Will ‘free will’ condemn some Christians?
BBC’s former pastor, Bill Wilson, sometimes repeated the adage that the flavor of the tea is not known until it is put into hot water. This truism is the gist of Jesus’ Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13.18-23. The only person who succeeded was the one who kept firm hold of the “word of the kingdom”. Three other types of people gave up on the “word of the kingdom” when tempted, but not by God (James 1.13-15; note especially the downward spiral of those tempted, in verse 15). One let satan “snatch” the “word of the kingdom” away quickly; not much hot water was needed. Another “received” the “word of the kingdom” but “stumbled” from “tribulation or persecution (arising) from the word” (confrontations from others about righteous life styles). It took longer for the water to heat from the friction of conflicting perspectives. The third “(heard)” [same gist as “received”] the “word of the kingdom” but let it become strangled overtime by “the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches”. Thus, we see from the Parable of the Sower that some people freely give up the only hope of escape available (Galatians 1.4) under the ‘right’ amount of heat from the water satan pours onto their lives.
A. His name is Solomon.
- First Kings 11.1-13 tells of the sorrowful end of a most illustrious king of Israel.
- He had completed the task for which he was born, the building of the first Temple (1 Chronicles 22.8-10 & 12, 19). This had begun in Solomon’s fourth year (1 Kings 6.37) and taken twenty years (1Kings 6.38 & 9.10; seven years for the Temple and 11 years for his palace) of his forty-year reign (1 Kings 11.42).
- [Leadership query: what should Solomon have done after completing his ‘birth assignment’, instead of accumulating for himself? What other purpose might God have had for him? Should he, perhaps, have prayed for another assignment or for God to identify his successor to be groomed for the throne?]
- So, it was the last 16 years (40-24; or 29 years if building his palace is not included; 40-11) that became his undoing (it took that long for the ‘water to boil’). This was the period of his pursuit of imaginations (Jeremiah 13.10) chronicled in the book of Ecclesiastes and of his accumulation of things (1 Kings 10.14-29) and women.
- First Kings 11.1-8 describes his lust for women who worshipped gods, contrary to the commandment of God (Exodus 34.16). Thus, Solomon fulfilled the warning of the commandment, even spurning God’s warnings in (chapter, verses) 5-14 and 9.2-9.
- Solomon did not have to await the Great White Throne Judgment to hear the ‘deeds’ read from the ‘books’ of Revelation 20.11-15. First Kings 11.30-33 is God’s charge against Solomon’s actions, listed in verses 7-8.
- Will Solomon’s name be written in the “Book of Life” (Revelation 20.11-15)? I believe that God makes it clear from this chapter and from Ezekiel 18.20&26 that Solomon will not be saved. He took his eyes off his mentor (David) and off his ‘Prize’ (God). His ‘free will’ choices condemned him.
B. But, what about ‘once saved, always saved’?
- Is that what the Apostle Paul really wrote in Romans 8.38-39? Would that not be a
contradiction of God in Ezekiel 18.26 (ex. Numbers 15.32-35) and Jesus in Luke 9.62? Would it not contradict the understandings of writers Job (31.26-28), David (Psalm 119.118), Joshua (24.20), and John (1 John 2.24-25 & Revelation 22.19)?
- If this is what Paul meant, why does he contradict himself in Romans 11.19-22, Colossians 1.21-23, 1 Timothy 2.15 & 14-15 & 6.10 & 6.20-21, Hebrews 3.6 & 10.38, and, finally in general pronouncement, in Hebrews 6.4-6?
- Pay attention to Paul’s choice of words in Hebrews 6.4-6 (underline and italics for emphasis): “For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.”
- This is not ‘missing the mark’ of righteousness, which repentance absolves (1 John 1.9); this is turning one’s back on an earlier commitment to John 14.6! There is no return!
- If Paul did not mean ‘once saved, always saved’ in Romans 8.38-39, he meant that no ‘external’ force can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- But, just as John 3.16 & 47 imply the ‘free will’ of accepting Jesus as Savior and receiving eternal life thereby, the same person may exercise the same, ‘internal’, ‘free will’ to dissociate from God’s Savior for mankind.
- “Whosoever” might, also, ‘un-believe’ under satan’s duress and/or temptation like Jesus states in the Parable of the Sower. S/he has ‘free will’.
- But, there are consequences, like Solomon found out and Oprah will.
C. Hold firm your confession of faith in Jesus!
- Hebrews 10.23-25.
- Romans 4.20-25
- James 1.6-8
- Control your ‘free will’ choices!
- And, may your ‘tea’ be strong, producing a “hundredfold” return (Matthew 13.23)!
Will ‘free will’ condemn some Christians? 170625
Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2017. www.sozoclass.com
Where are the Raptured during the Judgments?
This question became my study while reading about the “holy city” New Jerusalem coming down from Heaven “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21.2). New Jerusalem is a city and, metaphorically, the bride of Jesus? Then, is the “bride” at the Great White Throne Judgment of Revelation 20.11-15? When are we ‘judged’ (Romans 14.10)? And, when do we, as the “bride”, receive our “rewards” (2 Corinthians 5.10, 2 Timothy 2.5)? These questions drew me back to start the sequence of events after the Rapture of believers
A. The Rapture
- The church/bride of Jesus is Raptured at the end of the ‘church age’, which Jesus discusses in Revelation 2-3.
