Quick Links Quick Links

The Gospel of God — Part 1

by Paul Knecht

            Introduction by John Fulda, who was a lifelong friend of Paul

until Paul’s death in 2012.

In 1954 Paul Stanley Knecht had sat at the feet  of R.H. Boll for 10 years.

This included three church services a week and three lecture sessions per week during the fall and winter. All this in front of one of the most gifted students of and expositors of the Bible in the last century..  Anyone would be filled with the word,but Paul had the intelligence and the ability to assimilate information he received.

A friend challenged him with the statement, “You are not preaching the gospel!”  Paul immediately set to proving him wrong and spent months on the objective.

When he came to a conclusion he was so enthusiastic about it that he decided to present what he had learned to the brotherhood during his time on the program at the  annual fellowship meeting in Louisville, Ky. But there was a problem. When he decided to do this, his time on the program was less than a week away.

He and his wife both had full time jobs.  Well, he started writing and Louise started typing – on the mimeograph film. There was no opportunity to organize or make corrections.

All had to be done with one attempt.   He was like Handel writing the “Hallelujah Chorus” or Mozart writing a symphony, it was already assimilated in his mind.

All he had to do was write, and with her expert ability Louise did the rest. One copy of this presentation has surfaced, but not in good shape.  I have taken to re-write it just like it is.  This copy has not been edited so that the reader can sense the urgency and excitement of the original.

THE GOSPEL OF GOD  PART ONE

Section I:  The Character of God ( Is.46:8-11)

The eight statements made here by Jehovah declare Him to be incapable of error or incompetence – He will do all His pleasure. No force or combination of forces can deter Him from any purpose that he pursues.

Section II:     

His Purpose for man  (Gen 1:26-28) (Ps. 8, I Cor. 15, Heb. 2)

God intended for a created being called man, who was made in God’s own image and but little lower than God to be absolute master of the creation –“to tread down”—to have “in subjection under his feet.” This creation was “paradise” – no carnivores existed. The Tree of Life  and of the knowledge of good and evil were there.  This dominion was to be ruled in such a way that God might be all in all. Not knowing good from evil mankind was directly dependent on God. This purpose must be accomplished or God is defeated.

Section III. The purpose is wrecked  (Genesis 3)

The great temptation was to be as God – knowing good from evil, consequently ABLE TO ACT INDEPENDENTLY OF GOD.  But in grasping for this knowledge, man assumed the responsibility of life.   Adam did not realize his inability to do right.  Besides this –  when Adam obeyed Satan he changed Masters (Romans 6). Thus man and man’s dominion fell into the hands of an enemy of God –Satan. To this hour he is the god of this age –the whole world lieth in the evil one. God’s character is at stake, for his purpose was to give the world to  mankind – Until God finds a man who would not walk independently of god, who wouldn’t be obedient to Satan – He stands in defeat for a purpose he could not fulfill!

Section IV  Who shall annul  it?

The rest of the word of God is devoted to the showing of the ultimate accomplishment of God’s purpose for mankind thru such a man. The promised one had to be mankind:  the first declaration of his coming (Gen 3:15) declares the seed of the woman would deal a death blow to the seed of the serpent – (Anti-Christ whose head is smitten unto death) but in so doing  would suffer himself.  God’s original purpose – the glorious creation ruled by mankind in such a way that God is all in all – His will done on earth as it is in heaven – is marching on to perfect fulfillment.

Section V Men of faith

Mankind was destroyed for not glorifying God as God – not giving thanks – in short for walking independently of God. Noah’s sacrifices brought a promise to all living things – that God would not again destroy all living things as he had done.  This promise being made, even though man is flesh – and God keeps it; (The rainbow, token of this promise is seen at the judgment throne of Revelation. All flesh will not even be destroyed then!) however humanity pursued and is pursuing the same independent course as before.  Having thus promised, God took His own immediate recourse:  GOD GAVE THEM UP.

