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Christology Questions XI

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Question #1: 

Dear Robert,

It is long since I had questions.

My first question is related to a statement made. The individual referenced that ‘God is not bipolar’! How would you qualify such a statement? I do not believe that there was any ill meaning to it. However, I felt that it ‘humanizes’ God’s character.

Secondly, there is an idea that for the Jews knowing God only, without recognizing Christ, suffices for them for salvation. Knowing God is thus enough! However, and I will reference Matthew 11:27 and John 14:6, to counter such a believe to excuse especially the people of Israel. The Gospels (including the Gospel of John) mostly points to the priests, teachers and leaders as those wanting to kill Jesus. Therefor, this deduction! But we know that Acts 2-13 makes several reference to the people of Israel, as does 1 Thess. 2:14-15. Gentiles are included, for all have sinned. Even so, the Word clearly states that Christ has the power to lay down His life and the power to take it up (John 10: 15-18). Christ is the only way (John 14:6).

Your response will be appreciated.

Grace be with you,

Response #1: 

Good to hear from you!

I couldn't even properly define "bipolar", except that I know that it is one of those "interesting" psychology terms.  I'm not much of a fan of psychology. If you really want to know what makes people tick, read the Bible. In any case, attributing or dis-attributing any human quality to God is foolish (except if done by the Spirit in terms of anthropopathism; see the link).

As to salvation before the coming of Jesus Christ, in a nutshell, believers of the past looked forward to the coming of a Redeemer who would take away their sins, but this of course was cloaked in shadows until His revelation at the first advent (cf. 1Pet.1:10-12).

For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.
Job 19:25-27 KJV

After the Messiah came in the flesh, and especially after the cross and resurrection, Jesus is the only true object of faith unto salvation. Here's the main Ichthys link to where this is covered in detail on the site: The Gospel before the Cross (in BB 4B)

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2: 

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

Was wondering if you had any teachings on the subject addressed above: Arminianism?

If you can direct me to this subject I would appreciate it.

Thanks so much as always,

God's blessing be always with you.

Your friend,

Response #2: 

Always great to hear from you, my friend!

BB 4B: Soteriology contains all the concentrated teachings about salvation (link).  Within that study, you can find the section on predestination at the link.  See also "Predestination, Free Will and False Teaching" (at the link). You might also have a look at BB 4A: Christology (link); that study contains all the doctrines about our Lord Himself, including His life during the first advent, passion week and the cross.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #3: 

Dr. Luginbill,

I've been reading through the BB 4B on soteriology and have had some things clear up. God's Will is for us to seek Him, and we are given free-will to respond to it or not. Because sinful men cannot possibly respond to the Will of God without reconciliation, Jesus had to die in our place in order for us to be reconciled to God.

John 1:12-13 NASB- (12) But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, (13) who were born, not of the will of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Once we believe in Christ's work, we are reconciled to Him and are capable of using our free-will that He gave to us to respond to His Will.

It all just adds up so well.

Response #3: 


Question #4: 

You say this in BB 4B:

"God made us who we choose to be and who we choose to be is who God made us."

Is this a way of saying that our choices are really God's choices because our free will is a direct complement to His divine Will?

Thanks a lot

Response #4: 

I think I'd rather put it like this: God found a way to let us make our own choices so that those of us who were willing to do so could and still have life eternal with Him ever after as a result.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #5: 

Dr. Luginbill,

Okay. That makes sense. I guess I'm still trying to understand how God decrees history while allowing us to make our own choices. If our choices have to be lived out in real-time, I suppose it demonstrates that what happens would have happened regardless and that these really are the choices that individual people made, not something that God solely did on His own.

I hope you're doing well. How's Louisville? I just started my online classes this week but haven't returned to university yet. Trying to manage things alright.

In our Lord,

Response #5: 

I wouldn't beat myself up about struggling with this issue since most theologies haven't got it figured out right either.

