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Apostasy of the Church is the sign of the end times: Apostasy will corrupt all doctrine

Predicted by Jesus Christ

Another parable He spoke to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”  Matthew 13:33

Kingdom of heaven: the kingdom established on the rejection of Jesus Christ (Matt 12:24)

The woman: Christendom

Leaven: evil, which slowly pervades the entire loaf – that is all of Christendom, which is the definition of apostasy

Note some have tried to make leaven equal to the gospel – this is apostasy, for nowhere is leaven or yeast ever used to represent good: during the Feat of Unleavened bread (Exodus 12:19; Leviticus 23:6), it is the leaven, representing evil, that has to be removed from all homes.

Stated by the Apostle Paul

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come 2 Timothy 3:1

But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 2 Timothy 3:13

Apostasy will:

Deny the faith (1 Tim 4:1) – Christians will depart from faith and devote themselves to teachings of the Devil

Deny Jesus Christ and his grace (Jude 1:4)

Deny Christ and his death for the world (2 Peter 2:1)

Deny the Return of Christ (2 Peter 3:3-4)

Deny sound doctrine (2 Tim 4:3-4)

Deny the resurrection of Jesus Christ (2 Tim 2:16-18)

Deny God is Creator – they will wilfully forget that God created the heaven and earth depriving the glory of creation to God (2 Peter 3:5)

 

Further infomation: Andy Woods, who has a passion for true doctrine, gave a sermon on this topic (from where this short piece was extracted). "The Last Days Apostasy of the Church" < http://slbc.org/sermon/the-last-days-apostasy-of-the-church/ >  Accessed 8 February 2016

David L Simon
Updated: 07 Feb 2016

 

Election and Free Will - What the Bible Says

Election vs Free Will

Some Bible References for Consideration

Main Ideas

The bible allows free will but in His sovereignty, God exercises election, that is, the Bible expresses both election and free will.

Election in terms of salvation can only be viewed by the saved person. An unsaved person has no consciousness of it.

Election is an action of God towards humans, while free will is an action of humans.

Election occurred in the past and relates to how a saved person obtains the position he or she finds his or her self.

Election does not necessarily relate to salvation – it however does relate to God's eternal purpose.

Election

Election is not all about salvation

Israel was elected, but not all of Israel will be saved.

Deuteronomy 4:37

And because He loved your fathers, therefore He chose their descendants after them; and He brought you out of Egypt with His Presence, with His mighty power.

Romans 9:6

But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel

But the choice God made had nothing to do with any quality or quantity found in Abraham or his decedents

Deuteronomy 7:7

The LORD did not set His love on you [Israel] nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples

2. Cyrus was chosen by God some 200 years before he was born to bring the exiled people of God back to their promised land. There is no evidence he was saved, indeed, the contrary, for Isaiah 45:4 states that "you have not known me". See also Ezra 1:1-3.

Isaiah 45:1-4

"Thus says the LORD to His anointed, To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held-- To subdue nations before him And loose the armor of kings, To open before him the double doors, So that the gates will not be shut: 'I will go before you And make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of bronze And cut the bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness And hidden riches of secret places, That you may know that I, the LORD, Who call you by your name, Am the God of Israel. For Jacob My servant's sake, And Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me.

3. Christ was chosen (elected) by His Father to bring justice to the Gentiles

Isaiah 42:1

Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.

4. During the tribulation there will be elect people. This understanding is important, as too many seem to believe election only pertains to the church (during the tribulation the Church is with God – it does not suffer judgement). Israel will evangelise the world as commanded in Matthew 28:28 (Revelation 7:3-8), and some will be saved – these form the elect of the tribulation mentioned in Matthew 24

Matthew 24:22

And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened.

5. Church believers have been elected, and are called the 'elect of God'.

Colossians 3:12

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;

Titus 1:1

Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness

The apostle John writes to a Christian lady in order to warn Christians against receiving false doctrine, in particular doctrine that does not respect the person of Christ as coming in the flesh (2 John 1:7).

2 John 1:1

The Elder, To the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all those who have known the truth

 

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Election cannot be understood separately from the entire character of God

The Bible does not speak of election in isolation to the character of God. Indeed it can be said that election is in harmony with God's character and always connected to it. For this reason we need to rest in who He is (Psalm 37:7). Election of God involves at least the following:

God's will

God's will is His own; it is far beyond anything we can comprehend.

Ephesians 1:5

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will

Isaiah 55:8-9

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Love

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Glory

Election is for the sake of God to demonstrate His glory – it cannot be separated from this.

Ephesians 1:4-5,11

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, …

In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.

Jude 1:24-25

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever.

God's Eternal Purpose

The destination of a saved person is embodied in the inheritance provided by the Father in Christ, which has been worked out before the world was created. God's purpose was within the counsels of His will – His good pleasure, not some evil.

Ephesians 1:11

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will

God's desire that all be saved

Unlike the view of extremists in this topic, the Bible is clear that God wants everyone to be saved, but since not everyone will accept him, some will be lost (John 1:11).

1 Timothy 2:3-4

This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slow to fulfil his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Election and the Divine Sovereignty of God

Election preempts

Election is an action ahead of time – that is, it preempts and therefore one who is elected is preemptorally chosen.

Election is unconditional

God does not place a condition on election, that is, it is not true to say that if you do something (good) God will elect you for an everlasting inheritance (or anything else). It is faith that allows righteousness to be imputed not works.

Election comes from the Father

No one can come to the Father unless the Father first draws him. Note here the 'to draw' is the same word used when a net is taken aboard a boat – it's drawing against a resistance. For Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost (Luke 19:10).

John 6:44

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws (ἑλκύω to drag) him; and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:65

And he [Jesus] said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

A practical example of this is given in a few verses further on in John chapter six, in relation to the 12 disciples, which Jesus had chosen, although from the disciple's point of view they had chosen to leave their nets (Matthew 4:20; Mark 1:18). In each case Jesus gave the invitation "come follow me" (Matthew 4:19), and each on his own volition followed Jesus. However, from Jesus' view point he had chosen them:

John 15:16

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you

John 6:70

Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?

Simon Peter follows Christ, at Jesus' invitation, but it is not Simon Peter's own intellect that worked out the Jesus is the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16), but rather the Father who gave him this knowledge. Humans do not have innate knowledge of God, but God can elect to provide the knowledge to an individual. Jesus askes Simon Peter a question and gets the right answer – a deep and meaningful answer:

Matthew 16:15-16

He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

However, Jesus points out this knowledge if not of Peter's doing but of the Father.

Matthew 16:17

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

Election pertains to those who are saved

Those that believe on the Lord Jesus Christ are those that are elected (ordained).

Acts 13:48

And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained [lit. arranged] to eternal life believed.

Lydia was saved and become a useful vessel for Christ in the church at Thyatira, but it was not Lydia that opened her heart to the gospel, but the Father who opened it. This shows the pattern of salvation as Jesus spoke about in John 6:44: The Word is preached -> the Word is heard -> God opens the heart -> the person choses to believe -> the person is saved.

Acts 16:14

And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.

The purpose of election is conforming to God's will

The process of election is spelt out by the Apostle Paul in Romans. Many use this verse to abrogate their responsibility to preach the Word. They state that those God "foreknew" are saved, therefore, there is no need to hear to gospel, therefore there is no need to teach or preach the gospel, yet Scripture (Romans 10:15, 1 Corinthians 1:17, 2 Timothy 4:2 etc.) is adamant that the gospel must be preached so it can heard, else Lydia (Acts 16;14) would not have been saved, nor the jailer in Acts (Acts 16:30,31). Humans have a responsibility – see below; Romans 8:29-30 sets out the process of being glorified, it does not negate our free will, merely highlights it.

Romans 8:29-30

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

Election's purpose is for good works

Ephesians 2:10 (JND)

 For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has before prepared that we should walk in them.

Election is the prerogative of God

Romans chapter 9 sets out the sovereignty of God in relation to election. It tells of the counter-cultural action of God that set a first-born aside, to be ruled by the second born – this was God's prerogative.

Romans 9:11-12 (JND)

The children [Esau and Jacob] indeed being not yet born, or having done anything good or worthless (that the purpose of God according to election might abide, not of works, but of him that calls), it was said to her [Rachel, their mother], The greater shall serve the less.

Any objection to this view point, in particular those of a culture where the firstborn is particularly blessed, is answered by Paul thus, ending with a rhetorical but obvious question:

Romans 9:18-20

Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?" But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, "Why have you made me like this?"

Election pertains to Individuals

Jeremiah

Jeremiah 1:4-5

Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations."

Paul

It is interesting to note that Paul did not have a choice about who he preached the gospel to: it was the Gentiles, but included kings and the Jews. We are saved for a purposed, and that purposed is not ours but rather God's (Ephesians 2:10).

Galatians 1:15, 16

But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb and called me through His grace to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood

Acts 9:15-16

But the Lord said [the Apostle Peter] to him, "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake."

Rufus and others

Romans 16:13

Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; also his mother, who has been a mother to me as well.

A lady

2 John 1:1

The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth,

Groups

Disciples

John 15:16

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you

Messianic Jews

1 Peter 1:1-2

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood.

Election that means rejection

Judas

Judas was rejected by God and is spoken of by Jesus in the terms of election, for the purpose of ensuring people know that Christ is the Son of God (the purpose of John's gospel)

John 13:18-19

I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, 'He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.' I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he.

