The Biblical Truth on Faith Alone, Good Works, and Salvation

5/31/2019 , 14 Comments

Man Cannot Be Saved By Faith Alone

Perhaps one of the most remembered personalities in the New Testament is the thief that was crucified alongside the Lord Jesus Christ, not for anything else but, because of the enviable assurance of salvation which no less than the Lord Jesus Christ gave him in his final hour.

Remember, before the thief died, he believed that Jesus was the Savior, and he even asked Him to remember him when He comes into His kingdom. And Christ told him that instance that he would be with Him in paradise.

LUKE 23:42-43
42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily, I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Sadly, lots of preachers have capitalized on this particular incident to convince people that, to merit salvation, it is enough to just believe and have faith. They would even add that salvation is God’s gift to man, so there is no need for man to do good works anymore to obtain it. Again, they would make reference to that particular thief who didn’t do anything good in his life and yet he earned Christ’s assurance that he would be with Him in paradise simply because he believed.

Besides, according to those preachers, man’s righteousness is like filthy rags to God, citing the prophet Isaiah. So, no amount of good works could ever make a person appear righteous in the sight of God because his righteousness is just like filthy rags for Him.

Of course, those are all very wrong teachings. Please, allow me to clarify this matter.

First of all, let us go over what Isaiah 64:6 says and see for yourselves how those preachers had grossly misinterpreted the verse.

ISAIAH 64:6
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

The verse states the words of people who were buried in iniquities; they were doing their own righteousness.

We must realize that there are two kinds of righteousness in the Bible. There is what the Bible mentions as the righteousness of God, which is dikaiosune in Greek, meaning justice, equity; on the other hand, there is also the so-called man’s own righteousness.

ROMANS 10:3
For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

There are people who are ignorant of God’s righteousness. Instead of submitting themselves to the righteousness of God, they establish their own righteousness.

Isaiah 64:6 was referring to themselves, the Israelites, who were transgressors of God’s law. They said, “we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” They were very, very far away from God. They have no record of any good deed so they compared themselves to leaves that fade and wind that passes but leaves no mark.

Now, let us compare it with the words of the Apostle Paul in the book of ROMANS 3:10-12, which says,

10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

They were among the people who had forgotten God in their lives. None of them sought God, and there was none of them that understand (not including the Apostle Paul, of course). They were the kind of people whose righteousness was like filthy rags in the sight of God.

BUT IF you are doing God’s righteousness and IF you are submitting yourself to the righteousness of God, will it still be like filthy rags?

MATTHEW 6:33 says,

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Your righteousness is valuable in the sight of God if what you are doing is His righteousness, instead of your own righteousness.

There is a great difference between man’s own righteousness and the righteousness of the Lord. There is a heaven and earth difference between the two.

How does God regard a person who is doing his own righteousness, and not His righteousness?

LUKE 16:15 says,

And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

It is abomination; it is just like filthy rags in His eyes.

EPHESIANS 6:6 says,

Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;

There are men-pleasers who do their righteousness to be seen by men. Yet, what is in their hearts is abomination in the sight of God.

To arrive at a correct interpretation of God’s word in the Bible, you have to consider the spirit from within the entire Bible itself. You should not take anything out of context. You must be within the context of the verse, of the chapter, of the book, and of the entire Bible.

There are religious leaders, especially the Baptists, who interpret the Bible out of context. So, they say, “We do not have to do good works anymore; good works are no longer necessary because, even if you do good works, they are just like filthy rags in the eyes of God.” Such is an erroneous interpretation of the Scriptures! It is NOT the truth, and it will NEVER be the truth.

It is true that faith could save us, just like what happened to the thief on the cross – although a criminal, he was justified because of the faith that sprang in his heart a few minutes before he died. It was only a few minutes before his death, not an hour or two hours before his death, when he started believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, during their first and second hours on the cross, together with the other thief, he was also mocking the Lord Jesus Christ.

MARK 15:32 says,

Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.

There were only two thieves that were crucified together with the Lord Jesus Christ. One was on His left and the other one on His right. Based on the account of Mark, he said “they,” meaning, both of them mocked and reviled Him. But before they finally died, one of the thieves saw and experienced things which eventually opened his mind.

