OUR SUBMISSION TO GOD
“A son of God is a character, which is developed out of the ‘incorruptible seed’ (1 Peter 1:23) of God, sown into the fleshy table of the heart (Matthew 13:19). When this seed, or word of the Kingdom, is received, it begins to work in a man until he becomes a believer of the truth. When things have come to this pass, he is a changed man. He has acquired a new mode of thinking; for he thinks in harmony with the thoughts of God as revealed in His law and testimony. He sees himself, and the world around him, in a new light. He is convinced of sin; and experiences an aversion to the things in which he formerly delighted. His views, disposition, temper, and affections are transformed. He is humble, child-like, teachable, and obediently disposed; and his simple anxiety is to know what God would have him to do. Having ascertained this, he does it; and in doing it is ‘born out of the water’ (John 3:5). Having been begotten by the Father by the word of truth (James 1:18), and born of water, the first stage of the process is completed. He is constitutionally ‘in Christ’”. (Elpis Israel Part 1 chapter 4 ‘The Constitution of Righteousness pg. 135).
The Lord Jesus says that there is joy in heaven over one sinner that repents (Luke 15:7).
1. You are prepared to submit to God?
Yes. I realize as the apostle Paul states in Romans 6 that once in my past life I was a slave to sin which leads to death, but now I wish to present myself as a servant of obedience which leads to righteousness (Roman 6:16 -19).
2. You understand that it is a fundamental element of the Lord’s teachings that we cannot serve two masters. Who do you wish to serve?
I wish to serve God and I understand that “No one can serve two masters for either he will hate the one and love the other or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt 6:24).
Are you a member of any organization or have taken an oath of allegiance, which would in any way conflict with Christ’s words of Matthew 6:24, e.g. a member of the arm-forces, navy, police force, a mason etc.?
3. What does Christadelphian mean?
Brother or relative of Christ.
Who is a brother or relative of Christ?
He who performs the will of God as the Lord Jesus said, “Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:50; John 15:14-15).
4. What is the will of God that we should do?
That we believe in God’s Son the Lord Jesus Christ and keep His commands. (1 John 3:23-24).
Do you believe this?
Yes, with all my heart.
Is it possible for us to be saved apart from God’s work in Christ?
No, for there is no salvation in any other; there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).
5. Is baptism a commandment?
Yes, the Lord commanded His disciples, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes (the gospel) and is baptized will be saved, but whosoever does not believe (the gospel) will be condemned.” (Mark 16:15-16).
Can you give us some examples of baptism in the Bible?
Israel was baptized in the sea/cloud as they passed through the Red Sea; the Ethiopian Eunuch; Cornelius and his household and the Lord Jesus Himself (1Corithians 10:1-2; Acts 8:26-40; 10; Matthew 3:13-17).
6. Why do you want to be baptized?
It is the will of God that we should be baptized and I want to, “put on Christ ”, to be baptized into his sacrificial death and by this identification be washed from my sins in his blood; that I might become part of Abraham’s seed and an heir according to the promises. (Galatians 3:27-29; Romans 6:3; 1 John1:7; Revelation 1:5).
To “put on Christ” implies a “covering” or garment. Paul in quoting Psalm 32 refers to the blessedness of those whose iniquities are forgiven, whose sins are covered (Romans 4:7). The condition of receiving the blessedness of this covering as we shall review, is to believe the gospel preached to Abraham which centered in Christ as the promised seed. This was later expanded to David and elaborated upon by the prophets. There was however a “mystery” connected with this gospel which Paul says was kept secret in previous ages; though “a salvation of which the prophets enquired and searched diligently…when it (the Spirit of Christ) testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:10–12), but was not revealed till the inspired apostolic preaching concerning Jesus Christ after his resurrection. The apostolic “revelation of the mystery” (Romans 16:25) explains how Jesus’s sufferings declared God’s righteousness providing the Divine method of justification or forgiveness of sins for Jew and Gentile that men and women could exercise faith towards, as the basis of salvation.
In believing this gospel and being baptized into the name of Christ, a garment of righteousness is graciously provided as a covering for sin. This initial clothing of righteousness becomes a garment of salvation (Isaiah 61:10) if a life of righteousness reflecting the Christ mind and example is developed during our probation. This is defined by the Lord Jesus himself as “the righteousness of the saints” (Revelation 19:9). In this process those who have taken upon them the name of Christ through baptism “have an advocate with the Father” so that if they confess and forsake their sins, striving to “walk in the light,” then we can be assured that “the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 2:1-2; 1:7). Those who do so by “patience in well-doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, he (Christ) will give eternal life” (Romans 2:7). Such are promised to walk with him in white (Revelation 3:4-5) and therefore “Blessed is he that watches and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame” (Revelation 16:15).
Identification with all that God accomplished in Christ is what baptism represents.
To identify is to relate to someone or something, to see oneself represented in someone or something. To identify with somebody is to understand and feel sympathy with someone, to relate to someone’s experience i.e. Hebrews 4:15; Isaiah 53:12; Hebrews 2:14. In Romans 6 - the baptism chapter, we are called to identify with God’s work in Christ.
