Covenantal Families/God And Government 1 PDF Print E-mail
Covenantal Families
COVENANTAL FAMILIES/GOD AND GOVERNMENT 01

 What does God have to do with government anyway? Well, if we asked the vast majority of professing Christians, they would most likely say, “Nothing.” And even those who would admit some connection, if pressed for biblical facts, would reveal a vague understanding at best. How do we know this? One has to look no further than the moral state of our nation in comparison with scripture and even in comparison to two hundred, one hundred, or even fifty years ago to see the consequence of an apostate people. For when we consider the facts that God assures us that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church, coupled with the statistics that the vast majority of Americans consider themselves Christians, and compare these with the immorality that continues to escalate at unprecedented levels in this country, we fully understand the import of God’s words in Mark 7:6,7: “…rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’” Even more revealing is the negligible delineation these statistics reveal of the immorality between evangelical Christians and the rest of society. So in light of the observable moral decay in this country, it is quite obvious to those interested that the Church’s alienation to Scripture, teaching instead the doctrines and precepts of men, has rendered it impotent in impacting the structures and values of our culture. And in fact answers our question—for if the Church understood the relationship between God and government, it would be triumphing, not retreating.
 Retreat actually best describes the cause of our dilemma, for when apostate churches aborted truth for antinomianism [in Christian doctrine, the belief that Christians are not bound by established moral laws, but should rely on faith and divine grace for salvation. The belief that it is impossible to apply a universal moral code because it will have a different meaning for different people (Encarta Dictionary)], God abandoned them. So when the Church dropped her weapon, the sword of the Spirit, she had no means by which to overcome paganism and thereby surrendered all structures of society—theology, education, communication, science, industry, commerce, arts, and politics—to godless, lawless men.

