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‘Spirit and Truth’ and Gnosticism

‘Spirit and Truth’ and Gnosticism

John 4:23–24

Excerpt


The Johannine understanding of spirit and truth is not to be identified with the Gnostic usage of such terms. The Gnostic perspective is that of a secret godhead that is hidden from all except those who possess the special key of gnosis (knowledge). The stress in John is not on the hiddenness of God revealed through an alien messenger from without. Such a messenger in Gnosticism does not actually participate in human flesh because flesh is regarded as the creation of an evil sub god. Such a messenger always remains a spiritual reality even though it might employ the vehicle of flesh to awaken the elite Gnostics from the sleep of forgetfulness.179 But such a view is hardly the Johannine perspective on Jesus, the incarnate Son of God.


Borchert, Gerald L. John 1–11. Vol. 25A. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996. Print. The New American Commentary.

View of the Arena of Amphitheater, Puteoli

View of the Arena of Amphitheater, Puteoli

‎Here is a fine view of the bay, the distant mountains and the shores of Puteoli. In imagination one can easily reconstruct this desolate ruin, and people it under the sunny skies of southern Italy with the vast multitude of eager spectators whose gay attire shines in the Italian sun and whose shouts of applause fill the air. The amphitheater was three hundred and sixty-nine feet in length and two hundred and sixteen feet in breadth. It was capable of holding twenty-five thousand persons. We see in these ruins, excavated in 1838, the opening leading down into the subterranean passage and chambers where the wild beasts were kept. We can see, also, the air-holes and the outlets of the dens. Here Nero celebrated the gladiatorial combat when he received the king of Armenia as the guest of his court. It was at this time that the emperor himself entered the arena. Nor was the view of Puteoli different in its most important elements in the days of …

Damascus Gate, Jerusalem

Damascus Gate, Jerusalem


‎This photo shows a structure constructed long after Bible times, but tradition has it that Saul of Tarsus went through a gate near this one when he traveled to Damascus. Gates and walls protected principal cities throughout the ancient world, and much of the book of Nehemiah describes the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s wall. Building city walls stopped only when modern cannons and aircraft made them obsolete. Solomon observes that a rich man thinks of his wealth as a wall protecting him (Prov 18:11). ‎Neh 2:13–17, Neh 6:15, Ps 122:7, Prov 18:11, Acts 9:1–2, Rev 21:12–14

Son of Anak

Son of Anak

Dead Sea salt crystals

Dead Sea salt crystals


Jerusalem: Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu

Jerusalem: Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu

‎Jerusalem. The Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu—meaning the cock’s crow—was built in 1931 by the Assumptionist Fathers on the eastern slope of Mount Zion. This was identified by the Byzantines in the 5th century A.D. as the site of the house of the High Priest Caiaphas. They built a church in memory of Jesus’ words to Peter: “Before the cock crows thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out and wept bitterly” (Matthew 26:75).

Remain in Me and I in You

Remain in Me and I in You
John 15:4

Excerpt


The first sentence of v. 4 can be taken in one of three ways; all of them make sense. (1) Conditional: ‘If you remain in me, I will remain in you’ (which is the assumption of the NIV's rendering). Read in this way, the believer’s perseverance in remaining in Jesus is the occasional cause, not the ultimate cause, of Jesus’ remaining in the believer (cf. 8:31–32; 15:9–11). (2) Comparison: ‘Remain in me, as I remain in you’ (the Greek allows this: the second clause has no verb, but simply ‘and I in you’). The thought is coherent enough; the ‘and’ (as opposed to ‘as’) is mildly surprising. In the context of the threats on both sides of the verse, it is indefensible to take the ‘I in you’ as an absolute promise regardless of the perseverance or fickleness of the ostensible believer. (3) Mutual imperative: ‘Let us both remain in each other’, ‘Let there be mutual indwelling’. Again, however, the syntax is strange: the strong second person imperati…

Connect the Testaments

May 2: Don’t Focus on Overcoming
Judges 2:11–3:31; Philippians 1:12–18; Psalm 63–64

When I go through difficult circumstances, I want the end. I’m so focused on escape and overcoming that I barely think about what God might be teaching me through that experience. And I’m certainly not thinking about how He might be using me to witness to others.
Paul was on a completely different wavelength. In his letter to the church at Philippi, he sets his Roman imprisonment in context: “Now I want you to know, brothers, that my circumstances have happened instead for the progress of the gospel, so that my imprisonment in Christ has become known in the whole praetorium and to all the rest” (Phil 1:12–13).
Paul wasn’t just enduring or anticipating the end of his imprisonment. He was using his experience to be a witness for Christ. His captors must have wondered: what makes a person willing to suffer like this? What makes his message worth imprisonment?
Paul’s circumstances didn’t merely create waves…

Morning and Evening

Morning, May 2      Go To Evening Reading
         “I pray not that thou shouldst take them out of the world.” 
         — John 17:15
It is a sweet and blessed event which will occur to all believers in God’s own time—the going home to be with Jesus. In a few more years the Lord’s soldiers, who are now fighting “the good fight of faith” will have done with conflict, and have entered into the joy of their Lord. But although Christ prays that his people may eventually be with him where he is, he does not ask that they may be taken at once away from this world to heaven. He wishes them to stay here. Yet how frequently does the wearied pilgrim put up the prayer, “O that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away and be at rest;” but Christ does not pray like that, he leaves us in his Father’s hands, until, like shocks of corn fully ripe, we shall each be gathered into our Master’s garner. Jesus does not plead for our instant removal by death, for to abide in the flesh is needful fo…

My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year

May 2nd
The passion of patience


Though it tarry, wait for it. Hab. 2:3.

Patience is not indifference; patience conveys the idea of an immensely strong rock withstanding all onslaughts. The vision of God is the source of patience, because it imparts a moral inspiration. Moses endured, not because he had an ideal of right and duty, but because he had a vision of God. He “endured, as seeing Him Who is invisible.” A man with the vision of God is not devoted to a cause or to any particular issue; he is devoted to God Himself. You always know when the vision is of God because of the inspiration that comes with it; things come with largeness and tonic to the life because everything is energized by God. If God gives you a time spiritually, as He gave His Son actually, of temptation in the wilderness, with no word from Himself at all, endure; and the power to endure is there because you see God.
“Though it tarry, wait for it.” The proof that we have the vision is that we are reaching out for …

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

May 2

  In him was life; and the life was the light of men … Ye are the light of the world
John 1:4; Matt. 5:14
In the light we can walk and work. We walk in the light and become entirely children of the light. We let our light, the light of God, shine, so that men may see our good works, and glorify our Father in Heaven. Gently, silently, lovingly, unceasingly, we give ourselves to transmit the light and the love God so unceasingly shines into us. Our one work is to wait, and admit, and then transmit the light of God in Christ.

Andrew Murray

Hardman, Samuel G., and Dwight Lyman Moody. Thoughts for the Quiet Hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing, 1997. Print.