God’s great work in Christ which we are called upon to identify with, was a work of total sacrifice, overcoming, subduing, condemnation and destruction of the devil (diabolos) and his works (Heb. 2:14; 1 John 3:8). This was accomplished by God in Christ’s perfect life of obedience and sacrifice, mentally, morally and at last, physically through the sacrificial condemnation of sin in the flesh and resurrection. If we are to truly identify with Christ and respond to God’s love in providing us with His unspeakable gift of covering and cleansing of our sins, then we need to purify and perfect our own character, thoughts, desires, and behavior by the Word of God (Ephesians 5:26; 1 John 3:3-6). By this daily dedication, we “abide in Him” and are “transformed by the renewing of our minds” (John 15:7, 8; Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 4:22-24), and are “conformed to the image” or likeness of God’s son (Romans 8:29). By this means we believe we shall be “found in Christ” (Philippians 3:9) at the Lord’s appearing, having “the righteousness which is of God by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe…” (Romans 3:22; also note Law of Moses pg. 268).
What then is baptism?
It is a burial in water by which we publicly profess the name of Christ (Romans 6:4).
Is infant sprinkling wrong and why?
It is not a burial in water and infants cannot “know” the only true God and Jesus Christ Whom He sent. Understanding God’s principles must precede baptism (John 17:3; Acts 8:12).
7. What is necessary before baptism?
A correct knowledge and belief of the Gospel (Mark 16:15-16).
What is repentance and is it necessary?
Peter says, “Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). The order of God’s requirement I believe is important to note― repentance followed by baptism. Scriptural repentance is not mere sorrow for sin; it is a mental and moral change.
8. What does baptism symbolize?
It is the God-appointed means by which we identify with what God accomplished in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Until we are baptized we are dead in our sins but when we rise from the waters of baptism we, “rise with him through the faith of the operation of God,” “quickened together with him,” says Paul, God “having forgiven us all trespasses.” (Colossians 2:12-13).
God indeed “forgives for Christ’s sake” but we need as a condition of obtaining this forgiveness to understand the meaning of the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Paul gives us the spiritual definition of the death of Christ in Romans by the use of two important phrases. He says the crucifixion of Christ was a “declaration of the righteousness of God” by “a condemnation of sin in the flesh.” (Romans 3:25; 8:3). A declaration is to publically proclaim or announce something. Bro. Thomas says, “The cutting off of Jesus provided this indispensable covering for sin: so that he being slain and raised from the dead, the means of a sinner’s justification, styled ‘the righteousness of God,’ was brought in…’ (Exposition of Daniel pg. 32).
How this was accomplished is explained by Bro. Roberts, in ‘The Blood of Christ,’ “The crucifixion of Christ as a ‘declaration of the righteousness of God’ and a ‘condemnation of sin in the flesh’… exhibited to the world the righteous treatment of sin. It was as though it was proclaimed to all the world, when the body was nailed to the cross: ‘This is how condemned human nature should be treated according to the righteousness of God; it is fit only for destruction.’”
Bro. Roberts emphasizes that this “was the condition of the exercise of God’s forbearance. That is to say, God maintains His own righteousness and His own Supremacy while forgiving us, and exacts the recognition of them and submission to them, as the condition of the exercise of His forbearance in the remission of our sins.” God “does not offer it (forgiveness) or allow it apart from submission to the declaration of His righteousness in Christ crucified. There must be the most humble identification with that declaration. Baptism in our age is provided as the means of that identification.” “Our endorsement of it (what God accomplished through the sacrifice of Christ) in baptism is comparable to a form of apology presented by the Majesty of heaven as the condition of our receiving His mercy unto life eternal.” (Ephesians 4:32; Romans 3:25, 26; 8:3; The Blood of Christ sections ‘The Conditions of Forgiveness’ pgs. 5&6; ‘The Place of Forgiveness’, pgs. 10-11 Logos ed.).
Having understood the gospel, which includes the means by which God is prepared to accept us (Romans 1:17), what happens when you rise from the waters of baptism?
Our past sins are washed away (Acts 22:16; Colossians 2:13). We identify morally with what was accomplished in the death and resurrection of Christ, our “old man was crucified with him in order that the body of sin (or flesh) might be brought to nothing,” having been, “crucified with Christ,” “henceforth we should not serve sin.” (Romans 6:6; Colossians 2:11; Ephesians 4:22 ESV). We are, by God’s divinely appointed arrangements “in Christ” and must therefore, “walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4).
