:2, 4; 16:6).

He is intelligent in that He investigates and searches (1 Cor. 2:10-11; Rom. 8:27).

He has a will (1 Cor. 12:9-11).

He could be grieved (Isa. 63:10; Eph. 4:30).

He testifies (Neh. 9:30; John 15:26; Heb. 10:15) and teaches (John 14:26).

 

Only cognizant persons can exercise and engage in intelligent communication (Acts 10:19-20; 13:2, 4). Scripture presents many clear examples of the Holy Spirit intelligently communicating to others (as shown above). Even the anti-trinitarian JWs, in the Watchtower’s Awake magazine, distinguish a personification from a person as they rightfully define a person: “Is the Devil a personification or a person….? Can an unintelligent person carry on a conversation with a person? … only an intelligent person can.”[1]

The Apostle Paul, in his Trinitarian benediction, comforts the saints in Corinth with these words: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Cor. 13:14). Only self-aware persons can experience true koinōnia (“fellowship”). This same koinōnia, believers have with the Father and the Son (1 John 1:3). Moreover, as a distinct person, the Holy Spirit gives love: “Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me” (Rom. 15:30).

Love is something that the Holy Spirit possesses and gives. As with true personal fellowship, only persons can possess, give, and experience love. Hence, abstract things such as natures, modes, manifestations, electricity, etc. have not the ontological capability to accomplish these things—only persons do. Thus, He is a person, not a mere influence.

7) The Holy Spirit is a distinct person from God the Father and the Son.

As with the Son, the Holy Spirit is frequently juxtaposed with the Father and the Son (Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 2:18). The Son personally relates to the Father and to the person of the Holy Spirit, and the reverse is altogether true of the Father and the Holy Spirit relating to each other. In John 14:16, Jesus said, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another [allon] Helper [better trans., “Advocate”] that He may be with you forever.”

Scripture presents that the Holy Spirit is a self-aware person or self. He possesses personal attributes and personal pronouns are applied to Him. The same evidence that confirms the personhood of the Father confirms the personhood of the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, Scripture clearly teaches that the Holy Spirit is God in the fullest and truest sense. Accordingly, the Holy Spirit should be worshiped as God. He is distinct from the Father and the Son. He is the eternal almighty God, who regenerates sinners and glorifies the Father and the Son—He is the Third Person of the Holy Trinity.

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NOTES

[1] Awake!, 8 December 1973, 27.

9 “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals, 10 thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Some of you once lived this way” (1 Cor. 6:9-11, NET). 

In 1996, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. DOMA defined marriage as between a man and a woman. It barred federal recognition of same-sex marriage by restricting the definition of marriage to the union of one man and one woman. However, December 13th of this year, the 117th United States Congress passed the Respect for Marriage Act and it was signed into law by President Joe Biden, which repealed the DOMA.

There was a time when this country stood unmovable against biblical offenses such as homosexuality and abortion—even enacting laws against such practices.  What we use to call an abomination and see as evil are now celebrated and recognized as a “cultural norm.” For example, before 1962, sodomy was a felony in every state, now we expect the unregenerate to embrace, promote and even applaud homosexuality and other ungodly practices. However, when professing Christians, due to passivity or ignorance, accept a homosexual lifestyle as biblically permissible- that is a travesty.

God is love, true, but “God is a just judge, And God is angry with the wicked every day.” (Ps. 7:11, NKJV).[1] God takes a dim view at those who say, “Jesus is Lord,” then dishonor Him by their practice and acceptance of egregious sins—Scripture is crystal-clear on the subject.

What is alarming is the growing community of pro-homosexual “professing” Christians. To make the Bible conform to their philosophy, lifestyle and carnal practices, they patently misinterpret passages and pretext biblical narratives. For example, explaining that Leviticus 18 and 20, which condemns the practice of homosexuality merely refers to temple prostitution. They espouse that David loved Jonathan in a homosexual way, saying Jesus never condemned homosexuality and that God loves all men unconditionally, etc. Or, asserting that in 1 Cor. 6:9 and 1 Tim. 1:10 (although most have never even read these passages), Paul only condemned prostitutes and pederasts, and not monogamous male-to-male relationships, etc. Although claiming to be in the faith, they naturally disagree with the definitive biblical prohibitions against homosexuality and are extremely tolerant of it.


The Biblical Prohibition

The Bible has much to say on the topic starting in the OT Law, example: 

Lev. 18:22: “You shall not sleep with a male as one sleeps with a female; it is an abomination”

Lev. 20:13: “If there is a man who sleeps with a male as those who sleep with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they must be put to death. . . .”

In spite of the clarity of these passages, liberal theologians and pro-homosexual advocates attempt to downplay these OT precepts by limiting the homosexual prohibition to a cultural meaning (e.g., referring to temple prostitution). However, if the prohibitions were speaking only against temple prostitution, why then are only male to males mentioned? Why would not the law include both men women? Or state plainly anything about “temple prostitution?”