He turned to one man: Abram. To him he made a great promise – Whether Abram understood it fully or not, this promise is construed by the Holy Spirit to include the world (Ro 4:13), also the city which hath foundation (Heb. 11, Rev 21). Abram believed God.  He fit into God’s program.  He had much to learn.  He was not justified by faith until he believed the promise of God concerning a seed..  Three times death loomed between Abraham and his promises:  (1) the deadness of his own body and Sarah’s womb. A life was needed to inherit Abraham’s PROMISE AS HE WAS ALREADY. “well stricken in years.”  That life could not be wrought in human power.  By faith a life which could inherit the promise was produced by God. Abraham thus learned the essential elements of the New Birth.  (2) the heir to the promise (Isaac) had to be offered for a burnt offering. Abraham was permitted to share the deepest sorrow of God and did so, uncomplainingly. Hence he was called “the Friend of God.” However—the courage to offer Isaac came from the conviction that the  promise of God required Isaac to LIVE.  Abraham believed this promise: hence he was forced to the idea of resurrection (no recorded revelation of resurrection was extant at that time) because he saw it as a necessity to the fulfillment of the promise of God; (Heb.:11:19).  Thus Abraham learned that the heir to the promise must die and be resurrected (3) finally, his own death loomed before him.  He had not received the promises.  He knew that he would.  He confessed himself to be a sojourner and pilgrim in this present age.  He knew the basic truths of messianic faith.

In all of the promises made to Abraham only the humanity of the seed is seen and He is primarily set forth as heir to Abraham’s promise.  God promised that the Christ would come through Abraham (Gal 3:16, 19). Isaac and Jacob were heirs of the same promise.

David

Another man of faith to whom God revealed His plans was David.  A new nation had been created through Isaac – a people for God’s own possession.  God offered David the same offer he made to Abram (essentially), the kingdom of God.  Of the fruit of David’s body God promised to set one on David’s throne in a world ruling kingdom that would last forever.  In this promise the divinity of the seed, (the Christ) is indicated (“I will be his Father and he shall be my son” Heb 1).  His manhood is most obvious: the seed of David.  David believed God and asked Him to confirm this promise forever.

Shortly after, David learned that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.  His sin (which did not cause him to lose faith in the promise) made him cry out for a free undeserved pardon and an imputed righteousness, purified with hyssop, and the creation within him of a new heart.  David learned of the new Birth and possessed the essential elements of Messianic (Christian) faith. This kind of faith can be reckoned for righteousness.  This is “the faith delivered once for all to the saints.”

Section VI The prophets.

The Davidic house crumbled. After civil wars, invasions, etc., the nation of Israel was carried captive never again to be a sovereign nation (until 1946 A.D.). The prophets had been sent with a message containing the following features: (1) Urgent warnings of destruction just ahead of appeals to repentance (2) Prediction of captivity. (3) Ultimate restoration THROUGH ISRAEL’S CHRIST of the nation of Israel to a position of glorious leadership.  These messages included the promise that the curse would be lifted: that death, disease, and sorrow should be abolished –the creation would be restored to is original uncursed glory, that all nations would bow to Israel and her king, This is the Kingdom of GOD.  But the prophets revealed that this King-Messiah MUST die. They further reveal that a new covenant and a new birth would be necessary to effect this glory.  Fourteen times the prophets promised the outpouring of the Holy Spirit –in each case directly connected with the restoration of Israel.

The nature of the Christ is clearly depicted in the prophets.  His Manhood so predominates that one could easily miss from the prophets his true identity.  He is constantly seen in the light of his Davidic relationship – the Servant of Jehovah, the Man whose name is the shoot.  The nature of the promised Christ’s working relationship to his Father is also constantly up held before us.

Deut 18:15-19 a prophet from the midst of thee –of thy brethern—like unto (Moses) – I will put my words in his mouth – he shall speak all that I command him.  Isa. 11 The spirit of Jehovah shall rest upon him…(a son of Jesse—walking by the Spirit of God) his delight shall be in the Fear of Jehovah:  HE SHALL NOT JUDGE AFTER THE SIGHT OF HIS EYES – NEITHER DECIDE AFTER THE HEARING OF HIS EARS BUT WITH RIGHTEOUSNESS SHALL HE JUDGE..ETC.   Isa 42:   My servant whom I uphold, I, Jehovah have called thee in Righteousness – and will hold thy hand and will keep thee,  and give thee for a covenant..etc.

