Saturday, December 12, 2015

We need revival..

"He who does what is right
is righteous
just as he is righteous"
(1 John 3:7b, NIV)

We need revival yet, if we are going to see revival, I think there are some things we need to confront and come to terms with.

1.  If we have sinned we need to repent.  We cannot claim to be holy as Christ is holy if we live in sin.  The reality of our faith is found, not in mere words, but in deeds (James 2:22).  Struggling with guilt is not dealing with sin.  If you sin, you should feel guilty, and the only way to remove the guilt is to repent from your sin and turn to the Cross of Christ to wash it away by his blood; that is, in a nutshell, to "cease from sin and do good" (Psalm 37:27).

2.  As the Church, we need to stop calling ourselves "sinners". We are not sinners. God now calls us "saints."  In many places in practically all his epistles, Paul identifies believers in Christ as "saints."  Nowhere does he refer to God's people as sinners.  We will only lower the standard and always have the greatest difficulty in overcoming the fallenness of our flesh if we continue to identify ourselves with sinners, that is, with those who in refusing to come to Christ are demonstrating their hatred for God and, as such, stand as his enemies (John 3:19-20; Romans 8:7; Philippians 3:18; James 4:4).

3.  We need to stop using the Bible as a comforter for any sin and the sinful lifestyle.  We need to stop assuaging our guilt by satisfying ourselves with the Bible's portrayal, however honest, of God's people in their weaknesses and failings.  We need to stop taking comfort in our sin by the sad fact that even the Bible shows men and women of God less than perfect.  We will never reach the goal of holy living here and now if we continue to look away from the righteousness of God's people and focus on their shortcoming and sins.

The Bible reveals the acts of his people honestly.  However, it is not so we can emulate them in their sin or take comfort that they also sinned and, therefore, expect only a continuation of living a life falling in sin, defeated by it's allure.  Men and women are portrayed with such dreaded honesty in the Bible so we can see the grace of God, through His promises, at work in their lives as demonstrative of that same grace that is directed towards us and more than sufficient to overcome sin and the irresponsible and unwise lifestyle.

I'm often reminded of this anonymous poem when I read about the failings of God's people in the Bible:
"Wouldn't this old world be better, If the folks we meet would say: I know something good about you, And then treat us just that way!"*
For example, I may hear preaching about Aaron's sinful foolhardiness in making the calf idol, but I never heard a sermon about Aaron's desperate run to head off a plague God sent against the Israelites for their rebellion.  It is where he shows himself to be truly a "man of God" in every sense of the word.

Concerning Aaron when the Israelites were being punished by a deadly plague for their rebellion, a blogger writes, "Aaron now displays a devotion to his office of mediation between God and the people.  Whereas, in the first case 'the Lord struck the people with a plague, because of what they did with the calf which Aaron had made,' we see later on that Aaron 'took his stand between the dead and the living so that the plague was checked.' In the former instance, he was a mediator for death but in the latter he became mediator for life."

Another example is Lot.  How often we hear what a worldly fool of a sinner was Lot.  I've yet to hear it preached what a righteous man was Lot, for 3 times in one sentence is he designated as righteous in the New Testament: "righteous Lot," "righteous man," "righteous soul" (2 Peter 2:7-8).

It is not a matter of denying our sinful thoughts, words, or actions, or ignoring the sins of God's people as if they are not recorded in the Bible.  It is a matter of where we ought to focus our faith in God.  Focus on our failings, and we will fail.  Comfort ourselves with the sins committed by those in the Bible, and we dull the conviction of the Spirit in our conscience. Looking at ourselves and others as merely "sinners saved by grace," and we will miss the experience of grace that empowers to holy living.

What does the Bible exhort us to do but to "fix your thoughts on Jesus" (Hebrews 3:2 NIV).

It is not denying our failures and the sins we do commit.  It is not denying where we once were before Christ.  It is to affirm the power of the Cross to grant us  forgiveness and overcome our failures and sinful actions; it is to affirm our position as God’s “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

If we are to stand together above the squalor and shipwreck of our fallen state and show the world we are the people of God in the demonstration of the power of the Spirit that we say we possess in Christ, we must abandon sin, recover our calling as saints, and proclaim the righteousness of those men and women of God whom the Bible records as having overcome.



Thursday, November 19, 2015

Part 5: Jesus & Muhammed

This is my final message on the subject regarding why I believe Jesus is God as opposed to the Islamic belief that he is not God.

Last time we discussed how in the Qur'an, unlike Muhammed, Jesus is said to be the object of faith with a warning, at least implied, that to disbelieve him would bring divine judgment from God who knows all things, especially the hearts of men.

In addition, I notice that the Qur’an (in agreement with the New Testament), also claims that Jesus works miracles.

Jesus: the Miracle-Worker

In addition, I notice that the Qur'an (in agreement with the New Testament) also claims that Jesus works miracles.  

At the announcement of Jesus' birth to Mary, the angel tells her that God will appoint Jesus as an “apostle to the Children of Israel (with this message): ‘I have come to you with a sign from the Lord, in that I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it and it becomes a bird by God’s leave: and I heal those born blind, and the lepers, and I quicken the dead, by God’s leave’…” (Sura 3:49).

As a matter of fact, there are a few places in the Qur’an that claim Jesus performed miracles; see here

However, also in the Qur’an and in stark contrast, Muhammed is shown not to have performed any miracles.  He seems to be unwilling or unable to prove his mission by attesting “signs and wonders.”

In S 3:183, God tells the prophet that if they ask from him a miracle to prove you are His prophet, he is to answer by saying (and I paraphrase), “Why should I perform a wonder since you rejected the miracles performed by past prophets?”

In S 17:90-93, Muhammed is challenged to prove he is a prophet of God, yet he responds, “I’m only a mortal man,” suggesting to me that he is unable to perform the miracles demanded to prove his prophetic office as assigned by God.

Apparently, there are places in the Qur’an where a miracle is demanded from Muhammed to authenticate his mission as divine, yet he is, at least, unwilling and, possibly, unable to do so; for example, see here.

Of course, there are places in the Hadith claiming Muhammed performed miracles but the Hadith, as I understand, was not written under divine inspiration.  Please see here for further consideration: 

However, there are many places in the Bible that show Jesus performing “signs and wonders” as prophesied by the Hebrew prophets (e.g. Isaiah 35:4-6; 53:5, cp. Matthew 4:23) authenticating his words and mission as divine while, at the same time, proving his divinity (Mark 2:10-12).

