Jesus the Christ
The definition of “triune” (derived from the Latin word “unuse” meaning “one”) is “three in one; constituting a trinity, as in the Godhead.” And although Scripture confirms that the Living God is a Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), that man made in the image of God is also a trinity (spirit, soul, and body), and that Jesus when taking human form mirrored that trinity (as seen in following commentary), this study will center on a different triad that is mentioned in a personal statement made by Christ in the 14th chapter of the book of John:
Jesus said to him [Thomas], “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (v. 6)
And just so that the reader may fully understand the complete meaning of the title to this study, explanations of three of its terms follow:
The word “Jesus” is the name that was given to the Son of God, which was announced by an angel (Gabriel) to both Joseph and Mary prior to His human birth. His human birth reflected exactly what “Moses in the law, and also the prophets” predicted (John 1:45; 2:23 [Isaiah 7:14; 9:6, 7]) — that God would bring forth a “Savior” (the meaning of “Jesus” in its original form [Greek: “Iesous” from the Hebrew word “Yhowshuwa,” a compound word from two other Hebrew words meaning “Jehovah – Savior”]),“that He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21-25; Luke 1:31; 2:21).
The word “Christ” was never a
name applied to Jesus; rather, it was and is His title. “Christ”
comes from the Greek word Christos, meaning “Anointed One” or
“Chosen One,” the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word Mashiach,
or “Messiah.” “Jesus” was the Lord’s human name given to both Joseph
and Mary by the angel. “Christ” was and is His title, signifying
that Jesus was sent from God to be a King and Deliverer (Daniel
9:25; Isaiah 32:1). “Jesus Christ” means “Jesus the
Messiah” or “Jesus the Anointed One.”
The concept of this word, defined above, is first recognized in Scripture by its application “In the beginning” (Genesis 1), where the one and only Living Triune God (Father [God], Son [Word of God], and Holy Spirit [Breath of God]) records His creation of the universe, the earth, and all living creatures upon the earth (as denoted by the plural form of the noun Elohim, the Hebrew word used for “God” and the use of the pronouns “Us” and “Our” in vs. 6 when God referred to His creation of man being in His “image”).
In the New Testament, the “image” of God is represented by the triune composition of man consisting of a spirit, a soul, and a body (1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 4:12). It is unfortunate that God’s comprehensive plan of redemption is often misunderstood and limited by Christians in its relation to all three aspects of man. Because a Christian frequently refuses to understand the tripartite nature of man, he generally only recognizes “spirit salvation,” a salvation based solely upon the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, which is both eternal and non-reversible. This being the case, he is either unaware or refuses to accept “soul-salvation,” a salvation based upon one’s works as a Christian, which only has application to the coming Messianic Era (the thousand year reign of Christ over the earth).
Salvation of the Soul (Chapter 1) & Judgment Seat of Christ (Chapter 3), by Arlen L. Chitwood
The first chapter of Genesis reveals that man was created in the “image” and “likeness” of God. The word translated “God” in the Hebrew text of this statement is Elohim. This is a plural noun, which, in complete keeping with related Scripture, would include all three members of the Godhead — God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (e.g., cf. John 1:1-3).
Since Elohim is a trinity, for man to be created in the “image” and “likeness” of God, he too must be a trinity. Unlike the dichotomous animal kingdom (created apart from the “image” and “likeness” of God) possessing only bodies and souls, trichotomous man (created in the “image” and “likeness” of God) is a triune being. Man not only possesses a body and a soul, but he also possesses a spirit as well.
Jesus is Elohim manifested in the flesh; and having been made in the “likeness” of man (but apart from man’s fallen nature), He, as man, must also be a trinity (John 1:14; Philippians 2:7). This tripartite nature of Christ, in whom “dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9), was clearly revealed at the time of His death.
At that time Jesus yielded up His spirit, which went back into the presence of His Father in heaven (Luke 23:46; cf. Ecclesiastes 12:7; Acts 7:59); His soul went into Hades, the place of the dead, housed inside the earth at that time (Acts 2:27); and His body was removed from the Cross and placed in Joseph of Arimathaea’s tomb (Matthew 27:57-61). This threefold separation persisted until the soul and spirit re-entered the body at the time Christ was raised from the dead.
Thus, God, Elohim, is a trinity; Jesus, Elohim manifested in the flesh, is likewise a trinity; and man, created in the “image” and “likeness” of Elohim, can only be a trinity as well. Accordingly, a complete redemption provided by the triune God must, of necessity, pertain to man as a complete being. Man’s complete redemption must encompass spirit, soul, and body. . . .
In Scripture there is a justification by faith and there is also a justification by works. And, correspondingly, there is a salvation associated with each. Verses such as Ephesians 2:8, 9 deal with justification by faith, with Ephesians 2:10 leading into the thought of justification by works. Then, a passage of Scripture such as James 2:14-26 deals more in detail with justification by works.
