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

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1 John 5:5
The one who believes Jesus is the Son of God overcomes the world.

1 John 5:11-12
God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.


1 John 5:13
John says he is writing to those who believe in the name of the Son of God so they may know that they have eternal life.


1 John 5:16
John says he is not saying to pray for the sin that leads to death.

I think John when John speaks of a sin that leads to death, he means suicide, not eternal death or hell. There is no point in praying for someone who has died. That person is in no position to lead a better life here on earth.


1 John 5:18
No one born of God continues to sin; Jesus keeps him safe.

The new creation in us does not sin. John does not mean we will never sin, but that it is no longer our true self, and sin is no longer a regular practice.


1 John 5:20
We know and are in Him who is true – even His Son Jesus Christ, who is the true God and eternal life.


2 John 1:2
The truth lives in us and will be with us forever.


2 John 1:8-9
You can lose what you have worked for and miss a full reward. Whoever runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God.

If people are drawn off track, running ahead by themselves and following their own ideas and plans without continuing in the teaching of Christ, then they will not receive as great a reward in heaven.


2 John 1:9
If someone does not abide in Christ’s teaching, he does not have God; the one who does abide has the Father and the Son.

If you go on ahead of God in your daily life, you don’t have God going with you. I don’t think this refers to eternal life.


3 John 1:11
Anyone who does what is good is from God.

John is not saying that any random person who appears – from a human perspective – to be good is a messenger from God (and therefore saved), but rather he appears to be describing how to recognize godly and ungodly people within the church. So, just before this verse he describes Diotrephes, a church-member who is acting badly, and just after this verse he describes Demetrius, who is an example of a good church-member.


Revelation 1:8
Jesus has the keys to death and Hades.

Revelation 2:5
Jesus threatens to remove the Church of Ephesus’ lampstand because it had forsaken its first love.

This is a warning to a church, a fellowship of believers, not to individuals, though, of course, that includes a warning to individuals. The point of a lampstand is to shine light on the world, so removing a lampstand seems to imply removing a church’s (or person’s) place in Christ’s service in the world; it is not necessarily a threat to exclude people from heaven.


Revelation 2:7
Jesus will give those who overcome the right to eat from the tree of life in the paradise of God.

Jesus is warning the Ephesian church that even though it had done good works and endured, even though it couldn’t tolerate the wicked, and even though had not grown weary, the church was failing because it had forsaken its first love. Apparently many people in this church just went along with the program and didn’t have a loving faith in Jesus.

Clearly, when John speaks of overcomers here, he is not speaking of those who are diligent in good works, since the Ephesians were loaded with good works and were still rebuked. But if we understand John’s use of the word “overcome” here as being the same as his use of the word in 1 John 5:4-5, then the ones who overcome are those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Because John is addressing an entire church, of which some members may be believers and some may be pretenders, John emphasizes that this reward is for those who believe in Jesus.


Revelation 2:10-11
Jesus promises the Smyrnans who overcome that they will not be hurt by the second death.

This letter is to an entire church, containing believers and pretenders (See note on Revelation 2:7). Jesus notes that the Smyrnan believers had endured persecution, and will endure more, but says they need fear nothing from the second death – unlike those who are persecuting them, who have much to fear. If we understand John’s use of the word “overcome” here as being the same as his use of the word in 1 John 5:4-5, then the ones who overcome are those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.


Revelation 3:4-5
Those who have not soiled their clothes will walk with Jesus, be dressed in white, and Jesus will not erase their names from the Book of Life.

I think the Book of Life is initially a book of those who have been called to spiritual life, whether they truly received it or not. So, Israel was called to life under God in the Old Testament and Christians are those who are called to life under God in the New Testament. But, as Jesus said, many are called but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14). So, for instance, Jesus called Judas, but Judas did not believe and was ultimately removed. So, similarly, the Israelites were called out of Egypt by Moses but then the unbelieving Jews were removed during their time in the desert. In the same way those who merely call themselves believers in Christ will be weeded out of the Book of Life until the only people listed in the Book are those who are saved.

Revelation 3:11
Hold fast to what you have so no one will take your crown.

In this case the word “crown” refers to a reward that Jesus will bestow, either a reward when He comes back ultimately, or perhaps a reward on earth if He meant that he would visit the Philadelphian church sometime before the end.


Revelation 3:12
Those who overcome, Jesus will make pillars in God’s temple.

This seems to be a special reward, not necessarily related to whether one goes to heaven. It may be a reward in heaven, or, if the temple referred to here is the Body of Christ on earth, then the reward could be an earthly reward. It hearkens back to Paul’s mention (Galatians 2:9) of visiting with those who seemed to be pillars of the church (meaning the apostles).


Revelation 3:16
Jesus says to the lukewarm church of Laodicea that He will spit it out of his mouth.

Again, this is a warning to a church, not to individuals. Apparently the town of Laodicea brought its water from two sources: hot water from Heiropolis and cold water from Colosae. Hot for healing, cold for refreshing. But by the time the water was piped to Laodicea, it was lukewarm; the hot water was no longer hot and the cold water was no longer cold. The tepid waters were not really good for what they were originally intended. So, Jesus appears to be telling the church that because of its lukewarmness, it may be discarded as part of His work in this world.


Revelation 3:21
The reward for overcoming is to sit with Jesus on His throne.

This promise is directed to the lukewarm Church of Laodicea, home to many who in their prosperity had drifted in their faith, and perhaps home to many hangers-on who never believed in the first place.

Jesus tells them to turn to Him to be purified (Revelation 3:18), that he will discipline them because He loves them (Revelation 3:19) and that if they will open the door to Him He will come in and eat with them (Revelation 3:20). Overcoming, as John also writes in 1 John 5:4-5, means believing in Jesus, and to those overcomers – those who believe – he promises a special reward in heaven, to sit with Him on His throne.

Our path through life may involve rebukes, advice, disciplining, encouragement, and promises for heaven, as we can see in this passage. But, if we were His in the first place we can rest assured that while God may discipline us (Revelation 3:19), we are His forever.


Revelation 5:9
By His blood Christ purchased men for God from every tribe, language, people and nation.


Revelation 20:12-13
The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.

The critical thing to do, and that we will be judged on, is whether we believed in Jesus.


Revelation 21:7
He who overcomes will inherit these things and “I will be his God and he will be my son”.

Revelation 21:8 contrasts overcomers with those who face the second death, who are cowardly, unbelieving, vile, murderers, sexually immoral, idolaters, and liars. In other words, those who are excluded show no evidence of faith. They are, as it says, “unbelieving.” If we understand John’s use of the word “overcome” here as being the same as his use of the word in 1 John 5:4-5, then the ones who overcome are those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.


Revelation 21:27
Nobody who does what is shameful or deceitful will ever enter the New Jerusalem, only those written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Assuming my interpretation of Revelation 3:4-5 is correct, this means that the Book of Life, with all false believers now erased from its pages, contains only real believers, and these believers enter the New Jerusalem. Those who believe have been cleansed and do not lead shameful or deceitful lives.


Revelation 22:12
Jesus is coming to render to every man according to what he has done.

And the critical thing for us to do is to believe in Jesus. If we have believed in Jesus we will be blessed.





Revelation 22:14
Those who wash their robes are blessed. They have the right to the tree of life.

We wash our robes by believing in Jesus.


Revelation 22:18-19
The one who takes away from this book of prophecy, God will take away his part in the Tree of Life and the Holy City.

Everyone has a share in the Tree of Life and in the Holy City; to receive it he just needs to believe in Jesus. And if he does believe in Jesus, then he will not add to or take away from the book of Revelation, or any part of the Bible.

This is much like Romans 5:18, where Paul says that “one act of righteousness resulted in justification that brings life to all men.” This does not mean that “all men” are saved, but rather that everyone has life available to him, and in the same way Revelation 22:19 does not mean that a person is already in possession of his part in the Tree of Life and the Holy City, but rather that it is available to him.

Also, when John speaks of adding to or taking away from Revelation, he is not talking about a preacher focusing on just one section of the book, or a writer quoting one verse of Revelation and not quoting the rest of it, or a commentator using words not in Revelation to expound upon it. I believe this refers to someone modifying the book of Revelation and pretending that the modified creation is the original. The sin is significant; it involves no momentary weakness in the face of temptation, but rather a cold plan, and a difficult plan at that – to rewrite the book of Revelation in order to mislead people and steal a blessing of God from them (Revelation 1:3). It puts that person solidly in the camp of those who practice deceit, as mentioned in Revelation 22:15. And because this is such a coldly calculated sin, perhaps it suggests that this person has made his heart so hard that he has made the ultimate decision to turn from God. If so, then God takes away the part of the Tree of Life and the Holy City that He had – until then – set aside for him had he believed.



Election – Being Chosen by God

These verses are related but are rather an aside. I have not really examined this topic in this Bible study. This sampling of verses tell us that God has selected those who are saved, so in some mysterious way God is in charge of our salvation even though we also have a real choice in being saved, as we can see from the other verses in this study. I accept these two truths but don’t understand how they fit together. I just thank God that He understands.

Matthew 15:13
Any plant not planted by God will be pulled up by the roots.

John 15:16
The people did not choose Jesus; He chose them.


John 5:21
The Son gives life to whom He pleases.

John 6:37
Jesus says that all those the Father gives to Him will come to Him and He will never drive them away.

John 6:39
The Father’s will is that Jesus lose none of those He has given to Him, but raise them on the last day.

John 6:44
Only those the Father draws to Jesus can come to him, and Jesus will raise them on the last day.

John 6:65
Jesus says that no one can come to Him unless the Father has enabled him.

John 10:29
The Father has given Jesus his sheep and no one can take them from the Father’s hand.

John 17:2
Jesus says the Father granted Him authority over all people to give eternal life to those the Father has given Him.

John 17:6
Jesus revealed the Father to those who were the Father’s, and they obeyed Father’s word.

John 17:12
Jesus says He protected His followers and none was lost except Judas, so the Scripture would be fulfilled.

Acts 9:3-18
God says He has chosen Saul (Acts 9:15).

Acts 2:47
The Lord added to the number of those being saved.

Acts 13:48
Those appointed to eternal life believed.

Romans 1:6
Paul says the Romans were called to belong to Jesus Christ.

Romans 8:29-30
God predestined those he foreknew to be conformed to the likeness of his Son. He also called them, justified them, and glorified them.

Ephesians 1:4-5
God chose us in Him to be blameless and holy in His sight.

Ephesians 1:11
We have been predestined according to God’s plan.

Philippians 1:6
He who began a good work in us will carry it to completion in the day of Christ Jesus.

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14
Paul says God chose the Thessalonians to be saved.

2 Timothy 1:9
Paul tells Timothy that God has saved them and called them to a holy life not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.

1 Peter 1:5

Those chosen are protected for a salvation to be revealed in the last time.  

4/08/2015 09:53:00 PM | Permalink | 0 comments

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