Raymond Arthur Waugh, Sr.
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Theme of All Scripture
Ray Waugh, Sr.
The Death of The Son
The Resurrection of The Son
The Witness to The Work
Looking At The Theme In Types
Looking At The Theme for Israel
The Theme In The New Testament
The Son's Work For Us
The Threefold Record And Witness
The Conclusion Concerning The Theme
Note about "The Theme of All Scripture by the author
"FOR THERE ARE THREE WHO BEAR RECORD IN HEAVEN; THE FATHER, THE WORD, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT; AND THESE THREE ARE ONE. AND THERE ARE THREE THAT BEAR WITNESS IN THE EARTH, THE SPIRIT, AND THE WATER, AND THE BLOOD; AND THESE THREE AGREE IN ONE...HE WHO BELIEVES ON THE SON OF GOD HAS THE WITNESS IN HIMSELF; HE WHO BELIEVES NOT GOD HAS MADE HIM A LIAR, BECAUSE HE HAS BELIEVED NOT THE RECORD THAT GOD GAVE OF HIS SON. AND THIS IS THE RECORD, THAT GOD HAS GIVEN TO US ETERNAL LIFE, AND THIS LIFE IS IN HIS SON."
Initially, "There are Three who bear record"!
You may ask, a record to what? That seems to be a fair question. We can say rather positively that it is essential that a record be of something or someone. Our first task, then, is to determine to what in particular the Three bear record. Because we know by the Word that the record is in Heaven, we know that we cannot actually grasp this record with our physical hands, and we cannot see it with our mortal eyes.
Nevertheless, we need not give up and assume that our task is an impossible one. For we were given the Word that that to which three bear record in Heaven is witnessed to in the earth by three. The emphasis is, "God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son."
Secondarily, "There are three that bear witness"!
The Scripture is exact, "The three bear witness in the earth and agree in One." Then, that to which the three bear witness in the earth, "The Three bear record in Heaven concerning the Son." This being true, we cannot properly disassociate the Son and His shedding of blood as far as our hope of eternal life is concerned for we read, "without the shedding of blood there is no remission (of sin)" Heb. 9:22. Our eternal life in the Son, then, depends on His shedding of His blood for the remission of our sins.
Since we cannot disassociate the Son and His Sacrifice, we should be able to understand that the record, which the Three bear in Heaven, is that to which the three bear witness in the earth. The record and the witness in truth are the same. It is but the difference of approach, one from above and one from below. The record in Heaven is of the Word that speaks of the Son's sacrifice to which there is witness in the earth.
The Death of The Son
We find that the Son of God was "delivered by the Determinate Counsel and Foreknowledge of God" into wicked hands to be "crucified and slain" (Acts 2:23). This means that He was to shed His Blood by being crucified, which meant He was to die on a cross. Clearly, He who, according to the Scriptures, was "without fault" and "without sin" was to die for sinful men. More than that, however, He was to be raised from the dead (Acts 2:24). And, by the Scriptures, we learn that He was to be raised from the dead to make intercession for all for whom He would shed His Blood (Heb. 9:24).
We had this word at the beginning, "There are three who bear record in Heaven; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one." We declare, then, that these three bear record in Heaven to the Son's death, burial, and resurrection. And, "There are three who bear witness in the earth, the Spirit, the Water, and the Blood; and these three agree in one." We state further, then, that they agree in the one work; namely, the Son's Death, His Burial, and His Resurrection.
That the burial is an essential part of His Work is to be seen very clearly in, "...as many as were immersed into Jesus Christ were immersed into His death. Therefore, we are buried with Him by immersion into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection; knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin" (Rom. 6:3-6). This word is clearly detailed in, "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he arose again the third day according to the Scriptures" (I Cor. 15:3-4).
Already, God has explained that the Work of the Son -- even His death, burial, and resurrection -- was determined by the counsel of Three. By this, we can know that it was not forced upon the Son. Rather, the Work was decided upon by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit who are the One God. Each of the Three was a participant in the covenant of the delivery of the Son to His Death, and that upon the Cross.
The Father did not force the work upon the Son, and the Holy Spirit did not force the work upon the Son. Neither did the Son decide of Himself. The delivery of the Son to death on His Cross was the Work of the Three. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit determined as One. As we have seen, the Son was "delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God...to be crucified and to die.