The purpose of God demanded a man to receive the dominion:  all reference to his earthly relationships emphasize the importance of his manhood – to the glory of both God and Christ, and to the everlasting reproach of Satan.

The Anointed – In fact – apart from seeing clearly the manhood of Jesus – one cannot possibly understand the meaning of the term “Christ” – for “Christ” means anointed.  The Christ was to be the man God anointed.  With what was he to be anointed? With the Holy Spirit.  Because man cannot live apart from perfect union with God: nor, handle earth’s dominion apart from God.  God promised the coming of a man who would not try to do so: one who would completely yield to the direction and power of the indwelling Holy spirit of God; one therefore who could be appointed king of earth’s dominion – heir to the world. Peter thus revealed Jesus to Cornelius – as “Lord of all” –  through whom good tidings of peace is preached – “even Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed him with the Holy spirit and with power, for God was with him.” Jesus is the Christ because he is the one upon whom God poured out the Holy Spirit and thru whom God gave the gift of the Holy Spirit to world.  Every mention of “Christ” is a reference to the manhood of our Redeemer.

Section VII  The coming of Jesus

Matt., Mark, Luke, and John, called the “Gospels” are devoted to one particular aim – that of demonstrating that Jesus is the Christ: however there is MORE:  Israel had not understood that her Christ would Actually be the Son of God.  “Immanuel” – the promise to David, etc. and such like references to the Diety of Messiah are so few and so incidental in contrast to those revealing his manhood that they were not generally (at least) understood. And who would have ever dreamed that the Anointed Man would be the very God of heaven become flesh: “His name shall be called.. Mighty God, Everlasting Father..” After – “unto us a child is born, etc.”  I feel that the scriptural emphasis concerning the worlds redeemer might be correctly set forth in such a statement as, Jehovah never let Israel forget that Messiah is God. Jesus asked, “What think ye of Christ? Whose son is He?” They say “David’s son.” Jesus then confounded them by asking why David in the Spirit called him Lord. How easily this could be missed!  But we must not overlook the fact that the purpose of God is according to election: a hardening (from God) befell Israel so that he became a stumbling block to them.  Thus it was that by revelation from Jehovah – Peter was made to realize that Jesus  (the Galilean) is the ANOINTED,  the promised heir to the world, and its king (as well as prophet and priest , and that this Christ is the very  Son of the Living God!  Flesh and blood did not reveal it unto him – nor could anyone come to him except the Father draw him: except he be among those given Jesus by God.

Now that there was a real man named Jesus there can be no dispute.  Historians recognize this person. But only through God can one perceive his true identity – (This is election) The Lord Jesus Christ himself referred to himself almost exclusively as the Son of Man. In the  apostolic messages he is referred to most often as man: not to the exclusion of his true identity but to the vindication of the character of God – it being necessary that the dominion be given to mankind: further that the priesthood required manhood and finally that to become a substitute for man required manhood.  Yet while these aspects of the work of the anointed required true , effective manhood  – they also required (a) man who  as priest could fully enter into the position of both Man and God .   A substitute who was man (to be a substitute)  and God,  lest the Judge of all the earth should allow a wrong in giving an innocent  person to suffer for a guilty one- i.e., inasmuch as God offered pardon God must bear the consequences.

Now there being no question among Bible believers that Jesus was (not only man) yet truly  man – in His actual experience what did manhood mean?

The 2nd person in the Godhead before becoming flesh, existed in the form of God (i.e. as Spirit) and held equality with God, the first person of the God head (I do not believe that the 2nd person of the Godhead come into being at some time  in the past. He is eternal; He as Jehovah – IS and has always been and shall  ever be.           In becoming MAN  He  turned loose of this EQUALITY (for Man is not equal with God.) He emptied himself.  To say that this only means he removed from his external surroundings is to deny the plain meaning of words.  To say that he only partly emptied himself is clearly the same – besides adding an idea not contained in the scripture.

