Saturday, March 31, 2018

Medical theories on the cause of death in crucifixion Matthew W Maslen and Piers D Mitchell


INTRODUCTION

Crucifixion may be defined as a method of execution by which a person is hanged, usually by their arms, from a cross or similar structure until dead. It has been used in many parts of the world and in many time periods; but is perhaps best known today as a cruel method of social control and punishment in the Roman Empire around 2000 years ago1 (pp 22-3). In modern times, the medical profession has shown considerable interest in crucifixion. The typical aim of articles by this group has been to determine how crucified individuals actually died; and they often focus on the case of Jesus of Nazareth. Since Stroud's book of 1847,2 at least 10 different theories have been proposed (Table 1), and many more articles have been published suggesting various combinations of these theories. The 10 examples referenced in Table 1 have been chosen merely as representing the wide difference of opinion in the published literature: it is not an exhaustive list of all articles published on the subject. The postulated causes of death include cardiovascular, respiratory, metabolic, and psychological pathology. Some authors have even argued that in a limited proportion of cases the victim only appeared to die, and recovered consciousness once brought down from the cross.

Table 1

A representative selection of medical hypotheses for the cause of death of Jesus, or crucifixion in general
Cause of deathBackground of authorReference
Cardiac rupture Physician Stroud 1847 (Ref 2)
Heart failure Physician Davis 1965 (Ref 15)
Hypovolaemic shock Forensic pathologist Zugibe 2005 (Ref 12)
Syncope Surgeon LeBec 1925 (Ref 16)
Acidosis Physician Wijffels 2000 (Ref 17)
Asphyxia Surgeon Barbet 1963 (Ref 18)
Arrhythmia plus asphyxia Pathologist Edwards 1986 (Ref 19)
Pulmonary embolism Haematologist Brenner 2005 (Ref 20)
Voluntary surrender of life Physician Wilkinson 1972 (Ref 21)
Didn't actually die Physician Lloyd-Davies 1991 (Ref 22)
When a large number of theories are proposed for a problem in any scientific discipline, this often demonstrates that there is no clear evidence indicating the answer. Here we investigate why there are over 10 completely different theories described in the medical literature.

METHOD

An extensive search for publications on crucifixion was undertaken. These were divided into three groups by main profession of the author, be they physicians, archaeologists or historians. Over 40 articles and books by physicians that discussed the medical causes of death in crucifixion were studied. The publications by historians and archaeologists were used to provide background information on crucifixion. Early printed editions of Latin texts dating from the Roman period, held in the British Library, were consulted for passages describing crucifixion. The replica model of the only archaeological case of crucifixion yet found (from Giv'at ha-Mivtar) was studied during a visit to Jerusalem. This case was discussed in detail with an osteoarchaeologist in Israel who examined the original bones prior to their reburial.
A summary of the available historical, archaeological and re-enactment evidence was constructed. This was compared with the evidence discussed in each of the publications by medical authors, in order to determine the breadth of information consulted prior to the proposal of their hypothesis as to how crucifixion victims died.

HISTORICAL EVIDENCE

Written evidence for the details of crucifixion has been limited to eyewitness accounts and other related written texts. No Roman period instructions for those performing crucifixion have been preserved as far as we are aware. The most detailed accounts of any one particular crucifixion are the biblical passages covering the death of Jesus of Nazareth; but we should not assume that this was by any means representative of all crucifixions. Indeed, the precise details may well have varied between regions, evolved over time, or even depending upon the social status of the victim and the crime he allegedly committed. Flavius Josephus (37-c.100CE) wrote of the hundreds of Jewish prisoners crucified at Jerusalem in 70 CE, during an uprising against the Romans.
`They were first whipped and then tormented with all sorts of tortures, before they died, and were crucified before the wall of the city... the soldiers, out of wrath and hatred they bore the Jews, nailed those they caught to the crosses in different postures, by way of jest'.3
Lucius Anneus Seneca (4BCE-65CE) recorded another mass crucifixion and noted:
`I see crosses there, not just of one kind but made in many different ways: some have their victims with their head down to the ground, some impale their private parts, others stretch out their arms'.4
In Roman times a common starting point was to be whipped across the back, buttocks and legs with a flagrum. This was a short whip with sharp objects interweaved into the thongs. The victim was then often obliged to carry part of their cross to the place of execution, outside the city walls. The weight of this would obviously vary depending upon the region and the type of wood used. Once at the place of crucifixion, the hands and feet of the prisoner were fixed to the cross with either nails or cords, and the cross erected in any one of a range of orientations. If crucified head up, the victim's weight may also have been supported on a small seat. This was believed to prolong the time it took a man to die. Victims in the head up position could spend several days on the cross before they died. One technique used by the Romans to hasten death was to break the legs below the knee with a blunt instrument1 (p. 25). Modern interpretation in the medical literature as to how this might work includes blood loss from the fracture site or respiratory failure from fat embolism. In those positioned head up then respiratory failure might also ensue as a consequence of the inability to inflate the chest sufficiently, since the legs could no longer be used to support the weight of the body. However, it is unknown which of these three widely stated hypotheses is correct, since crucifixion is not employed as a modern legal method of execution.
Analysis of the clinical literature suggests that there has been suboptimal use of these historical sources in post publications. Over 40 such articles have been reviewed for this study, although only a proportion of these have specifically been quoted in the reference list as they highlight particular points. The vast majority of articles do not refer to texts in the original languages that describe the details of crucifixion, which are mostly in Latin and Greek. At best there is occasional reference to the few Roman period texts that have been published in English translation.5,6 However, most papers do not even discuss the translations of these texts, but chose to quote previous publications by other medical authors for their historical information.7,8 In some cases the result is a series of misquotes that bear limited resemblance to the actual surviving evidence.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE

There has been just one archaeological case of crucifixion published to our knowledge. Cases are rare, as most crucified people were not formally buried, but left on a rubbish dump to be eaten by wild dogs and hyenas. The one case we do have was a young Jewish man buried during the Roman Period, in a tomb near Giv'at ha-Mivtar in Israel.9 The inscription on the ossuary suggests his name was probably Yehohanan ben Hagkol. The skeletal remains were only available for study for a few weeks before being given a Jewish burial, although a model of this calcaneus and nail have been exhibited in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The excavated remains were fragmentary and incomplete, but were unmistakably a case of crucifixion. The initial osteoarchaeological interpretation of the remains10 was of poor quality, and somewhat misleading. A much more expert analysis of these remains was published in 1985 by Zias and Sekeles.11 They described how an 11.5cm iron nail had been hammered through the body of the right calcaneus from lateral to medial, and was still in situ (Figure 1). The tip of the nail was bent, suggesting that during its insertion it had perhaps met a hard knot of wood or pre-existing nail left from an earlier crucifixion. The remains of a flat piece of olive wood were found to be located between the lateral aspect of the calcaneus and the head of the nail. Its use may have been to prevent the crucifixion victim freeing his foot by forcing it laterally over the head of the nail. It seems that, at least in this case, the heels were nailed to the sides of the cross. There was no evidence for nail insertion through the bones of the wrist or forearm, although this is widely stated in medical articles. The appearance of the tibial fragments was suggestive of post mortem damage due to the decomposition process, and not ante mortem fractures to hasten death. However, several medical articles incorrectly state that they were ante mortem. We also have no idea as to whether this particular victim was positioned head up, head down, or in any other orientation.
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Calcaneus transfixed by an iron nail, from a first century AD Jewish tomb at Giv'at ha-Mivtar. Excavated bone on the right, model reconstruction on left. [Reproduced with the kind permission of Dr Joe Zias, Israel.] (In colour online.)
Every carving of Jesus' crucifixion that we have ever seen in Catholic or Protestant churches have a nail passing through both feet from front to back. This religious stereotype has influenced the views of many researchers over the years. However, there is no evidence that crucifixion was actually carried out in this way in classical times.

