Questions about God

INDEPTH: What proof is there of the existence of God?

Since God is not visible to the human eye, there can be no 'direct' proof of Him. However He has provided clues to His existence and nature both in creation and in the human beings He has made. Above all, He has given a perfect revelation of Himself in the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ. Added to these evidences, there is the witness of the Bible, and the testimony of those who have come to know God, as they have believed in His Son.


THAT WE SHOULD ASK THIS QUESTION IS EVIDENCE OF OUR HUMAN SINFULNESS AND CORRUPTION.
The question itself demonstrates human folly and corruption through sin
(Psalms 14:1; Psalms 92:6).
It arises from our sinful pride and rebellion (Psalms 10:4).
When people do not want to be convinced of God's existence, He may choose to abandon them to their depraved reason (Romans 1:28).
Their thinking becomes futile and their wisdom foolishness (Romans 1:21-22).

THE BIBLE DOES NOT ENDEAVOUR TO ANSWER THIS QUESTION - I.E. TO PROVE GOD'S EXISTENCE - BUT IT ALWAYS ASSUMES GOD'S EXISTENCE.
All the wonders of creation are recognized to be expressions of His power (Psalms 19:1).
All that is good is identified and recognized as coming from Him (James 1:17).

ALL THAT IS GOOD IS IDENTIFIED AND RECOGNIZED AS COMING FROM HIM
THE BIBLE MAKES PLAIN THAT NO ONE HAS EVER SEEN GOD THE FATHER: THUS VISIBLE PROOF OF HIS EXISTENCE IS NOT PROVIDED FOR HIS CREATURES.
No one has ever seen God (John 1:18).
God is invisible and no one can see Him
(1 Timothy 1:17; 1 Timothy 6:16).

ALTHOUGH WE MAY GAIN A REAL KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, THAT KNOWLEDGE REMAINS INCOMPLETE IN THIS LIFE.
We can never fully comprehend God
(Isaiah 55:8-9).
Our knowledge of God in this present life can be only imperfect and partial (1 Corinthians 13:9-10, 1 Corinthians 13:12).

NEVERTHELESS GOD HAS PROVIDED MANY IMPRESSIVE INDIRECT PROOFS OF HIS EXISTENCE: HE HAS NOT LEFT HIMSELF WITHOUT TESTIMONY IN THE WORLD (ACTS 14:17).
FIRST, THERE IS THE WITNESS OF CREATION.
Reason points to the need of a first cause, i.e. the world could not make itself: the Bible names that First Cause - God (Genesis 1:1; Psalms 100:3; John 1:1, John 1:3; Acts 17:24).
For example, in creation we see thought (Psalms 139:14), forethought and planning (Genesis 2:6), laws (Psalms 19:4-6), and life (Genesis 7:15; 26:12-14). Behind such there must be a Thinker (Genesis 1:3, Genesis 1:31; Isaiah 55:8-9), an overruling Providence (Ephesians 1:11), a Law-Giver (Isaiah 33:22; James 4:12), and a Life-Giver (Acts 17:25).
God has disclosed from the beginning His everlasting power and divine nature in His creation: the eye of reason may clearly discern truths about God's character from the things He has made (Romans 1:18-20).
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the skies proclaim the work of His hands (Psalms 8:1, Psalms 8:3; Psalms 8:19:1; Isaiah 40:25-26; Jeremiah 10:10-13).
In creation, God gives clues to His nature, as in the kindness He shows to His creatures (Acts 14:17; Matthew 5:45).

SECONDLY, THERE IS THE WITNESS OF HUMAN BEINGS THEMSELVES.
The wonder of our bodies points to a Creator (Psalms 139:14).
The idea of God is written on our hearts since we were made in His image (Genesis 1:26-27). We possess a natural intuition that there is a God: this is seen in human religiousness, mistaken and polluted as it may become (Acts 17:22-23).
Our consciences witness to a law within us by nature - and where there is law there is a Lawgiver (Romans 2:14-15).
It is the fool who says, 'There is no God' (Psalms 14:1).

THE WITNESS OF CREATION FORMS AND MAKES UP WHAT WE MAY DESCRIBE AS 'GENERAL REVELATION', THAT IS TO SAY, FACTS AND UNDERSTANDING GIVEN TO PEOPLE TO OBSERVE EVERYWHERE IN THE WORLD, AND FROM WHICH THEY MAY DRAW LOGICAL CONCLUSIONS AS TO GOD'S EXISTENCE. WE NOW COME TO WHAT WE MAY DESCRIBE AS 'SPECIAL REVELATION', THAT IS TO SAY, REVELATION THAT COULD NOT HAVE COME TO HUMAN BEINGS BY THEIR STUDY OF NATURE OR BY THEIR REASON.

THIRDLY, AND MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL THE WITNESSES WE SHALL MENTION, THERE IS THE WITNESS OF JESUS CHRIST.
God has revealed Himself to us in Jesus Christ His Son (2 Corinthians 4:6).
The Lord Jesus Christ has made the Father known (John 1:18).
He is the visible image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15-17).
As God's Son became human and lived here on earth, people saw His glory, the glory that belongs to God alone (John 1:14).
The human Jesus who could be seen, looked upon and felt, was seen to be the Son of God (1 John 1:1-3). The apostles and disciples needed no more proof of God's existence: through the Son they knew the Father (John 14:7)
His miracles bore similar witness to His deity (John 20:30-31).
To have seen Jesus was to have seen the Father (John 14:9).

