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.
“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.” (Isaiah 53.4, ESV)¹
¹Isaiah 53 is a Messianic prophecy written about 700 years before the coming of the suffering Messiah and all He would endure for us. The prophecy records the events leading up to the cross and around the cross.
What did Isaiah mean by “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows”? The apostle Matthew recorded the events that fulfilled this prophecy:
“And when Jesus entered Peter's house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him. That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: ‘He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.’” (Matt. 8.14-17, ESV).
By healing those who were sick, Jesus took away their diseases. The same is true for our sins. While He bore our sins on the cross provisionally, He takes away our sins when we come to Him for forgiveness.
This is also what John the Baptist meant when he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1.29, ESV).
One can receive forgiveness when he in faith repents of his sins, confesses Jesus as Lord (Rom. 10.9-10) and is baptized. “And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” (Acts 2.38, ESV)
Are you interested in learning more about salvation and your sins being taken away? E-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905.
“And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.” (Acts 22.16, ESV)¹
¹This tell us when Saul, later Paul the apostle, was saved from his sins, added to the body of Christ, and became a Christian.
However, those who hold to a faith only doctrine try to refute God’s word by saying that Saul was saved on the road to Damascus when Jesus appeared to Him. If that's the case, why did Luke record that Saul was told to be baptized to wash away his sins? What sins did he have to "wash away" if he was already saved? In fact, if he was saved on the road then he was saved in his sins, not from his sins. Further, Jesus expressly said there was something for him to do when he arrived in Damascus. Interestingly, he was told to be baptized to wash away his sins.
Some argue that since Ananias called Saul "brother Saul" (Acts 22.13) that this indicated that he was already saved. The apostles often called sinners "brothers" or "brethren" not because they were brethren in a spiritual sense, but because they were brothers or kinsmen according to the flesh (See Acts 2.29 [Peter called them brothers before they were saved (2.38, 41)]; Rom. 9.3, etc.). Further, remember, Luke records that Saul was to be baptized to wash away his sins. If he was saved when Ananias called him brother Saul, what sins did he have to wash away?
These are not the only arguments that we could examine that are used against Acts 22.16, but, simply put, no amount of pervasive-type arguments change the truth of Acts 22.16. Either Saul was to be baptized to wash away his sins and call on the name of the Lord, or he was not. Which is it reader?
Have you been baptized to wash away your sins? (See also Acts 2.38) We'd love to study with you! E-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905.
“And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women” (Acts 5.14, ESV)¹
¹What is meant by “added to the Lord” and how does one accomplish this? First, we should note that there are other verses where this language is used (cf. Acts 2.41, 47; 11.24) and second, whenever one is seeking to understand a passage it is not only wise to study all the passages together, but it is expected and commanded by God (Matt. 4.4; 2 Tim. 2.15; 2 Peter 1.19, etc.). In other words, one can easily come away from the verse above believing one thing when in fact not all the evidence has been presented.
Notice the following verses laid out in order:
“So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” (Acts 2.41, ESV)
- Notice that those who were baptized were those “who received his word” and “were added that day”.
- At least two questions arise: “What were they added to?” and “If they were not baptized, were they added?”
- The first question is answered in the same context in verse 47 below. The second question is “no”.
“praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2.47, NKJV)
- First, notice that the Lord does the adding; certainly, it is His right to do so.
- Second, our question above has been answered. They were added to the church by the Lord.
- Interestingly, we learn that those who are members of His church are also members of His body (Eph. 1.22-23, etc.). This means that those added by the Lord are added to His body; the same body He is the Savior of (Eph. 5.23).
- Also, note that the only ones that the Lord was adding were “those who were being saved”.
- Who was being saved? Per Acts 2.41 it was “those who received his word were baptized, and … were added that day”.
- Now we can better understand the next two verses.
“And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women” (Acts 5.14, ESV) and “for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.” (Acts 11.24, ESV)
- These two texts do not exclude Acts 2.41 and 47.
- Much of the religious world see believers who were added as those who have a mental faith in Jesus. On the other hand, the bible shows that believers who are added are those who have received the word of God and have been baptized; one cannot separate the two.
- Therefore, when Luke writes “believers were added…” he is not recording anything different than he previously recorded, nor he is not claiming that “belief only” adds one to the Lord; he is simply letting the reader know that these were men and women who not only received God’s word, but obeyed it.
When we harmonize each verse above, we understand that to be added to the Lord we must receive the word of God, believe it, and obey it. To obey the gospel is to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2.38). Only then can we be called believers who have been added to the Lord (Acts 2.41, 47).
Are you interested in learning more about being saved and added to the Lord? E-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905.
“And Samuel said, ‘Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.’” (1 Samuel 15.22).¹
God gave clear instructions for Saul to devote to destruction all the Amalekites for their opposition to His people (1 Sam. 15.2-3). Unfortunately, Saul did not obey God’s word (8-9). The prophet Samuel asked, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears and the lowing of the oxen that I hear?” (14) “Saul said, “‘They have brought them from the Amalekites, for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen to sacrifice to the Lord your God, and the rest we have devoted to destruction’” (15).
The problem is God did not say “spare some sheep and oxen to sacrifice to me.” Instead, He commanded them to devote to destruction all that had life; to completely eradicate the Amalekites from the face of this earth for punishment of their sins (18)*. Therefore, God punished Saul that day by ultimately taking away his kingdom (26, 28).
While God enjoys fragrant offerings and sacrifices to Him, He does not tolerate disobedience to His word. One cannot choose to disobey part of a command to try and please Him with part of another command. In other words, the end does not justify the means or “to obey is better than sacrifice.”
If you’re interested in learning more about fully obeying God, then e-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905.
*For additional study of why a loving God would devote whole nations to destruction under the Old Testament please click here.
“….For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.” (Hebrews 8.5, ESV)¹
¹God has always expected His people to follow the pattern of His word in their worship and service to Him. For example, He told Moses, “You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you” (Deut. 4.2). This is accomplished by following the pattern of God’s word as seen in our text (see Heb. 8.1-5). Further, Paul penned, “Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 1.13).
If a dressmaker fails to follow the pattern, he or she will make a different dress than was intended by the patternmaker! Likewise, if we fail to follow the pattern of worship and service to God, we will not accomplish that which He purposed and planned.
Therefore, when it comes to becoming a Christian, worshipping God and living a godly life, nothing short of true worship and obedience to His word is acceptable to Him (Mark 16.16; John 4.24; Luke 6.46).
We must follow the pattern of worship and service that has been provided to us by God Himself. We are like dressmakers, but He is the patternmaker.
If you’re interested in learning more about following the pattern of Scripture, please e-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905.