Hebrews Lesson 27 September 15, 2005
NKJ Acts 4:12 "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
We are getting into the center part of the next section. The last few verses that we studied vs. 5-9 set up the foundation and build a transition from the first chapter and the first major point in this development of Hebrews to the second major point. As we get into this point, I have to admit that we are getting into some very interesting material that is not normally handled. When it is handled, it isn't handled very well. That is often the case because people don't have a good model of the Christian life. We are so fortunate because in our tradition we have the influence by the tremendous teaching of C. I. Scofield and a lot of what he said. Although he didn't have things totally nailed down in the Scofield Study Bible, the influence that he had on dispensational thinking was profound. You had a unique influence on developing a dispensational understanding of the Christian life. There is a view of the Christian life that is uniquely dispensational. A lot of people just don't understand that. The more I have studied all of these issues, the more I am aware of the fact that dispensationalism is a unique development in history. A lot of people say that it sounds awfully arrogant as if no one had the truth until dispensationalism came along. Nobody is saying that.
In the development of doctrine in the course of the history of the Church Age, there has been a development of our understanding of doctrine. We see this easily when we study doctrines such as the trinity and Christology. We see examples that the early church wrestled with explaining the various things that the Bible taught about the trinity. For example, all three members were fully God. But the Bible also taught that there was one God. The Bible never puts that together and it was left to the church as they studied the Scriptures to learn how to properly articulate the doctrine of the trinity.
Then not long after that they had to deal with the issue of the deity and humanity of Christ. The conclusion was the doctrine of the hypostatic union and the Nicene Creed and ultimately the developing into the Calcedonian Creed. There is a constant development of the systemization of doctrine. We learn how to make things coherent and consistent with other things. The major planks are evident in dispensational thought such as the literal grammatical historical interpretation of Scripture. The key word is consistent literal grammatical historical interpretation of Scripture. It has been around since the early church. There is a huge parenthesis from about the 4th century due to the early influence of a church father named Origen up to the late 16th century when the dominant view that governed the church view on hermeneutics or interpretation was allegory. If you had an allegorical method of interpretation you will never come up with pre-millennial theology of any kind. A-millennialism was the order of the day. There were pockets of people here and there who held to pre-millennialism. There were pockets of people who held to distinction between Israel and the church. There was a small group here and a small group there but they didn't have training centers. They didn't have places where they could sit and develop their thinking within a consistent, coherent systemic theology. It wasn't until the end of the 18th century that several things came together and laid the groundwork for John Nelson Darby who systemized dispensational thought.
The three elements that you have to have for clean, clear systematic dispensational thought include first of all a literal grammatical historical view of interpreting Scripture. You are not coming in using allegory. You are not looking for hidden meanings or trying to make everything a symbol. That is the first thing.
The second thing you have to have is a view of prophecy as futuristic – that the events that Jesus talked about in Matthew 24 when the disciples asked what would be the signs of His coming and He talks about there will be wars and rumors of war. There would be famines. There are all the different signs of Matthew 24 of His coming. That is future. In Revelation chapters 4-22 are all future - unfulfilled. Once you have s future view of prophecy, a consistent literal interpretation is possible.
Then the third plank is your view of Israel. It is that God has a plan for Israel in the future. That is almost the core idea in dispensationalism. Somebody will ask you what a dispensationalist is. It is an important question today because dispensationalism is sort of the whipping boy today in the evangelical community. If anything has gone wrong it is those nasty dispensationalists. We get blamed for anything and everything. That is what is wrong with the church today. The dispensationalists are focusing everybody's attention on the future so the church isn't interacting properly with society today. There is no social agenda in the church so we have poverty and all of these different social problems because dispensationalists are all concerned about the by and by and not the here and now.
That is not true by the way. I have been reading off and on in the last several months a work done by a professor out at the master's college named Jim Owens. He has written a book on the history of fundamentalism from 1935 to around 1955. He demonstrated that it was a historic fundamentalist (that is what we would be) and evangelicalism that were at the cutting edge. They were shouting warnings about Hitler and anti-Semitism and a number of other issues before anyone else in the 1930's. Because we are Bible believers we are always on the margins and nobody listens to us. We are constantly being misunderstood. Our views are distorted. That is part of the angelic conflict. It is part of the spiritual warfare.
It is dispensationalism that is being abused by everybody today. Yet at the popular level, as opposed to the academic level, dispensationalism is as well known and as popular as ever was. A lot of that is due to a couple of very popular works that were published in the late 20th century. There was the "Late Great Planet Earth" that Hal Lindsey wrote. Even though there maybe things in there we might not agree with everything in terms of its correct exegesis of this passage or that passage. I remember several years ago Dr. Earl; Rodmacher who was the chancellor of Western Conservative Baptist Seminary said he didn't like the book but obviously God does. I have never had a congregation where there wasn't at least one member led to the Lord by reading "Late Great Planet Earth".
Then at the end of the 20th century we have the Left Behind series. There are a number of individual instances and issues that we may not agree with the way LaHay and Jenkins handled but overall the theology is solid. They build it on a pre-millennial, dispensational and pre-trib rapture orientation. The eschatology is fairly sound. This speaks to people at the popular level across America. So dispensational teaching is alive and well at the grass roots level even though at the seminary level and the academic level and the so-called respectability level it is often a whipping boy. There have been several years when at the evangelical theological society meetings which is a place for evangelical scholars to meet and have paper and debate and present academic papers dispensationalists always seem to be blamed for everything.
The reason that I am making these comments is that in the last couple of days I have spent some time with Dr. Mike Stallard. Mike was a few years behind me at Dallas. He is a professor of theology up at the Bible Baptist Seminary in Pennsylvania. He came down and is recruiting at the College of Biblical Studies. Yesterday he gave the faculty a talk about the state of dispensationalism today. It is pretty much reflected in what I just said. But see if you don't have a good understanding of dispensationalism and what God is doing in the church and what is happening in this age is unique and distinction from Israel then it affects every area of theology.
We always have to realize that every part of the Bible relates to every other part of the Bible. To understand one part of the Bible means that you have to in some sense understand every other part of the Bible. The whole of the Bible represents God's consistent and coherent revelation to man. The whole of the Bible represents a coherent thought system. If you change things in one place it changes things somewhere else. So it is important to maintain a consistency. Too often people think that consistency is a hob-goblin of little minds. So they just want to believe this thing over here and that thing over there. We live in an era known as post-modernism when people don't want to think their way to conclusions. They want to feel their way to conclusions. So it works itself out in the church in that we are producing people in the pew that don't want to learn to think about the Scriptures. They just want to feel about the Scriptures. They want to feel their way to God. That is why we have the popularity of so many of these mega churches that emphasize the praise and worship music. That praise and worship music grows out of a philosophy of worship that is non-Biblical in my opinion. Nobody ever goes into the history of all of this stuff. People think that it just popped up somewhere and this is where we are today. It has its roots in certain theological soil that is not consistent with sound Biblical doctrine.
When we come to subject matter that begins to be addressed in Hebrews 2:10, which is sanctification, we have to understand that there are different views of the spiritual life. We will get into some really interesting things here. But I have to make sure that we have a foundation. As I look out on the audience tonight, most of you have been around good Bible teaching for a while. You have a tremendous working knowledge of the Scripture. Most of you are incredibly Biblically literate. But we don't live in a Biblically literate church environment anymore.
Today I had lunch with Mike Stallard and we were talking about different things. He has been teaching at the seminary level for over ten years. I asked him what trends he saw in students that come into seminary – the brand new students. How have things changed in the last 10 years? He said that most of them are as biblically illiterate as they can be. It used to be that you could assume that people understood a dispensational chart. They knew the basic time line of Scripture. They knew about the patriarchs and the Exodus and then the period in the wilderness and the conquest and then the United Kingdom under Saul, David and Solomon. They knew the divided kingdom (the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom) and eventually the exile with the Babylonian captivity and the return from the exile and then the coming of Christ. They understood the basic timeline. But they don't understand the basic timeline anymore. If you mention dispensations they don't know what you are talking about.
This semester I am teaching a class on Old Testament survey at the College of Biblical Studies on Thursday mornings. Last week was the first class of seven students. As part of the introduction to the Old Testament I wanted to introduce them to dispensations and covenants because it is crucial to understand the flow of Old Testament history and theology. I asked how many knew what a dispensation was. No hands. How many had every heard the word dispensationalism. No hands. I asked how many had heard the word dispensation. No hands. I am thinking that I had to crank this material down to the bottom shelf. This gave me a heavy dose of reality. That is the situation we are in today. As a pastor it is something of concern. We have a congregation that is a very literate congregation. It is a very knowledgeable congregation. In terms of your understanding of doctrine and your understanding of terms, you can communicate fairly well. You understand at a certain level. Now I may be over your head every now and then but that is what part of teaching is all about. In my experience the teachers and professors that I always learned the most from were the ones who were teaching about 6 inches over my head. I had to stand on my tiptoes in order to be stretched and to learn. That has formed a foundation of my philosophy of ministry as a pastor.