FOURTHLY, THERE IS THE WITNESS OF THE BIBLE.
The Bible claims to be a revelation from the invisible God (2 Timothy 3:16).
The predictions it makes, claiming to come from God, are proved true. The good He promises and the evil He threatens (Romans 1:18), are found to be true in human experience (Isaiah 41:23, 24). God challenges the so-called gods of the heathen to do likewise (Isaiah 41:22-23).

THE GENERAL REVELATION PROVIDED BY CREATION AND OUR HUMAN NATURE, TOGETHER WITH THE SPECIAL REVELATION PROVIDED BY THE INCARNATION OF JESUS CHRIST AND THE BIBLE, ARE FURTHER CONFIRMED BY THE WITNESS OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST AND THE PERSONAL EXPERIENCE OF ITS MEMBERS.
The confirming witness of the Church of Jesus Christ:
  • The early Church had its testimony confirmed by God by means of signs, miracles and many different works of power (Hebrews 2:4).
  • The amazing growth of the Church is accounted for satisfactorily only by God's power (Matthew 13:31-32; Acts 16:5).
  • Its amazing life and continuance are explained by the fact that it is the Church of the living God (1 Timothy 3:15).
  • Its preservation finds a satisfactory explanation in the promise of Jesus Christ 
  • (Matthew 16:18; Acts 5:38-39).
The confirming witness of individual members.
  • They have found their search for God rewarded (Hebrews 11:6).
  • In knowing Jesus Christ they know God (1 John 1:1-3).
  • They know that the Son of God has come and given them an understanding to know God in personal experience (1 John 5:20).
  • They are sure of God's presence with them (Matthew 28:20; Acts 23:11; Hebrews 13:5).
  • Their lives and characters are transformed into Jesus Christ's likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18; 2 Corinthians 5:17).
  • They have an irrepressible testimony (Acts 4:20).
CONCLUSION.
If people's asking of this question - 'What proof is there of the existence of God?' - is sincere, God will provide the answer in a manner that will leave them in no doubt
(Isaiah 55:6; Jeremiah 29:13; Matthew 7:8).
What uniquely convinces us of God's existence is our personal experience of God through Jesus Christ by His Spirit (John 20:28; 2 Timothy 1:12).

Who is God -What is He like?

God is Spirit: invisible, without body, personal, great beyond human estimation, life-giving, and supremely powerful.


GOD IS SPIRIT.
John 4:24 -'God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth' - is the nearest approach we get to a definition of the Being of God.
Being spirit, God has no body; a spirit does not have flesh and bones (Luke 24:39).

HE IS INVISIBLE.
Being spirit, God is invisible: no one has ever seen Him or can see Him (1 Timothy 6:15-16).
God is not discernible by our physical senses (John 1:18).
It was because the Jewish people saw no form of God on the day that He spoke to them at Horeb that He instructed them not to make any image of Him of any shape or form (Deuteronomy 4:15).

HE IS THE LORD, AND THERE IS NO OTHER
HE IS PERSONAL.
He is a Personal Spirit, revealing Himself to Moses, for example, as 'I AM WHO I AM'
(Exodus 3:14).
Personal fellowship may be enjoyed with Him:
  • He spoke to Adam 
  • (Genesis 2:16-17; Genesis 3:9-19);
  • He revealed Himself to Noah 
  • (Genesis 6:13-21);
  • He entered into covenant with Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3);
  • He spoke to Moses, as a friend with friend (Exodus 33:11);
  • He makes His home with believing men and women (John 14:23);
  • Christians enjoy fellowship with Him (1 John 1:3).

HE IS VERY GREAT.
He is the LORD, and there is no other (Isaiah 45:6).
He speaks with supreme authority (Hebrews 1:2).
He alone has immortality inherent in Himself (1 Timothy 6:16) - see 6 (a) below.
He is infinite: heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain Him (1 Kings 8:27).
There is no one to whom He is similar or with whom He may be compared (Isaiah 40:18).
There are no limits or bounds to be fixed to any of His characteristics, for example:
  • So far as space is concerned, He is everywhere 
  • (Psalms 139:7-10; Jeremiah 23:24);
  • So far as time is concerned, He is eternal 
  • (Psalms 90:2, Psalms 90:4; Isaiah 40:28; Habakkuk 1:12);
  • So far as knowledge is concerned, He knows everything 
  • (Psalms 139:2-5; Psalms 147:5; 1 John 3:20).
In the light of His greatness, we can see the relevance of the second commandment: 'You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below' (Exodus 20:4).

GOD IS CLEARLY BEYOND OUR COMPLETE UNDERSTANDING.
He lives in a high and holy place (Isaiah 57:15).
His judgments are unsearchable, His ways are untraceable, and His knowledge is beyond our estimation (Romans 11:33-34; 1 Corinthians 2:16).
He lives in unapproachable light (1 Timothy 6:16).
We do not now know God perfectly as He is; we are like people seeing a poor reflection as in a mirror (1 Corinthians 13:12).