Also, contextually the prohibition against homosexual acts are sandwiched between the other laws concerning sexual behavior, such as prohibiting sex with an uncle, aunt, animals, etc. Clearly, the prohibition is not confined to such a limitation as temple prostitution. Now, the law does indeed speak explicitly against temple prostitution, but not in Leviticus, rather we find that context in Deut. 23:17-18. The fact is, the passages in Leviticus are not vague commandments against prostitution, but specific injunctions against homosexuality in all forms—as severely as its condemnation in the NT as well.

 

But what of David and Jonathan in 2 Sam 1:26?

“I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; very pleasant have you been to me; your love to me was extraordinary, surpassing the love of women” (ESV).

First, note verse 23, where the same term (as a verb) is used to describe the love between a Saul and Jonathan. In verse 26, the phrase “surpassing the love” is from the Hebrew noun, ahabah. Both this noun and the verb (aheb) are similar to the English word, “love”—in which context determines the meaning. As in verse 23, frequently, the verb is used to denote the love of the father for his son. For example, Abraham’s love for Isaac (Gen. 22:2; also see Gen. 37:3,4; 44:20; Prov. 13:24 et al.). Even more, the term could also denote the love with which women love their husband and children. 

Second, the flawed pro-homosexual interpretation neglects to take into account the Middle Eastern concept of a man’s relationship to his wife. In the Middle East, a man’s primary kinship is with other men, not with his wife. For example, during dinner time, the wife and daughters would set up the table, however, when it was time to eat, the man and his sons, and, if any friends were invited, they would all eat together while the women would leave and eat separately or after the men. This is still a common practice in the 21th century.

Third, it is an established fact that throughout the ancient world, the friendship between a man and a man was esteemed higher than the relationship between a man and a wife. So, it is completely natural within this culture that David’s “love” for his closest and best friend Jonathan, “surpassed that of women.”  

New Testament

The NT provides the same categorical condemnation against the sin of homosexuality as in the OT—primarily, in Rom. 1:18-32; 1 Cor. 6:9; and 1 Tim. 1:10. Before we examine these texts, an argument that liberals and skeptics like to propose should first be mentioned. They point out that Jesus himself nowhere condemned homosexuality, so it must be permitted. It is ridiculous to assume that Jesus covered every single doctrine and repeated every single commandment contained in the OT in a period of three years. In point of fact, many doctrines, He left up to His apostles to teach; hence, many things that Jesus said and did are not recorded in the NT, “if they were written in detail, I expect that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25).        

But, Jesus did indeed condemn homosexuality. In Matt. 19:3-6, Jesus teaches that “from the beginning,” God defined marriage as the union between male and female, as does Paul in Eph. 5 citing the same Adam and Eve reference that Jesus did.

 

ROMANS 1:18-32

Paul’s entire thesis here is dealing with the constant suppressing of truth by pagans and its consequences (viz. God’s wrath “continuing” to be on them; cf. v. 18). Paul uses an argument from nature (creation) to show that they are without excuse—for “For they exchanged the truth of God for falsehood, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator. . . .” (v. 25, NET).

Because of this, “God gave them over to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged the natural sexual relations for unnatural ones” (v. 26, ibid.). The phrase, “the natural sexual relations” is a literal translation of the Greek phrase tēn phusikēn chrēsin—phusikēn (“nature”) and chrēsin (“use,” i.e., sexual use/function). This, Paul says, is para phusin (“against nature, unnatural”).[2]

Homosexual men likewise, says Paul, “abandoned” tēn phusikēn chrēsin [‘the natural sexual function’] with women and were inflamed in their passions for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in themselves the due penalty for their error” (NET).  Alluding to Lev. 18 and 20, Paul sees homosexuality as not only unnatural, (viz., “contrary to nature,” ESV), but as having the same consequence as stated in the OT: “those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also approve of those who practice them” (Rom. 1:32). “Professing” Christians who practice and/or approve of homosexual relationships cannot remove the contextual significances of Rom. 1:18-32.    

1 CORINTHIANS 6:9-10:

9 “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners [malakoipracticing homosexuals [arsenokoitai], 10 thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God” (NET; note v. 11: “Some of you once lived this way”).

 

1 TIMOTHY 1:9-10:

“for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality [arsenokoitais], enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine.” (ESV).

The two key Greek terms in both 1 Cor. 6:9 and 1 Tim.1:10 are malakos (only 1 Cor. 6:9, “passive homosexual partners, effeminate”) and arsenokoitēs (“homosexual” or more literally, “sodomite” [NKJV] or “men who have sex with men” [NIV]). And both terms are plural (malakoi, arsenokoitais/ arsenokoitai). Malakos (“soft”) appears in four places in the NT. In every place, the term refers to “soft garment/clothing” (cf. Matt. 11:8) except in 1 Cor. 6:9, where contextually it refers to the “soft” passive (effeminate) partner in a homosexual relationship.