The Resurrection of The Son
We have seen that there was more to the Work of the Son than His death; that is, He also was to be raised from the dead. This, too, was determined by God, the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. According to the Scriptures, "Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father" (Rom. 6:4). Christ Jesus Himself had "power to lay down His life," and He had "power to take it again" (John 10:18). Further, in His resurrection, He was "quickened by the Spirit" (Acts 13:30). The wondrous truth is, "God raised Him from the dead" (Acts 13:30).
The work of any one of the Three is unquestionably the work of all Three. God, by the Scriptures, I believe, is delineating for us the truth that whenever the Father works, the Son works, and whenever the Son works, the Holy Spirit works. Whenever any one of the Three works, then God works. And whenever God works, the Three work (cf. John 5:19 and 15:26).
Clearly, the Three work as One and they as One work as Three. The record which they bear is one, but it is threefold. That is, the Three as One and the One as Three bear record that the Work of the Son is death, burial, and resurrection. This was the message of John when He said, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).
In his declaration, John had to be seeing beyond the death of the Lamb to His Ultimate Victory over death. Sometime later, the Apostle Paul substantiates or elaborates on this very truth with his word, "If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain, and you are yet in your sins...If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable" (I Cor. 15:17,19).
To this death and resurrection, then, there are three that bear witness in the earth. Jesus came forth from the water, the Spirit descended, and at Calvary's Cross there was the shedding of His Blood. The three bear witness to the one work. But the one work to which there is witness is also threefold; namely, death, burial, and resurrection.
The Witness to The Work
From the beginning, the Holy Spirit witnesses to the necessity of the shedding of blood for "the remission of sins" (Lev. l7:11). The Holy Spirit further pointed to "the tree" where the Supreme Sacrifice would be made. It would be there that the Son would shed His blood (cf. Isa. 53:12).
The Scriptures provide us with a very real message in, "Now it came to pass, after all of the people were immersed, that, Jesus also had been immersed, and as He was praying the heaven was opened; and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form, as a dove, and a voice came from heaven, 'You are my beloved Son; in You, I am well pleased'" (Lu. 3:21-22). Herein, we may say, the water bore witness that it necessary to be covered by the blood in order to receive remission of sins (cf. Heb. 13:20-21. And the blood bears witness that it is necessary for those who will believe to be resurrected after the fashion of the Son (cf. Rom. 6:5).
Furthermore, the blood bears witness that we can stand in the likeness of the Son as we who believe are identified with Him in His work of death, burial, and resurrection. This truth is evident in, "For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection; knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin...Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him...Likewise reckon you also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus christ our Lord" (Rom. 6:5-11).
And all of this is effected by our believing the Gospel. Therein, we repent of our sin, trust the Lord Jesus for our redemption, and look forward to our promised resurrection. Confirmation of this may be seen clearly in another word, "When we cry 'Abba! Father!' it is the Spirit Himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ; if it be that we suffer with Him, that we may be glorified together" (Rom. 8:15-17).
This theme of all Scripture, "death, burial, and resurrection," is made clear in the Word. We find this truth most specifically in, "Know ye not, that so many of us as were immersed into Jesus Christ were immersed into His death? Therefore, we are buried with Him by immersion into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection" (Rom 6:3-5).
If I may be permitted a word concerning the record, the witness, and the word, our repentance spells death for all that is past. Our believing the Gospel is our immersion which is the burial, the emblem of our covering. And we come forth to live, on the resurrection side of our believing, having died to self and to sin. The witness is wonderfully demonstrated in our going into the water, our being buried in the water, and our coming forth from the water. This witness, then, becomes our testimony. And those who are faithful both in believing and in testimony will demonstrate that faithfulness as those at Pentecost, "They who gladly received his word were immersed; and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls" (Acts 2:41).
Looking At The Theme In Types
Remembering from whence we have come, we recall that "There are three who bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one" (I John 5:7). Then, we specified, "There are three that bear witness in the earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood; and these three (agree in one) are in agreement concerning the Son" (I John 5:8). The "record in heaven" and the "witness in the earth," then, pertain to the Son's death, burial, and resurrection. This wondrous work, having been prepared "from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8) -- it was not available for angels, you see -- was in effect the moment that Adam and Eve sinned.
The first foreshadowing of the work of the Son was accomplished when God pronounced death because of Adam and Eve's sin. It was then that God shed the blood of animals in order that they might have a covering (Gen. 3:21). This act of God, in type, was a showing forth or a pre-picturing of the resurrection for they lived after the sacrifice of the animal that had to die in order that they might have "their nakedness covered." They lived after death had been pronounced and after the blood had been shed in order that they one day might experience resurrection and be freed from sin.