In LUKE 23:39-42, it says,

39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.

That was the moment when the thief professed his faith. He said, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” That utterance was an expression of faith. And that was sufficient for him to be saved because he had but a few minutes more to live; and he would not be able to do anything good anymore.

BUT for us, who are not crucified, will it be enough to just have faith and not do good works anymore to be saved? If you had but one hour left to live after you started believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, then your faith will be sufficient for your salvation. BUT IF you are going to live for another day, or another week, or another month, or another year, after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, your faith would no longer be enough to merit salvation. You have to do something aside from having faith only.

2 PETER 1:5-9 says,

5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

After having been purged from our sins, our faith must be followed by obedience. To our FAITH we need to add virtue; to virtue knowledge; to knowledge temperance; to temperance patience; to patience godliness; to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

So, if you are going to live for another day, or more, your faith wouldn’t be sufficient for you to be saved. Your FAITH should be coupled with works of obedience to the Lord.

1 CORINTHIANS 13:13 (KJV) says,

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

In the Revised Standard Version it says, “So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

It did not say that the greatest of these is faith. No! Love is greater than faith; and love must not be absent in faith. Faith must be coupled with love and hope. If you are going to take away love, even if you have faith, you will not be saved still.

1 CORINTHIANS 13:1-3 (RSV) says,

1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3 If I give all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Faith is not enough for a person to be saved. Insofar as the thief on the cross was concerned, yes, his faith was enough. He couldn’t do anything anymore but just have faith. He couldn’t show love anymore; he couldn’t do good works anymore because there was no more time left for him. He couldn’t join the congregation anymore so that he could sing hymns and praises to the Lord. Remember, singing praises to the Lord is a good thing in the sight of God.

PSALMS 92:1 says,

It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High:

The thief on the cross, with a broken leg and with nailed hands and feet, could not do that anymore as he was enduring severe pain and he was dying. But given another day, or another month, surely, that thief would do good works.

2 TIMOTHY 3:17 says,

That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Given the time and the opportunity, you have to do good works. And your good works, as a man of God, are not filthy rags in His sight. Why? Because you do good works with God; you cannot do them by yourself alone.

PHILIPPIANS 2:13 says,

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good purpose.

The purpose of God is His will. To be able to do the will of God, God must be with you; Christ must be with you. Otherwise, you will fail.

As written in JOHN 15:5,

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Therefore, if you are able to do the good works that God commanded you to do, that is a manifestation that God is with you. We can do good work because God is with us; apart from Him we cannot do anything.

So how dare those people say that our good works are just like filthy rags in the sight of God when we are doing those good works with Him! If the righteousness that we are doing is the righteousness of God, and we are doing it with His help, such would never ever be like filthy rags in His sight.

HEBREWS 6:10 says,

For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

Good works done with love could not be like filthy rags in the sight of God.

The Baptist Church, whose pastors and leaders do not want to do good works, had grossly misinterpreted the Scriptures in teaching their members that faith alone is enough; that faith alone can save, and that there’s no need to do good works anymore because good works are like filthy rags in the sight of God.

If it is true that faith, minus the good works, is enough to be saved, why, then, are you requiring your members to give tithes? Isn’t the giving of tithes a good work? How come you are accusing your members of robbing God if they would not give tithes? This only shows how wrongly you interpreted the Bible. Your interpretation is an interpretation of the anti-Christ. Because what Christ wants is that we do good works as long as we live. And it is our good works that will qualify us to inherit eternal life.

MATTHEW 7:24-25 says,

24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

It is imperative that we do what the Lord Jesus Christ said. You know that everything that the Lord Jesus Christ said and all the examples that He set are all good works. He said, Love your enemy. Give him something to eat when he is hungry and something to drink when he is thirsty. Those are good works. And because of those good works that you do, the Lord Jesus Christ said, “anyone that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them...” Meaning, anyone that does His work. “...I will liken him unto a wise man, which build his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not…”

If those who do His works, which are all good works, are likened to wise men, those who do not want to do them are likened to foolish men.