From my perspective, the New Testament provides indisputable evidence that Jesus is who he claims to be and what he claims to be is more than a mere prophet of God like Muhammed.  Jesus claims to be someone greater than any man, even the prophet Muhammed; for, while the Qur’an admits that Muhammed is a mere man, the Bible forcefully demonstrates that Jesus is God as recorded in the New Testament and as prophesied in the Hebrew Scriptures ( the Old Testament).

As the man healed of blindness answered the harsh interrogations of Jesus’ ruling religious opponents seeking to charge Jesus with blasphemy, “If this man were not from God, he could do nothing” miraculous like healing the blind (John 9:33).

The message of the Gospel of Christ faces one today with the same question Jesus asked his disciples, which demanded from them an immediate answer: “Who do you say that I am?”


I have shown 5 reasons why I believe Jesus is God as opposed to the Islamic belief that he is not compared to the person of Muhammed as depicted in the Qur’an and the person of Jesus as he is depicted in both the Bible and the Qur’an.  To review, we saw that Jesus is
  1. a man of Peace
  2. Sinless
  3. the Messiah
  4. the Object of Faith
  5. a Miracle-Worker 

I can only pray that these 5 brief articles on why I believe Jesus is God will encourage readers to make an objective investigation for themselves concerning what the Bible says about Jesus and come to their own conclusions.  I will not keep secret that you will come to a conclusion that compels you to embrace the revelation that Jesus is God.

I welcome any questions, criticisms, and/or corrections regarding what I have written and a mature dialogue is always welcome.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Part 4: Jesus & Muhammed

Review: Jesus the “Anointed One”

Last time, for a brief review, I shared how only Jesus - and no one else, not even Muhammed - is affirmed as the “anointed One” in both the Bible and the Qur’an.  As such, as I already stated, it would make sense to suppose Jesus must be of far greater significance and superiority than Muhammed.  There were two points made showing Jesus’ superiority over Muhammed:
  • First, the Arabic “masih” may be translated “very anointed” or “most anointed.”
  • Second,  the word “masih” needs to be understood from its use in the Hebrew Bible from where the word is translated.  As such, “messiah,” is mentioned in the New Testament,  alongside the title, “Son of God,” which, at the very least, identify Jesus as more than a mere man and  vastly superior to Muhammed.
Here I will be brief so as not to take advantage of my reader's time.

Part 4:  Jesus is the Object of Faith

In Sura 4:170, the Qur’an reads, “O mankind!  The Apostle hath come to you in truth from God; believe in him: it is best for you,  But if ye reject Faith, to God belong all things…” (The last phrase seems to suggest God will know if you have rejected his Apostle and, consequently, will judge you accordingly).

It seems to me from the context that the identity of the “Apostle” points specifically to Jesus for the next verse warns of believing that Jesus was more than an apostle, that is, God (cf. vs.171ff).  However, even if its reference is meant to understood as a general reference to all messengers of God, nevertheless, the Quran teaches that one must believe, if not specifically in Jesus, at least, all the messengers of God in whom Jesus was one.  Therefore, if one chooses not to believe in Jesus, it seems to suggest that he or she places their life in eternal danger.

Even the Bible says that one should believe in the prophets of God and for pretty much the same reason as stated in the Qur’an:  “Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper” (2 Chronicles 20:20).  And, if we are to believe that Jesus is a prophet of God, then we are obligated as God-followers to trust in him.

However, Jesus goes further when he says, “If you trust in God, then trust also in me” (John 14:1).  In addition, he claims, “I m the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father unless he comes through me.”

As the Qur’an teaches that the prophets of God must be trusted, so the Bible also teaches the same.  And if we are to obey the prophets of God, then we must believe in Jesus,the prophet sent by God, to tell us that if we are trusting in God, then we must also trust him; and that it is only through him that access to God is given.  No man, Jesus says, can come before God except through the One whom he sent, namely, Jesus himself.

Unfortunately, this may be where the rubber meets the road because, although both the Qur’an and the Bible teach that we are to obey the prophets of God, these two books believed to be sacred hold contradictory positions regarding Jesus’ person.  Whereas the Bible seems to show that Jesus is God in the flesh, the Qur’an teaches that he is no more than a man and not God.

I think it would be a good idea to quickly review what we learned the Qur’an teaches about Jesus.

First we learned that Jesus is the embodiment of peace.  We also leaned that he is sinless and that he is Messiah, that is, the deliverer or savior.  And we saw that all these attributes are possessed only by God.  In God is peace, and if Jesus is peace, it is in him alone where we can find our peace.  God is holy, without sin.  The man that can claim sinlessness can claim to be God.  The Qur’an teaches the Jesus was sinless.  In spite of the Qur’an’s denial of Jesus divinity, nevertheless, Jesus is asserted to possess an attribute uniquely God’s and God’s alone.  Whoever is said to be sinless necessarily, by definition of what God is in his essential nature, is also shown to be God.  Finally, Jesus is named Messiah (the “anointed one”), a name given to no other person, not even the prophet Muhammed; he alone is savior of men.  While God has his many men as divinely-gifted prophets, God has only one Anointed Messiah/Savior; and his name is Jesus “who will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).  And, finally, we saw that Jesus is an apostle to whom credence is to be rendered by the command of God.

The cumulation of all these facts, at least to me, points to the truthfulness of the Biblical attestation that Jesus is God in the flesh: “…the Word was God…and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” (John 1:1,14).

Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).

Islam teaches it is impossible; Jesus cannot be God.

However, if God is God, and it is affirmed that God can do the impossible, then God can become a man without lessening his divine essence or becoming anything less than human.  If it were not impossible, if it were something that was easy to do, there would be no more reason to believe that Jesus is God than to believe that ice can turn to water or that wood in the fire can turn into ash.

The proof of divinity is might be clearly seen in the fact that its occurrence of the impossible and only God is capable of accomplishing the impossible.

In my next installment, I wish to discuss what in my opinion is conclusive and irrefutable evidence that Jesus is God.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Part 3: Jesus & Muhammed

A Word to the Muslim Community

I pray these brief discussions on why I believe Jesus is God are challenging.  If any professing Muslim reading this finds any place where they feel I have misunderstood or misrepresented the Qur’an, please let me know and I’ll try to either clarify my meaning or make the proper corrections.

Correction is the mother of understanding.

