Archive for January, 2016

Since Jesus Died For Everybody, Salvation/Election Must Be Conditional

January 29, 2016

Notice that Jesus died for every man:

· Hebrews 2:9 … He … should taste death for every man.

· I Tim 4:10 who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe

· I John 2:2 And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

· I Timothy 2:6 Who gave himself a ransom for all …

Here’s my point: If God unconditionally/unchangeably selected the names of the saved before the foundation of the world, what would be the point in Jesus dying for everybody? Jesus dying for everybody implies everybody has the opportunity to be saved, which necessarily implies that the list of saved people is not unchangeable. Unconditional predestination/election therefore is proven false.

Predestination / Election

January 22, 2016

For sure the Bible talks about “predestination” and “election,” but what is predestined? Does God unchangeably force specific names to be saved, or did God elect (choose) the type of person to be saved? Consider the following texts which bear on this question …

  • Rom 8:29 whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son
  • Ephesians 1:4 … he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.
  • Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in
  • II Thessalonians 2:13 … God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of … Spirit and belief of the truth

Notice the above passages talk about the type of person that God chooses to be saved, and certainly prove our election is conditional. The conditions are stated loud and clear. The only question seems to be:

  • Did God predestinate that particular persons by name will meet the conditions in the sense of God miraculously forcing them to submit? (Calvinism), or
  • Did God predestinate that those (as a class) who meet those conditions by their own choice will be the ones who are elected/saved?

Either option fits the above verses equally well. But doesn’t II Peter 1:10 (“give diligence to make your calling and election sure”) make it clear the second option is correct? If our election is completely decided regardless of what we do, why would God tell us to make our election sure? Obviously we must do something to be one of the elect.

Illustration: Bear Bryant “predetermined” that those on his team would have a clean cut haircut. Does this mean he held them down and cut their hair by force, or does it mean he kicked them off the team if they did not conform of their own freewill?

Conclusion: Our Predestination/Election is Conditioned upon what type person we are.

Was The Purpose Of Jesus’ Death His Resurrection?

January 15, 2016

A gospel preacher recently wrote these three statements on Facebook:

  • What is the purpose of Jesus’s birth? His death.
  • What is the purpose of His death? His resurrection.
  • What is the purpose of his resurrection? Our salvation

It is very needed to emphasize the importance of Jesus’ resurrection, but to do so at the expense of Jesus’ death is a drastic mistake.

The very purpose of Jesus’ death was “our salvation” from sin. That is the central point of the gospel:

  • I Cor 15:3 … how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures
  • Matt 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
  • Mark 10:45 For even the Son of man came … to give his life a ransom for many.
  • Rom 5:8-9 … while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood …
  • Rev 1:5b Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood

Let’s don’t get so cute with our presentations that we de-emphasize the most important event in the history of mankind, the very heart of the gospel message.

Do The Saved/Faithful Go To Heaven?

January 8, 2016

I was very surprised recently to run into some Christians that refuse to say that Christians will go to heaven. Their reasoning was that that way of looking at it was too materialistic; instead we should just say that we are going to be with God. But we should never let human reasoning overrule God (Isaiah 55:8-9). This “too materialistic” argument reminds me of the rational that eating the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week makes Communion too commonplace (less special) so we shouldn’t follow the example of Acts 20:7 in that regard. Of course, as with any Bible question, human rational such as “that is too materialistic” is irrelevant (Prov 14:12); the only thing that matters is – do the scriptures teach the Christians’ reward is heaven or not? What does the Bible say on this topic?

First, if the faithful are admittedly going to be with God in eternity, doesn’t that also say we will be in heaven since texts like Matt 6:9 (“Our Father which art in heaven”) show that heaven is where God is?

The very point of II Cor 5:1 (“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens”) is that on earth our body/house is temporary in nature, but later we will have an “eternal” lasting body/house in heaven Note: Don’t be thrown off by the fact that the word “heavens” is plural in the verse – the Bible many times uses the plural to refer to the spiritual heaven where God is – for example in Luke 12:33, Acts 2:33-34, Acts 7:56, Heb 4:14, and Heb 8:1. Let me repeat the pertinent thought of that verse: Jesus’ disciples will be in heaven.

Matt 5:10-12 shows that those who are persecuted for righteousness sake in this life can be glad because they will receive “reward in heaven.” Luke 6:23 reiterates the same. Where will we receive our reward? – “in heaven” is what God says … so forget what man says.

Matt 6:19-21 teaches we should lay up treasures in heaven instead of on earth, and Matt 19:21 says we will eventually have that treasure in heaven. These verses are not that hard to understand, are they?

In John 14:1-3 Jesus taught he would soon go to his Father’s house to prepare a place for us there. We know he is talking about heaven because that is the Father’s house (where the Father is), and because we know heaven is where Jesus ascended to some days after his resurrection (Acts 1:9-11). The text goes on to say Jesus is going to receive us there, that is, into heaven. That’s pretty clear, isn’t it?

Col 1:5a reads “For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven …,” so the Christian’s hope is heaven and what awaits us there. I Pet 1:3-4 says that hope involves “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.” The point of both passages is that our hope/inheritance awaits us in heaven.

Heb 10:34 reads “For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.” The point of the verse is that Christians could cheerfully face the spoiling of their goods (via persecution) since they knew they would eventually receive in heaven goods (substance) that are more enduring.

Conclusion: The Bible teaches the faithful Christian’s final reward will be realized in heaven. There is really no need to jump on the bandwagon of every little teaching fad that comes along.

Matthew 19:9 – Four Possibilities

January 1, 2016

Matt 19:9 reads “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.”

One of my mentors, Hiram Hutto, first helped me to notice that the verse presents four possible scenarios:

1. The one who puts away their spouse for fornication does NOT commit adultery when they remarry.

2. The one who puts away their spouse for a reason other than fornication commits adultery when they remarry.

3. The one who is put away by their spouse for fornication commits adultery when they remarry.

4. The one who is put away by their spouse for a reason other than fornication commits adultery when they remarry.

Many will say the #4 possibility, the person put away not for fornication has a right to remarry (if they are innocent or their spouse has committed fornication), but dividing the verse up into the four possibilities helps us to clearly see that is not so. If a person put away from a scriptural marriage (Rom 7:2-3) marries again, they commit adultery – period. It does make a difference who actually gets the divorce (along with who commits fornication). Let’s never try to defend either of the above three adulterous situations, in any shape, form, or fashion.