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With Unveiled Face

Tuesday, July 10, 2012
     Someone told me that 2 Cor 3:14-17 does away with the seventh day Sabbath.  They told me that the veil is the Sabbath which was done away with.  What is the real meaning of the text?

Not Buying It

Dear Not Buying It,

2 Cor 3 does teach that the Old Law (which would include keeping the Sabbath) is done away with, but the veil doesn’t represent the Sabbath.  The key verse for understanding that the Sabbath is done away with is 2 Cor 3:7 which clarifies that all of the Old Law (even the commands engraved on the stones Moses brought down from God) are no longer applicable.  The veil that 2 Cor 3:14-17 refers to is the veil that Moses wore over his face after speaking with God, so the Israelites wouldn’t see the shining of his face fade.  Ex 34:33-35 tells us that when Moses came out after speaking to God, his face shone.  Moses would cover his face, so the Israelites weren’t discouraged by the fading of that shine.

That veil that Moses wore is a picture of the Old Testament law.  The Old Testament law was holy, righteous, and good (Rom 7:12), but it was never intended to last forever.  The Old Law was a tutor to lead people to Christ, but now that Christ is here, the Old Law has faded and been replaced by Christ’s New Law (Gal 3:23-25).

Establishing Authority

Friday, July 06, 2012
    How do you establish authority?  Specifically, how do you determine what we are authorized to do in the assembly in regard to "expedients" (i.e. social functions, missionary/orphan societies, etc.).  I'm looking for an organized sequence/chart to follow for establishing authority.

All In Order

Dear All In Order,

What you are asking about is a major issue in religion and in life… how do we establish Bible authority for things?  There are a couple things to consider, and we’ll try and cover them in sequential order.

First of all, in order to do anything, we must have Scriptural authority.  It isn’t enough to say, “The Bible doesn’t say I can’t.”  According to Heb 7:14, 1 Cor 4:6, and Rev 22:18-19, silence in the Bible is prohibitive.  If the Bible is silent on a subject, we must be, too.  That is exactly why we don’t have instrumental music in worship – the Scriptures never authorize it, so, by default, it is prohibited.

With that under our belt, there are three ways to establish Bible authority:

  1. A direct command.  If the Bible gives us a direct command on a subject, that is the easiest way to find authority.  For example, 1 Cor 16:2 is a direct command to take up a collection on the first day of the week.
  2. Approved examples.  If we find an example in the New Testament that clearly is approved by God, we can use that to establish authority.  2 Thess 3:9 says that it is proper for Christians to imitate the faithful actions of those we read about in the Bible.
  3. Necessary inference.  ‘Necessary inference’ is another way of saying that something must logically be true.  Necessary inference means that we use logic to put Bible concepts and teachings together to come up with proper conclusions.  For more on that subject, read “Necessary Inference”.

After finding authority through the Scriptures, the last thing to consider is how specific the authority is.  Every command that you find in the Bible has specific and general qualities to it.  For example, when God told Noah to build the ark, He told Noah to use a specific kind of wood (gopher wood – Gen 6:14) and build the ark to specific dimensions (Gen 6:15-16), but He left the details of how to cut, fasten, and construct the ark up to Noah.  It would have been wrong for Noah to use oak or birch, and it would have been wrong for Noah to change the dimensions of the ark, but aside from that, Noah had freedom to use his own wisdom in the engineering of the ark.  The things that God was specific on, Noah had to be specific on, too… but the things God was general about, Noah had freedom to decide for himself.

Another way of saying this is that anything required to fulfill a command is inherent within the command.  This means that if I ask someone to fill my car with gasoline, by default, I have given them permission to drive my car and take it to a gas station of their choosing.  Why?  Because driving my car and going to a gas station are necessary to fulfill that command, and I didn’t tell them which gas station I wanted, so I’ve left that to their discretion.

There are many things that congregations do today (such as own buildings, purchase songbooks, etc.) that the Bible never specifically authorizes, but they fall under general authority.  For example, the commands that give a congregation the authority to own property can be found in Heb 10:24-25 and 1 Cor 14:26.  In both those verses, the church is commanded to assemble.  We are told that we must assemble, or we will be displeasing to God… but we aren’t told where to assemble; that detail is left to our discretion.  We could meet in homes (if we had ones that were big enough), we could meet in a park (if it were legal and weather permitting), or we could buy some property and a building to use.

