Dear pastors, deacons, and brothers and sisters in Christ,
Holiness is what makes God uniquely God and should be reflected in his people, personally and corporately, and certainly in those who lead the church. I hope you’ll be able to join us for our annual Conference on the Church for God’s Glory as we promote holiness in our theme this year.
What is more, we will tackle this theme in a unique way: “A Call to Holiness by a Rising Generation.” There are younger pastors and leaders who have been able to find a voice in their own ministries and perhaps in an online presence, but we do not always have the privilege of hearing some of them in person as much as we would like. While there are many good men that we could ask to speak, this year we will have a small sample of “younger guys” addressing holiness as it relates to various topics important to each of us in our ministries.
While this conference is an opportunity for some of the younger guys to have a voice, it is not meant to exclude those upon whose shoulders we stand as if we have something new or better to say. If anything, we hope that those who taught us will attend and be honored as we stand in the pulpit before them and preach of the Word of God.
Our schedule and topics for the day are as follows:
• 10:00 AM – David Huffstutler, Opening Sermon: “Fit for the Master’s Use” (2 Timothy 2:20–26)
• 11:20 AM – Michael Riley, Historical Fundamentalism Today
• 12:15 PM – Mark Herbster, Personal Holiness in the Life of a Leader
• 1:00 PM – Lunch at Local Restaurants
• 2:45 PM – TJ Klapperich, The Unsung Heroine: The Role of a Pastor’s Wife
• 3:50 PM – Tim Potter, Principles for Purity in Gospel Partnership
• 4:55 PM – Nathan Crockett, Holiness in Training the Next Generation
• 6:00 PM – TJ Klapperich, Closing Sermon: “The Holiness and Mercy of God” (Isaiah 57:14–21)
• 7:15 PM – Dismiss
I hope you can come. It will be well worth your time, whatever age you may be. As always, registration for the ladies is free of charge, and we hope that the session on “The Unsung Heroine” will be a special blessing to them, just as we hope every session will be. May God bless each of you in your ministries.
Pastor David Huffstutler
First Baptist Church, Rockford, IL
God the Father has always been God the Father, and God the Son has always been God the Son. This familial relationship is something of the nature of God, and we, too, as believers have become part of this family. While more could be said, a handful of Scriptures below describe what it means to be part of the family of God.
The Father and His Children
In eternity past, God “predestined us for adoptions as sons through Jesus Christ” (Eph 1:5), and when we believe and receive the Spirit, this adoption actually takes place, confirmed to us by the Spirit (Rom 8:14–17; Gal 4:4–7). We “become children of God” (John 1:12), and to be called “children of God” is possible only by the “love of the Father” (1 John 3:1). Having been separated from unbelievers and darkness, “the Lord Almighty” claims, “I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me” (2 Cor 6:18; cf. 6:14–18). When we first believe, we are “newborn infants” who “long for the spiritual milk” (1 Pet 2:2) and should eventually mature into those who eat “solid food” and have the ability to teach others (Heb 5:11–14).
The Greater Son Among God’s Children
The Father declared of Christ Jesus, “This is my beloved Son” (Matt 3:17), and we are “his offspring” as well (Isa 53:10). Along with the Father, Christ is “the builder of a house” (Heb 3:3; cf. 3:4), His church (Matt 16:18), and “Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope” (Heb 3:6). Christ is also the elder Brother to all believers, so to speak, prominent as “the firstborn among many brothers” (Rom 8:29) who is “not ashamed to call them brothers” (Heb 2:11).
The Household and Its Code of Conduct
As children, we are “members of the household of God” (Eph 2:19) who “ought to behave in the household of God” as He prescribes (1 Tim 3:15). We are to “do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal 6:10). We are to “be imitators of God, as beloved children” (Eph 5:1). Relationships in our biological family guide us for how to interact with other members of the family of God: “Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity” (1 Tim 5:1–2).