A Manifestation of Antinomianism

 What causes men’s conclusions to differ so drastically with one another? Well, to adequately assess the reasoning behind one’s thoughts, we must examine their presuppositions, or in other words, their foundational beliefs. Cornelius Van Til best defines presupposition as “an elementary assumption in one’s reasoning or in the process by which opinions are formed…a personal commitment…of beliefs. Presuppositions form…perspective in terms of which everything else is interpreted and evaluated…having the greatest authority in one’s thinking…”
 Observably different conclusions, then, reveal dissimilar presuppositions, and since God is truth and since He will not allow any rivals, by its very nature, truth is always in opposition to any other position. Let us take for example the view that America should welcome as many immigrants as desire to come to our shores because, after all, each of us are descendants of immigrants, and besides, America’s success depends on acquiring more brilliant minds and more hard working people. Sound plausible? Many Americans think so; however, as we shall demonstrate later, as Christians, we must compare all views with scripture to ascertain whether it supports or denies the validity thereof, because every thought must bear truth and thus be substantiated with scriptural and historical fact.
 Our response to the preceding view would include such points as follow. First and foremost, God is Sovereign over all areas of life and governs all the affairs of men. Thus God blesses and curses, rewards or punishes according to our obedience to Him, and specifically in this case, according to our nation’s obedience as revealed in Deuteronomy 28. Therefore, America’s success will not stand on brilliancy or hard work, but on its obedience to God’s standard expressed in His righteous Law. In fact, God most emphatically states that “righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Proverbs 14:34), thus making holiness and blessings inseparable for any people or any nation.
 Whereas most people believe in the inherit goodness of man, since the Fall all have sinned, and all men’s hearts are depraved prior to regeneration, making none righteous apart from God’s indwelling Holy Spirit. Furthermore, Christ states in Luke 11:23 that “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters.” Therefore, those who are not Christians are at enmity with Him and with His people. And since civil magistrates serve as God’s sword against evildoers to maintain peace and safety for those who are His, then it stands to reason that we do not want those opposed to His Laws.
 Whereas many do not believe that God’s Law applies to all men and certainly not to nations because we are no longer under the Law but under grace, the Bible from front to back explicitly states that all men and all nations are governed and judged by God’s Law—the only standard of righteousness. If this were not so, then God would be unjust in His condemnation of those who oppose Him. Consequently, since Romans 1 verifies the fact that all men are culpable before God and that all will be judged according to His standard of righteousness, then it stands to reason that God requires obedience of all men, which indeed He commands in Acts 17:30,31: “…He admonishes all men everywhere to repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness…” Furthermore, if men are not under God’s Law, then why does He command us to disciple all nations, teaching all that He commanded?
 Rousas John Rushdoony in the foreword to Greg Bahnsen’s Theonomy states: “If law be separated from grace, then grace also disappears, for the Bible knows no antinomian grace. The redeeming work of Jesus Christ, and the necessity of His atoning death on the cross, attest to the absoluteness of God’s Law: it could not be set aside. The redemptive work of Christ did not end the function of the law but rather re-established man in obedience to the law. We are redeemed, St. Paul made clear, ‘That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us’ Romans 8:4.” Theonomy is God’s Law opposed to autonomy, which is man’s law.
 A thorough study of the Reformation and Puritanism in America reveals that their adherence to Scripture in all areas of society, coupled with their earnest labor toward sanctifying their culture, namely, themselves, their families, their churches, their communities, and their civil magistrates by discipling all men to adhere to all that Christ commanded, not only served as a catalyst for liberty but was in fact that which created the only Christian Republic in the history of the world, resulting in incomparable liberty, prosperity, and consummate felicity. In contrast, the Enlightenment, which firmly asserted that both the individual and the state be free from biblical direction or restraint, quite understandably culminated in the bloodbath of the French Revolution.
 To secure this distinct Christian heritage, America throughout most of its history held firmly to very stringent immigration laws. An example of this comes from Puritan Economic Experiments by Gary North: “The towns of colonial New England were tightly knit Christian commonwealths (with) restrictions on immigration into the local community. They were concerned that newcomers might not meet the religious and moral standards of the present inhabitants (therefore) ‘the court will be careful, that whom they accept are persons orthodox in their judgments.’ The Puritan towns of Boston, Cambridge, Dedham, and probably many others all included the requirement that outsiders be cleared by town officials before they were allowed to buy land locally.”
 Since God warns us that “a little leaven [sin] leavens the whole,” allowing opposing religions into this (once) Christian Republic, staunchly founded on explicitly Christian principles, appears most ludicrous to the judicious mind.
 This brings us to the most disturbing opinion that many Americans hold: that Muslims on the whole are not violent like their extremist counterparts and therefore not a threat to this country. How could anyone believe such foolishness, when he understands that the very god that the Muslims worship commands them to kill all infidels that refuse to worship him. In response to this erroneous conclusion, Dr. George Grant in his book Blood of the Moon makes a most compelling case to the contrary, substantiating the real threat all Muslims pose, with exhaustive biblical and historical evidence. Never in the history of the world have the Muslims been a peaceful people, but consistently murder all infidels, whom they explicitly name in their Qur’an as Christians and Jews, that refuse to worship their God Allah.
 Frighteningly, 75,000 Muslims poured into St. Louis in the ‘90s when Clinton opened the floodgate for this mass influx of immigrants from Eastern Europe. According to other Muslims, whenever they build a mosque, they claim that city for Allah. Already they have built somewhere between 4-6 mosques in St. Louis. For a look at one of the mosques in St. Louis, go to www.muhammadmosque28.org.
 The following information is taken from www.allied.media.com: According to a recent survey, there are 1209 mosques in America. There are 7 million Muslims living in America. 43% of all Muslims are African American. 30% of all incarcerated African Americans are Muslims. There are 150 Muslim elected officials. In 1998 Hillary Clinton declared her support for Palestinian statehood. The Muslims donated $50,000 to her campaign for a seat in the Senate. The 2nd largest donation to President Clinton’s campaign was a Muslim. Muslims have given invocations to the Senate, House, and both political party conventions. The number of participants at mosques has increased more than 75% during the past 5 years. In light of the Muslims’ past history, their growing numbers in this country places Christians and our nation at great risk!