As we have noted baptism is the appointed ceremony by which we publically identify with what God accomplished in the death and resurrection of Christ – Namely the destruction of “the devil” or “sin in the flesh” (Hebrews 2:14; Romans 8:3) which we all, including Christ, inherited from Adam. It was by this means Christ “bore our sins in his body on the tree that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.” (1 Peter 2:24). All the righteous requirements of God as set forth in the scriptures in all the types, prophecies and New Testament expositions are explained simply in what actually happened in the death and resurrection of Christ – the destruction of the ‘devil’ or ‘condemnation of sin in the flesh’ or ‘the body of sin’. ‘Sin in the flesh’ is also personified by the phrase ‘the old man’ (Colossians 3:9 & Romans 6:6) because it is that which ‘has been sinning from the beginning’ i.e. ‘the devil’ (1 John 3:8). Therefore John says “whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil”. John tells us “the reason the son of God was manifested was to destroy the works (acts or deeds) of the devil”(1 John 3:8). To do this the root of these acts, the source of these rebellious deeds had to itself be destroyed, i.e. the devil or that physical defiling principle ingrained in the flesh of all mankind that makes man’s nature intrinsically evil. (James 1:14-15, Mark 7:21, Romans 7:23, Matthew 15:18-20). Bro. Roberts states “This is the great promise and prophecy and requirement of every form of the truth: the destruction of the body of sin (Romans 6:6). It was destroyed in Christ’s crucifixion – the ‘one great offering’; we ceremonially share it in our baptism: ‘crucified with Christ’, ‘baptized unto his death’. We morally participate in it in putting the old man to death in ‘denying ungodliness and worldly lusts’: and the hope before us is the prospect of becoming subject to such a physical change as will consume mortal nature and change it into the glorious nature of the spirit…” (Law of Moses pg. 236-238). Having been “crucified with Christ” as Bro. Roberts’ points out, we morally participate in this identification in that practical way Paul indicates in Romans 6:4. God’s love, set forth in Christ, gives us a powerful motivation after we are baptized to follow our Lord’s example to overcome.
9. Are there any physical changes at baptism?
No, we are still mortal after baptism.
Baptism does not take away the law of condemnation or the sentence of death which “passed upon all men” (Romans 5:12) as a result of Adam’s transgression. We are, however, by God’s arrangement declared to be “in Christ”, that is to say, not having ourselves the holiness and perfect obedience God’s righteousness demands, God graciously provides us through Christ’s death, resurrection and glorification a covering of righteousness, in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Rom. 5:18-19; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; 2 Cor. 5:21, Revelation 3:4; 16:15;1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Having “put on Christ” we are “Abraham’s seed” and heirs of the hope of eternal life (Galatians 3:26-29) but this is a matter of promise – a promise that is conditional on our conformity with God’s commands. It is not until the resurrection and judgment when Christ our judge will declare whether we have, in deep appreciation of all that God has done for us, followed our Lord’s example, that we may be in him physically, partaking of his nature.
What is the condition specified by God that we might be made the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21)?
Our faith is counted to us as righteousness at baptism, and thereafter we are to set forth in our lives that obedience which springs from that faith that God has placed in our hearts by His word (Rom. 4:3; 1:5; 16:26; 10:17).
What changes ought to occur in our desire to be obedient to Christ’s command to be baptized?
Before baptism there must be a mental and moral change, a change of purpose. This is scriptural repentance (Acts 2:38; 3:19, 26). Before baptism we are “in our sins,” “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” (Ephesians 2:12). God makes the condition of extending His mercy dependent on our response.
There is indeed a connection between what God offers us in Christ, and our own acts. That is, the cleansing result of God’s means of reconciliation is as you have said dependent upon our compliances. The apostle John says ‘If we walk in the light the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin’ (1 John 1:7). If we refuse to walk in the light of God’s word then there is no power of forgiveness. It therefore requires more than a knowledge of the truth for baptism to be valid. The Lord Jesus in his conversation with Nicodemus spoke of being ‘born again’ or ‘from above’ (John 3:3-5). This begetting involves the impartation by the word of the divine likeness, so that ‘in this world we are living as He lives’ (2 John 4:17) by God’s wisdom, holiness and sacrificial love. Anyone desiring to be baptized must therefore realize to some extent the position to which he/she is invited by the gospel with its responsibilities. The apostle Paul shows us in Romans 6 that the believer must become ‘dead to sin’ before he/she is ‘buried with Christ’. As the death and burial of the believer is an identification by faith with that of Christ’s, so is the believer’s rising up, that he/she may be ‘alive to God’ and ‘walk in newness of life’ mentally and morally. (Romans 6:11 & 4).
10. Do you think you will be perfect after baptism?
11. Do you have a mediator before baptism?
No. After baptism we have “an advocate with the Father,” “a mediator between God and man,” “our great High Priest,” the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 John 2:1; 1Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 7:26). Scripture states that after baptism when we sin, if we confess our sins and forsake them, “Christ is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” and “to save to the uttermost those that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” (1 John 1:9; Hebrews 7:25).
On the question of God hearing the prayers of the unbaptized, refer to Appendix I on page 165.
