Paul's Passing Thoughts

“Trusting Jesus” In 2017 For Your Daily Re-Salvation

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on January 2, 2017

The institutional church has very little to offer people in the way of hope and assurance. Its orthodoxy takes away a believer’s means of showing love to God and others – obedience to the law. By making perfect law-keeping the standard for righteousness, its single perspective on law keeps believers “under law” and in a constant state of fear due to condemnation. But the Bible says that there is no fear in love because perfect (mature) love casts out fear.

We have before us today yet one more example of the orthodoxy of authentic Protestantism to consider. This example happens to come from my former church, Calvary Bible Church in Columbus, OH. One of the current members snapped this image of a power point slide presented during this past Sunday’s sermon.

calvary-fodder-hebrew-12-application

This slide comes at the “application” part at the end of a sermon which used Hebrews 12:1-2 as a text.

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” ~ Hebrews 12:1-2

Here are the four points of application for consideration:

  1. Trusting Jesus keeps us from looking to self
  2. Trusting Jesus requires trust in all He is for us
  3. Trusting Jesus is needed most when others hurt us
  4. Trusting Jesus is key to not growing weary or losing heart in life

Before I even get into addressing the points of application, a brief exegesis and word study of the passage is required.

It is important to understand that the chapter divisions in our Bibles are not there in the original texts. They were added much later as a means to aid in finding certain passages. The unfortunate result is that sometimes the chapter divisions have a tendency to break up the context. Chapter 12 of Hebrews is the concluding application of chapter 11, sometimes known as the “Hall of Faith”. The “cloud of witnesses” mentioned in verse 1 is a reference to all the saints mentioned in chapter 11, some by name, some collectively.

I want to quickly call your attention to the verbs in verse 1. I have marked them in bold.

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,”

This is a very poorly translated verse in both the King James and all modern English translations. While there are five verb forms in this verse, only one verb is part of the main clause and shows the action. It is the word “run”. In the Greek the word is τρεχω (trek-oh). We get our English word “trek” from this, referring to a course or trip or voyage in which we may engage.

While this verb is in the present tense, it is also in the subjunctive mood, which normally indicates a hypothetical possibility. But in this case, since we are not dealing with a conditional statement, this implies a command. It is used as a means of exhorting others to join in on a particular course of action. With this in mind, there is only one main clause in verse 1:

“wherefore, …let us engage in our course of life”

This is the reasonable conclusion the writer of Hebrews draws from the testimony of all the saints mentioned in chapter 11.

The other four verb forms are actually used as participles. A participle is a verb that is used as an adjective or adverb. In English, participles most often end in “ing”. A participle can either describe how an action is performed or it further describes the state of a noun or subject. Knowing then that the other verbs in verse 1 are participles, the verse would better read this way (notice the participles are emphasized in bold).

“Wherefore, we, having this vast cloud of witnesses encompassing us, and having put off every impediment – the sin nemesis – let us then through endurance engage in our course of life lying before us.”

Some things should be obvious in this verse. Foremost is the implication that WE are the ones running our race of life. The command is to US to engage the undertaking of our lives, and we are exhorted to do it with endurance. But also, the grammatical structure gives us the “why”. It is because:

  1. We have a group of spectators “watching” us. These are the faithful saints who have gone on before us who have given us an example of how WE are then expected to conduct our lives.
  1. We have the ABILITY to run this race of life with certainty because we have already laid off everything that would hinder us. It is not something we need to do continuously. The aorist (past) tense of the verb indicates it is something that we have already done. Because of our new birth the law is ended, the old man is dead, and sin no longer has any power over us. Sin can no longer restrict us from running as fast as we want to.

Verse 2 gives us further instruction as to “how” or “what” we should do as we run our life race. It begins with the phrase “looking unto Jesus”, but that does not indicate that we “trust Jesus” to run the race for us or even to help us run. The word in the Greek is αφοραω (ah-for-AH-oh). It literally means to perceive from a distance, but the implication means to consider attentively.

Another expression that needs to be examined is “the author and finisher of our faith”. First off, the word “our” is not found in the Greek text, neither is it implied. “Author” is the Greek word αρχηγον (arch-AY-gon), and it means “chief leader”. Jesus is not the “author” of faith as if He was the originator of it. Consider the context of the passage. In the great cloud of witnesses just mentioned in chapter 11, among all of those in that great “hall of faith”, Jesus is the Chief Leader of faith. This means that Jesus is included among all of the saints listed in chapter 11. The author of Hebrews is exhorting us to consider Jesus’ own example of faith.