This is where individuals often commit mayhem when studying Scripture. They see only justification by faith throughout Scripture, and they attempt to make passages such as James 2:14-26 fit into the framework of teachings surrounding justification by faith. And, as a result, confusion reigns supreme.
Justification by faith is based entirely upon the finished work of Christ at Calvary and has to do with the salvation that Christians presently possess — the salvation of the spirit (“. . . that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” [John 3:6b]). Works performed by the one being justified by faith cannot enter into this justification in any form or fashion — either preceding or following salvation.
That is, unredeemed man cannot do any works to be saved, and redeemed man cannot do any works to either stay saved or to show that he has been saved. It is a justification “by grace through faith” completely apart from the works of fallen man — whether preceding or following salvation. Works enter into this justification only to the extent that Christ performed the works on man’s behalf, and man can be justified only by receiving that which Christ has already done.
Justification by works, on the other hand, is based entirely upon the actions of those who have already been justified by faith, those who have been justified on the basis of Christ’s finished work. “Faith” itself is not part of justification by works. There is no such thing in Scripture as a justification by faith and works. There is a justification by faith, and there is a justification by works; but there is no such thing as a justification resulting from a combination of the two.
It is true that works emanate out of faith. And it would be equally true that a different type of works, on the other hand, would emanate out of unfaithfulness (James 2:14-26). All Christians will be judged on the basis of that which emanated out of one or the other.
They will be judged either on the basis of that which emanated out of their faithfulness or on the basis of that which emanated out of their unfaithfulness.
That is, they will be judged on the basis of their prior reaction to faith (cf. Romans 1:17), which will have to do with either their prior faithfulness or their prior unfaithfulness. And, emanating out of the former or out of the latter will be a revelation of works at the judgment seat comparable to either “gold, silver, precious stones” or “wood, hay, straw.”
In justification by faith, it is the work of Another that makes possible justification on the basis of faith; in justification by works, it is faithfulness on the part of those who have already been justified by faith that not only results in works but makes possible justification on the basis of works.
Way, Truth, Life
Christ avowed He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He was not merely applying each term to one and the same character trait even though each relates to how an individual “comes to the Father.” What needs to be understood is how do each of the terms so relate to a “coming to the Father,” the most important initial and continuing union in anyone’s life?
The following will be an examination of these three distinct facets attributable exclusively to Christ.
Jesus is the WAY
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
Soon after his creation, man made the erroneous decision as to the way he might become “like God” (Genesis 3:5, 6). And as a result of his rebellious action relevant to that decision he died, i.e., became spiritually separated from his Creator, a condition having eternal consequences if not rectified. And from that day forward every person born in the lineage of Adam and Eve, with only one exception (Jesus Christ), has shared in that separated, alienated spiritual state, i.e., “dead in trespasses and sins . . . having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:1, 12).
When man sinned in the Garden of Eden, the complete being of man — spirit, soul, and body — entered into a fallen state of spiritual death, i.e., separation from God. Of the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil,” God commanded Adam “you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17). After Satan had deceived Eve into eating of the fruit of this tree, she then “gave to her husband . . . and he ate.” Immediately following this, “the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings” (Genesis 3:1-7).
Salvation of the Soul, Chapter 1, Arlen L. Chitwood
At the time of the fall, Adam and Eve lost something; and it is clearly stated in Scripture that both immediately recognized this fact. That which they lost could only have been a covering of pristine glory that had previously clothed their bodies, for they, following the fall, found themselves in a twofold condition: (1) Naked, (2) Separated from God.
God is arrayed in a covering of “light,” connected with “honor and majesty.” And man, created in the “image” and “likeness” of God, could only have been arrayed in a similar manner prior to the fall.
Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, You are very great: You are clothed with (“You have put on”) honor and majesty. (Psalm 104:1)
Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment, who stretch out the heavens like a curtain. (Psalm 104:2)
Recognizing the loss of this covering, realizing that they were naked, explains why Adam and Eve immediately sought to clothe themselves following the fall. They tried to replace the covering that had been lost with a work of their own hands, with fig leaf aprons. And then, apparently realizing the utter inadequacy of this covering, they, in their fallen state, sought to hide from God.
God, finding Adam and Eve in this condition, completely rejected the works of their hands. God completely rejected their feeble efforts to atone for their own sin by seeking to replace the covering of pristine glory with fig leaves.
Then, to bring His fallen creature back into a right relationship (although not in complete keeping with their previously un-fallen state — something still future even today), God provided a covering consisting of animal skins (Genesis 3:21). This necessitated death and the shedding of blood; and herein lie basic, unchangeable truths concerning the state of fallen man and the means that are necessary to effect his redemption.
