Monday, November 12, 2012
1st John Chapter 4 Part 9
4:14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world, cont.
Rome draws its authority from a pretended line of unbroken succession from Peter the apostle to today’s present Pope; but that was not how the office of apostle was received, as we have seen from Peter’s own words in Acts and Paul’s testimony regarding his own reception of it, Galatians 1:11-12.
It is not an office handed down, and when the last of the men who had been witnesses of Jesus Christ perished, the office was no longer necessary; the complete word of God was available. This is why Paul wrote “where there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away,” 1st Corinthians 13:8-10.
When the canon of New Testament writings had concluded the era of prophetic knowledge, tongues and signs would effectively cease, according to Paul’s own words. The signs and wonders that accompanied God’s gospel from the first (Mark 16:20) were used only until the finished word was complete. Peter writes of this word, the Bible: “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,” 2nd Peter 1:19. The apostles wanted to steer the saints toward God’s objective word instead of subjective signs, which Scripture readily admits Satan can mimic, and has mimicked in times past, Exodus 7:11, 22; 8:7; Job 1:16, 19; 2:7; 2nd Corinthians 11:14; 2nd Thessalonians 2:9.
The message of John and his fellow apostles was clear: the Father sent Jesus Christ to be the world’s Savior. John was a witness of Christ during the days of His flesh, John 21:24; 1st John 1:1-2. The purpose of his witness was to save men through the preaching of the gospel, John 20:30-31; 1st John 5:1, 10. Jesus has the power to save. He has the authority to save. He has the desire to save. For those who call on the name of the Lord, they shall be saved, Romans 10:13. The salvation John presently addresses is our justification. This is salvation from sin’s penalty; eternal separation from God in the Lake of Fire. This punishment was dealt with by Jesus Christ on the cross when He died for the sin of the world, John 1:29. He died not simply to remove the stain of original sin, or to clear the blackboard up to the present moment; Jesus died for sin once for all, that He might bring us to God, Hebrews 7:27; 9:26; 10:10, 14.
Justification, receiving Christ’s imputed righteousness when we place our faith in Him as Lord and Savior, always occurs in the New Testament in the past tense. Salvation is not described as an ongoing process as far as the punishment due our sins is concerned, but an accomplished fact and a free gift God bestows upon the one whose faith is in His Son.
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God, 1st Corinthians 1:18
By which [gospel] also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain, 1st Corinthians 15:2.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8.
Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 2nd Timothy 1:9.
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, Titus 3:5.
The Christian, by virtue of Jesus Christ’s accomplishment, has eternal life as an immediate possession, John 3:15; 10:28. By simple definition something eternal cannot end. To say that God gave us eternal life but takes it back when we displease Him, or we lose it through carelessness flies in the face of the very notion that the gift we have received is eternal. Seven times in Romans we are told that God’s salvation in Jesus is a gift, Romans 5:15-18; 6:23. Later in this same epistle Paul writes “For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable,” Romans 11:29. This is the person of Christ our Savior. He offers freedom from sin’s punishment; He offers freedom from the present misery sin inflicts on us daily; He offers freedom from sin’s presence when we go to be with Him forever in His home of many mansions, John 14:2-3. This gift is Christ Himself dwelling in us through faith, 1st John 5:12; Ephesians 3:17. Only by the presence of His life may we overcome sin and live in a manner pleasing to God. Those who are not saved (past tense salvation/justification) by Christ do not have His life and are still abiding in God’s wrath, John 3:36; Romans 8:11; 2nd Thessalonians 1:8.
If you believe that you have to work to earn salvation in installments to merit God’s grace, or if you think you can sin your way out of eternal life once you receive it by believing the gospel, please listen. Either Jesus saves you and you are saved; or you are cooperating with Jesus to save yourself, and will have room for boasting in Heaven. Your effort contributed to your salvation; you did your part and the Savior did His. Your walk of faith will always at least be somewhat introverted as you are mindful to tread that line you hope God finds acceptable. Rome may find this gospel lucrative; and peddlers of conditional salvation may find this doctrine motivating for (fearful) holy living; but in the end it is selfish (focused on self) and dishonoring to the God who alone is our Savior. The apostle has seen and testified that Jesus is the world’s Savior. Whom will you believe?