To me this statement means that He left behind him in coming to earth every God-faculty-i.e.  omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence. Etc.

I believe  that at any moment he could  have  resorted to these powers, but he did not.  And should He have done so it would have been to walk independently of God – which is the very essence of sin.  To deny this on the basis that He is God is to deny that there is any difference in the 3 persons of the Godhead.  Somewhat as the Prince (of the Prince and the Pauper) Jesus’ identity has never and can never change:  He is God – But during his Messianic career  (all of it) He is God emptied.

Jesus’ body was not created by Himself but for him by the other two members of the Godhead (Heb.10 and the Gospels).  It is generally held that our Redeemer wrought certain aspects of His work by Faith – certain others by his own inherent God powers (of which the scriptures say, he “emptied himself”).  That is, people think He performed Miracles at his own will – He forgave sins in the same way: without need of contacting the 1st member of the Godhead – the Father.  It is thought by some that His perfect life was produced by His own divinity rather than that of His Father and the Holy Spirit; that the Resurrection was effected in this way also, further that His accession to the position of King of Kings is because He is God.  These ideas seem to be held more or less by all.  People feel that to assert that these things were wrought by the Father God through the Son – God emptied and became flesh, and that all of His life was thus lived – i.e. that never at ANY time during his Messianic career did He, the second person act independently of the Father – i.e. inherently – to assert this is regarded as heretical and dangerous to the foundations of the faith – “an improper emphasis.”

The test lies in the Scriptures.  Briefly stated here are some New Testament quotations bearing on these points.

As to His life – He was led of the Spirit (his temptation).  His resistance consisted of turning to scripture: i.e. “Man shall not live by bread aloe: – (Satan was tempting him to prove he was the Son of God).  He was being tempted to act independently of God. The scriptures, revealing the will of God were followed. He was ministered to by Angels – God’s servants to man (Heb.) He walked by faith –- Acts 2 “I beheld the Lord always before my face … that I should not be moved.” God made known to him the ways of life.  He learned  obedience by suffering  — Tho he was a Son, he was heard FOR HIS GODLY FEAR.  He was made  AND TEMPTED IN ALL POINTS LIKE AS WE ARE..  Indeed – as the Anointed He could not “judge after the sight of his eyes or decide after the hearing of His ears” (as prophesied) He himself declared these things concerning himself. My only statement is that the manhood of God’s Christ WAS  AND HAD TO BE (AND IS) GENUINE IN ALL ASPECTS; NEVER AT ANYTIME WAS HE ONLY MAN: BUT AS  GOD, EMPTIED,  he walked as  we walked, by the power of the Holy Spirit with which he was anointed – thus becoming not only a saviour but also AN EXAMPLE. (I Peter) “He committed himself to him that   judgeth righteously”.  To deny that His perfect life (overcoming a human will which was contrary to the Fathers) was effected by faith and the indwelling Holy spirit as it is offered to us, is to deny Him as our example, to accuse God of attempting something He could not do – i.e. to give dominion to man which he did not do unless one who is truly man (and as man does not lose the dominion to Satan by obeying him) does receive this dominion.

Concerning His miracles – “The Son can do nothing of himself …” repeated many times. “The works which the Father hath given me to accomplish..” “Many good works have I showed you from the Father..” (John). “Jesus of Nazareth a man approved of God unto you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by Him in the midst of you…(Acts)  “And the power of the Lord was upon him to heal” (Luke 5)  Jesus said his disciples would do greater works than He did.  He performed the kind of miracles that the prophets declared the Christ would perform.  His disciples in the same Holy Spirit power and to Jesus’ honor – raised the dead, cast out demons, etc.  The great number of signs shown by Jesus seemed to be specially significant – “When the Christ cometh shall he do more signs than those which this man hath done?” Jesus was seen to possess the powers of the promised Christ.  Peter declared in Acts 3 that God had glorified “His Servant” Jesus – this was a miracle wrought by God through Peter to the Glory of Jesus the servant of God.

