Posted by: Veroni Kruger | November 16, 2021

Is the Bible the Word of God?

Because of God’s otherness and his uniqueness, it is impossible to comprehensively represent his attributes and deeds in human language. On the other hand, language and the ability to use language is a distinguishing characteristic of man, one of the characteristics that are most closely related to the ability to think. The ability to think, in turn, is probably one of the most important aspects in which we have been created “in the image of God.” It follows that it is possible to describe in human language anything that has to do with God, as closely as we can come to understanding it. What must always be borne in mind, is that we are trying to approach that which is not definable and impossible to be circumscribed, through means that are definable and circumscribed. 

The Word of God is what God says. “Says” in the sense of expressing what is in the mind of God. This may be referring to speaking as communication, such as when the book of Hebrews says that God spoke in many ways, and ultimately also through his Son. John even calls the Son the Word of God. This means that God spoke through Christ. 

It also means “says” as when God brought creation into being. God created the universe by his Word, that is, by speaking. His speaking in this case was simultaneously also an act, by which creation came into being. 

It is impossible to record what God has said and is still saying in the same manner that one can record other sounds. It is inconceivable that even the most powerful recording equipment in the world would be able to record God speaking. This is the reason why God “recorded” his speaking through other means. 

One of the consequences of the image of God in humans, and the resultant similarities between God and human beings, is the ability of humans to be receptors of what God speaks. By means of the communication that takes place between the Spirit of God and the spirit of man, it is possible for people to “hear” God when He “speaks”. Different people receive what God is saying in different ways, according to their own dispositions. E.g. the person whose mode of expression is mostly verbal, will generally “receive” what God is saying as words or sentences, even single phrases. People whose mode of expression tends to be more visual, e.g. artists, may “hear” God through visual patterns, such as visions, etc. 

Word of God is part of the revelation of God. It is described as such to distinguish it from other modes of revelation by God that do not include the act of speaking. Psalm 19 begins by describing the revelation of God through nature, progressing to the revelation of God that takes place through the spoken word. 

The Bible is often called the Word of God, because it contains the revelation of God, written down in the form of language. Nevertheless, the Bible cannot really be considered to be the Word of God, because the Word of God is everything that God has ever said, and the Bible cannot contain that. John himself says of Jesus that all the books in the world could not contain everything that Jesus did and said in the short period of the three years He spent on the earth. How much more impossible would it be to capture everything God has ever said in one book. 

The process by which the Bible came to us, also makes it impossible to equate it with the Word of God as He has spoken it. People wrote down what is contained in the Bible, and this implies of necessity that there will be “errors” in the Bible. The process of transmission contributes further to its not being as pure as when God himself speaks. (Note that this does not in any way question the belief in the inerrancy of the Bible.) 

The Bible contains matters pertaining to the Word of God as God said it. It also contains the description of the reaction of humans to what God said; God’s dealings with people; and how people handled circumstances of life according to what God said, or not according to what He said. The Word of God in the Bible is particularly in the foreground in the description of the earthly life and ministry of Jesus. However, apart from the Word of God, the Bible also contains historic facts. This begins with the Biblical account of creation and the early history of mankind (to the extent that it is relevant to the message the Bible actually wants to convey). It covers the history of the people of Israel, both as God’s people and as an ordinary political and national entity. The history of the nations surrounding Israel is touched upon, and the history of the early church receives a lot of attention. The theologizing in the letters of the apostles is to a large extent an effort on their part to systematize and put in perspective aspects of what they perceive God to have said.

What then, is the relationship between the Word of God and the Bible? The Bible contains those parts of the Word of God that God knows are necessary for human beings to live in this world, and to prepare for eternity. Someone said “Jesus comes to me out of the pages of the Bible.” We get to know Jesus – as the perfect revelation of the Word of God in earthly terms – in the Bible

God has never stopped speaking. He still speaks to people today from the Bible. That is what people experience when they say that a portion of Scripture suddenly “came alive” for them. The Bible also plays a role in the contemporary speaking of God, in that it prepares one to hear from God. By hearing about Him through the Bible, one learns the truth that he speaks, and that He still wants to speak. One also learns something of the mind of God, so that one is prepared to “hear” when He speaks to you. Because the Bible contains such a vast part of the revelation of God, it also serves as objective norm, enabling one to evaluate what one believes one has heard from God. This enables one to determine whether God could really have said what you believe you have heard Him say.