Pharaoh

Pharaoh rejected God six times (the number of man) before God rejected him, and hardened his heart – see Exodus chapter 8-11.

Exodus 11:9-10

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Pharaoh will not listen to you, that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt." Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh, and the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he did not let the people of Israel go out of his land.

Romans 9:22

What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,

Israel who reject Christ

1 Peter 2:7-8

So the honour is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, "The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone," and "A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense." They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

Free Will or the responsibility of Humans

Humans are created in God's image or His likeness

All people are created after the image of God; we are not exactly like God, for we are not God, and furthermore we have fallen, but we have the characteristics of Adam, the first to be made in God's image. Some like to suggest that this ceased with the fall but God did not remake Adam, and even in New Testament times men of God understood people were made in the likeness of God – James 3:9.

Genesis 1:26-27

Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Genesis 9:6

"Whoever sheds man's blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man.

James 3:9

Therewith bless we the Lord and Father, and therewith curse we men made after the likeness of God.

Humans must make choices

God placed the tree of knowledge of good and evil into the garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9) in order for man, created in God's image, to have the ability to carry out certain functions that God created in each, which would not otherwise have been exercised, noting that each person was made after God's own image (Genesis 1:26,27; Genesis 5:23 etc). That function was to be able to make a choice to rebel against God. If there was no method for man to be able to rebel against God there would be no method for God to demonstrate the magnitude of His love in showing grace to humans. Humans from the beginning could choose to obey or rebel against God.

Humans need to do something to be saved – they must believe

It is very obvious that humans have a choice of believing or not believing in God. Abraham was certainly chosen by God, but without believing, righteousness could not be imputed to him.

Genesis 15:6

And he [Abram] believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

Romans 4:16,22

Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all

He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore "it was accounted to him for righteousness."

The foundation of salvation is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus clearly teaches that it is not from our earthy bodies or own efforts that we can be saved: we are required to be born again, but to be reborn we need to believe in Jesus Christ the Son of God.

John 3:16

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

In practical terms a person seeking salvation only needs to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and he or she shall be saved.

Acts 16:30-31

And he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household."

Due to our free well we have a choice of repenting or continuing in sin, and for this reason, Christ orders his disciples to preach repentance and forgiveness of sins (Luke 24:47).

Acts 17:30

Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent

The Bible Teaches Election and Free Will

Jesus Christ was elected to be killed by the Jews for the sake of all, but it was Christ's free will that made the choice to obey his Father and it was purposed that the Jews would kill the Messiah.

John 6:38

For I [Jesus Christ] have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.

Here we have the purpose of God who elected that the Christ would die at the hands of wicked men, but it was the choice of men to kill this innocent man, the Son of God.

Acts 2:23

This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

Isaiah 53:10

Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.

The wife is chosen by the husband, but the woman has a choice: accept or reject:

Ephesians 5:23

For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Saviour of the body.

Rejecting False Teaching

Regeneration is not needed for faith

Some contend that faith is elected and follows regeneration hence making the need for the gospel of no effect. It places the horse before the cart. Scripture reflects the councils and economy of God. It is consistent from beginning to end. God has not changed His mind: faith has ALWAYS been required for righteousness to be imputed (Read Romans 9 -12). The Scriptures never state or even intimate that regeneration is required for faith. The outline that Jesus provides in John chapter three is clear and adequate to demonstrate that new birth (regeneration) follows believing in the only begotten Son of God.

Faith is not a gift, but a right that can be exercised by any person

Some take Ephesians 2:8-9 as evidence that faith is a gift of God, hence elected to a person, negating the need for free will (or the gospel to be preached).

Ephesians 2:8-9

For ye are saved by grace, through faith; and this not of yourselves; it is God's gift: not on the principle of works, that no one might boast.

This attitude arises from failing to read the verses correctly – God chose Greek as the vehicle to deliver the gospel because it is such an extraordinary rich language but very precise in its construct. Words, especially verbs and nouns have particular characteristics in the Greek that is poorly, if at all, reflected in English. These characteristics ensure that every verb is matched exactly to the noun on which the action is taking place or has taken place. In Ephesians 2:8,9 faith is not the gift, but salvation is. This aligns with all of Scripture – we cannot save ourselves and we cannot work for our salvation but we can accept the gift of salvation, provided as an unmerited favour (which is what grace means) from God the Father, through the Lord Jesus Christ. For the Greek scholars in this verse 'faith' is a noun "πίστις which is provided in the feminine genitive singular form (πιστεως), where 'gift' also a noun "δῶρον" is provided in as the neuter nominative singular form (δωρον) (the nominative names the main topic of this sentence – gift). The verb is 'saved' "σώζω" in the perfect participle middle (or passive) neuter masculine plural. The issue surrounds the word "this" (τοῦτο) which is a neuter (singular) pronoun, and working out to which noun is it referring – faith or grace. Bill Mounce clearly explains the rule needed to decide what the antecedent is (Antecedents and Faith (Eph 2:8-9))[1]. He writes "The answer is to know a little Greek! When Greek wants to refer back to a general though, perhaps a phrase, the pronoun can be in the neuter. 'This is not of yourselves' does not refer specifically to πίστεως but rather to the entire salvific process, of which faith obviously is a part. It is the entire salvific process that is God's gracious gift and is not part of our own doing. It is a gift." Grace (dative) is the cause of our salvation, whereby faith is the means. Isaiah is an example that testifies to this fact.

