We Need a Mediator

Sports fans lament strike-shortened professional sports seasons. In 1994, a Major League Baseball strike ended the season early and there were no playoffs. These strike-shortened seasons are usually the result of club owners and players not agreeing on how many millions of dollars these professional athletes should be paid per season.

And when the opposing sides are especially far apart on reaching an agreement, they usually bring in a mediator to help the two sides see eye to eye. The mediator accomplishes this by having each side make some compromises with respect to their ultimate goals.

The Bible teaches us that we are born at odds with God (see Psalm 51:4-5). We’re born sinful, and God is utterly sinless, which puts us at odds with God. We could conclude that we need a mediator between God and us. We need someone to bring the two sides closer together.

But unlike the mediators that sit between the striking players and the club owners, there’s no compromise with God. God is perfect in all of his ways, and he will not compromise his perfection. But God did send us a mediator.

Jesus Christ is the one mediator between God and men (see 1 Timothy 2:5). In his Institutes, Calvin writes, “In this ruin of mankind no one now experiences God either as Father or as Author of salvation, or favorable in any way, until Christ the Mediator comes forward to reconcile him to us” (1.2.1).

When Jesus came as our mediator, he came to step in our place. He came to take the penalty that we owe. He came to make things right with the Father. He took on our sin, and he gave us his righteousness in return. What glorious good news is that!!

On our own, we stand no chance of being made right with the Father, but through the love and sacrifice of the Son, we can be put into a right relationship with him forever.

Two Types of Knowledge

Calvin begins his Institutes by arguing that there are two parts to sound wisdom. The first part is the knowledge of God, and the second part is the knowledge of ourselves. Both types of knowledge are important. Without the former, the latter is lost, and without the latter, the former is lost. But why is this so?

So long as we are content in ourselves–that is, so long as we don’t truly know ourselves, we’re quite content to remain in our current condition. It’s only when we realize that we are somehow lacking–it’s when we realize that we don’t have all of the answers–that we turn our gaze from inward to outward.

Calvin writes, “Thus, from the feeling of our own ignorance, vanity, poverty, infirmity, and–what is more–depravity and corruption, we recognize that the true light of wisdom, sound virtue, full abundance of every good, and purity of righteousness rest in the Lord alone” (1.1.1).

On the other hand, it’s when we truly know God in all of his perfections that we finally realize that we have blindspots in our lives. Our pride disguises our own failings and shortcomings. We compare ourselves to others, and we thus feel ourselves superior because–in our eyes, at least–we’re “better” than our neighbors.

We miss the fact that our neighbor isn’t the measuring stick, but God and his perfection is the measuring stick, and we all fall woefully short on that account.

Calvin writes, “As long as we do not look beyond the earth, being quite content with our own righteousness, wisdom, and virtue, we flatter ourselves most sweetly, and fancy ourselves demigods. Suppose we but once begin to raise our thoughts to God, and to ponder his nature, and how completely perfect are his righteousness, wisdom, and power–the straightedge to which we must be shaped. Then, what masquerading earlier as righteousness was pleasing in us will soon grow filthy in its consummate wickedness” (1.1.2).

We will never truly know ourselves until we come face to face with who God is, and we’ll never truly know God until we know something of ourselves, but let’s start the journey by knowing who God is.

Do We Really Believe That “Jesus Saves”?

Yesterday, January 6, 2021, was a dark day in the history of our nation, and it was a day that will long live in the memories of many Americans. Yesterday, a “protest rally” turned into a criminal riot in our nation’s capital as rioters stormed the United States Capitol building, breaching security and making their way onto the floor of the House and Senate and even into individual lawmakers’ offices.

The rally was designed ostensibly to protest the “fact” that the election was “stolen” from President Donald Trump. [NOTE: This blog post is not arguing for or against the claim of a “stolen election.”] Unfortunately, the rally soon turned from a peaceful protest to a criminal riot with at least four people losing their lives (one through a police shooting and three through medical emergencies).

