Volume VI, Number 52
In this issue:
Some say sinners are saved only by grace; others say only by faith. As we hear many put it: “We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.”
Now, call me thickheaded, but if we are saved by “grace alone”, how does faith have any part in our salvation? If faith has any part in our salvation, then we are not saved by “grace alone”, now are we?!
Certainly, we are saved in Christ. But, since “your faith and hope are in God,” Christ is not alone in saving us, now is He?! (1 Pet. 1:21) Indeed, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” (2 Cor. 5:19).
Since “the sum of (God’s) word is truth”, we must take all the Bible says concerning what (and who) saves us in order to fully understand the will of the Lord on this (or any) subject (Psa. 119:160; Eph. 5:17).
The Bible teaches there are a number of things that save us. None of them can be omitted if we are truly saved. The Bible says sinners are saved by:
God – 2
Timothy 1:9; James 4:12
God is the source of salvation; hence, we are saved by His mercy and grace (Eph. 2:4-9; Tit. 3:5). The death and resurrection of Jesus secures our redemption and life; hence, we are saved by His death and life (Rom. 5:9-10; Eph. 1:7). Man is called by the gospel to believe in Christ and obey Him in faith in order to be saved in Christ; hence, the believer must confess his faith, repent of his sins, and be baptized for salvation (Rom. 1:16; Eph. 2:8; Heb. 5:9; Rom. 10:10; Acts 17:30; Mk. 16:16). We yearn for redemption; hence, we are saved in hope (Rom. 8:24).
Remember, “the sum of (God’s) word is truth” (Psa. 119:160).
Our question assumes a few things. First, man has a soul. This is contrary to the belief of the "Jehovah’s Witnesses," Seventh Day Adventists, Atheists and others. However, the Bible teaches man has a spirit or soul (1 Thess. 5:23; 2 Cor. 4:16). Second, the soul lives beyond this life. Jesus affirmed this when the Sadducees questioned Him on it (Matt. 22:23-33). Third, man dies. There is no escaping this (Heb. 9:27). So, where does the soul go after death?
Ecclesiastes 12:7 says, "Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it." Some believe this teaches that the soul goes to heaven to dwell with God until the resurrection. However, this cannot be the meaning. All bodies do return to the dust, but not all men go to heaven (Matt. 7:13-14). Rather, while in the body man has control over his spirit, where it goes, what it does, but after death, that control is lost. Where the spirit goes after death is controlled by God.
Further investigation reveals that spirits are sent to one of two places, Abraham’s bosom or torments (Luke 16:19-31). The righteous go to Abraham’s bosom (paradise) and the unrighteous go to torments. This is in the realm called Hades, where a great, impassable gulf separates paradise and torments (Luke 16:26). Hades is the realm of the dead that will not be destroyed until the judgment (Rev. 20:11-15). Therefore, all spirits are sent into the Hadean realm to await the final judgment.
Some wonder what Paul meant when he wrote, "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus" (1 Thess. 4:14). This is teaching that the dead will return at the same time Christ returns. They must, because when He returns the resurrection will take place (John 5:28-29; 1 Cor. 15:21-26). Thus, He will "bring with Him" those who are in the Hadean realm.
Where a man goes after his death depends on what he did or failed to do in his life (e.g. the rich man and Lazarus). When he dies, God will place his spirit in the appropriate place to await judgment - whether by angels to paradise of by some other means to torments. After our death, we will know where we are, but those left behind do not. They can have hope and confidence, but they cannot change it (cf. 1 Thess. 4:13). Once we are there, we cannot change it either. Therefore, we must obey God here and now (Rom. 13:11-14).
- The Gospel Teacher, 2/2/03
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
"I Have Overcome the World" Part 2
Scripture Reading: Romans 8:31-39
Part 1: At great cost Jesus has “overcome the world” so you and I may
I. OUR FAITH IN JESUS OVERCOMES THE WORLD – 1 Jno. 5:4.
By Our Faith in Christ, We Share in His Victories! – Rev. 12:10
Victory over Satan, sin & death is through Christ – 1 Cor. 15:50-57.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Bible Question Box (April 2003) Part 2
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 6:9-20
#2: In Hebrews 6:18, what are the two immutable things in which it is impossible for God to lie?
1. A look
at context, Heb. 6:13-18.
#3: Why is gambling a sin, and what is included in it?
1. Why is
it a sin?
If you’ve ever been away from home for an extended period of time you probably know the anticipation, joy and relief thousands of U. S. sailors and other military personnel felt this past week as they returned home from the war in Iraq. Tears of happiness, hugs and kisses all around. Even if we are not among the families who have loved-ones returning home we rejoice with our neighbors and fellow-countrymen at such moments of reunion.
All of which reminds Christians of a homecoming yet to take place:
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.” (Heb. 11:13-16)
The service men and women on the aircraft carrier U. S. S. Abraham Lincoln, due to dock in Everett, WA next Tuesday, have been away from home for over nine months. Yet, men and women of faith who live their entire lives and die anticipating the moment they reach the heavenly country. But, their death is not sorrowful, but filled with hope (1 Ths. 4:13-14). Having died in faith, they will live in glory forevermore (Col. 3:4).
In the meantime, Christians “eagerly wait” for the Lord to return, knowing our citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20). No more sorrows, no more pain, no more partings. What a happy homecoming it will be!
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 05/03/2003
Sword is a free, weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ,