On the Faith

Matthew 1:1

The book of the generation of 1Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Matthew 1:1 note 1

11 The first name and the last name (Rev. 22:21) in the New Testament is Jesus, proving that Jesus Christ is the subject and content of the New Testament.

The Bible is a book of life, and this life is a living person, the wonderful and all-inclusive Christ. The Old Testament gives a portrait, in types and prophecies, of this wonderful person as the Coming One. Now, in the New Testament, this wonderful person has come. The first page of the New Testament, in recommending this wonderful person to us, gives us His genealogy. This genealogy can be considered an abstract of the Old Testament, which in itself is the detailed genealogy of Christ. To understand the genealogy in Matthew, we need to trace the origin and history of every incident.

Christ, as the wonderful center of the entire Bible, is all-inclusive, having many aspects. The New Testament at its beginning presents four biographies to portray the four main aspects of this all-inclusive Christ. The Gospel of Matthew testifies that He is the King, the Christ of God prophesied in the Old Testament, who brings the kingdom of the heavens to the earth. The Gospel of Mark tells us that He is the Servant of God, laboring for God faithfully. Mark's account is most simple, for a servant does not warrant a detailed record. The Gospel of Luke presents a full picture of Him as the only proper and normal man who ever lived on this earth; as such a man, He is the Savior of mankind. The Gospel of John unveils Him as the Son of God, the very God Himself, who is life to God's people.

2 Timothy 3:16

All Scripture is 2God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for conviction, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

2 Timothy 3:16 note 2

162 This indicates that the Scripture, the word of God, is the breathing out of God. God's speaking is God's breathing out. Hence, His word is spirit (John 6:63), or breath. Thus, the Scripture is the embodiment of God as the Spirit. The Spirit is therefore the very essence, the substance, of the Scripture, just as phosphorus is the essential substance in matches. We must strike the Spirit of the Scripture with our spirit to catch the divine fire.

As the embodiment of God the Spirit, the Scripture (God's word) is also the embodiment of Christ. Christ is God's living Word (Rev. 19:13), and the Scripture is God's written word (Matt. 4:4).

2 Corinthians 13:14

The 1grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

2 Corinthians 13:14 note 1

141 The grace of the Lord is the Lord Himself as life to us for our enjoyment (John 1:17 and note 1; 1 Cor. 15:10 and note 1), the love of God is God Himself (1 John 4:8, 16) as the source of the grace of the Lord, and the fellowship of the Spirit is the Spirit Himself as the transmission of the grace of the Lord with the love of God for our participation. These are not three separate matters but three aspects of one thing, just as the Lord, God, and the Holy Spirit are not three separate Gods but three "hypostases...of the one same undivided and indivisible" God (Philip Schaff).

...Just before He was crucified in the flesh and resurrected to become the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45), He unveiled His mysterious trinity to His disciples in plain words (John 14—17), stating that the Son is in the Father and the Father is in the Son (John 14:9-11), that the Spirit is the transfiguration of the Son (John 14:16-20), that the three, coexisting and coinhering simultaneously, are abiding with the believers for their enjoyment (John 14:23; 17:21-23), and that all that the Father has is the Son's and all that the Son possesses is received by the Spirit to be declared to the believers (John 16:13-15). Such a Trinity is altogether related to the dispensing of the processed God into His believers (John 14:17, 20; 15:4-5) that they may be one in and with the Triune God (John 17:21-23).

...In the Divine Trinity all the believers, both Jewish and Gentile, have access unto God the Father, through God the Son, in God the Spirit (Eph. 2:18). This indicates that the three coexist and coinhere simultaneously, even after all the processes of incarnation, human living, crucifixion, and resurrection.

John 1:1-2

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was 2in the beginning with God.

John 1:2 note 2

22 In the beginning, that is, from eternity past, the Word was with God. Contrary to what is supposed by some, it is not that Christ was not with God and was not God from eternity past, and that at a certain time Christ became God and was with God. Christ's deity is eternal and absolute. From eternity past to eternity future, He is with God and He is God. This is why this Gospel, unlike Matthew (ch. 1) and Luke (ch. 3), has no genealogy of Christ (Heb. 7:3).

Luke 1:35

And the angel answered and said to her [Mary], The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will 2overshadow you; therefore also the holy thing which is born will be called the Son of God.

Luke 1:35 note 2

352 Such a conception of the Holy Spirit in the human virgin, accomplished with the divine and human essences, constituted a mingling of the divine nature with the human nature, which produced a God-man, One who is both the complete God and the perfect man, possessing the divine nature and the human nature distinctly, without a third nature being produced. This is the most wonderful and most excellent person of Jesus.

John 1:14

And the Word became 2flesh and tabernacled among us (and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only Begotten from the Father), full of grace and reality.

John 1:14 note 2

142 [Christ] was a sinless God-man, the complete God and the perfect man, having two natures, the divine nature and the human nature. Although His two natures were mingled to produce a God-man, the individual characteristics of the two natures remained distinct; the two natures did not intermix to form a third nature. Rather, the divine nature existed in the human nature and was expressed through the human nature, full of grace, which is God enjoyed by man, and reality, which is God obtained by man.

1 John 4:3

And every 1spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming and now is already in the world.

1 John 4:3 note 1

31 The spirit of a false prophet, which is actuated by the spirit of deception; such a spirit does not confess that Jesus came in the flesh. This is the spirit of the errors of the Docetists (or, Docetes). This name was derived from the Greek word meaning to seem, to appear to be. The heretical view of the Docetists was that Jesus Christ was not a real man but simply appeared to be; to them He was merely a phantasm. Docetism was intermixed with Gnosticism, which taught that all matter was essentially evil. Hence, the Docetists taught that since Christ is holy, He could never have had the defilement of human flesh. They taught that His body was not real flesh and blood but was merely a deceptive, transient phantom, and thus that He did not suffer, die, and resurrect. Such a heresy undermines not only the Lord's incarnation but also His redemption and resurrection. Docetism was a characteristic feature of the first antichristian errorists, whom John had in view here and in 2 John 7. The spirit of such errorists is surely not of God. This is the spirit of the antichrist.

Hebrews 9:14

How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the 2eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

Hebrews 9:14 note 2

142 On the cross Christ offered Himself to God in the human body (10:5, 10), which was under the limitation of time. But He offered Himself through the eternal Spirit, who is of eternity and is not under the limitation of time. Hence, in the eyes of God, Christ as the Lamb of God was slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8). His offering of Himself was once for all (7:27), and the redemption consummated through His death is eternal (v. 12), having an eternal effect. The span of His redemption fully covers the span of sin.

Luke 24:46-47

And He said to them, Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise up from the dead on the third day, and that repentance for 1forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

Luke 24:47 note 1

471 Forgiveness of sins could be proclaimed only after the Man-Savior's vicarious death for the sinners' sins had been accomplished and had been verified by His resurrection (v. 46; cf. Rom. 4:25).

Acts 1:10-11

And while they were looking intently into heaven as He went, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them, who also said, Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the 4same way as you beheld Him going into heaven.

Acts 1:11 note 4

114 Christ ascended into heaven from Mount Olivet (v. 12), being taken up by a cloud, in a way that was visible to human sight. He will return to the same mount (Zech. 14:4), coming on a cloud (Matt. 24:30), in the same visible way.

1 Timothy 2:5

For there is 1one God and one Mediator of God and men, the 3man Christ Jesus.

1 Timothy 2:5 note 1

51 Although God is triune—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit—He is still the one God, not three Gods, contrary to what is mistakenly recognized and believed by many Christians.

1 Timothy 2:5 note 3

53 The Lord Jesus was God from eternity (John 1:1). In time He became a man through incarnation (John 1:14). While He was living on earth as a man, He was also God (3:16). After His resurrection He is still man, as well as God (Acts 7:56; John 20:28). Hence, He is the only One qualified to be the Mediator, the go-between, of God and men.

Matthew 6:9-10

You then pray in this way: Our Father who is in the heavens, 2Your name be sanctified Your kingdom come; Your will be done, as in heaven, so also on earth.

Matthew 6:9 note 2

92 In the example of prayer given as a pattern by the Lord, the first three petitions imply the Trinity of the Godhead: "Your name be sanctified" is related mainly to the Father; "Your kingdom come," to the Son; and "Your will be done," to the Spirit. This is being fulfilled in this age, and it will be ultimately fulfilled in the coming kingdom age, when the name of God will be excellent in all the earth (Psa. 8:1), the kingdom of the world will become the kingdom of Christ (Rev. 11:15), and the will of God will be accomplished.

John 16:13-15

But when He, the Spirit of reality, comes, He will 1guide you into all the reality; for He will not speak from Himself, but what He hears He will speak; and He will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify Me, for He will receive of Mine and will declare it to you. All that the Father has is Mine; for this reason I have said that He receives of Mine and will declare it to you.

John 16:13 note 1

131 The work of the Spirit is, first, to convict the world. Second, as the Spirit of reality He guides the believers into all the reality; that is, He makes all that the Son is and has real to the believers. All that the Father is and has is embodied in the Son (Col. 2:9), and all that the Son is and has is declared as reality to the believers through the Spirit (vv. 14-15). This declaring is the glorifying of the Son with the Father. Hence, it is a matter of the Triune God being wrought into and mingled with the believers. Third, the Spirit declares the things that are to come, which are revealed mainly in Revelation (Rev. 1:1, 19). The three aspects of the Spirit's work correspond with the three sections of John's writings: his Gospel, his Epistles, and his Revelation.

Romans 3:23-24

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being 1justified 2freely by His grace through the 3redemption which is in Christ Jesus.

Romans 3:24 note 1

241 Justification is God's action whereby He approves people according to His standard of righteousness. God can do this on the basis of the redemption of Christ.

Romans 3:24 note 2

242 Since Christ has paid the price for our sins and in His redemption has fulfilled all God's requirements on us, God, because He is just, must justify us freely. Such justification is by the grace of God, not by our works.

Romans 3:24 note 3

243 To redeem is to purchase back at a cost. We originally belonged to God but became lost through sin. The requirements of God's holiness, righteousness, and glory were so great upon us that it was impossible for us to fulfill them. However, God paid the price for us through Christ, repossessing us at a tremendous cost. Christ died on the cross to redeem us (Gal. 3:13; Titus 2:14; 1 Pet. 2:24; 3:18); His blood obtained eternal redemption for us (1 Pet. 1:18-19).

1 Peter 1:3

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has 4regenerated us unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

1 Peter 1:3 note 4

34 Regeneration, like redemption and justification, is an aspect of God's full salvation. Redemption and justification solve our problem with God and reconcile us to God; regeneration enlivens us with God's life, bringing us into a relationship of life, an organic union, with God. Hence, regeneration issues and results in a living hope. Such regeneration is accomplished through the resurrection of Christ from the dead. "The resurrection of Christ, bringing in life and the gift of the life-giving Spirit, is that which potentiates the new birth into a living hope" (Alford).

Romans 8:16

The Spirit Himself witnesses with our spirit that 3we are children of God.

Romans 8:16 note 3

163 Such a witnessing testifies to us and assures us that we are the children of God, who possess His life; it also limits us and restricts us to a living and walk that are according to this life, in keeping with our being children of God. The Spirit witnesses to our most basic and elementary relationship with God, namely, that we are His children; it does not witness that we are His sons or His heirs. Therefore, this witnessing of the Spirit begins from the time of our spiritual birth, our regeneration.

James 1:26

If anyone thinks himself to be 1religious and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this one's religion is vain.

James 1:26 note 1

261 James's writing concerning God's New Testament economy is not as striking as Paul's, Peter's, and John's. Paul focuses on Christ living and being formed in us (Gal. 2:20; 4:19) and Christ being magnified in us and lived out of us (Phil. 1:20-21) that we as the church, His Body, may become His fullness, His expression (Eph. 1:22-23). Peter stresses the fact that God regenerated us through the resurrection of Christ (1 Pet. 1:3), making us partakers of His divine nature, that we may live a life of godliness (2 Pet. 1:3-7) and be built up as a spiritual house to express His virtues (1 Pet. 2:5, 9). John emphasizes the eternal life, given to us for our fellowship with the Triune God (1 John 1:2-3), and the divine birth, which brings into us the divine life as the divine seed that we may live out a life that is like God (1 John 2:29; 3:9; 4:17) and be the church, a lampstand, which bears the testimony of Jesus (Rev. 1:9, 11-12) and which will consummate in the New Jerusalem for God's expression unto eternity (Rev. 21:2-3, 10-11).

2 Peter 1:4

Through which He has granted to us precious and exceedingly great promises that through these you might become partakers of the divine nature, 5having escaped the corruption which is in the world by lust.

2 Peter 1:4 note 5

45 In his first Epistle the apostle [Peter] told the believers that Christ had redeemed them from their vain manner of life (1 Pet. 1:18-19) and that they should, thus, abstain from fleshly lusts (1 Pet. 2:11) and no longer live in the flesh in the lusts of men (1 Pet. 4:2). Here, in his second Epistle, he unveiled to them the energy, the strength, by which they were enabled to escape the corruption in lust, and the result of that escape. The energy is the virtue of the divine life, and the result is that the believers partake of the divine nature of God and thus enjoy all the riches of what the Triune God is. In our partaking of the divine nature and in our enjoying of all that God is, all the riches of the divine nature will be fully developed, as described in vv. 5-7. Having escaped the corruption of lust in the world and having thus removed the barriers to the growth of the divine life in us, we are freed to become partakers of the divine nature and to enjoy its riches to the fullest extent in its development by the virtue of God unto His glory.

Revelation 21:2

And I saw the holy city, 1new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Revelation 21:2 note 1

21 The final sign [in the book of Revelation], which is also the greatest, is the New Jerusalem, signifying the composition of the totality of God's redeemed saints throughout the generations, who have been regenerated, transformed, and glorified. It is not a material, lifeless city but a corporate living person as the bride, having Christ, such a wonderful person, as her husband (v. 2).

The New Jerusalem is a living composition of all the saints redeemed by God throughout all generations. It is the bride of Christ as His counterpart (John 3:29) and the holy city of God as His habitation, His tabernacle (v. 3). This is the heavenly Jerusalem (Heb. 12:22), which God has prepared for us and which Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob long after (Heb. 11:10, 16). This is also the Jerusalem which is above and which is our mother (Gal. 4:26). As the bride of Christ, the New Jerusalem comes out of Christ, her Husband, and becomes His counterpart, just as Eve came out of Adam, her husband, and became his counterpart (Gen. 2:21-24). She is prepared by participating in the riches of the life and nature of Christ. As the holy city of God, she is wholly sanctified unto God and fully saturated with God's holy nature to be His habitation.

In both the Old Testament and the New Testament, God likens His chosen people to a spouse (Isa. 54:6; Jer. 3:1; Ezek. 16:8; Hosea 2:19; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:31-32) and a dwelling place for Himself (Exo. 29:45-46; Num. 5:3; Ezek. 43:7, 9; Psa. 68:18; 1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19; 2 Cor. 6:16; 1 Tim. 3:15). The spouse is for His satisfaction in love, and the dwelling place is for His rest in expression. Both of these aspects will be ultimately consummated in the New Jerusalem. In her, God will have the fullest satisfaction in love and the utmost rest in expression for eternity.

Romans 14:3

He who eats, let him not despise him who does not eat; and he who does not eat, let him not judge him who eats, for 2God has received him.

Romans 14:3 note 2

32 The basis on which we receive the believers is that God has received them. God receives people according to His Son. When a person receives God's Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, as his Savior, God receives that person immediately and ushers him into the enjoyment of the Triune God and of all He has prepared and accomplished in Christ for us. We should receive people in the same way and should not be more narrow than God. Regardless of how much they differ from us in doctrinal concepts or religious practices, we must receive them. When we receive people according to God and not according to doctrine or practice, we demonstrate and maintain the oneness of the Body of Christ.