In Review: Jesus is Sinless

In my last message we saw that the Qur’an, in agreement with the Bible, teaches that Jesus is sinless.  Furthermore, we saw that both the Qur’an and the Bible teach that all men without exception are sinners.  However, we also noted that these two teachings -  Jesus is sinless and all men are sinners - poses a contradiction inherent in the writings of the Qur’an if, as it also teaches, Jesus is a mere man.  

That is, if the Qur’an teaches that JesusChrist is merely a man and not God as a man, namely, then to also teach that he is sinless - an attribute only God possesses - while at the same time teaching that all men are sinners poses a self-contradiction.  However, these two seeming contradictory propositions - that Jesus is sinless while all men are sinners - is resolved in the Bible which teaches that Jesus is both God and man; Jesus is fully God because he is holy and only God is holy, and Jesus is also fully man yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15; 7:26).  

It is my contention that, in order to maintain the integrity of the any written source as divine revelation, self-contradictory propositions cannot be found written in the text; and wherever they are found, a coherent resolution to the text from the text must be found.  God does not contradict himself. 

Leaving the issue of Jesus’ sinlessness in the Qur’an, we come to the next reason why I believe Jesus is God.

Part 3: Jesus is the “Anointed One”

The Bible declares that Jesus is Mashiach or Messiah, which in Hebrew means “anointed one”.  In the Greek New Testament, the Hebrew for Mashiach is translated as “Xpiotos” in Greek, which is then translated as “Christ in English.”

“NT preaching, especially among Jews, focuses on presenting Jesus as the Christos,” and the apostle “Paul anguishes over the fact that his Jewish brothers do not acknowledge [Jesus as] Christ” (“Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary,” p.109).

The Qur’an, in agreement with the Bible, teaches that Jesus is Mashiach, that is, al-Masih:
  • “…his name will be Christ Jesus”(Sura 3:45)
  • “That they said (in boast), ‘We killed Christ Jesus’…”(Sura 4:157).
First, it should be noted that the term “Christ” is not a name but a title.  In Matthew 1:21, the angel of the Lord, appearing to Mary declares that she will give a miraculous birth to a son whom she is commanded to give the name of Jesus “because he will save his people from their sins.”

“Jesus” is the Greek for the Hebrew, “Joshua,” which means “Jah saves” or “God saves,” and that is the name Mary gave her Son: Jesus.  However, the term “Christ” is not his name but his title, his office as the One whom God sent to earth.

In any case, the Qur’an, in agreement with the Bible, declares that Jesus is the “Christ,” that is “the anointed one.”  I have found eight references in the Qur’an that either directly name Jesus as Messiah or indirectly reference him as such.  For brevity’s sake, I cite three, which have direct reference: 
  • “his name will be Christ Jesus” (Surah 3:45)
  • “their saying: We killed the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah’s messenger.” (Surah 4:157).
  • “Christ Jesus the son of Mary” (Surah 4:171).
Admittedly, the Qur’an warns both Jew and Christian not to think of Jesus as more than a messenger from God, that is, a mere man; but, then again, when you consider what we previously learned about Jesus in the Qur’an - that he is peace and he is sinless - it is legitimate to question whether such a warning makes sense.

In addition, unless I am mistaken, not even Muhammed is given this title in the Qur’an, nor anyone else, for that matter, either in the Qur’an or the Bible.  Considering if the leading prophet of Islam is not vested with the title of “the anointed one,” it would make sense to suppose Jesus must be of greater significance and superiority than Muhammed and, if I am correct, the question that needs to be asked is, in what sense is Jesus greater than Muhammed?

First, in Arabic, the word “masih” is “an "intensive form" that often indicates "a very high degree of the quality which their subject possesses or an act which is done with frequency…by their subject” and “is grammatically capable of carrying the idea of ‘very anointed’ or ‘most anointed’ both of which would express a very high degree of the quality which their subject possesses” (cited from “A Grammar of the Arabic Language,” vol. 1, Edited by W. Wright, L.L.D, copyright 1967, p. 136 ; see  If such a definition for “masih” is correct, then again, it indicates Jesus as having greater significance and superiority over Muhammed.

Therefore, we see that in one sense, the divine anointing on Jesus is greater than what Muhammed, as merely a “messenger of God,” is claimed to possess.

Second, the title of “Messiah,” given only to Jesus “appears in the Qur'an after Muhammad has made some contact with the Jews and Christians of Arabia. Clearly Qur'anic use of the title is linked to Jewish and Christian beliefs about the Messiah. Therefore, we must go into Jewish expectations and Christian beliefs about the Messiah to find out what the title means” (

Admittedly, while the Qur’an denies it, the New Testament identifies the Messiah (al-Masih) as the Son of God:
  • “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).
  • “ Nathaniel (John 1:49).
  • “the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1)
  • “I believe you are Messiah, Son of God” (John 11:27).
  • “tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.  Jesus said, You have said it” (Matthew 26:63-64).
  • Even demons recognized Jesus as Messiah, the Son of God when he commanded them to depart: “And demons also came out of many, crying, You are the Son of God!  But he rebuked them, and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Messiah” (Luke 4:41).

“By offering no explanation of this title, the Qur’an is at the same time making no contest against the accepted longstanding beliefs of the Jews and Christians about the Messiah. To both he is far more than just a messenger. The title in Jewish and Christian scriptural usage clearly implies greatness of such a degree that all the true messengers of God will ultimately bow to him in homage and obeisance. By admitting the Christian contention that Jesus is the Messiah, the Qur’an is in fact implying that he is the ultimate man of glory in human history and that he is the one who is the final expression of the revelation of God to men” (ibid).

Therefore, in another sense, we see that Jesus, identified as the Son of God, signifies his possession of eternally divine qualities equal to God; in other words, “like father, like son.”

In my next installment, we will see that the Qur’an warns us to trust in Jesus; unlike Muhammed, to make Jesus our object of faith with a warning of dire consequences.

Part 2: Jesus & Muhammed

In Review: Jesus is Peace

To review, last time I discussed that the Bible teaches Jesus is not only peace but the very embodiment of peace. After Jesus’ resurrection and before he ascended to Heaven, Jesus said that it was not God’s peace he was giving them but his peace: “My peace I leave with you” (John 14:27).   And that peace is obtained not by believing solely in God but by believing in God and in His Son, Jesus Christ (John 14:1).

We also saw that even the Qur'an teaches that with Jesus there is peace and, furthermore, that he is the embodiment of peace, that is, Jesus is Peace itself: “Peace is on me the day I was born” is what we read in Qur’an 19:33.