Furthermore, a close look at the grammar of verse 2 reveals that the verse is not saying that our faith originates and ends with Jesus. Instead, these are two separate aspects of who Jesus is with regard to faith itself. The word translated “finisher” is the word τελειωτης (tel-ee-oh-TACE). It comes from the word “teleos” which means “maturity” or “completeness”. Jesus is the one who made “faith” complete.

If you consider that the audience of Hebrews is Jews, this aspect of Jesus completing faith takes on considerable significance. Remember that God made the promise of a “seed” to Abraham. The apostle Paul also wrote in Galatians about the law being a guardian until “faith” came. With this in mind it is fairly easy to see that Jesus was the promised “seed” and the “faith” that came to end the law. I believe this is the reference the writer of Hebrews is making when he says that Jesus is the “completer” of faith, because Jesus was the promised seed of Abraham, the “faith” that came to end the law and make the new birth possible.

So in verse two, as we run our life race, we are to give attentive consideration to the Chief Faith Leader; the Faith Completer; Jesus! Not only is “faith” completed because Jesus is that promised seed, but we are to consider His example of faith. The rest of the verse cites Jesus’ own example of faith.

“…giving attentive consideration to the Chief Leader and Completer of faith – Jesus – who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

So now that we understand the correct grammatical-historical context of the passage, let us once again consider the points of application suggested to us by the pastor of Calvary Bible Church.

  1. Trusting Jesus keeps us from looking to self
  2. Trusting Jesus requires trust in all He is for us
  3. Trusting Jesus is needed most when others hurt us
  4. Trusting Jesus is key to not growing weary or losing heart in life

Please notice that the passage in Hebrews has nothing to do whatsoever about trust or trusting Jesus. This should be blatantly obvious. How does one make the leap from a context having to do with great examples of faith for us to emulate to one of “trusting Jesus”? If one uses a redemptive-historical hermeneutic, it’s fairly easy. Every verse has to be taken in its proper “gospel context”.

Authentic Protestantism is a false gospel of progressive justification. Believers are merely declared righteous while remaining totally depraved and in a constant need of re-salvation and forgiveness for “present sin”.  So then:

  • A believer then must continually “trust Jesus” for daily salvation instead of looking to himself.
  • A believer must “trust Jesus” to do good works through him rather than trying to do any good works himself.
  • A believer must “trust Jesus” to be his righteousness for him since the believer is only declared righteous.
  • A believer must “trust Jesus” by recognizing his own sinfulness, depravity, and need for constant forgiveness rather than dwell on how other people have wronged him.
  • A believer must “trust Jesus” by continuing to live by “faith alone” and persevering in the off chance that maybe he is one of the elect who endures to final justification.

Of course, if at any time you fail to somehow keep “trusting Jesus,” your very salvation may be at stake.

Sure sounds like an encouraging New Year’s message to me. Good luck with that.

~ Andy

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9 Responses

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  1. John said, on January 3, 2017 at 5:17 AM

    In other words, Protestantism is a man-made belief system of fear that totally ignores, denies, and mutilates the New Birth and the immediate implications (eternal benefits) it has on the believer; a belief system that belittles and mocks the work that Jesus did on the Cross by openly declaring His work insufficient, imperfect, unfinished, and useless; a belief system that discredits, misrepresents, and distorts God’s character and promises. Protestantism, clearly, is a god onto itself.

    Yes, this is not the message with which I’d like to start 2017, or one I’d like to share with a dying world.

    I’d rather, seriously, tell people to dance barefoot on an agitated alligator. At least they’d know, more or less, what to expect…

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    • Andy Young, PPT contributing editor said, on January 3, 2017 at 7:28 AM

      Believe me, I am SOooo glad to be gone from that place. But my wife and I have quite a number of friends who are still going to this church and placing themselves under this kind of false teaching. It grieves our hearts. O if they could only open their eyes and be free from it!

      Like

      • John said, on January 3, 2017 at 8:14 AM

        I know THOSE feelings.

        Like

  2. John said, on January 3, 2017 at 8:41 AM

    Yikes, I got this from the church in question’s website. Uh, the spirit of the blasphemer Sproul (and many others) is roaming there…

    “What is the good news that comes from God Himself?