Posted by: Veroni Kruger | October 14, 2021

God’s People According to Peter

1 Peter 2.9, 10

You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

A.        Are you one of God’s people?

John 1.12:

Jesus came to his own nation, but they did not accept Him. But to all who believed and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God.      

John calls out joyfully John 1.13:

They are reborn!  This is not a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan.  This rebirth comes from God (NLT)

Becoming part of God’s people was, and still is, only possible by being born again.

1 Peter 1.23: You have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring Word of God.

When you accept the Word of God about Jesus, the Word becomes like seed in your heart, and by the Holy Spirit, God creates a new person in you.

That is a dramatic event.  Peter says of it we have been called out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2.9)

B.        Some thoughts about God’s people     

1.        Peter is writing to people who know all about suffering.

1 Peter 1.1 identifies them as strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bythinia that is, throughout the known world at the time.  The people of the so-called Diaspora.

Persecuted by their own people, the Jews, as well as gentiles; driven out of Rome.  Some of their group were even killed, martyred for their faith in Jesus.

2.        Becoming part of God’s people was/is not cheap

2.1      The whole Godhead, the Trinity Father, Son and Holy Spirit is involved.

1 Peter 1.2 says people of God are 

Chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood.   

2.2      1 Peter 1.19 says we have been  …redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

We are a holy people, because we belong to God, who bought us with the blood of Jesus.   Jesus paid the price for us to be forgiven,  and to be be put in the right relationship with God.     

3.        God’s people are his place of residence in this world.

1 Peter 2.5:

You are being built into a house of God

Paul explains it as follows:

Colossians 1.27:

The secret of the Gospel is that Christ lives in you, and this is your assurance that you will share in his glory.

Each one of us is a place of residence for God, and together we form the corporate Body of Christ. 

4.        We are a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2.9)

In the Old Testament people could not approach God directly, only through priests who were privileged to have access to God.

Now we have direct access to God.

As priests in God’s Kingdom we are also called and able to minister to others who do not know Him yet.

5.        The purpose of God with his people is that they may proclaim Him to others.  

1 Peter 2.9:

… that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

“Declare” is not only what preachers and evangelists do.

Psalm 19.1:  The heavens declare the glory of God.

Philippians 2.15, 16:

If we hold tightly to the word of life, then, among a warped and crooked generation, we will shine like stars in the sky. 

C.        We are a strange people indeed.

1 Peter 2.11:

aliens and strangers in the world.

David Bosch describes the ambivalence of the church in striking terms. 

“The church has, since her birth, been a peculiarly ambivalent body. She is in but not of the world. She always moves ‘between salvation history and history’. She is a sociological entity like any other human organisation and as such susceptible to all human frailties; at the same time she is an eschatological entity and as such the incorruptible Body of Christ. Seen through the eyes of the world she is usually under suspicion, disreputable and shabby; in the light of eternity she is a mystery. The resurrected Christ breathed his Spirit into a very earthy and common group of people. Thus the church became an inseparable union of the divine and the mundane. Sometimes one aspect is more in evidence, sometimes the other. We can be utterly disgusted at times with the earthiness of the church; at other times we are enraptured by the awareness of the divine dimension in the church. Usually, however, it is the ambivalence that strikes us: the church as a community of people – good people, weak people, hesitant people, courageous people – on their way through the world, dust-stained but somehow strangely illuminated by a radiancy from elsewhere” (Bosch, 1980, 93). 

Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, not on our own good or bad qualities, or skills.  He is the author and finisher of our faith, that is the One on whom our faith depends from start to finish.  (Hebrews 12.2)

Posted by: Veroni Kruger | September 1, 2021

For Such A Time As This

The book of Esther describes the difficult circumstances Queen Esther found herself in.  It demanded a dramatic decision on her part.  Her uncle Mordechai encouraged her with a rhetorical question:  

And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4.14

What Mordechai is actually saying is that Esther’s position is not by chance.  She is where God wants her to be at the specific time.

You and I are not where we are by coincidence.  God wants us in the place where we are and at the present time.

God has plans for:
*          Individuals

Psalm 139.16

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

*          Nations

Acts 17.26

From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.

What should we do?

Cling to the faith.

Hebrews 10.38  “But my righteous one will live by faith.”

We are strange people, who live with view to a future you can only expect by faith, who obey a God you can only know by faith.  Yet that is our strongest weapon, to live by faith.

Paul says “we live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5.7)  That is why we are able to live by the paradoxical comparisons in 2 Corinthians 4.7-10:

7 “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 4.8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 4.9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 4.10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”  

We are called on to persevere.

Hebrews 10.36  “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”

By God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, we can press forward regardless of what circumstances may bring.

We have the assurance that our perseverance will bring rewards: “Therefore, …stand firm.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians  15.58).

Rather than focusing on our difficulties, let us look at some positive consequences of difficult circumstances

We have the opportunity to appraise relationships. 

With ourselves – forced lack of social contact and activities give us the opportunity to look at ourselves again.

With God – come to know Him as the ever-present One at all times, good and bad.      

With other people – when we cannot hide behind being busy or out-and-about.

We also have the opportunity to reappraise the concept of “church.”  We realize that “church” is not the building in which we gather, but is in the people.

The outcome of Esther’s radical commitment was the salvation of the Jewish people and the destruction of their enemies.

We know already what the ultimate outcome for us is going to be: recognition that Jesus is Lord, and that God is over all.

Wise words from one of my daughters (Veronique):  Don’t worry about us, Pappie, we have the anointing for our time.  The same is true for everyone of us: You and I have the anointing for such a time as this.     

Posted by: Veroni Kruger | July 20, 2021

How Shall I Pray?

We are experiencing times of uncertainty and for some, anxiety.  Repeatedly we are called to pray.  Pray for South Africa, pray for the world, pray…   As we pray for many things and people around us, I believe God wants us to do some serious introspection.  

When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He gave them a model prayer which would be good for us to look at.  The prayer is found in Matthew 6.9-13 and Luke 11.2-4.  

The prayer can be divided into three sections.  It is significant that only one of these three is devoted to asking for our needs:  For daily provision, forgiveness for our sins, protection in temptation.  The other two are devoted to focusing on God.  In the first one:  Our Father, that He should be honoured, his kingdom come and that his will be done.  In the third section:  Glorifying God as the one to whom the kingdom, and the power and the glory belong.

The prayer establishes our recognition of God for who He really is.  Correctly interpreted it also speaks to us about our own relationship to God, and how we live our lives. 

Addressing God as our “our Father” recognizes our belonging to Him as his children.  It also recognizes that he is not only our Father, but the Father of all mankind, even of those with whom we find it difficult to associate, or may even be violently opposed to.  “Who is in heaven” highlights the fact that He is far above us in every way.  Yet we know that He is also on the earth, and in fact, lives in each one of us. 

As pious as the opening three petitions may sound, they should inspire us to self-examination:  Before I can in all honesty pray for God to be honoured, I should make sure that I honour Him.  There is something hypocritical in praying that God’s kingdom should come before I make sure I crown Him as king of my life, living under his control.  It’s no good praying that his will be done in the world without submitting myself to his will.  

We find great comfort in confessing the attributes of God expressed in the last section of the prayer.  Yet, once again, we are compelled to examine ourselves.

“For yours is the kingdom” – You are the King – May your kingdom come  – firstly in my own life, then in the people and circumstances about whom/which I am praying.

“Your is the power” – You are Almighty – may your will be done – firstly in my own life, then in the people and circumstances about whom/which I am praying.

“To you belongs all glory” – You are everything implied under “May your holy name be honoured – I honour you for who you really are, not for what you do for me, or what I expect you to do for me.    

Rather than demanding that God should change everything around us, let us ask Him to change us before anything else, and let us become agents of change emanating from our own lives to everyone around us.  Let us be willing agents of change.

Posted by: Veroni Kruger | June 23, 2021

Nothing Endures Except Change

The title of today’s blog post is a quote from Heraclitus (540-480BC).

I my previous blog post I wrote that sanctification is a process that begins when we are born again and continues until we die or Christ returns.  Today I want us to look at the three changes in the life of a Christian.

Being born again is a lifechanging event, literally.  It is so invasive that there are psychologists that declare that a change like we believe happens when we are born again, is impossible.  However, Scripture refers to this lifechanging event in no uncertain terms:  God promises “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you.  I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36.26).  Paul declares “…anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5.17, NLT)

These Scriptures certainly speak of a radical change in a person’s make-up. 

Being born again is the introduction to the second change in the life of a believer.  The process of sanctification whereby we are transformed to become more like Christ is not as immediate as regeneration, but even more lifechanging.  Paul speaks of coming to faith in the Lord as having a veil removed.  He continues:  “So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.”  (2 Corinthians 3.18 NLT)

This process is possible when we cooperate with the Holy Spirit to bring about the changes necessary to transform us into the image of Christ.  As we recognize the glory of the Lord, and seek to reflect it, the Holy Spirit goes about effecting the changes.  Recognizing God’s glory comes about through reflection on his Word and spending time with Him in prayer.  That is, prayer as meditating on the Word, and seeking to find the will of God rather than trying to persuade Him to do as we wish He would.

The third and final change in the life of the believer is as dramatic as the first two, but will take place in a moment.  

Paul writes:  “… We will all be transformed.  It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed.”  (1 Corinthians 15.51, 52 NLT)

John writes about the same event:  Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but He has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like Him, for we will see Him as he really is.” (1 John 3.2)

John adds advice that seems to be absolutely logical:  “And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.”  (1 John 3.3). This refers to our role in sanctification:  Doing our best to live the kind of life that Jesus would live through us.

Paul gives us benchmarks by which we can measure our own transformation:  “…the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”  (Galatians 5.22-23) 

Posted by: Veroni Kruger | June 9, 2021

The Normal Christian Life

Now that we have gone through the exciting times of Easter and Pentecost, we are “back to normal,” whatever that means.  “Normal” in the life of God’s people is sanctification.  Sanctification is not being perfect.  Rather, it is a process that begins at regeneration and continues till the end of our lives or the Second Coming of Christ, whichever comes first.     

Without mentioning the word sanctification, Jesus pinpoints the source where sanctification happens:  the heart.

“A healthy tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a poor tree bear good fruit.  Every tree is known by the fruit it bears; you do not pick figs from thorn bushes or gather grapes from bramble bushes.  A good person brings good out of the treasure of good things in his heart; a bad person brings bad out of his treasure of bad things. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

(Luke 6.43-45)

The semantic focus in the use of terms for “the heart” in the Bible is clearly the deeper and more intimate feelings and emotions.  It is the causative source of a person’s psychological life, out of which everything we do is determined.  The heart is the center of a person’s intellectual and emotional make-up.

It is the fountain of everything in our behavior

That is why the great commandment is to “love the Lord your God with your whole heart.” (Matthew 22:37)

To live a sanctified life, we need a transformation of the heart.

Some problems we may encounter along the way:

Jeremiah says “The heart is deceitful above all things, and beyond cure.  Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17.9).

We often find it hard to truly know our own heart. 

The heart is the receptacle of all disappointments, disillusionments, discouragements, and hurts of all our years – they say we never really forget anything!

We often get so caught up in things of our past that we don’t focus on what needs to change now. 

We go wrong when we think we have to be like someone else.  Actually God wants you to be yourself but dedicated to Him.