EVIDENCE FROM RE-ENACTMENT

Over the years a number of researchers have tried to test both the physiology and the symptomatology of crucifixion. Zugibe has been the most recent, and the most thorough, with his humane experimental recreation of certain aspects of crucifixion.12 The volunteers were attached to the cross in a safe and temporary way, were carefully monitored, and the study terminated at the time of their request. The fact that none of the re-enactment research has actually crucified people means that these studies have only limited relevance to genuine cases. The absence of whipping, carrying a heavy cross, being nailed to it, the dehydration from water deprivation and hot sun, and the anxiety of their imminent death might all have resulted in somewhat different findings in the modern groups and crucifixion victims 2000 years ago. Furthermore, re-enacted crucifixions have typically placed their volunteers in the head up position displayed in Christian churches, and not in the wide variety of positions recorded in the written records from Roman times.
Zugibe attached the hands of his volunteers to a cross with leather gloves. The legs were placed with the knees and hips flexed and with the plantar surface of the feet flush with the anterior aspect of the cross upright. They were attached to the upright using a belt that ran over the dorsum of the feet. This choice of foot position seems to have been influenced by images in churches, but is at odds with the archaeological evidence and, to our knowledge, is not supported by historical evidence either. Zugibe's aim was to establish the cause of death of Jesus of Nazareth, and he tested many physiological variables in a systematic manner. He concluded that hypovolaemic shock caused Jesus' death, and the asphyxiation theory had been overwhelmingly disproved12 (p. 121). However, the conclusion was not based on any positive evidence for the shock theory (which was not tested), but rather upon negative evidence for the asphyxiation theory. It seems that none of the volunteers suffered significant difficulty breathing while on the replica cross. However, the longest time any were left on the cross seems to have been limited, on account of the physical discomfort of being on the cross. Since it was extremely rare for anyone in Roman times to die on a cross within the first few hours, it could be argued that the time scale of the study cannot disprove the asphyxiation theory. Furthermore, much of Zugibe's arguments are based on evidence from the Turin Shroud. This appears to be a medieval forgery dating from between 1260 and 1390CE, since fibres have been radiocarbon dated by three separate laboratories.13 While some claim that the carbon date merely reflects the date of a medieval repair to the material,14 we would argue that there is still no firm evidence to suggest that the shroud of Turin can be used as part of an impartial scientific study.

DISCUSSION

We have highlighted 10 theories put forward by medical practitioners who have investigated the medical cause of death by crucifixion. They include forensic pathologists, physicians, and surgeons with outstanding pedigrees from around the world. At first glance, their medical arguments appear plausible. However, our principal finding is that on more detailed examination most of these hypotheses regarding crucifixion are unsubstantiated by the available data. The evidence for crucifixion that we have discussed here includes archaeological, historical, and re-enactment. Very few of the past medical publications in the field show awareness of this full range of evidence. Many are limited to those few written sources that have been translated into English. The arguments of these earlier papers often rely on the Turin Shroud for evidence, despite the fact that there is fair evidence to suggest that it is a forgery. Many articles just quote earlier medical publications, without discussing original sources themselves. The archaeological evidence, namely the crucified man from Giv'at ha-Mivtar, is often ignored. This is a crucial point, as it is arguably the most important and reliable evidence for crucifixion that exists. Very few papers show any sign of input from historians or osteoarchaeologists in order to expand upon the medical expertise of the authors.
The strengths of this study are that it provides an impartial assessment of past work in the field. It gives credit to good published research, but highlights major problems where they appear. The authors possess the necessary linguistic, medical and archaeological skills to undertake such a study. We have not engaged in humane re-enactment research ourselves, so have no preferred cause of death that we wish to champion. The weaknesses of the study perhaps include the fact that, since we have not performed humane re-enactment research ourselves, it could be argued we are in a less knowledgeable position from which to comment on the usefulness of the re-enactment research that has been undertaken. Neither do we claim to have first hand experience of the challenges and difficulties associated with developing a humane and ethical research protocol.
Our conclusion is that, at present, there is insufficient evidence to safely state exactly how people did die from crucifixion in Roman times. It is quite likely that different individuals died from different physiological causes, and we would expect that the orientation in which they were crucified would be crucial in this respect. Until new archaeological or textual evidence comes to light then it is only through more realistic humane re-enactment research that we may move closer to an answer. However, the difficulty in creating a research method that is more realistic, while ensuring that it remains humane, ethical and painless may be quite a challenge. Most importantly, future publication of articles in the medical literature should be restricted to those that consider the full range of historical and archaeological evidence. This may well require a collaborative team approach including historians and archaeologists as well as physicians.

Notes

Acknowledgments We are most grateful to Dr Joe Zias (formerly Curator for Physical Anthropology, Israel Antiquities Authority) for discussing the archaeological evidence with us, and for allowing us to reproduce his images of the calcaneus and crucifixion nail.
Competing interests None declared.

References

1. Hengel M. Crucifixion in the Ancient World, and the Folly of the Message of the Cross, transl Bowden J. London: SCM Press, 1986
2. Stroud W. A Treatise on the Physical Cause of the Death of Christ. London: Hamilton & Adams, 1847
3. Josephus F. In: Rufinus T, ed. De Bello Iudaico. Lugduni: Sebastian Germa, 1528: 323-4
4. Seneca LA. In: Michaelis HC, ed. De Consolatione ad Marciam. Harlem: Vincent Loosjes, 1840
5. Retief FP, Cilliers L. The history and pathology of crucifixion. S Afr Med J 2003;93: 938-41 [PubMed]
6. Holoubek JE, Holoubek AB. Execution by crucifixion: history, methods and cause of death. J Med 1995;26: 1-16 [PubMed]
7. DeBoer SL, Maddow CL. Emergency care of the crucifixion victim. Accid Emerg Nurs 2002;10: 235-9 [PubMed]
8. Ball DA. The crucifixion and death of a man called Jesus. J Miss State Med Assoc 1989;30: 77-83 [PubMed]
9. Tzaferis V. Jewish tombs at and near Giv'at ha-Mivtar, Jerusalem. Israel Explor J 1970;20: 18-32
10. Haas N. Anthropological observations on the skeletal remains from Giv'at ha-Mivtar. Israel Explor J 1970;20: 38-59
11. Zias J, Sekeles E. The crucified man from Giv'at ha-Mivtar: a reappraisal. Israel Explor J 1985;35: 22-7
12. Zugibe FT. The Crucifixion of Jesus: a Forensic Enquiry. New York: M Evans, 2005
13. Damon PE, Donahue DJ, Gore BH, et al. Radiocarbon dating of the Shroud of Turin. Nature 1989;337: 611-15
14. Bollone PB. The Shroud Under the Microscope: Forensic Examination, transl Neame A. High Wycombe: St Pauls, 1998
15. Davis CT. The crucifixion of Jesus: the passion of Christ from a medical point of view. Ariz Med 1965;22: 183-7 [PubMed]
16. LeBec A. The death of the cross: a physiological study of the passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Catholic Med Guardian 1925;3: 126-32
17. Wijffels F. Death on the cross: did the Turin Shroud once envelop a crucified body? Br Soc Turin Shroud Newsl 2000;52(3)
18. Barbet P. A Doctor at Calvary: the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ as Described by a Surgeon, transl The Earl of Wicklow. New York: Image Books, 1963: 87
19. Edwards WD, Gabel WJ, Hosmer FE. On the physical cause of death of Jesus Christ. JAMA 1986;255: 1455-63 [PubMed]
20. Brenner B. Did Jesus Christ die of pulmonary embolism? J Thromb Haemost 2005;3: 1-2
21. Wilkinson J. The physical cause of the death of Christ. Expository Times 1972;83: 104-7
22. Lloyd-Davies M, Lloyd-Davies TA. Resurrection or resuscitation? J Roy Coll Phys Lond 1991;25: 167-70 [PubMed]

Monday, March 05, 2018

History of Hymns: “Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior” by C. Michael Hawn



"Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior"
Fanny J. Crosby
The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 351
Fanny J. Crosby


Pass me not, O gentle Savior,
here my humble cry;
while on others thou art calling,
do not pass me by.