MATTHEW 7:26-27 says, “And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not” (like the Baptist pastors), “shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”

So there is a great fall that is forthcoming to those who do not want to do good works. Instead, they just say, “I believe in you; I accept you as my personal Lord and savior; hallelujah! Just give tithes and you would be saved.” Those are merely the teachings of the Baptist pastors but they are not the real truth in the Bible! The real truth in the Bible is that we have to work; we have to do good works in order to be saved by our faith.

JAMES 2:22 says,

Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

Faith without works is dead, as written in JAMES 2:26,

For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

How can you be saved by a dead faith? The faith of the Baptist Church is dead because they do not want to do good works anymore.

Good works should be accompanied by faith, and faith should be coupled with good works. It is the good works that you are doing that would make your faith perfect. How?

PHILIPPIANS 2:12 says,

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

What does “obeyed” mean? They had worked them out; they had put into action his words, his commandments, admonitions, and teachings.

We really have to work, and the works that we have to do are the good works that God wants us to do. You will not be saved if you are not going to do good works.

Your faith may be enough for salvation if you are going to live for just a couple of minutes more, when you no longer have the chance to do any good work anymore. But if you are still to live for another day, another month, or another year, after you received the faith, then you have to GROW in Christ. And growing in Christ is learning how to do good works – the good works that had been exemplified by the Lord Jesus Christ. And the good works you have done will qualify you for salvation.

MATTHEW 25:32-40 says,

32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

So, those who would be made heirs of the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ are those who did good works. How now would you say that good works are no longer necessary?

Actually, doing good works can be a way to salvation of men who do not have faith. They have no faith because they weren’t given a chance to listen.

ROMANS 10:17 says,

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Nonetheless, THEY will be accepted as righteous in the sight of God come judgment day because of the good works that they have done.

ROMANS 2:13-15 says,

13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

The Apostle Paul was talking about the people who have no faith because they had NOT heard the law. (As we know, faith is born out of listening to the word of God. Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.)” And because they have not heard the law, they had NOT known Jesus. They died without hearing Jesus; they died before the Bible was printed; they died in a place and time that the Bible was not yet available.

But DESPITE that, they do by nature the things contained in the law, that is, they do the goodness that is in the law. And because of that, they are justified.

The Apostle Paul explained this further in 1 TIMOTHY 4:10, which says,

For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, especially of those that believe.

Therefore, there is a possibility that those who do not believe could be saved IF, despite the fact that they did not hear any law, they are doing the good things contained in the law. So, even if they had neither seen Christ nor heard His teachings, they are still considered justified because of the good works they had done, like feeding the hungry, giving something to drink to the thirsty, clothing the needy, etc. Because of these good deeds they were found worthy of inheriting the kingdom of God.

How about those who refuse to do good works, like the Baptists? What will Christ tell them?

MATTHEW 25:41-45 says,

41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw thee an hungred, or athirst, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister thee?
45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

That is the penalty for those who do not want to do good works. Clearly, refusing to do good works will disqualify you from inheriting the kingdom of God, even if you claim that you have faith. Faith alone is NOT enough for salvation. Do not liken yourself to the thief that was nailed on the cross and was promised of salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ because his condition was different from yours. His hands and feet were nailed and he had a few minutes to live, while your hands and feet are free, and you have your whole lifetime ahead of you to do good works.

If you have faith, couple it with good deeds for you to merit salvation and be an heir also of the kingdom of God.

14 comments:

More Reasons to Believe that the Bible is the Inspired Word of God

5/24/2019 , 8 Comments

Why Unbelievers Should Believe in God

Anywhere we go there would always be people who doubt if the Bible is, indeed, an inspired book, or if it was really made by the inspiration of God.

Definitely, the Bible is inspired by God. In fact, the Bible calls itself as an inspired book. In the Greek Bible, the word inspiration is theopneustos, which means divinely breathed in. Meaning there is a divine breath that blessed the Bible as a book.

