The Journey in Context
I’ve been in the ministry 42 years now. When I first started teaching more in context, it began a new journey. Rather than teaching the way I was taught many years ago, which was for other purposes. I did like everybody else and I’d pick a verse in Timothy, one in Psalms, one out of Isaiah and one out of Revelation, put it all together and then find a Greek word that made it all fit and teach on it. Did I do it consciously? No, I didn’t, but we had certain doctrines that we were promoting or were promoted to us. The crowd response to it was really amazing. You can come up with some really strange doctrines that way.
Context is the most powerful thing as far as understanding what the writer wants to communicate. It seems kind of strange for me to even have to say that. It’s strange because if we got a letter from anyone or read anything in a book, and if we took one line out of a book and tried to determine what that book was about by that one line we would all know that would be an extremely foolish attempt to understand what the writer was trying to say. We would at least need to read paragraphs.
The first time I started teaching in context, it was a big challenge. The first time that I ever taught in the book of Romans and taught a full chapter, I remember I started breaking away from the verse selection from one place to the other to this place to the other, and I started selecting several paragraphs to teach on rather than teaching verses here and there out of context.
One of the first chapters I taught in context was Romans Chapter 5. Romans Chapter 5 is the one where Paul declares very clearly that after the offense of Adam, everybody became a sinner, and that God imputed that sin to the entire planet. He also teaches in that same chapter that Jesus did exactly the same except far greater. “Much more” is the terminology that he uses. Now, Christianity doesn’t really teach that. It does teach the part about becoming a sinner without doing anything wrong. Catholicism, Protestantism … they all teach “Original Sin”. They all teach that we became sinners because of what one man did, but they fall short of embracing that Jesus was just as powerful being the Last Adam as the first Adam. The Last Adam, as Paul taught in Romans Chapter 5, did not only the equal and corresponding reaction to Adam’s transgression, but Jesus did a work that was far beyond the work of the first Adam in the fact that the first Adam had condemned everyone to a condition of sin, even those who did not transgress after the similitude of Adam’s transgression. But it says that Jesus then of course through his righteousness, “by the righteousness of one man”, that just as many have been made righteous. That’s the entire planet. That very premise really does undermine a lot of organized Christianity because, number one: I don’t know of a branch of Christianity that teaches that Jesus redeemed the whole world. It seems that the whole focus is to try to get people redeemed, but that isn’t what the scriptures teach.
The scriptures teach that everybody has been redeemed. We learned how Paul taught that the entire world has been redeemed. Nobody’s going to hell. Everybody’s been redeemed because of the power of the blood of the Lamb. It’s very powerful to know that you have been redeemed.
It’s very powerful, but you see we’re not able to walk out of what Paul also taught in the Book of Romans if you don’t see that you and the entire planet is redeemed. Paul taught that there are two things that we all should be able to give up and that is guiltiness before God and the other one is judgment of other people.
There is no way to give up guiltiness before God if you don’t realize you have been redeemed once and for all. This is not something you have to redo. Your redemption did not come when you believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. Believing on the Lord Jesus Christ is a vitally important part of the salvation process, but you are believing on Jesus because you are redeemed. You are not believing on Jesus to get redeemed. Believing and our faith is a very important thing. However, implying that believing is what makes truth true has misled the whole world. Truth is true even if you don’t believe it. It doesn’t change that it’s true. What is that transformation that the soul begins to take on? You begin to lose any sensations of guilt between you and God. The other thing that Paul taught on about those that believe is this powerful influence on the heart that you lose all judgment: assessing blame against somebody else or assessing what your opinion is of their relationship with God.
I remember the very first time I taught on this. It was in Abbottsford, British Columbia. I taught three sessions on this. Those were people who had listened to me teach on grace and the gospel of peace. Then I realized it was time that I needed to move on to teaching the redemption of the world; that the work of Christ was effective for the entire planet.
In the many years since that landmark event for me and the Gospel Revolution, it truly has been an amazing journey! Your support throughout these years has made it possible to continue the journey in ministering the wonderful good news this gospel truly is. The Gospel Revolution is hearing from new people around the world all the time who have found us and embraced this wonderful gospel of grace and peace. Now, maybe more than ever, we need even more support. I can’t help but feel we are at a major new milestone in spreading the gospel. Please consider pledging your support to our 2015 Spring Pledge Drive!
The journey continues. I’m so glad you have been sharing it with me!