FAITH AND THE GOSPEL
“It is of primary importance that we believe the truth, and not a substitute for it; for it is by the truth only we can be saved; ‘the truth as it is in Jesus’ (Ephesians 4:21), neither more nor less, is that to which our attention is invited in the word. ‘The truth’ is set forth in the law and the prophets; but we must add to these the apostolic testimony contained in the New Testament if we would comprehend it ‘as it is in Jesus.’ The kingdom is the subject matter of ‘the truth’; but ‘as it is in Jesus,’ is the truth concerning him as the king and supreme pontiff of the dominion; and the things concerning his name, as taught in the doctrine of the apostles. As a whole, ‘the truth’ is defined as ‘the things concerning the Kingdom of God and the Name of Jesus Christ’ (Acts 8:12). This phrase covers the entire ground upon which the ‘one faith,’ and the ‘one hope’ (Ephesians 4:5-6), of the gospel are based; so that if a man believe only the ‘things of the kingdom,’ his faith is defective in the ‘things of the name’; or, if his belief be confined to the ‘things of the name,’ it is deficient in the ‘things of the kingdom.’ There can be no separation of them recognized in a ‘like precious faith’ (2 Pet 1:1) to that of the apostles. They believed and taught all these things; God hath joined them together, and no man need expect His favour who separates them, or abolishes the necessity of believing the things He has revealed for faith…It is our wisdom, therefore, to receive nothing which has not the sanction of their (apostles) authority. Paul styles everything else but what he preached ‘another gospel,’ (Galatians 1:6-8) that is, ‘a perversion of the gospel of Christ’; and, as we can only be saved by belief of the truth, such a gospel is both useless and injurious.” (Elpis Israel Logos ed. pg. 192 – 193).
12. You have truly said that a belief in the gospel before baptism is essential for salvation. What is the gospel?
It is the things concerning the good news and glad tidings of the kingdom of God and those things concerning the saving name of the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 8:12).
Paul says, “Christ brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” (2 Timothy 1:10). And that, “God would justify (or forgive and constitute righteous) the Gentiles through faith, preached before the gospel to Abraham…” (Galatians 3:8). The way we are brought into connection with the work of salvation as accomplished in Christ is by faith in the gospel. Our faith is counted to us for righteousness. (Romans 4:3 & 24; 5:1).
13. But how do you obtain faith and conviction?
“Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17).
Is faith necessary?
Yes. “Without faith it is impossible to please God: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6).
Does faith by itself secure us the salvation accomplished in Christ?
No. There must be obedience or “works” also. “Faith without works is dead…by works faith is made perfect.” (James 2:20-22).
14. What works are those who believe commanded to do?
There are many things we have been commanded to do. First we are commanded to be baptized.
15. Where did you get this knowledge of what is the will of God and the truth concerning Christ?
In the Holy Scriptures - the Bible. “From a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:15).
Bro Roberts says “There is no other form of God’s word in the earth at present but the bible…The Bible is the standard; every claim must be judged by this. But before men can judge by the Bible, they must be acquainted with it, and before they can be acquainted with it, they must study it… in a daily, regular, earnest manner, at stated times set apart for the purpose. By this method, a man becomes so acquainted with the Scriptures as to be able to make that practical application of them in judgment that qualifies him to discern the things that are of God from those that are only so in name and appearance.” (Seasons of Comfort Vol 1 pg 294).
Bro. Thomas states: “The ability to believe lies in a sound understanding, a candid disposition, and knowledge of the testimony of God. Where there is ignorance of this there can be no faith…. The mere belief that Jesus is the Son of God is not believing in Him. To believe in Him is to believe what God testifies concerning Him. The faith of the ‘religious world’ is like a stool with only one leg. It professes to believe in Jesus, but it is ignorant, and therefore faithless, of the message He was sent to deliver to Israel. His message had relation to ‘the things hoped for’--to the things of the kingdom which the God of heaven will set up upon the ruin of the kingdoms which now exist. Men are invited to believe in the Messenger of the Covenant, (Malachi 3:1) and in the message which unfolds the things of covenant.” (Elpis Israel Part 1 chapter 5 ‘The way of the tree of life’ pg. 163). Again, bro. Thomas states “the condition of salvation is the belief of the whole gospel and obedience to it. It is not ‘he that believes in Jesus Christ, and is baptized shall be saved,’ but ‘he who believes the GOSPEL and is baptized’” (Mark 16:15-16) (Elpis Israel pg. 198).
What is the Bible?
It is a book written by God’s power of inspiration, which worked in Moses, God’s prophets and apostles who lived during Israel’s history. It reveals God’s purpose with the earth and man upon it that from the beginning of creation God had a plan by which he would separate out from all mankind – Jew and Gentile, a remnant who would manifest God’s character in response to His love; being obedient to His revealed will which was made plain in the Lord Jesus Christ who would deliver His people in harmony with God’s plan.
Are the scriptures as originally given by God to the Old and New Testament writers wholly inspired?
Yes. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16) (Note: A Statement of the Faith Forming our Basis of Fellowship, section titled THE FOUNDATION on page 127).
The apostle Peter tells us (2 Peter 1:20-21) explicitly that the all-inspired revelation of God’s word to specifically chosen men was done in such a manner so that which is recorded did not reflect any personal opinion or embellishment, addition or subtraction from what the spirit of God revealed. In our daily study we should use essentially literal translations of the Bible such as the KJV, RV and ESV etc. While it was not always possible for the translators to find an exact equivalent English word for the original Hebrew and Greek, with the aid of concordances and Hebrew/Greek lexicons, we can get the correct understanding. In our desire to harmonize our thinking with the thoughts of God we should always remember bro. Roberts advice from Christendom Astray about the “unmistakable declaration of the word of God” that “plain testimony ought to guide us in the understanding of what may be obscure. We ought to procure our fundamental principles from teaching that can not be misunderstood and harmonize all difficulties therewith” (pg. 35).