HE HAS LIFE-GIVING POWER IN HIMSELF.
Being the source of all being and life, all things trace their beginning from Him (Genesis 1:1).
God's existence depends upon no one beside Himself; He said to Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM' (Exodus 3:14).
He has life-giving power in Himself (John 5:26).
He gives life and breath to everything (Acts 17:25).

HE DOES WHAT HE PLEASES.
He does whatever He pleases everywhere (Psalms 115:3; Psalms 135:6; Daniel 4:35).
His will always prevails; His purposes are always fulfilled (Isaiah 46:10).
None can resist His will, or say to Him, 'What have you done?' (Romans 9:20; Daniel 4:35).
He does with His creatures whatever He pleases: the nations are as nothing before His power (Isaiah 40:15, 17).
His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom endures from generation to generation (Daniel 4:34).

Is God in control of everything?

God controls all things, working out everything in conformity with the plan and purpose of His own will.

GOD'S CONTROL EXTENDS TO THE WHOLE UNIVERSE.
He is the only Ruler, the King of kings, and Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6:15): His throne is in the heavens, and His kingdom rules over all (Psalms 103:19).
He sustains the whole universe by His powerful word (Nehemiah 9:6; Hebrews 1:3).
The government of the entire universe is His (Deuteronomy 10:14; Psalms 135:6; Daniel 4:35).

GOD'S CONTROL OF NATURE FOLLOWS.
All natural forces are in His control (Psalms 29:3-10).
The elements are at His command (Psalms 68:9; Jonah 1:4).
All the processes of nature are at His direction (Genesis 8:22; Psalms 107:33-34, Psalms 107:38; Jeremiah 31:35).

GOD'S CONTROL OF HIS CREATURES FOLLOWS.
His care, for example, extends to the smallest of His creatures: He gives the beasts their food (Psalms 147:9).
Not a single sparrow falls to the ground apart from His will (Matthew 10:29).
He can appoint all His creatures to perform His will (Jonah 1:17; 2:10): even for ravens to convey bread and meat to His servants (1 Kings 17:6).

HE GIVES A SURE FOOTING IN LIFE TO THE RIGHTEOUS
GOD'S CONTROL OF HUMAN BEINGS - AND OF EVIL INDIVIDUALS - FOLLOWS.
There are occasions when God, desiring to show His wrath and to make known His power, has put up with evil individuals due for destruction. His purpose has been to make known the riches of His glory to those whom He has purposed to save (Romans 9:22-23).
Sometimes God sees to it that the worst of people are allowed to be exalted so that they may fulfil His purposes without their knowing it (Isaiah 10:5, Isaiah 10:7).
He uses even the enemies of His people to discipline them in their disobedience (Judges 2:14-15, Judges 2:21-23; Judges 2:3:12).
On the other hand, He can harden the hearts of His people's enemies so that they fall into His people's hands or even destroy themselves (Joshua 11:20; Judges 7:22).


GOD'S CONTROL OF NATIONS FOLLOWS.
God fixed the boundaries for the peoples of the world (Deuteronomy 32:8).
He can make a nation large or small (Obadiah 2).
In the affairs of the world, and its rulers, the Lord puts down one leader and lifts up another (1 Samuel 16:1; Psalms 75:7).
He uses heathen nations to accomplish the disciplining of His disobedient people (Isaiah 5:26; Amos 3:9-11; 6:14; Habakkuk 1:12).
So far as it has suited His purposes, He has allowed nations to go their own way (Acts 14:16).
Behind the strange, and sometimes unexpectedly generous actions of unbelieving rulers towards God's people at various times is the working of God in their hearts without their knowledge (Ezra 1:1). Examples are Tiglath-pileser (Isaiah 10:6-7), Cyrus (Isaiah 41:2-4), and Artaxerxes (Ezra 7:21)- they pursued their own chosen path, and served the furtherance of God's will, though in their personal lives they were disobedient, self-willed and sinful.

GOD'S CONTROL OF HISTORY FOLLOWS.
His dominion is everlasting and His kingdom endures from generation to generation (Daniel 4:34): thus all the events of human history are under His direct control (Revelation 9:15).
He fixes the epochs of human history and the limits of human territory (Acts 17:26).
God is at work in unrecognized events and processes to achieve His purposes of blessing. It was the Lord who sent Joseph ahead of his brothers to Egypt (Psalms 105:16-22); it was the Lord who turned the hearts of the Egyptians to hate God's people (Psalms 105:25); it was the Lord who called Cyrus, a heathen ruler, 'His anointed' because He was going to use him to accomplish His will for His people (Isaiah 44:28, Isaiah 45:1-4).
The outstanding example of God at work in an event to achieve His will - unrecognized at first - was the Cross (Acts 4:28; compared with 2:23).
In all the events of history God is working out His purpose of calling into one body, the Church, men and women of every nation and people, saved through His Son Jesus Christ (Ephesians 3:2-11).