Whereas arsenokoitēs is a Greek term that Paul actually made up (only appearing in these two passages). Apparently, the source of Paul’s usage of his compound term, arsenokoitēs (from arsēn, “a male” and koitē, “a mat/bed” with the idea of intercourse) comes from the LXX (i.e., Greek trans. the OT) of Lev. 18:22 (“with a male [from arsēn] you shall not lie in bed/intercourse [from koitē] [as with] of a woman”). Same terms and semantic in Lev. 20:13.  

This shows unequivocally the apostle’s intended meaning of 1 Cor. 6:9 and 1 Tim. 1:10- “both of them have committed a detestable act [toebah]; they shall surely be put to death” (Lev. 20:13). As with a number of other languages, Greek distinguishes the “active dominate” (arsenokoitēs) and the “passive effeminate” (malakos) roles in a homosexual relationship. For example, BDAG (Walter Bauer’s, Greek Lexicon of the NT, 3rd ed., rev. and ed. Frederick W. Danker), defines Paul’s term as “one who assumes the dominant role in same-sex activity.”   

To pretext and thus circumvent the obvious meaning in these passages, liberals and pro-homosexual “professing” Christians make eisegetical leaps – arguing that arsenokoitēs narrowly refers to “promiscuous homosexuality,” pederasty, and/or prostitution, etc., and not a monogamous loving relationship between two of the same sex. They also remove malakos from its contextual import in 1 Cor. 6:9-10 and 1 Tim. 1:9-10. Naturally, they do so to justify their own lifestyle and/or personal philosophy—making the Bible say what they want it to say.

Although arsenokoitēs can refer to prostitution, abuse, pederasty, etc., the lexical-semantic of arsenokoitēs (again, Paul’s unique term) in 1 Cor. 6:9 and in 1 Tim. 1:10, condemns homosexuality in all forms, as does Rom. 1:18-32; Lev. 18:22; and 20:13.

 

In closing, homosexuality, in our day is just as depraved and abominable to the Lord as it was when the “Old and New Testament” were being written. It is without a doubt our “calling “to speak out as believers against this growing, fertile and depraved LGBT Mob Cult of our century and send them packing.

May God bless our courage in the face of this egregious sin against Him!

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Notes 

[1] All biblical citations are taken from the NASB (2020) unless otherwise indicated.

[2] From para with the accusative (“against”) and phusin (from phusis, “inherent nature,” cf. Gal. 4:8; Eph. 2:3).

 

Romans 10:15: “How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written [Isa. 52:7], ‘How Beautiful’ [or ‘timely’] [are] the feet of those [“the man in motion”] [euaggelizomenwn] gospelizing good things.”

 2 Timothy 2:15: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).

The phrase “accurately handling” is from the Greek base verb, orthotomeō, from orthos (“correct, straight”) and temnō (“to cut”)—thus, “to cut straight,” the term denotes the idea of precision.

 2 Peter 3:16: “as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which there are some things that are hard to understand, which the untaught [ἀμαθεῖς] and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.”

 

The gospel (good news) biblical defined as the substitutionary atoning work of God the Son, from His incarnation, His perfect vicarious life to His death, burial, and physical resurrection, which is the very ground of justification (apart from works; 1 Cor. 15:1-4). All those who believe in this gospel calling upon the Lord, the Son of God will be saved (Rom. 10:9). The gospel is the sole work of the Son (not the work of man) but the “result” of the gospel is man believing, repenting, obeying, etc. 

Evangelism (from euaggelion, eu, “good” and aggelos, “message”) is simply proclaiming the gospel. All Christians are called to grow in doctrine (2 Pet. 3:18); defend the faith (apologetics; 1 Pet 3:15; Jude 1:3); and evangelize (proclaim the gospel, Matt, 28:19; Rom. 10:9, 15). We must ensure that our passion in evangelism is biblically accurate and consistent; since the gospel is the gospel of the Son (Rom. 1:1, 3). Proclaiming the truth is a loving and obedient act (Gal. 1:10).

 

Salvation & the Power of God through the Gospel

In Romans 1:6, Paul affirms that the gospel is the power of God for salvation. Thus, it is God’s ordained and normal means He uses to save sinners. The gospel has the same efficacy today as it did in the first century. In spite of that, we see a noticeable difference between biblical evangelism and modern evangelism. Far too many Christians today use unbiblical methodology and concepts in evangelism, such as implying that one’s faith-act is the “cause” of regeneration.

In the same way, many replace the content of the gospel with citing Jeremiah 29:11 to unbelievers (“God has a great plan for you”) and the so-called unconditional, universal love of God, or the “Jesus is knocking at your door” concept (Rev. 3:20). Of course, in the NT, we do not find Jesus nor any apostles saying such things to unbelievers. The fact is Jeremiah 11:29 is neither addressing Israel in general, nor the church (note the starting context in v. 1).

And Revelation 3:20 was not an evangelistic statement, rather, Jesus was speaking to already saved Christians. As with all Christians, Jesus is always knocking at our door wanting more fellowship. It is an issue of sanctification in the believer’s life, and not an issue of justification nor evangelism to the lost.  