Who wrote the Bible?
Moses, Yahweh’s prophets and Christ’s apostles.
Who wrote the first five books?
How could he write them when he was not born during the events of Genesis?
How many books does the Bible consist?
Into what parts is the Bible divided?
Two parts i.e. the Old Testament (39 books) written by Moses and God’s prophets and the New Testament (27 books) written by Christ’s apostles.
Is the Bible the only source of knowledge concerning God and His purposes available in the earth?
Yes I believe the Bible is the only source of inspired knowledge and the claims of others who may say the book of Mormon, or The Watch Tower or Ellen White’s ‘The Great Controversy’ are inspired are completely false.
WHAT THE BIBLE REVEALS CONCERNING GOD
16. You have said the Bible reveals God’s purpose. What does the Bible reveal concerning God?
That there is only one God, the Father of all, the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the common idea that God is a trinity is utterly unscriptural. “There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5). “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.” (Deuteronomy 6:4). Also Isaiah 45:5; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 1:3 etc.
17. The first chapter of the Genesis record states, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” It then goes on to show that during a process of six literal days all life on the earth was created. Do you believe the first chapter of Genesis is a true literal record of Creation and not just a vision Moses saw, representing long ages of Evolution?
Yes. I believe the Genesis record in chapter one is a literal account. I do not believe in Evolution. Yahweh through Moses commanded Israel, “Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of Yahweh thy God…for in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, the sea, and all in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore Yahweh blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it.” (Exodus 20:9-11). (Note Berean Restatement No. 3 ‘Evolution’ on page 145).
18. What is the nature of God?
God “only hath immortality,” i.e. underived immortality (1 Timothy 6:16).
Where does God dwell”
In heaven for Solomon at the dedication of the temple in Jerusalem prayed, “What prayer or what supplication so ever shall be made of any man or of all Thy people Israel…hear Thou from heaven Thy dwelling place, and forgive…” (2 Chronicles 6:29-30) “Our Father Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name…” (Matthew 6:9).
Is God confined to heaven though dwelling there?
No. He is everywhere present and nothing can be hid from His knowledge (Jeremiah 23:24; Psalm 139:6-12).
Has God shape and form?
Yes. “Therewith bless we God, even the Father, and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.” (James 3:9; also 1 Corinthians 11:7 - image; John 5:37 - form and voice; Psalm 34:15-16 - eyes, ears and face; Hebrews 1:3 - the right hand of the Majesty on high).
Is God a trinity?
No. “There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5).
19. Is the word “trinity” in the Bible?
Why is it to God alone all honour and power everlasting is due?
Because He is Omnipotent - all-powerful (Revelation 19:6); Omnipresent - all present by His spirit and Omniscient - all seeing (Jeremiah 23:24: Hebrews 4:13: Psalm 139; 1-8).
What does the Bible reveal concerning the character of God?
Note Exodus 34:6-7 etc.
That He is kind, yet inflexible in the requirements of His law; loving and compassionate, yet terrible as a destroying fire against the rebellious and the guilty; forgiving towards offences, yet jealous of the dignity, the glory, and supremacy of His name. He is holy, and cannot look upon sin. He is wise, and cannot tolerate fools. He is true and faithful, and will destroy all the false and perfidious. He is just and true and perfect - at once the fountain of love and vengeance, the author of life and death; the source of reviving mercy and consuming fire. He is eternal, unchangeable, unsearchable, infinite, and glorious in power and majesty - the king immortal, the possessor of heaven and earth, to whom alone is glory due. (The Christadelphian Instructor pg. 9 no.14).
The above summary by bro. Roberts of the name or character of God has a most important principle. The apostle Paul says we ought to note “the goodness (kindness ESV) and the severity of God” (Romans 8:22). Bro. Thomas reminds us in Elpis Israel that the character of Yahweh is not constituted of one attribute only, but that he is sovereign of the universe as well as kind and merciful. He is not merely an intellectual but also a moral being. His purpose with man who He intellectually and morally constituted is to reflect His moral glory voluntarily by belief and obedience to His word, so as to be in harmony with, and thereby honour His name. (Refer Elpis Israel pg. 180 – 181). We in fact can only be the recipients of His loving kindness when we first understand and humbly bow before His righteousness and holiness, acknowledging that He is “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:26).
20. What is the spirit of God?
It is God’s power by which He made heaven and earth and all creation is preserved by this same power. (Psalm 104:30; Jeremiah 32:17; Job 33:4; Acts 17:24-28; Job 34:14-15).
Is the Holy Spirit a God?
No. Nowhere in scripture does it say this. It is the power of God separated out (meaning of Holy) to do a particular work (Luke 1:35).
Is God therefore separate from and different from His spirit?
No. God and His spirit cannot be separated. They are both one. (John 4:24). He is everywhere present by His spirit. “Whither shall I go from Thy spirit?” (Psalm 139:7).
