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Old Testament Foundations: A Biblical View of the Relationship of Sin and the Fruits of Sin: Sickness, Demonization, Death, Natural Calamity, by Peter H. Davids

19 The “your” is singular (tēn kardian sou), which suggests that only Ananias was directly inspired by Satan, while Sapphira had agreed with Ananias and in that sense had been tempted by him.

20 Demonization is suggested by the language used in the passage; for example, plēroō “fill,” used in this passage of Satan filling Ananias’s heart is the same word used in Eph 5:18 of the believer’s being filled with the Holy Spirit (see BAGD, pp. 670-671, “plēroō” [1a] and [1b]).

21 The alternative would be to believe that Satan totally overwhelmed a pure, upright man. This did happen in the case of Eve, but seems less likely in this situation, especially since Ananias is presumably filled with the Holy Spirit as the other members of the church were.

22 For more information on these passages see Gordon D. Fee, 1 Corinthians (NICNT, ed., F. F. Bruce; Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1987) or Gordon D. Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus (NIBC, ed., W. Ward Gasque; Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1988). While the commentary literature takes seriously the idea that “the destruction of the flesh” indicates physical suffering (like Job’s?), most writers on church discipline look at it as the destruction of the sinful nature through being in the sphere of Satan (e.g. John White and Ken Blue, Healing the Wounded [Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1985] 104-106; Marlin Jeschke, Discipling in the Church [Scottdale, PA; Herald Press, 1988] 80-83). Either way, there are results which happen due to the influence of Satan, results that it is hoped will lead to repentance and salvation. These results are, then, some form of demonization.

23 David’s son by Bathsheba does die (2 Sam 12:14), so there is some bitter fruit of the sin. There is also the rebellion of Absalom (2 Sam 12:11-12). Yet when one realizes that the penalty for either of David’s sins was death, there is a real sense in which God does remit the fruit of sin. David himself lives to a ripe old age and sees his son Solomon (by Bathsheba) on the throne. The declaration of forgiveness has more than a spiritual effect.

24 Mark knows of the healing of natural disasters as well in that he reports the stilling of the storm (Mark 4:35-41) and the feeding of the 5000 (Mark 6:30-44). While these incidents do reverse what could be said to be the general fruit of sin (i.e. in Eden there was no lack of food nor any indication that there would be natural disasters), there is no specific tracing of these events to sin, although it is possible that Mark sees the demonic behind the storm in that Jesus speaks to the elements using the same words he uses elsewhere to rebuke demons (cf. Mk. 4:39 and Mk. 1:25). At the same time, the speaking could also be a prophetic declaration without indicating that a personal evil force was involved.

25 This is probably also the situation in Mark 5:21-24, 35-43, although in this case one could argue that it was simply a misdiagnosis given Jesus’ statement, “The child is not dead but asleep.” But Luke makes it clear that she was dead by stating, “Her spirit returned.” Matthew also sees it as the raising of the dead in that “the ruler” says, “My daughter has just died” (Matt 9:18).

26 On the symmetry, see Roger Stronstad, The Charismatic Theology of St. Luke (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1984) 33-35, especially the chart on p. 34.

27 In our view the structure of the Fourth Gospel is that of a Prologue (ch. 1), the Book of Signs (chs. 2-12, containing 6 signs), the Book of Glory (chs. 13-20, which are divided between the Farewell Discourses and the Passion Narrative) and an Epilogue (ch. 21). Thus the resurrection of Lazarus at least forms the culmination of the Book of Signs and, if the latter work once existed independently of the rest of the gospel, it may have formed the conclusion of the book, with ch. 12 rounding off the narrative.

28 That the meaning of Judas’ surname in Mark is correctly interpreted by Luke (Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13) as “the Zealot” and that this probably refers to his activity as an extreme nationalist of the type who were called Zealots in the period before the Jewish War of AD 66-70 is argued by R. A. Guelich, Mark 1-8:26 (WBC 34A, Dallas: Word Books, 1989) 163; and C. E. B. Cranfield, The Gospel according to St. Mark (CGTC; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1959) 132.