 

The man or woman of God who proclaims the gospel has an enormous responsibility before God to be biblically accurate.  Christian missionaries, whether here or abroad must be biblically sound to properly evangelize; understanding what the gospel is before they go out. An incomplete or distorted gospel is no gospel at all (Gal. 1:8-9).

 

Paul’s Gospel Definition

In Romans 1:1, 3, Paul speaks of “the gospel of God. . . 3 concerning His Son” As said, it is not the “great” works of man. Paul’s definition of the gospel is also found in 1 Cor. 15:3-4:                   “For I delivered to you as of prōtos [‘first importance’] what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

 

According to these passages, Paul’s gospel account includes in detail: 

 

  1. The Christ that Paul taught was truly God and truly man (Rom. 9:5; Phil. 2:6-11[1]); forever God in the flesh (Acts 17:31; 1 Tim. 2:5).[2]

 

  1. The death of Christ is the ground of justification, which is “apart from works” (Rom. 4:4-8; 5:1; Eph. 2:8-10).

 

  1. His physical resurrection “according to the Scriptures” (cf. Luke 24:37-40; esp. John 2:19, 21).

 

Those who deliver the gospel of the Son to nonbelievers, must be definitive and clear.

 

Hosea 6:6: “For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, and in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings” (cf. Prov. 15:8). Again, an incomplete or distorted gospel is no gospel at all.

 

The Importance of Evangelism

 

The proclamation of the gospel is God’s appointed means of saving His people (Rom. 1:16)—it is the power of God.

Romans 10:9, 15: “Because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 13 ‘For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord [YHWH] will be saved’ [cited from Joel 2:32]. . . . 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How timely [or ‘beautiful’] is the arrival of those who proclaim the good news’” (cited from Isa. 52:7).

Note that confessing “Jesus is Lord” in verse 9 is paralleled with calling on the name of the Lord in verse 13, which is a quotation form Joel 2:32—the same Lord. Paul identified Jesus as the YHWH of Joel 2:32—namely, confessing Jesus as YHWH.

Salvation is a matter of God’s sovereignty, which Paul calls eklogēn charitos (“election of grace”; Rom. 11:5).[3]

 

Evangelism is Two-Fold

1) To the world (Acts 17:30; Rom. 10:15). In Luke 10, after sending out the Twelve Apostles on a similar mission as in Matthew 28:19-20 (and Luke 9:1-6), Jesus sends out Seventy-Two “others” on a larger mission, but the same message: To proclaim the gospel. In Luke 10:2, Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few”—a sad thought. Is evangelism not the task of Christians and especially pastors (Rom. 1:15)?

Although the “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few: Jesus says to the Seventy-Two missionaries: “Beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Thus, we must pray ALWAYS to the Lord of the Harvest that He may ignite the inactive soldiers for active duty.  In Luke 10:3, Jesus then said, “Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. . . .” In verse 16, Christ stated that “The one who listens to You listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.”

 Rejecting their words of truth from Jesus’ messengers (now we call them “Christians”) is the same as rejecting Christ Himself and, as Jesus said, rejecting God. Paul said our gospel message is mōron (“foolish,” 1 Cor. 1:18-25) to the world. But again, the gospel of the Son and the proclamation of it is the means God chose to save sinners (Rom. 1:16).  

2) Evangelism is also for the church. Paul said to the church of Rome: “I am eager to ‘preach the gospel’ [euaggelizō] to you also who are in Rome.” Is that not the task of pastors to their church in order for them to learn the gospel better and thus, be more effectual in the proclamation of it? Most likely, this is why Paul was excited to evangelize, that is, preach the gospel to the church in Rome (Rom. 1:15).

In Acts 18:24-28, although Apollos was “mighty in the Scriptures,” “fervent in spirit,” “teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus,” verse 26 says that “when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” As a result: “He powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ (v. 28). God requires accuracy when handling His word especially in the presentation of Christ and His cross work.

Conclusion

 Evangelism is the ordained and normal means that God chose to redeem His people. The book of Acts provides a historic narrative of the first thirty years or so of the church in which we read the evangelistic content of the apostles and others. What we find is that their evangelism was simple, accurate, and focused on the substance of the gospel: The atoning work of God the Son, the resurrected Savior and salvation through faith in Christ alone. In contrast to today’s evangelism, which is generally disconnected from biblical evangelism.                 

 

“How beautiful are the feet of those gospelizing of good things” (Rom. 10:15, trans. mine).


NOTES 

[1] Cf. also Colossians 2:9; 2 Timothy 2:8. The deity of the Son was consistently taught in the NT and OT.   

[2] Cf. Acts 1:11; 1 John 4:2-3. 

[3] Cf. Ephesians 1:4-5; 2:8-10; Philippians 1:29.

 

 

Biblically speaking, the gospel (good news) is the substitutionary and sacrificial work of Christ—not the work of man in his response, faith, repentance, good behavior, etc. Besides passages such as 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, which we will deal with shortly, Paul makes this point clear in Romans 1:1, 3, “The gospel of God . . . concerning His Son.” So, the gospel in and of itself has nothing to do with man, but everything to do with the atoning work of Jesus Christ, God the Son. We must not confuse the work of Christ, which is the gospel—the good news of Jesus’ cross work—with the response of faith in Christ, repentance, obedience, etc. Salvation is solus Christus (through Christ alone), thus, Hs work being the very ground or cause of justification, and faith being the very alone instrument.

