just thinking  Salvation, Faith Alone or Faith Plus Works - Part V


1 Corinthians 9:27
Paul makes his body his slave so that he may not be disqualified.

Not disqualified from heaven, but disqualified from the joy of serving God as a preacher and the joy of seeing myriads of people in heaven because of his preaching.

Paul is talking in this passage about being a successful preacher, about winning many people to Christ. He compares this effort to a race, or to a boxing match. So, Paul seems to be talking about being disqualified from this race, from the honor of preaching the gospel and the honor of receiving the victor’s crown (1 Corinthians 9:25). If he does not keep in good spiritual shape he will disqualify himself.

So what is that reward, or “crown?”

When Paul refers to a crown it seems likely he is referring to the people he has won to Christ and those he hopes to win to Christ. We see in Philippians 4:1 that Paul calls the people “my joy and crown,” and in 1 Thessalonians 2:19 he writes: “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?”

So, when Paul speaks of being disqualified, he means that he does not want to be disqualified from preaching and from winning even more people to Christ. He looks forward to the largest possible crowd of people in heaven as a result of his ministry – that is his heavenly crown.

Also, in the here-and-now, he does not want to lose the reward of preaching the gospel. He loves the ministry God has given him. In 9:18 he says his reward is in offering the gospel for free and declining to use his rights to charge for it, and in 9:23 he says he preaches so he can partake in the gospel’s blessings. In 9:17 Paul says it is “woe” to him if he does not preach the gospel. I think he loves preaching God’s gospel so much that it would be agony not to preach it. How sad he would be to give that up by refusing to be disciplined so that he would be a fit tool for God to use.

1 Corinthians 10:12
If you think you are standing firm be careful that you don’t fall.

In our daily walk with God we can become self-confident and fall. This falling does not mean we are permanently condemned, but simply that we have stumbled.

1 Corinthians 11:29-32
The one who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.

We should prepare our hearts to receive the bread and the cup, but if we don’t and we take part in this holy activity thoughtlessly then we may face judgment. Paul says this judgment may include weakness, sickness, or even death. Paul says such judgment is a discipline from God so that we will not be condemned along with the world.

2 Corinthians 13:11
Be complete, comforted, like minded, live in peace and God will be with You.

God will be with us in our interactions with each other and in our daily life.

1 Corinthians 15:1-2
People are saved if they hold fast to the word, unless they believed in vain.

Are you holding fast to the word? Yes, of course, you slip at times, but if holding on to God’s word is your general tendency, then that is strong evidence that you really believed and did not believe in vain, or “without effect,” as the Amplified Version puts it.
A few verses further on, in 1 Corinthians 15:10, Paul illustrates this “holding fast.” He says that he worked harder than all the other apostles, but then he amends that to say, “yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” So, Paul worked harder than any of the other apostles, but more technically, it was God’s grace working through him. We may say the same about ourselves: We hold fast to the word, yet not ourselves, but the grace of God that is with us. If we don’t hold fast it is because the grace of God is not with us, and if it is not with us that is because we never really believed in the first place.

1 Corinthians 15:10
Paul says he is what he is by the grace of God and that he worked harder than all the others, but not him, but the grace of God within him.

When Paul says he worked harder than all the others he is speaking in a common manner, but notice that he then clarifies his meaning by saying that actually – down deep – it is not him who worked harder, but the grace of God at work in him.

1 Corinthians 15:14,17
If Christ was not raised your faith is in vain. If Christ was not raised you are still in your sins.

Paul is not questioning whether Christ was raised, but answering those who say there is no resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:12). If there was no resurrection, he argues, then Christ wouldn’t have been resurrected and these people’s faith would be in vain. But if Christ was raised from the dead, which is Paul’s point, then if we have faith in Him we are cleansed from our sins.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22
God makes us stand firm in Christ.

2 Corinthians 2:15
We are the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.

2 Corinthians 5:10
We must appear before the judgment seat of Christ to be recompensed for deeds in the body – good or bad.

This seems to be addressed mostly to believers. It is preceded by discussion of how we long to be clothed with our heavenly home and how the Spirit has been given to us as “a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Cor. 5:5). But we will still appear before the judgment seat of Christ to receive a reward for the good we’ve done, or to have such special rewards withheld, or even, as in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15, to have any evil works burned away, though we ourselves will be saved.

2 Corinthians 5:20-21
Paul implores the Corinthians on Christ’s behalf to be reconciled to God.

2 Corinthians 6:1
Don’t receive the grace of God in vain.

Paul is telling people not to listen to (“receive”) the grace of God without responding to it, since that would be “in vain”.