Submission to God does not mean we become mere shadows of ourselves – it means we dedicate all our uniqueness to Him.

THE GOOD NEWS:  GOD CAN CHANGE THE HEART

He sees our inner person. 

“I am he who searches people’s feelings and desires” (Revelation 2:23).

He shows us where we should change

By his Word

Hebrews 4.12 “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” 

By his Spirit

 John 16.13 – He will “guide us into all truth”, also about ourselves.

Through circumstances

One translation of the events surrounding King Hezekiah says God allowed him to be tested, so that Hezekiah would know everything that was in his heart.

God can also change our heart.

Ezekiel 36.26 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” 

2 Corinthians 3.18  “We … are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory….”

GOD WANTS YOU TO HAVE A CHANGE OF HEART – DO YOU?

Romans 8.29 “God …. predestined (us) to be conformed to the likeness of his Son” – that means to be like Jesus.  And when He appears, He will instantly change us to be like Him! (1 John 3.2)

Posted by: Veroni Kruger | May 19, 2021

What is the evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit?

The internal work of the Holy Spirit is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer.  Whereas in the Old Testament persons received a special anointing for a specific task, in the New Testament the Holy Spirit is the permanent indwelling presence of God Himself.  This is the result of receiving the Holy Spirit – see John 20.22 and my previous blog.

There is also an external aspect of the work of the Holy Spirit.  After the event described in John 20, Jesus commanded the disciples to “stay in Jerusalem until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24.49)  This being “clothed with power” was fulfilled in the dramatic events on Pentecost and subsequently. 

Acts 2.1-4

“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.  Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

Further in Acts the inner work of the Holy Spirit was complemented by visible manifestations. 

This is what Paul was referring to in Ephesians 5.18:

BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT

What then is the evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit?

The accounts of events in the book of Acts describe the following visible manifestations of being Spirit-filled.  The believers became powerful witnesses of Jesus Christ.  There were dramatic signs such as the phenomenon of tongues on Pentecost and other signs e.g. healings etc.  

But what was the evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit in people’s lives?  AND what will the evidence be in our lives?

1.         Motivation for the work of witnessing to Jesus

Acts 1.8 is fulfilled

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Acts 1.8 is a promise, not a command.  Therefore even under persecution Acts 8.4 “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.”

2.         Boldness

Think of Peter in Acts 2, 4.29, 31.  The Jewish council were surprised.  “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4.13)

3.         Gifts of the Holy Spirit

All the gifts 1 Corinthians speaks of:  word of wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, wonders, prophecy, discernment of spirits, tongues, interpretation of tongues… 

4.         Fruit

1 Corinthians 13, Galatians 5.22:  Love, peace, joy, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness and self-control. 

Being filled with the spirit is as comprehensive a revelation of God’s power as is possible for a human being to experience

Are you filled with the Holy Spirit?

This is not an unreasonable question, because the solution is clear:

John 7.37, 38
“On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’ ”

Jesus, whom you know, is ready to fill you with the Spirit who already dwells in you as a believer. 

Posted by: Veroni Kruger | May 12, 2021

Did You Receive the Holy Spirit?

That was the question Paul asked the believers in Ephesus (Acts 19.2).  As we approach the day of the year when we celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, it is a question we should contemplate anew.

Most people associate receiving the Holy Spirit with the dramatic events that occurred on the Day of Pentecost.  However, according to the Biblical account, there was another event before that day when Jesus invited the apostles to receive the Holy Spirit.  John describes how that happened in John 20.19-22.

Jesus’ first appearance to the disciples after his crucifixion took place on the evening of the day He rose from the dead.  The disciples had lived with Jesus for three years in the period before He completed the work of salvation for humankind by his death and resurrection.  Now they were about to witness the appearance of the resurrected Jesus.  They had believed in Him before (not always, and not always with equal conviction).  Now they were about to be given the first opportunity to put their trust in Him in the manner that many people would do afterwards, that is, as their saviour.  They did not know it yet, but this would mark their transition from being mere followers of Jesus to being born again. This would transform them into children of God according to the New Covenant.