Fanny Jane Crosby (1820-1915) “set the standard for the ‘successful’ writing of gospel hymns,” according to UM Hymnal editor Carlton R. Young. She was the author of over 8,500 gospel songs.

Blind at six weeks of age, Crosby began composing texts at age 6. She began her study at age 12 at the New York School for the Blind, a school she later served as a teacher. A friend of several presidents, Crosby became one of the most important advocates for the cause of the blind in the United States, addressing a session of Congress on the topic.

Her texts were set to the compositions of some of the most prominent gospel composers of the day including William Bradbury, William Doane, Robert Lowry and Ira Sankey. Crosby composed under a number of pen names. She married blind musician Alexander Van Alstyne, and British hymnals insist on using her married name, Frances Van Alstyne.

“Pass me not” (1868) first appeared in Songs of Devotion for Christian Associations (1870), a collection compiled by William H. Doane (1832-1915). The late hymnologist William J. Reynolds discovered that the inspiration for this hymn was the result of a visit to a prison by the poet during spring 1868. He notes: “After she had spoken and some of her hymns had been sung, she heard one of the prisoners cry out in a pleading voice, ‘Good Lord, do not pass me by’; Following Doane’s suggestion, she wrote a hymn that evening incorporating the line, “Pass me not, O gentle Savior.”

The hymn gained international recognition when introduced by Dwight L. Moody and Ira D. Sankey during their London revivals. According to Dr. Young, “This is Crosby’s first hymn to win worldwide acclaim.”

The text would seem to have a biblical basis on the blind beggars’ plea to Christ: “And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David. And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David” (Matthew 20:29-31; See also Mark 10:46-52 and Luke 18: 35-43).

“The hymn has been rightly criticized for its faulty exegesis,” says Dr. Young. “It is contrary to the scriptural account to suggest that Jesus Christ, God’s universal gift of salvation (John 3:16), could, should, would—and in this instance did—pass anyone by. These complaints were exacerbated, not diminished, when the poet changed the refrain from ‘while on others thou art smiling’ to ‘while on others thou art calling.’”

Crosby, a lifelong Methodist, demonstrates in other hymns that she is aware that God’s grace is given to all. Note, for example, Crosby’s hymn, “To God be the glory” (UMH 98) where the author concludes the first stanza with: “[Christ] yielded his life an atonement for sin,/and opened the life gate that all may go in.” The universality of the gospel was at the core of her faith and songs.

Gospel songs are not known for theological subtlety, and on occasion, skirt the edges of heresy to make a personal point. It is likely that the plea of the prisoner in Manhattan conflated with the passage of scripture, distorting the nuance of the biblical message. Indeed, many suffering souls have been passed.

Putting herself in the place of the suffering and disregarded, Crosby understood that some had been so rejected that it took faith to realize that Christ is the one who would never pass anyone by. His actions in so many cases bore witness that he cared for those forgotten by others including women, Samaritans and lepers, to name a few, who were deemed to be outcasts in their day.

The Romans Road By David J. Stewart



       “The Roman's Road” is popular method of presenting the Gospel using only Scriptures from the Biblical Book of Romans. It is certainly an effective soulwinning tool which every believer should be well familiarized with. It is called the “The Roman's Road” because it uses Scriptures from the book of Romans, the sixth book in the New Testament.
Before I say another word let me WARN YOU that the Roman's Road is a false plan of salvation if you leave out the Gospel, which according to 1st Corinthians 15:1-4 is the DEATH, BURIAL and RESURRECTION of Jesus Christ. I realized recently that many versions of the Roman's Road tract does not even mention the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I am not against using the “The Roman's Road,” but you need to understand that it is not the Gospel unless you include Christ's death on the cross, His burial and bodily resurrection three days later. This is “the Gospel” by which we are saved if we believe it.
The Romans Road should include Romans 10:9-10, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Certainly, a lost sinner can be led to the Lord through many other Books of the Bible, but the Book of Romans is rich in doctrine and a masterpiece of divine literature. Thank God for the wonderful Book of Romans!
I was saved at the age of 13 in Chicago. I remember my first soulwinning experience while going door-to-door soulwinning with other members of our church youth group. An adult women answered the door and after a brief introduction, I asked her, “Do you know for sure if you died this moment that you would go to Heaven?” She replied, “No.” I asked her if I could share the Gospel with her and she agreed. I was stumped and didn't know what to say. I froze. So I read to her the Gospel tract in my hand, which was called “The Roman's Road.” I couldn't explain anything more to her other than what I was reading.
I remember feeling frustrated and ill-prepared. I recall telling her that she could call my pastor if she had further questions and I pointed out the church's phone number on back of the Gospel tract. I went away sad because I had the opportunity to win someone to Christ but didn't understand it enough myself to explain it. I went home that afternoon and memorized The Roman's Road and was determined to be prepared the next time I went out soulwinning.
Although I was saved at the early age of 13, I didn't receive the blessed assurance of my salvation until I was 20-years old. I lived in constant fear, and cried myself to sleep many nights, wondering if perhaps I didn't have enough faith or maybe I had missed something. I was so afraid of going to Hellfire. Looking back, I now realize that it was my woeful ignorance of the Scriptures and God's plan of salvation that caused me so much emotional fear, worrying and doubt. I was saved, but didn't understand it, and so my mind was filled with many doubts and fears.
As a result of my painful ordeal, I wrote a book called, SALVATION, so I could share with others the wonderful truths which God gave to me to settle the assurance of my salvation. I have never doubted my salvation since. I now fully realize that I am saved, not by my own self-righteousness, but by HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS. Philippians 3:9, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” It's not a prayer that saves us, but our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation is of the Lord. I was focusing on an experience, the words I spoke when I prayed, the degree of my faith, et cetera. I was really worried. Thankfully, those days are forever gone and I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that my name is written in Heaven in the Lamb's Book of Life.
Also, may I kindly say, you are not saved by repenting, you are saved by placing your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Albeit, no one has ever believed who didn't repent. Repentance is simply a change of mind unto the Gospel itself. Repentance is simply admitting that you are a sinner in the eyes of a holy God, thus seeing your need for the dear Savior. The very moment that you place your trust (faith) in the Lord, receiving His sacrifice on the cross as payment for your sins, believing that He was buried and bodily raised up from the dead three days later, you are immediately and forever saved (i.e., born-again).
Here is The Romans' Road . . .
  1. All Have Sinned. Romans 3:10 states, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” And again in Romans 3:23 we are told, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 5:12 tells us, “Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” When Adam sinned, he brought the curse of sin upon all mankind. This is why everyone is born with a nature to sin, it has been passed down since Adam.
     
  2. There is a Penalty for Sin. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Death is the penalty for sin, Physical Death and a Second Death. Most people confuse spiritual death with the Second Death. We are born spiritually-dead. Adam and Eve died spiritually the moment they sinned, and all of their descendants since have been born spiritually-dead. This is why a person must be born-again spiritually. God's Holy Spirit is that spiritual life. The Bible also speaks of a Second Death, which means being cast into the Lake of Fire forever as punishment for our sins. Just as a person is paid wages for work performed on the job, so does God payback sinners in the Lake of Fire.
     
  3. Jesus Died, Was Buried, And Rose Three Days Later. Christ died for our sins! Romans 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” What a precious Scripture! God in His love decided to give mankind a chance to escape the wrath of God's judgment. Jesus came and laid down His life for us, knowing just how sinful the human race is. God expressed His love for humanity, paying men's sin debt, knowing that we are so undeserving.
     
  4. Call Upon the Lord Jesus to Be Saved. Romans 10:13 promises, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” The word “call” means “to appeal unto.” Lost sinners who come to Jesus for forgiveness of sins, believing that He is the Christ, the Son of God, will be saved. How much faith do you need to be saved? Just enough faith to obey Romans 10:13 and trust upon the Lord Jesus for salvation. Romans 10:9-10, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Jesus DIED on the cross, was BURIED and bodily RESURRECTED. This is the “Gospel” according to 1st Corinthians 15:1-4. If you receive the Gospel as payment for your sins, then you are saved immediately, irrevocably and eternally.
Salvation is the simplest thing in the world, but men can make it so complicated. Some people say that faith in Christ is insufficient to save a lost sinner. They claim that a person must depart from their sinful lifestyle and commit their life to live for God. That is a very complicated requirement for a person who's been living in sin their entire life. Old habits are not easily broken.
The truth is that salvation is a free gift that God offers to humanity. Salvation is receiving, not giving. Notice once again the words of Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” All God requires of us to receive the free gift of eternal life is that we come by way of faith in His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Amen!
The Romans Road is a simple presentation of the Scriptures, which soulwinners can use to lead lost sinners to the redeeming Savior. I encourage every believer reading this article to become a soulwinner. If you're already a soulwinner, please keep up the good work! If you've never been saved, then now is the time to believe upon the name of Jesus, the Christ, that your sins will be blotted out forever and you can know that your name is written in Heaven. END

Saturday, February 24, 2018

10 reasons to believe that Christ rose from the dead.



1. A public execution assured His death.

During the Jewish feast of Passover, Jesus was swept away by an angry crowd  into a Roman hall of justice. As He stood before Pilate, the governor of Judea, religious leaders accused Jesus of claiming to be the King of the Jews. The crowd demanded His death. Jesus was beaten, whipped, and sentenced to a public execution. On a hill outside of Jerusalem, He was crucified between two criminals. Brokenhearted friends and mocking enemies shared in His deathwatch. As the Sabbath neared, Roman soldiers were sent to finish the execution. To quicken death, they broke the legs of the two criminals. But when they came to Jesus they did not break His legs, because from experience they knew He was already dead. As a final precaution however, they trust a spear into His side. It would take more than resuscitation for Him to ever trouble them again.

2. A high official secured the grave site

The next day, religious leaders again met with Pilate.  They said Jesus had predicted He would rise in three days. To assure that he disciples could not conspire in a resurrection hoax. Pilate ordered the official seal of Rome to be attached to the tomb to warn off grave robbers. To enforce the order, soldiers stood guard. Any disciple who wanted to tamper with the body would have had to get by then, which would not have been easy. The Roman guards had good reason for staying alert -- the penalty for falling asleep while on watch was death.

3.In spite of guards, the grave, was found empty.

On the morning after the Sabbath some of Jesus' followers went to the grave to anoint His body. Yet when they arrived, they were surprised at what they found. The huge stone that had been rolled into place over the entrance to the tomb had been moved, and Jesus' body was gone. As word got out, two disciples rushed to the burial site. The tomb was empty except for Jesus burial wrappings, which were lying neatly in place.  In the meantime, some of the guards had gone to Jerusalem to tell the Jewish officials that they had fainted in the presence of a supernatural being that rolled the stone away. When they had woke up, the tomb was empty. The officials paid the guards a large sum of money to lie and say that the disciples stole the body while the soldiers slept. They assured the guards that if the report of the missing body got back to the governor they would intercede on their behalf.

4. Many people claimed to have seen Him alive.

About AD.55, the apostle Paul wrote that the resurrected Christ had been seen by Peter, the twelve apostles, more than five hundred people (many of whom were still alive at the time of his writing), James, and himself  (1st Corinthians 15v5-8). By making such a public statement, he gave critics a chance to check out his claims for themselves. In addition, the New Testament begins it's history of the followers of Christ by saying that Jesus "presented Himself alive after His suffering by the many infallible proofs, being seen by [the apostles] during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God"  (Acts 1v3).

5. His apostles were dramatically changed.

When one of Jesus inner circle defected and betrayed Him, the other apostles ran for their lives. Even Peter, who earlier had insisted that he was ready to die for his teacher, lost heart and denied that he even knew Jesus. However the apostles went through dramatic change. Within a few weeks they were standing face to face with the ones who had crucified their leader. Their spirit was like iron. They became unstoppable in their in their determination to sacrifice everything for the one they called Saviour and Lord. Even after they were imprisoned, threatened, and forbidden to speak in the name of Jesus, the apostles said to the Jewish leaders, "We ought to obey God rather then men" (Acts 5v29). After they were beaten for disobeying the orders of the Jewish council, these once cowardly apostles" did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as Christ" (Acts 5v42).

6. Witnesses were willing to die for their claims.

History is full if martyrs. Countless men and women have died for their beliefs. For that reason, it is not that significant to point out that the first disciples were willing to suffer and die for their faith.  However it is significant that while many will die for what they believe to be the truth, few if any will die for what they know to be a lie. That psychological fact is important because the disciples of Christ did not die for deeply held beliefs about which they could have been honestly mistaken.  They died for their claims to have seen Jesus alive and well after His resurrection. They died for their claim that Jesus Christ had not only died for their sins but that He had risen bodily from the dead to show that He was like no other spiritual leader who had ever lived.

7. Jewish believers changed their day of worship.

The Sabbath day of rest and worship was basic to the Jewish way of life. Any Jew who did not honor the Sabbath was guilty of breaking the law if Moses. Yet Jewish followers of Christ began worshiping with gentle (non Jewish people) on a new day. The first of the week, the day on which they believed Christ had risen from the dead, replaced the Sabbath. For a Jew, it reflected a major change of life. The new day, along with the Christian conversion rite of baptism, declared that those who believed Christ had risen from the dead were ready for more renewal of Judaism. They believed that the death and resurrection of Christ had cleared the way for a new relationship with God. The new way was based not on the law, but on the sin bearing, life giving help of a resurrected Savior.

8. Although it was unexpected, it was clearly predicted.

The disciples were caught off guard. They expected their Messiah to restore the Kingdom to Israel. Their minds were so fixed on the coming of a messianic political kingdom that they did not anticipate the events essential to the salvation of their souls. They must have thought Christ was speaking in symbolic language when He kept saying over and over that it was necessary for Him to go to Jerusalem to die and be resurrected from the dead. Coming from one who spoke in parables, they missed the obvious until after it was all over. In the process, they also overlooked the prophet Isaiah's prediction of a suffering servant who would bear the sins of Israel, being lead like a lamb to the slaughter, before God "prolong[ed] His days" (Isaiah 53v10).

9. It was a fitting climax to a miraculous life.

While Jesus hung on a Roman cross, crowd mocked Him. He helped others, but could He help Himself? Was the miracle suddenly coming to an end? Is seemed like such an unsuspected ending for someone who began His public life by turning water into wine. During His three years ministry, He walked on water, healed the sick, opened blind eyes, dead ears, and tongue tied mouths; restored crippled limbs; cast out demons; stilled a violent storm; and raised the dead. He taught profound truths with the simplest of comparison. He confronted hypocrites with words that expired their cover-up. If all this true, should we be surprised that His enemies did not have the last word?