As I watched parts of the news coverage of this horrific event, I was particularly appalled when I saw one protester who was carrying a bright neon sign that read “JESUS SAVES.” As a Christian who has devoted himself to over 20 years of full-time vocational Christian ministry, I whole-heartedly agree that “Jesus Saves.” But I wonder if the individual who was carrying the sign really believes that.

For the record, I have no idea who that individual is. I don’t know that individual. The camera angle from which I was viewing was too far away to tell if it was even a man or a woman. I know nothing about that individual other than he (or she) was carrying a sign that read “JESUS SAVES” and he (or she) was trespassing on the steps of the US Capitol building during what can only be called an illegitimate and illegal criminal riot.

Also for the record, I believe there are many faithful Christians who voted for Donald Trump and I believe many of them were genuinely disappointed when he lost the election. Furthermore, I believe many authentic Christians may have some doubts about the veracity of the election results.

And with all of that said, however, if someone (Christian or otherwise) feels that an injustice has happened, that individual has every right to peacefully protest and to seek recourse through the law (i.e., the courts or other legal channels), but unless we’re being required to deny our Savior or a key principle of the faith, Christians are not justified in resorting to criminally violent behavior when their politician of choice loses an election.

So, here’s a question for serious Christians to consider. If we really believed that “Jesus Saves,” would we participate in a criminal endeavor because our politician of choice lost the election? I don’t think we would and I don’t think we should.

Participating in this type of activity reveals a heart of idolatry. Let me explain.

The Bible teaches that Jesus is sovereign over the events of this world (see e.g., Psalm 2). This means Jesus was sovereign when Donald Trump was elected four years ago as the president, and this also means Jesus is still sovereign now as Joe Biden will be taking the oath of office in less than two weeks. Nothing has changed in the heavenly realms.

And even “if” the election was stolen from Donald Trump, Jesus is still on his throne. He’s still sovereign. We don’t need to “storm the Capitol” if we believe Jesus is who he says he is. If we really believe that Jesus is sovereign, then we will understand that Jesus is just as sovereign under a Biden presidency as he was under a Trump presidency. And if we really believe that it’s Jesus who saves, then we know that Jesus can save people under a Biden presidency just as easily as he can save people under a Trump presidency.

Psalm 146:3–5 instructs us: 3 Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. 4 When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish. 5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God.

Idolatry rears its ugly head when—among other things—we put our hope in politicians rather than in Jesus.

Christians ought to lament that the name of Christ was connected to the storming of the Capitol and other lawless deeds. We must remember what our Savior said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world” (John 18:36). Let us purpose to not misuse the name of our great King (Exo 20:7), but to be ambassadors for his cause—imploring lost men and women to be reconciled to God (2 Cor 5:20).

Kingdom-Oriented Prayer (part 5)

In Romans 15:32, Paul writes,

Romans 15:32
32 
so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company.

Notice how Paul ties in the prayers of his brothers and sisters with the will of God—“so that by God’s will I may come.”

Abraham Lincoln once said, “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom, and that of all about me, seemed insufficient for the day” (Boice, Romans, 1897).

To say prayer is necessary isn’t to say that God “changes his mind” because of our prayers. Nor does the necessity of prayer simply mean that God changes us through our prayers. It encompasses both of those thoughts.

Here’s how that works. God not only appoints the end results that he desires, but he also appoints the means toward those ends.

John Calvin, in his commentary on Romans, wrote this. “The phrase through the will of God reminds us of the necessity of devoting ourselves to prayer, since God alone directs all our paths by his providence” (Calvin, Romans).

Tim Keller writes,

Edmund P. Clowney wrote, “The Bible does not present an art of prayer; it presents a God of prayer.” We should not decide how to pray based on the experiences and feelings we want. Instead, we should do everything possible to behold our God as he is, and prayer will follow. The more clearly we grasp who God is, the more our prayer is shaped and determined accordingly.
Keller, Prayer, 62

Take some time right now to pray for you and your church to be a shining light for the gospel.

Kingdom-Oriented Prayer (Part 2)

We read these words in Romans 15:30.

Romans 15:30

30 I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf.

We see in these words that prayer is vital. Paul begins this passage by “appealing” to his brothers and sisters in the Lord. I love the Greek word that Paul uses here. The word is used over 100 times in the New Testament. It means to appeal or to urge or to beg. I can’t help but think about The Temptations and their hit song (Ain’t Too Proud to Beg) whenever I come across this word.

Paul was willing to beg his brothers and sisters in Christ to join with him in prayer. And why was he willing to do that? Because he knew that prayer is vital.

A wise man once said, “There’s much that can be done after you pray, but nothing can be accomplished before you pray.” Paul understood how vital prayer is for the Christian.

And we also need to notice the trinitarian nature of Paul’s appeal. Not only is he appealing to his brothers and sisters, but he’s appealing through the Trinity.

Romans 15:30
30 I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf (emphasis added).

When we enter into prayer, it’s no small thing. When we pray, it’s not something to be taken lightly. When we pray, we are speaking to the Creator of the universe.

If we were told today that we were going to have the opportunity to spend an hour with our favorite celebrity tomorrow, we’d probably lose sleep tonight thinking about what we’d want to talk about. What questions might we ask?

Well, to state the matter rather bluntly, no celebrity compares with God! And when we pray, we are speaking with him. We’re not speaking with his publicist or his agent; we’re speaking with him.

Prayer is vital. Spend some time right now praying for 3 people you know who are not yet Christians. If you don’t personally know any non-Christians, pray for an opportunity to get to know some non-Christians.

Telling Others about Jesus

What does it mean to make disciples who make disciples? Well, it may mean many different things to different people, but it all starts with seeing people in the same way that God sees them. It starts by seeing every person as someone special who’s been created in the image of God. Every individual person has been created in the image of God because God wants to have a relationship with that person.

And we make disciples by being very intentional in all we do, to point others to Jesus. Making disciples who make disciples is primarily about being intentional in all of our actions and in all of our relationships to move people in the direction of being more like Jesus.

We want others and we want ourselves to look and be more like Jesus. Five-weeks, ten-weeks from now, 6-months, 12-months from now, will we be more like Jesus than we are right now? Our friends or co-workers now, who don’t yet know Jesus, will they know more about who Jesus is and why it is worth it to give their whole lives to follow him? Will they know more about that in the weeks and months to come than they do right now?

Here’s a helpful visual. If we were to think of a number line—this number line has positive and negative numbers on it. It’s numbered from a negative 10 all the way to a positive 10. Negative 10 represents someone who is a militant atheist. This person gets aggressive at the very thought of God. That individual represents a negative 10.

A little further up the scale, we have a friend who’s heard the good news about Jesus. She may even be able to explain the good news to us, but she hasn’t yet repented of her sin and trusted in Jesus. She may be represented on the scale at a negative one or two.

Zero is the moment that a person actually comes to faith in Christ.

So, we have a family member who just became a Christian in the last month. She’s so excited to be a Christian, but she doesn’t know what following Jesus looks like. She would be a positive one or positive two.

And then we have someone who has been faithfully following Jesus for decades. He regularly practices spiritual disciplines. He tells others about Jesus. He may be a 7 or an 8 on the scale. [No one actually makes it all the way to positive 10 until we are finally glorified and with Jesus in heaven!]

So, we have this scale. We can all picture the scale in our minds. We may even have friends, family members, and co-workers, who, if we were asked, we could put them at some point along that scale.

Now, our job, in making disciples who make disciples, is to move that person to the right on that scale (toward the higher numbers). Now, it’s extremely important for us to understand that this is ultimately a work of God. “We” don’t do it. God does it. But God uses us as his means to accomplish this. He uses us as we open and share the Word of God with these individuals. He uses us as we are prayerfully dependent on the Holy Spirit to work.

So, for our militant atheist friend who is currently a negative ten, if we could, by God’s grace, get him to the point where he would acknowledge the possibility that a supreme being exists, that would be a win. He’s moved from a negative 10 to a negative 9 or maybe a negative 8. He’s moving in the right direction.