GOD'S CONTROL OF ALL CIRCUMSTANCES FOLLOWS.
Dia Dhuit
God, not chance, decides what happens in human affairs (Proverbs 16:33; compared with Jonah 1:7).
Behind every circumstance is the Lord (Amos 3:6).
He can shorten life or lengthen it (Job 1:21; Psalms 102:23).
The Lord brings both prosperity and disaster (Isaiah 45:7); success and victory in battle (1 Samuel 11:13) and the ability to get wealth are from Him (Deuteronomy 8:18), as too is the power to bring illness or to remove it (Deuteronomy 7:15).
Ordinary daily needs are within His concern and control (Matthew 6:30, Matthew 6:33).
The will of God may be worked out in what appears to be a complete accident (1 Kings 22:28, 1 Kings 22:34).

GOD'S SPECIAL CONTROL OF AFFAIRS ON BEHALF OF HIS PEOPLE FOLLOWS.
God's care extends to all individuals, and especially to His people (1 Peter 5:7).
He delivers His people from trouble (Psalms 23:5; Psalms 34:7; Psalms 107:2).
He can hand His people over to their enemies for a period to discipline them if need be (Judges 3:8; Judges 4:2; Judges 6:1).
God is in complete control when His people are persecuted (Acts 8:1, 4; Philippians 1:28-29).
He gives a sure footing in life to the righteous (Psalms 33:18-19).
He supplies every need of His children according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19), guaranteeing that everything in life will be worked out for the spiritual and eternal good that God has in view for them (Rom 8:28).

GOD'S CONTROL OF SATAN IS CLEARLY INVOLVED, AND IS TAUGHT.
The Lord can put a restraint upon Satan as He chooses (Job 1:12).
He gives Satan, at times, power to do his wicked worst, but God is always in control (Revelation 9:1; Revelation 20:7).

What is meant by saying that God is a Trinity?

The one true God is one in every way, in nature, will and being; but one in three distinct Persons - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.


(The word 'Trinity' is not found in the Bible. Nevertheless it sums up what the Bible teaches throughout concerning the mystery of God's Being. The term was first used to preserve truths concerning God's Being from error and false teaching.)

THERE IS ONE GOD.
There is only one living and true God, or divine Being (Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:29; Romans 3:30; 1 Timothy 2:5; James 2:19).
Before Him no god was formed; nor will there be one after Him (Isaiah 43:10). He is the first and the last (Isaiah 44:6).
Besides Him there is no other (Deuteronomy 4:35).


GOD EXISTS IN THREE PERSONS: THE FATHER, THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT.
Since the beginnings of human history God has revealed Himself as a Trinity: indications of the truth of the Trinity are found in the Old Testament, and in the earliest books of the Bible.
On occasions God speaks using the first person plural (Genesis 1:26; Genesis 11:7; Isaiah 6:8).
The form of God's blessing is threefold (Num. 6:24-26).
A distinction is made between the Lord and the angel of the Lord, who Himself is God, to whom all divine titles are given and divine worship offered (Genesis 16:10-13; Genesis 18:13-14, Genesis 18:19, Genesis 18:25, Genesis 18:33; Genesis 22:11-18; Genesis 48:15,16; Exodus 3:2, Exodus 3:6, Exodus 3:14; Exodus 13:21; Exodus 14:19; Exodus 23:20,21; Joshua 5:13-15; Judges 6:11-24; 13:3-23).
As the revelation of the Old Testament is continued, the distinction between the Lord and the angel of the Lord becomes clearer. This messenger of the Lord (Malachi 3:1) is called the Son of God (Daniel 3:25). His personality and divinity are clearly revealed (Zechariah 3:1). His origins are from of old, from ancient times (Micah 5:2), the Mighty God (Isaiah 9:6), the Lord of David (Psalms 110:1), who was to be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), and bear the sins of many (Isaiah 53:4-6,10).
With regard to the Holy Spirit, He is represented in the first chapter of Genesis as the source of order and life in the created universe (Genesis 1:2). In the books that follow in the Old Testament, He is represented as inspiring the prophets (Micah 3:8; compared with 2 Peter 1:21), giving skill, wisdom, strength and goodness to political leaders and warriors, and to the people of God (Exodus 31:3; Num. 11:17, 25; Deuteronomy 34:9; Judges 3:10; 11:29; 1 Samuel 10:6; 16:13).
The New Testament provides ample confirmation of the truth of the Trinity. There is the specific evidence of the baptismal formula (Matthew 28:19) and the apostolic benediction (2 Corinthians 13:14).

THE TRINITY IS A MYSTERY BEYOND OUR COMPREHENSION - TO BE ACCEPTED AND BELIEVED.
THE FATHER, THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT ARE THREE DISTINCT PERSONS: THAT IS TO SAY, THESE PERSONS ARE NOT SIMPLY DIFFERENT MODES OF APPEARANCE GOD USES IN HIS REVELATION TO US.
The Father says 'I' (John 12:28); the Son says 'I' (John 17:4); the Spirit says 'I' (Acts 13:2).
The Father says 'You' to the Son (Mark 1:11); the Son says 'You' to the Father (John 17:2); the Father and the Son use the words 'He' and 'Him' in reference to the Spirit (John 14:26; 15:26).
Although the work of the Father and the Son is one, Jesus said, 'My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working' (John 5:17), implying that their being - in some mysterious way beyond our understanding - is distinct.
The Father loves the Son (John 3:35); the Son loves the Father (John 14:31); the Spirit testifies about the Son (John 15:26).
Some acts are referred to the Father, Son and Spirit: for example, creation and preservation. The Father created the world (Isaiah 40:28); the Son created the world (John 1:3); the Spirit created the world (Genesis 1:2; Job 33:4). The Father preserves all things (Nehemiah 9:6); the Son sustains all things (Hebrews 1:3); the Spirit is the source of all life (Psalms 104:30).
Other acts are mainly referred to the Father, others to the Son, and others to the Spirit: for example, in the work and plan of redemption. The Father chooses and calls, the Son redeems by His blood, and the Spirit sanctifies (1 Peter 1:2).