Before the death and resurrection of Jesus, regeneration was impossible. The death of Jesus was redemptive in that it satisfied the requirements for eradicating the condemnation of sin from people’s lives. The resurrection of Jesus was the means whereby the new life could be received. This new life is what enables us to be born again. The disciples were the first to experience this, and that is why their experience on this night of wonders is typical of all who come to believe in Jesus.

After the usual Hebrew greeting (“Shalom!”, or “Peace be unto you!”) the Lord proves to them that it is really Him, by showing his wounds.  

The disciples recognise Jesus, and this leads to the second pronouncement of peace.  Two things are important here.

The recognition of Jesus by the disciples constituted their acceptance that He was, indeed, the One whom they knew, who had died and risen again. This is what every would-be believer is confronted with.  Who is Jesus?  This is the crucial question in the Christian faith and therefore also the crucial question that every person must answer.  The disciples’ reaction of being “overjoyed” indicates their acceptance of Him as the Christ.

The immediate effect of their acceptance of Him is the peace that Jesus gives. The second pronouncement of peace cannot be taken to be a repetition of the usual Hebrew greeting.  Rather, it is the first time that the peace of God which is the result of being reconciled with God through Jesus Christ, was given and received. All believers through the ages still experience that.

The pronouncement of peace is followed by a commission (“As the Father has sent me, I am sending you”). After this, Jesus breathed on them and said “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

This was the first occurrence of the Holy Spirit being given to believers. Before, He had come upon persons when they needed some special anointing with power for a specific task. That was the only manner in which He could operate in the Old Covenant. Now, with the disciples having been born again, it was possible for the first time for the Holy Spirit not only to empower people but to become an indwelling presence in their being.  

Some have said that this pronouncement of Jesus was merely prophetic and that it pointed to the event that would take place on the Day of Pentecost. There is, however, no linguistic evidence for such an interpretation. Nor is there any need to interpret the event as anything but a simple speech act on the part of Jesus. In saying it, He did it! In that moment, the disciples received the Holy Spirit.

It was the fulfilment of the prophecies regarding the change in the ministry of the Holy Spirit.  From coming upon people periodically, He was now going to live in them.  Ezekiel 36.27 states it as a promise:  “I will put my Spirit in you.”  This is the privilege of everyone who comes to faith in Jesus Christ, and is born again.  So characteristic is it, that Paul later states the converse:  “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ” (Romans 8.9).

This does not detract in any way from the event on the Day of Pentecost.

The question “Did you receive the Holy Spirit?” is answered by the answer to another question:  “Have you accepted the Lord Jesus as your Lord and Saviour?”  If the answer is “Yes”, you may rejoice in the truth that God now lives in you by his Spirit.

Happy preparation for Pentecost!      

Posted by: Veroni Kruger | April 21, 2021

God’s Resurrection Power in Us

I promised in my previous blog that I would write on the practicalities of ensuring that the resurrection power of God works in me as a born again believer.  As with so many aspects of our lives as Christians, the truth about this is so simple that many find it impossible to accept.

It all starts of course with accepting the Lord Jesus Christ.  “Accept” here means accepting Him for everything He really is;  Saviour, but also Lord of lords and King of kings.  Implicit in this acceptance is the acknowledgement of our own hopelessness without Him, and our inability to save ourselves.  It includes confessing our greatest sin, that of believing we belong to ourselves, and therefore have the right to decide the course of our own lives.     This is what Paul refers to as “being crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2.19 and 20). 

It implies submitting fully to the Lordship of Christ, to be committed to praying in sincerity “Let your Kingdom come, let your will be done.”   

As I said before, we need to seek the Lord with all our hearts.  Jesus refers to this as “being thirsty”.   Matthew 5.6 in the Good News Bible correctly describes those who are thirsty as “those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires.”  Jesus continues to say:  “God will satisfy them fully.”

