Ask Your Preacher
I was reading in Rev 22:19, and I firmly believe that once saved, always saved, but I’m having a tough time figuring this verse out. What are your thoughts on it?
We wouldn’t be so quick to hold firm to the teaching “once saved, always saved”. The idea that you can’t ever lose your salvation is a warping of Christ’s message in Jhn 10:27-29. “Once saved, always saved” is a basic doctrine of Calvinism (read “Calvin And Sobs” for more details on the errors of Calvinism).
The Bible clearly says that you can lose your salvation. Heb 3:12 says that we must be wary and protect our hearts because an evil, unbelieving heart can fall away. 2 Pet 3:17 says that we can lose our salvation if we get caught up in false teaching (1 Tim 4:1 also states this). If we return to a life of ungodliness, then we crucify Christ again (Heb 6:4-6). Rev 22:19 is another great example of how our lives must be faithful unto death if we wish to receive the heavenly prize (Rev 2:10).
After Christ's sacrifice, the Old Testament law things were done away with (like circumcision and animal sacrifices), so then, why does James say to abstain from blood in Acts 15:20 and also in a letter saying the same thing in Acts 15:29 if this, too, was part of the Old Testament law? And is this after Jesus' death?
Dear Legal Trouble,
Not every Old Testament law was done away with in the New Testament. For example, murder is wrong in both the New and Old Testament (Rom 1:29, Ex 20:13). Christians are not bound to follow the Old Testament law because we are no longer under that law (Gal 3:24-25), but if an Old Testament law is repeated in the New Testament, that means the rule is applicable to christians.
The Old Testament laws concerning what could and could not be eaten can be found in Lev. 11, but there is only one type of food that christians still cannot eat – blood (Acts 15:29). When an animal is killed, some cultures will strangle the animal so as to keep the blood in the meat (as opposed to draining the blood out). Things like blood sausage, blood soup, blood stew, etc. are popular dishes in some countries, but eating them is wrong. All other food is clean for New Testament christians… Jesus said so Himself in Mk 7:19.
How do the gospel writers reapply the Law of Moses for the New Testaments communities of faith? Also, what aspects of the Law, if any, are still in operation, and what aspects are no longer binding over God’s people? Thanks.
Dear Law Learner,
Jesus was born a Jew (Matt 1:17), lived under the Jewish law (Lk 2:41-42), and even taught His fellow Jews to obey the Old Testament law (Matt 23:1-3). Judaism was the right religion, until Jesus died on the cross and replaced Judaism with Christianity. The Old Testament, the law the Jews followed, was a tutor to lead people to Christ, but after Jesus came, mankind was supposed to follow Him instead (Gal 3:24-25). The Jewish law said that someday there would come a Messiah who would save them from their sins – Jesus was that Messiah (Jhn 1:45). The Jewish law taught mankind that they needed a Savior, and that they should prepare for His coming. Jesus came providing the grace and truth that wasn’t possible under Jewish law (Jhn 1:17). Jesus’ death made a permanent sacrifice for sins that none of the Old Testament animal sacrifices ever could (Heb 10:1-4).
The Old Testament was a tutor to lead us to Christ (Gal 3:24), but now that Christ is here, He has fulfilled the law, and we are no longer bound by its laws (Gal 3:25). The Old Testament still provides many wonderful examples and lessons of morality (1 Cor 10:11), but its specific laws no longer apply.
I was told that there are two salvations: one in heaven and one on earth. Some chosen christians will go to heaven, and the others will stay on a paradise Earth after the millennium and when all evil has ended. Is this true?
Dear Making Reservations,
No, that isn’t true. What you are talking about is a popular teaching of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, but it isn’t a biblical teaching. There was an earthly paradise; it was called the Garden of Eden (Gen 2:8). Mankind was cast out of that paradise because of sin (Gen 3:22-24). We are told that the next paradise faithful people see will be a heavenly paradise. Jesus referred to Paradise as a place that God’s people will see once they die (Lk 23:43). Paul refers to Paradise as existing in heaven, not on Earth (2 Cor 12:2-4). Eventually, this world will be totally destroyed by intense heat (2 Pet 3:10-13), and this earthly age will pass away and be replaced by a spiritual one for all eternity (1 Cor 15:49-54). Jhn 14:2-4 says that we will dwell where God dwells (heaven) and that even now, Jesus is preparing a place for us. Matt 24:35 says that heaven and earth will pass away – unlike God’s Word. When the Judgment Day comes, the faithful will go to heaven. There will be no earthly paradise.
All my life, I was taught there would be a rapture of all the christians, leaving the unsaved to go through a terrible tribulation. I believed this up until recently. I have studied/searched myself in God's Word and have come to find that if I would have never been taught that (rapture), then I would find that the Bible doesn't actually speak of a rapture – but more of a glorious return of Jesus in which all eyes will see. Where I live, this rapture doctrine is taught in almost every church, including my new church (which is a church of Christ). It's also interesting to me that other churches of Christ do not teach this doctrine. I'm getting choked on this hard food (rapture doctrine) and becoming very irritated; please help...
Dear Eyes Open,
You are right; we look forward to a glorious return of Jesus in which all mankind will face the judgment of God at once. The rapture teaching is nowhere found in Scripture; it is a fabrication created by misinterpretation and taking things out of context. It is sad to hear that even the Lord's church has been infiltrated by this doctrine, but then again, the church has always been affected by the culture surrounding it. The rapture teaching is based on a doctrine called 'Premillenialism', and you might find our posts entitled "Premillenialism" and "Up In The Air" useful. You have every right to speak out against this teaching and to point out the logics flaws that teach there will be a rapture event.