THERE IS A PARTICULAR ORDER OF RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN THE PERSONS OF THE TRINITY.
The Father is first (John 5:26, 27; Ephesians 1:3).
The Son is second: He is the only begotten of the Father and is sent by Him (Psalms 2:7; John 3:16; Hebrews 1:5; 1 John 4:14).
The Spirit is third: He is given us by the Father and the Son (John 14:16; 15:26; 20:22).

THE ORDER OF RELATIONSHIP DOES NOT IMPLY THAT THE FATHER, THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT DO NOT POSSESS TRUE AND EQUAL DIVINITY: THEIR TRUE AND EQUAL DIVINITY IS INSISTED UPON.
The Father is God (1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:6).
The Son is God (John 1:14, 18; 20:28, 31; Philippians 2:6; Titus 2:13).
The Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3, 4; 2 Corinthians 3:18).
In the Bible all the divine characteristics are considered as belonging to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit: for example, holiness (Exodus 15:11; Acts 2:27; 1:5); love (John 3:16; Galations 5:22; Ephesians 3:18); omnipotence (Job 42:2; Isaiah 9:6; Romans 1:4 and 1 Corinthians 2:4); omniscience (John 21:17; 1 Corinthians 2:10; Hebrews 4:13); omnipresence (Psalms 139:7-10; Jeremiah 23:23, 24; Matthew 28:20).

THE TRINITY IS A MYSTERY BEYOND OUR COMPREHENSION - TO BE ACCEPTED AND BELIEVED.
We cannot delve into God's secrets that He has not chosen to reveal (Romans 11:33-36; 1 Timothy 6:16).
Nor can the angels of heaven fathom the mystery of His being (Isaiah 6:2, 3).
By means of the Scriptures we are given sufficient understanding of the work of the Trinity, in creation, redemption, and sanctification, to be saved and to be brought to eternal glory (Colossians 1:11-14; 2 Timothy 3:15-17).

What happened when Christ died on the Cross?

He offered up Himself as a sacrifice, bearing the punishment due to sinners, fulfilling God's plan whereby men and women might be reconciled to Him through Christ.

THE CROSS CANNOT BE UNDERSTOOD UNLESS THE PLIGHT OF MEN AND WOMEN IN THEIR SIN IS UNDERSTOOD AND APPRECIATED.
We are in danger of perishing (John 3:16).
We have all sinned against God (Romans 3:23).
Our sins have separated us from God (Isaiah 59:2).
Sin has brought death upon us as its wages (Romans 5:12; Romans 6:23).
We are by nature the objects of God's wrath (John 3:36; Ephesians 2:3).

THE CROSS WAS NO ACCIDENT BUT THE SET PURPOSE AND PLAN OF GOD (ACTS 2:23).
Before the world was founded God the Father determined that His Son should fulfil the function of a Saviour for sinners (1 Peter 1:20).
The Father and the Son entered into a compact and a covenant. The Son was to accomplish the work assigned to Him (John 12:27; John 17:2, John 17:4), and the Father promised that as a result a great number of men and women from all nations would be given to Him as His inheritance (Psalms 2:7-8) and He should be supreme Head to the Church (Ephesians 1:22; Philippians 2:7-11; Hebrews 12:2).
The world was prepared for the great event of the Cross by many symbols and illustrations:
  • The Old Testament sacrifices all looked forward to the coming of Jesus and His death upon the Cross for sinners (John 1:29, John 1:36; Hebrews 9:24; Hebrews 10:3-14).
  • The Passover Lamb was a picture of Jesus (Exodus 12:21-23; 1 Corinthians 5:7) and Jesus used the feast of the Passover to establish the Lord's Supper as a reminder of the meaning of His death (Luke 22:7-22).
CHRIST TOOK THE PUNISHMENT DUE TO SINNERS.
THE INITIATIVE IN THE CROSS WAS GOD'S.
Loving the world so much God gave His Son (John 3:16).
It was God's will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer (Isaiah 53:10).
The bitter experience of the Cross was accepted by the Son as the Father's will (Matthew 26:39, Matthew 26:42).
The design of the whole plan of Christ's atoning death for our sins and His satisfying God's anger against us was the Father's (Romans 3:25).

CHRIST WILLINGLY DIED UPON THE CROSS.
Before the creation of the world Christ had committed Himself willingly to the Cross (Isaiah 50:4-7; Hebrews 10:5-10; 1 Peter 1:20).
He laid down His life (John 10:11, John 10:18).
He poured out His life to death (Isaiah 53:12).
He gave Himself up as an offering and a sacrifice to God (Ephesians 5:2).