 Our government’s alarm over the increase of Muslims in our prisons, and their claim that they intend to carry through with their jihad plans once they leave prison, led to a special report that we personally viewed on PBS last year. To our dismay, we learned that our prisons are increasing by 5,000 inmates nationwide every 90 minutes. Yes, that’s right, every 90 minutes! Even more alarming is the fact that many of these inmates are becoming Muslims while in prison.
 To further confirm this grave concern, following this broadcast, we read an article from John Stormer’s Understanding the Times in which Rick Mathes with Mission Gate Prison Ministry reported that during his annual prison security training session, he listened to a Muslim cleric give a presentation on the Muslim faith. Afterwards, Rick asked, “‘Please tell me if I’m wrong, but I understand that most Imams and clerics of Islam have declared a holy jihad (Holy War) against the infidels of the world and, that by killing an infidel, which is a command to all Muslims, that they are assured a place in heaven. If that’s the case, can you give me a definition of an infidel?’ There was no disagreement with my statements and, without hesitation, he replied, ‘Non-believers?’ I responded, ‘So let me make sure I have this straight. Followers of Allah have been commanded to kill everyone who is not of your faith so they can have a place in heaven. Is that correct?’ He sheepishly replied, ‘Yes.’” http://www.missiongateministry.org/ 
 An Investor’s Business Daily report states that Obama favors most all immigration and is against English as our official language. Obama states that he “would not require the borders to be secured before illegal immigrants could seek citizenship and would increase the number of legal immigrants… voted in 2003 for state legislation allowing illegal immigrants to quality for a driver’s license …voted against making English our official language…and said ‘Understand this: Instead of worrying about whether immigrants can learn English…you need to make sure your children can speak Spanish.’”
 Noah Webster’s opposition to those who were using immigration to advance their subversive doctrines is as pertinent today as it was then. Consider carefully the warning he wrote in his American Minerva magazine: “I consider as a matter of infinite consequence the cautious admission of foreigners to the rights of citizenship. Numbers of them who have within the past year arrived and settled in this city come with violent prejudices against arbitrary government, and they seem to make no great distinction between arbitrary government and a government of laws founded on free elections. Many of them are warm democrats; and the Emigration Society here is headed by Democrats of our own—in short the opposers of our government are literally wriggling themselves into all sorts of company to carry their points. One main article of their policy is to attach foreigners to their principles the moment of their landing. If that system of creating a popular interest extraneous from the legislature to influence their proceedings—that system of raising a multitude of isolated private clubs over the nation as its guardian—should spread through the country, we may bid adieu to our Constitution. Our safety is in the country people, who more scattered and more independent, are out of the reach of demagogues.”
 Finally, who do you know that thinks Mexicans should be allowed into this country because they are such hard workers? Even beyond the logistics of such an economic burden their numbers place on our economy, there are many other grave difficulties that our nation faces due to the presence of these immigrants in our country. Consider the startling facts that Common Sense on Mass Immigration addresses which can be viewed in its entirety on www.commonsenseonmassimmigration.com. Did you know that “from 2000 to 2005 86% of U.S. population growth was the result of immigration?” Did you know that we have 10 million illegal aliens in this country who are given free medical care and subsidized housing? Guess who is working so hard to pay for them? You and me! And did you know that their numbers were increasing by almost 1 million per year? Their entry into this country is “nothing short of an invasion.”
 “In some areas of the county, 12% of felonies, 25% of burglaries and 34% of thefts are committed by illegal aliens.” In Los Angeles, “criminal aliens cost the county over $150 million annually.”
 “In 2000, about 8 million of the total 53 million school-age children in the U.S. were the offspring of immigrants who had arrived since 1970. This is equal to all of the growth in the school-age population over the last 20 years. Just education of illegal aliens’ children costs taxpayers $7 billion a year.”
 “From 1997 to 2002 the number of uninsured immigrants rose by 2.2 million to 11.2 million. Even illegal immigrants, many of whom pay no taxes, are eligible for publicly funded medical care.” Provided to them by the sweat of our brow!
 “Mass immigration is a threat to our nation’s health. Diseases nearly eradicated are breaking out again. Tropical diseases, previously unknown to the United States but prevalent to Third World countries, including Dengue fever and Chagas disease, are appearing for the first time. Medieval ailments such as leprosy are resurfacing. Among the diseases carried into the U.S. by immigrants are tuberculosis, AIDS, cholera, measles, hepatitis and SARS. Hispanics, 13 percent of the U.S. population, account for 19 percent of the reported number of new cases of AIDS, more than three times the rate for other Americans.”
 “52 countries around the world have English as an official language….the U.S. … is one of the few countries that operate without an official language.”
 When we consider that these aliens have nothing in common with our Christian faith or our Christian heritage or Constitutional ideologies, we had better understand the threat they pose.
 Last year, we had an opportunity to discuss at great length this issue with a homeschooling friend’s brother who happens to be a policeman in Houston, Texas. He said that America is fast becoming a Third World country as immigrants pour over our borders. Not surprisingly, Houston’s crime rate has escalated at an alarming pace; however, the illegal immigrants cannot be tried under our law and so are not detained for very long. Ironically, though, prison is not a deterrent to crime for them because the conditions in our prisons are far better than the conditions they left in their own country.
 Can their crimes here be blamed on their inability to find work or acquire citizenship? After talking with two different homeschooling missionary families, each having served for many years in Mexico, we discovered that indigence and immorality define their existence. Both actually stated at different times that “if it isn’t tacked down, the Mexicans will steal it.” This is not surprising when we understand that the majority of Mexicans are not Christians and therefore feel no obligation to abide by God’s Laws. Quite frankly, when we consider the state of Mexicans’ spiritual darkness, which is steeped in idolatry and superstition, it is no wonder that their country is riddled with corruption and crime. So why would we want these people in our country?

