People of The Living God

Psalms 149

 

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February 2011



 

SCOFIELD UNMASKED

Randall Walton

        In our pursuit of the truth, we have encountered numerous writings which were influenced or colored by the annotated Scriptures of Mr. C.I. Scofield, well–known as the Scofield Reference Bible.  Mr. Scofield’s notes are responsible for most of the evangelical theology which is the backbone of the majority of Theological Colleges and Universities of both the United States and Britain.  It is a pitiful fact that thousands of unwary Pilgrims regard this man’s notes as important as the Bible itself.  Some even think his notes are a part of the Word!

        Our research of this subject has shown us that Mr. Scofield was unqualified as a Bible scholar to compose the hypotheses which he included in his writings.  He fell victim to some of the very things which he denounced in his introduction: “Expository novelties, and merely personal views and interpretations, have been rejected.”  Anyone who has studied the Scofield Reference Bible should be aware that his notes are made up of those very ingredients.  Such a disclaimer would be laughable if it were not so tragic.  Only God knows how many souls have passed from this life holding to and embracing the felonious interpretations of a man whose own character was in question.

        The calamity in this lies in the worldwide circulation and use of the Scofield Bible.  It has been published by most of the major Printing Houses and is distributed in foreign lands as the most accurate study Bible in existence. We receive requests from other countries quite often, for a Scofield Bible.  Of course, we would never do anyone the disfavor of sending them such a snare and delusion.

        While we recognize that some of the theories he advanced were extant during the years he was putting together his interpolations, (he was helped by other Bible students), he was responsible for the wide distribution and acceptance of this infamous work.

        It was compiled in a totally unscientific manner.  Doctrinal issues were approached as if they were established facts, thus lending credence to unproven and untested ideas and views.  This method is effective in establishing any sort of dogma a person may come up with.  Among the heresies which were embellished in his notes are the following:

           Dispensationism.

           A Secret pre–tribulation rapture of the church.

           A future establishment of an earthly kingdom of God.

           The church age versus the kingdom age.

           The elevation of Paul’s letters above the words of Jesus.

        For further light on the teachings of the Scofield Bible we will quote directly from the book:

        1.  “All (the gospels) record Christ’s offer of Himself as king” (page 91, #3).  Not once did Jesus offer Himself as a king of an earthly kingdom.  His testimony was that His kingdom was not of this world.  John 6:15 tells us that when Jesus saw that the people would take Him by force to make Him a king, He departed.

        2.  Note on Matt. 4:17, “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

        Page 998.  “‘At hand’ is never an affirmation that the person or thing said to be ‘at hand’ will immediately appear, but only that no known or predicted event must intervene.  When Christ appeared to the Jewish people, the next thing, in the order of revelation as it then stood, should have been the setting up of the Davidic kingdom.”

        This, of course, is pure hogwash and private interpretation.  Because Scofield believed in the restoration of the earthly kingdom of Israel, he could not see the kingdom of God in its reality.  When Jesus said, “the kingdom is at hand,” He meant it was within the reach or grasp of people.  When Judas was approaching Him in the garden, He said, “He is at hand that doth betray me” (Matt. 26:46,47).  Judas was there then, right then and there.

        In Mark 1:14,15, we read this: “Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the GOSPEL of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”

        Remember, also, His words to Nicodemus concerning the kingdom of God: man can neither see nor enter the kingdom of God unless he is born again.  He then explained to Nicodemus that the kingdom of God was a SPIRITUAL entity, not a fleshly or earthly affair.  Since this spiritual entity is (or was) at hand, it is (was) within the reach of men, but only as a result of the new birth, a spiritual transaction or experience.

        3.  Matt. 11:28,29: “come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” etc.

        Note #3, page 1011.  Scofield says this is “the new message of Jesus.  The rejected King now turns from the rejecting nation and offers, not the kingdom, but rest and service to such in the nation as are conscious of need.  It is a pivotal point in the ministry of Jesus.”

        This lie is so flagrant as to border on blasphemy.  There is not the slightest hint of truth to this statement.  Jesus’ mission never changed irrespective of the Jews’ rejection of Him, which, of course, was prophesied of Him (Isa. 53).

        It was AFTER this statement that Jesus said, “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you” (Matt. 12:28).  And when He sent out His seventy disciples, He instructed them: “And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The Kingdom of God is come nigh unto you” (Luke 10:9).

        It was also after Matt. 11:28,29 that He spake the parables about the kingdom and its activities at the present time (Matt. 13), and promised the keys of the kingdom to those who comprise the church (Matt. 16:19), and gave the discourse on the greatest in the kingdom of God; furthermore, He spoke at length of the kingdom in the following references: Matt. 18:23–35; 19:12; 19:14; 19:23,24; 20:1–16; 21:31,43; 22:2–14; 23:13; 24:14; 25:1–46.

        The idea of a “pivotal point in the ministry of Jesus” is the basis of Scofield’s postponement theory.  He contends that since Jesus offered Himself as King but was rejected as such, the kingdom has been postponed until Jesus returns to set up His kingdom and reign on earth for 1,000 years.  As can be seen from the array of Scriptures, this postponement theory is nothing but fantasy.

        4.  Page 996, #1: “The phrase, kingdom of heaven…signifies the Messianic earth rule of Jesus Christ.”  Actually, the phrases “kingdom of heaven” and “kingdom of God” are synonymous.  There are not two separate kingdoms, distinct from each other.  Matthew uses the term “kingdom of heaven” almost exclusively while the other gospel writers use the term “kingdom of God.”  By comparing all four gospels it is plain they all referred to the same kingdom.

        Oddly, on page 1003, #1, Mr. Scofield seems to contradict himself by saying: “the kingdom of heaven…has for its object the establishment of the kingdom of God in the earth.”  Now who is confused?!?

        5.  Page 1204, #2: “but Israel as a nation always has its own place and is yet to have its greatest exaltation as the earthly people of God.”  Page 1206, #1: “According to the prophets, Israel, regathered from all nations, restored to her own land and converted, is yet to have her greatest earthly exaltation and glory.”  Hot Air!  The plain words of the Scriptures do not back up such a claim as this.

        Ezekiel prophesied against Jerusalem (Judea) and said: “when thy sisters, Sodom and her daughters, shall return to their former estate, and Samaria (headquarters of Israel) and her daughters shall return to their former estate, then thou and thy daughters shall return to your former estate” (Ezekiel 16:55).  Do we expect to see Sodom and Samaria restored to their former glory?  If not, then we shouldn’t expect the restoration of the nation of Israel in “earthly exaltation and glory.”

        God still works with Israel, but Israel is not composed of the literal descendants of Jacob.  The everlasting covenant God has made with Israel, the TRUE Israel, was sealed with the Blood of Jesus Christ who died for the sins of the WHOLE world.  “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29).  There is no value whatever in being a Jew after the flesh; “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (I Cor. 15:50).

        Thousands of well–meaning people are being deceived to believe that the migrating Jews in Palestine are God’s chosen people; most of those people got this misconception from Mr. Scofield’s notes.  Brother Peter, in his letter “to the strangers scattered throughout” several different countries, states that “ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises (lit. virtues) of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light; Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but how have obtained mercy” (I Pet. 2:9,10).

        “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Rom. 2:28,29).

        But Scofield refused to accept these profound truths.  On page 989 #1, he asserted: “Especially is it necessary to exclude the notion…that the Church is the true Israel.”  In the light of the above references, how could anyone make such a statement as this!

        Paul said that Jesus broke down the wall of partition between the Jews and Gentiles and made both into ONE BODY (Eph. 2:14–22).  He further stated that “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:11)!  “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham” (Gal. 3:7).

        6.  Page 1205 #1: “During the great tribulation a remnant out of all Israel will turn to Jesus as Messiah, and will become His witnesses after the removal of the church.”  And he cites Rev. 7:4–8 as “proof.”

        But before we look at Revelation, let’s consider his “after the removal of the church,” an alluding to the supposed secret rapture.  He gives no Scripture backing for his secret rapture, but assumes that it is a foregone conclusion in the mind of God.  The truth is, not ONE verse of Scripture in the entire Bible supports the idea of a secret catching away to heaven of the church before tribulation begins.  The only catching up mentioned is at the last day, at the last trump, at the close of the great judgment when both the living and the resurrected saints shall be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall they ever be with Him (I Thess. 4:15–17).

        Now, since Mr. Scofield is so terribly mistaken about the removal of the church, we have good reason to question his accuracy about a remnant out of all Israel becoming witnesses for Jesus during the great tribulation.

        Revelation 7:4–8 says not one word about anyone witnessing for Jesus, nor is the great tribulation of Matthew 24 mentioned.  It does state that before the earth, the sea, and trees are hurt, the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads.  But that’s it – no witnessing, no great tribulation, no catching away of the church, no new converts.  These are all figments of someone’s imagination.

        Mr. Scofield failed to realize that the book of Revelation is a book of signs and symbols and cannot be taken literally or at face value.  Numbers as well as objects, colors, animals, etc. are but symbols of something else.  We have already seen that every true saint is a true Israelite, therefore, this passage refers to God’s people, not physical Israel nor flesh and blood Jews.

        Why would the number stop at a literal, actual 12,000 from each tribe?  Suppose 12,005 people came from one tribe.  Who would decide which five should be eliminated?  Truthfully, the number 12,000 is a highly significant number and full of deep meaning. It describes a certain class or kind of people, but it does not denote a literal number or amount.

        Sad to say, because of Scofield’s interpretation of this and other similar passages, people have donated vast sums of money to help the “Jews” return to Palestine, believing that they are acting in the will of God.  They continue conducting tours of the “Holy land” and “Holy city,” not knowing that God said that it is “spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified” (Rev. 11:8).

        7.  Mr. Scofield’s contempt for the words of Jesus are revealed in several places.  Here are but a few:

           “The doctrines of grace are to be sought in the Epistles, not in the Gospels”

           (Page 989, III).

           “The Gospels do not unfold the doctrine of the Church” (page 990, IV).

           “Christ is never called King of the Church” (page 990, V).

           “The Sermon on the Mount gives neither the privilege nor the duty of the Church.  These are found in the Epistles” (page 1000).

           “It is evident that the really dangerous sect in Corinth was that which said, ‘And I of Christ.’  They rejected the new revelation through Paul of the doctrines of grace; grounding themselves, probably, on the kingdom teachings of our Lord as ‘a minister of the circumcision’” (page 1230, Theme).

        The truly dangerous aspect of this is Scofield’s heretical assertions concerning Jesus and His words.  What blasphemy to suggest that Paul initiated a new religion upon different principles and guidelines from the teachings of Jesus.  It is difficult to believe that any mere human being could be so brash as to disparage the commands and sayings of our Blessed Saviour and Lord.

        Paul himself condemned Mr. Scofield when he affirmed that “If any man teach otherwise and consent not to wholesome words, EVEN THE WORDS OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings by men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, from such withdraw thyself” (I Tim. 6:3–5).

        Not once did Paul downgrade or belittle the words of Jesus, nor did he ever suggest that Jesus’ teachings were only for the Jews, as does Mr. Scofield.

        Please read the following: Matt. 7:24–27; Luke 6:46; John 14:21–24; Acts 3:22–24; John 12:48; Rom. 2:13; Heb. 1:1,2; 2:1–4.

        There is more, much more, which we could cite, but this should be sufficient to show what a poor job this man did in his attempt to “rightly divide the word of truth.”  His division amounted to placing the different parts of Scripture into categories he considered applicable for today, and categories inapplicable for today, and based these upon his erroneous ideas of dispensationism.

        The only sound way to divide the word is, in our opinion, to separate the plain speech from the signs, symbols, types, shadows, and allegories, those areas of Scripture which require interpretation in order to be understood.  Had Mr. Scofield used this method, he wouldn’t have so drastically butchered the book of Revelation by his contradictory interpolations thereof.

        It is plain that the Scofield Bible was not edited with the object of enlightening people to the truth; the only other probable cause was the making of money, a cause which has surely been fulfilled, for this book has earned Mr. Scofield and the publishers enormous sums of money, but at such a cost to the readers thereof.  For it robs the Church of the glory afforded it by Jesus; it attributes power to satan over the saints which he does not have; it establishes a do–nothing, faithless, ineffectual religious institution called Church which amounts to little more than a religious club; it abets the doctrine of unconditional, guaranteed, everlasting salvation; it dethrones Jesus from His majestic position as King, and offers Him an inferior position as an earthly, temporal king on an earthly, temporal throne in the future.

        These are just some of the reasons why we must warn people about this dangerous book.  May God help you to discern between the evil and the good.

 

 

WHAT ABOUT REVELATION 20?

Harvey Hoff

        This chapter of Revelation reveals what has transpired, what is transpiring now, and what is still to transpire between the First Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and His Second Coming, “when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.  For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet.  The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (I Cor. 15:24–26).  “that through death He might destroy him that had power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb. 2:14).

        Note: destroy in Hebrews 2:14 and I Cor. 15:26, above, as translated from the Greek, means “to bring to nought,” or “to make void” (Strong’s 2673).  Jesus’ resurrection, therefore, did not destroy the devil, but His resurrection did “bring to nought” Satan’s power, “that he should deceive the nations no more” (Rev. 20:3).

        However, the god of this world continues to deceive the nations, to some degree, by blinding the minds of them who believe not and by hiding the gospel from the lost (II Cor. 4:3, 4).  But this would not be so if we believers were faithful in our role of binding the “strongman” (Mk. 3:27) before we oppose him in his kingdom, “to preach the gospel to the poor;…to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Lk. 4:18).  And this we must do, because, how else “shall they (the deceived) believe in Him of whom they have not heard?  And how can they hear without a preacher?” (Rom. 10:14)

        Jesus, by His resurrection, has brought Satan and his host of demons to nought.  He has “spoiled principalities and powers, He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it (Himself)” (Col. 2:15).  “That at the name of Jesus every knee shall (must) bow, of things (Satanic host) in heaven (heavenlies), and things (Satanic host) in earth, and things (Satanic host) under the earth; and that every tongue (Satanic host) should (must) confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10, 11).

        Believers have been given all power over the enemy, positionally (Eph. 2:6), and authoritatively (Lk. 10:19), but they must say unto the “mountain” (Satan and his demons) “Be thou removed in the name of Jesus,” if they are to have the “signs” follow them that Jesus said must follow them that believe: “In my name they shall (must) cast out demons” (Mk. 16:17).  Except we say to our mountain, in the name of Jesus, “Be thou removed,” the enemy will continue to occupy.  Jesus said that we should “occupy” until He comes (Lk. 19:13).

        Again, having been given all authority over all power of Satan, and having “set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more”; if nations are being deceived, and if anything is hurting us (Lk. 10:19) it is indicative that “these signs” (Mk. 16:17) are not following us.  Those believers who have the signs following “them that believe” (Mk. 16:17) shall be “they that are with Him are called and chosen and FAITHFUL” (Rev. 17:14).

        The word “destroy” as found in I John 3:8, “the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil,” has a different meaning than does destroy in I Corinthians 15:26 and in Hebrews 2:14.  Whereas destroy in Hebrews 2:14 and in I Corinthians 15:26 means “to bring to nought,” destroy in I John 3:8 means to dissolve, or to melt.

        It becomes clear that Jesus brought to nought the power of the devil to kill, steal and destroy in order that He could charge the body of Christ, “Go ye therefore and teach all nations” (Matt. 28:19) in this, the church age.  Whereas destroy in I John 3:8, meaning dissolve or melt, is for the end of the church age when Jesus the Head of the church and His body shall have put all enemies under His feet (His body), and, “the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are” (Rev. 20:10).

        It is clear also that “then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father (I Cor. 15:28); when “whatsoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15).  This is the “last day” when the believers shall be raised (John 6:40) and those who have heard the Gospel, but have rejected it, will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:15) where the beast, the false prophet and the devil are (Rev. 20:10).

        In just three verses (Rev. 20:1–3) this chapter condenses the struggle between our Lord, Jesus Christ, and Satan, the god of this world (II Cor. 4:4).  This struggle began when Satan met Jesus in the wilderness to tempt Him. It should be noted that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness (Luke 4:1), “Being forty days tempted of the devil” (Luke 4:2)  Then “Jesus returned in the power of the spirit (from his victory over Satan to begin His ministry) and there went out a fame of Him through all the region” (Luke 4:14).  Jesus’ conquest of Satan was completed with His crucifixion and with His resurrection from the dead when “the graves were opened: and many bodies of the saints which slept arose” (Matt. 27:52).  However, it should be noted that the bodies were not raised until after our Redeemer’s resurrection for as it is written, “And came out of the graves after His resurrection” (Matt. 27:53), that He might be “the firstborn from the dead” (Col. 1:18).

        Since this chapter of Revelation brings truth by symbols, it must be determined if these symbols are of spiritual significance or if they are to be understood in natural terms.  If the symbols have spiritual significance, we cannot attach literal meanings in natural terms to them.  Obviously, the symbols are spiritual.  The symbols in question in the first three verses are: the key, the bottomless pit, and a thousand years.  Comparing scripture with scripture, we find that by the angel having in his hand the “key” he had been given “divine authority” (Strong’s 2807), as in Matthew 16:19 when our Lord said, “And I will give unto thee the keys to the kingdom of heaven” and in Rev. 1:18 when He said, “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I have the keys of hell and of death.”

        The “angel” also had a “great chain.”  These are bonds, fetters or manacles (Strong’s 254) as in Mark 5:4, “he had been often bound with fetters and chains” and also as in Acts 28: 20 Paul writes “for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.”  Note: “Chain” here in Acts 28:20 is symbolic rather than literal in its meaning – “Paul was permitted to dwell by himself.”  It is evident that “the great chain” in the angel’s hand is the divine restraint upon Satan promised to all believers in Matthew 16:19, and restated again in Matthew 18:18  “Whatsoever he shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.”  The “key” and “the chain” are the authority over Satan and the divine enablement to restrain him that was conferred by Jesus upon all believers (Luke 10:19).  Then Jesus reminded us that before we enter into Satan’s domain and loose (Matt. 18:18) his captives we must first “bind” him (Mark 3:27) with the “chain” (divine fetters) Jesus has provided.

        It must be noted that John’s vision applies to Jesus’ coming, His ministry and to the events that have happened since Jesus “was received up into heaven, and sat upon the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19).  It was revealed to John that this would happen during the church age, and that (before He comes again) the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations (Mark 13:10).  Proclaiming the gospel to all nations is being done now, but prior to the coming of Jesus to “dwell among us” all nations were deceived by Satan and were subject to his dominion.  But now, with Satan overcome and bound in his prison Jesus has said “bear my name before the Gentiles” (Acts 9:15), “to the Jew first and also to the Gentile” (Romans 2:10).

        Today the Gospel has gone forth to most all of the nations, because Satan has been restrained by believers in the name of Jesus Christ to the extent that believers have exercised the authority our Lord has given to them.  Jesus has not only given us all authority (the key) over all power of the enemy (Luke 10:19), but He gave us divine enablement (the great chain) to bind him on earth as he is bound in heaven (Matthew 18:18).  Satan has been overcome and, to the degree that believers have been willing to be involved and obedient, Satan has been contained in the “bottomless pit” – a spiritual symbol of having been confined in “his prison” (verse 7) during this, the messianic, or church age.  Ever since the devil was triumphed over by the resurrection of Jesus, there has been an effective restraint upon Satan, as John saw in his vision.  By comparison with the conditions among the nations, before Jesus came, there has now (potentially) been “set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more” (verse 3).  We, His body, are remiss in our responsibility to “set a seal upon him” in the measure that the nations are being deceived.  This is all present tense.  However, Satan will again be loosed to deceive the nations, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle (Rev. 20:7–8).