So, we have seen that the Qur'an and the Bible teach that Jesus is Peace, an attribute only God possesses in purity and fulness, and is experienced fully only in the Presence of God. Further, if it is true that Jesus is Peace and we affirm God is Peace, then it necessarily follows that Jesus is God.  Here's a simple logical formula to show what I mean:

First proposition:  God is Peace.
Second Proposition:  Jesus is Peace.
Logical Conclusion:  Jesus is God.

As with the idea of peace is found in both the Christian and Islamic writings, when it comes to Jesus being without sin, both the Bible and the Qur’an are in agreement.

Part 2: Jesus is Sinless

In the Qur’an, an angel announces to Mary “the gift of a holy son” (Sura 19:19), much in the same as we read of the angel’s announcement to Mary in the Bible that the child born to her of the Holy Spirit “will be called, Holy, the Son of God” (Luke 1:37).

Two things I find interesting when we look at some verses in the Qur’an about God and humans.

First, the Qur’an teaches that God and only God is holy: “God is He, than Whom there is no other god…the Holy One…” (Surah 59:23).  In the footnotes on this verse (#5402, p. 1528), of the Qur’an translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, which I possess, it is noted that, “in the title, ‘the Holy One,’ we postulate a being free from all stain or evil, and replete with the highest Purity.”

In Surah 62:1, we read, “Whatever is in the heavens and earth, doth declare the Praises and Glory of God…the Holy One…”

Also, all throughout the Bible God is declared to be holy.  As an example, I will take one verse each from the Old and New Testament:
  • “you who are enthroned as the Holy One” (Psalm 22:3).
  • “he who called you is holy” (1 Peter 1:15).
More can be read about God’s holiness in the Bible here:

The first thing we’ve established is that both the Qur’an and the Bible agree that both Jesus and God are holy.

The second interesting thing is that both the Qur’an and the Bible teach that all men are not holy but are sinners.

In Sarah 47:19, God is recorded as saying to Muhammed, to “ask forgiveness for thy fault (sins).”  And in 40:55, where we read, again, God speaking to the prophet to“ask forgiveness for thy fault (sin).”

In a footnote #4428 under 40:55 on p.1277 of Abdullah’s translation of the Qur’an, he states, “Every mortal according to his nature and degree of spiritual enlightenment falls short of the perfect standard of God and should, therefore, ask God for forgiveness.”

Furthermore, in this footnote, Abdullah cites 16:61, which reads, “If God were to punish men for their wrong-doing, he would not leave on the (earth), a single living creature.”

The Qur’an agrees with the Biblical verdict that all men are sinners being incapable of having produced acts that are righteous in God’s sight:  “There is no one righteous, not even one…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:10,23).  Men are such gross sinners that in the Old Testament, God announces through the prophet Isaiah that all their righteousness is like filthy (literally: menstrual) rags in God’s eyes (Isaiah 64:6).

However, what about Jesus?  Does the verdict that all men are sinners include Jesus?  Did Jesus sin and is he, therefore, a sinner?

The Qur’an and the Bible condemn all men as sinners, every man without exception, even Muhammed the prophet.  Logically, if Jesus were merely a man, would he not also be a sinner?

Yet, the Qur’an and the Bible insist that Jesus is holy, without sin.  One may say, “But Jesus was a prophet of God.”

My answer, “How is that relevant?  Although a prophet, is Jesus still not a mere man?  And are not all prophets men and all men sinners?  However, we have seen it is taught by both the Bible and the Qur’an that Jesus is without sin; as we saw in the Qur’an, Jesus is considered to be holy.

In consequence, the question can be asked, if Jesus, even as a prophet, is a mere man, how can the Qur’an claim that he is holy if all men are sinners?  It can only be reconciled by finding agreement with the Biblical claims that Jesus is God; only God is holy.

I am aware that there may be some Muslims that suggest Muhammed did not sin but, from my albeit little research thus far, this argument does not seem to be valid because it rests on mistranslations of relevant passages in the Qur’an, for example, translating the word used in the Qur’an for “sin” as “fault.”

Even if it is insisted that Muhammed may have merely committed errors and not sins or minor sins and not grave sins, it is still a valid argument that Jesus, unlike Muhammed, was also without the commission of any errors, mistakes, or minor sins.  Therefore, Jesus remains superior to Muhammed and every other man who walked the earth.

Now, only one being is holy and that being is God, both sinless and flawless.  And if Jesus, although a man, is sinless and flawless, can it be said that he is just a man?

Again, let’s put up a simple logical formula used for Jesus being Peace:

First proposition:  God is Holy.
Second Proposition:  Jesus is Holy.
Logical Conclusion:  Jesus is God.

One final word in this section of my discussion.

The Qur’an declares that God is holy.  It does not explain how God can be holy, but only states the fact that he is.  In the same way, the Qur’an declares the fact that Jesus is holy without any explanation of how he could be holy.

The Bible does the same; it does not explain how God can be holy; it only declares that in fact he is holy.  Holiness is a divine attribute, the eternal essence of the divine being.

Also, neither does the Bible explain how Jesus can be holy but only asserts that he is, as the Qur'an does.  One Bible verse that beautifully sets forth this truth about Jesus reads that he is “holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners,” while simultaneously, he is also “exalted above the heavens” (Hebrews 7:26).

Well, I could go on with this topic regarding both Jesus and God being holy, but I will end here.

Be on the lookout for my next discussion why I believe Jesus is God, namely because he is declared as the “Anointed One.”

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Part 1: Jesus & Muhammed

Jesus & Muhammed:  Why I Believe Jesus is God

There are many things, which we find in the Bible about Jesus, especially in the New Testament section, which challenge the high status given to Muhammed in the Islamic religion. In some cases, however, it is interesting how Jesus is portrayed in a Qur’an.  Even in the sacred book of Islam, Jesus seems to be, at least, a greater prophet than Muhammed and, at most, in some cases he might be seen as more than a mere human.

First, I want it to be clear that this discussion is merely a sharing of what I have come to believe the Bible teaches about Jesus in relation to the Qur’an.  I am neither a Biblical nor a Qur’anic scholar and have not read the latter except for some portions here and there, specifically those pertinent to this discussion.  These are my personal and unscholarly views based primarily on what the Bible teaches.

As such, I will focus on only a few portrayals of Jesus primarily from the Bible and, when appropriate for the sake of comparison, from the Qur’an.