 The following excerpts from George Washington’s Sacred Fire by Peter Lillback relate sobering thoughts that are worthy of our reflection. This one comes from Washington’s collection of sermons by Reverend Israel Evans, Chaplain to Brigadier General Maxwell of the Western Army. It was delivered to the officers and soldiers on October 18, 1779 upon their return from a battle with hostile Indians. When reading this, note the prevailing Christian perspective on Covenant Dominion.
 “Before I close this discourse, suffer me to remind you of other happy consequences of your success. You have opened a passage into the wilderness, where the Gospel has never yet been received…churches shall rise there, and flourish when perhaps the truths of the Gospel shall be neglected on those eastern shores. For it cannot be supposed, that so large a part of this continent shall for ever continue the haunt of savages, and the dreary abodes of superstition and idolatry. As the Gospel, or Son of righteousness has only glanced on the shores of this western world, and it is predicted of it, that it shall be universally propagated, it will probably like the Sun, travel to the western extremities of this continent. And when men from other nations prompted by Liberty and love of the pure Gospel of truth, shall cross the ocean to this extensive empire, they will here find a safe asylum from persecution and tyranny. How honorable then must your employment appear, when considered in all those points of view. How happy to have been the instruments in the hand of God, for accomplishing so great a revolution, and extending the Kingdom of his Son so far. Liberty and Religion shall have their wide dominion from the Atlantic through the great continent to the western ocean…promoting the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ… May you more especially be the partakers of all the benefits and happiness, with which Christ will crown his faithful and dutiful Subjects!”
 Remember that this was presented to the army, both soldiers and officers, who understood their duty as instruments of God’s will for this country. Let us also reflect upon the following revelation: “And when men from other nations prompted by Liberty and love of the pure Gospel of truth, shall cross the ocean to this extensive empire, they will here find a safe asylum from persecution and tyranny.” They truly understood that only Christ brings liberty, and only those who are regulated and directed by His Holy Spirit maintain liberty.
 “With a love for the pure Gospel of truth” is vastly different from the militant “We were here first” mentality of the immigrants that have recently penetrated our country. A culture and religion antithetical to ours cannot produce anything but destruction to our country’s biblical foundation.
 Washington so clearly understood the indissoluble bond between liberty and obedience to God’s laws because he knew that in order for a nation to remain free, it must adhere to the requirements of the covenant outlined in Deuteronomy 28. “Washington made the relationship between obedience to God’s eternal rules and human ‘happiness’ most clear to the American people in his First Inaugural Address: ‘…the foundations of our National policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality; and the pre-eminence of a free Government, be exemplified by all the attributes which can win the affections of its Citizens, and command the respect of the world. I dwell on this prospect with every satisfaction which an ardent love for my Country can inspire since there is no truth more thoroughly established, than that there exists in the economy and course of nature, an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness, between duty and advantage, between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy, and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity. Since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained: And since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the Republican model of Government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.’”
 This understanding permeated his writings, including his Thanksgiving proclamation of 1789: “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”
 Let us reiterate that George Washington and the vast majority of Americans, and before them the Puritans, and before them the Pilgrims, and before them the Reformers, and before them the early Church, and before them the Apostles, understood that it was the duty of all nations, not just Christian nations, but all nations “to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God” and “to obey His will.”
 Those who sacrificed their honor, lives, and fortunes did so because they understood their responsibility before God, that they were created to honor Him and serve Him all the days of their lives. Again, let us reiterate, that they knew that their blessings of liberty came from Jesus Christ, their LORD and Saviour!
  Of further interest is The Service for July 4th listed as “A Form of Prayer and thanksgiving to Almighty God, for the inestimable Blessings of Religious and Civil liberty; to be used yearly Fourth Day of July.” It included the following prayer: “O God, whose name is excellent in all the earth, and thy glory above the heavens, who as on this day didst inspire and direct the hearts of our delegates in congress, to lay the perpetual foundations of peace, liberty, and safety; we bless and adore thy glorious Majesty, for this thy loving kindness and providence. And we humbly pray that the devout sense of this signal mercy may renew and increase in us a spirit of love and thankfulness to thee its only author, a spirit of peaceable submission to the laws and government of our country, and a spirit of fervent zeal for our holy religion, which thou hast preserved and secured to us and our posterity. May we improve these inestimable blessings for the advancement of religion, liberty, and science throughout this land, till the wilderness and solitary place be glad through us, and the desert rejoice and blossom as the rose. This we beg through the merits of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.”