Further information

Landmarks and Stumblingblocks: The Doctrine of Election Misplaced. C. H. Mackintosh.

 

[1] William Mounce October 2011 "Bill Mounce's Blog" https://billmounce.com/blog/antecedents-and-faith-eph-2-8-9 Accessed 30 January 2016

David L Simon  (31 January 2016)
Doctrine\Election and Free Will - What the Bible Says

David L Simon
Updated: 31 Jan 2016

 

I cannot tell why he whom angels worship

I cannot tell why he whom angels worship
should come in flesh as prophets long foretold,
or why the Shepherd longs to save the wanderers
and bring them back rejoicing to the fold.
But this I know, that he was born of Mary
when Bethlehem's manger was his only home,
and that he lived at Nazareth and laboured,
and so the promised Saviour of the world is come.

I cannot tell how silently he suffered
as with his peace he graced this place of tears,
or how his heart upon the cross was broken,
the crown of pain to three and thirty years.
But this I know, he heals the broken-hearted,
and stays our sin and calms our lurking fear,
and lifts the burden from the heavy-laden,
for still the suffering Saviour of the world is here.

I cannot tell how he will win the nations,
how he will claim his earthly heritage,
how satisfy the needs and aspirations
of east and west, of sinner and of sage.
But this I know, all flesh shall see his glory,
and he shall reap the harvest he has sown,
and some glad day his sun shall shine in splendour,
when he, the risen Saviour of the world, is known.

I cannot tell how all the lands shall worship
when at his bidding,every storm is stilled,
or who can say how great the jubilation
when all our hearts with love for him are filled.
But this I know, the skies will thrill with rapture,
and countless voices then will join to sing,
and earth to heaven, and heaven to earth will answer:
"At last the living Saviour of the world is King!"

William Y Fullerton (c. 1920)
Updated: 24 Jan 2016

 

Why Did Jesus Come?

Christmas is the time to demonstrate the Messiah came into this world, and the purpose of His coming. In essence Christmas must not stop at the birth of Jesus because Christ came for a specific, pre-planned purpose.

1. The Messiah was Sent by His Father

Christ came willingly with the purpose of saving the world. When asked as to whether Jesus was the Christ by the Samaritan woman by the well (John 4:29), Jesus responds to his disciples who are concerned about food, thus: "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work." (John 4:34). Christ was sent into the world (John 20:21) to make atonement for our sins (1 John 4:10).

Later when asked about his authority to teach, since it was apparent he had not received any earthly credentials, he responds: "My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me." (John 7:16). His authority came from the father: "For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak." (John 12:49).

A number of times Jesus alludes to the fact that if he is accepted, then that one is accepting his Father, God, who sent him (Matt 10:40, Mark 9:37, Luke 9:48). Indeed the one who believes in the Son – Jesus Christ, the Messiah, believe in the one who sent him – the Father (John 12:44).
The Gospel of John indicates 24 times that Jesus was sent by the Father. Most pointedly he states he was sent to do the work of the Father (John 9:4), which includes speaking the words of the Father. Indeed Christ states he did not speak his own words, but those of the Father: For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. (John 12:49).

Furthermore, the son was sent for a pre-planned purpose. Paul in the Letter to the Ephesians speaks of the gospel as a mystery (ie a thing hidden), which was made known to the world, which he, God, had "purposed himself" (Ephesians 1:9). In other words, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit had replanned exactly what was to happen, in particular the roles of each of the Godhead along with the timing of the revelation of how God was going to save His people. Therefore, Christ came with a purpose – to save the lost (Luke 19:10).