29 Cf. the remarks of C. H. Powell, The Biblical Concept of Power (London: Epworth Press, 1963), pp. 182ff.

30 The classic article on this topic is that of R. Bultmann, “pisteuō ktl.,” TDNT, vol. 6, pp. 174-228.

31 For further information on these verses see P. H. Davids, The Epistle of James (NIGTC; Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1982) on the respective passages, as well as the section on prayer in the introduction.

32 For erga denoting “miraculous works” when referring to Jesus and God in the Gospel of John: BAGD, p. 308; G. Bertram, “ergon,” TDNT, vol. 2, p. 642; K. H. Rengstorf, “sēmeion,” TDNT, vol. 7, pp. 247-248.

33 For miraculous signs functioning to evoke and encourage faith, see Jn 2:11, 23; 7:31; 9:16, 35, 36, 38 [cf. 9:30-32]; 10:37-38; 11:45, 47-48; 12:10-11; 14:11; 20:30-31 (cf. Mat 11:21; Mk 2:10); van der Loos, The Miracles of Jesus, p. 245, 265; H. Hendrickx, The Miracle Stories of the Synoptic Gospels (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987), p. 17.

34 In using “already—not yet” language we are indicating our dependence on the perspective on New Testament theology pioneered by Oscar Cullmann, Christ and Time (London: SCM Press, 1951), and developed by George Eldon Ladd, first in Jesus and the Kingdom (revised as The Presence of the Future) but most fully in A Theology of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1974). These works should be consulted for a fuller treatment.

35 We need to underline the “all areas,” for results in all areas of ministry are partial. Just as we do not see all people we pray for healed, so we do not see all we preach to converted. Just as we do not see all the dead raised, so we do not yet see the twistedness in human nature, our fallenness, eradicated (cf. Rom 7 and I Jn 1:6-9). This is important to realize, for some people see the spiritual results of the work of Christ as complete in the present while the physical results they see as mostly incomplete. In fact, as a concordance study would show, salvation in all its aspects has three tenses—those of having been saved, being saved, and going to be saved—and these three tenses apply to the spiritual results as much as to the physical results in the New Testament.

36 What is tragic is when the church allows the fact that we do not yet see all of the effects of sin reversed so to dampen its faith that she experiences almost none of the effects of sin being reversed (often limiting the ones she has faith for to the invisible, spiritual arena). Whenever this happens the church has become like the people of Nazareth among whom Jesus could not do any mighty works (Mark 6:5-6), although the reason for the modern lack of faith may be different than that found in the first century town.

Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the NIV®.

This chapter is from Gary S. Greig and Kevin N. Springer, eds., The Kingdom and the Power: Are Healing and the Spiritual Gifts Used by Jesus and the Early Church Meant for the Church Today? A Biblical Look at How to Bring the Gospel to the World with Power (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1993). Used with permission.

 

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Category: Biblical Studies, Fall 2006

About the Author: Peter H. Davids is a visiting professor of Christianity at Houston Baptist University and part-time professor at Houston Graduate School of Theology. He has taught biblical studies at Regent College (Vancouver, British Columbia) and Canadian Theological Seminary (Regina, Saskatchewan), and he continues to teach in theological schools in Europe. He is the author of commentaries on James and 1 Peter. He is the New Testament editor of the Word Biblical Commentary series, the translator (from German) of Reinhard Feldmeier, 1 Peter (Baylor, 2008), and has also been part of several Bible translation projects (including The New Living Translation, The Voice, and The Common English Bible). Davids’ passion for the church has been expressed in his deep church involvement. He served as a Plymouth Brethren US Army Chaplain for 5 years, then an Episcopal priest for 34 years. He is presently a Catholic priest in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Faculty page Ministry page

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