So where will the power be coming from?  I recall singing with great gusto as a young boy “Let the fire fall just now, Father hear us call, let the fire fall just now.”  As we sang, I expected the power to fall from the sky.  But in my experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit, I felt a surge of power coming from within myself.  It was literally the experience Jesus was talking about when He said to those who were thirsty:  “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7.38)

The Holy Spirit is the power of God.  He dwells in the believer.  So it is only logical that the power of God will spring forth from within the believer.

At this point you may ask “But why do I not always experience the fulness of his Power?”  An illustration my father frequently used to explain this may be helpful.

Whether a glass is full of water, or half full, if one would ask “What is in the glass?” the answer would be “water.”

God’s Spirit lives in you, whether you continuously experience the fulness of Him or not. 

There are some practical things we can do to ensure the fulness of God’s work in us.   It is a bit like a garden hose.  There may be an ample supply of water in the faucet.  The hose itself may be in good condition and securely connected to the faucet.  But one little kink in the hose may be obstructing the flow of water.

“Kinks” in our connection to the source of God’s power may be things like unforgiveness, materialism, selfishness, lovelessness, unconfessed temper, lack of self-control…

The more we can get rid of any obstruction in our “hose”, the more freely the power of God will flow through us.

The good news is that the Holy Spirit Himself has one overriding purpose, and that is to make us more like Jesus.  So as we continue to sincerely seek the Lord, He will be working in us, with us,  to ensure all blockages are cleared.                            

Posted by: Veroni Kruger | April 7, 2021

Jesus Christ has risen indeed! So what?

Before I address the above question I want to state categorically that I truly believe what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15.3 and 4:

… that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve.After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.”

Apart from the witness of the Bible as well as other documents, I believe the following facts confirm the truth that He rose from the dead.

1.         The Church that came into existence as a result of his resurrection continues to grow after two thousand years, in spite of tremendous and sometimes even violent resistance.  In fact, the more hostile the environment, the more vigorously it grows.

2.         The Book that was written about Him, is still a bestseller, in spite of countless attempts to destroy it.  The Bible has been translated into more languages than any other book and is bought by more people than any other book. 

3.         Millions of people all over the world declare that He is alive.  They do not base this on “evidence” that can be questioned or challenged, but on personal experience of his life in them.  “I know He is alive, because I spoke to Him this morning”, is what many people say.

4.         Even those who reject Him cannot forget Him.  Every time they use his name in profanity, they are confessing that he is a reality, albeit one they do not like, or whose existence they try to deny.  Why don’t they say “Barak Obama!”, or “Jacob Zuma!” or “Donald Trump!”?  I think it is because Jesus Christ is the greater reality.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is foundational to the Christian faith.  But what does the 

resurrection mean for you and me?

It is the basis of our own regeneration.

Peter writes:

“3 … In his great mercy (God) has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1.3-5)

Resurrection proved that the power of God can work in the body of a human being to bring

new life.  Paul states with confidence:

“The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.”  (Romans 8:11, NLT)

The Holy Spirit is not just waiting to impart divine life on the day we are resurrected from the dead.  He is living in believers today and is already imparting God’s power to those who accept it. 

What can I do to ensure his power works in me?

Leviticus 9 tells how the people of Israel received a full revelation of God’s glory.

Moses tells the people to follow God’s commands, “so that the glory of the Lord may appear to you.” (Leviticus 9.6)

Sure enough:  When they had done what God commanded, “the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people.” (verse 23).  “And when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy and fell facedown.” (verse 24)

The commands of God in Leviticus 9 were all about the sacrifices God required for the people to experience his glory.  Thank God, Jesus is our perfect sacrifice through whom we have redemption from our sins and the privilege to experience his resurrection power.  The first step is to accept Him as our Lord and Saviour.  

As children of God we should seek the Lord with all our heart.  He will surely reveal Himself to us in this life, and one day in all his glory.

I will write on the practicalities of this in a future blog.  

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Alexander F. Venter

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Martha Elizabeth Kruger

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