The Inheritance to Us as Heirs
Each believer is “a son” and thus “an heir through God” (Gal 4:7) of “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1 Pet 1:4). We are “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him” (Rom 8:17).
Marilyn B. Knight, 90, of Rockford passed away Friday, January 12, 2018. Born October 16, 1927, in Chadwick, IL; daughter of Walter and Florence (Kehl) Bailey. United in marriage to Eugene F. Knight on October 26, 1946, in Rockford, IL. Together they shared 67 years of marriage until his passing on March 20, 2015. Member of First Baptist Church where she taught Sunday School for many years.
Survived by her children, Patricia Colantonio, Kay (Robert) Lehman, and John Knight; 5 grandchildren; 7 great-grandchildren; sister, Darlin (Roger) Arendsee. Predeceased by her parents, husband, Eugene; son, William Knight.
Funeral service at 11 a.m. Saturday, January 20th, at First Baptist Church, 5304 Charles Street, Rockford. Pastor David Huffstutler officiating. Visitation from 9:30 a.m. until time of service. Burial in Sunset Memorial Gardens.
Galatians 4:6 states, “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’”
The verb krazō (“to cry out”) is used 55 times in 54 verses in the NT, often in a literal fashion. For example, Peter cried out for Christ to save him from sinking in the water (Matt 14:30), people cried out when possessed by demons (Mark 5:5; 9:26), and people cried out for the death of Christ (Mark 15:13). Having some literal examples in hand, we feel this verb’s intensity when it is used of the Spirit’s action inside of someone’s heart. The Spirit cries out, “Abba! Father!” What is going on here? Are we supposed to somehow literally hear these words within our hearts to know that we are the sons of God?
What Paul is describing is a figurative crying out—it is not something audible. And yet, it takes place, and we know God is our Father because of this cry.
If God has truly saved us, and if we are truly His children, the Spirit does a work within us whereby we are confirmed that we are God’s children. This work is described here as the Spirit’s crying out within us that God is our Abba and Father. Abba was a term not usually used of God and stressed the intimate relationship of child and father. Father emphasizes this relationship as well. While the Spirit may not audibly make this cry within us, we know when this cry takes place because we ourselves are the ones saying that God is our Father, all at the Spirit’s prompting. In a parallel passage, Paul says that “you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Rom 8:15 ESV). This process is described in this way: “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom 8:16 ESV).
Comparing Scripture to Scripture with these two passages, we could say that one of the ways whereby we know that we are the children of God is this—God has placed the Spirit in us to bear witness to our spirits in such a way that moves us to cry with certainty to God that He is our Father.
To put it more simply, Galatians 4:6 provides us with part of the answer to the question, How can you know you are a Christian? Well, to be a Christian is to be a son of God, and we know we are the sons of God when the Spirit who lives within us prompts us to call upon God as our Father.
The women will be starting a new Bible study on the Sermon on the Mount. The study will begin on Sunday, February 11, 2018 at 6:00 PM. Please join us as we dig deeper into God's Word together.
From “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,” the first two verses of the third stanza read as follows:
Hail, the heav'nborn Prince of Peace! Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings, Ris'n with healing in His wings.
“The heav’nborn Prince of Peace” is obviously the Messiah (see Isaiah 9:6), but our understanding of the rest of these verses is not so immediate. Malachi 4:2 states, “But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings” (ESV). How is it that Christ is Malachi’s “Sun of Righteousness” who is “Ris’n with healing in His wings”?
Roughly 400 years before Christ, Malachi called Israel to faithfulness in light of her sins after returning to her land from exile. Malachi 3:13–4:3 gives an instance of these sins, recording Israel’s “hard words” against God claiming service to Him was profitless because the arrogant and evildoers lived in prosperity (Malachi 3:13–15). God responded that the unrighteous would indeed be judged and that the righteous would be protected (Malachi 3:16–4:3). The righteous would also experience the blessings of global righteousness and healing (Malachi 4:2).