2. The Messiah Was Sent to Deal with a Helpless People

We are reminded in Roman 6:6 that humans were utterly helpless in regard their salvation – a great gulf exists between God and man, and indeed, we were alienated from the life of God (Ephesians 4:18), having no hope (Ephesians 2:12). For when we were still without strength (ἀσθενής meaning feeble, impotent, sick, translated 'powerless' by JB Phillips), in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (Romans 5:6)

The Roman's verse indicates we all miss the mark and cannot ever hit it demonstrating the sinfulness of sin – God hates every false way (Psalm 118:7, Proverbs 6:16). Hate is a very powerful word – and God hates sin, which oppresses us. But God did not leave humans to our own devices. He understood that we were oppressed by sin (Luke 4:18) from which we are incapable of escaping. Isaiah states of the Messiah "Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke?" (Isaiah 58:6). The oppression of sin seems to go unnoticed by humans, although we live in a 24 hour media circus – with each evil act comprehensively and immediately reported, until the most evil acts becomes benign – then they fade from our consciousness. Why is it after some many decades is domestic violence not a thing of the past? Why do we see road rage, angry drunken people kill and maim, adults exploit young children, men exploit women for their sexual gratitude – and all this is in a civilized society, not the backblocks of Syria of Libya? Because all people are enslaved to sin and the only one that can break the chains of sin is Jesus Christ.

Paul puts it thus: "For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly." (Romans 5:6). This means that Christ came at the right time, and he came to deal with weak and helpless people – Jesus did not came to save the righteous but the sinners (Luke 5:32).

3. Jesus came because He is the Saviour.

Christ came to save (Luke 19:10), because he was able to: This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. (1 Timothy 1:15). To this end we have witnesses – John the apostle wrote:  "And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Saviour of the world." (1 John 4:14). It was only the Messiah that was able to appease the Father, and offer a sacrifice that would pay the entire debt of sin of each man and woman who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus came to give his life a ransom for many (Mark 10:43). That is, Jesus (Yeshua) the Messiah came to make intercession for the transgressors – those that sinned (Isaiah 54). For God laid the iniquity of us all upon him, which he bore on the cross at Calvary: "He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself." (Hebrews 9:26b). Indeed those saved have been bought at a price, as the Apostle Paul states: "For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." (1 Corinthians 6:20).

Why did Jesus Not Come?

1. Jesus did not come to call the righteous (Luke 5:32). Those not sick do not need a doctor, but those that are, require one that is competent and able to heal (Luke 5:31).

2. Jesus did not come to condemn or judge the world (John 12:47) – he came to save the world (John 8:16). He did come however to judge sin – to show how sinful sin was. He did this by fulfilling the law which shows the sinfulness of sin (Romans 7:13), and in his death he demonstrated the magnitude of holiness showing up the sinfulness of mankind.

3. He did not come to abolish the law and the prophets (Matthew 5:17).

4. He did not come to be served, but to serve (Matthew 20:28. Mark 10:43-45) – he came to serve his Father, which he did with distinction.

This message was inspired by Alistair Begg who preached on this subject on 29 December 2015 – see < https://www.truthforlife.org/resources/sermon/why-did-jesus-come/ > (Accessed 3 January 2015)

David L Simon Reference
Updated: 03 Jan 2016

 

What do the warnings of Revelation Chapter 22 verses 18 – 19 mean to Christians?

What do the warnings of Revelation Chapter 22 verses 18 – 19 mean to Christians?

I [The Messiah vs 13, 16] -  testify to every one who hears the words of the prophecy of this book, If any one shall add to these things, God shall add to him the plagues which are written in this book.

And if any one take from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life, and out of the holy city, which are written in this book.
 (Revelation 22:18,19 JND NT)

The Question

The question concerns the intent of these verses and in essence asks; does a believer who adds to or takes from the word of God lose his or her salvation? This can be broken down into four sub-questions.

  1. Who is this warning applicable to? Is it the Christian believer or some other class of person?
  2. What does the warning imply? That is, what does; "If any one shall add to these things" or "if any one take from the words of the book of this prophecy" mean?
  3. Does the consequence described in these verses mean that the person loses his or her salvation?
  4. The practical application: what does this warning mean to me, a believer in Jesus Christ, the Messiah?

Summary

  1. This passage pertains primarily to Revelation, but its warnings of adding to or subtracting from the Word can be applied to the whole of Scripture, since the Book referred is part of the Bible.
  2. Those that add or take from Scripture are those that deny Christ; thus are unsaved. Therefore the passage does not indicate a believer can lose his or her inheritance (to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you 1 Peter 1:4) i.e. salvation, who by definition has been born again and has been guaranteed by the Holy Spirit unto salvation.
  3. There are many example of cults and major religions whose writings are stated to be inspired and more authoritative than the Canon of the Lord God Most High, eg The Book of Mormon, and thus add to Scripture. These the Lake of Fire waits. Those that subtract from the Scripture, such as the Jews who do not hold the New Testament as authoritative, are unsaved. The archetypical example is the Pharisees who added and subtracted from the Torah, leading to Jesus' condemnation of them.
  4. The warnings and consequences of these verses do belong to Christendom and thus the apostate church. These are not saved.
  5. Adding and subtracting from Scripture demonstrates the unsaved state of the person, thus they will lose out on dwelling in the New Jerusalem – the Lake of Fire will be their final resting place.

