Welcome to the footnote¹ blog. Our goal each day is to examine a verse and give a short summary in commentary form or simply an encouraging note to help you remain faithful to God throughout the week. Either way we hope that the footnote¹ blog will comfort you through God's word and give you a better understanding of His will.
“If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” (Gal. 5.25)
To live by the spirit is to “keep in step with the spirit,” “walk by the spirit,” (Gal. 5.16) or be “led by the Spirit” (5.18). To walk by the spirit is to “not gratify the desires of the flesh” for the spirit is against the flesh (5.16-17) and those who belong to Jesus have put sin (the flesh with its passions and desires) to death (5.24). Elsewhere Paul said, “So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” (Rom. 8.12-13)
Are you living by the Spirit? Are you practicing “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, [and] self-control” (5.22-23). Paul taught, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” (Rom. 8.14)
“There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4.4-6, ESV)
It is obvious that we live in a religiously divided society. A quick drive down the road shows the multiplicity of churches and religions. Whatever you like, you can be sure there’s a church that is willing to accommodate. However, was this ever God's will or did He desire something else?
Paul shows us that we are to be united. By laying out the platform for unity, we are not left to wonder how we are to maintain unity. It is by our respect for the seven “one’s” that we can truly enjoy the unity God has provided in Christ.
- One Body – There is only one church which Christ will save, that is, His church, the church (body) of Christ.: Eph. 1.21-22; 5.23; Acts 20.28; Rom. 16.16
- One Spirit – There is one spirit that has revealed one revelation (or standard) and one plan of salvation for all of mankind to follow (Eph. 3.3-4; 2 Peter 1.3-4). Since the Holy Spirit guided the apostles into all truth (John 16.13) and since they wrote down the truth for our learning, then there are no more revelations or truth to reveal (Jude 3). Anyone who claims extra-biblical revelations stands in direct opposition to the one Spirit.
- One Hope – Those who are God’s children can hope (not wishful thinking, but an expectation) in heaven and eternal life (1 Peter 1.3-4).
- One Lord – There are no other masters to be served. Jesus is the one and only with all authority and power. It is only through Him that we can be saved, no one else (John 14.6; Acts 4.12).
- One Faith – Not many faiths (as the religious world tells us there are), but only one (Jude 3). Just as there is one gospel, there is one faith! Will you be obedient to the one faith (see Acts 6.7)?
- One Baptism – Paul says there is only one baptism. Therefore, if there is water baptism and Holy Spirit baptism today, then we have one too many baptisms. Thus, the one baptism is water baptism in Jesus for the forgiveness of sins. It is the only baptism commanded in Scripture (Matt. 28.18-20; Mark 16.15-16; Acts 2.38; 8.16; 10.47-48; 22.16; Rom. 6.1ff; Gal. 3.26-27, etc.). Note: Holy Spirit baptism is not for us today, but was only for the apostles (John 14-16). Additionally, baptism “in the name of Jesus Christ” is, and has always been, water baptism (see Acts 2.38, etc.).
- One God and Father – There is only one true and living God; all other gods are false, man-made “spiritual beings” or crafted from wood or stone, and created in the mind of man. God was not created, but is eternal, all-knowing, all-powerful, over all, and everywhere present, and He wants to be your Father! He wants to love you and shower you with blessings!
"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6.44, ESV)¹
¹Many appeal to John 6.44 as proof text that the only way to come to Jesus is for God the Father to draw them. In fact, one may hear exactly this language from preachers and teachers and rightfully so because the language is biblical. The problem is in the way they interpret this passage. Many believe Jesus is saying that there is an irresistible "drawing power" that is applied by the direct operation of the "Holy Spirit." However, there are two problems with this interpretation. First, the Holy Spirit is not even mentioned in the passage. Second, it assumes that the Holy Spirit draws someone separate and apart from God's word; that is, through feelings or "personal experiences" where the Holy Spirit irresistibly "drew them to God." One could possibly concede that this is true if it did not contradict other passages within Scripture and if the Lord Himself did not explain what He meant. After Jesus told them that they could not come to Him unless the Father draws them, He taught, "It is written in the Prophets, 'And they will all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me" (John 6.45, ESV). Therefore, Jesus tells us exactly what He meant by being drawn to Him by the Father - those who have heard and learned (and that through His revelation of Jesus, the Bible) from the Father. Since faith comes by hearing the word of God (Rom. 10.17), I cannot have faith or be drawn to the Son of God without first hearing it and learning of it from God's revealed word.
The gospel is calling us to obey Jesus today (2 Thess. 2.14; 1.8). If you're interested in learning more e-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905.