The gospel then is comprised of all essential theology of the Christian faith since it involves the person, nature, and finish work of Christ. Simply, the gospel is the atoning work of God the Son, in incarnation, death, and resurrection. And trusting Him alone for salvation (Rom. 10:9, 13; 1 Cor. 15:3-4 [see discussion below on this passage]; 2 Tim. 2:8).      

 

In expanded detail, the essential doctrines of the Christian faith include:      

 

  • The person of the Son is truly God and truly man, the two natured person—being distinct from the Father who sent Him (John 1:1, 14, 18; 5:17-18; 20:28; 1 Cor. 2:8; Rom. 9:5; Phil. 2:6-8; Col. 2:9; Heb. 1:3; 1 John 4:2-3; 5:20; Rev. 1:7-8).  

 

  • The sending of the Son to earth from the Father out of heaven (John 3:13, 16-18; 6:38; 16:28).

 

  • A literal descendant of David, born of a virgin (2 Tim. 2:8[1]; Matt. 1:18; Rom. 9:5; Gal. 4:4).

 

  • The perpetual (ongoing, permanent) incarnation of the Son—the Word became flesh (John 1:1, 14; 2 Tim. 2:8; 1 John 4:2-3; 2 John 1:7).

 

  • The Son’s substitutionary (vicarious) atoning sinless life (preceptive obedience) and cross work (penal obedience) as the very ground of justification, which removed the sin-guilt and God’s wrath due to us for our sins (Gen. 15:6; Isa. 53:11; Mark 10:45; John 6:37-39; Rom. 5:6, 8, esp. v. 10; 8:32; 1 John 2:2, 4:10).

 

  • Salvation (justification), then, is through faith alone “apart from works” (Acts 10:36, 43; Rom. 4:4:4-8; 5:1; Eph. 2:8-9; 2 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 1:9).

 

  • Jesus’ real death and physical resurrection (John 2:19-21; 19:30; Acts 1:11; 17:31; Rom. 10:9; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; Titus 2:13).

 

  • His accession to the Father (John 6:62; 16:10, 28; 20:17; Acts 1:10-11; Heb. 10:12-13).

 

  • His (physical) second coming (Acts 1:10-11; Titus 2:13-14; 1 John 2:28).

 

  • The concept of the Trinity—namely, one true eternal God revealed in three distinct persons (see chap. 3 above).   

The person (unipersonal, i.e., distinct from the Father, and Holy Spirit), nature (truly God truly man) and finished completed work (justification through faith alone) are necessary and indispensable to the Christian faith. They also imply other important doctrines such “total inability,” that is, in man’s unconverted spiritual state he cannot (no ability) please or come to Christ (John 6:44; 8:43-44, 47; Rom. 3:10-18) due to the inherent sin-guilt (imputed sin) of all men resulting from the first sin in the Garden. These doctrines constitute the key ultimate test in which distinguishes genuine Christianity from false non-Christian (atheistic) religious cults and world religions.

All must be affirmed in a basic sense, and none can be denied. Further, one cannot affirm some of these, but not the others. For example, Roman Catholicism (as discussed below) officially embraces the Trinity, deity of Christ, the incarnation, virgin birth, and Jesus’ resurrection. However, because Roman Catholic doctrine rejects that the alone work of Christ is the absolute and sufficient means and ground of justification, Rome falls outside of Christian orthodoxy (cf. Gal. 1:6, 8)—hence, non-Christian.

Thus, it is not the Jesus of biblical revelation that Rome embraces, rather a different Jesus and a “different gospel.” Therefore, all things pertaining to the gospel are “essential” theology. Whereas secondary theology is any doctrine that is not essential to one’s salvation—namely, any doctrine that does not fundamentally deny or distort the nature and/or finished work of Christ (e.g., the OT Law, spiritual, gifts, method of water baptism, eschatology [i.e., end-time teachings], etc.). Again, the sufficiency of the gospel is the work of the Christ. and justification through faith alone is the only recognized gospel.    

[1] “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant [spermatos] of David, according to my gospel.” 

The mission of John the Baptist was to proclaim the need for spiritual repentance and the coming Messiah. John the Baptist was the one about which Isaiah prophesied in Isa. 40:3: “A voice cries out, “In the wilderness clear a way for LORD [YHWH]; construct in the desert a road for our God.…” (cf. John 1:23). According to Christ, John the Baptist was the Elijah that was to come prophesied in Mal. 4:5-6 (cf. Matt. 11:14).[1] And John the one who baptized Jesus as recorded in John 1:29-34; Matt. 3:13-17: Mark 1:9-11; and Luke 3:21, 22.