Part 1.  Jesus is Peace

A very troubling time in my life came when my first wife, Clare Anne, died.  Without going into too much detail, I and the people in my church prayed for her complete recovery.  One day the doctor had stated that she had improved much and would more than likely be released that weekend.  Going home, I packed all her clothes and cleaned the house.  I told Sarah Anne (age 7) and Amy Joy (age 5) that their Mommy was coming home.  At 2:00 A.M. I got the call from the doctor that she had suddenly passed away.

Needless to say, my world was turned upside down and my faith, while not wavering in the fact that God is good, was terribly challenged.  

What the Bible showed me at that time was that Christ Jesus is my peace and gives peace, attributes possessed only by God:
- "You keep in perfect peace" (Isaiah 26:3).
- "God of...peace shall be with you" (2 Corinthians 13:11).
- "peace from God" (Colossians 1:1).
- "the peace of God" (Philippians 4:7).

Jesus himself claims to be a man of peace in such a way as to actually be the embodiment of peace and able to grant such peace as he is to others, even amidst troubles and sufferings:
- “Peace I leave with you, my peace I to you” (John 14:27).
- “I have spoken to you so that in me you will have peace” (John 16:33).

The apostles claimed Jesus is peace:
- “The Word God sent…preaching peace by Jesus Christ” (Acts 10:36).
- “we have peace through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
- “For he [Jesus] is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14).

Even the Qur'an portrays Jesus as a man of peace.  Moreover, it seems legitimate to me to interpret such a portrayal as not just of a man who gives peace but as one who is its very embodiment:  “So Peace is *on* me the day I was born” (Sura 19:33).

Of course there are two arguments against this interpretation of the text:
- The first objection is that the same is said of John the Baptist in the Qur’an: “So Peace is on me the day I was born” (Sura 19:15).  Therefore, any attempt to apply one’s understanding of the text in relation to Jesus must also apply to John the Baptist; and, we know, John the Baptist is not God.
- The second objection is that the texts, as Muslim scholars explain, means nothing more than having divine protection from Satan.

My response to the above objections:
- First, the Qur’an teaches things about Christ Jesus that are not attributable to John the Baptist; for example, the Qur’an commands, by virtue of his birth and person, to “believe in him” (Sura 4:170) with a clearly implied warning of judgment if one did not heed.  It is unknown to me, and I don’t think it does, if the Qur’an teaches the same thing regarding John the Baptist.
- Second, while Islam teaches, “Every son of Adam sins” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Hadith no. 2499), Jesus was born sinless: “to you the gift of a pure (or, “holy”) son” (Sura 9:19).  Sinlessness is not, as far as I know, attributed to John the Baptist.  Evidently, the Islamic teaching that Jesus Christ is sinlessness is affirmed by Muslim scholars, even while simultaneously attributing him to be no more than a mere man.  It begs the question, how can Jesus be both a mere man and sinless if every son of Adam sins?
- Third, Jesus is also called God’s “Word” and God’s “Spirit,” attributes not claimed for John Baptist in the Qur’an (as far as I know), of which I will speak more of at a future date.

In conclusion, although the texts in the Qur’an regarding Jesus and John the Baptist may be similar, it does not necessarily mean that what is interpreted about one ought to be interpreted about the other, especially when other texts show otherwise.

My reading of the Bible has convinced me that Jesus is God by its portrayal of Jesus as the embodiment of peace and that such peace is what I have experienced when I placed and continue to place my faith in Christ Jesus (as Sura 4:170 commands of Muslims).

Of course, the peace I speak of here is personal peace, that is, the tranquility of the soul’s relationship with God and the confidence of finding divine favor in the day of judgment rather than meeting with God's wrath.

When worry and fear seek to overcome me, I can rest in the promises of God in Christ who is my Peace because His Spirit dwells in me.  Does it mean I will never experience hurt, trouble, or confusion?  No, it does not. Jesus said, “In the world you will have troubles”; but Jesus goes on to add, “I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

It does mean as a baby resting against the mother’s breast, so I can rest my soul in the Lord God and experience the peace that comes from His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

I will devote my next blog on the subject of why I believe Jesus is God by showing how both the Qur’an and the Bible claim that Jesus is sinless.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Another Look at "Experience and the Bible"*

Experience and the Bible

Part 1
Experience and the Bible:  The Encounters

When engaging the issue of the miraculous with those who hold the view that God  does not grant gifts to his people to work wonders (e.g. healing the sick, prophesying, tongues, etc.) today because the gifts have ceased either when the last apostle died or when the writing of the NT was finished (a teaching knows as “cessationism"), I have come across the criticism that we are basing our theology that these gifts are for today (“continualism”) not on the Bible but on experience.  One opponent in the debate was absolutely certain that the cessationist view was correct by saying, "I have a high level of confidence in my biblical study because my biblical conclusions are based neither on my experience or my theology. They’re based on the nouns and verbs of scripture."

I wonder if any Biblical scholars, other than cessationists, would agree with a method of interpreting the Bible that omits personal experience wholesale from study.

I agree that experience by itself should not be the basis of formulating "biblical conclusions," but is it sensible to reject it altogether as a means of understanding Scripture and its application in our lives?

I don't think so.


Moses would have a hard time proving the "biblical conclusion" that it was the God of his fathers who commanded Egypt to let his people go precisely because he had no Bible.  Pharaoh said, "Who is God that I should let the Hebrew people go?"  How do you think Moses would respond if he had a Bible?

"Well, Pharaoh, it says in the Bible that God commands, 'Pharaoh, let the people go'.  Notice the nouns are 'Pharaoh', 'people' and the verb 'let go' is in the present immediate tense suggesting something that must be done now without hesitation; and the phrase, 'let my people go,’ has reference not to 'God' but to 'Pharaoh'; therefore, it is God commanding Pharaoh - and you are him - to let his people!"

Not really.

However, how did Moses reply?  It is recorded that Moses simply said, "The God of the Hebrews has manifested Himself to us" (Tanakh, Ex 5:3).  Moses based his "theology" and the proclamation of God’s message on experience (Ex 3:2-12).


How about the apostle Paul?  He had the Scriptures, the Old Testament, to formulate doctrine and practice (the NT was not yet written and formulated).  Did he come to his "biblical conclusions" about God, especially in relation to the Messiah, based on Scripture alone and solely on the "nouns and verbs of scripture"?  Did the Apostle Paul's intense and extensive learning lead him to the "biblical conclusion" that Jesus is the Messiah?  What did this great man of God say when he was being persecuted for his beliefs after having been converted?

