Posted by: biblestudyseattle | January 19, 2015

Faith or Works?

“…in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds” eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  For there is no partiality with God.”  Romans 2:5-11

“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.”  Romans 3:28

Which is it: faith or works?  The answer is… both.  The reason for the confusion is the assumption by most Christians that salvation is based on the first life alone.  They forget about heaven, the second life, as if it’s only the state of perfection.  Thus they are trapped in an all or nothing proposition – heaven or hell.  They ignore second death by spiritualizing it as they do God’s warning: in the day you eat of it, you will surely die.  But such spiritualizing falls apart on closer inspection.  There can be no spiritual death without physical death. Take away the spirit, and all you have is a corpse.  God emphasized this by saying that in the day they eat of it, they will return to the dust of the earth – physical death.

The solution is the day.  In the bible, not all days are 24 hours.  Some are 1,000 years or even 7,000.  Moses understood this.  (Psalm 90).  Salvation is by faith alone, but we are judged by works.  The truth is salvation isn’t entirely the same as resurrection.  First comes resurrection.  This is God’s work alone.  “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:8

Both the just and the unjust are resurrected.  Acts 24:15  But not all enter into eternal, age lasting life.  This is the second death.  “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift [resurrection], and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come [the millennium], if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.”  Hebrews 6:4-6

The final battle is with Satan.  “And when the thousand years may be finished, the Adversary shall be loosed out of his prison,and he shall go forth to lead the nations astray, that are in the four corners of the earth — Gog and Magog — to gather them together to war, of whom the number [is] as the sand of the sea; and they did go up over the breadth of the land, and did surround the camp of the saints, and the beloved city, and there came down fire from God out of the heaven, and devoured them; and the Devil, who is leading them astray, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where [are] the beast and the false prophet, and they shall be tormented day and night — to the ages of the ages.”  Revelation 20:7-10  The word translated tormented is open to question, but that is another post.

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