The main point is the genius (for want of a better word) of God. The bigger and smarter one understands Him to be, the less all this seems problematic. We really DO have choices. The cross proves that . . . in spades. Think about it. What Jesus did in dying for the least sin of all humankind cost more than the entire universe and infinitely so – and He died for every single human sin of all time. Why? He had to do so, so that we could be saved. In other words, if choice were not so important, God wouldn't have had to resolve choice (which leads to sin) by means of the most expensive thing imaginable – and actually unimaginable, that is, the death of His One and only beloved Son.

So we choose, alright. But if we hadn't been able to do so, we wouldn't be the truly free-willed individuals we are. The plan is perfect, and it required both sides: our free will un-coerced and God's payment in the highest possible coin for our bad choices to be paid for, namely, the blood of Jesus Christ (i.e., His spiritual death for us on the cross). He decreed what we would do and what He had to do . . . for us to be saved.

Best wishes for a good semester in spite of everything, my friend! I'm praying for you and your relations with your family daily.

In the Redeemer our dear Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Bob L.

Question #6: 

Dr. Luginbill,

Okay. I think I do understand most of this. God didn't have the create the universe with free-will creatures but He had the right to as long as he paid the price for it. By making us with free-will and knowing that we would fall into sin, he couldn't let us either die in our sins or forgive our sins for no reason, so Jesus had to die on the cross. The choice is an amazing blessing though because we get to decide our fate. With God's decree, He just knows everything because He is God, right? But just because He knows everything doesn't mean that we don't make the choices? Sometimes I overthink it, but I think I basically get it. Tell me if I'm wrong (as always).

The family situation has gotten better but they really just don't get it. I'm tired of humoring their questions that lead to nothing. I told them that they just need to get on Bible Academy (link) and do it because they'll never understand otherwise (John 3:3). Thank you for your prayers. I'll continue to keep you in mine as well.

I always appreciate your input.

In Christ,

Response #6: 

Yes, that's pretty much the way I would put it. God obligated Himself – when He was under no obligation to do so – to save us when He did what He did in initiating creation in the perfect way He did so. The plan is absolutely perfect, so this is the only way it could work – and only through the cross. So we find ourselves on the perfect threshing floor where the wheat is separating itself out from the chaff with every decision we make in response to His ineffable grace in Jesus Christ.

I also used to think that it was just a matter of pointing people to the right materials (in my case, the books and tapes produced by my mentor, Col. Thieme). But it didn't take me long to figure out that the will has to be there in the person in question, and where there is a will, God always provides the way. So keep praying and remember: He also knew that YOU would respond . . and that you love and care for your family (even while they are being stubborn at present).

Thanks for your prayers too!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7: 

Hi Dr Luginbill,

How are you, my friend? These below are not really important, so you can ignore, if you are busy.

You know I was thinking of getting a good college level grammar book to clean up my English (thinking about what you said). Reading old English work would help to an extent, but then you learn things that have gone out of style/acceptability.

Can I just say that I am on page 183 out of some 500 pages of The Iliad?! It is sooo exciting! I am slowly, slowly making slow progress. It is also kind of funny because people around me will be talking about current events or shows and I am talking to myself things like "well, I kind of want both Hector and Menalaus to win, but that doesn't work." And me "I like the wording, but that doesn't mean much since I am a newbie at this" and "isn't there a wooden horse at some point?". Lol.

Also, can I share something with you? Growing up (and I think you may have grown up with this, too), faith in God is almost presented as something you do absent any evidence (or even in spite of the evidence). I mean they even call it "blind faith." But from what I can tell it is actually more like someone who asks if you believe AFTER they have given tons and tons of evidence and reason. If we take nature as evidence. The Bible as evidence. His provisions before 'coming to faith' as evidence. He even offers evidence in the Bible. Then His sacrifice. That is hardly blind faith. What do you think?

I do still think reading English works that are published (various levels of difficulty) is the best way to get better at the language. I mean, does anyone know the names of the academics getting upset at run-on sentences? But many, many people know about the Declaration of Independence with it's paragraph-long-single-sentences.

Take care,

Response #7: 

I agree with you on faith. I don't find "blind faith" in the Bible (the idea may come from Is.42:19, but that is really something different).

(1) It is faith [in the Living and written Word], moreover, that substantiates what we hope for. [Faith] provides proof of things unseen. (2) For it is by this [very faith] that believers of old received their divine approval.
Hebrews 11:1-2

Faith is actually PROOF – and through such faith we condemn the world (Heb.11:7).

I think it's great that you're progressing so well and so fast with your Greek! I'm probably going to do Odyssey with my second year class in the spring (if I have anybody left after this disaster of a semester). Generally, if we can get through just one book, I'm happy. You are on track to do the whole Iliad! And no, no wooden horse – you have to get to the Odyssey for that.

Best way to learn English grammar: learn Latin or Greek. It's pretty much impossible to get better at the rules from English grammar books. As to busting up sentences, I think that has become the style because of the general devolution of intelligence and literacy in our country. The founding fathers read the Classics and as a result produced very long and interesting periods in their writing – which much less educated English teachers of today would carve up and thus dumb-down.

Keeping you in my prayers.

In Jesus.

Bob L.

Question #8:  

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

This morning in our Sunday Bible Study, my wife asked me a question I could not answer. As a matter of fact, both of us did not understand the referenced verse. It appears that this is one of those verses that are mis-translated?? We both don't understand why Jesus made this quote: "Why do you call me good, no one is good except God alone."

Now we know that Jesus is both God and human at the same time, so He is good. Why did He say there is no one good? What does the Greek text really say?

Thanks so much for your help in understanding.

Gods blessings always,

Your friend,

Response #8: 

Here's a link to where this is explained. The first Q/A talks about the text (including translation issues); the second Q/A talks about the reasoning.

As to the latter, in a nutshell, of course Jesus is/was "good" by any definition. But why would an unbeliever call Him that? Unless the person really believed that He was the Messiah and divine, calling Him "good" was out of place and misunderstanding the basic sinfulness of the human race – no doubt also the basic personal sinfulness on the part of the person doing the "calling". But unless we know we're mortal and sinful, there's no hope of repentance unto salvation. So this is Jesus "calling out" the one "calling Him good".

Do feel free to write me back about this.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9: 

Very happy to do it, Sir.

Thank you, Sir. I plan to visit some of my relatives tomorrow. Otherwise, it's another Christmas I'll be spending alone. __ and her family left for her village today. It's unlikely I'll see her until January.

Is your boy coming for Christmas?

Response #9: 

He came through in October. Don't know when we'll see him again.

I've spent Christmas alone and I've spent it in the midst of many. The one constant is that walking close to Jesus Christ it is happy, but without that closeness any happiness is fleeting.

I pray for a blessed day for you with Him tomorrow. After all, every day is Christmas and Easter and every other possible holiday for those who are walking day by day with the One we love, the One who rescued us from death by His own blood.

In our dear Savior Jesus Christ who died for us.

Bob L.

Question #10: 

Dear Robert,

I have done much research on this subject and I need some clarification. The norm is both by theology and tradition that the reference to the 'Angel of the Lord', to be a manifestation of the pre-incarnate Christ. I would concede that with such a deduction I am comfortable. Especially with the acknowledgment that this 'angel' is the one and only person of Christ. Elohim, however, can be used interchangeably as a reference to God or angels. This deduction is further strengthened by the idea that this angel possesses divine attributes.

The challenge to my previous acknowledgment comes directly from Scripture. The Word (eternal existence) is God (John 1:1) and was only manifested/revealed (John 1:14) when the Word became flesh. Scripture does make reference to the revealing of Christ to the world, sent by God (Isaiah 53; Gal. 4:4).