In 2 TIMOTHY 3:16, it says,

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

The Apostle Paul was explaining to Timothy that all manuscripts and scriptures existing during their time were inspired by God; they were given by the inspiration of God. And because they were inspired by God, it follows that they had His approval, too. If they were God-approved, it means that the Bible contains divinely approved truths, truths which no man could ever disprove. The truth in the Bible stands firmly on the ground, and it cannot be shaken by human wisdom.

For more than five decades of my ministry, I have met so many unbelievers of the Bible. I had even come across atheists who do not believe in God. But as I explained to them my basis in believing the Bible, they were eventually converted and they got convinced that the Bible really came from God. Actually, there is no other book on earth that is inspired by God except the Bible or the Holy Scriptures.

The scriptures that were used by the Israelites, the first century Christians, had been preserved to reach our time. There are copies of the Oxyrhynchus Papyrus, which was written in the third century of our common era. They were the oldest manuscripts written in Greek which dates back to the third century. We also have the Codex Sinaiticus, the Codex Vaticanus, the Codex Washingtonianus, the Codex Alexandrinus, and many other codexes, which had been written by hand, as early as the third and fourth centuries, by people who wanted to preserve the word of God. That time, the printing machine had not been invented yet so they were all written by hand. Today, those manuscripts are being housed in different libraries of the world.


The Bible is divinely inspired; it contains evidences that prove that it came from a Superior Being, and not just from ordinary humans like us. It speaks of truth which nobody could refute. To prove this, let me cite you some examples.

In the early part of human history, people used to believe that the earth was flat. But, about 2,600 years ago, it was already written in the Bible that the earth is round.

ISAIAH 40:22 says,

It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, . . .

The Bible tells us that there is a circle of the earth, and God sitteth upon that circle of the earth. Therefore, as early as 2,600 years ago, the Bible had provided us the information that the earth is spherical in shape. However, humans realized that it was really round, and not flat, only when Apollo 11, a spacecraft from the USA, took a picture of the earth from outer space. The picture taken by Apollo 11 became a physical evidence that gives confirmation to what had been spoken in the book of the prophet Isaiah that the earth is spherical. This only proves that the Bible is an inspired book of God, and the Bible tells us of things long before they are discovered by men.


Source: http://www.airspacemag.com/issues/2007/december-january/FEATURE-FirstPhoto.php

The Bible also tells of a tunnel that was constructed during the time of King Hezekiah of Israel; it was constructed before the time of the Lord Jesus Christ. Very recently, it was discovered that such a tunnel really exists, and the walls of the tunnel bear the names of the people who were responsible in its construction. This, again, proves that the Bible is a divine book inspired by God.


During the time of the Lord Jesus Christ, when He was talking with the Jews, He mentioned of a coin. He asked them as to whose image was engraved on the coin, and to Him they answered, it was the Roman emperor’s. Lately, they discovered such coins in Samaria and other parts of the Middle East, and the coins, indeed, bore the inscription of the images of Augustus Caesar and Tiberius Caesar, the Roman emperors that reigned during the lifetime of our Lord Jesus Christ here on earth. Proving the correctness of the account in the book of Matthew wherein Christ was being asked if it was lawful to give tribute to Caesar. The Lord Jesus Christ answered, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's. (Matthew 22:21).


Samples of coins that circulated during the time of the Lord Jesus Christ that had been unearthed by archeologists, even a sample of the coin, or mite, that was given by the widow to the treasury in order to help (Mark 12:42), are physical evidences that prove the veracity of those biblical accounts. And they further prove that the Bible was written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Now, how do we convince the non-believers to believe in our God?

The God of Christians is real. The God of Christians is attested by His creations. If only the non-believers would use their common sense, they would be left without a choice except to believe in the existence of Somebody who created everything.

ROMANS 1:19-20 says,

19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. It is very much inspired by God’s spirit, and nobody can disprove the truthfulness of the verse. How do we understand the existence of God? Being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead so that they are without excuse. Nobody can excuse himself for not believing in God. All that he needs to do is to look at His creations, and from them, he will be able to understand God’s existence and eternal power.

One of God’s creations is the sun. The sun is the supplier of heat and light to the earth, according to Genesis 1:14-17. How do we prove God’s eternal power through the sun? If you are going to burn a forest to produce fire, you may probably have fire for a week. After a week, the forest will be consumed, and then the heat, the light, and the fire would be gone.

On the other hand, the sun had been there for billions of years, yet it is never consumed. It does not grow smaller, instead, its tendency is to grow bigger when it becomes a red giant, according to science. The question is, how does the sun maintain its power? It is through the understanding of God; it is through His wisdom.

Nowadays, man already has an idea on how the sun works. There is what we call the nuclear power in the sun, the power of the nucleus of the atom. Sometime ago, we thought that the atom is the smallest part of the cell but very recently, science had discovered that there are even smaller parts of the atom. And scientists even say that the atom is also a universe by itself. The atom is found to be a very big entity. Although the atom is very, very small, there are even smaller particles in it such as the nucleus, the protons, the neutrons, etc. It is the collision of the parts of the atom that produces what we call nuclear energy. And that is exactly what is happening in the surface of the sun. That is why the sun is never consumed even after producing heat and giving off light to earth for billions of years.

The sun is an example of the eternal power of God. It displays the enormous and inexhaustible power of its Creator. Billions of years had passed in the history of the sun but until now it is not consumed. And according to scientific studies, the sun is still capable of giving off heat and light to earth for the next five billion years.

Actually, even by just observing and analyzing the things around us, even our own physique, we will not doubt the eternal power of our Creator. If you will look closely at your hands, at your fingers, you will discover the great wisdom of that Somebody who created them. Our fingers are not of equal lengths and sizes, but the moment they are going to perform their function, like picking up or holding something, you will realize that no finger is superior or inferior. Each finger is important. And they work in harmony with each other, regardless of their length and size.

How about our fingernails? They have their function also. When a part of your body is itchy, the fingernails would scratch it, and you are relieved of the itch.

But the most marvelous thing about our hands is that, it serves as our identification.

JOB 37:7 says,  

He sealeth up the hand of every man; that all men may know his work.


In the science of fingerprinting, Galton, a pioneer in the study of fingerprints, said that there are no two fingerprints that are the same in this planet. There are now more than seven billion people that inhabit the earth, and not two of them are with the same fingerprints, not even the Siamese twins.

These are but some of the overwhelming evidences that prove how God’s eternal power is manifested in His creations.

Convincing the unbelievers to believe in God wouldn’t be that difficult. All that they need to do is to look closely at the things around them, at the marvelous relationship of the things in nature, at the vast universe, and even at the manner their own physiques had been fashioned. If they would only be true to themselves they will surely acknowledge that a very intelligent Creator is behind all these. And instead of doubting His existence, they would surely revere Him and believe in Him.

Understanding all these would give them more than enough reasons to believe in the Almighty God of Christians – our God. I am a Christian, and I am proud to be one. TO GOD BE THE GLORY!

8 comments:

To Understand God’s Words in the Bible is a Gift

5/18/2019 , 16 Comments

Who should interpret the Bible


People who are in search of the truth are usually concerned about finding out which among the religions, and who among the so many preachers, has the genuine understanding of the Bible.

It has been a common observation of many that different religious organizations vary in their interpretations of the Bible. So, they couldn’t help but ask if there is a right approach that will lead a reader to the proper understanding of the Bible. In the first place, is anybody, by his own wisdom and intelligence, capable of understanding the Bible, and would he be able to arrive at the correct interpretation of what the Bible says by himself alone?

This early on, let me say it straight: The Bible has its own interpretation, and understanding the Bible cannot be achieved by man’s own capacity alone. No amount of human understanding could be enough to know the real meaning of God’s words.

PSALMS 94:11 says,

The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.

The thoughts of man are all vanity in the sight of God. They are nothing.

1 CORINTHIANS 1:19 says,

For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

No matter how prudent a person is, his understanding is nothing when it comes to the word of God. Understanding the word of God is not acquired from institutions of learning established by men; neither is it handed down from one person to another by anybody. The ability to understand God’s words in the Bible is a gift from God; in short, it is God-given. We can never comprehend the complete meaning of God’s words in the Bible unless God gives us the understanding.

