By Ron Courter (Excerpt from Article Originally Printed December 31, 1985)
God has always moved his people from the divinely inspired spokesmen to the written word of God as the revelation became available. The scriptures become the final source of divine authority. The understanding of truth spoken or written comes down to meditating upon the revealed will of heaven. This pattern is evident even before the scriptures are completely given. Acts 17:11 reads, “ These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” People need to look more closely at the revelatory process within the confines of the Old and New Testaments, instead of a few passages obscurely used. Do not expect less confusion, until men recognize God’s teaching methods correlates with where God is in the process of giving revelation or if God has finished giving revelation. Continue reading
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16
The Bible not only reveals the will of God, but how God has and is revealing his will to man. The following depiction shows how God has always worked from the miraculous to the non-miraculous, or from the direct to the indirect.
How God has and Does Reveal His Will
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. (Hebrews 1:1,2)
The word for God reveals how God has revealed himself in times past and how he now reveals himself to man. Unfortunately divine inspiration of the scriptures has been under attack for many years and the sufficiency of the word of God is presently being undermined by subjective claims regarding God’s present mode of communication. The following illustrations are to help us reflect on God’s revelatory process for it is wondrous and complete for the maturing of the spiritual man (2 Timothy 3:16,17).
Old Testament Revelatory Process
New Testament Revelatory Process
By Ron Courter (Excerpt from Article Originally Printed June 30, 1985)
This lesson will have two main objectives. We will make some concluding remarks on the discussion of Romans 9. Thereafter, we are going to include a brief review quiz to help stir your memory on the subject to aid retention. Continue reading
By Ron Courter (Excerpt from Article Originally Printed May 31, 1985)
Let us begin by stepping a shade beyond our actual study, but it is worthy of our time. Why? Because this subject always seems to provoke words about God’s way. God has never left himself without attestation (Acts 14:15-17). God has always left testimony of himself for mankind. Recall Romans 1:20 speaking of nature revealing there is a God. Read Psalms 19:1-4. Paul reasoned the Gentiles had no body of revelation like Israel enjoyed. Paul declared they were without hope, but let us realize there was knowledge of God among them. Paul told the men of Athens that God was not far from them. A total view certainly reveals Edom’s position is no embarrassment to the justness of God. It is well to remember in studying the Bible many statements dealing with the progress of the redemptive scheme are highly comparative and deal with the development of God’s scheme of redemption. They are not always statements regarding eternal life or eternal condemnation. There are enough interactions of Gentiles in the redemptive scheme to illustrate the previous statement must be examined carefully in different passages. Comparative statements go back to the comparison of the privileges or the role of that group of people in bringing about God’s plan. This is the type of circumstance we face in Romans 9.
By Ron Courter (Excerpt from Article Originally Printed April 30, 1985)
How did God love or prefer Israel over Edom? The manner of Jacob’s preference is biblically declared. Paul writes, “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of Circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God (Romans 3:1,2).” Israel received a clear, complete body of revelation from heaven. Who would claim such a body of revelation is not to one’s advantage? Stephen spoke of such in Acts 7:38 when he said, “…and our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us.”
The Psalmist speaks clearly of how Jacob was preferred. “He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD (Psalms 147: 19,20).” For those who prematurely affirm such actions were not proper for the sovereignty of heaven, let it be remembered Israel had to obey the revelation given to obtain righteousness. Amos 3:2 reads, “You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” Furthermore, the completed revelation leaves no doubt that God is just and far more aware of justice than man’s development. God is far more capable than man to see the demands of justice are fulfilled. Therefore, be silent when you begin to question the justness of the creator and sustainer of man. Continue reading
By Ron Courter (Excerpt from Article Originally Printed March 31, 1985)
Rebecca, there are two nations in thy womb. We have learned that one of those nations was Edom. Esau speaks of the nation of Edom and the events spoken regarding Esau are in reference to the nation of Edom and her relationship with Israel. This means the efforts to teach the doctrine of predestination regarding individual salvation from these verses is vain.
The other nation in Rebecca’s womb was Israel and the words spoken in reference to Jacob speak of Israel. Let us demonstrate what we learned about the usage of Esau and Edom is also true of Jacob and Israel. Isaiah 43:1 reads, “But now thus saith the LORD that created, thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee by thy name; thou are mine.” Verse 22 reads, “But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob; but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel.” Verse 28 says, “Therefore, I have profaned the princes of the sanctuary, and have given Jacob to the curse, and Israel to reproaches.” Again the words of Isaiah, “Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen (Isaiah 44:1).” Continue reading
By Ron Courter (Excerpt from Article Originally Printed February 28, 1985)
We closed our last lesson with Paul teaching that being of Abraham’s seed did not necessarily mean all were Abraham’s children. Paul was showing that the rejection of many of Israel did not mean God was unfaithful to his promises. The truth that all of Abraham’s seed were not his children reminds us of the words of Jesus. John 8:37, 39 reads, “I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you … They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.”
What does fleshly Israel mean when God told Abraham, “…In Isaac shall thy seed be called?” We do know there were other children of Abraham’s seed. You will agree with this for in Genesis 21:13 it reads, “And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.” Israel, what about Ishmael? Does your allegation that God must include all of fleshly Israel include Ishmael and his descendants? Israel, we both know your answer. Your allegation proves too much for even you. Yes, all of Israel is not Israel. Romans 9:8 reads, “That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” Continue reading
By Ron Courter (Excerpt from Article Originally Printed January 31, 1985)
The title of this lesson is a quotation from the Old Testament and is used by the apostle Paul in Romans 9:13. These words have become the wrestling mat of destruction for so many. It reminds us of what Peter once said about some of Paul’s writings. “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” Peter’s reference is to those things in his writings, that Paul also had written in his epistle. But when we listen to the tremendous misuse of Paul’s writings in the Roman letter, the words of Peter certainly fit our day.
This lesson will lay background consideration about the Roman letter and the intent of the words of Paul, “… Jacob have I loved, Esau have I hated.” The next lesson will deal with the Continue reading
By Ron Courter (Excerpt from Article Originally Printed August 31, 1985)
Our last reflections were upon Samuel’s growth and the role ministering had in that growth. We also considered the role of ministering in spiritual growth today. We must lament the void of ministry found among us today. It is sad how few Christians are alert to sharing and meeting the needs of fellow saints and their opportunities to strengthen the church. Do our sisters pick up the telephone and say let us take lunch to an elderly person, a widow or a sick saint these days? Not enough. Do our brothers pick up the telephone and call, saying, let us visit the family missing more and more of the assemblies? Not enough. Do the young members say let us make an arrangement to sing at the local rest home? Not enough.