The Presbyterian Church in America, in setting forth the form of government founded upon and agreeable to the Word of God, reiterates the following great principles which have governed the formation of the plan:. God alone is Lord of the conscience and has left it free from any doctrines or commandments of men a which are in any respect contrary to the Word of God, or b which, in regard to matters of faith and worship, are not governed by the Word of God.
Therefore, the rights of private judgment in all matters that respect religion are universal and inalienable.
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No religious constitution should be supported by the civil power further than may be necessary for protection and security equal and common to all others. In perfect consistency with the above principle, every Christian Church, or union or association of particular churches, is entitled to declare the terms of admission into its communion and the qualifications of its ministers and members, as well as the whole system of its internal government which Christ has appointed.
In the exercise of this right it may, notwithstanding, err in making the terms of communion either too lax or too narrow; yet even in this case, it does not infringe upon the liberty or the rights of others, but only makes an improper use of its own. Our blessed Saviour, for the edification of the visible Church, which is His body, has appointed officers not only to preach the Gospel and administer the Sacraments, but also to exercise discipline for the preservation both of truth and duty. It is incumbent upon these officers and upon the whole Church in whose name they act, to censure or cast out the erroneous and scandalous, observing in all cases the rules contained in the Word of God.
But the words are too wide for any limitation. In heaven and earth, and the realms under the earth, His presence and sovereignty extends, by whatever means and over whatever beings He wills. All is given as seems best to Christ to bestow upon every one. He received for them, that he might give to them, a large measure of gifts and graces; particularly the gift of the Holy Ghost. Not a mere head knowledge, or bare acknowledging Christ to be the Son of God, but such as brings trust and obedience.
There is a fulness in Christ, and a measure of that fulness given in the counsel of God to every believer; but we never come to the perfect measure till we come to heaven. God's children are growing, as long as they are in this world; and the Christian's growth tends to the glory of Christ. The more a man finds himself drawn out to improve in his station, and according to his measure, all that he has received, to the spiritual good of others, he may the more certainly believe that he has the grace of sincere love and charity rooted in his heart.
Barnes' Notes on the Bible He that descended is the same also that ascended - The same Redeemer came down from God, and returned to him.
It was not a different being, but the same. Far above all heavens - see the notes on Ephesians ; compare Hebrews He is gone above the visible heavens, and has ascended into the highest abodes of bliss; see the notes on 2 Corinthians That he might fill all things - Margin, "fulfil. See the notes on Ephesians Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary Matthew Poole's Commentary He that descended is the same also that ascended: he saith not, he that ascended is the same that descended, lest it should not be thought that Christ brought his body with him from heaven; but, on the contrary, he that descended is the same that ascended, to show that the Son of God did not by his descent become other than what he was, nor the assumption of the human nature add any thing to his person, as a man is not made another person by the clothes he puts on.
Christ descended without change of place as being God, but ascended by changing place as man, yet, by communication of properties, whole Christ is said to have ascended. Far above all heavens; all visible heavens, into the third heaven, or paradise.
What We Believe | Presbyterian Church in America: Administrative Committee
Acts Hebrews That he might fill all things; all the members of his church, with gifts and graces. This began to be fulfilled, Acts , and still will be fulfilling to the end of the world: see John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible He that descended is the same also that ascended, Grotius, Meier, and others. See on 2 Corinthians Acts ; Acts ; Acts This was to be the all-embracing task of His kingly office, until the consummation indicated at 1 Corinthians If this reason were valid, an absolute bodily omnipresence would result: it proves too much , and leads to a contradictio in adjecto , which could only receive a Docetic solution.
Without His ascension, we would have no gifts. Without His ascension we would have no body. Without His ascension, we would have nothing. He had to ascend and go back to the Father so that the Spirit could come and give gifts to the body. As He walked up to the gates of heaven, the choir of heaven on that gate would say, "What right do you have to enter these gates?
He would show them the nail prints in His feet and the spear mark in His side. It cost God everything for us to be diverse.
The Church Is God’s
It cost God everything for us to have our gifts. Until we are free in His Spirit, empowered with His might, then the church is not operating.
Whatever we are doing is nothing more than a secular organization on this earth. We have got to see that.
We are not preserving the unity of the Spirit when we criticize a brother because they see things differently. They are gifted differently. Friend, we need to function in the gift that was blood bought for each one of us. That is why Paul says to work out your own salvation.
Begin to function in the gifts that you have and honor the fact that it cost Him everything for you to have those gifts. Ephesians Preserving the Unity of the Spirit.
Most think it quotes Psalm with five minor and two major changes. The two major variations are the change from the second to the third person, and the change of direction from having received gifts from men to the giving of gifts to men. However, it is better to think that Paul was not quoting one particular verse of the psalm but rather that he was summarizing all of Psalm 68, which has many words similar to those in Psalm Walvoord, J. The ark was conducted to the summit of Zion; God himself took possession of the high places of the earth. The antitype of the ark, the Lord Jesus, has ascended into the heavens with signal marks of triumph.
To do battle with our enemies, the Lord descended and left his throne; but now that the fight is finished, he returns to his glory; high above all things is he now exalted. Thou hast led captivity captive. As great conquerors of old led whole nations into captivity, so Jesus leads forth from the territory of his foe a vast company as the trophies of his mighty grace. From the gracious character of his reign it comes to pass that to be led into captivity by him is for our captivity to cease.
The Lord Jesus puts death to death. Thou hast received gifts for men , or, received gifts among men: they have paid thee tribute, and will in every age continue to do so, delighting in thy reign. In him we are endowed with priceless treasures, and we give him ourselves, our all.
The Treasury of David. Great King of grace my heart subdue, I would be led in triumph too; As willing captive to my Lord, To own the conquests of his word. The ancient prophecy of David is fulfilled here on the foot of mount Olivet. To take "captivity captive," signifies that Christ conquered the allied principalities and powers, the devil, sin, death, and hell; and that he deprived them of the instruments wherewith they enslaved men.
He not only silenced the cannon on the spiritual Gibraltar, but he took rock, fortifications, and all. He not only silenced the horrible and destructive battlements of the powerful and compactly united ghostly enemies, but he threw down the towers, razed the castles, and took away the keys of the dungeons. He is the Master henceforth, and for ever.
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He did, also, at the same time, save his people. Where, O Jesus, is the army of which thou art the Captain? They were gifts of mercy: gifts to the rebellious; to those who threw down their arms at his feet in penitent submission, that the Lord God may dwell among them. The apostle shows that a portion of these gifts are gifts of ministry.
Jesus in Hell
Accordingly, whenever God condescends to dwell among a people and in a country, he gives that people and country this ministry. He sends them his gospel in the mouths of faithful servants. He establishes there his house; the board and the candlestick; and then, in his Spirit, he dwells there and blesses his heritage. He ascended - He who?
Clearly the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is LORD in both testaments! It was not the Father Who ascended but it was the Son, Who subordinated Himself for the work of salvation, although He is subordinate in Himself but co-equal with His Father misunderstanding of these basic doctrines led to the Arian heresy which held that Christ although divine was a created being.
In the first chapter Paul referred to this momentous event writing See notes Ephesians ; ; ; As used figuratively in James see below it speaks of dignity or being exalted as having a "high" position. Ephesians may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,. He led captive a host of captives - In the context of Ephesians 4, this passage depicts our triumphant Lord Jesus Christ returning from earth to heaven after His victory at Calvary.
This is a quotation from Psalm , a messianic psalm of victory in which God is praised for deliverance.