    The Bible calls it the gospel! The gospel is good news because it tells us that God has done what is necessary to bring us into a relationship with Him. Whereas other religions and philosophies provide lists of rules and good deeds to perform, God provides Jesus, Who lived a life of perfect obedience for us, and then transferred the credit for His performance to our account, taking on Himself the record – and, therefore, the punishment – for all our sin and failure.

    Consequently, neither the sinfulness of the irreligious person, nor the moral achievement of the religious person, counts for anything. The only thing that counts is the righteousness of Christ on our behalf. This is the gospel—it is truly good news!”

    Pardon me, but that’s not the gospel. That’s a perversion of a perversion.

    Wow, Andy, y(our) friends need prayer.

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    • Andy Young, PPT contributing editor said, on January 3, 2017 at 8:59 AM

      “…other religions and philosophies provide lists of rules and good deeds to perform…”

      How is “living by faith alone” every day not performing good deeds? It’s called “faith alone” works. Yep, protestantism is nothing more than good ol’ works salvation, except Jesus is doing the works and not us supposedly. That certainly isn’t “not of works”. That certainly isn’t righteousness APART FROM THE LAW! Works is works regardles of who is doing them. It’s a righteousness based on perfect law-keeping, even if it’s Jesus doing the law-keeping. It is not a righteousness based on the reality of the New Birth.

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    • Andy Young, PPT contributing editor said, on January 3, 2017 at 9:16 AM

      It didn’t used to be that bad. I started going there in 1994. The church was established in 1940, and they were what you would call “confused protestants” or “sanctified calvinists”. It all went down hill after a group of “elders” went to the T4G conference in 2008. That’s when all the New Calvinist, reformed, “christo-centric” teaching statred creeping in. Then the senior pastor retired in 2010. He was replaced with their own hand-picked reformed homeboy. (There was a “pulpit committee” search, and they made a pretense of actually seeking candidates, but they had an agreement with this guy literally months before the other pastor retired. It was a snow job) I gave it a year to see how it would turn out, but it only took me 3 months to realize what this guy was. My wife and I already had commitments that we didn’t want to abandon, so we stuck it out until June of 2011 when we finally left for good!

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      • John said, on January 3, 2017 at 10:36 AM

        And their gospel states, “God provides Jesus.” Simple present tense. Provides? How about “sent”? (simple past tense; it happened…once). Anyway, so, is this church full of unbelievers only then? Wait, no, it’s one of those “filling station” places, isn’t it?. And somehow I get the feeling that Jesus is not fully God with these folks. Suppose Jesus had not lived a life of perfect obedience (for us), what then? Is Jesus not God from everlasting to everlasting? Yes, He has always been God, and whatever He did or did not do on Earth would not have changed that! He has always been righteous because He has always been God.

        Andy, and visiting Susan, no, I’m not church bashing, I’m simply trying to understand what this “church” is all about at the moment. Here, again, present tense: “The only thing that counts is the righteousness of Christ on our behalf.” “Counts is”? To this church, there’s no difference between the irreligious (they can’t say “unsaved”) and the religious (“the elect,” according to their Institutes).

        That’s why Piper is having nightmares about God leaving him. Piper has no assurance because his church gives no assurance because his church does not have the true Jesus. They have Calvin’s monster(s). The very same with this church and every single one like this all over the world.

        Is 2017 going to be the year that eyes open? Let’s pray for that, shall we?

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  3. Susan said, on January 3, 2017 at 9:09 AM

    What a g-r-e-a-t deal. So I don’t have to do anything — except believe, of course — and heaven is mine? Awesome. Simply awesome. Jesus lives my life for me, and I don’t have to do a d*!n thing. Amazing!

    The turning point for me was when I realized these pastors and theologians were simply “making it all up.” I could not make heads or tails of what the likes of John Piper was saying. Everyone thought the man was so deep and profound and oh so spiritual. I was hearing double-speak. A woman at the church who leads the new members class asked me if I really did not understand. In other words: are you truly that stupid?

    Yep, I have two undergraduate and two graduate degrees, and I really am that stupid! And thankfully so. The road to perdition is a broad highway and so many are laughing and dancing as they make their way to hell.

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    • John said, on January 3, 2017 at 9:40 AM

      Susan, I’m sure that Piper does not know what he is saying. Ever.

      Like


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