PROVERBS 1:23 says,

Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.

For us to know the word of God, we need the Spirit of God. Why do we need the Spirit?

1 CORINTHIANS 2:11 says,

For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

The things of God are known to the Spirit of God, and by the Spirit we will understand God’s word.

1 CORINTHIANS 2:10 says,

But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

Man could understand the deep things of God only through the intervention of God’s Spirit.

The approach that other religions employ in their study of the word of God is but a human approach. They rely mainly on their own wisdom. No wonder they are all misled. Actually, they will never arrive at the proper understanding and correct interpretation of the word of God if they would just rely on their own wisdom.

1 CORINTHIANS 1:20-21 says,

20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

Because of the wisdom of the world, they had not known God. Apparently, human wisdom is even a hindrance to understanding God’s will. You cannot use human wisdom alone to understand the will of God. God’s word could be understood by men only through the intervention of God’s Spirit. It is the Spirit that interprets the Bible, and not anybody else.

That is why we in the Church of God, always rely on the guidance and intervention of the Holy Spirit. Thank God that through the intervention of His Spirit, we are never misled in our understanding of His commandments and teachings, as well as His holy will.

16 comments:

To Eat, or Not to Eat Pork?

5/11/2019 9 Comments

Animals that are forbidden in the Bible

Is it an abomination to eat pork? This is a common question of people who had been misled and had been made to believe that the law of Moses is still in effect despite the fact that we are already in the Christian dispensation.

Indeed, the Israelites had been prohibited from eating certain meats, and one of which is pork.

LEVITICUS 11:2-8 says,

2 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth.
3 Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is cloven-footed, and chewed the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat.
4 Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
5 And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
6 And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
7 And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be cloven-footed, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you.
8 Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcass shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.

If you are going to look closely at the verses, you will realize that the Lord instructed Moses to speak to and teach the children of Israel His commandments. In other words, the commandments that God gave to Moses were meant for the Israelites, and not for all people.

During the time of Noah, they were also given a commandment concerning what they should eat.

GENESIS 9:3 says,

Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.

God did not make any exclusion to the meat that Noah could eat. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you, He told Noah. So, he could eat pork.

The only prohibition given to Noah was not to eat blood. So, if he was to slaughter a beast for his food, he must let the blood of that beast be poured on the ground. The same thing was true during the time of Adam and Eve.

 GENESIS 1:28-30 says,

28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

Adam and Eve, and their descendants, had been told by God that every living thing that creeps upon the earth was given to be meat for them.

But when God had chosen the Israelites as His people, when He brought them out of their slavery in Egypt, there were specific commandments that God gave them. And one of those commandments was a prohibition from eating pork.

We must remember that the Israelites lived in Egypt for 430 years without the law of God. They were used to eating the kinds of food that the Egyptians ate, like pork, for instance. But when they had been liberated from the tyrant pharaoh, upon reaching the Holy Land, certain prohibitions concerning what they could eat and what they should not eat were pronounced by God for them to observe. And the eating of pork, or the flesh of swine, was one of the prohibitions given to them.

But according to the Apostle Paul, those commandments given to the Israelites were only temporal commandments they were not meant to last until forever, or even until our dispensation. They were considered temporal commandments for their efficacy had limitations.

HEBREWS 9:10 says,

Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

The prohibitions on meats, drinks, divers washings, and carnal ordinances were imposed on them only until the time of reformation.

There was an appointed time that those commandments would be reformed. By whom? By no less than the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself. When the Lord Jesus Christ came, He cleansed all those that had been regarded as abomination and unclean during the time of the Israelites — which means that the prohibition from eating pork had ceased to take effect.

As written by the Apostle Paul in 1 TIMOTHY 4:4-5, it says,

4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

To determine the efficacy of a particular commandment, it is important that we consider the time element. It is true that eating pork was an abomination among the Israelites during the time of Moses. However, the dispensation of the Israelites is over; we are now in the Christian dispensation. The commandments and teachings that are now in effect are those of the Lord Jesus Christ.