Unredeemed man is a fallen creature, alienated from God; and two things are necessary to effect his redemption: (1) Divine intervention, (2) Death and shed blood.
These truths have forever been set forth in the opening chapters of Genesis, and they can never change. . . .
Man’s sin in the garden in Eden produced death. Man died the day he ate of the forbidden fruit. Since his body continued to live, revealing that his soul — the life-giving principle in the blood (Leviticus 17:11; cf. Genesis 9:4) — remained unchanged with respect to life (natural life), it is evident that it was his spirit that died.
The spiritual nature is that part of man that links him directly with God. “God is spirit,” and man’s worship of God must be “in spirit and truth” (John 4:24, NASB). The death of Adam’s spirit separated him from God [establishing the primary meaning of “death” in Scripture — separation from God], and this death (this separation from God) “spread to all men” (Romans 5:12).
Scripture speaks of an unsaved person as being “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). With an unredeemed, inanimate spirit (spiritually dead), he is alienated from God, separated from God (Ephesians 2:12).
But once the person has been born from above, he is then spoken of as having passed “from death into life,” as having been “quickened (NKJV: ‘made us alive’)” (John 5:24; Ephesians 2:5). Possessing an animate spirit, possessing spiritual life (having been made alive spiritually), he is no longer separated from the One who Himself is “Spirit” (John 4:24).
This aspect of salvation is brought to pass by the Spirit of God breathing life into the one having no life, based on Christ’s finished work at Calvary; and once this has been accomplished, everything surrounding the work effecting this aspect of salvation has been completed, with this work existing in a finished state (as previously seen through the use of the perfect tense in Ephesians 2:8).
Thus, the salvation experience that man enters into at the time of the birth from above is a work of the Spirit, based on a previous work of the Son. It is a spiritual birth and has to do with man’s spirit alone: “. . . that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6b).
Unfortunately, from that day of man’s fall to this, man’s efforts to find a way to be like God have remained on an egocentric, self-centered course. This course has resulted in a proliferation of man-made and man-propagated religions, as well as multifarious denominations within Christianity, not to mention the wide-range of worship-related practices evident within any single denomination.
When Jesus proclaimed that He alone was the way to God the Father, His exclusive remedy to man’s spiritual condition of being “dead in trespasses and sins” was based solely on His work (sacrifice) on the cross of Calvary. For it was upon the cross that Jesus Christ paid the penalty-price for the sin of all mankind. It was there that He was made “to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). In doing this He experienced spiritual-death, i.e., separation from the Father, for a three-hour period of time (indicated by His cry: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me” [Matthew 27:45, 46])? At the end of His suffering He proclaimed, “It is finished” (lit. “It has been finished”), and then He voluntarily gave up His spirit (John 19:30) and was buried. On the third day He rose from the grave and eventually ascended to heaven where he presently sits at the right hand of God executing the office of High Priest for those who have placed their faith in Him (1 Peter 3:22; Hebrews 2:17; 4:14-16).
The work (sacrifice) that Jesus (Savior) the Christ (Anointed One, Messiah) completed on the cross of Calvary — a substitutionary work performed for man — was God’s grace/love-gift for all mankind. And for any person to receive the benefit (eternal life) of it, he or she only needs to make the internal decision to freely receive it “by faith,” i.e., to believe what Christ did on the cross.
Once that internal decision is made, the person is instantaneously “saved” (redeemed). Nothing else matters. Repentance (turning from one’s sins — an impossibility for one who is “dead in trespasses and sins”), baptism (an after-the-fact outward declaration of one’s decision of faith in Christ), sorrow (emotion), a walk down a church isle, a continuous demonstration of good works throughout one’s following temporal life. . . . NOTHING ELSE MATTERS!
The eternal salvation grace-gift of God, based solely on the work of Another (Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary), may only be accepted “by faith”…..or it can be rejected. But once made, it can never be abrogated (rescinded, repealed, nullified, revoked) by God or man.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. . . . He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:16, 18)
But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. (John 20:31)
And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved . . . .” (Acts 16:30, 31a)
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. (Galatians 2:16)
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Ephesians 2:8, 9)
Having been eternally saved (spirit-salvation), man should then earnestly seek to achieve spiritual maturity, which will lead to the purpose for his salvation. To understand this aspect of God’s complete redemptive plan for man, it is recommended that the reader of this study visit www.bibleone.net and click on the home-page link entitled “Salvation of the Soul,” by which he will then have access to a complete work on the subject by Arlen L. Chitwood, a portion of which follows:
Salvation of the Soul, Chapter 1, Arlen L. Chitwood
Redeemed man, through a past and finished work of the Spirit, based on a past and finished work of Christ, has been brought from a dead to a living state spiritually. He has passed “from death into life.” And in this living state, he is now in a position to realize the purpose for his salvation — the salvation of his soul.