Now, of course, our ultimate goal is present everyone mature in Christ so we should have a godly desire to see this friend actually get to a zero and then to grow in Christ, but it’s still a win for him to move from a negative 10 to a negative 8.

And for our family member who just became a Christian in the last month, by God’s grace, we hope that she’ll move from a positive 1 to a positive 3 in the next twelve months.

We’re making disciples who make disciples by moving people to the right on that scale.

So, I have two questions to leave you with. First, what number would represent where you’re at right now on that scale? Second, if you’re a Christian, what are you doing to help move others (and yourself) to the right on that scale?

If we’re going to make disciples who make disciples, we have to open our Bibles and tell others about Jesus.

When to Stand Your Ground

We’ve all met them. We’ve all met the people who will “fight to the death” over every biblical doctrine—no matter how obscure.

They cry out, “Jude told us that we are to ‘contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints’” (Jude 3b).

Now, please don’t hear me wrong. I’m not suggesting that we should be soft on our doctrine. Who are we to argue against Scripture? After all, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16). The Scriptures are “sharper than any two-edged sword” (Heb 4:12). The Scriptures are given to us by God (2 Pet 1:19–21).

Yes, yes. We agree with all of that, but was Jude arguing that we should “fight to the death” over every biblical doctrine—no matter how obscure the doctrine? Are some doctrines more important than others perhaps? Should we weigh the doctrines and contend for those that are most central to the faith?

Several years ago, Albert Mohler, the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in Louisville, Kentucky, introduced me to an idea called “theological triage.” I’m not sure if he was the first to write on this, but I learned it from his writing.

Here’s the concept of triage in a more traditional medical sense.

When a medical doctor goes into a hospital emergency room, she may see all types of patients with all manner of injuries. She may see a mother holding her toddler who had cut his forehead open after tripping into the coffee table. She may see a construction worker who broke his arm when a heavy piece of equipment struck his arm. And she may see a middle-aged man who shows no outward signs of injury, but who is complaining of tightness in his chest and a sore left arm.

Her job, as the doctor, is to assess which person needs the most urgent care. Does she choose the toddler whose shirt is stained with blood? Does she choose the burly construction worker who is agonizing in pain as he holds his arm? Or does she choose the man with no “outward” physical symptoms but who is complaining of tightness in his chest?

Most of us know that the doctor will choose that last person first. Why? Because he is experiencing classic symptoms of a heart attack. If he isn’t seen soon, he may die. The other two patients are in pain, but there’s no immediate threat to their life.

This is emergency room triage.

Theological triage works in a similar way. Here’s an example of how this works.

One person is denying the deity of Christ, a second person is arguing for paedobaptism (infant baptism), and a third person is disagreeing over the order of events in the end times (eschatology). In this scenario, you have different levels of theological concern.

The first person is denying doctrines that are central to Christianity itself. The person who denies the deity of Christ isn’t even a Christian. This is a first-level doctrine. This is life and death! This demands a bold response. The gospel itself is at stake here. We must contend earnestly for this doctrine.

The second person is debating a doctrine that would make a difference about where you have your church membership. If you are an avowed paedobaptist, then you shouldn’t join a Baptist church where only credobaptism (believer’s baptism) is practiced. And, likewise, if you’re an avowed credobaptist, then you shouldn’t join a local Presbyterian church and cause a stink when they baptize infants. The Baptists aren’t saying that the Presbyterians aren’t Christians, nor are the Presbyterians saying that the Baptists aren’t Christians. We are both saying that we think the other is wrong in their practice of baptism, but we’re not denying their faith. This is a second-level doctrine.

The third person is debating a doctrine that makes for interesting discussion and lively debate, but it’s not a doctrine that’s central to the gospel. Yes, it’s an important doctrine, but it’s one over which many Bible-believing scholars differ. It should little impact on the polity of the church and the unity of the fellowship. It is a doctrine over which we may differ and still go to the same church.