CHRIST BORE THE PUNISHMENT DUE TO SINNERS.
He bore the sin of many (Isaiah 53:12; 1 Peter 2:24).
He bore the wrath of God against sin that sinners deserve (John 3:36; Romans 1:18; 1 John 2:2; 1 John 4:10).
He bore the curse of the law that sinners through their disobedience deserve to experience - death and separation from God (Galations 3:10, Galations 3:13; Isaiah 59:2; Romans 5:12; Mark 15:34).
He bore the pains of death and the grave that sinners deserve (Psalms 18:5; Mark 15:33-34).

WE CANNOT OVEREMPHASIZE EITHER THE WORTH OR THE ETERNAL CHARACTER OF CHRIST'S SACRIFICE.
The punishment He suffered was sufficient to satisfy for the transgressions of all because He who suffered was not only a man, but God also. He was of infinitely more value than all those who had offended (Romans 5:9; Hebrews 9:13-14).
His sacrifice was final - once and for all - and utterly sufficient for all time (1 Peter 3:18; Hebrews 9:26; Hebrews 10:11-14).

THE BENEFITS ACHIEVED BY CHRIST'S DEATH.
The justice of God was satisfied (Isaiah 53:11).
  • The punishment sin deserves has been allotted and carried out (Isaiah 53:4-6; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
  • God has shown Himself just and may justify all those who have faith in Jesus (Romans 3:26; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
Redemption from the power of sin, death and hell was made possible for sinners:
  • The price of redemption has been paid in full by Christ (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; 1 Timothy 2:6) - the price being His own precious blood (Acts 20:28; 1 John 1:7).
  • Christ has utterly overcome and defeated Satan, death and the powers of hell, that hold us captive. The devil's power is broken (Hebrews 2:14). As a consequence the power of death is broken too (John 5:24; Hebrews 2:14; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57). Furthermore, through Christ we may escape the coming wrath of God (1 Thessalonians 1:10).
The new covenant that God had promised was confirmed:
  • It was promised when Adam sinned (Genesis 3:15).
  • Both Christ and the covenant were promised to Abraham (Genesis 12:3; Galations 3:8, Galations 3:16).
  • Yet more details were promised through the prophets (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Jeremiah 32:40).
  • This new covenant could come into operation only by the work of Jesus as Mediator (Hebrews 8:6, Hebrews 10-13).
  • A testament or a covenant demands a death - a testament is operative only after a death - and Christ made valid the new covenant by the shedding of His blood, the blood of the eternal covenant (Hebrews 9:14-26; Hebrews 13:20).
Grace and glory are assured for all who enter into this new covenant:
  • Having given His Son to die such a death, there is nothing good and beneficial that God will fail to lavish upon those who are saved by it (Romans 8:32; Hebrews 4:16).
  • Every spiritual benefit in this life and in that to come is assured (Ephesians 1:3-14).
  • Eternal life is the gift of Christ to those who are saved by His death (John 14:1-6; John 17:2-3).
These benefits may be summed up in the word 'reconciliation'. Through God's work in Christ of reconciling the world to Himself, our sins and misdeeds need no longer be counted against us (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). United to Christ we may receive a new life altogether (2 Corinthians 5:17) and be declared righteous by God (2 Corinthians 5:21).

ONLY BY CHRIST'S DEATH MAY WE BE RECONCILED TO GOD. THE MESSAGE OF THE GOSPEL IS PLAIN: BE RECONCILED TO GOD THROUGH CHRIST (2 CORINTHIANS 5:18-20).

What is the significance of the Resurrection of Christ?

God the Father raised Christ from the dead, in fulfilment of the Scriptures and of Christ's own promises, declaring Christ to be His Son, and His acceptance of Christ's redemptive work, guaranteeing the justification, spiritual life and final resurrection of all believers.

THE FACT OF THE RESURRECTION IS AT THE CORE OF THE GOSPEL.
The Resurrection was the work of the Father (Acts 2:24; Acts 3:15; Acts 10:40; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 2:12) by the power of the Spirit (Romans 8:11; 1 Peter 3:18).
The centrality of the Resurrection is seen in the trouble to which the New Testament goes, and the Gospels especially, to give the facts concerning our Lord's appearances. Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9; John 20:18), the women (Matthew 28:8, 9), Simon Peter (Luke 24:34), two disciples (Luke 24:13-35), all the apostles, except Thomas (John 20:19, John 20:24), Thomas himself (John 20:26-28), the apostles at the Sea of Tiberias (John 21:1), the apostles in Galilee (Matthew 28:16-17), about 500 disciples (1 Corinthians 15:6), James (1 Corinthians 15:7), all the apostles (Luke 24:51; Acts 1:9; 1 Corinthians 15:7), and Paul (1 Corinthians 15:8).

THE RESURRECTION GIVES OUR FAITH SUBSTANCE
THE RESURRECTION WAS CENTRAL IN THE WITNESS OF THE APOSTLES.
'We are witnesses' was their theme (Acts 3:15; 1 Corinthians 15:14-15).
Every apostle had to be a personal witness of Christ's Resurrection (Acts 1:22).
The distinctive characteristic of their preaching was the power with which they bore witness to the Resurrection of Christ (Acts 4:33).
They knew and preached a living Christ (Acts 25:19; 2 Timothy 2:8).