COLOSSIANS 2:16 says,

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days:

The time of Moses is over. ACTS 13:39 says,

And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

Justification will not come from the law of Moses, but from the law of our Lord Jesus Christ. That is why we regard the law of Moses now as obsolete because it had been replaced by the law of Christ.

The law had been changed when the priesthood was changed.

HEBREWS 7:12 says,

For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.

Let me reiterate that the law concerning the prohibition of meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, was imposed only until the time of reformation, which refers to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. And it was the Lord Jesus Christ who changed the law.

9 comments:

In the Christian Era, Our High Priest is the Lord Jesus Christ, Not Moses

5/04/2019 , 9 Comments

Jesus and the Law of Moses

It is quite frustrating that even if we are already in the Christian dispensation lots of people are still affected by the laws of Moses, to the point that if they find the said law to be inconsistent with the state of things, in reality, their tendency is to question the authenticity of the Bible.
For example, under the law of Moses, the hare had been classified as unclean and, therefore, should not be eaten because “it ruminates and it is not cloven-footed.” In line with that prohibition, somebody asked me if such a pronouncement would not jeopardize the authenticity of the Bible inasmuch as, in reality, hares are cloven-footed and they do not ruminate.
First of all, allow me to give you an insight about the laws given by God, through Moses, to the Israelites – they being the first people who served God.
In the epistle of the Apostle Paul to the Hebrews, one of the important things he wrote concerned the prohibitions on what they should and should not eat or ingest.
HEBREWS 9:10 says,
Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.
There were ordinances regarding meats, drinks, and diverse washing, or cleansing of the body that were imposed on them until the time of reformation, implying that there was an appointed time that these laws would be reformed. There was an appointed time set by God that these laws would be superseded by another set of laws. And that appointed time had come, according to the Apostle Paul in HEBREWS 7:12, which says,
For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
So, it was necessary for the law to be changed because there had been a change in the priesthood. HEBREWS 3:1-3 says,
1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;
2 Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house.
3 For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honor than the house.
The verses clearly tell us that the high priest that had been replaced was Moses, and his replacement was the Lord Jesus Christ. In those verses, the Apostle Paul was speaking to the Hebrews who were converted to Christianity during the first century of our era, and not to the Hebrews who remained in their Jewish religion. He was telling them that our Apostle and High Priest of our profession is the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ was found to be more glorious than Moses as a priest. So, He was called the High Priest of our profession.
When the priesthood was changed, there was a necessity to also change the law. And the law that was replaced was the law that was administered by Moses. It had been replaced by another law.
ACTS 13:39 says,
And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
The law of Moses was found to be insufficient for the justification of believers in the Christian era because, in the Christian era, justification rests on the Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, the faith of Christians must be based on the law of Christ, and not on the law of Moses.
Let us be definite. What is being referred to as the law of Moses?
MALACHI 4:4 says,
Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.
So, it was the law given by God to Moses in the mountain. Specifically, what was that law?
EXODUS 31:18 says,
And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.
They were the laws that were contained in the two tables of stone, which were written with the finger of God. And those laws included statutes and judgments.
DEUTERONOMY 4:13 says,
And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.
Therefore, the law of Moses being referred to was the ten commandments. And these laws, together with the statutes and judgments, were meant for the Israelites. For instance, there were statutes regarding what to eat, what not to eat, what to drink, and what not to drink which the Israelites had to observe.
But in our dispensation, we do not have problems about what to eat and what not to eat. In the New Testament, there is another law that was explained by the Lord Jesus Christ.  
In MARK 7:19, it says,
Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?
The Lord Jesus Christ declared that the type of food that the Israelites had been forbidden to eat did not go to the heart, but only to the belly. And He had purged, or cleansed, all of those. The Apostle Paul explained in 1 TIMOTHY 4:4-5,
4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
