Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Did God say?

The Lord God is not questioned! 

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God (Jehovah Elohim)  had made. He said to the woman, “Did God (Elohim) really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Genesis 3:1 God is identified first as Jehovah Elohim in Genesis 2:4–prior to this he had been known only as Elohim. At this point the seven days of creation are completed - yet there was no moisture on the earth to cause growth and adam (Genesis 1:26) had not yet become a living soul.  It is only subsequent to Genesis 2:4 that mankind becomes Adam - a person - and from his side comes Eve.


In a footnote from the ESV: The Hebrew word for man (adam) is the generic term for mankind and later becomes the proper name Adam.  Where the definite article appears it is usually adam–the man.  The first use of Adam is in Genesis 2:19 KJV: “and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.”  For most other translations the first appearance of Adam is in 2:20 in conjunction with his relational need for a helper.  Thus the use of Adam occurs only after 2:4 and is used in a relational sense–rather than in a general one. 

Jehovah is the proper name of God.  Mankind only receives the proper name of Adam under the revelation of Jehovah. 


At the initial temptational encounter the serpent reverts back to Elohim only - avoiding any reference to Lord - Jehovah.  Dr. Tony Evans observes: “he didn't want her having a personal relationship under Jehovah’s authority.”1  The temptation: “and ye shall be as gods (like God), knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:5 When God seeks them out in relationship it is once again as Lord God: “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day:” Genesis 3:8  But this time they hid from Him because of their shame–for they knew they had disappointed the One who had breathed His breath of life into them. And when He pronounces the curse on the serpent it is as Lord God: “The LORD God said to the serpent,...” 3:14 At the same time He declares the promise that One would come forth as the seed of the woman who would restore all that had been lost: “he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." 3:15 NIV 

To omit the Lord - as the serpent did - is to omit His sovereign relationship with his people - which can have no other meaning than Lordship.  Only He who is Lord can take our messes and form them into an instrument that will be to the praise of His glory.  Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” The mere acknowledgment of Him as god has no such power.

My editor and co-commentator noted that there are many fathers, but for her there was only one that spoke to her with understanding authority–yet with eyes of kindness, acceptance and forgiveness.  My reply was, “Dear Ol’ Dad!”  “Yes,” she said.  His love for her was unconditional–she did not fear his disapproval.  She never felt shamed, small or worthless. This was the motivation for her, for he was proud to have her as his beautiful daughter.  Yes, he was her provider and protector–always available; coming to her defense.  He had a vision and hope for her–giving her confidence to succeed.


Independent of Lordship there is no possibility of the believer’s conformation into the image of the First Born which is the singular purpose of the Father–the essence and fulness of salvation.  Ultimately we are saved not only for our good–but for that which is good in His sight.  The focus is the progenitor, not the progeny.  A message void of this primacy is an ineffectual one.  A.W. Tozer called such preaching heresy: “Therefore, I must be frank in my feeling that a notable heresy has come into being throughout our evangelical Christian circles - the widely accepted concept that we humans can choose to accept Christ only because we need Him as Savior and we have the right to postpone our obedience to Him as Lord as long as we want to!” 

Mere belief - acceptance - is not sufficient. “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder.”  James 2:19  But their nature continues to be that of a demon.  Muslim terrorist shout Allah Akbar - god is one; but they are still blood-thirsty wretches.  (Even the crusaders had a cross emblazoned on their breast, but not imprinted on their heart.) 

John’s baptism was not a Lordship baptism.  It demanded conformity first, which will ultimately fail: “Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance,...”  The Baptism in Jesus’ Name produces conformity afterwards and will succeed.  The believer is brought to Christ totally devoid of any good works with which to commend himself - he is totally and utterly dependent on electing grace.  The process that is entered into is an irrevocable one.  “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11


Unfortunately our message is often interpreted as, “You must become like us before you can be one of us.”  The true gospel message is, “Once you become one of us, then you will be like us.”  That is expressing the image of the Son of God.  Assimilation is not the objective–but transformation.  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV 

John’s baptism was intertestamental - fulfilling the requirements of the old while pointing toward the hope of the new. The crux came one day in Jordan’s waters when John baptized One he was not worthy to baptize for this One had no need of repentance for cleansing - only as “Jehovah is our salvation” in identification with our plight. Yet, upon this one descended the power and witness of the Holy Spirit with the resounding declaration: "You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased."  The One standing in the flow with John was and is the living and abiding Word of God.

Carrying this forward into the dawning of the church age: Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38  Jesus is the name of his humility in that Jehovah descended to identify with and become one with us. Christ is the name of His exaltation as the Anointed One. He is still both - “Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25  (Plus Acts 2:31-33) 


Concerning Paul’s encounter with the disciples at Ephesus we read: Acts 19:4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.

Only He can produce the evidence that is worthy of His Name. “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.” 1 Peter 1:2 KJV  If there is no such evidence subsequent to baptism, then the individual has only gotten wet. From Dr. Tony Evans: “Baptism means...you are a visible verbal follower of Christ reflecting His attitudes and actions, character, and conduct in every aspect of life.”2 


If He is not Lord of all - then He is not Lord at all. We do not “make Him Lord” of our lives.  He already is Lord and the confession wells up from deep within: “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;...” Romans 10:9 In the Greek: Kurios (Kyrios) - Lord, Master (Similar to Senor or Bwana in that it can mean Sir also - depending on context.)

There is one other Greek word commonly translated as Lord or Master. “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” 2 Peter 2:1 The Greek here is “despotes” otherwise translated master or owner (possessor).  (Also 2 Timothy 2:21; Revelation 6:10) This is where we get our word “despot” - a ruler with absolute power. The disciples understood this for they were bondslaves of the Lord Christ. It is similar to the appellation of Adonai in the Old Testament. 

Once I was watching Christian TV and the speaker was telling us how we could get what we wanted from God.  At the conclusion of his message he pointed to a sign behind him that proclaimed “Jesus Is Lord.”  Yet, for me, something rang hollow - the confession was almost as a byword.  As the next program aired Dr. D. James Kennedy preached Jesus as the ultimate despot of the universe - the One who is truly Lord God.  There was such a marked difference. May the confession of our mouth and the works of our hands give worship and witness to this One: “and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.” 

And thus we have our assurance - sealed in Him until that day: “you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14 

Soli Deo Gloria!  “To God alone Glory!” 

1 Evans, Tony (2014). The Power of God’s Names (p. 51). Harvest House Publishers

2 Evans, Tony (2014-12-11). America: Turning a Nation to God (p. 162). Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.