What do these things teach us about our conduct?
They teach us that we are always in His presence. Even our innermost thoughts and intentions He can discern. (Hebrews 4:12-13; Psalm 139:12).
What is God’s free spirit? (Psalm 51:12)
It is God’s spirit and His breath of life. (Job 34:14).
What is the “right spirit” the Psalmist prays for? (“Create in me a clean heart God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10)
It is the mind of men cleansed by the word of God (Psalm 51:6-10).
Bro. Thomas describes in beautiful language what is this right spirit that must be developed in every man and woman who becomes a true believer of the gospel. “This new mode of thinking and feeling created in a true believer by the divine law and testimony, is variously designated in scripture. It is styled ‘a clean heart and a right spirit’ (Psa. 51:10); ‘a new spirit’ and ‘a heart of flesh’ (Ezek. 11:19); the ‘inward man’ (2 Cor. 4:16; Rom. 7:22); ‘new creature’ (2 Cor. 5:17); ‘the new man created in righteousness and true holiness’; and ‘renewed unto knowledge after the image of him that created him’ (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10); the ‘hidden man of the heart’ (1 Pet. 3:4); and so forth. This new and hidden man is manifested in the life, which is virtuous as becomes the gospel. He delights in the law of the Lord, and speaks often of His testimonies. He denies himself of all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and walks soberly, righteously and godly in the world. His hope is the glorious manifestation of Jesus Christ, with the crown of righteousness, even glory, honour, and immortality, promised to all who look for him, and ‘love his appearing’, and desire his kingdom (Titus 2:11-14; 2 Tim. 4:1,8: Heb. 9:28).” (Elpis Israel Part 1, chapter 4 ‘The two principles’, pg. 144).
21. You said that God is one. Who is the “us” in Genesis 1:26? (“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”)
The Elohim or Yahweh’s mighty ones - the angels.
ANGELS AND WHAT SCRIPTURE REVEALS CONCERNING SPIRITUAL AND NATURAL BODIES
22. Who are the Elohim? What did they do?
They are glorious beings, manifestations of God, sent by God on various errands throughout the universe doing His pleasure. (Psalm 103:20) It was by their hands that Yahweh executed the acts of creation as is recorded in Genesis 1. (Job 38:7).
What is the nature of the angels?
They are spiritual bodies, immortal in nature, and like men in their form and aspect.
Who made them spiritual bodies?
God. (Psalm 104:4).
23. We know God is a spirit being and “He maketh His angels spirits.” How many types of body are there?
There is a natural body and a spiritual body. (1 Corinthians 15:44).
Is a spiritual body like a natural body?
It is like it in shape, but not in nature.
What type of body have you?
A natural, mortal body.
What is the difference of nature between a spiritual body and a natural, mortal body?
A mortal body grows old, decays and dies, whereas a spiritual body is immortal and glorious. (1 Corinthians 15:42).
Bro.Thomas says “a spiritual body is as material, or substantial and tangible, a body as that which we now possess. It is a body purified from “the law of sin and death” (Elpis Israel, Part 1, chapter 2 “The spiritual body” pg. 43)
24. What has God promised relative to these bodies Paul speaks of in 1Corinthians 15?
Those who believe, love and obey the truth steadfastly to the end shall experience a glorious change when this mortal will put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:51).
When will this happen?
When the Son of man shall come in his glory with all his holy angels. The dead who are responsible (those who know the revealed will of God and have been called upon to submit to it) will be raised and appear before him to be judged, along with all others who are responsible and alive at his coming (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Matthew 25:31; 2 Corinthians 5:10).
What will happen at the judgment seat?
The faithful will be separated from the unfaithful who will be dismissed from His presence to shame, corruption and death. The accepted will be changed in a moment, all in one company, into the likeness of the body of their glorious judge (Matthew 25:32-46; Daniel 12:2; Romans 8:17; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; Philippians 3:21).
Are the Angels then, of the same nature as we shall become if we are saved at the resurrection?
Yes, exactly the same. God’s promise to us is that we shall become equal to them and die no more (Luke 20:35-36).
Let us not forget these important words of Christ in Luke 20 where he clearly states that angels cannot die, yet the churches teach that the devil is a fallen angel which Paul states in Hebrews 2:14 Christ came to destroy!
25. Have Angels ever been seen upon the earth?
Yes, many times. Three appeared to Abraham. Two visited Sodom and destroyed it. One wrestled Jacob. One led Israel out of Egypt. One appeared to the father of John the Baptist and one to the mother of Jesus. They appeared at the resurrection of Jesus and at various times to the apostles etc. (Genesis 18:1, 19:1, 32:24; Hosea 12:4; Exodus 14:19-24; Luke 1:11-26, 2;9; Matthew 28:2; Acts 1:10, 5:19, 12:7-10 etc.)
Have the Angels names?
Yes. Gabriel appeared to Daniel, Zacharias and Mary. Michael is the Archangel. Sometimes they are spoken of as God bearing God’s memorial name. (Daniel 9:21; Luke 1:19 & 26; Jude 9; Exodus 3:2-6).