The goal of the pastor is to teach the Word. It is not limited to just encouraging or motivating however that comes from the Word. My philosophy of ministry is that we have to teach because we have to learn to think biblically. You do not get that from what is commonly called preaching today. What is commonly called preaching today is more motivational. Even if it is Biblical and expositional it tends to be more application driven in the sense that it is designed to encourage and challenge people rather than trying to teach them how to think biblically as opposed to being influenced by their pagan or human viewpoint presuppositions. This is a case in point.
When you come to something like this it is theology that makes a difference in how you interpret the Scripture. But when I say that, I want to put a caveat in here. I don't interpret the Scripture this way because I'm a dispensationalist. I'm a dispensationalist because this is what the Scripture says. You always have to argue from Scripture to your theology not the other way around. Systematized theology which is what really started with John Nelson Darby in the early 1800's and then CI Scofield and his Scofield Reference Bible. CI Scofield mentored Louis Sperry Chafer who was the founder of Dallas Theological Seminary. Louis Sperry Chafer influenced hundreds of young men in the 30's and 40's who went out and taught dispensational theology. It was sad to say that somehow the ball got dropped because by the late 60's or early 70's you started having men come out of Dallas saying that the one thing that didn't help them much as a pastor was dispensationalism.
A drift began in the 70's. Then controversy started to arise in the 80's in the realm of spiritual life. Most people believed in a pre-trib rapture and pre-millennialism but how does dispensationalism affect my understanding of the spiritual life? How does dispensationalism affect my view of sanctification? Most men did not understand that there was a dispensational view of sanctification. Even men who were in doctrinal churches didn't understand that.
In 1983 a book came out called "The Five Views of Sanctification." There are actually seven or eight different models of the spiritual life, theologies of sanctification if you will. If you are not familiar with these books, this is hot stuff in Christian publishing. It is aimed at the seminary Bible college market for the last twenty years. They publish these books called "Three Views on Prophecy", "Five Views on Marriage and Divorce", and "Five Views on Sanctification". They take theologians who represent different schools of thought and they write an article defending their view. The other four guys respond to it. If you are a seminary student, this helps you to think because you see the differences in the different approaches. You see how different people exegete different verses and come to different conclusions. You learn to think analytically and critically about different views. In this book there was a chapter written by Dr. Walvoord the President of Dallas Seminary and probably the foremost exponent of Dr. Chafer's writings at the seminary. He wrote a chapter called the Augustinian Dispensational View of the Spiritual Life. I remember when that book came out. Men at Dallas were saying that they didn't know that there were different views of the spiritual life. Walvoord and Chafer clearly understood that. It has its roots in the understanding of the distinctions of what Jesus Christ did related to the spiritual life at the First Advent and the role of the Holy Spirit in the Church Age. I want to set up an introduction so that we can start putting some things together in our thinking to understand the spiritual life. This is a broad based introduction.
All theological systems can be summarized into one of two camps - either replacement theology or dispensationalism. What is replacement theology? Replacement theology refers to the fact that in their theological understanding and interpretation of Scripture the church replaces Israel in God's plan completely. The promises made to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, the promises made to David and the promises made to Israel promises made related to the physical land, promises related to the Davidic throne no longer belong to the Jews because they rejected Christ as the Messiah. So in replacement theology they lost it. Those promises are now given to the church. They believe in one people of God. There is not a distinction in replacement theology between Israel and the church. It is one people of God and the church replaces Israel. So that is what we mean by replacement theology. This works itself out across the spectrum of theological systems whether you are talking about Roman Catholicism, Lutheranism, the reform churches, Presbyterianism, Congregationalism, and all of those different camps. Many Baptists in American became influenced by dispensationalism in the early 20th century. Many of them historically were not. Lutherns, Reformed Baptists, Church of Christ and all of these different groups are all replacement theology. There is only one theology system that sees a distinction between Israel and the church, that God has a distinct plan and a future for Israel even though right now there is a parenthesis for the Church Age, that Israel will be restored and that God will literally fulfill the promises to Abraham Isaac and Jacob in terms of the literal land.
What would be the one question you would ask somebody if you had 5 seconds and you wanted to know if they understood the Scriptures correctly dispensationally, what would be the one question you would ask? One question says it all. Do you think Israel has a right to the land? In all of these systems, Israel has no right to the land. That is why all these groups tend to be anti-Semitic. At least they are anti-Zionistic. That is why Europe is not pro-Israel. Europe does not have a historical foundation and they were never impacted by dispensational theology. It is another example of how theology makes a difference in understanding politics and foreign policy. It has deeply and profoundly affected the United States and our support for Israel.
Now dispensationalism has this distinction between Israel and the church. That is going to play itself out in terms of our understanding of the Christian life. Not only do we have replacement theology vs. dispensationalism related to prophecy and Israel, but also it is interesting that it lines up when you talk about the spiritual life. All of these other systems want to base the spiritual life on morality. Just go out and do what the Scripture says to do. There is no development in these systems on the ministry of God the Holy Spirit in the spiritual life of the believer.
When I was a doctoral student I took a seminar on the Holy Spirit and had to read five or six books on theologies of the Holy Spirit. I read John Owens book on the Holy Spirit. John Owens was Cromwell's chaplain. He wrote a volume on the Holy Spirit that is considered by the Presbyterians to be the definitive work on the Holy Spirit. The second definitive book is a book by Abraham Kyper who is a reformed theologian and was the prime minister of the Netherlands in the late 19th century. He wrote a work on the Holy Spirit. Both of these books are about 600 pages of small, fine print. They never talk about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. They never talk about the filling of the Holy Spirit. They never talk about walking by the Holy Spirit. A couple of times they use the terminology but they never explain it. It is the use of a Biblical phrase without any meaning. What happened?
At the end of the 19th century you had two things happen historically. One was the rise of the Keswick movement that was influence by holiness theology. That had two influences. This is where you have to have a historical perspective to understand where we are and what is going on. At the end of the 19th century you have the Keswick Movement and the Holiness Movement. It had two different impacts. One was to impact Pentecostalism. The other was that verbiage out of the Keswick Movement influenced (because these guys were all in the same speaker circuit) a number of people like Moody, Scofield and Chafer all spoke on the same platform so they heard each other. So Scofield and Chafer were influenced by some of the terminology but they used it differently. That was something that was important to understand. Scofield and Chafer understood that the real issue in the Church Age was the Holy Spirit. The Pentecostals also emphasize the Holy Spirit but they did it from a mystical standpoint. There was a difference. Scofield and Chafer didn't handle the Holy Spirit in a subjective mystical aspect like the Pentecostals did. This is what sets up for the development of the understanding of the spiritual life in the 20th century in a way that had never been understood before in history. You go back and read Jonathan Edwards or Calvin or Luther. They just don't have a well-developed theology of the Holy Spirit. It gradually develops over the coming centuries. All of this has its impact because you see the connection between the dispensationalism and emphasize that there is a role for the Holy Spirit because of its future orientation it is going to open people's eyes up to the fact that what is happening today in terms of our spiritual lives is directly related to what is going to happen in the future.
When you come at this from other viewpoints you allegorize the throne of David for example so that Jesus is no longer going to come back and rule on the throne of David at sometime in the future you have Jesus on a symbolic throne of David at the right hand of God right now. So this changes how you are going to understand the dynamics of the spiritual life. One of the key verses for understanding this is what we started with last time in Hebrews 2:5.
NKJ Hebrews 2:5 For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels.
What are we talking about? We are talking about the time when Jesus is going to rule as the Son of David. It is in the world to come. It gives us a future orientation related to the kingdom. It changes the motivation for what is happening in the Church Age and in our spiritual lives. We are looking forward with anticipation to ruling and reigning with Christ. The writer of Hebrews then comes along with verse 5. He quotes Psalm 8 and concludes by saying that we don't see everything in subjection to Him now but we will see Jesus who is made lower than the angels in terms of His humanity and incarnation crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death. He ends that introduction on the theme of the grace of God.