John’s gospel account provides some theological details not found in the synoptics. In John 1:29, we read that Jesus came to John to baptized: “On the next day, John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’”

 Using a “lamb” for sacrifice was very familiar to the Jews:

  1. Used as a sacrifice at the Passover (Exod. 12:12:1-36).
  2. Lamb was “led to the slaughter” (Isa. 53:7).
  3. A Lamb was used in daily sacrifices (Lev. 14:12-21).

 

Thus, John sees Christ as the Lamb signifying the final and sole infallible “ultimate sacrifice,” which takes away the sin of the world. This concept is found throughout the Apostle John’s writing. This is especially seen in Rev. 5:6-14:  

6  “And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slaughtered. . . . 8 When He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. . . . 9 And they *sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are You to take the scroll and to break its seals; for You were slaughtered, and You purchased people for God with Your blood from every tribe, language, people, and nation. . . . 11 Then I looked, and I heard the voices of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders. . . . 12 saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered to receive power, wealth, wisdom, might, honor, glory, and blessing.’ 13 And I heard every created thing which is in heaven, or on the earth, or under the earth, or on the sea, and all the things in them, saying, ‘To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be the blessing, the honor, the glory, and the dominion forever and ever.’ 14 . . . And the elders fell down and worshiped.

A symbolic “Lamb” is frequently used in reference to Christ in two primary ways: As a suffering servant and as a sacrifice.   

  1. The Lamb as the suffering servant. As mentioned, the symbolism is seen and derived from Isa. 53:7: “He was oppressed and afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers. So He did not open His mouth.” Note, this text (Isa. 53:7) is specifically applied to Jesus in Acts 8:32. Also, all the servant-songs occur in the latter section of Isaiah (40-55). The NT links John the Baptist (John 1:23) with the first part of this section of Isaiah (40:3). Jesus is related to the suffering servant in other places in John’s Gospel (John 12:38 and Isa. 53:1).

 

  1. The Lamb as the Passover sacrificial lamb. In the OT, the Passover lamb is actually a real animal. John uses the Passover symbolism of Christ repeatedly in his literature, especially in relationship to the sacrificial death of Christ. Note the following:

I. Jesus was condemned at noon on the Day of Preparation, which was the day before Passover (John 19:14). Thus, Jesus was going to die at the very time the priests would be slaying the lambs in the Temple.

II. Exod. 12:22 indicates that hyssop was used to smear blood on the doorposts in the Passover procedure. Whereas in John 19:29, hyssop was used to give Jesus the wine on a sponge.

III. Exod. 12:46 indicates that the bones of the Passover lamb were not to be broken. Whereas in John 19:36, Jesus’ bones were not broken, which was a fulfillment of Scripture (Ps. 22:16-17).

 

So, in John’s gospel we see both, the Lamb as the suffering servant and as a sacrifice. We see this same reference in Heb. 10:10-14:

10 “By this will, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ ephapax [‘once for all time’]. 11 Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; 12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD, 13 waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES ARE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET. 14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified”—

Thus, His work was perfectly completed, that is, finished for all time (Tetelestai, John 19:30). As Paul writes in 1 Cor. 5:7: “… For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.”

 

Back to our text, John 1:29: “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” It is in this context that Christ – “Removes, takes away the sin of the world.” 

The term “takes away” (NASB) is from the Greek verb, airō, which carries the basic meaning of “to raise from the ground, take up, lift up.” Note the following exegetical points:

  1. Grammatical. The verb here is a present tense participle and it’s articular (i.e., has the article, “the”)— ho airōn, literally, “the One taking away.” The present tense action, indicates a literal non-figurative taking away, raising up, removal of sin by the atoning sacrifice of Christ—not He will take away the sin, but rather He is the one taking away the sin—which is then applied to the sinner at faith. The atonement and thus, the removal of sin and the wrath due to us because of sin is a definite action completed at the cross.

 

  1. Lexical. The first century Koinē Greek meaning of the verb in this passage is “to bear away what has been raised, carry off; to move from its place. . . . to remove the guilt and punishment of sin by expiation, or to cause that sin be neither imputed nor punished” (Thayer)[2]; to “carry away, remove (to move from one place to another)” (BDAG).[3] Additionally, the verb appears ninety-seven times in the Greek NT (NA28). In every single place, the verb denotes a literal removing or taking something away. Only in one place (1 Cor. 6:15) is it used figuratively.

 

Therefore, due to the meaning and tense of the verb, one cannot legitimately impose a universal meaning upon the term “world” (kosmos). The present tense action of the verb (an actual “taking away”), and John’s own soteriology (cf. John 1:13; 3:15-17; 6:37-39, 10:15; 1 John 2:1-2) would prevent this pretext.   

Universalists and Inclusivists. Because of the semantic import and tense of the verb, Universalists and Inclusivists will appeal John 1:29 to teach that all men in “the world” will be saved regardless if they believe in Christ or not. They will interpret the verb airō (“takes away”) here properly (i.e., a literal, not hypothetical, removal of sin); yet improperly interpret the term “world” to mean “all men” inclusively, without exception. Thus, the Universalistic/Inclusivistic depends on an unbiblical pretext assuming that the term “world” carries a universal meaning here—namely, every single person universally will have their sin taken away.                                 

