Bible Study Lessons

(1---25)

 Part 1The Incredible Good News of the Gospel 

Part 2

Experiencing the Power of the Gospel

 Part 3Biblical Doctrines in the Light of the Gospel 

Part 4―Last Day Events (Eschatology)

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The Heart of the Issue

( page 1 of 5 )

 

The major idea of discovering our assurance of salvation will revolve around the core issues that concern people these days like: being Judged, Faith, Works, Grace, and Law keeping.  We are talking about “how” the believer understands the reason that he/she is entitled to enter the kingdom of heaven.

 
When dealing with "why" we behave, concerning the end times, one must understand that there are two different issues that we need to consider.  They both are often confused to be the same issue, but they are really separate issues.  The first one is how we view our salvation; and the second one is how we view our reward.  The christian needs to know, that while good works do not contribute to your salvation, it does contribute to your reward “given” to you in heaven!!

For more detailed information about the differences between these two issues, you can goto the website tab: “Our Title to heaven and Our Fitness for heaven” where page 3 of 9 discusses “Your Reward given to you in heaven

(click on the link to go there).  And the real issue that we should be focusing on while we are here on this Earth, instead of trying hard to be good enough to make it to heaven, is the issue of “character development” (click on this link) to goto page 4 of 9: Working on character development, in the same module.

 

In the bible we will find 2 sets of texts, that when you read it by itself on the surface, it may seem to contradict each other.  So, we will start our discussion with a comparison of these groups of texts below in the table charts:

 

 

Are we judged as Christians or not?

What do they all say?

Rom 14  (v. 10) But why do you judge your brother or sister?....For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God. (v. 12) So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.

Does “all” include Christians? 

II  Cor 5  (v. 10) For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

Eccl 12  (v. 14) For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether it is good or whether it is evil.

John 5  (v. 22) For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, (v. 23) that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father.

What does Jesus have to say? 

John 12  (v. 47) And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.

What does the Holy Spirit say?

John 16  (v. 8) And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin….and of judgment. (v. 9) of sin, because they do not believe in Me. (v. 11) of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

 

 

John 3  (v. 17) For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

 

So, which is it?    Are we judged or not?     That is the first issue we are going to discuss and now the second one:

 

Another group of texts concerns the issue of  “Is our Salvation by Works or by Faith” through grace?

 

Matt 16  (v. 27) For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.

 

 

Is our salvation by good Works?

….or is it by Faith through grace?

Rev 20  (v. 12) And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened.…And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.

Jam 2  (v. 21) Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?

Titus 3  (v. 4) But when the kindness and the love of God.…toward man appeared, (v. 5) not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us…. (v. 6) whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.…

Jam 2  (v. 24) You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

John 5  (v. 28) .…for the hour is coming in which all who are in the greaves will hear His voice, (v. 29) and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.

Eph 2  (v. 8) For by grace you have been saved through faith…. (v. 9) not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Rom 4  (v. 5) But to him who does not work but believes on Him.…his faith is accounted for righteousness.

 

 

 

Rev 22  (v. 12) And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to

his work.

 

So, which is it?    Is salvation by works or by faith?   And the third issue, which is very similar:

 

This other issue concerns the topic of  “Are we saved by the Law or by Faith” through grace?

 

 

Is our salvation by Law keeping?

….or is it by Faith through grace?

Rom 2  (v. 13) for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified.

Rev 22  (v. 14) 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.

Eccl 12  (v. 13) Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

Rom 3  (v. 27) Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. (v. 28) Therefore, we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

Gal 2  (v. 16) knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.…for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

 

 

Rom 3  (v. 20) Therefore, by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight.…

 

So, which is it?     Are we judged or not?    --And--     Is salvation by works or by faith?

 

Does the bible contradict itself?                          

 

********Well, there is a third group of texts that unite the two sides.********

 

Genuine justification by faith always produces works; these works don’t save you, but rather they are the evidence that you are abiding in Christ.

 

 A faith that is not sustained by works is worthless.  Says the apostle....I will show thee my faith by my works.  That faith

 if cherished in our hearts will necessarily draw after it the good works which justify and endorse the faith of the   believer.  Good works are indispensable as the fruit of faith, and are the sure evidence that we have passed from death   unto life.…[1] 

 

John 14  (v. 7) If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also.… (v. 8) Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” (v. 9) Jesus said to him.…He who has seen Me has seen the Father.… (v. 10) .…the Father who dwells in Me does the works. (v. 12) Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also.…

 

Matt 5  (v. 14) You are the light of the world…. (v. 16) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

 

Under the AGAPE gospel, we are saved by grace alone, and this grace is received by faith alone (Ephesians 2:8).  Good works (Ephesians 2:10), motivated by God’s (agape) love for us, are the fruit of the Spirit.  While glorifying God, these works do not contribute one iota to our salvation; rather they evidence the salvation that is already ours in Christ.[2]

 

Eph 2  (v. 10) For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

 

Titus 3  (v. 8) This is a faithful saying.…that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works.   Why?   These things are good and profitable to men.  (not to believers)

 

The world needs to see Christ in us; and the works are the fruit of salvation!!

 

 The one object God (has) in making you a branch is that Christ may through you bring life to men.  Might this be the   reason we read that God is waiting for His people to perfectly reflect His image?  Why?  Because men and women can   only feed on what they really see, and are only attracted to come to Christ on the basis of what they see as well.[3] 

 

John 15  (v. 5) I am the vine, you are the branches.  He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (v. 4) Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

 

 [And again] ....The one object God (has) in making you a branch is that Christ may through you bring life to men....   Through what?   The fruit!  The fruit is what nourishes anyone who comes to the vine....And if we are the branches,   we are to bear fruit and thus supply the food through which the world is to know the Lord Jesus.[3] 

One more comment about “works” and believing:

 

John 6  (v. 28) Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” (v. 29) Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

 

Matt 7  (v. 21) Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord” shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.

 

John 6  (v. 39) This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. (v. 40) And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

 

When a believer sins or lives in sin, fellowship with God is broken (not salvation).  When you are out of fellowship, God cannot bless you, nor does He honor your prayers.  The only prayer He will honor when you are out of His “will,” and thus His fellowship, is the prayer of confession.[4] 

 

I  Jn 1  (v. 9) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

Isa 59  (v. 2) But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.

 

Prov 28  (v. 13) He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.

 

But what about the Law?  Let’s take a look at some bible texts about the Law.

 

Rom 13  (v. 8) .…for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. (v. 9) .…and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (v. 10) Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law.

 

Matt 5  (v. 43) You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” (v. 44) But I say to you, love your enemies.…do good to those who hate you.…

 

Matt 22  (v. 35) Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question.…saying, (v. 36) “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?”  (v. 37) Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (v. 38) This is the first and greatest commandment.

 

(Verse 39) And the second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (v. 40) On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.                

 

God is not looking for a people who are mechanically keeping 10 stated rules; but a people who are willing to allow Christ to reproduce His character in them, so that when they are seen, everybody will know that they have been with Jesus!!

 
To learn of Christ means to receive His grace, which is His character.[5]  With great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus; and great grace was upon them all (Acts 4:32-33).  We are reading about a church where the character of Christ was strongly implanted upon the members.  This implanting explains why the people looking upon the Ephesus church members knew that they had been with Jesus.[6]
 

What you have just read today, proves that the bible does not contradict itself; because there are a third group of texts which unite the two sides of works, faith, and Law keeping.

 

Now let’s discuss the issue of what the judgment is all about in the book of Daniel, on the next webpage, we will look at the (Investigative) Judgment.…

 

References:

1. E.G. White, Bible Training School (1 Jun 1915) “The Work of Faith” par.2

2. Savior of the world Bible Course, (2000). Lesson 2, “The Love of God.”

3. Dan Augsburger, (2009). The Branch and the Vine (sermons by Frank B. Phillips), p.21-22, Booklet.

4. Bill Niland, (2004). The War Manual, p.105, Real Deliverance Ministry.

5. E.G. White, Christ Object Lessons, p.271, Pacific Press.

6. Dan Augsburger, (2009). The Branch and the Vine (sermons by Frank B. Phillips), p.68-69, Booklet.

 

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