Now he is going to develop from that verse 10. He lays the groundwork in the first 5 verses for us to understand what is happening today is related to what will happen in the future. Because of the fact that Jesus is going to have all things in subjection to Him in the future certain things have to happen now. So he goes back to explain in verse 10 to explain why things had to happen the way they did. And it relates to preparing a company of believers rule and reign with Him.
NKJ Hebrews 2:10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
That first word "for" is the Greek word gar which always indicates that the writer is giving a reason of explanation for what he just said.
He explains the principle of the grace of God.
Why was it necessary to provide a savior? The Greek word prepo refers to something that is proper, something that is fitting or becoming appropriate for the situation or correct for the task at hand. It is an imperfect tense. It is used for a progressive imperfect to make the action vivid or to emphasize it. So he is saying that is was the proper thing within the framework of God's plan to do this. What this tells us is that God is not operating in a wily-nily fashion. But there is a specific plan at work. That plan is working out certain things in human history in terms of where we are headed eschatologically. So that tells us that the study of prophecy is not something that is just to titillate people's curiosity about what is going to happen in the future or what is happening politically on the scene today. It is to help us understand where God is taking us and what He is doing with believers in history. This ultimately relates to the kingdom.
Who is the Him? This is an interesting phrase. Then we had two phrases in the Greek which are the kinds of things the Greek scholars love to argue about or discuss. The first phrase is translated for whom all things. It is a poor translation. It is the Greek preposition dia plus the accusative case of the relative pronoun. It indicates the idea of because. It was proper. It was the right thing for him to do because.
It is the same preposition again, dia. This time it is with the genitive case. It indicates two different aspects. The first one emphasizes "because of whom are all things." It indicates that God the Father is the ultimate cause of all things. Once again what doctrine does that take us to? It takes us to the doctrine of creation. We are moving from creation and the beginning of time to God's ultimate resolution of everything at the end of time.
This "by whom" indicates that one who is consistently maintains the universe. This is talking about God the Father. We have also seen that God the Son is involved in maintaining the universe. We saw that back in chapter 1:3. Colossians 1:16-17 also talks about Christ maintaining the universe. God the Father is involved also.
The main thought here progresses.
It is a parenthetical statement describing God. The glory is future. So we have moved from the past to the future indicating the fact that God's plan is complete. It covers all of time; it is exhaustive.
The word that is translated bringing (many sons into glory) is the Greek verb ago which means to lead. He is leading many sons to glory. The word ago can mean lead or bring or carry or remove. It has the idea of leading a company forward. It is an aorist participle. It lacks the definite article which means it is an adverbial participle. You have to identify the type of participle it is. You can't just leave it hanging as an "ing" word. What is the nuance? The nuance is that it is a participle of purpose. "In order to lead many sons to glory."
Literal translation: It was the right thing for Him in order to bring many sons to glory
He is operating today with the end in mind.
The word "sons" refers to every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ because at the instant of salvation we are adopted into the royal family of God. So we become adopted sons. It is a technical term. It doesn't have to do with whether you are male or female. It has to be with the legal status that we have as heirs of God in the royal family.
This brings up a very important point to understand. The goal was that in order to bring us to glory He had to make the captain of our salvation. That refers to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a term archegon which means a leader, a champion, a founder, or a pioneer. The King James translated it "author". It has the idea of being a pioneer. It is someone who goes there first. It is someone who sets a precedent.
Literal translation: In order to bring many sons to glory it was necessary to make the pioneer.
That is how is should be understood because what Jesus Christ is doing is pioneering the spiritual life. The way He lived the spiritual life during the time of His incarnation was different dynamics from the spiritual life of Israel. You see that if you don't have an understanding of the distinction of Israel from the church you are not going to come up with these kinds of distinctions. Jesus Christ is a pioneer. He is doing something different. He is setting the precedent in the time of the incarnation. He sets the precedent for the spiritual life of the Church Age. The precedent for the spiritual life in the Church Age isn't in the Old Testament. It is not following the Mosaic Law. It is not simple morality. It isn't simply doing what the Bible says to do. It is if you properly understand the role of the Holy Spirit.
Earlier I was talking about replacement theology. All of those systems are trying to pull themselves up by their own boot straps in terms of the spiritual life. It is only when you are looking at what developed out of dispensational theology through Scofield and Chafer and others emphasize the fact that it is a supernatural way of life. There is a distinct supernatural emphasis on the spiritual life of the believer in the Church Age. We can't do it on our own. It is impossible. You can't do it apart from supernatural empowerment that comes from God the Holy Spirit. So Jesus Christ pioneered that in the First Advent. So He is setting the model. He sets the precedent for how we as believers live the Christian way of life in the Church Age. So this is what is part of God's plan.