The second foreshadowing is found in, "And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of the flock, and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering" (Gen. 4:4). Here is evidence that it was on the basis of sacrifice and shedding of blood that Abel's sacrifice was acceptable to God. In this, Abel could look forward in type to the distant "slaying of the Lamb"; even though, in God's thinking, the Lamb was slain "from the foundation of the world." Very simply, God looked upon Abel's sacrifice and had respect to him and to his offering in anticipation of the death of His Only Begotten Son.
Subsequent to Abel's sacrifice, he was living on the resurrection side of the death of his sacrifice. It was not that the blood of animals could save from sin, but "the type" of the sacrifice was a picture (cf. Heb. 11:4). It foreshadowed the work of the Son of God who would offer Himself "once in the end of the world...to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself" (Heb. 9:26). We can know, then, that it was on the basis of the Son's sacrifice that Abel was accepted (cf. Heb. 11:40), even as "He has made us accepted in the beloved" (Eph. 1:6).
Thirdly, it is in the Scriptures that we find one of the most remarkable words in the annals of human history. That event of which God speaks so effectually has been and is great trouble for most the greatest scientific minds of this century and all previous ones. It troubled the mind of Aristotle and it troubled the mind of Einstein. It is that word, "Noah found grace in the eyes of God" (Gen. 6:8).
Most of the peoples of the earth even today, whether they are saved or whether they are lost, resist with all of the power their mortal minds can muster the implications of this word wherein we learn that "Eight people were saved" and that "all others in whom there was breath in the earth perished" (Gen. 7:21-23). In the course of this teaching, by means of the earthly turmoil that accompanied the flood of waters, God caused the fossil records which men deem to be essential to their "evolutionary proofs" and their "outlawing of God" to be in what even the scientists must concede to be "a sorry and a mixed-up mess."
Yet, in it all, God has had and God has but one message; namely, there is an Ark of Safety for all who "find grace in the eyes of God," those who can believe! That Ark of Safety is the Lord Jesus Christ who, in His death, His burial, and His resurrection, becomes the Savior of all of those whom God has "chosen from the foundation of the world," those who will believe this "Good News," even as Noah in that distant day.
In the life of Abraham, we find this theme of death, burial, and resurrection very prominent. This was especially so with regard to the sacrifice which he was to make on a mountain in Moriah (Gen. 22:1-14). God told Abraham to take his only son, Isaac, and to go into the land of Moriah and to offer him on one of the mountains that God would show him. When Isaac did not see any animal for the sacrifice, he asked his father, "Where is the Lamb for the burnt offering?" (Gen. 22:7). His father responded, "My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering" (Gen. 22:8).
Regarding the narrative, we remember that Abraham was about to sacrifice his only son, when God spoke again, "Lay not thine hand upon the lad" (Gen. 22:12). Isaac was spared! Had Isaac died at that moment, there would have been no place for the Perfect Lamb, the Perfect Sacrifice! Wonder of wonders! Abraham "looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son" (Gen. 22:13).
In this, both Abraham and Isaac looked forward typically to the death of the Son of God. For Jesus was offered instead of every sinner who will believe on Him. As our God explains for us, He "gave himself a ransom for all" (I Tim. 2:6). Truly, it is written, that "He should taste death for every man" (Heb. 2:9). If we truly can receive it, this should be cause for much rejoicing, "Christ has also once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust (the sinless for the sinful), that He might bring us to God" (I Pet. 3:18). Christ Jesus became our Perfect Substitute!
Instead of Isaac, the ram was offered. This was a prophecy in type of the death of Jesus. And instead of you and instead of me -- and all others who will believe -- the Lamb of God was offered, "God's Only Son"!
It is no marvel, then, that Isaac found it to be most convenient to be identified with the sacrifice. By the sacrifice of the ram, Isaac was permitted to live. From his position on this side of the sacrifice, Isaac could look back -- even as you and I can do today! He could see that he was truly on the resurrection side of sacrifice.
Abraham, too, is to be numbered with Isaac on the resurrection side of the sacrifice. In the faith which he manifested in the taking of his son, he gave prophecy to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Heb. 11). "God so loved that He gave His only begotten Son" (John 3:16). Abraham and Isaac were living on the resurrection side of sacrifice, even as we who have believed the Gospel and who have faith today.
Looking At The Theme for Israel
Miraculously, the children of Israel were delivered from the death of the unbelievers by "the sprinkling" or the covering of blood. On their last night in Egyptian slavery, there was the sacrifice of the Lambs. All of the Israelis participated in this Passover experience, and thereby looked forward to that hour when the Son of God would die. God makes this manifestly clear in Exodus 12:21-24. Israel was delivered from the judgment of death which the Egyptians experienced, and the Israelis were brought forth into new life.
The word which God decreed as Passover was a ritual which the children of Israel observed in all their generations in the Land. Often, they strayed from the right way of God's leading, but through the years the Passover was kept. Across the centuries, they were identified with the Son of God by their sacrifices and their memorial feasts.
Therefore, today, that people whom we know as "the Jews" still is a peculiar and hated people even though they walk in unbelief. Through the centuries, they have remained a people, though many nations and peoples have made a concerted effort to destroy them. As a people, they perhaps have experienced the ill-will and the persecutions of men as no other people who has ever lived upon the earth. And though individuals walk in unbelief, as a people they continue to be identified with the Son of God. God explains this in a measure in, "The adoption, and the glory and the covenants, and the giving of the law and service of God and the promises" (Rom. 9:4) pertain to them, as they can pertain to no others.
We can know, then, that they yet are identified with the Son of God in His death, burial, and resurrection. Today, they are buried in the nations of the earth. But the hour will come when God will bring to pass the marvel, "And so all Israel shall be saved; as it is written, 'There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.' This is my covenant with them, when I shall take away their sins" (Rom. 11:26-27). This will be their resurrection as a people and as a nation. We can know, then, that in the past they have been identified with the Son of God in His death, burial, and resurrection; and they are even today.
Therefore, there is no place for the Passover Sacrifice, except as it takes place in the hearts of men. The Passover Sacrifice is finished, but there is "The Lord's Supper" at which we "show the Lord's death until He comes" (I Cor. 11:26), thereby declaring His resurrection. "It is finished" is God's message for all who will hear the Good News, even His death, His burial, and His resurrection, and who will believe (John 19:30).
Today the Jews are "buried in the nations of earth." But it will not always be so. Rather, we read "that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in" (Rom. 11:25). This, however, is not the end. "Blindness in part is happened..." to this people that you and I might see God's preparation for a sacrifice, His provision of a sacrifice, and the attending resurrection which is His provision for our justification.
But there is more!
God makes His Sovereign Purposes and His Omnipotence known to all who will believe. The day of Israel's blindness will come to an end. As we have noted previously, "And so all Israel shall be saved; as it is written, 'There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.'" Though some might wish to relate themselves as Gentiles or they might like to think of themselves as Israel, God demonstrates that His concern in this regard pertains to "the Jews" when He declares that He "shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob." We may be assured absolutely that God is not speaking of Gentiles in this instance.
Prophetically, God will deal with His earth-people, the Nation of Israel, in due time, as we may see in a multitude of prophecies which we shall not reference here. In the meantime, as God deals with individuals in this Church Age, salvation continues to be by the Gospel, even the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus. And this Gospel is as much available to the Gentiles as it is to the Jews.
Something of the wonder and the beauty of the Apostle Paul's words may be seen in, "But unto those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God" (I Cor. 1:24), and in "For as many of you as have been immersed into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, their is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:27-28). And the means of that "oneness in Christ" comes to both Jews and Greeks or Gentiles by the wonder of that believing which is spoken to in, "If you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Rom. 10:9).
The Theme In The New Testament
In the climax of the preparation through the witness of the Spirit, God brought forth John to "Prepare...the way of the Lord" and "to make His Paths straight" (Mt. 3:3). He came, as God tells us, as "a witness to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe" (John 1:7).
This one came preaching repentance (cf. Mt. 3:8,11). The preaching of repentance spoke of putting away sin which meant death. He preached "Immersion...into water unto repentance (Mt. 3:11) which meant burial. And coming forth from the water, understandably, spoke of resurrection.
Knowing that all things were prepared, Jesus came "from Galilee to Jordan unto John to be immersed of him" (Mt. 3:13). John, however, was reluctant, "saying, I have need to be immersed of thee, and comest thou to me?" (Mt. 3:14). The response of Jesus was simple, yet eternally complete, as He indicated His desire to proclaim His work by the witness of the water, "Suffer it to be so now; for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness" (Mt. 3:15). In the desire of Jesus, we see His planned obedience in order that He might prophesy in this way His prospective death, burial, and resurrection.