        There is one more spiritual symbol to consider: the term “a thousand years.”  If considered literally, in natural terms, it must be presumed that “they who are with Him are (present tense) called, and chosen, and faithful” (Rev. 17:14) and that they shall reign with Him 1,000 years after His Second Coming.  But, if “a thousand” is a spiritual symbol as are “key,” “a bottomless pit,” “a great chain,” and “the dragon, that old serpent,” then we must conclude that John is speaking of this age, before His Second Coming, when he says of the martyrs “they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (verse 6).  This, then, takes place before He comes again – not after He comes!  We are, therefore, living in the millennium – now!  Very soon Satan shall be loosed out of his prison and he shall go out to deceive the nations...to gather them together to battle (verses 7 and 8).

        Before comparing scripture with scripture to verify that “a thousand years” is a spiritual symbol, please note that in verse 6 God and Christ still have separate identities.  Christ, therefore, has not yet put all things under Him that God may be all in all (I Cor. 15:28).  Satan, Death, Hades (the state of death or disembodied existence) and those who have rejected Christ, must first be overcome completely and must be cast into the lake of fire.  Then will the abode of God be with men (Rev. 21:3).

        Thousand, as John relates by revelation from Jesus Christ, through an angel of the Lord, means “the plural of uncertain affinity” (Strong’s 5507).  “Affinity” means analogy, comparison, similarity, simile (Webster’s Collegiate Thesaurus).

        Thousand is used in many verses in the Bible as an indefinite, but great number.  Other verses in the Old Testament where thousand is found used in an analogous manner of speech are: Job 33:23 “one among a thousand,” Psalm 50:10 “the cattle on a thousand hills,” and in II Peter 3:8, “day is with the Lord as a thousand years...a thousand years as a day.”

        This chapter of Revelation says nothing about Jerusalem being restored in the natural, in which Christ shall reign from a temple made by hands for a literal 1,000 years after His Second Coming. Nor does it so state this anywhere else in the Bible.  We have received a spirit of error if we believe this.  It is a trick of Satan, I believe, to bring confusion.  If we believe we have 1,000 actual years after His Second Coming before we shall actually be engaged in that final battle with Satan described in Rev. 17:14, we can compromise and procrastinate.  Disobediently we shall not be “redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16) as we have been directed.  Accepting this “doctrine of devils” programs us for defeat by default.  It removes the urgency of the hour to bring Satan’s works to “nought.”  We therefore close our minds to the consequences of not having the signs follow us that Jesus says must follow us if we believe (Mark 16:17–18).  The fate of the disobedient believer and the five foolish virgins who came to the bridegroom unprepared (Matt. 25:11–12) becomes totally lacking as being a warning to us.  How tragic it would be to hear Him say, “I know you not.”

        In verse 6, John says “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in (he that meets God’s conditions to qualify for) the first resurrection: on such the second death (the lake of fire) hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”  (Until He comes again, to judge) and, “Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father” (I Cor. 15:24).

        The first resurrection begins when we are born again – when we pass “from death unto life” (John 5:24).  We are risen with Christ...where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God (Col. 3:1).  “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:6).  The first resurrection is a spiritual resurrection.

        “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death (verse 6) hath no power.”  Unbelievers have no part in the first resurrection.  They who are without Christ are dead in spiritual darkness.  They shall remain dead until Christ comes again at the end of the Church age when they shall have part in the physical resurrection (John 5:28–29) to appear before Christ for judgment before the Great White Throne – to be sentenced “unto the resurrection of damnation.” (John 5:28–29).

        To review our position in Christ and the position of the martyrs whose souls John saw (Rev. 20:4) we have first, Jesus sitting on His throne at the right hand of God and we are sitting with Him in heavenly places.  We are reigning with Him, as are the souls of martyrs!  John saw the martyrs’ souls.  They do not yet have their spiritual bodies.  The martyrs John has spoken of will receive their spiritual bodies at the last day (John 6:40), as will all the dead, small and great, who will stand before God (Rev. 20:11–13).  In the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump — and the dead shall be raised.  We who are with Jesus will rise — at the last day (John 6:39–40).  We will have been sown a natural body and raised a spiritual body (I Cor. 15:44).  Also, we who shall still be here when He comes in His glory shall be in our natural bodies: first – that which is natural and afterward that which is spiritual (I Cor. 15:46).  We shall not all sleep but we shall all be changed (I Cor. 15:51) in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye (verse 52).

        We are told in II Corinthians 5:10 that we must appear before the judgment seat of Christ that everyone may receive his reward for works, whether it be good or bad (Eph. 6:8; Daniel 12:13; I Cor. 3:14).  Please note that this is not a judgment of sins.  The sins of believers have been atoned for; to be remembered no more (Heb. 10:17).  This will be a judgment of acts of obedience, that is, of works!  The “last day” comes when the works of all are judged for their reward before the “great white throne” in the final judgment.

        After the Judgment there will be no more conflict with Satan or need for the saints to reign over the earth, because not only will Satan, and those who have rejected Christ, have been cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:15), but the new heaven and a new earth and the holy city (New Jerusalem) will be coming down from God (Rev. 21:1–2).  There will be no 1,000 years’ reign after the judgment, after the last day – after Satan has been destroyed in the lake of fire!

        The last day will come when, through the manifestation of the sons of God, all creation will have been delivered from bondage into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Rom. 8:9–21).  Likewise, when, by our manifestation as sons of God, we will have come to perfection (spiritual maturity), those heroines and heroes of faith in the Old Covenant (Heb. 11:40) will be made perfect that we may join them.

 

 

THE ATONEMENT

Harry R. Miller

        Perhaps no other Biblical subject or teaching portrays the Nature of God, His Benevolence, His Selflessness, His Love, His Mercy, His Justice, His Omnipotence, His Omnipresence, His Immortality, as the subject of the Atonement.  So majestic is The Atonement in content that it transcends the capability of man to unfold its glories.  Only the Holy Spirit is capable to touch that which is flesh and reveal the meaning of The Atonement.  Men can only write in a very limited way, that which they have received by the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit concerning this great truth.

        The Atonement first of all, vindicates God in all of His wisdom, His plans, His works, and the exercise of His will.  This great display of the Nature of God exonerates Him in that it completely clears Him from all accusation, past, present, and future.  The Atonement demonstrates and shows that God was just and right in all of His plans and the many expressions of His wisdom.  There is no question by the angels of the Lord or of that great host of fallen angels and Satan, but that God is absolutely just and right in the manifestation of all His works.  If this were not so, His enemies would not hesitate to accuse Him of injustice.  The Scriptures state that “every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:11; Rom. 14:11).  The Atonement will show the Word of God to be immutable and incorruptible.

        The Atonement bridged an impassable gulf between the Lord God of heaven and earth, and finite, sinful and rebellious man.  Though man may desire to please God or to be reconciled to God – in himself he can do nothing that will satisfy the demands of love, mercy, and justice, or his own guilty conscience, so that he can find peace with the Great Creator God.  Man has reasoned that he must do something to appease God – an angry God.  Civilized and uncivilized peoples have offered up sacrifices, human and animal; severe forms of penance have been entered into; others may offer a few grains of rice or some flowers.  In each case the sacrifice was offered to make an atonement – to make expiation for their sins – to please God.  These people are convinced that God is angry with them and this is their way to gain His favor.  CONTRAST THE PURPOSE OF THE ATONEMENT – “GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON,” “the JUST for the unjust,” to reconcile fallen, lost man.  Jesus “the LAMB OF GOD” offered HIMSELF as a ransom, “took upon Himself our sins,” “became sin for us,” THAT WE MIGHT BE RECONCILED TO THE FATHER.

        “But God commended His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us…For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.  And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have received the Atonement” (Rom. 5:8–11).  Jesus paid the ransom.  Jesus made the way.

        Incomprehensible, unfathomable.  Human wisdom is not able to imagine all that is involved in this great plan of Atonement.  Neither can human words describe the heights, the depths, the length, and the breadth of the marvelous expression of the heart of the Heavenly Father.  The Atonement is infinite in scope and boundless in magnitude.

        We see Calvary – not by the human eye or human understanding – but by the revealing power of the Holy Spirit.  It is this revelation of the Holy Spirit that enables us to comprehend, to a small degree, this benevolent heart of love, but this divine understanding is sufficient to melt the heart of stone and cause us to cast ourselves unreservedly and unconditionally at the feet of Jesus, broken and contrite.  So overwhelming is this manifestation of the love of God and His grace to us that the human heart will bow in submission and surrender to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Calvary is a part – but a glorious part of the Atonement.  We must understand that without the plan of the Atonement there would not have been Calvary.  Conversely – without Calvary the Atonement would have been impossible.

        The Atonement not only provided the means and a way for a rebellious, stubborn, proud, egotistical, selfish transgressor to be reconciled into the family of God, but also the Atonement manifested before angelic beings, evil spirits and man, the absolute justice of the law of God and its demands upon all beings.  The law of God judges righteously, justly and without partiality.  This infinite expression of the love of God has openly manifested the immutability of His law.  The Scriptures state that the “law is holy…and just and good” (Rom. 7:12).  The law of the Lord is best suited to the needs and problems of moral beings.

        The Word of God, His law, negates the antinomian doctrine which states that “the servants of God are free from the moral law by the doctrine of the dispensation of grace” (i.e. the people of God are not under law but under grace).  Consider how such a doctrine dishonors the Lord God of heaven and earth.  To teach or preach or believe that “in fulfilling the law” (Matt. 5:17), Jesus did away with the law, is not truth.  Read Matthew 3:15; when Jesus was baptized, He said that in so doing, He “fulfilled all righteousness.”  Because He fulfilled all righteousness in being baptized, did He do away with all righteousness?  The answer is emphatically NO!

        If there is no law – how can there be sin?  If there is no sin, why is salvation necessary?  Why did Jesus die on the cross?  Such teaching dishonors the Lord, His work and His Word.  According to I John 3:4, “sin is the transgression of the law.”  “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.” (I John 1:10).  Yes, there is law and we are thankful for it.  There is also “a fountain opened to the house of David for sin and for uncleanness.”  Our transgressions can be forgiven and we can be cleansed.

        This marvelous plan and design of the heavenly Father is so majestic and so holy in its content and so vast in its scope that it is that “which things the angels desire to look into” (I Pet. 1:12).  To find the answer to “which things,” we must go back to the beginning, even “before the foundations of the earth,” back to “God’s eternal purposes,” given before the world began, back to the counsel chambers of glory where God’s purposes were formed.

        In the Scriptures we find that the “wisdom of God is a mystery” (I Cor. 2:7).  Jesus, while on earth spoke of “things which were kept secret from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 13:35).  Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:1–5,9 that this “mystery was not made known unto the sons of men” and that the “fellowship of the mystery hath been hid from the beginning of the world.”  Also, in Romans 16:25, “the mystery which was kept secret since the world began.”  We are told in II Timothy 1:9 that our “salvation and holy calling was given us in Christ before the world began.”  Peter understood this most intricate plan of the Father, for he wrote in I Peter 1:19, 20 “of Christ as a lamb and without spot: who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world.”  John, in the book of Revelation 13:8, speaks of “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the earth.”

        Before the world began or “before the foundation of the world was laid” God the Father designed a plan so infinite and so astounding the angels desired to investigate the contents of His plan.  They could not comprehend the magnitude and scope of the wisdom made manifest in the structure of the complexities of the related parts in the unfolding of this plan.  The astounding part of this amazing plan was the fact that with all of the unfathomable intricacies involved, the plan was so simple “that the wayfaring men though fools need not err therein.”

God’s Plan

        The benevolent Nature of the Father required of Him to share the attributes of His Being with other moral beings who could be made worthy to qualify for this honor.  God could not compel or force these moral beings against their own will to make their choice for Him.  The Master Designer could bring moral influence through spiritual, physical, and moral conditions and situations that would assist the individual to see and understand the value to be obtained through his choice for moral values.  Neither could Satan and his angels use conditions and situations to force or compel these moral beings to choose contrary to their own will.  Each individual would be placed in an environment in which he would be subject to the actions of a Godly influence and an evil influence.  Just laws would control these external forces so that one force would not be permitted to exert a greater degree of influence upon the individual than that of the opposite force.  Justice would demand this in order than an intelligent evaluation could be made of the influence and a proper choice made in view of the end product: eternal life and immortality, or eternal damnation and death.

        The individual, by his own choice and free will, would decide as to the state of being into which he should enter at the end of his earthly existence.  Blame cannot be placed upon any other being, circumstances or any conditions for his final reward.  He made his own choice.  The judgment will show and demonstrate that there were those individuals who lived under every conceivable form of adverse conditions and circumstances and who were greatly persecuted – yet, of their own volition, they always chose the way of the Lord.  Their desire to love the Lord and to please Him in this “evil world” and, though knowing the weaknesses of their own flesh and the frailty of the human will, yet their desire to honor the Lord was sufficient to permit them to be “counted worthy” to enter into the “fellowship of the mystery” – eternal life and immortality.  The judgment will also show there were those who refused the Godly influence and made their choice for the reward of the state of eternal damnation.

        The Author, The Designer of the Atonement, “is no respecter of persons.”  The demands, the obligations, the standards, and the rules are the same for all.  The Father’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, “died for the sins of the whole world.”  Provision has been made for the salvation of the whole world – every individual – if every individual will meet the demands and requirements for salvation.  The eternal destiny of each person rests within the will (power of choice) given to them.  Such power and authority is staggering – to think that frail man who is spiritually blind and “dead in trespasses and sin” can choose against The Great Creator God, The Mighty Lord God of Hosts, The Redeemer, The One who made reconciliation for them.  He does not use force to make void the choice of the stubborn and rebellious in heart.  He will use moral persuasion in hope that the blind eyes will be opened to see and the mind will be quickened to understand the error of the wrong choice.  When such a revelation is given by the Holy Spirit and received by the individual, there is a willingness to voluntarily repent and ask forgiveness for his sins and reverse his decision, for the Lord.

        The Lord God cannot force His Divine Nature upon moral beings.  Character, physical or divine, is not a gift.  The word character comes from a Greek word which means to scratch or engrave.  To engrave an object on a piece of metal, gold or silver, is accomplished by gouging out some of the metal with a metal gouge.  The desired object will be shown as an engraving in the precious metal.  Character is formed by the choices we make.  Choices for the better things of life produce a strong or good character.  Choices for the baser things of life produce a weak or bad character.  Divine character, the attributes of the Lord, are brought forth in the life of a person who is surrendered and submitted to the Lord, a person who is willing to bear the reproach of the Lord, and in the face of all adverse conditions and circumstances and persecution, his choice is, yes, Lord, Thy will be done. He is thankful to be a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is such choices in the difficult places that engraves the character, the attributes of Jesus, in the life.  It is in places of such extreme pressure that the servant of the Lord can “show forth the praises (virtues) of Jesus” (I Peter 2:9).

        “In the beginning,” in the counsel chambers of the Lord, when the “sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord and Satan came also among them,” the Father presented His plan before the hosts of heaven.  Before the world began, God that cannot lie PROMISED eternal life” (Titus 1:2).  There is another aspect given to this promise of eternal life other than that of an eternal existence.  “Who saved us and called us with an holy calling…according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, but NOW IS MADE MANIFEST BY THE APPEARING OF OUR SAVIOR Jesus Christ, WHO HATH ABOLISHED DEATH AND HATH BROUGHT LIFE AND IMMORTALITY TO LIGHT THROUGH THE GOSPEL” (II Tim. 1:9,10). Eternal life and immortality – characteristics of the Father.  Immortality has to do with that which is incorruptible, eternal, sinless, not able to sin, the ability to always make the correct choice: an eternal, sinless life with a nature that would possess the same characteristics as He who made the promise in Christ before the world began.

        Each individual who passed through this life would be a free moral agent, a moral being, subject to moral law.  As a moral being he would have the power of choice as well as a knowledge of good and evil.  He would possess the ability to comprehend and give expression to his comprehension.

        The Atonement, the plan of the Father, made provision for the transgression of His law in every realm – in the heavenly realm, in the garden, and in the earth.  The execution of the law of God alone on Satan and the host of rebellious angels was not sufficient to arrest the progress of rebellion and sin in the universe.  In the Garden of Eden, Adam transgressed the law of God.  “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, THOU SHALT NOT EAT.”  Here was law; it was broken.  Sin entered the Garden of Eden.  The Scriptures state that “ALL HAVE SINNED AND COME SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD.”

        Here is the evidence that something more was needed to support the authority of God’s law.  The execution of the law and its penalty may have a strong tendency to restrain rebellion among rebels, but the law will not subdue the heart.  This is true in any government – human or divine.  Paul affirmed that the effect of the law on his impenitent heart was “to beget all manner of concupiscence in him” (Rom. 7:8).

        The entrance of sin, transgression of the law of God, demonstrates that “the carnal mind, is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7).  The law in itself only irritates and exasperates rebels.

        In the execution of His law upon rebel angels and man, God demonstrated or made a display of His holiness and justice.  If these acts of severity and judgment were to be the only expressions of God’s character or Nature, human beings would be fearful of Him rather than desire Him and His government.  The Father could not compromise His law.  His law is “holy, and just and good…and spiritual” (Rom. 7:12,13,14).  David stated “the law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul” (Psalms 19:7).  The Atonement made provision whereby fallen, blind, rebellious man would be able to see and comprehend by the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit that this Great, Majestic, Holy, Benevolent Being, the Heavenly Father, had provided the way and the means for reconciliation.

        All created beings, human and angelic, must be able to receive knowledge and understand that God is just, merciful and impartial in all of His dealings with all beings.  Mankind must understand that the means the Father used to make reconciliation were just, also the demands He places upon fallen man for reconciliation and the motive for desiring reconciliation of those who are enemies must be of such a nature that only pure undefiled, unselfish love could be discerned as the compelling force for such reconciling actions.

        Not only would an Atonement meet the need of honest hearted individuals but also the Atonement would contradict the lies and slander Satan had used to seduce Adam and Eve and all mankind by inferring that God was selfish and tyrannical in demanding that His laws be obeyed.  Such provision would present strong motivation reasons, and a hunger and a desire to repent would be created in the hearts of those who comprehend this marvelous provision.  Human beings would be able to see and understand the sincerity and desire of God in His Word.  They could comprehend from the Word of God that the Atonement was just, that God was not making an offer of pardon and forgiveness from sin that was not valid and honest in all of its aspects.  The Atonement must inspire confidence in the offer and promises of pardon and forgiveness – in fact, in all the promises of God, that men would know that the Word of God was eternal, indestructible, sure and steadfast.

        Humanity must see and realize that the Atonement was the only possible means whereby rebels could be reclaimed and reconciled to God (Rom. 8:3,4).  This, in turn, would cause individuals to understand that there must be a due administration of justice with pardon and reconciliation.

        SO THEN, THE ATONEMENT WAS THAT PROVISION OF GOD WHICH WOULD COMPLETELY AND FULLY DEAL WITH ALL OF THE EFFECTS OF SIN AND TRANSGRESSION IN THE UNIVERSE.

        No doubt, one of the very strong reasons for the Atonement was God’s great love for sinners.  Sin was not an accident.  The foreknowledge of the Father made it possible for Him to see and understand the end from the beginning of His plan.  Through His infinite wisdom and foreknowledge He was able to make provision for every eventuality that might arise in the fulfilling of His plan.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16).  Before the world began, this marvelous plan for the Atonement was formulated and designed; “Jesus was foreordained before the foundation of the world but was manifest in these last times” (I Peter 3:20).  Calvary was the climax, the pivotal point of the Atonement.  It was this part of the Atonement that demonstrated the true nature and character of the Father and showed to the universe what was in His heart.  In the “giving of His Son” the Father lay open His heart that all creatures could inspect the motives and the reason for this sacrifice.  Such openness of Being would cause those who desire Him to surrender, to submit, to yield to Him and His will.  This degree of selflessness on the part of the Father and the expression of His love is the greatest force in the universe that will deter rebels and cause them to turn from their rebellion and repent.  To refuse this compelling and drawing power is to put oneself under the penalty of the law – eternal death.  To yield to this great love is to be partakers of His love and fellowship – now and through eternity.

        “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord.  Behold the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until He receive the early and latter rain” (James 5:7).

 

 

ETERNAL SECURITY

Randall Walton

        We would like to refute the points in the interest of truth and for the sake of those who are being destroyed by this teaching.  This is a most confusing topic, and it needs to be fully understood by those who believe in it.

        Such an idea as unconditional irrevocable salvation serves as a license for people to live any way they please without any consideration whatever for the results of their actions.  This view totally negates the law of reciprocity, i.e., “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7,8).

        Below are the points referred to above:

Point #1:  All believers MUST appear before the judgment seat of Christ (II Cor. 5:10).  The believer may suffer the loss of rewards, but he himself shall be saved.  “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s WORK shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s WORK of what sort it is.  If any man’s WORK abide which he hath build thereupon, he shall receive a reward.  If any man’s WORK shall be burned, he shall suffer loss; BUT HE HIMSELF SHALL BE SAVED; yet so AS BY FIRE” (I Cor. 3:11–15).

Rebuttal:  Notice that the word WORK was capitalized by the people who wrote the tract.  They want you to believe that Paul was talking about a person’s WORKS, that is, his moral behavior.  The object of this is to show us that works are unimportant and if they are burned up, so what?  He just loses a reward, but he still retains his salvation.

        Now, this is one of the cruelest, most deceptive ploys which has ever been foisted off on an unsuspecting and gullible public.  Satan himself had to think this one up!

        These verses have been lifted right up out of their setting and context and twisted to mean something they were not intended to mean.  The full topic here begins at verse 1 and continues on through 15.  The topic is “building” up a congregation: “as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon.  But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.”  The “work” Paul refers to is not works, but the “work” of establishing and maintaining a company of believers.  “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase” (verse 6).  “and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour” (verse 8b).

        Now, Paul says if his labour or his work (the building up of a company of believers) doesn’t stand the test of fire, he doesn’t lose his salvation because of it, but the reward (the pleasure, the satisfaction) is forfeited.  The person who works diligently to build up a congregation which eventually falls apart suffers anguish of disappointment and grief over the loss of his efforts, but he himself is saved; that, and that alone, is all that Paul was teaching.

        To stretch this to mean that a person’s works could be burned up because they were evil is tantamount to vile corruption of the word of God.

        The fact remains that the basis for the judgment will be man’s works!  “and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS.  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them; and they were judged EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS” (Rev. 20:12, 13).

        “But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS” (Rom. 2:5, 6).

        “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward (PAY) EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS WORKS”! (Matt. 16:27)

        Don’t be fooled by these false prophets who tell you that once you are saved you can do anything you want to do and you are still saved.  Not so.  Prior to conversion, there is no single “work” that a person can do to become saved other than confess, repent and believe – once he is saved, however, his works do count either for or against his maintaining his salvation, and that which he has been given by God can be lost.

Point 2:  “All believers possess everlasting life NOW.”  “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, HATH EVERLASTING LIFE, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).

Rebuttal:  The state of “everlasting life” referred to here is but a foretaste of that eternal state which is promised to every believer.  The obtaining of that state in its fullness will not be complete until “the last trump” when the saints will be “changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” and will put on immortality and incorruptibility (I Cor. 15:50–53).

        These people who are promoting the idea of eternal security do not have either one of these divine characteristics as yet, and until they do they can fall from grace and be lost.

        Notice, Jesus said “is passed from death unto life.”  And it is also possible to pass from life unto death.  People can die spiritually; and if they do, they no longer have that “everlasting life.”

        Those who promote the E.S. doctrine fail to see all of the “ifs” which are written in the Word.  These little “if” words state the conditions by which a person maintains his position in Christ, e.g., “And you…hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreprovable in his sight: IF YE CONTINUE IN THE FAITH grounded and settled, and be not MOVED AWAY from the hope of the gospel” (Col. 1:21–23).  And what happens IF you do not continue in the faith?

        “but Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end” (Heb. 3:6).

        For a good example, let’s say you have a rich father who has a neat sum of one million dollars for you.  He comes to you and tells you that he has a million for you as well as $10,000.00 in earnest money which is yours to enjoy as a pledge or guarantee that the million is yours.  But he says the million is yours ten years from now if you follow some rather simple rules with the earnest:

        “Don’t do anything which would besmirch my name or reputation;

        “Use the earnest wisely: don’t gamble it away, don’t squander it by getting involved with prostitution, booze, drugs, or questionable activities;

        “Don’t use it as a cover–up or a screen for activities which would be in conflict with our relationship as father and son;

        “Use the earnest to help the poor, feed the hungry, and clothe the destitute;

        “Do not deviate from the moral standards I have taught you from your youth;

        “If you do these things with diligence, I guarantee that the full one million dollars will be yours, for it is for your inheritance.”

        This is the true meaning and usage of the word “if.”  And the Scriptures are full of them.  Space doesn’t permit us to refer to any more, but if you’re really interested look them up in your Strong’s Concordance.

        Not until incorruptibility and immortality are possessed will your “everlasting life” be made eternally secure.

Point #3:  All believers are sealed by God.  “and grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are SEALED unto the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30).

Rebuttal:  Seals can be broken, whether the seal is for security and preservation, or for identification.  But a seal is only effective so long as it is intact and unbroken.

        The seal which is spoken of here is under the direct administration of the Holy Spirit who has the authority to break the seal if He so chooses.  It is obvious that there exists a natural correlation of the Holy Spirit’s being grieved and the validity of the seal.

        Moreover, Paul tells us in Ephesians 1:13 & 14 that the seal is the EARNEST of our inheritance, not the inheritance itself.  An earnest is a pledge, a promise, or a guarantee on God’s part that He will hold the inheritance for you until the day for you to receive it (the day of redemption).  The pledge is like a surety because God cannot fail.

        But just like any surety or bond, there are specifications to be met.  Though God is totally faithful, He does not make us faithful.  And the security of the seal is predicated on the basis of the sealed one remaining in the same condition as when he was sealed.  It is very possible for a “sealed” person to become so rebellious and obnoxious that the seal no longer secures the person.  Paul said it very plainly with these words in I Cor. 9:26,27: “Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty.  Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.  But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified (rejected, worthless, castaway, reprobate)” NKJ.

        But “eternal security” says you don’t need to run, nor fight, nor discipline yourself.  You are saved no matter what you do.  Was Paul really serious?  You had better believe it!

Point #4:  “Who are kept BY THE POWER OF GOD through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (I Peter 1:5).  The believer is kept by GOD’S power, and not his own.  His conduct cannot affect his salvation.

Rebuttal:  This verse says nothing about conduct at all.  The author of the tract is asserting that a believer is KEPT by God irrespective of that person’s conduct.  It is too bad he didn’t offer at least one verse of Scripture to support his claim, for there are many which disprove this hypothesis.

        “To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life; But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil” (Rom. 2:7–9).

        “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the DOERS of the law shall be justified” (Rom. 2:13).

        “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof” (Rom. 6:12).

        “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace?  God forbid.  Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Rom. 6:15,16)

        “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Rom. 8:6).

        “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.  He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (I John 2:3,4).

        “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous” (I John 3:7).

        The list could go on and on, but this should be enough to convince the lover of truth that our conduct is very important and can most certainly affect our salvation.  The Bible does not uphold the idea of unconditional salvation.

Point #5:  “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may KNOW that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” (I John 5:13).  God wants the believer to know that he has eternal life as a present possession.

Rebuttal:  “Hereby we do KNOW that we KNOW him, if we keep his commandments” (I John 2:3).

        “And this is life eternal, that they might KNOW thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).

        Since eternal life is to know God, and proof that we KNOW Him is if we keep His commands, it is quite plain that all who reject Jesus Christ and do not keep His commands have forfeited their way with the Saviour and no longer have a legitimate claim to salvation.  Many people who have been genuinely converted gradually settle down into a state of apathy and religiosity; they continue to go to church, and are involved in activities which are not Christian, and in an effort to justify themselves and present a façade of religious piety, they sink into rank hypocrisy, eventually being no more Christian than they were before their conversion.

        The Comforter who had taken up His abode in his heart quietly departs, and the man is probably in a worse state than he was before.  Read carefully II Peter 2:20–22.  Like Samson who played carelessly with the world, he “didn’t know that the Lord had departed from him” (Judges 16:20).

        The only way to KNOW that we KNOW Him is to earnestly obey His commandments (I John 2:3,4).

Point #6:  “Being CONFIDENT of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).  God wants the believer to be CONFIDENT that he will keep the believer eternally secure.

Rebuttal:  What a distortion of the truth!  All this verse says is that God, who is faithful, will continue to be faithful to the very end.  The problem has never been on God’s side.  God’s provision and ability are unquestionable.  But the problem has always been, and still is, on man’s side.

        “For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.  Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for IF you do these things you will never fall” (II Peter 1:9,10).  It is blessed to have confidence in God’s ability and faithfulness; but we are required to make our calling and election sure.

Point #7:  “For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, or powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD” (Rom. 8:38,39).  The believer in Christ is a NEW CREATURE, and NOTHING can separate him from the love of God.  (See II Cor. 5:17; Rom. 8:9).

Rebuttal:  How wonderfully true!  Thank God that none of those things can separate us from His love.  There is only one thing which can and that is ourselves!  Jesus was very explicit about this in John 15:1–8 where He likens Himself to a vine (the true vine), and His followers as “branches” which are “in” Him: they are attached to Him, they receive their life and sustenance from Him.  This is the true relationship with Himself and His disciples or followers.

        “Every branch IN ME that does not bear fruit He taketh away” (vs. 2).  Please notice that the branches are not growing alongside of Him or in the same field with Him: they are IN HIM.

        “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” (vs. 5).  To abide means to stay, remain, continue on.  Only those who stay, remain, and continue in Him bring forth fruit, and this is what the vine–dresser (the Father) looks for.

        “If anyone does NOT ABIDE IN ME (stay, remain, continue), he is CAST OUT AS A BRANCH and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned” (vs. 6).

        Now, who is responsible for a person abiding, staying, remaining, and continuing in Him?  Not God!  He has already promised His support and faithfulness to mankind, but Jesus plainly puts the burden on the branches to remain connected to the vine.  Some have said that the broken off branches were never really saved in the first place, but that idea is contradictory to the theme of the parable.  If an “unsaved” person can abide in the vine and remain in the vine, what benefit is there in abiding in the vine?  And why bother breaking them off?  What is really the point of the entire message if it is not a valid warning to believers that, unless they stay in the vine and produce fruit, they will cease to be living branches?  They are still branches, to be sure, but dead (twice dead), and will be cast into the fire to be destroyed!

        What greater warning could be given to professing believers than this stern message from the lips of the Master!

Point #8:  A man may have children in his home that misbehave and rebel against him, but they are still his children; their conduct or actions can never change that fact.  So it is with the believer in Christ; he may sin and rebel against God, but he is still God’s son.

Rebuttal:  “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father” (Rom. 8:15).

        Notice carefully the terminology Paul uses here: “adoption.”  (See also Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5.)  Adoption is applied to someone who is not a natural descendant, but who is legally accepted and received into another family as if he were a natural descendant.  But the adopted person can be legally repudiated by the adoptive person(s).  The same premise is true with God and His adopted sons.  If the case warrants it, God has the authority and sovereignty to disenfranchise these adopted sons.  If an adopted son disgraces God by “blaspheming the Holy Spirit,” he will not be forgiven, and that which he has shall be taken from him (Matt. 12:31; 13:12).

        But even beyond this consideration, a son can DIE, and even though he is still a son, if he is dead there is no life in him.  Like the broken off branches which are still branches even after having been broken off, a dead son is lost because there is no life (from God) in him.

        Let us not fool ourselves on this most vital subject.  The idea that our conduct and behavior have no effect on our salvation needs to be stamped out.  Thousands of people are believing that lie and are embracing it to their own destruction and detriment.  They are convinced that their preacher, pastor, or priest must be right and they fall into the snare and trap of the devil.

        Man always sinks down to the lowest possible plane of existence, to do only that which he feels is necessary in order to barely squeeze through.  The doctrine of unconditional eternal security paves the way for mankind to live in depravity, rebellion, disobedience to God, worldliness, carnality or whatever one chooses, and still be assured that, because he was once saved, he will always remain saved!  What a sick lie this is; don’t you believe in it!