"I have studied Isaiah 53 for many years.  I have read day and night the prophets and in all my reading - studying the words, the nouns, the verbs, the adjectives and adverbs, as well as all the tenses – and, as a result, I have come to the conclusion that Jesus is Messiah.  No, I do not base this theological view on experience but only on what the nouns and verbs of the Hebrew Scriptures mean."

I don't think so.

But what did Paul say?  Although having the Hebrew Scriptures to fall back on, he said, in short, "Christ came to me!  He manifested Himself to me!  I saw and heard him!  I experienced His power for he made me blind and then healed me!"  (See Acts 22:1-16).  It can be suggested that Paul's defense was likened to the words of John, the beloved disciple, who wrote, "That...which we have heard...seen...handled…and bear witness, and show it unto you” (1 John 1:1-3).

As with Moses, Paul's defense was experience, his experience of Yhwh in Christ.  For sure, Paul may have resorted to the Hebrew Scriptures for a more complete understanding of his experience, nevertheless, when his beliefs were questioned, he replied by sharing what he experienced: "I received [the Gospel] the revelation of Jesus Christ."  Paul contends in defense of his apostleship and authority: "when it pleased reveal His Son in me" (Gal 1:12,15-16).  Actually, it was precisely because Paul experienced God that he went to study the Scriptures, wrote his epistles, proclaimed the Gospel, and had confidence in the divine appointment of his apostleship.

It was not his "great learning" that led him to believe in Christ, although, admittedly, it may have further confirmed his experience as having been a genuine revelation of Yhwh, but it was the manifestation - the miraculous experience - of Christ to him that convinced him that Jesus is the Messiah (see Philippians 3:4-7).

Personal Experience

I have come to Christ, not due to an intense study of the Bible (though many others may have come to Christ in that way), but because He spoke to me in an audible voice, saying, "You're going to be arrested".  I instinctively knew it was God and asked, "What did you say?"  He repeated, "You're going to be arrested."  And, two minutes later I was arrested and spent the weekend in jail.  That experience led me to a park a week later where I saw people singing and, again, instinctively knew they were singing to God.  When someone came up to me and asked if I wanted to be saved, a window of understanding - of instinctive knowledge - opened up to me and I knew that it was in this man Jesus Christ that I must lay up all my hope and trust.  I experienced the Presence of the Spirit revealing Christ to me.

Part 2  
Experience and the Bible: The Texts of  Scripture

A list of some verses that confirm experience as a means of discerning divine truth and gaining a better understanding of Scripture and its application in our lives.

1 John 1:1-3

The apostle John begins his first epistle by suggesting that his testimony of Christ, along with that of the disciples, rests on the basis of personal experience:

...what we have heard...seen with our eyes…beheld…and our hands have handled...concerning the Word of life; and the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you... (1 John 1:1-3, cp. John 21:24).

In the New International Commentary on the epistle of 1 John, Marshall writes

Our writer here wants to emphasize that the Christian message is identical with Jesus; it took personal form in a person who could be heard, seen, and even touched.

and he further asserts

the life that God gives to men was revealed historically in Jesus. Indeed it is identical with Jesus, so that the writer can say that he has actually seen it.  Because of this he is qualified to testify to it.

Marshall contends even further that the apostle's

emphasis is not on the act of proclamation but on the historical reality of that to which he bears witness.

As such, if I have correctly understood Marshall, he seems to suggest that the emphasis is placed on John’s experience of Jesus Christ in history, which forms the basis not only for his faith but also his proclamation of the Gospel.  John proclaims more than just a message; he proclaims an experience he had with a person.

Another commentary suggests that the apostle John’s “witness was based on the immediate evidence of the senses,” which is to say, the apostle’s proclamation of Christ was primarily based on his experience of the man, Jesus Christ.

Combatting the claim that while Jesus was God, he was not really a man and only had the appearance of being human (Docetism), another commentary suggests that

John disposes of this heresy in quick, concise, and clear words…John is an authoritative witness.  John knew Jesus and had been with him in person…

John was an eye-witness and thereby proclaimed the reality of a Savior as opposed to the imaginations of the deluded because he experienced the presence of Jesus the Messiah.  This commentary continues:

Some people attempt to proclaim without a personal experience.  They try to declare truths about which they know little.  John knew what he was saying.  He was a witness and therefore he could declare.

The apostle derived his authority from his personal experience of the incarnate Son of God.
In another commentary, we read that

God can be known only by experiencing Him.  Israel knew God by a sense of the Divine Presence in the great events of her corporate existence.  From Abraham to Moses, to the Red Sea to Sinai, across the Jordan and into the Promised Land, Israel saw God at work and realized herself to be His chosen people.  This did not come by sovereign announcement only but by the experience of entering into a covenant relationship with Jehovah.  Israel experienced election to a unique relationship with God.

If the Apostle John’s first epistle was written for the purpose of challenging the false teachers who claimed either Jesus was not God or not a man, in opposition to the teachings handed down by the apostles, it only makes sense that John would begin his epistle, and I paraphrase, “You think these ‘teachers’ know Jesus the Messiah?  They have never met him!  I’ve been with him, walked with him, seen, heard, and touched him; and what I have received directly from God’s Son, I pass on to you.”

As I heard someone say once or twice, “You can’t argue with experience.”

Hebrews 1:2

This same claim is basic to the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews: “in these last days [God] has spoken to us in His Son” (1:2).

Although no firm scholarly consensus has arrived as to the author of book of Hebrews, nevertheless, whoever he is, he seems to have been an eye-witness to the miraculous and perhaps engaged himself in the performance of the miraculous.  Consequently, he stresses experience as a (if not the) ground for witness and proclamation.  In 2:3-4, he writes:

…how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?  After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by the gifts of the Holy Spirit…

I affirm wholeheartedly to what Lane states in his small commentary on Hebrews:

The opening lines of the sermon (1:1-2a) bring the audience face-to-face with the God who speaks.  The preacher confronts his ambivalent friends, troubled by the apparent silence of God in response to their desperate situation, with the indisputable fact that our God is the God who speaks.  He spoke in the distant past through the prophets (1:1); he has spoken in the more recent past through the Son (1:2a); and he continues to speak through the witness [i.e. the Holy Spirit] which has been given as a gift of love to that very community.  God is not silent, but vocal.  He has repeatedly taken the initiative to disclose himself because he wants to be known…The emphasis falls on the factual truth that God comes again and again into our human experience, disclosing his presence to us, precisely when we had suspected that we were alone in the world.