Though multitudes of Christians and others may suppose that "water is a saving element," the Lord Himself is declaring here that the immersion in water is simply an act only of obedience. It is that God has determined what is right, and all who wish to be right in God's Program will be obedient.
This obedience does not effect one's salvation or redemption. It simply demonstrates that those who are faithful in believing the Word and who wish to be obedient as Jesus will follow through and be immersed after they have believed. This may be seen most dramatically in the Word, "So, then, those who had received the word were immersed; and the same day there were added about 3,000 souls" (Acts 2:41). All who desire to be obedient, then, as Jesus was obedient, will be immersed after they have believed the Word. All who do so show forth prophetically that which Jesus prophesied on the day of His immersion, even His death, His burial, and His resurrection.
The word of God is very specific, then John "immersed Jesus in the water" and further prophesied His death and His burial. Following this, Jesus came forth from the water to receive the manifestation of the Holy Spirit and thereby prophesied His resurrection. By this witness of the water, our Lord Jesus proclaimed His death, His burial, and His resurrection that He would one day accomplish just outside of Jerusalem.
If we somehow can suppose that "baptism" -- by whatever means, sprinkling, pouring, or immersing -- in some manner relates to salvation or helps in one's being saved, then we have missed the meaning of the witness of the water. All who find it essential to move in this direction spiritually or intellectually have missed completely both the wonder and the beauty of our Lord's death, burial, and resurrection. And one who has missed the import of His death, burial, and resurrection has missed completely the wonder of an understanding of "the Gospel which is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek" (Rom. 1:16).
In his own personal testimony, as Peter's some months later, John related the past and the future wonderfully in the present with, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). The Apostle Peter's words later were, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Mt. 16:16). At that time, sadly, Peter was missing the import and the meaning of the prospective death of Jesus. Thankfully, during the course of his earthly ministry, Peter would leave us these wonderful words of wisdom concerning Jesus, "He bore our sins in His Body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness; by whose stripes you were healed" (I Pet. 2:24). Herein is his word of death, burial, and resurrection!
As soon as Peter had made his glorious statement, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God," Jesus confirmed that Peter's wisdom was heavenly. Jesus declared it to be so when He said, "Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven" (Mt. 16:17).
Jesus enunciated His deity and spoke of His Work in a multitude of ways. In each emphasis He enables us to see something of the early witness of His Coming, His Dying, and His Resurrection. In one instance, we recall His words, "Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die it abides alone. But if it dies it brings forth much fruit" (John 12:24).
In finality, the death of Jesus was to be both physical and relational. The Scriptures are absolute concerning the fact that "The Shepherd was smitten and the sheep were scattered" (Mk. 14:27). In spite of His Wonderful Words and His Wonderful Works, the Son of God was forsaken by all. Herein, we see the nature of men in the past, the nature of men today, and the nature of men in the future so long as time shall last. Through the Apostle Paul, God documents this nature most exactly in, "There is none righteous, no not one; there is none who understand, there is none who seek after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none who do good, no not one" (Rom. 3:10-12).
The Son's Work For Us
From the human perspective, the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus would appear to be a simple act of political expediency. On the surface it seems that all the mob had to do was to raise its voice and cry in derision, "Crucify Him, crucify Him" (Lu. 23:21), and the judgment was made.
When we consider, however, that He was "The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8), we must have something more than a human perspective. As we grasp by faith, even in a measure, the meaning of God's Word, "According as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love; having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he has made us accepted in the beloved; in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace..." (Eph. 1:4-7), we should find it most convenient to rejoice. That is, with at least a minimal understanding of this glorious truth as it relates to our Lord's death, burial, and resurrection, our hearts should be unendingly happy, for herein is our God's eternal provision of salvation for all whom He chooses.
And when we consider that Jesus was the Son of God, and as well, the Son of Man -- God manifested in the flesh -- we can comprehend something of the immensity of His death. The picture in its intensity shows us the bruised, wounded, bleeding body of the One by whom "were all things created, that are in heaven, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him and for him" (Col. 1:16). Something of the agony of His death, and, especially, His forsakenness in that paradoxical eternal moment is evidenced in His cry, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mk. 15:34).