Read more...

Background – the Believers Assurance of Salvation

Scripture is clear that a true believer is kept secure by the power of God, sealed for the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30), and of all those whom the Father has given to the Son, He will lose none of them:

And this is the will of him that has sent me, that of all that he has given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up in the last day. (John 6:39).

Something Christians miss - it is not our doing that 'keeps us', but the power of the Holy Spirit.  Salvation is God's work, not ours (Titus 3:5), and it is His power that keeps us. Indeed the Holy Spirit is the guarantee of the hope we have: "who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee." (2 Corinthians 1:22, 2 Corinthians 5:5, Ephesians 1:14, Ephesians 4:30b). It is clear that Paul was painstaking in ensuring the early church clearly knew and understood their salvation was secure, repeating multiple times that God the Father had given them the Spirit in their hearts as a guarantee. Unlike earthly guarantees we can rest assured that the Holy Spirit will never go back on his word: indeed he is incapable of doing so, for it is his character to be truth.

Jesus repeated the statement of not losing anyone one in his prayer just before he was crucified (John 17:12). Some have suggested the John 17 statement is a contradiction of the promise in John 6 because he had lost one, Judas. However, in careful reading one finds this is not the case – Jesus had not lost one of his own, but the "son of perdition". A believer is born again, becoming a son of God; Judas was a son of Satan and was never a believer, but an imposter; Judas was a traitor, and by his transgression (Act 1:25) blasphemed the Holy Spirit and died (Not to say that God had given him a chance to repent, but he chose not to). That is, if one rejects Christ, as Judas did – he gave Jesus up to be murdered - one cannot be saved: it is illogical to believe otherwise – for the one who turns away the rescuer cannot be rescued. The Lord Jesus Christ also proclaimed:

And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand." (John 10:28-29b).

Note that Jesus' promise of John 6:39 has a blessing; believers will all be raised up in the last day (see 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). That is Christians will be taken to heaven to be with Him.

Although a true believer in Christ cannot be lost, he or she may certainly be out of communion with God, be cast down and disciplined by the Father. In like manner Hymenaeus and Alexander, Christians of the church at Ephesus, were turned over to Satan by Paul so they might be taught a lesson (1 Timothy 1:20). Again these verses are often misinterpreted. Paul clearly outlines the action and purpose, none linked to salvation. The action relates to their corruption of the gospel (Hymenaeus said the resurrection had already past – 2 Timothy 2:18, and Alexander opposed Paul – see 2 Timothy 4:14, and most likely Acts 19:33, 34). The consequence of perverting the gospel was excommunication and being put out of the congregation, until they had learnt the lesson. Once learnt they would return. The consequence was one of physical discipline, and most likely loneliness, sickness or physical ailment; it was not a loss of salvation. Likewise Paul speaks of being shipwrecked when a believer runs astray which is not losing one's salvation (1 Timothy 1:19), but an act of loving discipline by the Father. The analogy of being shipwrecked is very apt – a shipwrecked sailor is useless – he cannot possibly be working the good works of God (Ephesians 2:10), but he is still a sailor – this is not taken away from him.

In answering a question such as this, one must be mindful that Scripture is one complete unit, being the Canon of God (literally meaning measuring stick) and therefore any answer needs to be consistent with every other part of Scripture. If it looks like the interpretation of passage is in conflict with another, it is always the person at fault not Scripture.

Answers

Who is this warning applicable to? Is it the Christian believer or some other class of persons?

Note that this not the first time such a warning is seen in the Canon of God. The Torah (Law) has a very similar ordinance, forbidding the addition to or subtraction from the law (Deuteronomy 4:2). The Jews did not obey this law, and in fact they supplanted the law with their own traditions (see Matthew 15:3, Mark 7:8 & John 9 etc.). The Jews had forgotten the most fundamental attribute of Scripture:

Every word of God is pure (Proverb 30:5).

The verses in Revelation 22 sets out for whom the warning is for: 18a states the warning is for "everyone who hears [my emphasis] the words of the prophecy of this book". So who might this be? It is for every person, whatever race of religion or economic or social standing, believer or unbeliever. It is for anyone who hears – which has the connotation of hearing and understanding, not simply hearing, in passing.

So what are they to hear? It is the prophecy of 'this Book'. Some argue this warning only pertains to the Book of Revelation, but the words spoken, under instruction of the Holy Spirit, became part of one book – the Holy Canon or Scripture of God – the Bible. So adding to Revelation logically includes adding to the whole Bible, since it forms the last and final book of the Canon.