10. It fits the experience of those who trust Him.

The apostle Paul wrote "If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead swells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you" (Romans 8v11). This was the experience of Paul, whose heart was dramatically changed by the resurrected Christ. It is also the experience of people all over the world who have 'died' to their old ways so that Christ can live His life through them. This spiritual power is not evident in those who try to add belief in Christ to their old life. It is seen only in those who are willing to 'die' to their old life to make room for the rule of Christ. It is apparent only in those who respond to the overwhelming evidence for Christ's resurrection by acknowledging His Lordship in their heart.

You're not alone if you find yourself honestly unconvinced about whether Christ rose from the dead. However keep in mind that Jesus promised God's help to those who want to be right with God. He said, "If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether My teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own" (John 7v17).

If you do see the reasonableness of the resurrection, keep in mind that the Bible says Christ died to pay the price for our sins, and those who believe in their heart that God has raised Him from the dead will be saved. (Romans 10v9-10). The salvation Christ offers is not a reward for effort, but a gift to all who in light of the evidence put their trust in Him. To accept God's gift of forgiveness and everlasting life, you can pray something like this:- 
"God, I know I'm a sinner. I know I cannot save myself. I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins. I believe He rose from the dead to live His life through all who believe in Him. I now receive Jesus as my Savior. I accept Your offer of forgiveness and everlasting life. Thank you Father. In Jesus name I pray Amen"

If you made a decision to put your trust in Christ, let us know by email

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Emma's Story-

   At one minute past eleven o'clock on the morning of
Wednesday 15th October 2014, a tragic car accident on a small
country road just outside Coleraine claimed the life of Emma
Scott. She was just 17 years old.  This is her story of
eternal hope the result if getting onto the road to Heaven! It
is a story which Emma would wanted you to know.

     The Downward Road

   Emma started along the road if life on Wednesday, 28th May
1997, in Ballymoney, when she was born into the family of
Richard and Sally Scott. As her parents are Christians, they were
keen that Emma and their two older children, Christopher and
Victoria, should hear the Gospel. This message of the love of
God has transformed many lives and changed eternal destinies.
Although Emma lived a good life and never caused any trouble,
The Bible teaches that she was born a sinner and needed her
sins forgiven in order to be in Heaven. God's Word states that
'there shall in no wise enter into it (Heaven) anything that defiled." 1
Emma needed to understand that, just like everyone else, she
was born on the downward road leading to Hell and the
judgement of God . 'For there is no difference for all have sinned,
and come short of the glory of God 2

   The upward road

   Emma knew  the Gospel message and perhaps appeared to
others to be a Christian.  However she had never repented of
her sin and trusted the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, for he 
said, 'I am the way, the truth and the life, no man cometh unto the
Father, but by me3  In February 2013 Emma attended gospel
meetings in Buckna, near Broughshane. At these she heard the
text, 'As I live said the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of
the wicked, but that the  wicked turn from his way and live  turn he,
turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die?4 Emma realized
that she was not a Christian! At 2am on Tuesday, 26th March
2013,  having read in the Bible that the Lord Jesus 'wounded
for our transgressions, (and) bruised for our inquities, 5  Emma
trusted Him as her Saviour in her bedroom at Risky Park,
Aghadowey. She simply accepted that on the cross Christ died
for (her) sins.6  At that moment Emma started on the upward
road leading to Heaven. Later Emma underlined the Bible text
Thy faith hath saved  thee, go in peace, and next to it wrote, 'The
verse that gave me assurance!'

   The Onward Road


   From that time Emma lived to prove the reality of her faith. On
Saturday; 13th April 2013, shortly after her salvation, Emma,
along with her sister, Victoria, and two other young people, was
baptised by immersion. A large crowd of people witnessed
these four teenagers obey the Lord's command in Killykergan
Gospel Hall, near Garvagh. The next day Emma was received
into fellowship at Moneydig Gospel Hall where she became
very involved in the Sunday School. At the end of 2013 Emma
started going out with Neil Moore, a teenager from Buckna. As
Neil and Emma were both Christians they looked to the Lord to
guide their future. Emma was keen to make onward progress in
her Christian life and be used by God.

   The Everyday Road


   In her everyday life Emma was very enthusiastic and had two
beautiful Labrador dogs, Molly and Lily. For Christmas 2009 she
was given a pet donkey, which she named Holly. Over the
years Emma also had a variety of other pets, hens, ducks, and
rabbits.

   As a young child, Emma attened D.H. Christie Memorial
Primary School in Coleraine and then transferred to Dunluce
School in Bushmills. Both staff and teachers spoke highly of her
Janice Williams, Secretary of D.H. Christie Memorial Primary
School, remembered her as a very capable office prefect, and a
lovely, lovely girl, a ray of sunshine, who was sparky,
effervescent and fun, but could be trusted with anything.

   Liz McIlveen, Vice Principal at Dunluce School , related that
Emma was creative and artistic; all her work was beautifully
presented with attention to detail. However, it was her cheerful
disposition, her positive attitude and helpfulness that we will
remember the most. She was a girl that could be relied on, a
pupil who was always pleasant and courteous. She approached
each day the same - with a smile on her face.

   Upon leaving school, Emma took up employment in the family
business of Sydney B. Scott and Sons, where she was always
cheerful, greeting customers and friends with her ready smile
and a friendly 'hello'. Her keenness and enthusiasm in her
telesales job was infectious to all who met her or spoke to her.
It was, however, what she did for God that brought the greatest
pleasure to Emma.

   The Useful Road

   From the moment she turned to Christ for salvation Emma
desired to be useful to and used by God in bringing family and
friends to hear about the Lord Jesus as the only means of
salvation. Having passed her driving test on 4th September
2014, Emma was able to use her little red Mini ti bring children
to hear the gospel.  Like the apostle Paul in the Bible, her 'hearts
desire and prayer to God [was] that they be saved'

   The last two weeks of her life saw her taking two children to
two series if children's meetings in Ballyintagh and Portrush
for three nights each week . As Emma sat with the children she
would help them by whispering answers to questions, as well
as give a friendly pat on the shoulder to those who were a little
too boisterous! One chorus that they sung every night in those
meetings was titled 'Eternity, Eternity'. The children's attention
was drawn to three words that occur once in the Bible -
'Eternity', 'Calvary', and 'Coffin'. It was pointed out that when
we are in our coffin', where we will spend eternity is
determined by what we do with the Lord Jesus who died on
Calvary's cross! Little did anyone know that within six days of
the last children's meeting dear Emma's body would be lying
In a coffin. Emma however, is safe for eternity in Heaven
because she trusted in Christ who died at Calvary. When we are
placed in our coffin the only thing that will matter is if we like
Emma , have had a definite moment when we trusted Christ for
salvation.