However, note the hermeneutical (interpretative technique) error they make: Both Universalists and Inclusivists do not consider the various meanings of the term kosmos (“world”) how it was normally used in a first century significance. Many times, it was used to denote the world of the Jews and Gentiles. For example, many first century Jews assumed that salvation was for them alone—God’s “chosen” people. So, in John 3:16, Jesus used “world” as a “corrective” to this false notion to Nicodemus, thus, in this sense, ‘For God so loved the Jews, and even the Gentles.’

In the NT, kosmos (“world”) carries a wide range of meanings, depending on the context. Similarly, the Greek adjective pas (“all, every”), can mean “all” or “every” inclusively (e.g., Rom. 3:23; Col. 1:17-17), but others times, it can also mean all kinds, or as many as (Matt. 4:24; or Acts 22:25: “[Ananias to Paul] ‘For you will be a witness for Him to ALL [pas] people of what you have seen and heard.”

Thus, “all” in the sense of all in the region, or “all” kinds of people (kings, rulers, Jews, Gentiles, men women, slaves, free etc.), and not every single person in the world. Kosmos is also similar. In the NT, kosmos has at least eight clearly defined separate meanings defined by its surrounding context: 

  1. Used to signify every single person, Rom. 3:19. 
  1. Used to signify non-believers, John 1:10; 15:18; Rom. 3:6. 
  1. Used signify only believers, John 1:29; 3:17; 6:33; 12:47; 1 Cor. 4:9; 2 Cor. 5:19. 
  1. Used to signify Gentiles in contrast to Jews, Rom. 11:12. 
  1. 5. Used to signify the world system, John 12:31. 
  1. Used to signify the earth, John 13:1; Eph. 1:4. 
  1. Used to signify the universe as a whole, Acts 17:24: “God that made the world and all things therein seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth.”
  2. Used to signify the known world (not everyone inclusively)—Jews and Gentiles, Rom. 1:8: “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.” 

So here in John 1:29, in light of the verb’s meaning as a literal non-figurative sin being “taking away,” removed by the atoning sacrifice of Christ, and the verb being in the present, not future tense, the “world” would be the world of believers. By the blood of Christ, He purchased and removed the sin of men from “every tribe, language, people, and nation” (Rev. 5:9). The world of believers is shown love through the giving of the Son so that they will have eternal life through faith in Him.

Thus, John’s statement here defines the efficacy and intent of the Son’s atoning cross work. “Behold, the Lamb of God, the One taking away the sin of the world,..” both Jews and Gentles—the good news of the gospel!


Notes

[1] Also cf. Matt. 17:11-13; Mark 9:11-13; Luke 1:16-17.

[2] Joseph H. Thayer, Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament.

[3] Walter Bauer’s, A Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament, 3rd ed., ed. and rev. by Frederick W. Danker (BDAG).

 

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“I and the Father are one.”

Ἐγὼ καὶ ὁ Πατὴρ ἕν ἐσμεν (Egō kia ho Patēr hen esmen), lit., “I and the Father one thing we are”).     

Both historically and currently, Christians have pointed to this passage to show that Jesus indeed claimed equality with God the Father. As with Jesus’ other undeniable claims to be truly God (Matt. 12:6; John 5:17-18; 8:58-59 et al; Rev. 1:7-8, 17; 2:8; 22:13; etc.), the response of the Jews in verse 33 hence, is an irrefutable confirmation of Jesus’ claim: “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.”

This passage also provides a clear refutation to the Oneness view (as discussed below), which erroneously asserts that Jesus is the Father (the same person). Ironically, Oneness advocates actually use John 10:30 as a so-called proof text, aside from the fact that throughout chapter 10, Jesus and the Father are clearly differentiated as two persons (vv. 15, 17, 18, 25, 29, 30, 36, 37, 38).

 However, the following points regarding John 10:30 clearly refute Oneness theology:     

Not one person within conservative recognized Christian scholarship agrees with a Oneness interpretation. Neither historically nor contemporaneously has any Christian writer interpreted John 10:30 in a modalistic (Oneness) way. Rather, all standard scholarly sources (patristics, commentaries, grammars, lexicons et al), interpret the passage in the plain intended way, within the defining context: The person of the Son claiming equality with the distinct person of the Father.

Plain reading. Jesus simply says, “I and the Father ARE one.” Only by pretexting can one read something into this text beyond the simple plain reading.              

The neuter adjective hen (“one”) is used—contextually indicating a unity of essence, not personal identity. If Jesus wanted to identify Himself as the same person as the Father (same person), He certainly could have used the masculine heis to indicate this (e.g., John 12:4; Rom. 3:10; 1 Tim. 2:5 et al.). In this passage, the Father and the Son are the two subjects of the sentence (egō, “I,” and Patēr, “Father”—both in the nominative [subject] case).