- Chapter four begins with the ‘calling away’, as some term the Rapture, for John hears “‘Come up here’”, verse one, and “immediately” (verse two) sees the Throne of God. We may not, but John did so he could write about it for us (Revelation 1.1).
- The same words, “Come up here”, are said to resurrect and return the two witnesses in Revelation 11.12. [BTW, who are they? Moses is connoted in verse 6 by having the “power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues”. He had done these earlier, in Exodus 7.20-12.30. Elijah is the other, connoted by the “power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy.” He had done this earlier, in 1 Kings 17.1. Could the ‘witness’ event have been part of Jesus’ discussion with them in His Transfiguration? See Matthew 17.1-8.]
- So, in the “twinkling of an eye”, (1 Corinthians 15.52), the Paradise of Hades is vacated and Jesus’ followers who are alive on Earth join Him “in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4.15-18).
B. The 144,000
- With former and current Christians Raptured, only persons in the Pit of Hades and
non-Christians and Jews remain on Earth.
- Revelation 7.1-8 (1) identifies 144,000 Jews, from all tribes but Dan (why
missing?), as being “sealed” as “servants of our God”.
- What is their servitude? Remember that God chose the Jews as His “treasure” among
the world’s peoples and ordained them as a “kingdom of priests and a holy
nation” (Exodus 19.5-6). Remember, too, how God had treated them differently in Egypt before and during the plagues; see Genesis 47.1-6 and Exodus 9.26, 23, & 12.35-36. Perhaps, then, the 144,000 are God’s priests to the Jews remaining on Earth to tell them about Jesus as Messiah. Will they be saved? Paul makes the affirming case in Romans 9-11 but, seemingly, the dissenting case in Hebrews 10.1-18 and Galatians 3.21-25.
- But, the Gentiles remaining will not be saved.
C. The Great White Throne Judgment
- Those Raptured will not be there. I acknowledge that this view differs from that of Dr. Wayne Grudem and other theologians who believe this is where Christ followers will get our rewards. I disagree according to the following rationale.
- The Great White Throne Judgment of Revelation 20.11-15 is for those who have not accepted God’s salvation described in John 3.16-18 & 6.
- The opening of the “books” in Revelation 20.12 reveals this. First, the record of their lives is revealed deed by deed. Then, the Book of Life is opened to to show that their names are not written therein. Thus condemned, they are cast into the “lake of
fire” (verse 15).
- We have already walked through this procedure (John 3.16) when we confessed our sin of unbelief (Hebrews 11.6) and resulting sins (Romans 3.23 & 23) and acknowledged Jesus as the only Savior, as in John 14.6 (see John 6.47 & Acts 16.31, too)! We will not need to hear the reading of our misdeeds again, because they have been removed from us (Psalm 103.12, Isaiah 38.17 & 43.25, Micah 7.19)!
- Regarding Jesus separating “sheep from goats” in Matthew 25.31-46, understand that this passage continues a discourse about End Times that began in Chapter 24 with the disciples’ question. Here, Jesus emphasizes the mercy that the Jewish leaders did not practice (Matthew 23.23), perhaps giving them fair warning that the “books” will be opened and that He will itemize their charges (Acts 17.31).
D. Here comes the Bride
- After the Great White Throne Judgment, the Bride makes her entrance; see Revelation 21.2. Notice that the New Jerusalem is described as “the holy city” and as a “bride adorned for her husband”.
- Revelation 19.7-8 describes her as clothed in “‘fine linen, bright and pure’—for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints”. Revelation 21.9-11 reveals that she has “radiance like a most rare jewel”, perhaps, described in verses 19-21.
- Then, Revelation 22.12 records Jesus saying, “‘I am coming quickly, and My reward is with me, to give to every one according to his work.” (My underline.) This is the time Christians receive their rewards, not at the Great White Throne Judgment.
E. Where has the Bride been?
- After joining Jesus in the air, we have been excluded from the wrath of the broken seals and bowl and trumpet judgments of Revelation 6-18 and have admired our Hero in the victories of Revelation 19.11-20.3.
- We have witnessed the 1000-Year reign of Jesus with “the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness” (Revelation 20.4-5), perhaps those of Revelation 6.9-10. (My underline.)
- Finally, we have applauded as “fire came down…and devoured [the deceived nations]” that had “surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city” (Old Jerusalem; Revelation 20.7-10).
- We have been safe since the Rapture because of John 3.16!
Praise God!!! 170618 Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2017. www.sozoclass.com
Words Beginning With RE
Walter Chrysler never thought it would happen. He had founded the Chrysler Corporation in 1925 from the remains of the Maxwell Motor Company and acquired the Dodge Brothers Company in 1928. He added Plymouth and DeSoto as brands that same year. He had learned diversification while with General Motors Buick Division. Post-WWII declines, unwise European expansion, and changing US markets brought Walter’s company to the verge of bankruptcy in the late 1970s. Only a $1.5 Billion loan guarantee from the US government saved his company. Thus was born The New Chrysler Corporation (Wikipedia). Walter had not planned these events for his company but involving other people — less-dedicated employees and fickle customers who migrate for emotional reasons — can bring unintended consequences. How does this story illustrate the periods of Biblical events in Genesis 1-2, Genesis 3– Revelation 20, and Revelation 21-22? These periods can be titled ‘The Original Creation by God’, ‘Man’s Imagination Needs God’s Salvation’, and ‘The Re-Creation by God’. What is the relation of the “new earth” in Revelation 21.1 to the “earth” that God created in Genesis 1.1-2? God placed man in the Original Creation (Genesis 1.26 & 2.7). Does He intend to populate the “new earth’, His Re-Created Earth, with us who will have joined Jesus in the air (1 Thessalonians 4.16-17)?
A. The Original Creation by God.
- God made something out of nothing, literally and figuratively (Genesis 1.2-2.1; Hebrews 11.3).
- Day 1: light separating night from day [notice God’s emphasis of light out of darkness, “the
evening and the morning were the…day”; Solomon picks up on this nuance in Proverbs 4.18;
God’s revelation of Himself].
- Day 2: sky/observable heavens.
- Day 3: oceans and dry lands that sprout vegetation to replenish man’s body with nutrients from
the soils from which he was made (Genesis 1.29).
- Day 4: night lights and the Sun to rule over respective periods of time.
- Day 5: fish and birds [God had already prepared their foods on Day 3].
- Day 6: livestock, “creeping things”, and “beasts of the earth according to their kinds” and their
“every green herb for food” (Genesis 1.30); man “made”, not created, in the image of God to
“have dominion over the fish…birds…cattle…all the earth…every creeping thing.”
- Notice that everything was created for man to administer for and with God, Who owns all
things (Deuteronomy 10.14; Psalm 24.1; Psalm 115.16). God’s plan for man.
- God “planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man…to tend and keep
it” (Genesis 2.8-15). Woman, too, was “made” (Genesis 2.18-24) in the Garden. Man was to expand the Garden until it consumed the surface of the Earth, I believe, for the Garden would have become too small with the addition of children’s children.
B. Man’s Imagination Needs God’s Salvation
- Jeremiah 13.10 explains the cause of the problems the Earth began and continues to experience from man’s imagination, which he continues to give into deceptions by satan’s evil system.
- Eve’s “fruit” episode was the stimulation of wicked imaginations; see Genesis 3.1-24.
- God created the rainbow after His do-over of Creation through the Flood and Noah (Genesis 9.13).
- But, when God suggested to Moses another do-over of His rebellious nation of priests
(Exodus 19.6; Deuteronomy 9.13-14), Moses demurred because that would connote to the nations of the Promised Land His inability to fulfill His promise (Deuteronomy 9.26-29). How frustrated He must have been, like us with a petulant child!
- So, God sent His only Son, Jesus, to become the propitiation for those of sinful mankind who would receive this gift; see John 1.12, 3.16 & 14.6.
C. The Re-Creation by God
- Apparently, God is not finished with His Created Earth, as John states in Revelation 21.1 & 5.
- Who will populate this “new earth”? Perhaps, Revelation 21.3-4 answers: man will. God will
be there, too!
- Could this be the Eternal Heaven? There are not remaining verses that indicate that man
leaves the New Earth again.
- The old Earth, sea, sky/heavens have been discarded (Rev. 21.1, 20.11) like the clear sheet
torn from a race car driver’s visor on Pit Row to remove oil and obstacles from his or her view.
- Once the Earth is Renewed, we will return with Jesus to occupy the entire globe. Alcorn
quotes Albert Wolters’ Creation Regained (1985. Eerdmans. Grand Rapids.): “we are reinstated as God’s managers on earth. The original good creation is to be restored” (Heaven, p. 89).
C. Words beginning with RE
- “Albert Wolters points out that most of Christ’s miracles ‘are miracles of restoration—
restoration of health, restoration to life, restoration to freedom from demonic possession. Jesus’ miracles provide us with a sample of the meaning of redemption: a freeing of creation from the shackles of sin and evil and a reinstatement of creaturely living as intended by God’” (Alcorn, p. 89-90).
- Notice Paul’s similar writing in Romans 8.19-25, especially verse 22 (caused by imagination).
- “God placed mankind on Earth to fill it, rule it, and develop it to God’s glory” (Alcorn, p.90).
- “God determined from the beginning that he will redeem mankind and restore the earth. Why?
So his original plan will be fulfilled” (Alcorn, p. 90).
Walter Chrysler would have been proud of Lee Iacocca’s restoring the New Chrysler to profitability. God will be proud of man living out His righteousness without the interference of satan, who will have been cast into the Lake of Fire.
Alcorn, R. 2004. Heaven. Tyndale House Publishers. Carol Stream, IL.
Praise God!!! Copyright (C) by Maurice L. Painter, 2017. www.sozoclass.com