Not every theological doctrine is a hill on which to die. We should know what we believe and why we believe it. We should rightly handle the Word of God and study it to show ourselves approved. We dare not minimize the importance of doctrine, but we need to show grace to others when we disagree of lesser doctrines.

Pursuing Holiness

Nearly 300 years ago John Wesley came up with over 20 questions that he asked of himself and of everyone whom he was discipling. I’ve narrowed the questions down a bit, but they’re still great questions to ask today about pursuing personal holiness.

BeHoly

  1. Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I really am? In other words, am I a hypocrite?
  2. Am I a slave to dress, friends, work or habits?
  3. Did the Bible live in me today?
  4. Do I give the Bible time to speak to me every day?
  5. Am I enjoying prayer?
  6. When did I last speak to someone else of my faith?
  7. Do I pray about the money I spend?
  8. Do I get to bed on time and get up on time?
  9. Do I disobey God in anything?
  10. Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy or distrustful?
  11. How do I spend my spare time?
  12. Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold a resentment toward or disregard? If so, what am I doing about it?
  13. Do I grumble or complain constantly?
  14. Is Christ real to me?

The character of Christians is to reflect the character of their divine Father. How are you doing in the area of personal holiness?

Christian Discipleship

Christian Discipleship

Christian discipleship is the process of making Christian disciples. Discipleship is not a program, a class, a production line, or a Bible study. Discipleship is a work of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God through a life-on-life process whereby we serve one another by helping each other progress toward Christlikeness—moving from spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity—to reproduce our lives to the third and fourth generations (Rom 8:29; gospel-centered22 Cor 3:18; 2 Tim 2:2). Disciple making is a lifelong process that is marked by progress, not perfection. Disciples are made through gospel-centered worship, gospel-centered community, gospel-centered service, and gospel-centered multiplication.[1]

 

  • All Christians are disciples who are born anew to spiritual life when they choose to follow Jesus.
  • Both the starting point and the goal of spiritual formation and discipleship is transformation to the image of Christ.
  • Together discipleship and spiritual formation provide a full New Testament perspective of the process of growth of Christians.
  • Spiritual formation and discipleship must be biblically and theologically grounded.[2]

 

What does it mean to be a gospel-centered church? Gospel-centered means that the gospel is not simply the entry point into the Christian life but that it is also the foundation and power that shapes all we do as followers of Jesus Christ, both in our daily lives and in our experience as the corporate body of Christ. The gospel is not only the fire that ignites the Christian life, but it is also the fuel that keeps the Christian life going.

Joe Thorn writes, “A gospel-centered church is a church that is about Jesus above everything else. That sounds a little obvious, but when we talk about striving to be and maintain gospel-centrality as a church we are recognizing our tendency to focus on many other things (often good and important things) instead of Jesus. There are really only two options for local churches; they will be gospel-centered, or issue driven.”[3]

For His Glory,

Pastor Brian

[1] These four “gospel-centered” categories are adapted from The Village Church.

[2] Bill Hull, The Complete Book of Discipleship: On Being and Making Followers of Christ (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2006), 39.

[3] Joe Thorn, Gospel Centered

What Are We to Make of Jephthah’s Tragic Vow?

More than one reader, upon finishing Judges 11:29–39, has been overwhelmed by grief from this tragic story. At first glance it appears that Jephthah makes a vow to the Lord to offer as a burnt offering whoever or whatever comes out of his home when he returns home from battle. Specifically, the text reads as follows.

 Judges 11:30–31Jephthah_meets_his_daughter
30 And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD and said, “If you will give the Ammonites into my hand,
31 then whatever comes out from the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the Ammonites shall be the LORD’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.”

Even before one reads the rest of the story one might wonder why he would make such a vow, but the story turns to tragedy when Jephthah returns home from a successful battle and his daughter is the one to meet him.

Judges 11:34–35
34 Then Jephthah came to his home at Mizpah. And behold, his daughter came out to meet him with tambourines and with dances. She was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter.
35 And as soon as he saw her, he tore his clothes and said, “Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low, and you have become the cause of great trouble to me. For I have opened my mouth to the LORD, and I cannot take back my vow.”

