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I received the following question:

I need help, please, understanding the gospel of salvation in the Acts period.

Were different gospels of salvation preached during the Acts period?

It’s my understanding that the 2 gospels (of the circumcision, of the uncircumcision) in Galatians 2 were actually gospels offered TO the two different groups, not 2 different gospels as Mid-Acts teaches.

It is also my understanding that the gospel of the kingdom is not a gospel of salvation at all, but just an announcement that the long-awaited kingdom is near.

Is everyone in the Acts period saved by grace through faith?

Clearly I am confused, and I appreciate your help.

I will be happy to help you out with your questions regarding the gospel. Read the rest of this entry »

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I received the following question:

Colossians 2:13 – I need a more detailed explanation of this verse. I understand from Eph. 2:1 and 5 that it should read “being dead TO sins.” Why is it not the same in Col. 2:13? The whole context of Colossians, written to believers, seems to support the reading of being dead TO sins, not dead in sins. The Greek word suzoopoieo occurs only in Eph. 2:5 and Col. 2:13. Why would Paul say in Eph. 2:15, “We also being dead TO the offenses, makes us alive together in Christ Jesus,” and then tell the Colossians believers, “And you, being dead IN your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses”? It seems to me that all believers, having been made alive together in Christ Jesus, would necessarily be dead TO sins and not dead IN sins. The Companion Bible notes on verse 13 says “being, i.e. at that time.” But I don’t see anything in the Greek to indicate their past condition. Please enlighten me on this verse.

I start off by quoting Mr. Sellers’ Resultant Version of this verse, along with the notes, and my commentary on the verse. Read the rest of this entry »

sod02I 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.

Deut 6
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 »

words01I 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?

Thank You,

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 »

lighteye02I received the following question:

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!

rescue02I received the following questions:

Could you explain Rom 12:1
Present your body as a living sacrifice holy acceptable unto God which is reasonable service.

1Pet4:18
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 »

ticket02I received the following questions:

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.

I received the following question:

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 »