 Liberty, justice, obedience, temperance, frugality, industry, piety, love, kindness, and charity are only possible in men who possess the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. As John Adams so eloquently stated: “Statesmen…may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is religion and morality alone, which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater measure than they have it now, they may change their rulers and the forms of government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty.” (America’s God and Country, William Federer, p. 8)
 “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” (America’s God and Country, William Federer, pp. 10-11)

Contending for Truth: A Lifetime of Suffering for the Glory of Christ

 In Contending for Our All, John Piper shares the story of Athanasius, who though dead still speaks from the grave, whose life of suffering for his steadfast commitment to God’s Word stands as a beacon of faithfulness to a culture who knows no hardship. (Hebrews 11:4 “…Though he is dead, he still speaks.”) Athanasius, the bishop of Alexandria in 328, “was driven out of his church and office five times by the power of the Roman Empire. Seventeen of his forty-five years as bishop were spent in exile.”
 Gregory of Nazianzus said of him: “Let one praise him in his fastings and prayers…another his unweariedness and zeal for vigils and psalmody, another his patronage of the needy, and another his dauntlessness towards the powerful, or his condescension to the lowly... [He was to] the unfortunate their consolation, the hoary-headed their staff, youths their instructor, the poor their resource, the wealthy their steward. Even the widow will…praise their protector, even the orphans their father, even the poor their benefactor, stranger their entertainer, brethren the man of brotherly love, the sick their physician.”
 Archibald Robertson, who edited Athanasius’s works for Nicene and post-Nicene Fathers says of him, “There is a total lack of self-interest. The glory of God and the welfare of the Church absorbed him fully at all times… Courage, self-sacrifice, steadiness of purpose… sympathy…were all harmonized by deep reverence and the discipline of a single-minded lover of Christ.”
 Besides his faithful commitment to his flock’s instruction and physical needs, Athanasius battled a heresy within the Roman world contrived by a deacon in Alexandria named Arius, who, based on his own philosophical speculation, argued “that if the Son of God were truly a son, he must have had a beginning.” For forty-five years this battle ensued, as Athanasius steadfastly labored to defend Christ’s deity, which he based on God’s own revelation of His Son in scripture.
 Prior to this heresy, the Church had not found it necessary to establish the biblical truth of Christ’s deity, and thereby had not officially written any doctrine on the Trinity. Nonetheless, as God often works through opposition to spur His Church into action, He used this heresy to compel the Church to definitively establish this most basic tenet of faith. And so it was that Athanasius spent his life defending this biblical truth and instructing others on the import of this doctrine. Consequently, due to his efforts to uphold Christ’s deity, which has been preserved to this day in our Apostle’s Creed, the honorable title of “Father of Orthodoxy” was thus attributed to him.
 John Piper continues: “In 321, a synod was convened in Alexandria, and Arian was deposed from his office and his views declared heresy… [However] the deposition of Arius unleashed sixty years of ecclesiastical and empire-wide political conflict… For the next forty years the eastern part of the Roman Empire was mainly Arian.” However, after Emperor Constantine’s conversion, his concern over the Arian controversy led him to call a Council of 318 bishops at Nicaea to end this debate. The outcome was the creation of the Nicene Creed, which has defined Christianity ever since. As a result of Athanasius’s careful instruction, not only was Christ’s deity established in the Church’s Creed, but also Arianism was totally eliminated from Egypt, but not without much cost to Athanasius as we shall see.
 Though Athanasius was responsible for squelching this heresy, ironically, the very bishops who signed the Creed despised Athanasius’s passionate tenacity for holding to the truth and for exposing those heretics who deviate from it, and they diligently labored to have him dispelled from his post as Bishop of Alexandria. False accusations flew forth that ranged all the way from his youth rendering him inadequate for the responsibilities of ordination to the aid he gave to treasonable individuals to his use of magic. Even Constantine, who had deeply concerned himself with the Arian heresy, did not appreciate Athanasius’s firm stand for truth and so required him to face the charges brought against him by his fellow bishops. In spite of the fact that Athanasius was readily acquitted of all charges, the supporters of his defense of Christ’s deity were increasingly declining.
 Indeed, Athanasius’s enemies were so determined to remove him from his position that they bribed another bishop to disappear so that they could maliciously implicate him in his murder. Thankfully, a trusted deacon actually found this bishop in hiding and brought him back to prove Athanasius’s innocence. Yet despite the visible evidence of a very live bishop, Athanasius was condemned, forcing him to flee to Constantinople.
 His accusers were not appeased by his absence but determined to silence him once and for all by accusing Athanasius of attempting to starve Constantine’s capitol by preventing shipments of wheat from arriving there. And though no proof surfaced to confirm his conspirators’ accusations, Constantine resolved to remove this faithful man and banished Athanasius to Treveri.
 However, upon Constantine’s death, his son Constantine II had Athanasius restored to his office in Alexandria, but not for long. He was forced to flee shortly thereafter when Eusebius of Nicomedia, the head of the Arians, after placing his own governor over the city, had his men storm the bishop’s churches and living quarters. This time Athanasius’s exile lasted seven years until Constantine’s other two sons had him vindicated and restored to his office once again.
 Four years later, though, Constantine’s son (who threatened his brother with war if he failed to allow Athanasius as bishop) was murdered, leaving the other son free to attack Athanasius and his Nicene theology. Athanasius’s people deflected the first assault on their city, but the following year they were taken by surprise as Constantius’s military assaulted the church. And though some of them managed to carry Athanasius off before the militia could get to him, his people did not see him again for another six years.
 In his absence, Constantius called two councils to compromise the nature of Christ, yet God used this time of seclusion in the desert for the production of Athanasius’s most important written works, and thus this fugitive’s efforts were inevitably responsible for the preservation of Christ’s deity.
 “Archibald Robertson described the triumph of the third exile: ‘The third exile of Athanasius marks the summit of his achievement. Its commencement is the triumph, its conclusion the collapse of Arianism. It is true that after the death of Constantius (November 3, 361) the battle went on with variations of fortune for twenty years, mostly under the reign of an ardently Arian Emperor (Valens) (364-378). But by 362 the utter lack of inner coherence in the Arian ranks was manifest to all; the issue of the fight might be postponed by circumstances but could not be in doubt. The break-up of the Arian power was due to its own lack of reality: as soon as it had a free hand, it began to go to pieces. But the watchful eye of Athanasius followed each step in the process from his hiding-place, and the event was greatly due to his powerful personality and ready pen, knowing whom to overwhelm and whom to conciliate, where to strike and where to spare. This period then of forced abstention from affairs was the most stirring in spiritual and literary activity in the whole life of Athanasius. It produced more than half of...his entire extant works. Let it be noted once and for all how completely the amazing power wielded by the wandering fugitive was based upon the devoted fidelity of Egypt to its pastor. Towns and villages, deserts and monasteries, the very tombs were scoured by the Imperial inquisitors in the search for Athanasius; but all in vain; not once do we hear of any suspicion of betrayal. The work of the golden decade (the period of revival before the third exile) was bearing its fruit.’”
 Although Athanasius’s return to his office only lasted eight months, it was enough time for him to reinforce the position of the Nicene orthodoxy through a Synod he called for in Alexandria. “Jerome says that this synod ‘snatched the whole world from the jaws of Satan’ while Robertson calls it ‘the crown of the career of Athanasius.’”
 Athanasius’s fourth exile occurred when the pagan emperor Julian drove him from his office for rejecting his pagan gods. After fifteen months in the desert he was once again restored to office, this time for a year and a half. The fifth and final expulsion from his office occurred when Emperor Valens ordered the civil magistrates to break into the church and seize him, but he managed to escape one more time. In a few months he was allowed to return where he remained until his death.

The following is the Nicene Creed:
 “We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible, and invisible.”
 “And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father, the only-begotten; that is, of the essence of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made in heaven and on earth; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down and was incarnate and was made man; he suffered, and the third day he rose again, ascended into heaven; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.”
 “And in the Holy Ghost.”
 “And those who say: ‘There was a time when he was not;’ and ‘He was not before he was made;’ and ‘He was made out of nothing,’ or ‘He is of another substance’ or ‘thing,’ or ‘The Son of God is created,’ or ‘changeable,’ or ‘alterable’—they are condemned by the holy catholic and apostolic Church.”