   The Road to Heaven

    On the morning of Wednesday; 15th October 2014, Emma left
work at Loughanhill Industrial Estate at around 10.50 in
order  to attend a dental appointment in Ballymoney, scheduled
for 11.30. However as she drove  her car along the Cloyfin Road
and turned right onto the Creamery Road, she was unaware
that her destiny would not be to see her dentist but her
Deliverer - the Lord Jesus! Halfway along that road at 11.01.
Emma's soul was transported in an instant from the overcast
skies of Coleraine to the cloudless splendour and golden street
of Heaven. Today Emma's family and Christian friends rest in
The certain knowledge that Emma is in Heaven where there is
fulness of joy (and) pleasures for evermore'

   At the funeral service  held at Killykergan  Gospel Hall, approximately
one thousand mourners paid their respects to the lovely young lady whose
 short life had touched so many . It is hoped that as you read this story of
her life you too will have been touched, not just with Emma's life but more
importantly that you come to know her Saviour - the Son of God, the Lord
Jesus Christ - your Saviour too.Emma's Story


1.Revelation Ch21v27
2. Romans Ch3v22 & 23
3.. John Ch14v6
4. Ezekiel Ch33v11
5.Isaiah Ch53v5,6
6.1st Corinthians Ch15v3
7. Luke Ch7v50
8.Romans Ch10v1
9.Psalm 16v11

Monday, January 08, 2018

"The Gospel of Our Salvation" Adlai Loudy



"Now I am making known to you, brethren, the evangel which I bring to you, which also you accepted, in which also you stand, through which also you are saved, if you are retaining what I said in bringing the evangel to you, outside and except you believe feignedly. For I give over to you among the first what also I accepted, that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that He was entombed, and that He has been roused the third day according to the scriptures."
"For not ashamed am I of the evangel, for it is God's power for salvation to everyone who is believing -- to the Jew first, and to the Greek as well. For in it God's righteousness is being revealed, out of faith for faith, according as it is written: 'Now the just one by faith shall be living.'"
"In Whom you also -- on hearing the word of truth, the evangel of your salvation -- in Whom on believing also, you are sealed with the holy spirit of promise (which is an earnest of the enjoyment of our allotment, to the deliverance of that which has been procured) for the laud of His glory!"
"The nations are to be joint enjoyers of an allotment, and a joint body, and joint partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus, through the evangel of which I became the dispenser, in accord with the gratuity of the grace of God, which is granted to me in accord with His powerful operation."

(1 Cor. 15:1-4; Rom. 1:16-17; Eph. 1:13-14; 3:6-7) 
 
 


The Scriptures describe the grace, calling, blessings, expectation, allotment, destiny and glories of this gospel in many ways, which may be summarized for our understanding and faith as follows:
 First, it is termed "the gospel of God" (Rom. 1:1; 15:16), because it is "concerning His Son, . . .Jesus Christ, our Lord," and the "righteousness of God through Jesus Christ's faith, for all, and on all who are believing" (Rom. 1:3; 3:21-26; 4:6; 10:4; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:9).
 It is called "the gospel of Christ" (Gal. 1:7; 2 Cor. 10:14), because it makes know His great sacrifice in "giving Himself for our sins, so that He might extricate us out of the present wicked eon, according to the will of our God and Father," thus revealing His great love for us, and because He is the sole Object of our faith (Gal. 1:3-4; 2:15-16, 20-21; Rom. 5:5-9).
 It is also termed "the gospel of the glory of Christ" (2 Cor. 4:4), because it makes known to us how Christ, Who was preeminent in glory, "being inherently in the form of God, deems it not pillaging to be equal with God, nevertheless empties Himself, taking the form of a slave, coming to be in the likeness of humanity, and, being found in fashion as a man, He humbles Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore, God highly exalts Him, and graces Him with the name that is above every name, that in the name of Jesus every knee should be bowing, celestial and terrestrial and subterranean, and every tongue should be acclaiming that Jesus Christ is Lord, for the glory of God, the Father" (Phil. 2:5-11; Eph. 1:5-12, 17-23).
 It is termed "the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24; Titus 2:11-14), because it saves and justifies freely, or "without a cause," through the deliverance which is in Christ Jesus, through faith in His blood, wholly and apart from law, covenants, commands, ordinances or works of righteousness which we do (Rom. 3:21-30; Gal. 2:15-16; 3:5-14; 5:1-6; Eph. 2:8-9; Phil. 3:8-9; Titus 3:4-7; 2 Tim. 1:8-12).
 It is called "gospel of your salvation" (Eph. 1:13-14) because it is god's power for salvation (that is, the full and complete deliverance from the condemnation of sin, with justification, God's righteousness reckoned to the sinner, and the promise of eonian life), to every one who is believing (Rom. 1:16; Gal. 3:2, 11-14; 1 Cor. 15:1-4).

THE CHOSEN VESSEL

Saul was the "chosen vessel" or "choice instrument of God, to bear His name before both the nations and kings, besides the sons of Israel" (Acts 9:15; Gal. 1:15-16). He was "separated" or severed for the work to which he was called (Acts 13:2), and became Paul, the "minister" or dispenser of "the gospel of God, . . . concerning His Son, . . . Jesus Christ, our Lord, through Whom we obtained grace and apostleship for the obedience of the faith among all the nations, for His names's sake" (Rom. 1:1-5; 15:15-16). Being the apostle, herald and teacher of the nations in knowledge and truth (Rom. 11:13; 15:15-16; Gal. 1:15-16; Eph. 3:1-3; 1 Tim. 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:11), his WELL-MESSAGE or "gospel" is specifically termed "the gospel of the Uncircumcision" (Gal. 2:2, 7). Paul makes frequent reference to it , saying,
"For I am making known to you, brethren, as to the evangel which is being brought by me, that it is not in accord with man. For neither did I accept it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ" (Gal. 1:11-12).
-----------------
 According to the Scriptures, the gospel of the Uncircumcision, heralded by Paul, was "not in accord with man. For neither did he accept it from a man, nor was he taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ" (Gal. 1:11-12). Consequently, it being a revelation, he takes pains to explain and make it know in clear detail for our understanding and faith in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, saying,
"Now I am making know to you, brethren, the evangel which I bring to you, which you accepted also, in which you stand also, through which you are saved also, if you are retaining what I said in bringing the evangel to you, outside and except you believe feignedly."
  1. CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS

  2. according to the Scriptures,
    and that  
  3. HE WAS ENTOMBED ("buried")

  4. and that  
  5. HE HAS BEEN ROUSED

  6. the third day according to the Scriptures.
-----------------
 

I. CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS

. . . Let us remember and hold clearly in mind, that our offenses (of the enmity, hatred and ill-will of the heart) and our sins (of the seductive and wicked desires, lusts, passions and the will of the flesh), stand in relation to God, and or these CHRIST DIED, to commend God's love to our hearts, as the following Scriptures certify and confirm for our faith.
"For I give over to you among the first what I accepted also, that CHRIST DIED for OUR SINS according to the Scriptures" (1 Cor. 15:3).  "For Christ, while we are still inform ('without strength'), still in accord with the era, for the sake of the irreverent, DIED. . . . yet God is commending this love of His to us, seeing that, while we are still sinners, Christ DIED for our sakes."
 "For if, being enemies, we were conciliated to God through the DEATH of His Son, much rather, being conciliated, we shall be saved in His life" (Rom. 5:6, 8-10). "Consequently, then, as it was through one offense (Adam's) for all mankind for condemnation, thus also, it is through one just award (for Christ's obedience unto death) for all mankind for life's justifying. For even as through the disobedience of the one man (Adam), the many were constituted ('made') sinners, thus also, through the obedience of the One (Christ), the many shall be constituted just" (Rom. 5:18-19)l.
 "For the One not knowing sin, He makes to be a sin offering for our sakes that we may be becoming God's righteousness in Him" (2 Cor. 5:21).
 " . . . the Lord Jesus Christ, Who gives Himself for our sins, so that He might extricate us out of the present wicked eon, according to the will of our God and Father" (Gal. 1:3-4).
These Scriptures make it unmistakably clear and plain for our understanding and faith that through Adam's disobedience and offense we were constituted ('made') sinners or "missers," and enemies under the condemnation of sin and estranged from God, with death as our end apart from anything we have done or may do. Therefore, for our salvation -- our deliverance from the condemnation of sin through God's free or gratuitous justification -- we must believe in our hearts the WELL-MESSAGE, "good news" or gospel, that Christ DIED for OUR SINS. Then, believing in our hearts that Christ DIED for OUR SINS, He DID, and our condemnation is gone, because He bore the curse for our sakes, and through faith in His blood, we become the righteousness of God in Him (Rom. 3:21-26), and "Nothing, consequently, is now condemnation to those in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1).  
Dear Reader, have you believed in your heart this glorious truth and promise of the gospel of your salvation? If not, won't you believe it now and trust in it with all your heart? for, through the obedience of faith -- believing in your heart God's promise in the "good news" or gospel -- you will receive the spirit of "adoption" or sonship, in which you will cry "Abba, Father!" Then with the love of God filling your heart, you will have the witness in your heart that you are a child of God. And, being His child, you are a heir and joint partaker of all His promises of righteousness, holiness, honor, glory and life in Christ Jesus, our Lord (Rom. 8:15-17; Eph. 1:13-14; 2 Thes. 2:13-14).

II. HE WAS ENTOMBED

The second essential fact and truth of the gospel to be believed in our hearts for salvation, is, that CHRIST WAS ENTOMBED or "buried." Christ, having borne our sins in His accursed death on the cross, was then entombed or buried, in token that they have been put away. Yet how few believe in their hearts with assuring, settled, unwavering faith this glorious truth of the "good news" or gospel of our salvation? Nevertheless, God has assured us of His great love in the "good news" or gospel, by making Christ, Who knew no sin, to be a sin offering for our sakes, that we may be becoming God's righteousness in Him (2 Cor. 5:21). Therefore, as Christ DIED and canceled "our sins" in relation to God, consequently, then, in His burial or entombment, they were put away to be remembered nevermore!  
Dear Reader, have you believed in your heart these wonderful promises of God in the "good news" or gospel of your salvation, that in Christ's DEATH, the "curse" for your sins in relation to God, has been fully borne, and in His ENTOMBMENT, your "condemnation"has been put away never to be remembered anymore? If not, let me entreat you, in the love of God, our Savior, which He has so graciously and unmistakably manifested in the accursed death and burial of His beloved Son, for canceling and putting away our sins, that you respond to His love, believing and trusting these blessed promises of the gospel, now in your heart, and God will bless you with the blessing that fills.

III. HE HAS BEEN ROUSED

The third and climaxing fact and truth of the glorious gospel to be believed in our hearts for salvation, is, that CHRIST HAS BEEN ROUSED or "raised" the third day according to the Scriptures.  This is "good news" indeed! Yet how few apparently realize and exult with heart assuring faith in the grand and glorious blessing of the gospel which God has provided for us in the resurrection of Christ from among the dead? And while Christ's resurrection from among the dead by the powerful operation of God was the characteristic appeal of Paul's preaching, how seldom we hear it preached and how little it is really believed today! Nevertheless, it is the climax, the culmination, the ultimate of all that has gone before in God's mighty demonstration of His love for us in the glorious gospel of our salvation. And the clear understanding and heart belief of God's promise in His powerful operation of rousing Christ from among the dead on our behalf will bring that blessed assurance, joy and peace, otherwise not possible to know and realize. The glorious truth is so clearly stated in Romans 4:23-25, that all who desire to know and be assured in their hearts may read and understand and believe for the righteousness of God to be reckoned to their spirits for the blessing of joy and peace. It reads,
 
"Now it was not written because of him (Abraham) only, that it (righteousness) is reckoned to him, but because of us also, to whom it is about to be reckoned, who are believing on Him Who rouses Jesus our Lord from among the dead, Who was given up because of our offenses, and was roused because of our justifying."
This is so clear and plain as to need no explanation. Just sincere, heart-faith to believe it. And what a wonderful Promise of "good news" to believe -- Christ was ROUSED or "raised" because of our justifying!  

THE MEANING OF JUSTIFICATION

At this point in our study, the important question to be clearly settled for our assurance of understanding and faith, blessing and joy, is the true, scriptural meaning of justification.  First of all, it is supremely important to readjust our thinking to recognize that justification does not mean "pardon" or "forgiveness of sins." Such unsound teaching has beclouded, befogged and belittled the glorious gospel of our salvation sent to us from God, our heavenly Father, through Paul.
 Justification is the gracious act of God reckoning the sinner to be just and righteous through the deliverance which is in Christ Jesus, through faith in his blood, with the assurance of being maintained and vindicated against all that may attack or indict until the day of deliverance (Rom. 3:21-28; 4:3-12, 23-25; 5:1-2; 8:30-34; Gal. 2:15-16; Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30).
 This reveals that in the glorious "good news" or gospel of our salvation, namely, the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, God has accomplished a complete and finished work of righteousness through Jesus Christ's faith (for He kept faith with God, even when He accursed Him for our sins), and it is for all and on all who are believing, for, through the deliverance which is in Christ Jesus, God can be just and a Justifier of the one who is of the faith of Jesus.
 
Dear Reader, have you believed in your heart this blessed promise of the gospel of your salvation? If not, believe it now, in your heart, and receive, by faith, the full blessing of God's promise in the "good news" or gospel of your salvation, as it is written,  
"Being, then justified by faith, we may be having peace toward God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom we have the access also, by faith, into this grace in which we stand, and we may be glorying in expectation of the glory of God" (Rom. 5:1-2).

THE DEMAND OF THE GOSPEL

The one demand of the gospel of our salvation is clear and plain, namely, the OBEDIENCE OF FAITH, which is, believing God in our hearts concerning the full and complete deliverance He has made in Christ Jesus for our sakes, and all His promises in the "good news" or gospel concerning our salvation (Rom. 1:5; 3:30; 4:5; 5:1-2; 10:9-11; 1 Cor. 15:1-2; Gal. 3:2, 11-14; Phil. 3:9).
-----------------

THE MEANING OF SALVATION

We are now to consider the most important phase of our study, namely, the meaning of salvation. And for the sake of truth and the blessing that fills, I press the fact that salvation is not religion. The importance of recognizing this distinction cannot be over-emphasized. The scriptural meaning of religion is "DREAD-demonism," and denotes the superstitious veneration and worship of "devils" or demons, motivated through dread and fear (Acts 17:22-23; 1 Cor. 10:20). In contrast with all this we learn by the Scriptures that salvation is of God, the basic meaning being the rescue or deliverance from that which endangers, injures or destroys, with the assurance of safety and security, as from disease (Mat. 9:22), from imprisonment (Phil. 1:19), from sins (Mat. 1:21), from their penalty (Rom. 5:9), and from death (Heb. 5:7).

GOD'S GIFT OF SALVATION

The Scriptures reveal that salvation is the free for gratuitous gift of God on belief of the gospel (Eph. 2:8-9; 2 Tim. 1:9-10; 2 Thes. 2:13-14; Rom. 1:16-17; Eph. 1:13-14). However, it is most helpful and assuring to know and realize that God's gift of salvation is progressively received and experienced by the believer in its dispensation, transformation and realization, in the following order,  
  1. In its dispensation, Christ Jesus, . . . became to us . . . from God, . . . righteousness, holiness and deliverance.
  2.  
  3. In its transformation, God's saving power is received and experienced by the believer in the following order, namely, it is recokoned in spirit, imparted to the soul, and implanted in the body.
  4.  
  5. In its realization, the blessing of salvation brings joy, peace and glory.

THE THREE TENSES OF SALVATION

God's salvation of man covers the three tenses of time -- the past, present and future -- and reveals three progressive experiences in his deliverance from sin, namely:
  1. We were saved -- from the condemnation of sin -- on believing the gospel of our salvation;
  2.  
  3. We are being saved -- from the power of Sin -- in our daily experiences, through our persistence in the faith, and not being removed from the expectation of the evangel which we hear;
  4.  
  5. We shall be saved -- from the presence of Sin -- with the deliverance or glorification of our body.
Now, keeping the order of these statements in mind, we will consider the scriptural revelation of how God works them out in our spiritual experiences, in delivering us from the condemnation, the power, and the presence of Sin and Death, bringing us to light and life and glory in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

THE BEGINNING OF OUR SALVATION

  1. We were saved -- from the condemnation of sin -- on believing the gospel of our salvation (Rom. 1:16-17; Gal. 3:11-14; Eph. 1:13-14; 2 Thes. 2:13-14).
  2.  
    1. In its dispensation, God's righteousness is reckoned to us in Christ Jesus, Who became to us . . . from God, . . . righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30).
    2.  
    3. In its transformation, God's salvation began in spirit, in which we were "sanctified" or hallowed by the Spirit of God (2 Thes. 2:13-14), then justified in spirit on believing the gospel (Rom. 1:16-17; 5:1-2; 8:1-14; 1 Tim. 3:16), when God's righteousness was reckoned to us, through the deliverance which is in Christ Jesus, through faith in His blood (Rom. 3:24-25, 28; 4:3-12, 23-25; 8:1-17), and we received the spirit of "adoption" or sonship, in which we are crying "Abba, Father" (Rom. 8:15-17; Gal. 4:5-7; Eph. 1:5), and in one spirit we were baptized into one body (1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 4:4), and were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise to the deliverance of that which has been procured (Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30).
    4.  
    5. In its realization, if fills our spirit with joy for the day of deliverance (Eph. 1:13-14).

    THE PROCESS OF OUR SALVATION

  3. We are being saved -- from the power of Sin making its home in our bodies -- "since surely you are persisting in the faith, grounded and settled, and are not being removed from the expectation of the evangel which you hear" (Col. 1:23; 1 Cor. 15:2; 2 Thes. 2:13-17).
  4.  
    1. In its dispensation, God's holiness is imparted to our soul -- our feelings, emotions and dispositions -- for conforming us to the image of His Son, Christ Jesus, Who became to us . . .from God, . . . holiness (1 Cor. 1:30).
    2.  
    3. In its transformation, God's Spirit, making its home in the believer, will be providing the invigorating power for "quickening" or vivifying our mortal bodies, thus enabling us to be "reckoning ourselves to be dead, indeed, to Sin, yet living to God in Christ Jesus, our Lord (Rom. 6:11-14).
    4.  This is the process of our salvation, in which we are being saved from the power of Sin making its home in us. "For one who dies (to Sin) has been justified, (freed, liberated) from Sin" (Rom. 6:6-7). Consequently, then, "being freed from Sin, yet enslaved to God, we have our fruit for holiness" (Rom. 6:22). And the power of this teaching in our lives will be manifested in our soulish disposition being conformed to the disposition which was in Christ Jesus (Phil. 2:5-8). "For the disposition of the flesh (the soulish desires and practices of the body) is death, yet the disposition of the spirit is life and peace" (Rom. 8:6; 6:21). Therefore, conforming our disposition to that which was in Christ Jesus, we will be living and walking in accord with spirit and putting the practices of the body to death (Rom. 8:1, 4, 9-14). Pressing this truth still further concerning our behavior, Paul entreats us to be "stripping off the old humanity together with its practices, and putting on the young, which is being renewed into recognition, to accord with the Image of the One Who creates it" (Col. 3:9-10).
       In the second phase of the transforming experiences in the process of our salvation, it is supremely important to know and hold clearly in mind, that each new revelation of truth realized in our spirit and perceived by the eyes of our heart, will be tried for producing endurance, testedness and expectation, as the following Scriptures make know and confirm for our understanding and faith.
       
      "Wherefore also, lest I should be lifted up by the transcendence of the revelations, there was given to me a splinter in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, that he may be buffeting me, lest I may be lifted up. For this I entreat the Lord thrice, hat it should withdraw from me. And He has protested to me, 'Sufficient for you is My grace, for My power in infirmity is being perfected.' With greatest relish, then, will I rather be glorying in my infirmities, that the power of Christ should be tabernacling over me. Wherefore I delight in infirmities, in outrages, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake, for, whenever, I may be weak, then I am powerful" (2 Cor. 12:7-10).  "No trial has taken you except what is human. Now faithful is God, Who will not be leaving you to be tried above what you are able, but, together with the trial will be making the sequel also, to enable you to undergo it" (1 Cor. 10:13).
       "Yet not only so, but we may be glorying also in afflictions, having perceived that affliction is producing endurance, yet endurance testedness, yet testedness expectation" (Rom. 5:3-4).
       "For I am reckoning that the sufferings of the current era do not deserve the glory about to be revealed for us" (2 Cor. 4:17).
       ". . . and this from God, for to you it is graciously granted, for Christ's sake, not only to be believing on Him, but to be suffering for His sake also" (Phil. 1:29).
      Therefore, realizing that our daily experiences, in the process of our salvation, are for conforming and hallowing our soulish disposition to that which was in Christ Jesus, and for trying, testing and proving our faith and faithfulness in our devotion to God, how prayerfully, reverently and devoutly we should meet every experience, enduring it with all patience and joy, without murmuring and complaining, lest we fail and lose the weight of glory which it was graciously granted from God to produce in us and for us. What a source of strength and grace and encouragement all this should be to our hearts, to know and realize, that when our heavenly Father, in His love, designs to graciously grant us increasing reserves of glory in the real life of the on-coming eons, He curtails some of our soulish delights and joys in this life, by sending the momentary light afflictions! Some one, recognizing the meaning of God's gracious providence in sufferings and trials, has wonderfully expressed encouragement and expectation for our hearts in the following verses:  
      "There is a day of sunny rest 
        For every dark and troubled night, 
      And grief may bide an evening guest, 
        But joy shall come with morning light."   "For God hath marked each sorrowing day, 
        And numbered every sacred tear, 
      And heaven's long eons of bliss shall pay 
        For all His children suffer here." 
      Therefore, in the process of our salvation, we are being saved from the power of Sin making its home in us, through God's Spirit making its home in us, and vivifying our mortal bodies, thus enabling us to be reckoning ourselves to be dead, indeed, to Sin, yet living to God, in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Then, by putting off from us, as regards our former behavior, the old humanity which is corrupting in its seductive desires, and being rejuvenated in the spirit of our mind, and putting on the new humanity, which, in accord with God, is being created in righteousness and benignity of the truth, thus God's holiness is being imparted to our soulish disposition as we are being conformed and transformed into the image of His Son from glory to glory (Rom. 6:11-14, 22; Eph. 4:20-25; Phil. 1:27-30; Rom. 8:18-23, 28-39; 2 Cor. 3:18).  
    5. In its realization we have the peace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Phil. 4:6-7).

    THE CONSUMMATION OF OUR SALVATION

  5. We shall be saved -- from the presense of Sin -- with the deliverance or glorification of our body (Rom. 8:23-24; Phil. 3:20).
  6.  
    1. In its dispensation, our rescue or deliverance from this wretched body of death and the presense of Sin will be effected through Christ Jesus, Who became to us . . . from God, . . . deliverance (1 Cor. 1:30).
    2.  
    3. In its transformation, the consummation of our salvation will be realized when Christ's image is implanted in our bodies, when they are transfigured to conform to His body of glory, by the powerful operation of God in resurrection and vivification, changing them from corruptible to incorruptible, from mortal to immortal, from soulish to spiritual, from soilish to celestial bodies (Phil. 3:20-21; 1 Thes. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:42-55), thus giving us our "house not made with hands" which we shall enjoy, eonian in the heavens (2 Cor. 5:1-10).
    4.  
    5. In its realization, we will be snatched away to our realm which is inherent in the heavens, there to be with and like and for Christ, our Lord, in all His ineffable bliss and glory (1 Thes. 4:13-18; Titus 2:13-14).
What a glorious gospel is our to believe! What a wonderful Savior to Love! What a blessed salvation to enjoy! What a good and happy expectation to anticipate!