This is a lengthy answer, but it is a difficult question to answer without some length.  Hopefully, that helps as you try and find Bible authority for everything that you do.

The Indwelling

Thursday, June 28, 2012
     My question is in reference to the Holy Spirit.  Do all people who are truly saved have the Holy Spirit?  Will you go to hell if you don't have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit?  How do you know for sure that you have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit if you don't speak in tongues?

God In Me?

Dear God In Me,

The gifts of the Holy Spirit that allowed people to perform miracles (like speaking in tongues) were received through the direct laying on of hands of the apostles (Acts 8:17-18). These gifts of the Holy Spirit no longer exist because they ended with the last person that the last apostle laid his hands upon.

Christians do have the Holy Spirit dwell in them (Rom 8:9) – but not literally. The Holy Spirit dwells in Christians in the same metaphorical way that Christ dwells in Christians (Rom 8:10). The Holy Spirit and Jesus do not physically dwell inside Christians miraculously. They dwell within Christians in a figurative way because a Christian’s life follows the path the Holy Spirit and Christ set for them.

The Holy Spirit dwells in those that follow the Bible and put to death their previous sinful lifestyles (Rom 8:12-14). The Holy Spirit gave us the Bible, and when we follow it, we are led by the Spirit (read “What The Holy Spirit Does” for further details). Those who are led by the Spirit are sons of God, and the Spirit dwells in them (Rom 8:14-16).

If you would like more information on this topic, we have an entire series of sermons on the Holy Spirit that can be downloaded or viewed by clicking here.

Born That Way Pt. 2

Monday, June 04, 2012
[This question is a reply to “Born That Way”]

Thank you.  I agree with you 100%  about sin and it being a choice.  My question isn't about sin; it's about iniquity… unless you're saying they are one and the same.  I feel that sin is what we choose to commit, but iniquity isn't necessarily a choice; it's more of a compelling or predisposition to commit sin.

Similar But Different

Dear Similar But Different,

Sin and iniquity are the same thing.  The word ‘sin’ means ‘to miss the mark’ and refers to someone failing to live according to God’s standards.  The word ‘iniquity’ means ‘that which is opposed to law’ and refers to someone that breaks God’s standards.  The two words can be used interchangeably.

Plan To Be Surprised

Saturday, December 18, 2010
I was saved as a youth, grew apart, and recently started to re-develop my relationship with Christ.  I recently saw an article about Judgment Day, and it quoted various verses and did the math to come to the conclusion that the Judgment Day is May 21, 2011.  From my point of view, the math and verses quoted make sense.  This leads me to my question.

What is your opinion of this article, and how valid do you think it is?

I've added the link to the article below.

The website was:

Planning Ahead

Dear Planning Ahead,

Many verses that people use to discuss the end of time are used out of context.  Be careful in taking too much stock in what you read on the internet (which is ironic, since this is a website!) or hear through other people.  What matters is what the verses say, not what people think or assume (for example, the article you referenced assumes that the flood happen in the year 4990 BC… an assumption that they never prove, but their entire calculation is based off of).  Most of the articles you find, including this one, that try and pin a date to the end of the world are just a slick ruse that twist Scripture.  2 Thess 2:1-2 specifically warns us about getting too caught up in worrying about when the end will come.

The clearest passages we have on the topic are 1 Thess 5:1-10, 2 Pet 3:3-12, and 1 Cor 15:50-58.  All three of these passages clearly outline what needs to be known about the end of the world.  It is always a good idea to look at the clearest passages first before looking elsewhere.

First, it will come like a thief, and no one will be ready for it (1 Thess 5:2, 2 Pet 3:10).  If the day will only come when no one is expecting it, it only makes sense to not worry about trying to pinpoint that day since God says it is impossible!  The apostles didn’t know when the Lord would come back; if they couldn’t know, we certainly can’t!

Second, we should live every day like it will be our last (1 Cor 15:58, 2 Pet 3:11-12, 1 Thess 5:8-9).  If you are always living a holy and faithful life, it won’t matter when Christ returns.  Live faithfully, and whether you live or die, you will be ready to meet your Lord (1 Thess 5:10).

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