"No Man"


     One of the incidents recorded in the New Testament that emphasized Jesus' majesty is the transfiguration (Matt. 17: 1-13; Mk. 9: 2-10). During the transfiguration, there appeared unto Peter, James, and John along with Jesus, Moses and Elias (Matt. 17: 1-3). However, to impress upon the disciples the singularity of Jesus, only the transfigured and glorified Jesus was later seen by them. We read, "And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only" (vs. 8). Notice the expression "no man" (houdena). "No man" simply and absolutely means there was no other person present, Moses and Elias were no longer visible (click on "The Transfiguration" to read more). The style of the scriptures is decisive and definitive. Paul wrote, "…the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord" (I Cor. 14: 37). Scripture is "inspired of God" or God breathed (2 Tim. 3: 16, 17). God's word is authoritative and shall judge all men in the last day (Jn. 12: 48). One way the definitiveness of the scriptures is set forth is by using the expression "no man." Let us consider some instances of "no man."

     No man can serve two masters. Jesus unmistakably taught: "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon" (Matt. 6: 24). Notwithstanding Jesus' decisive teaching, many men today believe they are the exception - they can successfully serve two masters. However, Jesus said "no man" can do service to two opposite masters. Hence, Jesus by using "no man" emphasized the utter impossibility of man, any man, seeking to serve two masters.

     No man shall see the Lord without holiness of life. The writer of the Hebrew Epistle stated without ambiguity, "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord" (Heb. 12: 14). "Holiness" is translated from hagiasmos and means the following:

     "Noun hagiasmos: translated 'holiness' in the AV of Rom. 6:19,22; 1 Thess. 4:7; 1 Tim. 2:15; Heb. 12:14, is always rendered 'sanctification' in the RV. It signifies (a) separation to God, 1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:2; (b) the resultant state, the conduct befitting those so separated, 1 Thess. 4:3,4,7, and the four other places mentioned above. 'Sanctification' is thus the state predetermined by God for believers, into which in grace He calls them, and in which they begin their Christian course and so pursue it. Hence they are called 'saints' (hagioi). See SANTIFICATION" (W. E. Vine, Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words).

     The doctrine of universal salvation is repugnant to the Bible believer (Matt. 7: 13, 14). Not only will not all men be saved, but only those who live a holy and sanctified life have the promise of eternal life. Notice, there are no exceptions - "without which no man shall see the Lord."

     No man can tame the tongue. James chapter three is known as the "tongue chapter." James began by warning about simply wanting to become a teacher (Jas. 3: 1). James seeks to cause all to think about wanting to be teachers in view of the weighty attendant responsibilities and the serious consequences involved in failure (teaching error). James then expands on the abuse of the tongue (vs. 2 ff.). Lest any relax and think they can leave the tongue unguarded, James wrote the following: "But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison" (vs. 8). Man can control the tongue, but man cannot so render the tongue tame that the tongue need not be guarded at all times. Consider that "no man" can tame the tongue.

     No man has seen God. Many claim to have seen God. In fact, many religions have been begun and continued based on the claim that their founder saw God and God directly talked with him, revealing the particular religion to him. Some teach that salvation cannot be acquired unless one has a supernatural experience that involves seeing God. Notice John's definitive statement, "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him" (Jn. 1: 18, cp. I Jn. 4: 12, 20).

     No man can come to Jesus unless the Father draws him. There is a great mystery in the religious world as to how men come to Jesus. The process is rather simple, though, providing there is a good and honest heart. Consider Jesus' teaching: "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, and they shall be all taught of God, every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me" (Jn. 6: 44, 45). There is a teaching process, even faith comes by hearing the word of God (Rom. 10: 17). This is why the gospel is "God's power unto salvation" (Rom. 1: 16). Hence, man does not experience some inexplicable experience that is prompted by the supernatural and irresistible operation of the Holy Spirit (click on "The Holy Spirit" to learn more). Notice, Jesus said "no man."

     No man can lay another foundation. It is elementary knowledge that for any structure to be of lasting value, there must first be a proper foundation upon which to place the structure. Paul borrowed from architecture when he wrote, "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (I Cor. 3: 10). Thus, the proper religious foundation is not Joseph Smith, Sun Moon, or a host of other cult leaders. "I am the exception," someone says. Not so! Paul said, "no man."

     No man knows the day of Jesus' return. Jesus said regarding his coming and the end of earth's time, "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only" (Matt. 24: 36). These words were barely out of Jesus' mouth when men began to predict when Jesus was coming. There have been numerous date setters through the ages, all of them unsuccessful. Why have they all failed? Jesus said "no man" knows the day.

     Beloved, the phrase "no man" means just that: no man, no exception and no doubt about it! One vestige of inspiration is the plain, cogent, and emphatic teaching resident in the scriptures. The Bible is not a collection of opinions or think so's. The Bible truly is "not … the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God" (1 Thes. 2: 13, click on "The Inspiration of the Bible"). The Bible imparts certainty and assurance, providing man with a belief by which to live and ultimately die (Lk. 1: 4; 2 Tim. 4: 1-8).