2 Corinthians 5:17
If in Christ you are a new creature, the old has passed away and the new has come.

2 Corinthians 5:21
God made Christ sin for us that we might be the righteousness of God.

2 Corinthians 13:5
Test if you are in the faith – Is Jesus in you?

We need to be in the faith; it is critical and so we should examine ourselves to make sure that we are.

Galatians 1:4
Jesus gave himself for our sins to rescue us from this present age.

Galatians 2:15-16
Man is not justified by observing the law but by faith in Jesus Christ. The law justifies no-one.

Galatians 2:17
We seek to be justified in Christ.

In the previous verse Paul has just emphasized that our justification is by faith in Christ alone, so why do we need to “seek” to be justified? Since he goes on to discuss (2:20) the “life I live in the body,” I believe he is speaking about our daily walk, of seeking to live righteously in Christ day by day.

Galatians 2:19-20
Paul says he has died to the law that he might live for God. He has been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer he who lives but Christ lives in him. He lives his bodily life in Jesus.

Galatians 2:21
If righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing.

Galatians 3:2-5
Paul reminds the Galatians that they began their spiritual lives through faith but admonishes them for now trying to live their lives out by their own efforts.

Galatians 3:6-9
Paul cites Abraham as an example of one who believed, and he adds that those who believe are children of Abraham, and he says that the scriptures foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith.

Galatians 3:11
No one is justified before God by the law.

Galatians 3:13-14
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law so the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Jesus so that we might receive the promise of the spirit.

Galatians 3:22
What was promised in scripture is given through faith in Jesus Christ to those who believe.

Galatians 3:24-25
The law was put in place to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that we have faith we no longer need the supervision of the law.

Galatians 3:26-29
Paul says the Galatians are sons of God through faith in Jesus. All who have been baptized into Christ have clothed themselves with Christ. If you belong to Christ you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.

Being baptized into Christ is a spiritual event resulting from faith. It may or may not involve physical water. See notes on Mark 16:16.

Galatians 5:2
If you receive circumcision Christ is of no benefit to you.

This immediately follows a reminder that “Christ has set us free,” and that we should not again take on “a yoke of slavery.” So Paul means that if you try to obey the ceremonial law – particularly circumcision – and rely upon it to live a righteous life, then you are not trusting in Christ and so “Christ will be of no value to you at all” in living righteously. This does not seem to refer to salvation.

Galatians 5:4
If you seek to be justified by the law then you are alienated from Christ.

When Paul talks of believers who have “fallen from grace,” he means that they are not appropriating the grace Christ can give them to live out their faith in their daily lives, not that they lose eternal life. If you try to obey the ceremonial law, relying upon it to live a righteous life, you are not trusting in Christ.

Galatians 5:19-21
Those who practice these sins will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Paul is saying that people who practice the sins he lists here – and he seems to mean that they constantly indulge in them – are showing that they have not trusted Christ. He says in Galatians 5:24 that “those who belong to Christ” have crucified the sinful nature, suggesting that the ones who do practice these sins have not crucified the sinful nature and do not belong to Christ; in other words, that they have not believed in Him.

By the way, when Paul speaks of crucifying the sinful nature, he does not seem to mean that it no longer has power, but rather that we should be completely separated from it and treat it as if it were dead. We see that the sinful nature is not powerless because he warns in Galatians 5:13 not to indulge the sinful nature, and in 5:16 not to gratify the sinful nature, and in 5:17 he says that the sinful nature and the Spirit are in conflict.

Galatians 6:4
Through the cross I’ve been crucified to the world and the world to me.

Jesus did the work, being crucified for us and setting us apart from the world. It is not by our efforts.

Galatians 6:8
The one who sows to please his sinful nature will from that nature reap destruction. The one who sows to please the Spirit will reap eternal life.

In Galatians 5:19-21 Paul lists the kind of things we can expect if we sow to the sinful nature (sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, etc.), and warns that such people will not inherit eternal life. But, just a few verses later, in 5:24, Paul says that “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” So, those who sow to their sinful nature are those who do not belong to Christ, and those who do belong to Christ have sown – and do sow – to please the Spirit, and they will reap eternal life.

Galatians 6:15
What counts is a new creation.

What counts is Christ making us into a new creation, not our old self trying to obey the law.

Ephesians 1:6-7
God bestowed grace on us in the Beloved [Jesus]. We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

Ephesians 1:13
Paul says the Ephesians were included in Christ when they heard the word of truth, the gospel. They believed and were marked in Him with a seal, the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 2:6
God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:8-9
We have been saved by grace through faith, and that not of ourselves. It is the gift of God and not by works.