So, even if it is pork, which was regarded as unclean during the time of the Israelites, in the Christian dispensation, when the priesthood had been changed from Moses to the Lord Jesus Christ, those meats that had been declared as unclean had been purged, or cleansed, by the Lord Jesus Christ. They are sanctified by the word of God, by the decree of God, and by prayer. Through the power of prayer and by the word of God, those things which had been considered abominable then are cleansed. Therefore, there is no longer any problem with eating pork, or any meat from those that do not chew the cud, or from those that have no cloven feet.
Bear in mind that we are in the Christian era. Our teacher is the Lord Jesus Christ, and not Moses. If we are truly Christians and we believe that we are living in the Christian dispensation, we have to refer to the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ, and not of Moses.  Moses is no longer our high priest but the Lord Jesus Christ. The revelation that the Lord Jesus Christ carries with Him is the revelation that we must receive now.
HEBREWS 1:1-2  says,
1 God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
God had spoken to the fathers through the prophets, but in these last days, He speaks to us through His Son. So, if we want to know about God’s words and teachings we will learn them through His Son, not through Moses. But if you keep on observing the laws of Moses, you are at the wrong track. You are out of time; you are out of place.
LEVITICUS 11:1-7 says,
1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth.
If you are a meticulous reader of the Bible, as early as verse 2, you will realize that, if you are an American or a Filipino, you are not a concerned party because those words were only meant for the Israelites.
3 Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is cloven-footed, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat.
4 Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
5 And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
6 And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
7 And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be cloven-footed, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you.
At this point, allow me to give some clarifications concerning verse 6 because this is the part being questioned by one reader of the Bible. According to him, what the verse states is a challenge to the authenticity of the Bible because what it said is contrary to reality. It stated that the hare should not be eaten because it chews the cud and is not cloven-footed when in truth, hares have cloven feet and they do not ruminate or chew the cud.
Let me make it clear that what the Israelites were forbidden to eat were animals, or beasts, that ruminate and are cloven-footed. Those two characteristics must be present in one particular beast. If one characteristic is absent, then, it should not be eaten. In the case of a hare, its hooves are divided but they do not ruminate, so the Israelites were forbidden from eating it.
But, granting that Leviticus 11:6 should have described the hare the other way around, that is, it does not chew the cud and it has cloven feet, still, that would not make the prohibition wrong. It, still, should not be eaten because one of the characteristics of a beast or animal that should be eaten is absent.
Indeed, there are people who challenge the authenticity of the Bible. They are those who do not consider human error. They always blame the Bible for errors which could have been committed by the people who did its translation.
Actually, people who question the authenticity of the Bible would never run out of issues to raise against the Bible. Let me cite an example. The Bible classified bats as birds because birds fly by their wings, and bats fly because they are also winged. So now, people who try to discredit the Bible accuse the Bible as speaking of lies because, according to them, bats are not birds but mammals. Let us accept that a bat is classified as a mammal, the question is, who did the classification and when was the classification made?
Remember that when the Bible was written there were no classifications yet as to whether a creature is a mammal, or a reptile, or a bird. The classification happened only very recently, specifically, thousands of years after the Bible was written. And the classification was made by man only. Who knew about mammals during the time of Moses? The word “mammal” was coined by Linnaeus only in the 18th century, whereas the book of Leviticus was written more than 3,000 years ago (1512) by Moses at the wilderness of Sinai. So how would you expect the Bible to classify bat as a mammal when the word mammal was coined only in 1758? So, that time, the Bible was absolutely correct when it classified bat as a bird because it flies.   
But whether or not there were pronouncements in the law of Moses which do not jive with the actual characteristics of certain animals in reality, like the case of hare, for me they are immaterial. Still, the hare was rightfully included among the animals that the Israelites should not eat because its characteristics fail to meet the qualities of a beast or animal that they could eat. Although the hare is cloven-footed, yet, it does not chew the cud, so the Israelites should not eat it.  
But inasmuch as we are not under the law of Moses but of the law of Christ, there is practically no need for us to be troubled about the kinds of food that the Israelites had been prohibited from eating.  First, we are not among the Israelites that Moses led so the prohibition does not concern us; second, Christ had cleansed all that were regarded unclean during the time of the Israelites; and third, through the power of prayer, our food could be sanctified.  
Let us not forget, our High Priest today is the Lord Jesus Christ. And it is best not to doubt the authenticity of the Bible.

9 comments: