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I received the following question:
I am confused regarding the salvation of Israel during the Old Testament. I appreciate your helping me clear up my misunderstandings.
24. And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day.
25. And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.
This verse seems to say that keeping the law will bring righteousness. Read the rest of this entry »
I received the following question:
2 Thessalonians 1
7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
In this passage we are told to obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Would you please explain what this gospel entails?
The word “gospel” in Greek is the word euangelion, The prefix “eu” means “good,” but good in the sense of being right. “Angelion” means a message, and is related to the Greek angel or “messenger.” So a gospel is a right or true message. One example I like to give as a “gospel” is if you were sleeping at night, and suddenly you were woken up by a shout, “Fire! Get out!” This would be far from good news, yet if it was true, it would be the right news, and the news you needed to hear. Read the rest of this entry »
Regarding your Knowing God in the Word series on John 3, would the “light” that every man receives (John 1:9) be the basic awareness that there is a God (leaving men without excuse – Romans 1:20), in contrast to a more specific enablement to believe (due to a generation from above) that Jesus is the Christ, the representation of God in human form?
And as for us in this dispensation, is it the witness of the completed “quick and powerful” Word of God, the Bible, that is solely used by the Holy Spirit to enable us to believe without seeing evidential miracles/signs?
Looking to the future, certainly the work of the Spirit in John16:8 will be in a category of its own!!
Yes, you have correctly stated what I think the “light” that every man receives is. Not all get the specific awareness of Jesus Christ as God, but all do get the knowledge that there is above themselves a Being Who is supreme.
I would agree that it is the Word of God, the Bible, that allows us with the Holy Spirit’s help to believe without seeing any proof in the form of signs or miracles. Without the Word of God, there is no true faith. Of course, that Word could be spoken by another and you could believe the Word spoken, if it was spoken truly.
Yes, the work of the Spirit in John 16:8 will be a work very different from any work He performs today. What a time that will be!
Could you explain Rom 12:1
Present your body as a living sacrifice holy acceptable unto God which is reasonable service.
If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and sinner appear? Wherefore, let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well-doing, as unto a faithful creator.
Thanks for your help.
To present your bodies to God as Romans 12:1 indicates means to live a life that is separate from the world around you and acceptable to God. It means not being conformed to the world around you by acting like the world acts, but rather being changed by having your very way of thinking about things renewed to accord with the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. It means living a lifestyle that accords more and more with the lifestyle set forth in Ephesians 4-6, which is the worthy walk (lifestyle) of the believer, in keeping the unity of the Spirit, in putting off the old man (manner of life) and putting on the new man, in walking in love, in walking in light, in walking circumspectly, in submitting to other believers in the fear of God, in putting on the whole armor of God, and in praying. Read the rest of this entry »
I received the following question:
When the Kingdom comes in will non-believers still have a chance or will they be cut off? I have a sibling who because of the way religion was enforced in our family, doesn’t want to hear about God and Christ. She feels that religion is the same as God. Will she have a chance in the Kingdom? What about if she dies before the Kingdom comes in? Where does the smoking flax fit in?
There is a difference between a non-believer and an unbeliever. A non-believer would be one who has never heard or understood the message in order to believe it. An unbeliever, however, is one who has heard the message, been enlightened to the truth of it by the Holy Spirit, and yet has rejected it. The sin of unbelief will be enough to keep one out of the kingdom. Non-belief because one has never heard or understood, however, is not a sin, and one in that case would be judged on what one did know or understand. If God sees that in their life that pleases Him, He may allow them to live in His kingdom. Read the rest of this entry »
A friend (L) told me recently that because of my anger, when the Kingdom comes God will say to me…I never knew you. Is this true?
(L) has frequently said that the time is short for the Kingdom to come in and that I would be sorry I didn’t do more..(also that my behavior is not up to snuff).
How do I know whether my behavior will keep me from entering into the Kingdom or even coming under the Kingdom?
Assuming your friend L is not the Lord Jesus Christ, I would say that she has no right to say whom God will and will not proclaim these words to. She obviously has no problem speaking in the place of God, but she has no authority to do so. She would do well to heed the Scripture that says, “Judge nothing before the time,” I Corinthians 4:5. Read the rest of this entry »
I received the following question:
You mentioned that there are multiple downsides to Gentiles fearing God and working righteousness (Acts 10:35.) One is that there is no means of forgiveness to those who failed to work righteousness, except in Christ. Are you saying that if they break the law that is in their conscience, they cannot be forgiven unless they then learn about and trust Christ? Romans 2:15
Not necessarily. Read Ezekiel 18 in this light. Ezekiel 18:27 sums it up.
27. Again, when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness which he committed, and does what is lawful and right, he preserves himself alive.
Yet that is a difficult way to approach salvation. When you have killed someone, for example, there is no bringing that person back. Living lawfully and rightly after that does not erase what was done. How does one know he has lived right enough, or turned from wickedness enough? Faith in Christ frees one from all this. It is a great blessing.
Are fearing God and working righteousness required of us today? And if so, if someone who does not believe that Jesus died for their sins, but fears God and works righteousness (i.e. religious), what is their standing in the kingdom? Thanks.
Well, this would be entirely dependent upon what they did know of God. Anyone who hears the true message about Christ, understands it (is generated by God to understand it,) and rejects it cannot be said to be fearing God. Anyone who refuses to believe is not a God-fearer. Of course, there could be many extenuating circumstances. If some (like many Israelites) have been persecuted in the name of Jesus Christ by those who take His name emptily, if they then hear the truth about Christ, we can well understand why they might not believe it and reject it. But assuming there really was a God-given understanding of the truth, no unbeliever can be described like Acts 10:34-35.
If we assume that the one in question has not heard the true message about Jesus Christ or received any further revelation of Him, however, then yes, if he fears God and works righteousness, he will be accepted by God. I do not know that I would describe this as “being religious.” Religion tends to be man’s attempt to approach God on his own terms. The only true religion ever was the one God gave Israel. One who fears God may attempt to approach him in wrong ways, it is true. But those misguided attempts will not be what helps him, but simply that he fears God, and works the things that he knows to be right. Read the rest of this entry »
My story is the one you have probably heard a million times, raised in church, believed in God from childhood, baptized at 6 or 7, never denied Christ with my mouth, but I went on to live a life that had almost nothing to do with Him; therefore totally denying Him with my life.
I am now 34 and I find that I am more worried of my salvation than I have ever been. I am also the guy that answered the alter call 20 times and gave his life to Christ literally 100’s of times other than that. I realize that is impossible, but I have never been sure of my salvation. I have never acted like I was saved.
I went through 20 years of heavy pornography and 15 years of heavy alcoholism and all the time I knew ‘mentally’ that there was a Christ; I just didn’t live like it. I now question whether I was ever really saved. I really don’t believe so. I can’t look back on my life and see any real fruit at all, not for longer than a month or two anyway and that was probably largely works. I am wondering if I was not saved or I was and committed the willful sins that pulled me out of the Lord’s hand. My sins were willful, I knew what I was doing was wrong, but they did plague me. I felt like I was a slave in hell to them, but unfortunately there where years when I enjoyed them. Daily, for over a decade I felt shackled to porn and alcohol, crying out while selfishly returning, sometime leaving behind anything ‘God’ for months or years at a time. These days it is just a constant crying out to God for forgiveness and repentance. I am really not even crying much anymore, I am sure my heart is hard. I am scared I am only trying to seek Him so I don’t go to Hell, I know that is a large part of the reason. I am a physical virgin but I reached the very bottom of the barrel with porn … That is just more of an explanation of how bad my mind is.
I have attempted heart felt repentance hundreds of times in my life only to head out and commit the same offenses; many times the next day. On one or two occasions I got into the Word and the sins were kept at bay for a month or so, but almost never longer than that; which of course makes me aware that it was false repentance. I loved these sins. Read the rest of this entry »
I started to learn right division back in 91’, and since that time I had been convinced that salvation was by faith and works for the Jew in the past, and again in the future. But, in light of the resurrection and our time and purpose during the kingdom of God, how does the works of the following groups factor in to those things: Gentiles prior to the Law, Jews and Gentiles from the Law to Acts 28, Gentiles in this age of grace?
One verse that is really helpful in this regard (and the entire passage is worth studying in this connection) is Acts 10:34-35. Peter here is standing before the gathered household of the Roman Cornelius. We read, “Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.”
In this statement of Peter we find an important truth. That is, that the criteria for salvation in every nation are that one fear God and work righteousness. As Solomon puts it in Ecclesiastes 12:13 (KJV), “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” Solomon, speaking by inspiration, comes to the same conclusion Peter does: that fearing God and keeping His commandments is man’s whole duty. Read the rest of this entry »