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Hi Erica

You wrote,


>>I was vague not to make a point but with the hope that you would realise that your ideas are inconsistent with scripture. How can you be content to dismiss or ignore Jesus's words?<<

Feel free to pick out anything "inconsistent with Scripture" and explain. You wrote,

>>Let me reassure you, I too agree that mankind can not earn eternal life, only one could do this and that was Jesus, because he was sinless, whereas mankind can not help but sin and so only deserves death "the wages of sin is death" Romans 6:23<<

I'm not sure you believe "mankind can not earn eternal life." Because your letter indicates there's on-going "conditions" involved. In contrast, the Good News is that to all those who have received Him, He gave the right to be called the children of God [Jn.1:12-13]. Those born into God's family "pass from death unto life". The life that they "now have" [1 Pe.2:10] is eternal [Jn.3:36] they don't come into condemnation [Rom.8:1]. All their sins are forgiven [Heb.8:12]. That's good news to helpless sinners. You wrote,

>>This is the grace of God, that the gift of eternal life is offered to all mankind, but it is with conditions, as we see from John 15:13 and from the following: Mark 10:17 & 19 "And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I MAY OBTAIN ETERNAL LIFE?.....Thou knowest THE COMANDMENTS, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother etc." Also Luke 10:25,37. "But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.",<<

Yes "how hard for a man to enter the kingdom". With man it's "impossible" but notice what Jesus said, "with God, all things are possible" and He assures us the certainty of salvation for those who follow Him [Lk.18:29-30]. These promises are sure for all who forsake all for Christ. It's true, "The soul that sins shall die" God was not able to set aside His own laws, yet love found a way to satisfy the just claims of God's holiness. Jesus opened the way as the Substitute, who would die for the guilty. So, "what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man" [Rom.8:3]. Righteousness then has not come by the law [Gal.3:21] but imparted as a gift by grace. You referred to -

>>Romans 2:7-9<<

Perhaps we need to think about this passage? God's judgment would surely come and these verses give the principles on which God's judgment is based. If a man could show that by patient continuance in well-going he sought for glory and immortality, he would be awarded eternal life. But, this passage does not say any can ever be saved in this way. On the contrary ch.3:19-20 conclusively prove that no one will ever be saved by good works God's judgment would be strictly impartial, whether of the Jews or Gentiles [vs.11]. Those to whom the law was given would be judged according to the law [vs.12]. You mentioned,

>>Gal 6:8-9,<<

There are two ways 'eternal life' is used in Scripture. (1) It is the present possession of every believer [Jn.3:36]. (2) It is that which the believer receives at the end of his life here on earth [Rom.6:22]. Those who sow to the Spirit enjoy eternal life here and now in a way which other Christians do not. Note also the three tenses of salvation. It's spoken of as - in the past "we were saved" [Rom.8:24] in the present "being saved" [1 Cor.1:18] and in the future "will be saved" [1 Cor.3:15]. You mentioned -

>>1Cor 15:58, <<

Paul gives thanks to God who gives "the victory through Jesus" and so "therefore, stand firm let nothing move you" away from the wonderful good news. He encourages them to continue in every good work not to earn salvation but because they are saved. Good works are important, but insufficient for salvation. All religions teach salvation by good works, but only the true gospel offers salvation as the gift of God. Faith should be in God, not works, the law, or doctrines and interpretations of men. Good works flow from a regenerate heart; they are not done to regenerate the heart. " - - not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" [Eph 2:9-110]. You mentioned -

>>James 2:18-20,<<

James refers to those who "claim" to have faith [Jas.2:14]. Many today claim also to believe in God [but are not genuine]. Just as many observe ritual, the commandments, diet, religion, customs, yet they do not have saving faith. You mentioned -

>>John 15:10 & many more<<

What are "the commands" of Jesus? Are they the Old Testament law? No! Jesus said, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself even as I have loved you" [Jn.13:34]. All his instructions are now 'the commands' [Jn.12:49]. As John wrote, "And this is his commandment, That we should BELIEVE on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment" [1Jn.4:21 3:23 2 Jn.1:4,5,6]. And walk in the truth [2 Jn.1:4]. So those are the commandments John refers to. No greater command than this, to love the Lord your God and your neighbour. And to know Jesus as our Saviour and believe that God has sent Him [Jn.17:8]. These are the commands of Christ. As for the OT law Paul says Christ, "abolished in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations" [Eph 2:15]. You wrote,

>>At the judgement mankind is judged to see who will receive the gift of eternal life based on how they lived according to the commandments, it is not earned or even deserved. We must remember it is a gift and God gives it to whom he pleases. This is what the parables of the talents and of the wedding feast is about. Matthew 25:15-46, Matthew 22 1-14.<<