One aspect of salvation is past. The individual presently possesses eternal life, and nothing can ever change or nullify this fact. But the individual has been saved for a purpose, which will be brought to pass only within the framework of his realizing present and future aspects of salvation.
And this complete panorama of the salvation message, with a purpose in view, must be recognized. Redeemed man must recognize that there is not only a past aspect to salvation but present and future aspects as well. And the present and future aspects of salvation are inseparably connected with man one day being brought into a realization of the purpose for which he was created in the beginning — “. . . let them have dominion” (Genesis 1:26-28). Present and future aspects of salvation have to do with man occupying regal positions following the time when he, in that coming day, is brought into a realization of the salvation of his soul. . . .
In order to effect man’s eternal redemption, the Spirit of God deals with unsaved man on one basis alone. The Spirit deals with unsaved man solely on the basis of Christ’s finished work at Calvary.
But once an individual has believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and has been dealt with on the basis of Christ’s finished work, realizing the birth from above — the salvation of his spirit — the salvation issue then shifts from the salvation of his spirit, to the salvation of his soul. The salvation of the spirit becomes a past, completed work and is never dealt with as an issue beyond this point. The Spirit of God, from this point forward, deals with the individual solely on the basis of present and future aspects of salvation. The individual, from this point forward, is dealt with in relation to the salvation of his soul.
Thus, all Scriptures dealing with carnality or unfaithfulness of Christians, resulting in forfeiture or loss, MUST pertain to issues surrounding the salvation of the soul, NEVER to issues surrounding the salvation of the spirit.
Once the salvation of the spirit has been effected, making it possible for the indwelling Spirit of God to impart spiritual truth into and control an individual’s life through his own spirit, then man’s unredeemed soul occupies the center of attention. And salvation now (in relation to the soul, not the spirit) becomes dependent on the actions of the individual.
Salvation now becomes dependent on the life one lives after his spirit has been saved. Salvation now becomes dependent on the individual allowing the Spirit of God to impart spiritual truth into and control his life through his own spirit.
An individual allowing the Spirit of God to impart spiritual truth into and control his life through his own spirit progressively grows from immaturity to maturity. He progressively grows into a spiritually mature Christian. Growing in this manner, he exerts control over his emotions, feelings, and desires pertaining to his man-conscious (soulical) existence. And, by this means, he will ultimately come into a realization of the salvation of his soul (life).
On the other hand, an individual who refuses to allow the Spirit of God to impart spiritual truth into and control his life in the preceding manner can only remain a carnally immature Christian. Apart from the assimilation of spiritual truth, resulting in spiritual growth, he cannot help but be controlled by his emotions, feelings, and desires pertaining to his man-conscious (soulical) existence.
And, accordingly, such a person will ultimately suffer the loss of his soul (life), which can have no bearing whatsoever on his eternal salvation (for that is a past, finished matter which has already been dealt with).
Jesus is the TRUTH
God is not only “true,” He is “Truth” personified in His Word. It was by and through His Word that He spoke all of creation into existence (Genesis 1, 2), and it has been by and through His Word that He has revealed to man his historical lineage, all of which is “absolute truth.” Within God’s Word the concept of truth is most significant. It is one of God’s Ten Commandments to man and its violation is recorded twice in God’s list of His most hated sins.
You shall not bear false witness . . . . (Exodus 20:16; Deuteronomy 5:20)
These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: . . . A lying tongue . . . A false witness who speaks lies . . . . (Proverbs 6:16-19)
The concept of total and unimpeded truth, a quality that apparently is quite foreign to the conduct of the affairs of man, e.g., business, politics, relationships, etc., is of paramount importance to God Almighty. And his hatred of untruth (that which was first demonstrated in the Garden of Eden when the serpent deceived Eve) is highlighted throughout Scripture.
Truth is embodied in His Word; the second Person of the Trinity. And it was God’s Word who became flesh.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. . . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-3; 14)
Christians should never make the mistake of divorcing the living Word of God from the written Word of God. One is always seen in the other. They will always be uniquely and spiritually connected. And for a person to fully see and understand the person, the character, and the work of Jesus Christ, he needs only study the written Word of God.
Signs in John’s Gospel, Chapter 4, Arlen L. Chitwood
The Written Word
Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!
Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?”
And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. . . .
Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled that were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” (Luke 24:25-27, 44).
Jesus, shortly after His resurrection, on the same day that He was raised from the dead, walked and communed with two disciples who were in route to Emmaus. And, though the events surrounding the crucifixion of the One whom they had believed to be the Christ was still uppermost in their minds, something was preventing them from recognizing Him at this time (Luke 24:17-24). Though their thoughts were centered upon the very One in their midst, they didn’t know Him (vv. 16, 17).
Why had they failed to recognize Christ at this time?
The answer is very simple, and it is given in the text. These two disciples had failed to recognize the One standing in their midst because, in the words of the very One speaking to them, they did not “believe in all that the prophets” had recorded in the Old Testament Scriptures (Luke 24:25b). They did not know their own Scriptures (vv. 26, 27). They had not adequately availed themselves of the word picture that God had previously provided of Himself, of His Son.
In this respect, the religious leaders in Israel — more particularly the Scribes and Pharisees, and the Sadducees — had apparently paid more attention to God’s revelation than these two disciples. Israel’s religious leaders had recognized the Heir of the vineyard when He appeared, and this is why they “took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him” (Matthew 21:33-45).
Israel’s religious leaders brought about the rejection and crucifixion of Israel’s Messiah because they knew His identity. And there is really only one way that they could have known. They knew enough about the word picture that God had provided to properly recognize and identify Messiah when He appeared.
False messiahs had come and gone at different times throughout Israeli history, and the religious leaders had paid little attention to them. They knew that these messiahs were false, for their failure to manifest the means of identification that God had provided showed that they were false.
But when the Heir of the vineyard appeared, when the true Messiah appeared, things were entirely different. A manifestation of the provided means of identification showed, beyond question, His identity. And Israel’s religious leaders acted accordingly, though negatively.
Thus, in order to reveal Himself to these two disciples following His resurrection, Jesus, in conjunction with a rebuke, called their attention to the Old Testament Scriptures, to the word picture of Himself. Jesus called attention to that which, in its entirety, revealed the One who spoke to them. And He then began to open up and develop this word picture to their understanding.
Jesus, the living Word (which was/is/always will be God), called attention to the written Word to reveal Himself as the Word made flesh, i.e., the Old Testament Scriptures made flesh.
After the groundwork had been laid, after the word picture had been opened up and developed to a sufficient extent, Jesus, dining with them at their destination late in the day, “took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them” (v. 30). And once He had broken the bread (which had been preceded by a revelation of Himself from the Old Testament Scriptures), things immediately came together for them.
The breaking of bread by the Bread of Life reflected back on events surrounding His broken body at Calvary, allowing these two disciples to properly understand the word picture that had previously been set before them. They now had the means to identify the One in their midst, given to them by Christ Himself. They had been given the written Word, which allowed them to identify the living Word, the Word that had been made flesh. And, once this had occurred, followed by the breaking of bread, “their eyes were opened and they knew Him” (v. 31a).
The Living Word
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,
has in these last days spoken to us by (by means of) His Son, whom He has appointed Heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds (made the ages).
(Hebrews 1:1, 2)
In time past, throughout the first 4,000 years of human history, God revealed Himself, His plans, and His purposes to man through various means — e.g., theophanies or related direct communication (Genesis 3:8-19; 4:6-16; 6:13-7:5; 18:1ff), or dreams and visions (Genesis 37:5-10; 41:1ff; Daniel 2-12; Zechariah 1-6). But these different means of communication are not seen as separate from the Word, for they form part of the Word.
God simply does not reveal Himself apart from His Word. He never has, and He never will. Revealing Himself apart from the Word would be tantamount to revealing Himself apart from Himself, for “the Word (the Word alone) was (eimi, always has been, always will be) God.” Thus, this Word alone — living or written — reveals “God.”
Moving through the complete panorama of the Word being made flesh is the manner in which the Spirit of God moved the writer of Hebrews to open his epistle. The same One who had spoken to man through various means in time past has now, “in these last days,” spoken to man by means of His Son, the One whom He “has appointed Heir of all things.” And the Father can speak to man by means of the Son, while still remaining completely within the confines of the Word, for the simple reason that the Son is the Word made flesh.
The Canon of Scripture had not yet been completed when the Son appeared. Only the Old Testament had been completed — Genesis through Malachi. Following the completion of the Old Testament, about four hundred years elapsed before God again spoke to man (forming part of the Word). And that silence was broken through events surrounding the incarnation, the Word being made flesh (a star in the East, angelic ministry, etc.).
God, at this time, once again stepped into the affairs of man. But this time the manner was so unique that only an infinite, omniscient mind could conceive of this type manner of breaking the silence, and only an omnipotent God could bring the matter to pass.
God, this time, acted in the person of His Son. God took upon Himself flesh; the Word, which always has been and always will be God, was made flesh.
The completion of the Canon of Scripture following the appearance of the Son, in this respect, served the purpose of completing the written Word after a manner that would line up perfectly with the living Word, who had already appeared (through whom God’s complete revelation of Himself, His plans, and His purposes could be seen). And once this Canon had been completed (during the first century), for the first time in history, there existed a completed written revelation as well of God the Father and/or God the Son, brought into existence through God the Spirit moving men to pen this Word.
Is it any wonder that numerous religious groups today (cults, et al.) seek to cast reproach upon the entirety of the matter through their seemingly endless attempts to deny Christ’s Deity, or their seemingly endless attempts to validate extra-biblical revelation through supposed dreams, visions, theophanies, tongues, etc.? God always has and always will speak to man through one means alone — His Word. And, whether this is looked upon as the living or the written Word is immaterial, for the two cannot be separated.
The dreams, visions, theophanies, or any other form that revelation took prior to the completion of the Canon of Scripture, ultimately formed part of the Canon. And once the Canon had been completed, any type extra-biblical revelation could only be completely out of place. In the final analysis, such supposed revelation could only be outside the realm of Christ Himself — God manifested in the flesh — for it would be outside the Word. And One (the Word, or Christ) must line up perfectly with the Other (Christ, or the Word), for the incarnation is simply — no more than, no less than — the Word being made flesh.
In that respect, supposed extra-biblical revelation could only be extra-Christ revelation, or extra-God revelation. That is to say, such revelation, outside the realm of the completed Canon that the Spirit moved men to pen, would be outside the realm of both the Father and the Son.
The revelation of Christ is seen in the Word, or the revelation of the Word is seen in Christ. And if a person moves outside of this realm in supposed revelation (e.g., the Book of Mormon, numerous things seen in the Charismatic movement today), he, as previously stated, could only find himself outside the realm of Christ. The whole of the matter can be summed up in a manner that simple.
Today, as in the past, there are myriads of false prophets endeavoring to lead both Christians and non-Christians away from the one and true Living God. Disguised as “apostles of Christ” and “ministers of righteousness” they accomplish this goal through various means veiled in high-sounding platitudes and superficial morality.
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)
Because of Satan’s continuous activities to mimic God’s message toward Christians then and now, Christ declared, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15). This is why the apostle John stated the following:
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ (Deity, the Messiah) has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. (1 John 4:1-3)
This watchful vigilance must be constantly applied to every source who claims to represent God, to include this one, this study. The key to knowing whether or not any message is from God, which is to say if any Christian truly wants to know the validity of the message, he must compare it with the Truth, the written Word of God, which always will shine brightly on and reflect the living Word of God. That is why the Apostle Paul’s advice, not only to Timothy but to every Christian was:
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
And to the Christians in the church of Thessalonica he said:
Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good.
(1 Thessalonians 5:20, 21)
And how is this to be properly managed? By following the example of the Bereans, as seen in the following:
Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. (Acts 17:10, 11)
Christ is “the Truth.” To rightly know Him a Christian needs only to examine the Scriptures, the written Word of God (Truth). Rather than accept every teaching, discerning Christians are to diligently study the Scriptures, trusting in the One who alone can properly teach the Truth, as Christ told His disciples:
However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. (John 16:13, 14).
Christ (the living and written Word) is the Truth. Concentrate on and seriously study Him, the Word of God. Only in this way can a child of God grow from spiritual immaturity (“carnal,” “babes in Christ,” only able to handle the “milk” of the Word [1 Corinthians 3:1, 2]) to spiritual maturity, able to rightly discern right from wrong. Only in this way can the Word of God (Jesus Christ, the Truth) be a “lamp” and a “light” to the Christian’s “path” (Psalm 119:105).
And those of you who are Christians and reading this study, you must realize that ONLY by laying “aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness” and receiving “with meekness the implanted Word” will you be able “to save your souls” (James 1:21; cf. Hebrews 10:39; 1 Peter 1:9).
Jesus is the LIFE
Once a person has been born from above as noted in the 3rd chapter of John, he has only two pathways to take. He may live a life dedicated to Christ, producing “good works” that will achieve for him approval at the Judgment Seat of Christ and allow him the “reward” of executing the purpose of his redemption, which is to “have dominion” (Genesis 1:26-28), to rule and reign with Christ during the Messianic Era. Or, on the other hand, he may acquiesce to a life of self-service, self-interest, and selfishness, which will result in disapproval and “loss” at the Judgment Seat of Christ, disallowing him any participation with Christ during the coming Kingdom Age.
The first and preferred path is that of spiritual maturity and victory, which leads to the salvation of the soul. The second is one of spiritual immaturity and defeat, which leads to shame and a lengthy period of a thousand years in the darkness outside of the light (translated “outer darkness” in most translations). And one may be assured that there are ample warnings regarding the judgment that is to come, which will decide the appropriate outcome for each child of God.
For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
(1 Corinthians 3:9-15)
. . . For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. . . . So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. (Romans 14:10b, 12)
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
(2 Corinthians 5:10)
For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The LORD will judge His people.” (Hebrews 10:30)
The question then is how does one succeed in the quest for the salvation of one’s soul. There is the incorrect way, emanating from one’s own strength and self-efforts, which holds one within the state of spiritual immaturity and which fails to produce anything but “wood, hay, straw” resulting only in “loss” at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
And then there is the correct way by allowing Christ to live the righteous life (for He is the Life) through oneself — an exercise of continuing one’s faith in the living Word of God by immersing oneself in the written Word of God. This will result in “gold, silver, precious stones”— the salvation of one’s soul — at the Judgment Seat of Christ, which will bring great “reward” during the coming Millennial Kingdom of Christ. The life of Christ through an individual is also known as being “filled with the Spirit,” for this is how God executes His will through His children.
Salvation of the Soul, Chapter 4, by Arlen L. Chitwood
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath (neshamah) of life; and man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7)
All Scripture is God-breathed (theopneustos) and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16, NIV) . . .
Following his creation in the beginning, “life” within man was produced by “the breath (‘the Neshamah’) of God” (Genesis 2:7). This established a first-mention principle in Scripture concerning “life” in relation to man, and this principle remains unchanged throughout all subsequent Scripture.
Man’s life throughout not only time but eternity, as in the Genesis account, must emanate from God; and this life cannot be generated, continued, or sustained apart from the Neshamah of God.
In Scriptural terminology, the Neshamah is identified with both the “Holy Spirit” of God and the “Word” of God. Life, which comes from God alone, is always produced through “breathing in.” Remaining within basic teachings drawn from the types in Genesis 1:2-5; 2:7, God, through the instrumentality of the Holy Spirit, “breathes life into” unredeemed, lifeless man today. Once imparted, with the man possessing spiritual life (having been redeemed), this life is then continued and sustained through the same principle — by the breath of God remaining with man (past dispensation) or remaining in man (present dispensation), and by the breath of God continuing to be breathed into man.
By the abiding presence of the breath of God (which, during this present dispensation, is through the Spirit indwelling the one in whom He had previously breathed life), the believer remains secure in his positional standing before God; and by a continued impartation of the breath of God (the Word of God flowing into man’s saved human spirit, with the indwelling Holy Spirit leading the individual “into all truth”), the believer receives living nourishment for spiritual growth to maturity.
“Scripture,” unlike any other writing, is alive:
For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword . . . . (Hebrews 4:12a)
“Life” can be attributed to Scripture only on the basis of the fact that the “oracles of God” emanated from the Giver and Sustainer of life. Scripture is “God-breathed.” It is the Neshamah, the “breath” of God.
This is what sets Scripture apart from all other writings. That which God has to say in His Word is alive, not subject to error, and will endure forever. But that which man has to say is, on the other hand, lifeless, subject to error, and will endure only for time.
Thus, the Holy Spirit today initially imparts life to man who is “dead in trespasses and sins,” continues this life by His abiding presence, and sustains this life via the living Word of God flowing into man’s saved human spirit. The indwelling Holy Spirit takes the Word of God received into man’s saved human spirit, and, by man’s spiritual perception, changes the Water to Wine (cf. John 2:1-11). A continued process of this nature — revealing the things of the Spirit to the man of spirit by man’s spiritual perception — progressively results in growth to maturity.
The great difference between redeemed man and unredeemed man is possession or non-possession of spiritual life derived from the “breath” of God.
Unregenerate man, who is spiritually dead, is alienated from everything associated with the “breath” of God in this respect, for that which has no life is completely incompatible with that which has life. Thus, the living Word of God is not for him; it is alien to his fallen nature, the only nature that he possesses.
Regenerate man, on the other hand, possesses spiritual life that was “breathed in.” He possesses a new, non-alienated nature; and, on this basis, there can now be a continuance of life “breathed in.” Thus, the living Word of God, because it is the very life-giving “breath” of God, is for redeemed man alone.
Redeemed individuals are divided into two classes in Scripture — “spiritual,” and “carnal” (1 Corinthians 3:1, 2). Both possess spiritual life that was “breathed in,” both are capable of spiritual discernment, and both are in a position to allow God to continue “breathing in” life.
The carnal Christian though rejects the leadership of the Spirit. He follows the fleshly man rather than the spiritual man; and, although his eternal salvation remains secure through the “breath” of God remaining in him (based on Christ’s finished work at Calvary), he experiences no growth. He does not allow God to continue “breathing in” life.
But the spiritual Christian governs his life in an entirely different manner. He follows the leadership of the Spirit; He allows God to continue “breathing in” life; and, by his spiritual discernment, as led by the Holy Spirit, he is able to begin grasping the great spiritual truths of the Word of God, progressively growing from immaturity to maturity.
A continued inflow of the breath of God into man’s saved human spirit in this manner, following his salvation, will result in what Scripture calls the “filling of the Spirit” and the “metamorphosis” (i.e., the “transformation” in Romans 12:2). These are actually two different experiences in the lives of Christians that occur in a progressive, concurrent manner. These experiences, however, are so closely related that one cannot occur without the other, and neither can occur apart from the Word of God and the Spirit’s work in the life of a believer in relation to this Word. . . .
Being filled with the Holy Spirit is an experience that occurs after one has believed on the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:16; Acts 16:30, 31). At the time of belief, an individual is immersed (baptized) in the Holy Spirit, and, through this immersion, becomes part of the “one body,” the “one new man,” in Christ (cf. Matthew 3:11; Acts 1:5; 1 Corinthians 12:13 [“with” and “by” should be translated “in”]; Ephesians 2:15). The Holy Spirit, from this point forward, indwells the believer, forming a “temple of God” — an earthly tabernacle in which deity dwells (1 Corinthians 3:16, 17; 6:19, 20).
But the Spirit filling the tabernacle is an experience in the life of a Christian that occurs subsequent to the Spirit indwelling the tabernacle. Christians, ones in whom the Spirit dwells, are commanded to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18); and the biblical manner in which this is accomplished is clearly revealed to be in connection with life continuing to be “breathed into” man following the initial “in-breathing” that generated life at the beginning.
Scripture reveals an inseparable relationship between being filled with the Spirit (the Neshamah) and dwelling deeply in the Word of God (the Neshamah). This is clearly taught by comparing Scripture with Scripture in Ephesians and Colossians — companion epistles, which parallel one another a number of places.
One such parallel can be seen in the section in Ephesians where Christians are commanded to be filled with the Spirit and in the section in Colossians where Christians are commanded to let the Word of Christ dwell in them richly in all wisdom.
In Ephesians, Christians are told:
And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,
speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,
giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, (Ephesians 5:18-20)
In Colossians, Christians are told:
Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Colossians 3:16, 17)
Note the contextual parallel between the commands, “be filled with the Spirit” in Ephesians and “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom” in Colossians. Both have to do with the same thing. One is substituted for the other in its respective, parallel counterpart. And the clear inference from this parallel, in conjunction with related Scripture, leads to only one conclusion: A Christian who is filled with the Spirit is one who has allowed the Word of Christ to dwell in him richly in all wisdom.
The indwelling of the Spirit is wrought at the time God initially “breathes life into” an individual, and the filling of the Spirit is wrought through God subsequently continuing to “breathe life into” that individual. The “God-breathed” Scriptures flowing into man’s saved human spirit — a continued impartation of life into man — progressively, through the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 16:13), produce a Spirit-filled Christian. . . .
God desires that all Christians be filled with the Spirit, and the manner God uses to bring this to pass is clearly revealed in His Word. There must be a continued “breathing in” of life into the one who has initially been given life through the “breath” of God, and this cannot be accomplished apart from the “God-breathed” Oracles.
In view of this, it is no wonder that the living Word of God — the Neshamah — remains under constant attack by Satan, his emissaries, and those who do his bidding.
The Word of God is either what it claims to be or there can be no continued “in-breathing” of life into redeemed man. And, apart from this continued “in-breathing” of life, redeemed man could not grow spiritually, for only that which is compatible with spiritual life can provide nourishment for this life, resulting in growth. Apart from the God-breathed Word, every Christian, throughout his entire pilgrim walk, would remain in a carnally immature state rather than grow in a spiritual manner to maturity.
Such a Christian would be indwelt by the Spirit, but, apart from the living Word, he could not be filled with the Spirit. He would remain carnal, immature, and powerless. Nor could he ultimately realize the salvation of his soul, for there would be no continued in-breathing of life to bring this to pass. Consequently, apart from this continued “in-breathing” of life, God could not ultimately bring “many sons” to glory to occupy the numerous positions of power and authority as joint-heirs with Christ in the coming kingdom.
Christianity is centered on only one Person, Jesus the Christ, mostly referred to as Jesus Christ. Indeed, Christianity is not a religion; rather, it is much more than this. It is a relationship with Jesus Christ — from beginning to end. The person of Jesus Christ is referred to by name or pronoun over one thousand times in the New Testament. He is also the object and focus in a myriad of types and prophecies in the Old Testament.
In today’s world, now more than ever, where Satan is doing absolutely everything possible to purge the name of Jesus Christ from every organization and culture, Christians need to stand firm in their faith, which must always be solely in Jesus Christ with full realization that He alone is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
To them [Christians] God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect [mature] in Christ Jesus. (Colossians 1:27, 28)