The story concludes with the simple statement,

Judges 11:39–40
39 And at the end of two months, she returned to her father, who did with her according to his vow that he had made. She had never known a man, and it became a custom in Israel
40 that the daughters of Israel went year by year to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in the year.

What are we to make of this tragic story? Did Jephthah really make a human sacrifice of his only daughter? Hebrew scholars are divided on this issue. Here are two contrasting opinions.

Daniel Block, who wrote the New American Commentary on Judges and Ruth, believes that Jephthah really did make a human sacrifice of his daughter.

Block argues that Jephthah was trying to manipulate God into providing victory over the Ammonites. Jephthah’s “haggling” with God ultimately backfired on him. Block contends that Jephthah had been combining the various religious beliefs of the region—many of which allowed for human sacrifice—with the Hebrew faith. In short, Jephthah turned out to be pagan instead of pious, and since this was his only child, his lineage was also stamped out through this tragic act.

Another Old Testament scholar, John Sailhamer, however, disagrees with Block. He argues that Jephthah didn’t make a human sacrifice of his daughter, but rather devoted her to the service of the Lord as a perpetual virgin.

In the NIV Compact Bible Commentary Sailhamer writes, “The words of Jephthah in 11:31 should be rendered, ‘whatever comes out of the door . . . will be the Lord’s or I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.’ In other words, Jephthah’s vow contains two parts, dedication to the Lord or burnt offering.”

Sailhamer argues that Jephthah’s vow is textually linked to the vows found in Leviticus 27:1–13. “There are two types of vows here. The first is the dedication of a person to the service of the Lord (Lev 27:1–8); the second is the dedication of an animal for an offering to the Lord (Lev 27:9–13)” (NIV Compact Bible Commentary).

In the second type of these vows, only ceremonially clean animals could be offered to the Lord so, according to the Mosaic law, Jephthah could not have vowed “whatever” came out of his door for a burnt offering.

Sailhamer also makes the argument that the text nowhere states that Jephthah actually made a human sacrifice of his daughter. The text simply states that he did to her as he vowed (11:39).

The skeptic may wonder why Jephthah got so upset when his only daughter came out of the house to meet him. This is a fair question, but the answer lies in the text itself: “She was his only child.”

By dedicating his only daughter as a virgin to lifelong service (and remaining a virgin in that service), he was in effect cutting off his name from the earth. His lineage would end with his daughter. This was the source of his being “brought low” and his “trouble.”

So, what are we to make of Jephthah’s tragic vow? Who is right? Daniel Block or John Sailhamer?

What lessons can we learn from this account? Let me suggest three.

First, no matter which interpretation is correct (I, personally, am a big fan of John Sailhamer and so I side with his interpretation), we can know that God is not the author of evil (3 John 11). Even if we were to take Block’s position, the evil would lie at the feet of Jephthah and his rash vow rather than at the feet of God.

Second, a vow is a promise and so a vow unto the Lord is a promise we make to God. We need to carefully consider the promises we make to God because when we make a promise to God, we are to keep it (Numbers 30:2). Whether it’s a marriage vow made before God or a vow to give a portion of one’s income to the Lord’s work, it is a promise made before the Lord, and we break those promises to our own shame and to our own harm.

Finally, there is one human sacrifice that did happen for which we should all be eternally grateful. And this sacrifice can be attributed to God himself. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). God gave his only Son to pay the penalty that we owed so that those who place their trust (faith) in God would not perish but have eternal life. This sacrifice of the Son of God, who was fully God and fully man, was a part of God’s plan from the beginning (see Acts 2:22–24 below).

While the idea of human sacrifice may disturb our 21st Century sensibilities, I, for one, am glad that God loved the world (“the world” includes you and me) enough to give his only Son. Jesus laid down his life willingly for us. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

For His Glory,
Pastor Brian

Acts 2:22–24
22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—
23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.
24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.