THE OLD TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES DEMANDED THAT THE RESURRECTION SHOULD TAKE PLACE.
The Messiah was not to be allowed to experience decay (Psalms 16:10; Acts 13:34-35).
Everything written about Christ in the law of Moses, the prophets and the Psalms demanded fulfilment (Luke 24:44; John 20:9; Acts 26:22-23).

CHRIST FORETOLD HIS RESURRECTION.
At the beginning of His ministry He had hinted at it (John 2:19-22).
When Peter confessed Jesus as the Messiah, the first clear revelation about the Resurrection was given to the disciples (Matthew 16:21).
The experience of the Transfiguration was not to be reported until after the Resurrection (Mark 9:9).
Jesus clearly foretold His Resurrection to the disciples (Matthew 20:19; Mark 14:28).



THE RESURRECTION WAS NECESSARY TO DEMONSTRATE IRREFUTABLY THE TRUTH OF ALL CHRIST'S CLAIMS.
By His life, words and miracles Jesus had made many claims (Luke 11:20; John 10:18; John 11:25; John 14:6).
From the lips of a mere human being such claims would have been blasphemous (Matthew 26:63-66). If such a one died and remained dead as other people then the charge of imposter would be true but if He rose again from the dead the truth of His claim - that He was from God and was the Son of God- would be vindicated (Matthew 27:63-66; compared with Acts 5:38-39, applying the latter words for the moment to the Resurrection.)

THE RESURRECTION WAS NECESSARY TO GIVE FINAL PROOF OF CHRIST'S DEITY.
The Resurrection was a declaration of the Father, as promised in the Old Testament, that Jesus is His Son (Psalms 2:7; Acts 13:33).
By raising Christ to life again by the power of the Holy Spirit, God the Father clearly and obviously marked Christ out as His Son - the Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity (Romans 1:4).
It was impossible for death to keep Christ in its grip (Acts 2:24) - of God alone can such a claim be justly made.

WITHOUT THE RESURRECTION WE WOULD NOT KNOW THAT CHRIST'S DEATH ACHIEVED ITS OBJECTS SO FAR AS SIN IS CONCERNED.
Without it the gospel would be null and void (1 Corinthians 15:14).
Without it there would be no hope of forgiveness (1 Corinthians 15:17).
Without it we would be utterly lost with no possibility of salvation (1 Corinthians 15:19).
Jesus' Resurrection declares the acquittal of believers from every charge that was against them on account of their sins (Romans 4:25; Romans 8:34).

THE RESURRECTION WAS NECESSARY TO PROVIDE A SOLID BASIS FOR FAITH.
Christ showed Himself alive by many convincing proofs (Acts 1:3).
God's acceptance of Christ's work is demonstrated by the Resurrection (see above): through Christ men and women may approach God with confidence (1 Peter 1:21).
The Resurrection gives our faith substance (Romans 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 15:17).

THE RESURRECTION WAS NECESSARY TO GIVE A LIVING HOPE.
Christians' hope or assurance arises from Christ's Resurrection: through His Resurrection we receive new life (Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12; 1 Peter 1:3).
Believers have a living hope regarding the resurrection of the dead, for God who raised up Christ will raise up them also (1 Corinthians 15:20, 1 Corinthians 15:23; Acts 26:23; 1 Corinthians 6:14; 2 Corinthians 4:14).
Believers have a living hope regarding the resurrection of the body, for Christ's Resurrection is the pattern of theirs (Luke 24:35, Luke 24:39, Luke 24:42-43; John 20:20, John 20:27; Romans 6:5; 1 Corinthians 15:49; Philippians 3:21).

THE RESURRECTION WAS NECESSARY TO DEMONSTRATE THAT CHRIST MAY BE KNOWN TODAY.
Paul proved the truth of this experience, at first to his great amazement (Acts 9:1-9).
Paul then made the knowing of Christ, and the experiencing of the power of His Resurrection, an objective of his life (Philippians 3:10).

THE RESURRECTION WAS NECESSARY TO GIVE ASSURANCE OF THE FINAL JUST JUDGMENT OF THE WORLD.
People wrongly condemned Christ; God the Father vindicated Him by the Resurrection, thereby judging those who dealt with Christ so falsely (Acts 2:22-24).
God will have the world judged and justly judged by Christ - He has given proof of this by His Son's Resurrection (Acts 17:31).



THE RESURRECTION WAS NECESSARY TO ILLUSTRATE THAT THE LAST WORD IS ALWAYS WITH GOD. PEOPLE CALLED CHRIST A 'DECEIVER'; GOD THE FATHER - BY THE RESURRECTION - DECLARED HIM 'MY SON' (MATTHEW 27:63-66; PSALMS 2:7; ROMANS 1:4).

Will Christ come again?

Christ will come again, as promised, at a time not told us, in the same way as He was seen to return to heaven.