Thankfully, for you and for me, and for all who will believe the Gospel in time, Jesus faced the issue of His death before He ever came since He, as one of the Godhead, was involved in "The determinate Council"! Too, there in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus faced the final issues of time and eternity as He prayed, "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt" (Mt. 26:39). When He arose from that prayer, Jesus was ready for His betrayal, His trials, and finally His death on the Cross. The goal which had been predetermined in eternity past was finalized for you and for me, and for all who will believe! Jesus, then, was timelessly and eternally ready for His death, His burial, and His resurrection.
The Threefold Record And Witness
As we have noted earlier, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit were each involved in the death of the Son at Calvary. God's love in action provided salvation for all lost men who will believe in the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus, the Good News! By believing this Good News -- the Gospel -- we can partake of God's great love. And by believing the Gospel which "is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes" (Rom. 1:16), we can know salvation eternal.
This, then, is God's Work of death, burial, and resurrection, and it for all who have believed, all who are believing, and all who will believe so long as time shall last. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in Heaven bear the evident record. The Spirit, the water, and the blood accomplish the evident witness.
Where else but in the Holy Word of God will we find such simplicity? Where else but in the Holy Word of God will we find such completeness? Where else but in the Holy Word of God will we find such a glorious prospect of hope? Nowhere! The world can offer us nothing even to compare.
This work of death, burial, and resurrection may seem to have been or to be a simple work. Yet, it began in eternity, it effects us eternally even in time, and it will be the theme of our everlasting song. E're created man and woman had turned to defy God's Holy Word, already God had prepared salvation for all who would believe. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit bear record that this salvation is for all who believe and that this salvation is eternal life in the Son.
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit bear the record of the sufficient provision. The Spirit, the Water, and the blood bear the evident witness that the work is complete. And the Word of God is written and spoken that hearing we might believe, and that through believing we can have this Eternal Life which is in the Son. The Apostle John wonderfully explains this truth for all who will understand, "These are written, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life through His Name" (John 20:21).
The Conclusion Concerning The Theme
In the early hours of human history, "The Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering" (Gen. 4:4). A little later, "Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord" (Gen. 6:8). Both then and today, "He has made us to be accepted in the Beloved" (Eph. 1:6). In finality, and for all of time, "The Spirit and the Bride say come...And let him who is athrist come. And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely" (Rev. 22:17).
Then and now, and so long as time shall last, it is "the Gospel of Christ which is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile" (Rom. 1:6). And if we can receive it, the God who declares that "He is the same yesterday, and today, and forever" (Heb. 13:8) explains that His message has been and is the same. In every moment of the past, in every moment of the present, and in every moment of time yet to be, that Gospel timelessly is "That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he arose again the third day according to the Scriptures" (I Cor. 15:3-4).
Herein were Adam and Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Zechariah, Malachi, all of the Apostles except Judas Iscariot who did not believe and who betrayed Him, and a multitude of others eternally redeemed by believing. Herein, we are saved today by believing in the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus. As He was the Substitute for Isaac in the day of Abraham's selfless faithfulness, so today, we can know that Jesus died in our stead, as our Substitute. And it is in His Resurrection that we have hope, and that eternal!
In wondrous climax, we can know that faithfulness must forever be selfless! In His coming, in His dying, in His burial, and in His resurrection, Jesus manifested His selfless obedience to the eternal purposes of "The Counsel of God," of which His Counsel was a part in "the heavenly record." His death, His burial, and His resurrection are evidence of His selfless faithfulness, and herein is "the witness in the earth." In His selfless faithfulness for all who will believe, Jesus shows forth "The Theme of All Scripture"!
Note about this article
This will be "The Theme of All Scriptures"! It is the first message that I ever wrote out completely. If my memory serves me correctly, I probably did this in the latter part of July and the early part of August, 1943, just a month or so before I entered the Service. It was followed by "Faith in God's Word," also completed before I entered the Service in September. I sent them to A. D. Muse in Long Hand, and he then in 1944 and 1945 ran them in serial form in his paper, THE HARVESTER. At that time I knew nothing, absolutely nothing, of Dispensationalism or that I was going counter to Dispensataionalism. I also submitted the same to E. Schuyler English of OUR HOPE magazine. Though he had published my "Reconciliation Between God and Men," he refused this one, stating that the passage I used as a text was deemed to be "spurious"! What he did not like, of course, was "Baptism" -- Death, Burial, and Resurrection -- proving rather tragically that even the best of men sometimes use their own thinking toward truth, rather than the Scriptures. He was Presbyterian and would have nothing to do with "Death, Burial, and Resurrection" baptism!
Last updated Friday, October 17, 2008
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