Lane further adds

It is philosophers who speak about…the ‘hidden God’.  The Bible knows nothing about the hidden God but only of men and women who hide, and of God who comes to seek them out to engage them in a meaningful conversation as he makes himself known to them.

Although the Bible gives us information about God revealing his character and his aim in salvation, the Bible itself neither grants salvation nor mediates grace.  Since Jesus is the “one mediator” (1 Timothy 2:4) between God and man, it is only through an encounter with the risen Lord that men come to experience God.  The “Word of God” is not ink and paper but Jesus Christ of whom ink and paper speak (John 5:39; Revelation 19:13). 

2 Peter 1:16-19a

Another text in the Bible much like 1 John 1:1-3 is 2 Peter1:16-19a: “we were eyewitnesses…and we ourselves heard.”

That they now “have the prophetic word (i.e. OT) made sure” through the fulfillment - as exemplified by their own experience - of the words of the prophets in the Hebrew Scriptures regarding Messiah, and proving it is not the made-up story from the  imaginations of mere men, but the writings of “men moved by the Holy Spirit.” Nevertheless, this proof of the certain reliability of the prophetic word is based on their experience of God.

Here, again,we see Scripture is proved by what was experienced.

John 5:39-40; Matthew 22:29

This is not to denigrate the Bible but to put it in its proper place in God’s purposes for salvation.  We are not to put the ‘Word of God’ on a pedestal.  It was the problem with Judaism in Jesus’ day as shown by Jesus’ rebuke.

John 5:39-40:  “You study the scriptures throughly because you think in them you possess eternal life, and it is these same scriptures that testify of me, but you are not willing to come to me so that you may have life” (NET).

Matthew 22:29:  “Jesus answered them, ‘You are deceived, because you don’t know the scriptures or the power of God” (NET).

This seems to be the very problem Ruthven addresses in his book, “What’s Wrong with Protestant Theology,” when he writes that Protestant theology wrongly focused on the exposition of Scripture, which resulted in de-emphasizing the central mission Scripture proclaims.

The “central mission”, as I believe Ruthven rightly contends, is that

Christians live by a messianic epistemology [that is, a theory of knowledge; a method of receiving knowledge] based on immediate revelation by the Holy Spirit as its ideal – even central – characteristic, as Isaiah 11:2-3 shows.

As Ruthven suggests, there is the 

human tendency to avoid God’s voice, the Protestant tradition following rabbinic Judaism explicitly, focused on an important but less-than-central issue - the exposition of Scripture - which resulted in deemphasizing the central mission Scripture proclaims, to hear God’s immediate voice, which usually commands the hearer to live out an experience of God’s mighty working…”

Ruthven, also says that this experience of hearing God’s voice is described in Scripture as faith, and adds that 

…theology is usually described as “faith seeking understanding,” which opposes the biblical goal of growing “from faith into faith” - with faith being an experience of revelation directly from God, which is then obeyed.

Hebrews 6:4-6a

We find in another place in Hebrews further evidence of the “immediate revelation by the Holy Spirit” as Scriptures “ideal” in the warning passages of irreversible judgment against those who have “tasted of the heavenly gift” and “tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come” only to “have fallen away” (Hebrews 6:4-6a).  The word “tasted” refers to having a real and definite experience (Psalm 34:8).  There is a dire and tragic warning for those who, having experienced the goodness of God in their lives, yet turn away from God and fall back into disobedience.  It is this very “taste” of God, this wonderful experience of the Presence of God, that makes the apostate all the more blameworthy and his punishment all the more worthy of extreme severity (Hebrews 10:28-29).

Mark 16:20

The objection is often made that experience does not confirm Scripture but Scripture confirms experience.  However, Scripture itself contradicts this argument. 

“And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed.”

Note, it was not the word that validated the “signs” (i.e. the miracles), but the miracles – the “signs” – that validated the “word”, i.e. proclamation of the gospel.  It was experiencing the power of God’s Presence, which proved that the message proclaimed was true.  In a Pentecostal study Bible on Mark 16:20, we read

The Scriptures clearly teach that it is the desire of Christ for His followers to perform miraculous deeds as they announce the gospel of the kingdom…These signs performed by true disciples confirm that the gospel message is genuine, that the kingdom of God has come to earth in power…

Acts 2

It is admitted that there are disagreements as to the legitimacy of the longer ending in Mark, nevertheless, the Book of Acts demonstrates that the “signs and wonders” performed by the Lord through the apostles did validate the message they proclaimed.  Acts 2 is a prime example:

  • vs.1-21 - Peter explained to all who saw and heard what was occurring among the 120 believers, that this experience - the baptism of the Spirit on the disciples and that they are speaking in tongues - was in fulfillment of the Hebrew Scriptures and confirms the source of the words of the prophets as being from Yhwh and is, therefore, true.

  • vs.2:22-24 - Peter further proclaims that the man whom they crucified was their Messiah, proved by the miracles, wonders and signs he performed among them.

  • vs.2:32-33 - Peter preaches that the resurrection of Christ was something they themselves had witnessed and this further demonstration – speaking in tongues – which they now see and hear validates and confirms both the fulfillment of the Hebrew Scriptures concerning the kingdom of God and the proclamation of Jesus as the Christ (Hebrew: messiah or mashiach), upon whose shoulders the government of God’s kingdom and this world rests.

The message of the Gospel was inaugurated through an experience of the Presence of God.  It was the power of the kingdom of God, not merely something read in paper and ink, but in what was experienced that resulted in the conversion of some 3,000 souls!  It was the experience of the power of the Spirit that not only confirmed the word proclaimed but convinced the hearers that what was being said was true and, even more: divine.  It was real, it was their God visiting them again.  In his commentary’s concluding note on v.33 of Acts 2, F.F. Bruce states that God’s

present impartation to them (the disciples) attended as it were by sensible signs (i.e. by an experience of the miraculous), was a further open vindication of the claim that [Jesus] was the exalted Messiah.

The evidence that Mark 16:20 belongs in the Canon of New Testament Scripture as divinely inspired text is the historical record of the early Church in the Book of Acts.  As such, the last verse in the Gospel of Mark validates experience as an essential and necessary aid in understanding Scripture and its application in the lives of God’s people.

The Gospel of Mark and the book of Acts, as well as the other Biblical passages noted above, and many not discussed here, demonstrate that proclamation, primarily on the basis of an experience of God, is able to effectively work for the salvation of many.

Part 3

Experience and the Bible:  The Promise of God

Why did Jesus die on the Cross?  What was his ultimate goal?

Genesis 3:8

The first temptation involved doubting God’s Voice:  “Did God really say…? (Genesis 3:1); and its ultimate rejection: “You surely will not…” (v.4); with the result  that our First Parents, not wanting to hear God speak to them due to the shame they felt, hid from the Voice of God: “they heard the Voice of the Lord God walking…[and] hid themselves” (v.8, KJV).

The Hebrew word here translated “voice” in the KJV (“sound,” NIV, NASB) is the same word translated in Genesis 3:17; 4:10,23; 16:2; 21:12, see Strong’s Concordance).

Although they prefer the KJV translation of  Genesis 3:8, nevertheless, Jamieson, Faust, & Brown: A Commentary, also suggested as an alternative translation: “and they heard the voice of the Lord God sounding in the garden.”

In any case, the point is that God sought to converse with man, he desired that men hear him speak to them without an intermediary, a representative between them; God wanted men to have face-to-face encounters with him.  But the sin of our First Parents broke off immediate connection with God, and our fallen state and sins maintain that broken connection.

Numbers 11:29
In frustration over the people’s complaints, Moses argues with God desperately asking for Him to do something…anything!  God tells Moses to gather together at the Tent of Meeting 70 leaders of whom He would impart onto them the selfsame Spirit given Moses.  Gathering together at the appointed place and time, they were all filled with the Spirit and began to prophesy.  While this was going on, two men who were not in company with the other leaders were also filled with the Spirit prophesying.  Upon hearing this, Joshua told Moses to stop these two from prophesying.  However, Moses expressed his earnest wish that “all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put His Spirit on them!”

First, what is a prophet or what is it to prophecy?  The prophet, broadly speaking, is one called to discern God’s purpose and action in history and to proclaim it to men.  In essence, the prophet, under the filling of the Spirit, speaks to God and God speaks to him “face to face, as a man speaks with his friend” (Exodus 33:11). The prophet has an experience with God.  Having spoken with God face-to-face, therefore, he is fully qualified to speak for God to men face-to-face.

Second, this wish of Moses expresses God’s heart, God’s intention.  God desires that all men would hear His Voice face-to-face, that is, in essence, that we would all experience the immediate presence of God.  This is the desire expressed by the psalmist under the impress of the Spirit:  Psalm 27:4,8: “When you said, ‘Seek My face,’my heart said to you, ‘Your face, O Lord, I shall seek” (cp. 16:11; 42:1-2; 51:11; 105:4).

The desire of God’s immediate Presence is foretold by the Hebrew prophets under the gifting of the Spirit of prophecy (Joel 2:26: “you will praise the name of the Lord your God who has worked wonders for you…Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the Lord your God”; 28-29; Isaiah 30:20-21).

It is what Jesus promised when he said His ascension to Heaven would be to our advantage (John 14:16-17; 16:7,13-16).  This is the “promise of the Father,” which Jesus said would be fulfilled by virtue of the Cross and His ascension (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8).

This immediate Presence of God among His people is what the disciples preached; what the Father promised:  the giving of His Spirit to all who would repent and believe (Acts 2:16-21: “this is that”; vs.33,38-39).

The ultimate purpose for the Cross was so that men would behold God face-to-face and God would speak to men and walk among men; that they would experience God as He intended when He made mankind, His Voice walking with them in the cool of the day.  This is the overarching purpose of God  sending His Son to die for men as sinners even today.

It is the essential proclamation of both the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament (Isaiah 30:19-21; Jeremiah 31:31-34; 1 John 2:20,27). For the Cross is not merely to forgive our sins and take us to heaven but it is so we can meet with God now; so we would experience Him now; so we would hear His Voice now and not just when we get to Heaven.

Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.
Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he will eat with me.
The Bible declares that God reveals Himself to those who trust Him and are loyal.  Therefore, let us not doubt but in faith rejoice and expect and embrace the miraculous presence of God when he manifests himself in our lives and the lives of others.  

Realize that it is not by mere knowledge that a man experiences God; it is not solely by reading the Bible that one hears the Voice of God and discerns his intentions and instructions, but by faith experiencing His presence in faithful living, thus hearing His Voice and obeying.  Have faith and believe that this is God’s will for your life: that you hear His Voice and experience His Presence.

As he who was blind, when the demand was made to denounce the One whom he claims healed him, said, “Whether he is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know for certain, whoever he is, whereas before I was blind, now I see”; now I experienced his healing me; now I have experienced Him (John 9:25).

* This was originally a 2-part blog article I did on July, 2013, which one can go to as I did not delete it.  In any case, here I have revised and expanded the discussion.  Thanks for reading it.


All Biblical quotations are from the NASB, 1977 unless otherwise noted. 

Below are a list of the books used and some quoted (all in italics) in this short study:
  • I.H. Marshall, The Epistles of John, New International Commentary of the New Testament, ed. Ned B. Stonehouse, F.F. Bruce, Gordon D. Fee (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978).
  • Glenn W. Barker, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol. 12, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981).
  • Leo G. Cox, The Wesleyan Bible Commentary, vol. 6, ed. Charles W. Carter (Hendrickson, 1986).
  • Harvey J.S. Blaney, “Experience” in Beacon Dictionary of the Bible, ed. Richard S. Taylor (Kansas City: Beacon, 1983).
  • I.H. Marshall, “John, Epistles of,” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, revised, vol.2, ed. Geoffrey W. Bromily (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans).
  • William L. lane, Hebrews: A Call to Commitment (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1985).
  • Jon Mark Ruthven, What’s Wrong with Protestant Theology (Tulsa: Word&Spirit, 2013), 2.  If anyone is truly interested in this subject, allow me to recommend Ruthven’s book:
  • In the New Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the New Testament, we read that the Greek for tasted “expresses a real and conscious enjoyment of the blessings apprehended in their true character,” p.527.
  • “Signs of Believers,” Full Life Study Bible, ed. Donald C. Stamps (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992), 
  • F.F. Bruce, The Book of Acts, revised, New International Commentary on the New Testament,  ed. Gordon D. Fee (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988), 67.