The NT reveals a mystery regarding the giving of the Law to Moses as explained by Stephen (Acts 7:53) and Paul (Gal. 3:19). Angels gave the law to Moses. Christ is distinctly spoken of as greater than angels (Hebr. 1:7-8). The Lord created everything, including angels (Col. 1:16). Therefore, could this angel not perhaps be a chosen vessel to deliver/message on behalf of the Father and the Son in ways as referenced in Scripture. Professor J.M. Wilson refers to the angel of the Lord as: "Angel of the Theophany". A summary of the angel's appearances to individuals in the OT: with Hagar, with Abraham, at the sacrifice of Isaac, with Eliezer for protection, appearing to Jacob, appears to Moses/Joshua/Gideon, leads Israel out of Egypt, etc. In Exodus 23: 20-23 the Lord commands an angel to lead Israel and they must obey. Yet, this angel can not forgive sins (V21), this adds to my question the veracity of this angel, as referred to as 'the angel of the Lord', to be the pre-incarnate Christ? The Books of John and Hebrew succinctly refutes the identification of Christ as an angel and/or an archangel in whatever form or status.

I trust that this explanation is not a conjecture, but is detailed enough to enable you to respond.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,

Response #10: 

Christ did manifest Himself before the incarnation. He was not and has never been an "angel" in the sense of being one of the finite angels, those pre-human-creation creatures who also have the image of God. But what were the OT believers to call Him? When He manifested Himself it was a clearly supernatural event but of a Person who was visible and glorious. For them to have been able to distinguish Him from an angel of God would have required a detailed theology lesson impossible to understand before witnessing the incarnation (cf. 1Pet.1:10-12). We do have all the information from scripture we need today to take that lesson and understand it. This then comes down to individual cases in scripture, and that requires interpretation of specific passages.

Here are the main links at Ichthys for this:

Cases of Christophany in the Old Testament (in BB1)

Old Testament Appearances of Jesus Christ (in BB 4A)

Jesus Christ in the Old Testament

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #11: 

Dear Robert,

The Lord used only the bread in this scenario with Cleopas and an unnamed companion from Emmaus. Their restrained eyes were opened; for now they see Him, knew Him and He vanished, after their breaking the bread together

Why not the cup? Is it because the blood of the Lamb was not yet presented in heaven in the Most Holy Place?

I do practice the full scope of the communion with both emblems included.

Continue to overcome in Christ our risen Lord.

Response #11: 

Good to hear from you – hope you and yours are doing well despite the current unpleasantness.

As to your question:

1) The Lord had already instituted communion at the last supper and made it abundantly clear what it meant – and that the foundation of it was "remembering Me" rather than any details of ritual.

2) If He had said "in remembrance of Me" at this time that would have let them know before He was ready to let them know that it was He who was with them.

3) It is certainly possible to ask for blessing on a meal without engaging in a formal communion ritual – though I do commend the procedure of remembering the Lord, who He is and what He did for us (represented by the bread and cup respectively), whenever we eat and drink. See the link: "The Communion Ceremony outside of the Local Church".

4) Remembrance of Him is the key; He is "the Bread of Life" and by "the Blood of Christ" we are saved; so if we are remembering Him, His Person (the bread) and what He has done for us in being judged for ours sins in the darkness on the cross (the cup), that in my view trumps any and all other aspects of ceremony.

Some links:

The Last Supper

Communion and the Spiritual Death of Christ

Links on Communion

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #12: 

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

Until today, I never heard the words "Decision Theology". Yesterday, I thought about developing a study with the title "Decisions". I talked with another believer and told him about this study I was thinking of, and he mentioned "Decision Theology". I know what it is now that I have heard the term, but was wondering if you might have a teaching/comments on this subject.

It is my view, and maybe I am wrong about this, that each person must make a decision to either accept or reject Jesus Christ as their LORD and Savior. Salvation is a gift of God to all mankind, but, in order to partake in the gift, we must receive it. Now I know that nothing we do adds anything to this gift, but we must either accept or reject the gift.

Appreciate always your thoughts and assistance.

God's richest blessings be upon you,

Your friend,

Response #12: 

I agree with you entirely, my friend. This is one of the reasons why I find traditional theology most distasteful. Honestly, one would think these people who worry about such things had nothing better to do.

Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
Luke 7:50 NKJV

"Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved!"
Acts 16:31

If that's not clear, I'm not sure what is. Making people ask questions about "reception" just creates unnecessary doubt. Salvation is not just for philosophy majors. Any poor schlub can be saved. And God wants ALL to be saved. Yes you receive the gift. Yes you decide to receive the gift. Yes this results in salvation. But how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? That is what we really need to get to the bottom of . . . apparently.

"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 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 3:14-18 NKJV

I understand the Bible. It is very clear. Theologians and theology, not so much.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #13: 

Dr. Luginbill,

Thank you for letting me know about Bible Basics 7. I actually saw the posting a few days ago and have started reading it. I can't wait to spend more time on it but I am presently studying BB 4A Christology and am at the sections describing the Hypostatic Union and Kenosis right now.

This is so interesting to me, but very hard to grasp without slow, deliberate reading and re-reading and looking up all the verses that support the concepts. So it is taking me some time to digest it. I don't want to hurry through it. I have so much to learn but I am hungry to learn more - it's almost a craving, if you know what I mean. Thank you again for the notice. May God continue to protect you and hold you in his loving hands.

Response #13: 


For what it's worth, I re-read these materials all the time as well (currently in BB 3B: Hamartiology).

Serious study of the Word of God pays all sorts of godly dividends – in this life and the next!

So keep on fighting the good fight, my friend!

I'm keeping you in my prayers.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14: 

Good morning, Dr. Luginbill,

I am sorry to report that I'm not doing better. Unfortunately, I am completely in the quicksand up to my nose and struggling. In conversation with my healthcare team, we have concluded that, at this point, I am the sickest (psychiatrically) that I've ever been. And that's saying a lot because I have been through so much. In the last couple of weeks, I have been inundated with so many things over and over again. After I take one blow, I don't have a chance to recover before another blow comes. And they just keep coming with seemingly no end in sight.

I struggle with self-harm behaviors - [omitted]. My team tells me that I do this because I would rather endure physical pain than mental pain. Also, during this time period, I have lost 70 lbs.

Just like self-harm, I also struggle with suicidal / homicidal ideation. I'm not trying to alarm you. My team and I have put guardrails in place to prevent me from being able to act on either of these, but the thoughts and desires are so strong at times that I just can't deal with it. Sometimes, I genuinely want to see others hurt as much as I'm hurting, and also I just want to stop existing because it's just too hard and I'm so tired of fighting. It's very scary and I pray to God continually for help.

I know that the last thing you need is all my heavy stuff but I need your help with a question that I'm struggling with minute by minute. How do I know that God loves me - you know, me personally? Not just God loving all those that choose to believe in Him, all members of the body of Christ, etc. How do I know that God loves me in a personal, individual way? I've been trying to find a nugget of scripture to grasp and hang on to while I'm flailing in the wind. But everything I read just seems so general. I hope you can point me in the right direction.

Thanking God for you and your ministry every day.


Response #14: 

"How do I know that God loves me . . . ?" The best answer to that one: Jesus paid for your sins on the cross. He died for YOU. He paid for YOUR personal sins, one at a time.

Too many Christians take that for granted. But dying for ONE sin was more than the whole universe – and Christ died for ALL of our sins. He died for yours, for you, for you personally. And what He suffered in dying for ONE of your sins – and we all have committed more than the hairs on our head or the sands on the seashore – was infinitely more than everything you have suffered in your life since birth or will until He calls you home.