CHRIST'S SECOND COMING IS CLEARLY PROMISED IN THE BIBLE.
The Lord Jesus Christ Himself promised, 'I will come back' (Matthew 25:31; John 14:3).
His second coming is promised by the Old Testament prophets (Daniel 7:13-14; Zechariah 14:5).
The apostles bore witness to Christ's second coming (Acts 3:20).
Peter declares that Christ will be revealed (1 Peter 1:13).
John declares that Christ will appear and Christians will see Him as He is (1 John 3:2).
Paul preached with urgency in view of the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ yet to come (1 Timothy 6:14).
The Lord's Supper is intended to be a perpetual reminder of the Lord's second coming for it is an 'interim' measure 'until he comes' (1 Corinthians 11:26).
A common greeting amongst the early Christians seems to have been 'Maranatha' - 'Come, O Lord!' (1 Corinthians 16:22).

WE WILL LIVE REMEMBERING THAT TIME IS SHORT
SIGNS OF CHRIST'S COMING AGAIN ARE INDICATED IN THE BIBLE.
The second coming of Christ will be preceded by anguish and perplexity among the nations (Luke 21:25).
There will be signs in sun and moon and stars (Matthew 24:29; Luke 21:25).
The second coming will be preceded by concern and fear over coming events: people will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world (Luke 21:26).
The second coming will be preceded by the appearance of many antichrists (1 John 2:18).
Many will abandon the faith and false teaching will be on the increase (1 Timothy 4:1-3).

THE PRECISE TIME OF CHRIST'S SECOND COMING IS NOT STATED.
It is natural for us to want to know the timing of everything (Mark 13:4).
But no one knows the day or the hour of Christ's second coming, except the Father (Matthew 24:36; Mark 13:32).
We are not intended to know the exact time (Acts 1:6-7).
Christ will be sent by the Father at the appointed time (Acts 3:20, 21).
Christ's coming will be at the unexpected moment (Matthew 24:44; Luke 12:40) - in the twinkling of an eye (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).
His coming will be sudden (Mark 13:36) - like lightning (Matthew 24:27) or a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 16:15).
The world will be totally unprepared for the second coming of Christ even as it was unprepared for the coming of the flood in the time of Noah (Matthew 24:38).
There is no delay regarding the Lord's coming (Hebrews 10:37): the only reason for any appearance of delay in the Lord's return is God's patience, in that He does not want anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
The coming of the Lord Jesus approaches with the passing of each day (Hebrews 10:25). vHis coming will be soon (Revelation 22:7, Revelation 22:12, Revelation 22:20).
His coming is always to be considered as being at hand (Romans 13:12; 1 Peter 4:7).

WE ARE TOLD SOMETHING OF THE MANNER IN WHICH CHRIST WILL COME.
He will come in the same way as He was seen to go into heaven (Acts 1:9-11).
He will come from heaven (Acts 3:21; Philippians 3:20; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 4:16).
He will come visibly (Matthew 24:30; Mark 13:26; 14:62; 1 John; 3:2; Revelation 1:7).
He will come openly (Matthew 24:27), and personally (Acts 1:11) - His coming will mean His presence after His absence (John 14:2-3).
He will come on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory (Matthew 24:30; Matthew 26:64; Revelation 1:7) - the glory of His Father (Matthew 16:27).
He will come with His angels (Matthew 16:27; Matthew 25:31; Mark 8:38; 2 Thessalonians 1:7), and with all those who belong to Him, in blazing fire (1 Thessalonians 3:13; 2 Thessalonians 1:7).

CHRIST'S SECOND COMING SHOULD CONTINUALLY INFLUENCE CHRISTIANS IN THEIR CHARACTER AND CONDUCT.
We are to set our hopes fully on the grace that will be given us when the Lord Jesus Christ returns (1 Peter 1:13).
We are to anticipate the sight of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:8).
We are to long for His appearing (2 Timothy 4:8), eagerly awaiting it (1 Corinthians 1:7; Philippians 3:20; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; Titus 2:13) and praying for it (Revelation 22:20).
Having this hope before us, we will find ourselves stimulated to pursue purity and holiness (1 Thessalonians 3:13; 2 Peter 3:11-12; 1 John 3:3).
Our conduct will be influenced and regulated by this truth as it is ever before us (1 Peter 4:7-11).
We will use the apparent 'delay' in the Lord's return to bring about people's salvation by the preaching of the gospel (2 Peter 3:15), at the same time speeding His coming by this activity (2 Peter 3:12).
We will aim at being alert and ready for the Lord Jesus when He comes (Matthew 24:42; Matthew 25:5-6; Mark 13:33, Mark 13:35-37; Luke 12:40; Luke 21:36).
We will live remembering that time is short (1 Corinthians 7:29).
We need constant reminding of Christ's coming (Revelation 22:7, Revelation 22:12, Revelation 22:20).



UNBELIEVERS FIND THE SECOND COMING A CAUSE FOR SCOFFING.
Unbelievers often scoff at Christ's coming (2 Peter 3:3-4).
People, who prefer to follow their own evil desires, scoff at the promise of Christ's coming, deliberately ignoring the Word of God (2 Peter 3:3-7).
Unbelievers will, nevertheless, be overtaken and surprised by the reality of the Lord's second coming (Matthew 24:37-39; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2; 2 Peter 3:10).