As to His will – Jesus said to the leper, “I will..” etc. Are we to conclude that this was done independently of God when Jesus said many times, “I am come not to do mine own will but the will of him that sent me?” His will was often in conflict with the fathers: His glory was, he always did the things that were pleasing to His Father. One may not  say that He here  acted independently of the Father – in this case His will coincided with the Fathers – yet this act was not done on the basis of Jesus’ will but the Fathers.  “I will” was a statement of Jesus compassion.  And ect. concerning His will.

Jesus forgave sins.  Only God, they said could do this.  Indeed Jesus is and was God God emptied  – hear His own words,  “But that ye may know that the Son of Man  hath authority on earth to forgive sins ..”  The act was done by Jesus as the Son of Man.  This was a judgment (decision) regarding man’s faith … “and he gave him authority to execute judgment BECAUSE HE IS A SON OF MAN” . (John 5) This statement is in direct connection with the above. “For as the Father hath life in himself, even so gave He to the son also to have life in himself. (see context – son of man bringing men out of death – Spiritual and physical) GOD need not have had to give Life to him before he became man – for then he was equal with God.  For “since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead – the man – Christ Jesus – God emptied, man Holy Spirit filled.

Jesus had life in himself – power (or right) to lay it down etc. (John 10) “This COMMANDMENT received  I from my Father.” God’s Christ – through God did not ever in his Messianic life act on his own authority.  He knew “whence he was and whither he (went)” Yet he did not know when he would return to the earth.

Concerning his resurrection – He faced the cross in dread pleading for deliverance – yet submitting to the will of God in hope  of seeing that face, turned from him while on the cross, once more.  “My flesh shall dwell in hope..-“God would not allow him to see corruption or leave him in Hades.  “Thou wilt make me full of gladness with thy countenance.”   This was a walk of faith.

Even after his resurrection – he stated – “All authority hath been given unto me  (possive) in heaven and on earth …” clearly revealing the nature of his relationship to God: His Father as GOD, delivered to him, as man, all authority.

Finally – at the time of his Messianic reign – that reign in which the curse is lifted – the earth restored, etc. – Even at this time shall the son be not on an equality but  “subjected to Him  that did subject all things unto him, that God may be all in all.” The passage quoted – God “put all things in subjection under his  feet.” is from Ps. 8.  It is quoted in Heb. 2 where it is used to prove that the world to come shall be subjected to man THAT man who suffered death to   bring many sons, brethren, fellows to glory.

God dwells in light unapproachable.  To whom can we compare him that (they) may be like?  Yet Jesus has fellows – as a man He can have fellows.  His accession to the throne comes because he loved righteousness and hated iniquity. This statement makes NO sense if applied to the Father in as much as it is His very nature to do this.  “God cannot be tempted with evil..” Jesus was.  It is because of his accomplishments as Man that God  grants to him Man’s dominion,  putting all in subjection under his feet! “Therefore, God. Thy God. Hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”

It is the purpose of Matt., Mark, Luke, and John to set forth the life and person of Jesus AS the Christ, the son of the living God. The Good News or Gospel, when the word “Christ” is properly understood is that the Christ has appeared.  David asked God to confirm the promise spoken to him. Indeed that is the very purpose of His first coming: (Romans 15:8,9) to confirm the promises made to the fathers (through atonement and resurrection) and   Gentiles might..etc.”  To speak of the Christ is to speak of the anointed who is  therefore King – and heir to the kingdom so that the Gospel is the good news of the Kingdom: its coming is ascertained, for Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, has triumphed,  thus confirming the promises made to the fathers.

THIS ARTICLE WILL BE CONTINUED IN THE JUNE WORD AND WORK. 

LOOK FOR ‘THE GOSPEL OF GOD PART TWO’.




Leave a Reply

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10