A Timely Word

June 13, 2011 at 11:37 am | Posted in Hebrews | 10 Comments
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In the New Testament, there are different Greek terms for “word,” which are translated into English. Two of these are logos and rhema. The Greek word logos is used 330 times in the New Testament. The Greek word rhema is used a paltry 70 times. However, so-called “televangelists” absolutely love to use the term “rhema word” to refer to specific instructions spoken by God today. They contrast this with the “logos word,” which they take to mean the Words of God written down in the Bible. The implication is that “rhema words” are somehow fresher than “logos words.” This implication is simply wrong.

A quick glance at Ephesians 6:17 and 6:19 may help clarify the matter. 6:17 says: “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:” Traditional Christian doctrine holds that “the sword of the Spirit -” the offensive weapon wielded by believers who wear the armor of God – is the Holy Bible. Yet the Greek word used here is rhema.

6:19 says: “And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,” The “utterance” given to the Apostle Paul in this verse is the Spirit-controlled speech which the Lord will grant him as he boldly preaches the Gospel. Yet the Greek word for “utterance” is logos.

The desire for a private revelation from God may be very tempting. All true Christians want to be guided in an immediate way by God. However, it is always a mistake to denigrate the Bible by making it seem stale. I do not know who may or may not claim to have a “word from God” for you, but I do know that God’s Holy Book is alive and well, and is as fresh and powerful as it has ever been.

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12

The Everlasting Anointing

February 11, 2010 at 10:16 am | Posted in Eternity | 10 Comments
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If you were to disregard the Bible, and base what you believe about Christianity solely on what you heard from television preachers, and from those involved in “healing ministries,” “deliverance ministries,” and “signs, wonders, and miracles ministries,” you would almost have to believe that God’s favorite word is “anointing.”

We hear about “the anointing” on singers, “the anointing” on preachers, and “the anointing” on faith healers. I once even heard that a really good cook had a special “rice and gravy anointing.” Another person told me that they knew “the anointing” was upon us, because he had chill bumps from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet. (Maybe I’m too skeptical, but I did happen to glance at the thermostat, and it was set on 64 at the time.)

It may surprise you to learn that the word “anointing” is almost always used in the Old Testament in connection with the pouring of oil on someone or something. It is used in a very literal way. It may surprise you even more to learn that the word “anointing” is used only three times in the entire New Testament. In James 5:14 it is used to mean the literal application of oil to a person, like in the Old Testament. It appears twice in I John 2:27, and there, in a stark exception, it is used to refer to a grant of special spiritual power from God to men: “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”

The Greek word in I John Chapter 2, which is translated as “anointing” in Verse 27, and as “unction” in Verse 20, is chrisma, and is found nowhere else in the Bible. Therefore, it is strange to think it has become such a watchword in modern-day evangelicalism.

We are tempted to think that the over-use of the concept of “the anointing” as a description for the way in which God may capriciously send greater measures of His power upon His servants was concocted as a way to explain our deficiencies in the times when we fail to have an emotional response to His presence in our lives. “The Lord really spoke to me today – it must have been ‘the anointing.’” Or, “I didn’t hear from God today, but it wasn’t my fault; He just didn’t send ‘the anointing.’” “The anointing” has become our great spiritual cop-out. I most certainly need God’s power if I am going to get the victory over habitual sin or minister in any way to the glory of God, but it would be ludicrous for me to believe that this power is going to be magically imparted to me by some “anointed” Christian, while I am grieving God’s very Spirit Who resides within me on a daily basis.

I John 2:27 says that if I am truly a Christian, then God anointed me with His Spirit at the moment of salvation. This “anointing” abides with me. It stays with me permanently. I can no more lose the “anointing” of the Holy Spirit than I can lose God’s gift of salvation. The question is not whether I will receive “the anointing” under some mystical circumstances, so I can operate in “my” gifts. The question is whether I will yield to God’s Spirit, which He has already given me, and surrender my will to His, and obediently allow His gifts to be exercised through me, so that He is glorified.


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