Ephesians 2:15-17
Jesus abolished the law to reconcile both Jews and Gentiles, making them one and reconciling them to God through the cross.

Ephesians 3:16-17
Paul prays that the Ephesians would be strengthened by the Spirit so that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.

Paul is not saying Christ does not live in their hearts. We can see that he recognizes the Ephesians are saved in Ephesians 3:16, where he prays that God would strengthen them (not save them, as they’ve already been saved), and in 3:18 that they might recognize “together with all the saints” (suggesting that they are among the saints) the depth and width of Christ’s love, and in 3:19 that they would “be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

So, Paul intends this as an intensifier. His meaning is that the Ephesians need to trust Jesus even more so they will fully appreciate Him, that they would allow Jesus to “dwell” in their hearts, that they would experience “all the fullness of God,” in other words, that they would allow Christ to settle down and really make Himself at home in their hearts. The Living Bible puts it this way: “I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts.”

Ephesians 4:1
We should live up to the calling we have received.

God does not take away our choice when we become believers. We need to live up to our calling by giving our lives daily to Jesus.

Ephesians 5:5
No person who is immoral, impure, or covetous has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Such people are idolaters.

Paul is referring to non-believers. He is warning the Ephesian believers not to be partners with these immoral, impure, and covetous people, idolaters who will not inherit the kingdom of God (Ephesians 5:7). We should not help these people advance the cause of unrighteousness.

Philippians 2:12
Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.

Work out what is in you very carefully, with fear and trembling, because it is God at work within you (Philippians 2:13). We have salvation within us, now let us express it outwardly, carefully and in deep reverence for God. We should work out our salvation as if we were handling a rare and valuable vase.

Philippians 3:8-9
Paul considers all things rubbish that he may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of his own, but that which is through faith in Christ, from God and by faith.

The righteousness Paul wants to gain here is the righteousness of living daily for Jesus. We know this because in the next verse, Philippians 3:10, Paul says he want to share in Jesus’ sufferings and to become like Him in his death, things that are only a part of this life.

Philippians 3:10-11
Paul wants to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, and to be like Him in death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Paul is not here hoping that “somehow” he will be able to earn his way to being resurrected. He is, I think, expressing wonder that “somehow” – in some manner he does not fully understand – Christ will do that for him. In the very next verse, Philippians 3:12, he says that he presses on “to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” So, Christ has already taken hold of him; Paul simply wants to conform his life as best he can to what Jesus wants.

Colossians 1:20
Through Christ God reconciled to Himself all things in heaven and in earth by making peace with his blood shed on the cross.

Colossians 1:21-23
We have been reconciled to God and are without blemish and without accusation if we continue in the faith and are not moved from the hope of the gospel.

Paul has just finished saying that God has brought the Colossians into the kingdom of the Son (1:13) and that He has reconciled them to God (1:22), but then he adds an “if” – if they continue firm in their faith.

Since Paul has just finished saying that God has reconciled the Colossians to God, it would be very odd for the “if” to mean that what has already happened depends upon our future behavior.

But I don’t think Paul means that. I think he means what he says in 2 Corinthians 13:5, that we should examine ourselves to see whether we are in the faith. We should ask ourselves if we are continuing in the faith, and if we are not, then we should ask ourselves if we ever really believed in Jesus in the first place?

So, to paraphrase: We can know we are reconciled to God and are without blemish or accusation if we see faith at work in our lives.

Colossians 2:11-13
Our sinful nature was circumcised, put off, by Christ, and we have been buried with Him in baptism and raised with Him through our faith in the power of God, who raised Him from the dead.

Just as it is a spiritual circumcision Paul is speaking of here, so it is also a spiritual baptism. Our old self has been buried with Christ – as is symbolized in physical baptism when we are dunked under water – and then we are raised to life through our faith, as is symbolized when we come up out of the water in physical baptism. But the spiritual baptism does not require water, as we can see in Acts 11:16, where Peter is surprised to see God baptizing Gentiles in the Holy Spirit.

Colossians 3:3-4
We have died with Christ and our life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ appears we will appear with Him in glory.

1 Thessalonians 1:7,8
The Thessalonians were a model to all the believers. Their faith in God had become known everywhere.

1 Thessalonians 1:10
Jesus rescues us from the coming wrath.

2 Thessalonians 1:8
God will punish “those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.”

In context this appears to be directed at those who reject the gospel.