The neuter adjective hen (“one”) is the predicate nominative and it precedes the plural verb esmen (“are”). The predicate nominative “one” is describing the essential unity of the two subjects, Jesus and the Father. [1] In other words, Jesus is explaining that the Father and Son are one thing, not one person, in the context of unity, not identity of person. The same neuter adjective is used in John 17:21, expressing unity (not person) where Jesus prays that His disciples “may be one [hen]” even as Jesus and the Father are one. However, in verse 30, it was a unity in ontological coequality that Jesus expressed—thus, “The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him” (v. 31).       

The plural verb esmen (“are”). Again, in sharp contrast to the false Oneness interpretation (viz., that Jesus is the Father), the Greek contains the plural verb esmen (“I and the Father are one”), and not a singular verb such as eimi (“am”) or estin (“is”) in which case, the passage would read: “I and the Father am/is one.”

Furthermore, Jesus’ claim to deity is not merely found in verse 30. But rather, the passages leading up to verse 30 undeniably prove His claim. In verses 27-29, Jesus claims that He is the Shepherd that gives His sheep eternal life and no one can snatch them from His nor His Father’s hand (same words of YHWH in the LXX of Deut. 32:39[2]). The Jews were well acquainted with Deuteronomy 32:39: “And there is no one who can save anyone from My hand” and Psalm 95:7: “For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.” The Jews knew that only YHWH could make these claims of having sheep in His hand and giving them eternal life (cf. also Isa. 43:11).

It was after Jesus made these familiar and exclusively divine claims that He stated, “I and the Father are one.” Again, not mere unity, rather, unity in ontological coequality. So, it is easy to understand the response of the Jews wanting to kill Him for blasphemy: “You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God [poieis seauton Theon]” (vv. 31, 33).[3] If Jesus were only claiming to be “one” with the Father in the sense of mere unity, then Jesus’ claim would not have warranted blasphemy (Lev. 24:16).


 NOTES

[1] Renowned Greek grammarian A. T. Robertson comments on the application of the neuter hen in John 10:30: “One (hen). Neuter, not masculine (heis). Not one person (cf. heis in Gal. 3:28), but one essence or nature” (Archibald T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament [Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1932], 5:186).

[2] Deuteronomy 32:39 (LXX): “And there is no one who can deliver ek tōn cheirōn Mou [‘out of the hands of Me’].” John 10:28: “they will never perish; and no one will snatch them ek tēs cheiros Mou, “out of the hand of Me.” John 10:29: “no one is able to snatch them ek tēs cheiros tou Patros (“out of the hand of the Father”). 

[3] As in John 5:18, in John 10:33, the second person reflexive pronoun seauton (“Yourself”) indicates that the Jews understood that Jesus’ claims in John 10, which culminated in verse 30 (“I and the Father are one”) were by and for Himself—namely, He Himself made Himself “out to God.”   

 

 

 

“But of that day or hour NO ONE KNOWS, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone”

Unitarians, esp. Muslims and JWs use this passage (among others) to show Jesus is not God. 

First, throughout the OT and NT, Christ is presented as ontologically truly God and truly man (Exod. 3:6, 14; Isa. 9:6; Dan. 7:13-14; John 1:1, 18; 5:17-18; 8:58; 20:28; Rom. 9:5; 10:9-13; Phil. 2:6-11; Titus 2:13; Heb. 1:6, 10-12; 2 Pet 1:1; Rev. 1:7-8; 22:13). His claim to be God were unambiguous (Mark. 14:61-64; John 5:17-18; 8:24, 58 et al.; 10:30; Rev. 1:7-8; 22:13; etc.).       

 

So was Jesus ignorant of His Return?  

The simple response has to do with the verb oiden (“knows”). Instead of ignorance (Jesus not “knowing”), we see the verb oiden (perfect form of eidō) in a “preeminent sense” in that, the verb oiden takes the force of the Hebrew stem hiphil. Verbs with the hiphil has a causative or declarative sense. Thus as here: “I make known, cause, promulgate, declare.”  

 

In 1 Cor. 2:2, the same verb is used in this sense, where Paul states: “I determined ‘to know’ (eidenai from eidō) nothing among you but Jesus Christ and him crucified,” that is, I cause or determined to make known, nothing among you, but Jesus Christ.

So in light of the verb oiden (“to know”) taking the force of the Hebrew stem hiphil (as in 1 Cor. 2:2), the literal sense would be: “But of that day and that hour none can cause or declare to you to KNOW (that is, none has authority) to cause to make known— not the angels, neither the Son, but, preeminently, the Father alone—He will reveal or declare it.

Therefore, in Mark 13:32, the verb takes the force of the Hebrew hiphil stem (causative or declarative sense)—i.e., in a “preeminent sense” (as in 1 Cor. 2:2). Thus, the Son “knows” the day and hour of His return, but the one who will make known, cause, promulgate, or declare is the Father alone. A proper exegesis erases any notion of the Son being ignorant of His return. 

“To them belong the patriarchs, and from them, by human descent, came the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever! Amen” (Rom. 9:5, NET).