 The wording that Athanasius helped construct for the creed states: “We believe…in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father…very God of very God…being of one substance with the Father…who for us men, and for our salvation, came down and was incarnate and was made man; he suffered, and the third day he rose again…”
 John Piper writes: “The incarnation has to do with the gospel. It has to do with salvation. It has to do with whether there is any hope of eternal life…In other words, the deity of the incarnate Son of God is essential for the truth and validity of the gospel of our salvation. There is no salvation if Jesus Christ is not God. Athanasius says as much in On the Incarnation of the Word: ‘For the Word, perceiving that no otherwise could the corruption of men be undone save by death as a necessary condition, while it was impossible for the Word to suffer death, being immortal, and Son of the Father; to this end He takes to Himself a body capable of death, that it, by partaking of the Word Who is above all, might be worthy to die in the stead of all, and might, because of the Word which was come to dwell in it, remain incorruptible, and that thenceforth corruption might be stayed from all by the Grace of the Resurrection. Whence, by offering unto death the body He Himself had taken, as an offering and sacrifice free from any stain, straightway He put away death from all His peers by the offering of an equivalent. For being over all, the Word of God naturally by offering His own temple and corporeal instrument for the life of all satisfied the debt by His death. And thus He, the incorruptible Son of God, being conjoined with all by a like nature, naturally clothed all with incorruption, by the promise of the resurrection.’”
 “Some of the most crucial and precious truths of the Scripture are counterintuitive to the fallen human mind. They don’t fit easily into our sin-soaked heads. The orthodox understanding of the Trinity is one of those. If the indigenous principle had triumphed in the fourth century, we might all be Arians. It is far easier for the human mind to say that the Son of God, like all other sons, once was not, and then came into being, than it is to say that He has always been God with the Father, and there is only one God. But the Bible will not let its message be fitted into the categories we bring with our fallen, finite minds. It presses us relentlessly to create new categories of thought to contain the mysteries of the gospel.”
 Parker Williamson states: “Athanasius set his name to the creed which expressed his belief, and for fifty years he stood unswervingly by that confession. Every argument that ingenuity could invent was used to prove it false. Bishops met together in great numbers, condemned his views, and invoked upon him the curse of God. Emperors took sides against him, banished him time and time again, and chased him from place to place, setting a reward on his head. At one time all bishops of the church were persuaded or coerced into pronouncing sentence against him, so that the phrase originated, ‘Athanasius against the world.’ But with all this pressure bearing on him he changed his ground not one inch. His clear eye saw the truth once, and he did not permit his conscience to tamper with temptations to deny it. His loyalty to the truth made him a great power for good, and a great blessing to the churches of his own, and of all times.”

CONTENDING FOR TRUTH
A. What compels men to contend for their beliefs in spite of tremendous opposition? Whereas Arian’s heresy was conceived on mere speculation and birthed from human reasoning, Athanasius’s steadfast position was based on truth—the revelation of God given to man for his instruction. From his diligent study, Athanasius knew that Jesus is the fulfillment of all things—prophesized, typified, prefigured, and fulfilled on every page of scripture—in truth, in every word. For in fact, He is the Word: the very flesh and soul of it. All things were created by Him and for Him and through Him for His glory and pleasure. Thus, Athanasius clearly understood that the very soul of Christianity was at stake, for without a firm belief in the deity of Christ, who is the Son of God, the second Person of the Triune God, Christianity becomes nothing more than a hollow whitewashed tomb.
1. Galatians 1:6-10 “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.”
2. Galatians 2:4,5 “But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage. But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you.”
B. The following are verses that Athanasius might have used for his defense of Christ’s deity. As you read these verses, note the clarity of God’s revelation of His Son.
1. John 1:1-3 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.”
2. Acts 15:18 “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.”
3. Ephesians 3:9-11 “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
4. Colossians 1:16,17 “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
5. John 8:58 “Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.’”
6. Exodus 3:14 “God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM’; and He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, “|I AM has sent me to you.”’”
7. John 6:62 “What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before?”
8. John 3:13 “No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man.”
9. Ephesians 3:11 “This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
10. Romans 11:36 “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”
11. Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
12. Ephesians 1:9-12 “He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.”
13. Colossians 1:18 “He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.”
14. Ephesians 1:22 “And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church.”
15. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 “But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.”
16. 1 Peter 1:20,21 “For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”
C. Again we ask, what compels men like Athanasius to toil their entire lives to establish truth when in fact philosophers have captivated men with their speculations according to their own human reasoning throughout time? God’s warning to “see to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception” is an ongoing command that implies constant vigilance. In essence, Truth matters every time, everywhere, always! The following verse is the quintessential defense to the Arian heresy, the summation of all other points.
1. Colossians 2:8-10 “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority.”