26. Why are the angels spoken of as if they were God?
They are His representatives and His Name is in them. (Exodus 23:20-21).
Bro. Thomas states in Elpis Israel “When the work of the six days was completed, the Lord God reviewed all that He had made, and pronounced it ‘very good.’ This quality pertained to every thing terrestrial (on earth). The beasts of the field, the fowls of the air, reptiles, and man, were all ‘very good;’ and all made up a natural system of things, or world, as perfect as the nature of things required. Its excellency, however, had relation solely to its physical quality. Man, though "very good," was so only as a piece of divine workmanship. He was made different from what he afterwards became….Adam and his betrothed had a nature capable of corruption, but were not subject to death, or mortal….In the Paradise of Eden, mortality and immortality were set before the man and his companion. They were capable of being filled with either; but with which depended upon their actions: for immortality is the end of holiness (Rom 6:22), without which no man can see the Lord.”(Elpis Israel Part 1, chapter 2 ‘Man in his novitiate’ pg. 72 & 74).
27. What does the Bible reveal concerning man?
Originally God made man of the dust of the ground, in the image of God as a living soul or natural body of life, “very good” in kind and condition. Man was placed under a law through which the continuance of life was dependent on his obedience. (Genesis 2:7 & 17; Romans 5:12; A Statement of the Faith No. 4 on page 127.
What nature is man?
He is mortal. He dies and returns to the dust from which he was made (Ecclesiastes 3:19-20; Psalm 89:48; Job 14:10).
Has man an immortal soul, which lives on after death as held by nearly every religious system on earth?
No. That doctrine is one of the many religious untruths that have come to be regarded as truth. Man is wholly mortal. God only has immortality. Immortality is something a man has to seek for. It is a matter of promise and hope to be accepted among the worthy at Christ’s return to the earth (Genesis 3:4; Jeremiah 16:19; 1 Timothy 6:16; Romans 2:7; Titus 1:2; 1 John 2:25; Philippians 3:20-21; 2 Timothy 4:1 & 8).
Can man’s life be immortal though his body is mortal?
No, the scriptures of truth state that when man dies “ His breath goes forth, he returns to his earth, in that very day his thoughts perish” and “ The dust shall return to the earth as it was; and the spirit (or breath – the vitality of life) shall return to God who gave it.” (Psalm 146; 3-4: Ecclesiastes 12:7).
The inspired writing of the apostle Paul very clearly illustrates the significance of these truths when discussing the resurrection and promise of eternal life, says “the first man Adam became a living soul; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first, but the natural and then the spiritual” (1 Cor. 15:45 & 46 ESV). There is in Paul’s mind a clear distinction between a natural body and a spiritual body and that distinction, says bro Thomas “lies in the testimony that ‘Adam was made a living soul’(Hebrew nephesh chayiah or a body of life); showing that he considered a natural or animal body and a living soul as one and the same thing” (Note: Elpis Israel Part 1 chapter 2, ‘The formation of man’ pg. 31-37. Also Christendom Astray pg. 27-37 “Human Nature Essentially Mortal” and pg. 54 “The dead unconscious until the resurrection”).
Is the phrase “immortal soul” found anywhere in the Bible?
So do souls die?
Yes. “The soul that sins it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4 & 20).
28. What does mortal mean?
It describes the human body as being subject to a condition, ending in or causing death.
There is a common belief in heaven and hell. What happens to man when he dies? Does he know anything?
When we die, our breath goes forth and in that very day our thoughts perish. We eventually return to the earth from which man was made. The dead know not anything. We who are responsible will know nothing until we awaken at the resurrection. (Psalm 146:3-4; Ecclesiastes 9:5-10; Psalm 6:5; Isaiah 38:18-19; Psalm 49:16-20).
So we cannot contact the dead?
29. What is hell in the Bible?
It is a covered place, the grave. The original word for hell in the Old Testament is the Hebrew word Sheol and refers to the grave. The word hell comes from the Anglo-Saxon and means to cover or hide. The word hell in the New Testament is placed for the Greek word Hades, which means that which is in darkness.
What is Gehenna?
The word hell is also sometimes translated in the New Testament as the Hebrew word Gehenna. Gehenna refers to the Valley of Hinnom near Jerusalem. It was a place where idolatrous Jews burnt their children to pagan gods and later became a rubbish dump where the bodies of the condemned were burnt.
SIN IN ITS TWO ASPECTS
30. What is sin?
Sin is disobedience to God’s law. The word sin is also extended by a figure of speech in scripture to that physical principle of our nature, which is the cause of all disease, death and transgression of God’s law. The word sin is used this way because this evil was fixed in Adam’s flesh as a result of his disobedience to God’s law, and God passing the sentence of death upon him. (Note Clause 5 of the Statement of the Faith; 1 John 3:4; Romans 7:15, 17-18, 23-25; 5:12, 14 & 19; Elpis Israel Part 1 chapter 4 ‘The Constitution of Sin’ pg. 128 & “The Bible doctrine concerning the tempter considered.” by bro. Thomas).