Scripture often uses light as a metaphor for righteousness, and a king’s rule could shine righteousness over his land. As David once said, “When one rules justly over men, ruling in the fear of God, he dawns on them like the morning light, like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning” (2 Samuel 23:3–4). Likewise, Isaiah prophesied of the Messiah’s rule, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone” (Isaiah 9:2; cf. 9:6–7). The fullest light of Christ’s rule comes at the end of the ages. John saw of the New Jerusalem that “the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Revelation 21:23; cf. 22:5).
Malachi then pictures the sun’s rays as wings taking healing to all. Wherever this sun shines righteousness, it also gives healing through its rays. David once spoke of the sun’s dawning rays as the “wings of the morning” that reach to “the uttermost parts of the sea” (Ps 139:9). Wherever God’s righteous rule would be, so also would be His healing. The suffering of the Great Physician on the cross conquers not only sin but also its effects (Isaiah 53:4; cf. 35:5–6).
While Malachi did not speak directly of the Messiah as the sun with healing in His wings, this righteousness and healing do not come apart from Him. As He will one day be the Lamp of the New Jerusalem, we can gladly permit the hymnist the poetic license to call Christ the Sun of Righteousness whose rising day brings Healing as far as His rays will fly.
The Greek term paidagōs, from which we get our English pedagogue, has an array of translations and suggested translations: guardian, tutor, schoolmaster, disciplinarian, child-conductor, child-attendant, baby-sitter, custodian, and others. Sometimes it is translated as a verb, such as “put in charge.”
What makes this word interesting to translate is that it does not have an English equivalent. It refers to someone who was usually a servant who was given the charge of overseeing a child to school and back until the child was of age to assume his responsibilities without supervision. This oversight could extend to discipline when the child disobeyed and to education by reviewing the child’s lessons.
This term is also a metaphor for the Mosaic Law, which shapes how we perceive a large portion of Scripture, and it is difficult to discern is just what point or points of similarity Paul intended between a paidagōs and the Law by using this metaphor.
“Context is king,” as one my professors used to say, and that maxim may be the key to determining the meaning of paidagōs in this passage. So, in context, Paul has already been describing the Mosaic Law along the lines of its negative functions. It cannot justify (Gal 2:16), it curses those who do not obey it perfectly (Gal 3:10), and it gives no eternal inheritance to its adherents (Gal 3:18). If the law leaves its adherents in such shambles, the natural question is, “Why then the law?” (Gal 3:19). Paul vaguely answers his question with the brief phrase “because of transgressions” (Gal 3:19; or, “for the sake of transgressions”), and his vagueness has led to a number of suggestions as to this phrase’s meaning. We at least know that the phrase uses the term “transgressions,” and a transgression is a specific kind of sin in which the sinner knowingly violates the Law.
Moving further along in the context, Paul relates the Law to sin by referring to the Law as “Scripture” which has “imprisoned everything under sin” (Gal 3:22). For all that we could include in “everything,” we can at least include ourselves as sinners, and we see that we, too, are imprisoned by the Law in Paul’s statement, “we were held under custody by the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed” (Gal 3:23). If the Law was added for the sake of defining sin and showing sinners how they transgress the commands of God, and if man is incapable of perfectly obeying the law, then the Law imprisons and holds us in custody by promising life but never giving it because we can never live up to its demands. In this way, we see righteousness is only by faith.
Insomuch as the Law was meant to teach these very truths, the Law corresponds to the teaching function of a paidagōs. And, because the Law was meant to last until Christ, its temporality corresponds to a paidagōs as well. If the penalty of the Law is in view (i.e., imprisonment, custody), then maybe there is a notion of severity that could correspond to a paidagōs as well.
In Galatians 3:16, Paul identifies Christ as the offspring who received the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant as Christ. Did Abraham also think that Christ was the recipient of the promise that worldwide blessing would come to all through Him?
Perhaps the best way to understand the promise to this offspring is to understand offspring in a generic sense and yet realize that it also referred to one specific male offspring who would see the promise realized in full. This understanding seems to be how Abraham and others would have understood it then, which explains why Paul would have identified the offspring as Christ as well.