Note the consistency of the command – one test for interpreting the intent of a Biblical command is to ensure its consistency with all of Scripture, for God is never inconsistent; the only inconsistent element is humans. The words of Revelation 22 mimic those of the Law – adding to God's commands (Deuteronomy) or God's prophecies (Revelation) is sin; it places that person above God either overtly or surreptitiously and both are punishable.

Verse 18 gives a clue for whom the warning is for because the consequence are the plagues of the prophecies. Church believers will not be present during the tribulation, having been raptured out of this world and therefore cannot have the plagues "added to him" – the Christian will be in heaven! Thus the verses points to unbelievers.

Verse 19 also gives a clue for whom the warning is being directed – it is those that could enter the New Jerusalem, because those that take away from the Word will lose his part from the tree of life and the holy city, which is the New Jerusalem. The tree of life will reside in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 22:2) and those saved from the great tribulation shall eat thereof. New Jerusalem is principally for Jews - the remnant that turn to God (Romans 9:27, which quotes OT prophecy), and gentiles saved during tribulation (as a result of the converted Jews evangelizing the world – Revelation 14).

The warning therefore relates to those that hear and understand the prophecy then deliberately pervert and corrupt it: it is applicable to the Last Days, therefore, to the people who are in the tribulation, but has a broader application, to the whole of scripture and therefore to unbelievers.

What do these warnings  imply? That is, what does; "If any one shall add to these things" and "if any one take from the words of the book of this prophecy" mean?

Warning 1

To add to "these things" is not merely writing some words. It concerns the expounding, teaching and actions in relation to the prophecies. The example of the Pharisees is the best example of what this means. These Jews took the pure law of God, corrupted, perverted and enforced it, even to death (including Jesus), for their own gain, by adding unwritten traditions and making their words more superior than the law itself. In doing so they contravened the law:

You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. (Deuteronomy 4:2).

The corruption of the Law by the Pharisees have been mimicked by many churches, cults and religions, the most notable the Catholic church, that places men's traditions above the Word of God, thus adding to the words, in its true and fullest sense.

So what are "these things"? To my mind the warning concerns adding to the prophecies of the Book of Revelation, because the punishment referred to concerns the plagues that are written in this book [my emphasis] – that is the Book of Revelation, which outlines the principal plagues that shall befall all people, except believers (who have been raptured to heaven), in the Last Days. Those that downplay, falsify or add to these prophecies shall suffer the same fate as the prophecies foretell, that of being cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 19:20, 20:20, 20:14,15).

Warning 2

To take from the words of the book is more than rubbing out some words. It concerns the denial of the prophecies contained in Revelation, and hence the denial of the authority of this book and the Bible as a whole. Denying the authority of the Book, denies God, because He is the author – and denying God has only one consequence – death (2 Timothy 2:12). This interpretation is consistent with the rest of Scripture. Denying God is punished by death, which ends after the second resurrection where the sinner is cast into the Lake of Fire. Blaspheming the Holy Spirit is the highest form of denying God (Mark 3:29). Blaspheming the Holy Spirit is to say that Jesus Christ is not the Son of God: and logically if one denies the Saviour, one cannot be saved.

Examples

Scripture provides examples of men who have added to or taken away from the Word of God. As already indicated above, the Pharisees are the archetypical example and to whom Jesus gave the strongest condemnation, because they should have understood:

Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered. (Luke 11:52)

Note that the warning in Revelation is essentially to those that hear, that is, those that understand or should understand the words – in exactly the same way the Pharisees should have known.

The Apostle Peter warns against the very men Jesus is warning in Revelation:

"But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction." (2 Peter 2:1)

Destructive heresies are those that prevent people being saved; for if the teacher preaches heresy how shall one be saved:

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? (Romans 10:14)

The gospel is of no effect if that one who preaches does not preach the truth!

The Apostle Jude uses even stronger language:

For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:4)

Another example are the Jews, whom Paul points out are distant from God. They have rejected the New Testament as the Word of God, therefore suffer, and will suffer in the Tribulation with only remnant being saved (Romans 9:27).

Does the consequence described in these verses mean that the person loses his or her salvation?

The consequence for adding to the words of the prophecy is suffering the plagues described in Revelation, thus that person goes through the Tribulation. The consequence of taking from the words of prophecy is denied access to the tree of life, thus is cast into the lake of fire. The tree of life is spoken of in Genesis (2 and 3), Proverb 3:18 and Revelation. The right to the tree of life is given to those that obey the commands of God and by doing so may enter into the New Jerusalem. Only saved people can do this:

Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. Revelation 22:14

Its purpose is to heal (be a therapeutic in Greek) the nations (gentiles) during the millennial reign: there will be no disease or illness.

In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. Revelation 22:2

Those that are unsaved cannot enter the new city – their taking and adding to the prophecy will be evidence of their unsaved state.

Thus persons committing these acts are unsaved. Therefore, consequences described are for those that are unsaved, having been judged and condemned, forfeiting their salvation because they have reject the Lord Jesus Christ. It does not pertain to a believer who cannot lose his or her salvation.

And the practical application: what does this warning mean to me, a believer in Jesus Christ, the Messiah?

As explained above, I do not believe these verses pertain to Christians, although it is a clear warning to them: the actual consequences occur in the Tribulation – Christians are saved, and therefore do not pass through the Tribulation.

The warning pertains to the prophecy in Revelation. However, Revelation is the last and final book – no other inspired word was written after the Apostles died and since Revelation forms part of the Canon, the warning belongs to the whole Bible. Therefore, the warning belongs to all people, not those that pass through the tribulation, and therefore, is a warning to Christians as well.

The warning to Christians is this: evidence of the unsaved state of a person, whatever he or she says, is that he or she will add or take from Scripture, nullifying the prophecies of God. Such a person cannot be saved, for they will deny the saving grace of God, and thus will be punished by the Lake of Fire.

David L Simon (6 September 2015)
\Questions\What does Revelation 22 v 19 mean for Christians in relation to their salvation?

David L Simon
Updated: 06 Sep 2015

 

What is the Cross of Christ all About?

The deepest note of the Cross is not what our Lord suffered as seeing the sin and degradation of men, great as that was, but what He suffered in His own person at the hands of a holy God when, to accomplish propitiation (which means "God, be merciful to me a sinner" (Luke 18: 13) ed.), "His soul" was made "an offering for sin." He saw indeed how men opposed the light He brought and ruined themselves, but far beyond that. He "poured out His soul unto death. He was numbered with the transgressors and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." THAT IS THE CROSS.

F B Hole Scripture Truth, 1916, Vol. 8.
Updated: 02 May 2014

 

But now is Christ risen from the dead

"But now is Christ risen from the dead."—1 Corinthians 15:20.

The whole system of Christianity rests upon the fact that "Christ is risen from the dead;" for, "If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain: ye are yet in your sins." The divinity of Christ finds its surest proof in His resurrection, since He was "Declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." It would not be unreasonable to doubt His Deity if He had not risen. Moreover, Christ's sovereignty depends upon His resurrection, "For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that He might be Lord both of the dead and living." Again, our justification, that choice blessing of the covenant, is linked with Christ's triumphant victory over death and the grave; for "He was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." Nay, more, our very regeneration is connected with His resurrection, for we are "Begotten again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." And most certainly our ultimate resurrection rests here, for, "If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you." If Christ be not risen, then shall we not rise; but if He be risen then they who are asleep in Christ have not perished, but in their flesh shall surely behold their God. Thus, the silver thread of resurrection runs through all the believer's blessings, from his regeneration onwards to his eternal glory, and binds them together. How important then will this glorious fact be in his estimation, and how will he rejoice that beyond a doubt it is established, that "now is Christ risen from the dead."

"The promise is fulfill'd,
Redemption's work is done,
Justice with mercy's reconciled,
For God has raised His Son."

Charles H Spurgeon Morning by Morning - January
Updated: 05 Apr 2015

 

Contact the author

If you find a grammatical error, spelling error, broken hyperlink or some other error on these pages please contact me mentioning the page title and location.


Updated: 08 Jun 2015

 

Using this website

The weakness of any Christian website is the failure of the author to truly know the mind of God - his weakness due to sin (and there will be weaknesses) can always be revealed if checked against the Bible. Therefore, it is urged that anyone using this web site must check the information against the Holy Scriptures - for the test of any such information, by any person, is against the Canon. For this reason the Canon is called simply that - deriving its name from 'cane' meaning measuring stick. Even the early Christians checked what the Apostle Paul had spoken against Scripture in order to test its veracity. You need to do the same.

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11 (NIV)

Furthermore, we must test all things:

Test [prove] all things; hold fast what is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:22


Updated: 11 Jan 2015

 

What's in the title of this website

The heading comes from John 3:16, perhaps the most famous verse in the Bible. It indicates that salvation is by faith and not by works. That is, one cannot ever achieve rightness before God by one's own effort. What one cannot forget is the rest of the text - John 3:16 does not stand alone:

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

And this is the condemnation, that light [Jesus Christ] is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.


Updated: 16 Apr 2011

 

Bibles used in this website

KJV = King James Version of the Bible
NIV = New International Version of the Bible original work copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
NKJV = New King James Version original work copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc

ESV = The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles

Others used

JND = New Translation by John Nelson Darby (1890)
Interlinear Greek-English New Testament (Literal, Textus Receptus, King James Version), Baker Books, Michigan, 1980
Strong's = Strong's Concordance, Hebrew and Greek Lexicon (either Riverside Book and Bible House, or an on-line version)


Updated: 16 Apr 2011