Thursday, February 19, 2009

Identity - Part 1

Never mind what men think. How important is it to the God of the Bible that we properly identify Him?
Mark 12:28-30
28 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?”

29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. 30 And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.
Deuteronomy 6:4-5
4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

He declares that He is one. A particular God, not just God. The word translated as one there is actually "a unity of one." Which God? Your God.
Exodus 20:1-7
1 And God spoke all these words, saying:
2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
7 “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain

He identifies Himself, not by name but by what He has done. And then He commands that any who should "take His name in vain" will not be held guiltless.

While I would agree that to use His Name and/or His Titles as a curse word would be to take His Name in vain this is actually a much broader subject. We take someone's name in vain when we use it to validate what we are saying. When we say "Thus saith the LORD.." when He didn't say any such thing. Or when we say He is someone who He is not.

How many people were named "Jesus" when Jesus The Christ was in His humiliation? Thousands I suspect. The Bible doesn't tell us to put our faith in someone named Jesus. It tells us to put our faith in The Christ.

When Paul declares the Gospel He identifies the Christ as the One who did the things "in accordance with the Scriptures." God is again identified by what He has done because NO ONE ELSE could do these things.

If you study the LORD's Names in Scripture they tell of what He has done and does do. When the Bible says to put your faith in Jesus, it has already identified Who this Jesus is. We read this in the often abused verses;
John 20:30-31
And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 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.
Notice these things are written so that you will believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Proper identity.

Many doing abuse to these verses ignore that this statement by the Apostle John comes immediately after John's description of Christ's resurrection. Read the chapter yourself John 20:1-31

Christ is only properly identified when the full Gospel is presented, just as Israel was to recognize only the LORD who had brought them out of Egypt.

Jesus Christ, is the Jesus Who is the Son of God so that He could die for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, and Who actually did die for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures. Who was buried and rose on the third day according to the Scriptures and Who was seen alive in the flesh by more than 500 people.

They wanted a sign to show that Jesus was God or they would not believe. THIS IS THE SIGN GIVEN IAW Jesus' own words to identify Him as God. We see this explained in John 6 very well.
John 6:22-40
On the following day, when the people who were standing on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other boat there, except that one which His disciples had entered, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with His disciples, but His disciples had gone away alone— 23 however, other boats came from Tiberias, near the place where they ate bread after the Lord had given thanks— 24 when the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they also got into boats and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. 25 And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You come here?”

Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. 27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”

Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”30 Therefore they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’32 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”34 Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Today people will tell you that the Gospel preached by Paul, and all the Apostles 1 Cor 15:1-11 is a stumbling block to sinners. That it violates "Free Grace" to preach such a Gospel. That to believe one must know Who and what they trust is just plain too much to ask. They separate, mock and ridicule those who stand within the Gospel preached by the Apostles and those who seek to do as they did.

But today is no different than the day the Lord spoke those words I've just quoted.
John 6:41-42
The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” 42 And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”
But it was not just those who had not had some fellowship with Him. Even those acting as disciples turned away.
John 6:60-66
Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?”61 When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. 65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”

66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.
The Lord didn't back down from what He was preaching. He did not give an easier message for people to accept. He identified Himself as He is to be identified. Here is what He said to the faithful.
John 6:67-69
Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”
68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
These men knew Who Jesus is.

Why did Jesus tell the Scribes that the most important commandment was ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. 30 And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’

Because they were not recognizing Him as God, they knew He was Jesus of Nazareth. They knew He was a Rabbi. They knew He had done many miracles. But they denied He was God, and that He was the Bread of Life. They denied the truth of the Gospel that Christ would give His own to preach to all the world. They had the wrong identity even though they were talking to the right Jesus.

So reader, never mind what men think. How important is it to the God of the Bible that we properly identify Him?


Lou Martuneac said...


Arguably more than any of the reductionist heresies originated by Zane Hodges, which are propagated solely by the GES, is the stripping of the Lord’s Person and titles of their deity. See Greg Scliesmann’s The Christ Under Siege: The New Assault from the GES.