The recipient of Abraham’s promise was his offspring, which could refer to anyone who was his offspring. Whether Isaac, Jacob, or Israel as a nation, they, too, received the promises first given to Abraham. And, the blessing to the nations through them would have come by these nations blessing them and having faith in the promise themselves (Gen 12:3). The Offspring who received the promise to Abraham and brings blessing to the nations in full is obviously Christ because of what He did on the cross. By blessing Him, so to speak, through believing in Him, anyone among the nations of the earth may find himself blessed in that he is declared righteous before God through his faith.
The term offspring in two other instances is used similarly. First, Gen 3:15 promised that the seed of the woman would strive with but eventually crush the serpent. While it was singularly “he” who would crush the serpent’s head (obviously Christ), we find later that Satan’s crushing also involves the feet of believers as well (Rom 16:20). The struggle between Christ and Satan is shown through the plural offspring of each throughout the ages, as seen as early as the struggle between Abel and Cain in Gen 4 (cf. 1 John 3:9–10, 12). So, while Christ is the singular Offspring who crushes Satan in the end, so also all the offspring of the woman who are in Him will enjoy victory over Satan as well. Offspring can refer to both Christ and many offspring.
Second, 2 Sam 7:12–13 promised to David that his offspring would have his kingdom established and that the throne would be established forever. While some of David’s offspring were kings who saw their thrones established in part, the greatest Offspring of David is obviously Christ who will come again and rule forever. Again, offspring here refers ultimately to Christ while previously referring to other offspring before Him.
Added to all of the above is the fact that we have seen at least three stands of promises to offspring that all find their greatest fulfillment in Christ. The original readers of the OT would easily have understood the offspring from one promise to the other to find partial fulfillment in their day, knowing that one day the promise’s greatest fulfillment would be in the greater Offspring to come.
Join us for a new study centered around the question, "Why the Bible?" The study will begin on Sunday, November 26 during the adult Christian Life Hour (11 AM). John Ihne will be leading the class.
A Help to the Message: The Role of the Law in Leading to Life (2:19–20)
Before we throw out the law altogether when it comes to justification, we must remember that the law is not useless. After all, is it good when used in a lawful way (cf. 1 Tim 1:8–11). When someone attempts to live according to the law, his sin will show him time and again that he cannot live according to its demands and must suffer its penalty of death. Coming to this realization is actually one of the good purposes of the law. It shows one just how much he cannot attain his own righteousness by keeping the law because he can never perfectly keep it (cf. Gal 3:19–25). In this way he dies to the law, through the law, and is led to live to God in another way (Gal 2:19). Or, as Paul put it, “For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God” (Gal 2:19). That other way is justification by faith in Jesus Christ.
Remember that Christ lived out the law perfectly under the era of the law. And remember that He died the lawbreaker’s penalty of death without ever having broken the law. And remember that faith unites us to Christ. So, when we believe, we are united to Christ in His death, and thus we can say with Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ” (Gal 2:20). And it is who we were under sin as exacerbated by the law that died with Him at the cross.
Moreover, our union with Him is to be united to Him in life, so much so that we could even say again with Paul, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20). Even now, while in our physical bodies, we can have be justified by faith in Jesus Christ: “the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God” (Gal 2:20).
And for those who have faith, we are compelled to love the Savior all the more because it is He “who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20).
The Hope of the Message: Righteousness through the Death of Christ (2:21)
Having said the above, we can claim that is actually us who do not deny God’s grace in salvation because we are not seeking God’s declaration of righteousness by living according to the law (cf. Gal 5:4). Were we to try such a thing, we would effectively dismiss the purpose of the death of Christ—to sinlessly die the sinner’s death so that all might live through Him (2:21). As Paul stated, “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose” (Gal 2:21).
Pastor regularly writes articles for our Sunday bulletin. See his bio on our staff page.