We would have to have some idea of the glory of God, far veiled from us at present, to have the slightest idea of the magnitude of the cross. But in dying for one sin, Christ would have done more for you than if He gave you the universe on a platter – and He died for ALL your sins.

Whatever we think we're suffering here, it's nothing compared to the lake of fire, the place we'd all be headed if Jesus hadn't paid the price for us. You are in God's divine decree, sanctified to belong to Jesus Christ, and PAID FOR with the blood of Jesus, that is, His suffering for all of your sins. Mine too, I'm very happy to say. Does God love us? God knows!

For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:6-8 NKJV

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.
1st John 4:9 NLT

Praying for your deliverance.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #15: 

Dear Dr. Luginbill,

I am currently reading your book on BB 4B Soteriology. After coming to saving faith at the age of 43, the memory of how I abused my own free will, given to each of us by God, still haunts me. The devil still attacks me with my guilt. I've been in this fight with the devil for close to a year now. Though I'm typically a pretty quick learner I'm having a slow time learning to use the armor provided by God. For me, the biggest challenge is keeping on the helmet that protects the mind. Which leads me back to my original reason for writing regarding Soteriology. Would it be proper or Biblical for one, once they have submitted to Jesus as Lord and Saviour, to ask to relinquish our God given free will? In my heart it's settled, I no longer want to do things my way. Yet I still have freedom to sin. Since God paid such a high price for my sin already I am ashamed knowing I will still sin in this life.

Your thoughts would be much appreciated.

By God's Grace may this email find you well,

Response #15: 

This life is all about choice. That is why we are all here. And for believers, that is why we remain here after salvation. The world is God's great threshing floor where He separates the wheat from the chaff. And He also determines the quality of each grain of wheat through the process of life and history. Of course it is really WE who do the determining. His perfect plan has allowed us that right, the self-determination of free will inherent in the image of God we have been given. So please don't wish away your free will. Free will is faith. What you need is to develop your faith. God is perfectly faithful. Most of the tests we're given in this life are aimed at helping us see that and trust Him more and more each day – if we are willing. So if you have a problem, the solution is God. He is willing and able to help you – but you have to trust Him and not rely on yourself. Don't worry about the devil. Focus your heart on the Lord in the Holy Spirit.

What you may be seeing as a disadvantage is actually a very great blessing. Still being here in the world and still having free will is an opportunity to do what the Lord is calling you to do. Don't just sit on defense and try to win the battle against sin in a vacuum. Like all other things in this life, defense never won anything. No. You have to take aggressive offense action, namely, commit to spiritual growth.

If you are reading the Basics Series, then you are on your way with that. Keep it up! And take pains to believe and remember what you're being taught – and to apply it to your daily walk. Be praying. Be thinking godly thoughts as you interpret everything you see and experience in light of the truth you're learning AND believing. Focus on your eternal reward. That is how to win the victory in a way that glorifies Jesus Christ.

Remember. He not only forgave your sin when you believed but now forgives you every time you sin thereafter (1Jn.1:9). Jesus is our Advocate as well when we do err (1Jn.2:1-2). And don't wallow in guilt! That sort of morbid obsession with the past is the devil's ace trump along with fear (guilt and fear are very closely related). Fear God instead and determine to do what is right.

But if you stumble, rejoice that you are a child of God and redeemed by the blood of Christ. Moping about the past is most definitely NOT what the Lord wants from you. And don't worry about getting away with something. The Father is perfect disciplinarian. No one ever gets away with anything – but we are all blessed to be treated in grace and love and receive far less than we deserve.