2 Thessalonians 2:13
God saved the Thessalonians through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through their belief in the truth.

1 Timothy 1:15
Jesus came into the world to save sinners.

1 Timothy 1:16
Those who believe on Jesus receive eternal life.

1 Timothy 2:4-6
God wants all to be saved and come to know the truth. Christ is the one mediator between God and man. He gave himself a ransom for all.

1 Timothy 2:15
Women will be saved through childbearing if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

This refers to being saved from the power of sin in our daily lives. It appears Paul is saying that we should keep busy with the good tasks of life to prevent our minds from wandering into evil.

1 Timothy 4:10
God is the savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.

God being the savior of all people does not mean everyone will accept His salvation. Only those who believe enjoy the benefit of God being their savior.

1 Timothy 4:15-16
Be diligent, persevere and “you will assure salvation for yourself and those who hear you.”

The context is that of Paul instructing Timothy on his church leadership duties, so the salvation referred to here seems to be to the daily salvation from sin. I think Paul is saying that by his devotion to his duty Timothy will save himself from slipping, from falling into sin, from failing to be what God wants him to be. And in the same way, he will save his congregation from the same failings.

1 Timothy 6:12
Paul urges Timothy to fight the good fight of faith and to take hold of the eternal life to which he was called when he made his confession before many witnesses.

Paul is encouraging Timothy here to live a godly life; I don’t think he at all means that eternal life might slip out of Timothy’s hands if he doesn’t hold on to it, but rather that for Timothy – and us – to live for Christ in this life we need to take hold of eternal life in our minds, to focus on eternity, so we are not led astray by the glittering distractions of the world.

1 Timothy 6:18-19
Those who are rich should do good and be rich in good deeds, thereby laying up treasure for themselves in the coming age, so they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

Their good deeds do not get them to heaven, but they will result in a treasure for them in heaven and true life here on earth.

2 Timothy 2:11-12
If we died with Him, we will live with Him. If we endure we will reign with Him. If we deny Him, He will deny us.

Paul is quoting a common saying that appears to be directed at people in general. Those who deny Jesus are those who never became believers. It is similar to Matthew 10:23, “Whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven,” or Mark 8:38, where Jesus says if anyone is ashamed of Him in this adulterous and sinful generation, He will be ashamed of him when he comes in His Father’s glory. In the same way, when this passage refers to those who deny Him, it seems to mean those who refuse to accept Jesus in the first place, not believers.

Also note that those who died with him (by surrendering their lives to Him in faith) will live with Him. Reigning with Him is a special reward in heaven for endurance.

Titus 2:11
The grace of God brings salvation to all.

Will we accept that salvation He brings us? That is a different question.

Titus 2:14
Jesus gave Himself to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify us.

Titus 3:4-5
Our God and Savior saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. Through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.

Titus 3:7
We have been justified by Jesus’ grace that we might become heirs, having the hope of eternal life.

Hebrews 1:3
Jesus provided purification for sins.

Hebrews 2:9
Jesus tasted death for everyone.

Hebrews 2:14-15
Jesus took on flesh and blood to go through death to free us who were enslaved by the fear of death.

Hebrews 2:17
Jesus made atonement for the sins of the people.

Hebrews 3:6
We are Christ’s house if we hold on to our courage and hope.

We, the church, are Christ’s house here on earth, and the church will remain Christ’s house on earth while it holds on to its courage and hope.

We need to understand the “we” in this verse as, “we the church” because earlier the author makes clear that he is referring to groups of people, not individuals. In verse 3:2,6 the author says that Moses was faithful in God’s house (the people of Israel), and in 3:6 he says that Jesus was faithful over God’s house (the church).

Hebrews 3:14
We share in Christ [or, we share “all He has for us” Amplified Version] if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance until the end.

We share with Christ while we remain confident in Him, trust in Him. If we maintain our confident assurance until the end of our lives, with no gaps, then we fully share with Him and all He has for us in this life, and, of course, in the next life. The use of the present tense – “share” rather than “will share” – seems to indicate that this is talking primarily about life in the here-and-now, though, obviously, if we have never given our lives to Christ in the here-and-now, then we will never share with Christ in eternity.

Hebrews 3:18-19
Those who were disobedient didn’t enter God’s rest because of their unbelief.

In this passage, disobedience is equated with unbelief. If we believe, we are being and will be obedient, and if we do not believe we are being and will be disobedient. We tend to act in accordance with what we really believe – not perfectly, not always, but generally.


4/08/2015 09:55:00 PM | Permalink | 0 comments

Newer Posts              Older Posts