B.A.S.I.C. NEWSLETTER #150
B.A.S.I.C. NEWSLETTER # 150
I Cor. 16:9 ‘For a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.’
August 12, 2009
A passage explained – Mt. 24:40-41
“Then two men will be in the field; one is taken and one is left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one is taken and one is left.” Some refer to this as the ‘rapture.’ They place it other than at the end of the world when the Lord comes for judgment. The next verse though points to the coming of the Lord. v. 42 Verse 44 also gives the context of this as “the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” There is no such rapture before our Lord’s second coming. The clear passages of Scripture speak with a distinctness that is God-given. In 1 Thess. 4:13-17 we have a definitive statement of the Lord’s second coming. When he comes we who are alive shall not precede those who are asleep and rise from the dead. Then we who are alive proceed up to the Lord in the air. This is when one is taken, the believer, and the other, unbeliever, is left to then be taken to the left for judgment. The one who is left does not continue on this earth, for it is the last day, the day of judgment. He is left only in the sense that one is taken and then he will be also.
For those caught up to the Lord to the right, Paul clearly says as we meet the Lord in the air, “and so we shall always be with the Lord.” We do not come back. As for the unbelievers they are gathered to the left as we are gathered to the right on judgment day. Mt. 25:31f. All appear before His judgment seat.
A passage explained – Mt. 2:23
“And He went and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, ‘He shall be called a Nazarene.’” This is a composite quote by Matthew. You will not find one passage which states this. Notice that Matthew says what might be fulfilled by the “prophets.” It was not one prophet but many that the Spirit puts together here.
So we see Jesus as the despised one who was the promised branch to grow up as our substitute. The point to note in particular is that Matthew does not name one specific prophet, but “prophets”.Another example of a Matthew composite is in Mt. 27:8-9 where he quotes from Jeremiah 32:6-9 on the buying of the field and includes reference to Zech. 11:12-13 on the thirty pieces of silver. He only names Jeremiah because the point is on the buying of the field as prophesied by Jeremiah, though the thirty pieces of silver are also included secondarily.
Questions and Answers That Clarify
In His Grace… God Declares… The innocent…Jesus…As Guilty
“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf,
that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
2 Corinthians 5:21
In His Grace… God Declares… The guilty…….Man……As Innocent
Questions and Answers That Clarify
Question: Our world is divided by hatreds and hurts over past wrongs committed against one another. How does understanding the Bible teaching of justification help us deal with these wrongs?
Answer: God does not expect us to call past or present injustices right. Christ strongly condemned evil in all its forms (Matt. 23). Though we have wronged God by our sins (Ps. 51:4), in Christ God has put them out of His sight (Ps. 103:10-12). Therefore, we too can leave past wrongs forever behind us, because God’s mercy empowers us to forgive others (Mark 11: 25, Eph. 4: 32),
Question: There has been much recent publicity suggesting that Protestants and Roman Catholics are now drawing closer to each other. Does this mean that Roman Catholicism now strictly accepts justification by grace through faith alone, as revealed in the Bible and as taught by the Reformers?
Answer: No! While Rome always stressed the “primacy” of grace and the importance of faith, Rome’s understanding of the terms “grace” and “faith” is different from that explained by St. Paul and emphasized by the Reformers. Rome continues to refuse to say that salvation is by grace or faith “alone.” Along with the Scriptures and the Reformers, we must continue to stress that we receive perfect reconciliation with God through faith alone and in Jesus Christ alone.
Question: Why does the Lutheran Church stress the doctrine of justification as the one upon which the church “stands or falls”? Isn’t it enough simply to “believe in Jesus”?
Answer: A house may have many rooms but only one foundation. For the church Jesus Christ is the one Foundation (I Cor. 3:11, Eph. 2:20). The doctrine of justification keeps us straight on this. Many cults claim to “believe in Jesus.” Thus, the question is “who is this Jesus in whom we believe?” Some churches wrongly teach that He is a second Moses who came primarily to show us what we must do to improve ourselves enough to eventually be good enough to become justified. This is contrary to God’s Word (John 1:17). Jesus’ main role is that of exclusive Mediator and Redeemer of people, all of whom are spiritually helpless sinners (John 1:17; Rom. 5:6-8).
Question: Some people make a great distinction between the expressions “through faith” and “on account of faith” when speaking about how a person is “justified” before God. Why is this distinction necessary?
Answer: Justification is not some kind of business transaction in which God contracts to supply forgiveness to those who agree to pay with faith (John 15:16). “Through faith” stresses that justification is God’s work alone (Eph. 2:8-9; Gal. 5:4; Rom. 3:28). But to say “on account of” faith would wrongly suggest that because of our feeble act of “having faith,” we earned the blessing. Faith is simply like a beggar’s open hand that receives God’s spiritual nourishment (I Cor. 4:7; Rev.22:17).
Question: Why do pastors talk about justification as ‘objective” and “subjective”?
Answer: This distinction emphasizes Christ’s glory and the unqualified comfort He gives us sinners. “Objective” means we have before us something already accomplished. It is “outside of us” (Eph. 1: 3-7). Its existence, reality, and truthfulness have nothing to do with us or our feelings. To say the world is “objectively” justified avoids the erroneous belief that God loves only the predestined, or that any one of us has contributed something to our being saved.
On the other hand, the term “subjective” stresses that the precious gift of salvation Christ earned for us is meant to be accepted and enjoyed by us “subjects,” the individuals for whom it is intended. When we speak of “subjective” justification, we also sadly acknowledge that there are individuals who refuse the amazing gift of divine forgiveness wrapped in Jesus Christ, the world’s only Savior.