(12) [It is] not that I have already gotten [what I am striving for], nor that I have already completed [my course]. Rather, I am continuing to pursue [the prize] in hopes of fully acquiring it – [this prize for whose acquisition] I was myself acquired by Christ Jesus. (13) Brethren, I do not consider that I have already acquired it. This one thing only [do I keep in mind]. Forgetting what lies behind me [on the course] and straining towards the [course] ahead, (14) I continue to drive straight for the tape, towards the prize to which God has called us from the beginning [of our race] in Christ Jesus. (15) So as many as are [spiritually] mature, let us have this attitude (i.e., of focusing on our spiritual advance and reward and not getting hung up on what lies behind: vv.13-14), and if in any matter your attitude is off-center, God will reveal that to you (i.e., assuming you are mature and are advancing as you should). (16) But with respect to the progress you have made, keep on advancing in the same way!
Philippians 3:12-16

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #16: 

Hi Dr.

I pray all is well with you. How is the first week of classes going?

I have a quick question. What is the difference between Christ's Spirit indwelling in a believer (Gal 2:20) and the Holy Spirit's indwelling? Do they have different functions? Are the phrases (Christ's Spirit and the Holy Spirit) used interchangeably?

Can you please shed some light on this subject for me? I will also attempt to do a study on my end but I wanted to get your analysis as a foundation.

Thank you and God bless you sir.

Response #16: 

First, I got your package yesterday – phew!!! You certainly have done a lot of work . . . and very good work too! Those who are blessed to have access to your teaching there are a privileged lot! You're all set for the next phase later this year (praying for that to happen as early as possible). Hold onto your paper copies. OCR software has gotten very good. You'll be able to scan all of these papers and create computer files without too much editing.

As to your question, first, indwelling of Jesus Christ (Jn.14:20; Rom.8:10; 2Cor.13:5; Eph.3:17; Col.1:27) and of the Spirit (Rom.8:9; cf. Jn.14:17; 1Thes.4:8; 2Tim.1:14; Heb.6:4) are facts.

The purpose of the Lord's indwelling is for unity, fellowship, and encouragement:

(20) "And I do not ask concerning these only, [Father], but also concerning all of those who believe in Me through their word, (21) so that all [of them] may be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I also am in You, so that they also themselves may be one in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. (22) And I have given them the glory You have given Me, so that they may be one as We are one."
John 17:20-22

To all [believers] God desired to make known what wealth there is in this glorious mystery regarding the gentiles, for it is that Christ – your hope of glory – is in you.
Colossians 1:27

The purpose of the Spirit's indwelling is empowerment on every level, learning the truth, applying the truth, developing and functioning in our spiritual gifts. This is a very long and exhaustive discussion to have. Here's the link to BB 5 where just having a look at the outline will give you an idea of that.

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #17: 

Thank you Dr and I am glad you received the package today. Your mentoring and guide in the Word has bear fruit and without you, I couldn't have done this ministry.

I know the Lord has and will continue to bless you, not only temporally but the world to come.

As far as my question, thanks for answering and there is a difference. I didn't know that. The scriptures you give me will help guide me in my study. I may preach on this. It is very important applicationally to know.

I will let you know if there are any other questions.

God bless you in Jesus Christ our Lord

Response #17: 

Sure thing, my friend – write any time!

Question #18:  

Hi Bob,

Matthew 4:24-25 (NASB)
24 The news about Him spread throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; and He healed them. 25 Large crowds followed Him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan.

Question: Syria and the Decapolis are gentile areas. I thought Jesus sought to avoid preaching to the gentiles?

Matthew 12:15-16 (NASB)
15 But Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. Many followed Him, and He healed them all, 16 and warned them not to tell who He was.

Question: Why did our Lord warn the crowd if they didn’t know who He was because they almost never “got” that He was the Son of God?

In our Savior,

Response #18: 

1) The point is that His fame spread so far and wide that even Jews from the surrounding regions outside of Palestine came to Him rather than the other way around where He would have had to travel to those outlying regions.

