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The primary task of the Church is not to educate man, is not to heal him physically or psychologically.... I will go further; it is not even to make him good. These are things that accompany salvation; and when the Church performs her true task she does incidentally educate men and give them knowledge and information...she does make them good and better than they were. But my point is that those are not her primary objectives. Her primary purpose is not any of these; it is rather to put man into the right relationship with God, to reconcile man to God. (Preaching & Preachers, 30)
I think that if you or I met the prophet Ezekiel or Hosea brought his whore wife over for dinner or John the Baptist sat at your table and demanded to be fed locusts and honey, we'd call the cops never mind anathematize them. I always ask people when they start parsing the life of Elvis or Bono or some lesser mortals and whether they are heaven bound what their reaction would be if the Apostle Paul showed up a few years after his conversion to speak in your hometown church, and he had been responsible for killing your parents. Not likely you’d be dropping a bundle in the offering that night.
God the Father is active in our sanctification as the one who will accomplish it, and who sets the standard of it: “May the God of peace himself sanctify you” and “equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in you what is pleasing in his sight.” (I Thess. 5:23; Hebrews 13:20-21). Elsewhere (in True Spirituality, Works III:275) Schaeffer says, “When we accept Christ as our Savior, we are immediately in a new relationship with God the Father. … but, of course, if this is so, we should be experiencing in this life the Father’s fatherliness.”
God the Son is involved in our sanctification in that it is the purpose for which he died: “Christ gave himself for the church, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word… gave himself to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” (Ephesians 5:25-26; Titus 2:11-14)
God the Spirit is the holy one who makes us holy: “you were washed, you were sanctified…by the Spirit of our God… and are being transformed from glory to glory… by the Lord who is the Spirit … and we are saved through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.” (I Cor 6:11; II Cor 3:18; II Thess 2:13)
The first point in Schaeffer’s Bible study on the Trinity is that the God of the Bible is personal: God has plans which he considers in advance and then carries out with purpose (Eph. 1:4). Not only does he think but he takes action, real action in space and time (Gen. 1:1). And not only does he think and act, but he feels. He loves the world (John 3:16). “Love is an emotion. Thus the God who exists is personal. He thinks, acts, and feels, three distinguishing marks of personality. He is not an impersonal force, nor an all-inclusive everything. He is personal. When He speaks to us, He says “I” and we can answer Him “You.””
One of Schaeffer’s favorite phrases for the personhood of God was that he was “personal on the high order of Trinity,” and the next step in his basic trinitarian Bible study is to state all the biblical evidence about unity and diversity in the God of the Bible. The Old Testament teaches, and the New Testament reaffirms, that there is only one God (Deut. 6:4; James 2:19). “But,” Schaeffer goes on, “the Bible also teaches that this one God exists in three distinct persons.” His first line of evidence for this claim is the divine plurals used in the language of the Old Testament: “Who will go for us” (Isa. 6:8), “Let us make man in our image” (Gen. 1:26), “Let us go down and confuse their language” (Gen. 11:7). “In this verse, as in in 1:26, the persons of the Trinity are in communication with each other.”
These Old Testament plurals, it seems to me, would not be enough to prove the Triunity of the one God all by themselves. They are odd enough to require some explanation: Why would a consistently monotheistic revelation use words like we, us, and ours? And they might point to a certain fullness or richness of God’s inner life. But solid trinitarianism has to wait until the Son and the Spirit are directly revealed in the events of the New Testament. What Schaeffer primarily wants us to learn from these passages, however, is not triunity itself but the fact that it pre-exists creation. Combined with a few New Testament insights (”you loved me before the foundation of the world,” said Jesus to his Father in John 17:24), these plurals show that “Communication and love existed between the persons of the Trinity before the creation.” And that matters a lot to Schaeffer, because it means that when God reveals himself as Father, Son, and Spirit, he is revealing who has always been.
When he turns to the New Testament, Schaeffer highlights the baptism of Christ (Matt. 3:16-17) because of the clarity with which each of the three persons is shown there. He also points to a few of the passages where all three persons are named in a single verse: Matt. 28:19; John 15:26; I Peter 1:2.
With this biblical doctrine of God as his foundation, Schaeffer’s soteriology is explicitly trinitarian. Under the heading of salvation, the Trinity is not the very first thing Schaeffer teaches. That priority is reserved for a classic Protestant statement of the biblical doctrine of salvation by grace alone through faith alone. But from that all-important point of entry, the very next thing Schaeffer wants to say is that what this justification introduces us into is a new relationship, or web of relationships, to the Triune God:
This new relationship with the triune God is, then, the second of the blessings of salvation, justification being the first. This new relationship, as we have seen, is threefold:
1. God the Father is the Christian’s Father.
2. The only begotten Son of God is our Savior and Lord, our prophet, priest and king. We are identified and united with Him.
3. The Holy Spirit lives in us and deals with us. He communicates to us the manifold benefits of redemption.
In summary, commenting on 2 Cor 13:14, Schaeffer says “The work of each of the three persons is important to us. Jesus died to save us, the Father draws us to Himself and loves us, and the Holy Spirit deals with us.”
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We might note ... that the death of Jesus Christ was not an afterthought in history. It isn’t that sometime, say, around 100 B.C. God said, “What shall we do about this?” and then suddenly the idea of the death of Christ dawned on Him. Rather, 1 Pet 1:19-20 and other passages indicate that the death of Christ, “ the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot,” was “foreordained before the foundation of the world.” Thus the death of Christ in space and time, planned before history began, the solution of man’s rebellion in the light of God’s character of holiness and love, stood in the natural flow of all that had been.
We recall that numerous separations came about because of the Fall. There were alienations between God and man, man and himself, man and other men, man and nature, and nature and nature. The last separation is the separation between the Father and the Son when Jesus died on the cross. The separations that resulted from man’s Fall were brought to their climax as Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, being bruised and bearing our sins in substitution, cried aloud, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46).
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I was wondering if you had any 'outward focus minded' people in your church that would be interested in reaching out to the people at XXXXX Apartments? As I try to turn the property around I feel there is a spiritual darkness there. It's tough for me as the owner to reach out to them without them seeing it as an opportunity to take advantage of my being a Christian. I've already experienced this on a couple occasions. I feel the way to pursue this would be through the local church, that way tenants cannot misconstrue my Christianity with their unreasonable expectations. Please give me your thoughts on this. I would even be willing to rent out an apartment at a discount if you know someone who needs a place to live while ministering and reaching out to the folks there. I feel the best way to turn the property around is to transform lives and bring some spiritual light to the area. Hope to hear from you soon!
Here is the most famous summary of the gospel in the entire Bible. For connects to v.15 and explains what happened to make it possible that someone can “have eternal life” (v.15), that is, through believing in Christ. God so loved the world was an astounding statement in that context because the OT and other Jewish writings had spoken only of God's love for his people Israel. God's love for “the world” made it possible for “whoever” (v. 15) believes in Christ, not Jews alone, to have eternal life. God's love for the world was not mere sentiment but led to a specific action: he gave his only Son, which John elsewhere explains as sending him to earth as a man (v. 17) to suffer and die and thereby to bear the penalty for sins (see note on 1 John 2:2; cf. Rom. 3:25). On “only Son,” see note on John 1:14, which contains the same Greek phrase. The purpose of giving his Son was to make God's great gift of eternal life available to anyone—to whoever believes in him, that is, whoever personally trusts in him (see note on 11:25). Not perish means not perish in eternal judgment, in contrast to having eternal life, the life of abundant joy and immeasurable blessing in the presence of God forever. Those who “believe in” Christ have that “eternal life” and already experience its blessings in this present time, not yet fully, but in some significant measure.
John 11:25 Jesus does not merely say that he will bring about the resurrection or that he will be the cause of the resurrection (both of which are true), but something much stronger: I am the resurrection and the life. Resurrection from the dead and genuine eternal life in fellowship with God are so closely tied to Jesus that they are embodied in him and can be found only in relationship to him. Therefore believes in me implies personal trust in Christ. The preposition translated “in” (Gk. eis) is striking, for eis ordinarily means “into,” giving the sense that genuine faith in Christ in a sense brings people “into” Christ, so that they rest in and become united with Christ. (This same expression is found in Jn 3:16, 18, 36; 6:35; 7:38; 12:44, 46; 14:12; 1 John 5:10.) The “I am” statement here represents a claim to deity.
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We declare on scriptural authority that the human will is so desperately set on mischief, so depraved, so inclined to everything that is evil, and so disinclined to everything that is good, that without the powerful, supernatural, irresistible influence of the Holy Spirit, no human will ever be constrained toward Christ.
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