It was the right thing for Him (who created everything God the Father is the grand architect of everything including in our spiritual life) to do in order to bring us to glory in the future He had to do something first.
He had to make the pioneer of salvation perfect. The word perfect implies to us flawlessness. That is not the idea. Jesus Christ was flawless. He never sinned. The word is teleioo in the Greek. The noun form telos. This whole word group has to do with completion or maturity. It never has the idea of flawless in the New Testament. It means to make something complete or mature. So it tells us something profound. Jesus Christ in His humanity is sinless. We know that because when we come to the end of this section in chapter 4 we learned that He was tempted in all points yet without sin. Yet He still had to be matured in His spiritual life. He had to grow spiritually. He had to be made mature. How? Through suffering.
Now let's stop a minute and think a little bit in terms of application. The Lord Jesus Christ who is absolutely perfect who was without sin had to go through suffering. It is the plural word of parthema. The singular often refers to the suffering on the cross. The plural here refers to the adversity He faced in His humanity during the incarnation. If the Jesus Christ in His humanity had to go through adversity to be matured, why do we think we can get there without going through adversity? The purpose in the spiritual life is to learn to be obedient to God in every area. Jesus had to learn obedience. That doesn't mean that you have to be disobedient to learn obedience. It is the process of learning to be obedient. It is the process of sanctification. The key idea here, the key word that helps us understand the whole dynamics of the Christian life is the idea of maturity or completion. He have to reach that level of maturity or completion in our understanding of who God is, His word, and our application of it in every area of life. So in order to apply it there would have to be various tests.
Let me show you why this word is so important. Turn back with me in your Bible to Galatians chapter 3. Now Galatians has two basic sections to the epistle. The first two chapters deal with justification salvation and the high point of that argument is Galatians 2:16.
NKJ Galatians 2:16 "knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.
So everything in the first two chapters drives to understanding justification by faith. We do not get saved by doing some thing on our own. It is a work of God. It is by grace through faith. We are regenerated by the Holy Spirit. That is the point in the first two chapters.
The point in chapters 3-6 has to do with the spiritual life. In chapter 3 Paul starts off slapping the Galatians by telling them they are morons.
NKJ Galatians 3:1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?
NKJ Galatians 3:2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
That is the point he has been driving at in the first two chapters. Did you get saved by obeying the law, by being moral, or by doing the right thing? Did you pull yourself up by your spiritual boot straps? Or did you get saved by the hearing of faith? Obviously they would say by the hearing of faith.
NKJ Galatians 3:3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?
It is the instrumental dative of pneuma.
They shifted their MO so that salvation was by the Spirit but they are being matured by the flesh, by doing the right thing. All those replacement theological systems follow what the Galatians did. They will go back to the law in some way and try to apply the law and do all the right things and they think that they are spiritual. What Paul is saying is that if you started by means of the Spirit and it is the Spirit that gave birth to your new spiritual life, then why do you think that you can grow by shifting to another methodology? It's not. Are you being matured by the flesh? When we put this together with Hebrews 2:10 and we tie it back into the life Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was not matured in His humanity by following the Mosaic Law. He obeyed the Mosaic Law. He was indwelt by God the Holy Spirit. It was His dependence on God the Holy Spirit. That is how He advanced to spiritual maturity. So He set a new precedent in the spiritual life.
One other thing I want you to notice here in Galatians 3:3. Note the terminology that you see here. You see here talk about the spirit, about being made mature, and it talks about the flesh. It is our own inherent human power. It can mean the sin nature and often does. It has that overtone here. Are you are doing it without God?
There is another verse in Galatians that uses the same three key terms. We don't find it until we get to chapter 5. Everything between Galatians 3:3 and 5:16 is designed to answer the question and to set up the solution in 5:16. It may seem that he is taking a long way around the barn. That is true. You see some questions just can't be answered that quickly or that easily. Sometimes you have to lay the foundation. It takes forever for lawyers to make a point because they have to go back and lay the foundation and then build everything point by point so that you get to the right conclusion and understand the answer. That is what Paul does here. So he makes a diversion in chapters 3, 4, and 5 to go back and point out what the purpose of the law was and wasn't, the role of Abraham and the Abrahamic covenant and the liberty that we have in Christ. Then he comes down to verse 16.
NKJ Galatians 5:16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
What do you think is the Greek word for fulfill? It is the word teleioo. This is what drives me nuts about translators. If you are going to take a Greek word and translate it one way in Galatians 3:3, why don't you translate it with the same word in Galatians 5:16 so that people can see the connection? It is not that when you walk by means of the Spirit you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh. It is walk by means of the Spirit and you won't bring to completion the lusts of the flesh.
What are the three key terms that we have in Galatians 5:16? Spirit, completion and flesh. What is the last place you saw those three terms put together? Galatains 3:13. You see why there is a connection. You can't see it in the English because they fouled it up and they don't translate it with the same English words consistently. But Galatians 5:6 says that the key to maturity in the Christian life is walking by means of the Spirit, not the flesh. What were the Galatians trying to do? They started by the Spirit but now they are trying to complete it by the flesh.
So he sets up this juxtaposition between walking by the Spirit and walking by the flesh or the sin nature. It is clear from the Greek syntax here that it is a double negative. That is bad grammar in the English but in Greek they had a phrase has two different negatives, ou and me. When you join them with a verb in the subjunctive mood, it means that something is impossible. You just can't do it. What Paul is saying here is that when you walk by the Spirit it is impossible to bring to completion the lusts of the flesh. When you stop focusing and concentrating on the Holy Spirit, your default position is the sin nature. As long as you are focusing on doing what the Holy Spirit says through His word and being in fellowship and abiding in Christ, then you will grow and advance just as Jesus Christ did.
The difference between our spiritual life and Jesus Christ had is what? He did not have the worry about the sin nature. That brings us to a foundational element in understanding the whole concept of sanctification. Ever since Adam sinned, we think that sanctification in terms of the sin nature. We think of sanctification as somehow living a morally pure life, not sinning. But you see Adam still had to be sanctified before he fell. Jesus Christ who was totally sinless without a sin nature still had to be sanctified. So the core meaning of sanctification doesn't have anything to do with sin. It has to do with something that is positive. It is learning to love God fully and obey Him in every dimension of our life and learning to think like God thinks. That is a learning process. Adam had to learn. That is why God came and walked in the garden with him everyday before he fell. He still had to go through that learning process. Jesus Christ had to learn by the things He suffered. We do too. So when you come to Hebrews 10 where we are faced with here is that God has a magnificent plan for us. He is preparing us for glory. He is preparing us for eternity. That preparation is of such a complex nature that in order to give us what we needed, He had to send His Son not only in terms of sending Him to the cross but in terms of pioneering this tremendous spiritual life. He pioneered that life so that we could in turn follow. He did in turn lead a company to heaven to rule with Him. This is where we will go in verse 11. "For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one…"
It is the same process.
He is not ashamed to call them brethren. It is a hint that there are two different kinds of shame that can take place at the Judgment Seat of Christ. I John 2:28 John warned that you don't want to be ashamed at His coming. This hints at the fact that those who advance to maturity He is not ashamed to call them brethren because they have followed in His footsteps. This is a reference to that group of companions that Jesus Christ is preparing to rule and reign with Him. It is grounded in sanctification. This opens up a whole new understanding or appreciation for God's plan for the spiritual life and God's plan for sanctification. It is based on the work of God the Holy Spirit.
All of the introduction that I gave about the theological systems is to help you appreciate the fact that while what we believe is not necessarily popular and it is being denigrated by evangelicals today because we are the bad dispensational boys. Nevertheless it is grounded in consistent interpretation of the Scriptures. And it has a rich heritage. It may not have a heritage that is long. That doesn't matter. Historical length is not criterion for Biblical orthodoxy. But it has a tremendous heritage in godly men who have a tradition grounded in a proper understanding of the Word from Darby through Scofield and Chafer. Each man refined the views of the man that preceded him so that we have an understanding of the spiritual life that God has given us today. And it gives us great comfort. No matter what adversity we are going through today, we know that Jesus Christ surmounted every category of adversity and testing in the First Advent in order to prepare Him for His work on the cross. As we go through this following in His footsteps we are prepared to rule and reign with Him in the Millennial Kingdom.
That is our introduction to sanctification. We will press on through this chapter next time.