WHAT IS TRUTH-KNOWLEDGE-WISDOM?
A. But, we might ask, what is truth, where does truth come from, and how may we obtain it? Noah Webster defines truth as “conformity to fact or reality; exact accordance with that which is, or has been or shall be. The truth of history constitutes its whole value. We rely on the truth of the scriptural prophecies….Veracity; purity from falsehood…The truth of God, is his veracity and faithfulness Psalm 71, or His revealed will. I have walked in thy truth Psalm 26. Jesus Christ is called the truth John 14…to do truth, is to practice what God commands John 3.”
1. John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life…’”
2. John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
3. Psalm 119:160 “Thy word is true from the beginning…”

WHAT IS KNOWLEDGE?
A. Noah Webster defines knowledge as “a clear and certain perception of that which exists, or of truth and fact…God has a perfect knowledge of all his works. Human knowledge is very limited…illumination of mind. ‘Ignorance is the curse of God, knowledge the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.’ Shakespeare.”
B. So if knowledge, then, is the clear perception of that which exists, and all that exists has been brought into existence by the Creator, can anything be known apart from God? No, since everything has been created by God, including the laws that govern them, nothing can be known apart from their Creator. Thus, knowledge is God’s interpretation of the world and can only be known through Divine revelation—the means by which God makes Himself known to man. Knowledge, then, is to think God’s thoughts after Him. Let us reiterate this important truth that we are to think God’s thoughts after Him.
1. John 1:3 “All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.”
2. Colossians 1:16,17 “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
a. Christ is the sum of all things—Creator, Master, and Sustainer of all which He created. Therefore, only through Him can one acquire truth, knowledge, and wisdom.
C. Noah Webster defines “to know” as “to perceive with certainty; to understand clearly; to have a clear and certain perception of truth, fact, or anything that actually exists….We know that truth and falsehood express ideas incompatible with each other…to learn Proverbs 1… If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether if be of God or whether I speak of myself. John 7.”

WHAT IS WISDOM?
A. Noah Webster defines wisdom as “the right use or exercise of knowledge; the choice of laudable ends and of the best means to accomplish them…If wisdom is to be considered as a faculty of the mind, it is the faculty of discerning or judging what is most just, proper and useful, and if it is to be considered as an acquirement, it is the knowledge and use of what is best, most just, most proper, most conducive to prosperity or happiness. Wisdom in the first sense, or practical wisdom, is nearly synonymous with discretion. It differs somewhat from prudence, in this respect; prudence is the exercise of sound judgment in avoiding evils; wisdom is the exercise of sound judgment either in avoiding evils or attempting good. Prudence then is a species, of which wisdom is the genus. In Scripture, human learning; erudition…In Scripture theology, wisdom is true religion; godliness; piety; the knowledge and fear of God, and sincere and uniform obedience to his commands. This is the wisdom which is from above. Psalm 90, Job 28; profitable words or doctrine. Psalm 37. The wisdom of this world, mere human erudition; or the carnal policy of men, their craft and artifices in promoting their temporal interests called also, fleshly wisdom.”
1. Job 28:12-28 “But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man does not know its value, nor is it found in the land of the living. The deep says, ‘It is not in me’; and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’ Pure gold cannot be given in exchange for it, nor can silver be weighed as its price. It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir, in precious onyx, or sapphire. Gold or glass cannot equal it, nor can it be exchanged for articles of fine gold. Coral and crystal are not to be mentioned; and the acquisition of wisdom is above that of pearls. The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it, nor can it be valued in pure gold. Where then does wisdom come from? And where is the place of understanding? Thus it is hidden from the eyes of all living and concealed from the birds of the sky. Abaddon and Death say, ‘With our ears we have heard a report of it.’ God understands its way, and He knows its place. For He looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens. When He imparted weight to the wind and meted out the waters by measure, when He set a limit for the rain and a course for the thunderbolt, then He saw it and declared it; He established it and also searched it out. And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.’”

HOW DO WE ACQUIRE KNOWLEDGE?
A. How then do we acquire knowledge? By fearing the Lord and inclining our ears to His words and our minds to His revelations. Only in Christ can we obtain wisdom and knowledge; therefore, our submission to Him as Lord is imperative for knowledge’s attainment.
1. Psalm 25:14 “The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.”
2. Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
3. Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
4. John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’”
5. Colossians 2:2,3 “…and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
6. Proverbs 1:2-9 “To know wisdom and instruction, to discern the sayings of understanding, to receive instruction in wise behavior, righteousness, justice and equity; to give prudence to the naïve, to the youth knowledge and discretion, a wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel, to understand a proverb and a figure, the words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching; indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head and ornaments about your neck.”
B. Further instruction points us to wait upon the Lord in prayer, asking Him to teach us and lead us and to apply ourselves with all diligence to His truth. It also requires wisdom when choosing our companions, for we are not to sit with the wicked, or with vain persons, or with scoffers, but spend our time in God’s Word, meditating on it day and night.
1. Psalm 25:4,5 “Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.”
2. Proverbs 22:17-21 “Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your mind to my knowledge; for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, that they may be ready on your lips. So that your trust may be in the LORD, I have taught you today, even you. Have I not written to you excellent things of counsels and knowledge, to make you know the certainty of the words of truth that you may correctly answer him who sent you?”
3. Psalm 26:1-8 “Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide. Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart. For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth. I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers. I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked….LORD, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth.”
4. Psalm 1:1-3 “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.”