2) It's a misleading translation. Better:

And charged them that they should not make him known.
Matthew 12:16 KJV

We see from other passages as well that this celebrity was a curse and something He eschewed (Matt.8:4; 9:30-31; 14:13-14; Mk.1:43-45; 3:20; 8:26; 9:30; Lk.4:42-44; 5:15-16; 5:19). While sinful human beings crave fame, for our Lord – the ultimate celebrity of all time – being celebrated far and wide only made His ministry more difficult. In fact, He went to lengths to repulse those who were really not interested in the truth, using parables, for one thing, going up to the mountain tops to teach the disciples who cared enough (after being healed or fed) to still seek Him out.

There's a good lesson there for us all. If somehow Ichthys became "famous" – for fifteen minutes – I would not be able to handle the load of emails, so that those genuinely interested would get lost in the shuffle. God knows what He is doing – of course!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #19: 

Hello--Quick question....in John 20:28, Thomas answers Jesus and calls Him his "Lord" and his "God." An Arian I know on CARM claims that Lord refers to Jesus and God refers to the Father, that Thomas was recognizing the Father in Jesus Christ.

"The fact is, that Thomas wasn't calling Jesus God either and the fact that he said, "The Lord of me and, and, and "The God of me", I believe is proof that he wasn't also, for if he was only speaking to Jesus alone, he would more likely had said "my Lord God".

However, instead he put the "of me" behind word "Lord" and then also behind the word "God" and then also had the word "and" in between them revealing that he was speaking to two persons and not just one."

Silly, I know...my question is, is the "Him" in "Thomas answered and said unto Him..." singular? What would it be in Greek? Seems to me that IF Thomas had been referring both to Jesus and the Father, the text would have said that "Thomas answered and said unto them...."

Response #19: 

The meaning in Greek is identical and exactly parallel to the English translations. Greek says "of me" for "my" frequently, and in the NT it is the preferred way to express possession.

This is clearly grasping at straws by someone who doesn't want to accept the clear meaning of what the text says (expressed perfectly well in all the major translations).

I've never heard anyone say anything like "My Lord and my God" in the Bible or outside of the Bible if not referring to God. If anything, saying it this way emphasizes the "my God" part which would not be the case in the alternative suggested. But the text does say also very clearly ". . . and he [Thomas] said to Him [Jesus]". So Thomas is clearly calling Jesus his "God" – I don't see any reasonable way around that. That is one reason I frequently quote this verse for anyone with questions about our Lord's deity. There may be thought to be some clever way around this very clear statement – but it is NOT in fact.

It's always frustrating to debate with people for whom words have either no meaning or any old meaning they want them to have. That's why I leave apologetics to others.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #20: 

Dear Dr. Luginbill,

May I ask how you came to believe in the Lord?

I know this is very personal, so if you don't want to answer you can of course say it is personal and not answer. I was just wondering, only if you felt comfortable sharing. No pressure.

I personally hesitate over sharing because I know some people will say it was more emotional than logical. Which is not really true to me; I mean having to separate the medium (my abusive parents) from the message (the Word) takes more than momentary impulse emotion. And I used so much logic the decade after asking Bible related questions that, now when I question some not Bible related, taking apart non-Bible things is so easy I feel offended Christians are tricked into questioning the Bible so much. It is tricked! Nothing else would stand up to half of what we allow ourselves to be led into doing on the Bible.

Anyway, please take care.

Response #20: 

As I've said on the website on a number of occasions, I don't remember exactly when I came to believe. I was very young. In thinking about this in later years, I think it was the death of my beloved grandfather and the realization of death and darkness and the grave for the first time that motivated me to "put together" what I had no doubt heard in church (I wasn't yet five years old, I don't believe) and put my faith in the Lord for deliverance. I do remember that fear dissolving and being a "happy little guy" thereafter . . . until we moved to Chicago a year or so later.

And yes, it was all pretty emotional in recollection – but what could be more emotional than deliverance from death, grave and darkness!

In Jesus our Redeemer who has set us free from all that by dying in our place on the cross!

Bob L.



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