Keep in mind the Gospels contain Christ's ministry to the Jewish people, while the Epistles have the explanation of that ministry to the church. The good news of the kingdom was rejected by the Israel, so the good news became 'whosoever will' and salvation by God's grace through Christ's death. And we must remember Christ's coming to the "nations" [Mt.25:32] is different than His coming to the church [1 Thes.4:17 5:9]. Salvation is due to God's grace alone, or grace is no more grace. Suggesting we're saved by grace, but kept by works, is contrary to Eph.2:8-9. You wrote,

>>Eternal life is not something you can posses now we see this from: Titus1:2 "In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began." This is spoken by Paul surely if eternal life is possed by believing on the curified and risen Son of God Paul would not need to Hope for eternal life he would already have it!<<

"In hope of eternal life" is the expectation of what will last through eternity. This includes, not only the salvation of the soul and its eternal beatification, but also the resurrection of the body. This point wasn't understood or very clear under the Mosaic law; but it was fully revealed under the Gospel, and the doctrine illustrated by the resurrection and ascension of Christ. "Which God, that cannot lie, promised" - there is no doubt about it. So when Peter writes about that "lively hope," it is not 'maybe one day" No! It is a sure and certain hope to those who are 'kept by the power of God" unto an inheritance already waiting in heaven [1Pe.1:3-5]. It's based on what Christ has done, not on works or laws to keep.

1 John 5:11-13: "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life; and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."

In the grammar and context here, eternal life (eionion zoes) is the present possession of every believer in Christ, and if the term eternal life does not include conscious fellowship then the whole NT meaning is destroyed. The Holy Spirit used the present indicative active of the verb echo, expressing present, continuous action. Thus we see that the believer, having been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, already possesses never-ending life as a continuing quality of conscious existence. You wrote,


>>See also Luke 18:30,<<

This says nothing about our subject. You mentioned -

>>Romans 5:21,<<

This verse indicates eternal life has come by way of "grace" and not by keeping the "law" [Rom.5:20]. And because salvation [eternal life] is free and by grace, shall we go on sinning so "grace may increase"? Paul says, 'no live in newness of life' [Rom.6:1-4]. So "grace" leads us to eternal life. If that was not so, then our righteousness relates to the law. Yet Paul said, "I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness came by the law, then Christ is dead in vain" [Gal 2:21]. He came "to redeem those under the law" [Gal.4:4-5]. Men are not "...saved from sins grasp by knowing and following the law's commandments, because they can't and don't keep them" [Rom.8:3LB]. God sent His Son to destroy sins power over men "..in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us." [Rom 8:4] When God looks on me He sees me in Christ having His righteousness [Phil.3:9] as though I have never broken any law [Heb.10:17]. You mentioned,

>> Romans 6:22,<<

The "result" of "been set free from sin" is eternal life. And this is not given after a life of keeping commandments but given as "God's free gift." It's "eternal life in union with Christ" [Rom.6:23 GNB]. A union begun on earth. You mentioned,

>>1 Tim 6:19<<

Here Paul is writing about 'laying up treasure...for the coming age', and taking "hold of the life that is truly life". [NIV]. The reward is by the free mercy of God and is not achieved by almsdeeds, good works or law. You wrote,

>>I pray that you will not just dismiss these quotes remember they are the words of God. It is a dangerous thing to try and make scripture fit into our own ideas, if our ideas don't fit with scripture then it is our ideas that must change. Romans 15:4 "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written forour learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." Regards Erica<<

I hope you have the same regard for the Word of God. It's a dangerous thing to mix law and grace. "As many as are of the works of the law", that is, all who seek to obtain favour with God on the basis of obeying the law, "are under the curse" [Gal.3:10]. "Cursed is everyone which continueth not" [Deut.27:26]. It's not enough to keep the law for a day, month or year. One must continue to keep it. Obedience must be complete. It is not enough to just keep the Ten Commandments. All the law in the book of Moses must be obeyed.

Yet the Bible says, "the righteous by faith shall live". In other words, those who have been reckoned righteous by faith shall have eternal life. The justified-by-faith ones shall live. The law does not ask men to believe. It does not even ask men to try and keep the commandments. It calls for strict, complete and perfect obedience, [as taught in Leviticus]. Its contrary to the principle of faith. The law says, "Do and live". Faith says, "Believe and live" The just man lives by faith. The man under the law does not live by faith. Therefore, he is not just before God.

Am I right or wrong about this? Feel free to explain where I'm wrong. As you say, "
if our ideas don't fit with scripture then it is our ideas that must change."

Kind regards.
Mark



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