Class Notes: 11/4/2015
Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8; The doctrine of witnessing part 27
In our study of the doctrine of witnessing Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8; we are examining the doctrines that undergird the gospel so that we can understand how and why it is God alone who made it possible for our so great salvation exclusively by grace through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. Eph 2:8-9;
We are now in a study of the of the enabling power of God the Holy Spirit that functions as common and efficacious grace so that the unbeliever can understand the spiritual information that is contained in the Gospel and be saved because saving faith comes exclusively from the grace ministry of God the Holy Spirit.
Last time we noted that the spiritual death of Jesus Christ on the cross is the basis for judgment of all personal sins in history that in theology is called the unlimited atonement.
Because of unlimited atonement, condemnation at the Last Judgment is not based on personal sins, as so many evangelists incorrectly teach. The unbeliever's personal sins will never be mentioned at the Last Judgment because they were judged in Jesus on the cross. Under the law of double jeopardy, they cannot be judged a second time at the second resurrection of unbelievers and the Last Judgment, called the Great White Throne Judgment.
Instead, the unbeliever's indictment is based on their human good works. There are two sets of books at the Last Judgment. The Lamb's Book of Life at the end of history is a registry only of believers. The unbeliever's name was blotted out of it when he died without believing in Christ as the Son of God.
The Book of Works lists all of the human good works the unbeliever did during their life. They all add up to (-R) or relative righteousness. Jesus Christ, sitting on the Great White Throne, is +R or absolute righteousness. -R cannot have fellowship with (+R). Therefore, the unbeliever is indicted because of failure to have (+R) and sentenced to the lake of fire.
John 16:10, "And concerning righteousness, because I go to My Father and you no longer see Me."
Jesus Christ as God, is infinite, perfect, eternal, immutable righteousness as true humanity He is also impeccable because He resides in the prototype spiritual power system in perfect trichotomous humanity.
The deity of Jesus Christ is described as being "non posse pecere" that means not able to sin. His true humanity inside God's spiritual power system is described as being "posse non pecare" or able not to sin.
At the termination of the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union, the perfect resurrected humanity of Jesus Christ ascended into the presence of God the Father, where His righteousness was completely accepted in heaven forever.
As eternal God, God the Son and God the Father are coequal and coeternal and perfectly compatible but that was not the issue. It was Jesus' humanity in a glorified resurrection body that ascended. When He came into the presence of the Father, the Father accepted Him and said, "Sit down at My right hand until I make your enemies your footstool." Since God is omnipresent only His humanity sat down.
So it is the perfect righteousness of the humanity of Christ that was acceptable in heaven. This explains why the Old Testament saints could not reside in heaven until perfect humanity with perfect righteousness was accepted. After Jesus was accepted the Old Testament saints were transferred from the paradise compartment of Hades also called Abraham's bosom into the third heaven.
Jesus in perfect humanity was the first humanity ever to be in heaven. He was the first perfect humanity and the first resurrected humanity.
John 16:10; refers to our Lord's impeccability that qualified Him to go to the cross and be judged for our sins, and then after His resurrection to ascend in a resurrection body to the presence of God the Father and be seated at His right hand.
Paul mentions the new paradise in heaven where the OT saints now reside in 2Cor 12:1-4; and Eph 4:8,10;
Every member of the human race who believes in Christ possesses the same perfect righteousness of Christ at the moment they believe in Him. This is the basis for justification and acceptability. God' s perfect righteousness is imputed to us at salvation. 2Cor 5:21;
Rom 3:22; "Even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe."
Rom 5:1, "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Rom 3:20, "Because by the works of the law, no flesh shall be justified in His sight. For through the law is the knowledge of sin."
Rom 3:28; "We maintain that man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law."
The righteousness of God is that is accepted in heaven is the same righteousness of God that was imputed to us at the moment we believed in Christ.
The convicting or convincing ministry of the Holy Spirit in common grace deals with the fact that there is a barrier between God and man. Our Lord Jesus Christ removed this barrier on the cross.
If we are to live with God forever, we must possess both God's perfect righteousness and His eternal life. Both are imputed to us at the moment we believe in Christ. These are two of the forty grace gifts that we irrevocably receive at salvation. Rom 11:29;
The righteousness of God the Father comes to us through imputation. The righteousness of God the Son comes to us through the baptism of the Spirit. So as members of the royal family of God, we have a double righteousness.
Spiritually dead mankind cannot produce a righteousness that is satisfactory to God. The principle is that -R cannot have fellowship with +R and to maintain +R, +R must reject -R. So according to John 16:10; one of the areas in which the Holy Spirit convinces us with regard to the Gospel is regarding a lack of God's righteousness.
Once our Lord Jesus Christ was resurrected, ascended, and seated at the right hand of God the Father, there was no visible demonstration of perfect righteousness on earth. Therefore, it is the ministry of God the Holy Spirit in common grace to convict mankind of the importance of imputed righteousness as a qualification for living with God forever.
We've noted that God the Holy Spirit's revelation of the Gospel emphasizes faith alone in Jesus Christ for salvation, and the imputation of divine righteousness to the one who believes in Jesus Christ.
Spiritual death produces a relative righteousness that is not acceptable to God. Isa 64:6; "Our righteousnesses are as filthy rags in His sight."
Personal sins are not used at the Last Judgment. At the last Judgment unbelievers are indicted on the basis of inadequate righteousness because spiritual death cannot produce an absolute righteousness and inadequate works because spiritual death can only produce dead works.
John 16:11; "And concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged."
Satan is the ruler of this world, John 12;41; John 14:30; John 16:11; 2Cor 4:4; Eph 2:2.
Prior to human history, satan and all fallen angels were tried, judged, found guilty, sentence was passed but not executed. The sentence passed on Satan and all fallen angels is briefly recorded in Matt 25:41; "Then He said also to those on His left hand, `Depart from Me, you accursed ones, into eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.'"
Based on the principle that justice delayed is unrighteousness satan apparently appealed this sentence, with the result that mankind was created, and human history becomes the environment for Satan's appeal trial.
Mankind was therefore created to resolve this prehistoric angelic conflict. Like angelic creatures, mankind was given free will to demonstrate to Satan and all fallen angels the validity of God's judgment in their case.
The human being who rejects Jesus Christ as Savior, who follows the pattern of fallen angels in rejecting Christ, will share in the same condemnation and eternal judgment of Satan and the fallen angels, according to Rev 20:10;
John 3:18; "He who believes in Him is not judged; but he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the person of the uniquely-born Son of God."
Rev 20:15; "If anyone's name was not found written in the Book of Life, he was cast into the lake of fire." The Book of Life is a registry of everyone who has believed in Christ.
In our study we have seen that "common grace" is theological nomenclature for the function of the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit in making the Gospel lucid, understandable, and comprehensible to the spiritually dead person. Spiritual brain death means that the spiritually dead person is not capable of understanding spiritual phenomena.
This spiritual brain death is described in 1Cor 2:11; "For what man understands the things of man except (the spirit of life) man's frame of reference which is in him? Even so the things of God no one has known except the Spirit of God."
The natural man only has a human frame of reference. The lack of a spiritual frame of reference creates a dependency upon the Holy Spirit for the natural person to understand the spiritual information contained in the Gospel.
"The thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God" refers to the enabling power of God the Holy Spirit to make the Gospel comprehensible so it can be understood.
In the function of the Holy Spirit in common grace, no human works, human merit, or human righteousness is revealed. Instead, it is the work of Jesus Christ on the cross that is revealed, the merit of Jesus Christ as Savior, and the perfect righteousness of Christ that qualified Him to be the lamb without spot or blemish so He could be our substitute on the cross.
Common grace is the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit breaking through spiritual brain death to communicate the Gospel when it is presented accurately.
The Holy Spirit is the sovereign executive of evangelism. Believers are the agents along with those with the gift of evangelism. Those without the gift are ambassadors for Christ, and therefore also have the responsibility of witnessing for Him.
Anything the unbeliever adds to faith is works. The works of the unbeliever are dead works which cannot save, according to Eph 2:9;
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