WHAT ARE WE TO DO WITH KNOWLEDGE?
A. What are we to do with knowledge? To answer this, we must first consider God’s purpose in creating man. In the beginning, God created man in His image to take dominion of the earth and fill it with His glory. Thus, man was given preeminence over the entire creation with the responsibility to rule over the creation, as God rules the universe. However, endowed with a free will, Adam chose to reject God’s Law—the only valid standard of right—and instead become a god. In other words, he became a law unto himself so that he could rule according to his own reason, according to what he deemed right in his own eyes, and thus fill the earth with his own glory instead of God’s. Contrary to his desires, though, Adam’s infidelity caused him to lose his inheritance and made him a rebel, and all his progeny with him, for through his sins all were brought forth in sin as rebels against God, deserving of the condemnation of the righteous Law of God.
1. Genesis 1:26-28 “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”
2. Genesis 3:5,6 “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”
3. 1 John 3:4 “…Sin is lawlessness.”
4. Genesis 3:17-19,22-24 “Then to Adam He said, ‘Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, “You shall not eat from it”; cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you will eat the plants of the field; by the sweat of your face you will eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.…’ Then the LORD God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever’—therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.”
5. Romans 5:18,19 “So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men… For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners….”
6. Psalm 51:5 “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.”
7. Romans 5:12,14 “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned… Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.”
8. 1 Corinthians 15:21,22 “For since by a man came death…For as in Adam all die…”
9. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

REJECTION OF GOD’S WORD
A. Man either bows down to God, giving the authority of His Word preeminence, or he sets himself up as the ultimate authority, subsequently becoming a law unto himself. Thus, man’s reasoning is either established upon God’s revelation or on his own human interpretation. So although once created in perfection, the lusts of deceit so thoroughly corrupts him that though professing to be wise, he becomes a fool. Whereby the rejection of God’s revelation darkens the mind, making all his speculations futile. So contrary to the rebel’s desire to be free of restraint [the Law], rejection of the Law and the biblical reasoning that comes with it inevitably causes man to be taken captive where he remains a slave to sin, at enmity with Him.
1. Romans 1:21,22 “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools.”
2. Ephesians 4:22 “In reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit.”
3. John 8:34 “Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.’”
4.  Romans 8:7 “…the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so.”
5. Romans 6:17 “…though you were slaves of sin…”
6. Colossians 1:21 “And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds.”

GOD REDEEMS US AND FREES US FROM CAPTIVITY
A. Thankfully, God did not leave Adam in his state of alienation, but as a father has compassion on his children, He provided a way for Adam’s reconciliation to Him by covering his sins with the skin of an animal, thus pointing to Christ’s atonement of sin through the shedding of His blood. And by His gracious design, God redeems His disobedient children by the obedience and righteousness of Jesus Christ. Therefore, what man could not do—keep the law—Christ does, so that by the power of His indwelling Spirit, we are now willing and able to obey Him.
1. Genesis 3:15,21 “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel…. The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.”
2. Romans 6:23 “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
3. 1 Corinthians 15:21-23 “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man is his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.”
4. Galatians 4:3-7 “So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.”
5. Galatians 3:13,14 “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’—in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
6. Romans 6:16-18 “Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”
7. Matthew 5:17-18 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”
8. John 8:31-36 “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’ They answered Him, ‘We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, “You will become free”?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.’”
9. Luke 4:14-21 “And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district. And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all. And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, ‘The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the LORD.’ And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’”
10. Hebrews 2:14-18 “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.”
11. Hebrews 2:10,11 “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren.”
12. 1 Peter 1:18,19 “Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.”
13. Romans 6:6 “Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.”
14. 2 Corinthians 5:21 “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
15. Romans 3:24-26 “Being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
16. Colossians 1:19-22 “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach.”
17. Romans 8:1-8 “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
a. This scripture is such an important one to impress upon our children. Before God places His Spirit in us, every one of us is not only hostile toward God but is unable to subject himself to the law of God and thus cannot please Him. Neither we nor the Israelites could ever please God, yet God does not leave us in that despairing position but provides a solution to our dilemma by placing His beloved Son in each of His own—His beloved Son in whom He is well-pleased. The requirement of the Law is fulfilled in us because Jesus turns our heart of stone into flesh and writes His laws upon our heart so that we not only desire to do His will but are enabled to do so through the power of His Holy Spirit. Does that mean that we are perfect? Absolutely not, but our lives become devoted to God in such a marvelous way that we desire to be obedient and strive to be obedient and continually walk in a spirit of repentance. And praise God, through His generous gift of grace, there is now no condemnation for all those who are in Christ Jesus.
b. John 4:34 “Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.’”
c. John 6:38 “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”
d. Matthew 22:15-22 “Then the Pharisees went and plotted together how they might trap Him in what He said. And they sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, ‘Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any. Tell us then, what do You think? Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?’ But Jesus perceived their malice and said, ‘Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the coin used for the poll-tax.’ And they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, ‘Whose likeness and inscription is this?’ They said to Him, ‘Caesar’s.’ Then He said to them, ‘Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.’ And hearing this, they were amazed, and leaving Him, they went away.”

OUR RESPONSE
A. God tells us to render to Him the things that are His—our bodies, our minds, our hearts, our possessions—all are now His. Therefore, our response to His merciful grace is not only one of gratitude but one of duty. David says, “Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will be converted to You.”
1. Psalm 51:3-13 “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, and You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You are justified when You speak and blameless when You judge. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me. Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom. Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness, let the bones which You have broken rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will be converted to You.”