What is another word or phrase used in scripture to describe this evil principle in our flesh?
“Sin in the flesh,” which is the Bible “devil” (Greek Diabolos) is what Jesus destroyed in his death. It is the devil which has the power of death which Paul in Romans 5 equates with sin that causes death, therefore “sin in the flesh” = devil (Romans 8:3; Hebrews 2:14; Romans 5:12; Ephesians 2:16).
You say God sentenced Adam to death because he transgressed His law and that this sentence or evil became a fixed principle in Adam and his descendants’ flesh. Is God then the author of sin?
No, in Him is no darkness at all. Sin came by man (James 1:17; 1 John 1:5, Romans 5:12).
What then is this evil God fixed to man’s nature as a result of transgression?
God is the author of evil, but not of sin. Evil is a scriptural word and when used in a natural sense it refers to the punishment or consequences of sin. The evil which came upon man as a result of his rebellion was the sentence of death – ‘dying thou shall die’ as indicated in the original Hebrew (Isaiah 45:7; Amos 3:6; Gen.2:17).
The scripture reveals that man is mortal because of sin. Death is the result of sin and not the quality of the nature with which man was originally created. It is God’s law, and therefore a part of His righteousness, that sinners must die. As you have quoted “The soul that sins, it shall die.” Adam, our first father sinned and was judged unworthy of immortality. He was sentenced to death before he had any children. This sentence defiled (or contaminated) his previously very good condition and became a physical law of his being that was transmitted to all his posterity (descendants) including the Lord Jesus Christ. Bro. Thomas shows that the scriptures describes this defiled or contaminated condition of human nature as “‘sinful flesh’ (Romans 8:3) or flesh full of sin, a physical quality or principle that makes the flesh mortal and called sin, because this property of flesh became its law as the consequence of ‘transgression’” (Herald of the Kingdom of Age to Come, March 1855 pg. 51). Adam thus became subject not only to disease and death, but to a law of sin in his members (i.e. in his body) opposed to the law of God which incites transgression. Paul, one of the greatest servants of God who has ever lived, speaking of his personal experience says “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me” (Romans 7:18-20) “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members” (Romans 7:23). Therefore, death began with Adam, and came to us through him. We receive the nature that he had after he was condemned to die. We inherit his sentence of death, which is the root cause of man’s problems including why we sin. This impulse or tendency to sin originates from this physical condition of man’s nature and personified by Paul as “Him that had the power of death, that is the devil” which is a synonym for Sin, therefore Sin = devil = sin in the flesh (Romans 6:23, 5:12 & 18, Ezekiel 18:4 & 20; 1 Corinthians 15:22; Romans 3:23, 7:24; Hebrews 2:14; A Statement of the Faith No. 5 (page 127).
Does God intend that the human race shall always be subject to this present evil state?
No. God in His kindness conceived a plan of restoration which, without setting aside His just and necessary law of sin and death, should ultimately rescue the race from destruction and people the earth with sinless immortals. (Hosea 13:14; Isaiah 25:8; 1 Corinthians 15:26; A Statement of the Faith No. 6, pg. 127).
31. Will God bring about this great work without any reference to whether men please Him or not?
No. The work will be thoroughly done in righteousness. As death came by sin, so life will come by obedience (1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Peter 4:18; Galatians 6:7; Romans 5:19).
32. The scriptures declare that “there is none righteous, no, not one.” How then can salvation come if it is to depend on righteousness?
If it were left to man it would be impossible. But God has not left man to himself. God has a plan of salvation, the foundation of which was laid by making promises to Adam, Abraham and David, the substance of which was God’s work in His only begotten son the Lord Jesus Christ. (Genesis 3:15, 22:18; Psalm 89:34-37; Isaiah 25:7-9, 51:1-8; Jeremiah 23:5; A Statement of the Faith No. 7 page 127).
The importance of understanding the two senses in which sin is applied in God’s word has a direct bearing on how it was possible for God to righteously condemn sin as a physical principle in the very flesh that had become defiled as a consequence of man’s rebellion. At the same time God could righteously raise this man as the basis of divine covering and mercy from the dead upon the same divine principle i.e. death came by sin even so eternal life came by perfect obedience (Romans 5:19). The key to this masterpiece of divine wisdom is in the fact that God views these two aspects of sin, though related as cause (sin in the flesh) and effect (transgression) as having an essential difference.
The defiled flesh and blood nature we inherit from Adam has no personal guilt attached to it, we are not held guilty for Adam’s sin! ‘Sin in the flesh’ which we inherit does not alienate us from God for which we need forgiveness, it is a physical condition over which we have no control, it is says bro. Thomas ‘our misfortune, not our crime’ (Elpis Israel Part 1 chapter 3 pg. 78 & pg. 132). Nonetheless, from this condition, from the bondage of that which has the power of death – the devil or ‘the body of sin’ (Hebrews 2:15; Romans 6:6) we need deliverance and redemption. That which we are held responsible for is when having been enlightened by the gospel which is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:17) we transgress God’s law by either neglecting to do what God commands, or by deliberately disobeying. For these transgressions we are held personally responsible and need forgiveness.