The GES strips the Lord of His unique identity , His deity, when it comes to their approach to personal evangelism because they insist the lost can not only be unaware of, not believe in, and even openly rejection of the Lord’s deity, but still be born again.

It is almost beyond words to describe this heretical assault on the Lord’s Person and titles for the purpose of floating the reductionist extremes of the late Zane Hodges. Not unlike the cults such as the JW’s and Mormonism the GES sets out to rob the Lord of His deity out of loyalty to their hero founder’s theology. Phillip Evans new article Christ’s Resurrectiion: part of the Saving Message, includes this compelling comment

The error that Wilkin has fallen into was a result of taking his eyes off Christ and idolizing Zane Hodges

The one common denominator among the cults is the rejection of the deity of Christ. The GES men personally believe in His deity, but when it comes to evangelizing the lost, the GES allows for any misconception including conscience rejection of whom He is and what He did to provide salvation. The GES Crossless gospel is a half-step away from full blown Universalism.

We, of course, have Antonio da Rosa…

Lou Martuneac said...

…Antonio da Rosa, who does all he can to legitimize what is his widely known and infamous assault on the saving message when he declared and still insists, “The Mormon Jesus and Evangelical Jesus are One and the Same!”

That, is IMO, the most heinous teaching that has come from any member of the GES to date. Incredibly, Bob Wilkin will not publicly reject this or rebuke da Rosa for such an abomination against the Lord Jesus Christ. da Rosa’s friends, who know this is an offense against the Lord will stand by his heresy in ecumenical compromise for the sake of unity at the expense of doctrine.

BTW, there is a major article in development to address da Rosa's continuation of this dangerous error. The article will be given a very wide exposure to ensure this infamous teaching of his will be his best known and most recognizable doctrinal view.

It is imperative that we continue to defend the truth of Scripture that teach the necessity of belief in the one true Lord Jesus Christ and what He did to provide salvation.

Thankfully, the GES has in recent years come to be known the world over for their Hodges inspired reductionist heresies. The GES has become irrelevant to any discussion of the Gospel, but they just don’t know it yet. The GES, because of its Crossless gospel, is a blight and open sore among Bible believing Christians.

Several of us have done a great deal to make sure a wide cross section of evangelical Christianity knows that the GES is a shrinking cell of theological extremists that do NOT represent or speak for the broad base of Free Grace believers and must be marked and avoided (Rom. 16:17) for the contrary doctrine they have introduced to the NT church which has been the cause of divisions and offences.

As long as the GES advocates, especially Antonio da Rosa, stay contained in their own Crossless gospel blogs they pose little threat to the unsuspecting. If, however, any of them, especially da Rosa ventures outside the Crossless gospel blogs to spread GES‘s reductionism we must do what we can to make sure those who may fall prey to the Crossless gospel are forewarned and protected from the egregious errors of GES advocates like Antonio da Rosa.

Thanks for this clear exposition on whom the Lord is. This stands as an open and biblical rebuke of all those who presume to tear down the Lord’s Person to conform Him to the dangerous extremes of Zane Hodges.


Missy said...


I think this is the best scriptural argument I've heard on this topic to date. Thanks for focusing on God's words and not men's.

Kevl said...

Missy, thanks. There truly are endless arguments we can all make but in the end we've got to get back to what does the Bible plainly show us.

Even though it can be hard for us to actually "see" what it plainly says because of all the "noise" around us we must still strive for that. :)

Lou rightly discerned that I was posting in reply to some recent CG postings. I did however want to try not to use their words. Thanks for letting me know I had some success in that regard.



Lou Martuneac said...


One of the best parts of Kev's article is that through his "focusing on God's Word he equips believers to recognize error. He also shows how men can fall into and propagate extremist things that are antithetical to Scriptural truth.

It is biblical, to not just expose error from the light of Scripture, but also identify the teachers of error, such as exist in the GES, who attempt to spread their anti-biblical reductionist views.

Rom. 16:17-18


Kevl said...

LOL just reading the article again... the formating is not very consistent.. and my use of the English language borders on abusive. Sorry. *blush*