Pro and Con 887

Posted 4-1-02

My outgoing e-mail. My answers are in blue and marked ***

> Re: Hell is a dead end. Thanks for writing back, I really appreciate it. Answers are in red below:

> > ...The terrible translation of "aion" and "aionion" as "eternal" have contradicted all these Scriptures...all of us will live forever-- even the "bad guys."

***In my opinion, this idea of universal salvation for every man is an error. Common sense tells me that God would not put Jesus through crucifixion if we were all to be saved anyway in the end.

***John 3:14-18 says, "no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent (of brass, which means curse) in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have ETERNAL (Strong's aionios, perpetual, eternal, for ever, everlasting) life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have EVERLASTING (aionios) life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

***I think the word "aionios" above is correctly translated as "eternal" and "everlasting," as in the majority of Bible versions. Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon, a very reputable authority, says of aionios, "1. without beginning or end, that which always has been and always will be...2. without beginning...3. without end, never to cease, everlasting." By what authority could you throw Thayer out? Not Young, who is ranked 2nd to Strong, as in the saying among Bible school students, "Strong's is for the strong; Young's is for the young."

***Compare these 2 verses. The word "aidios," eternal, in the first, shows us how we should take "aionos" in the 2nd. Both the Godhead and the Holy Spirit are eternal. Rom 1:20: "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 (AIDIOS, everduring [forward and backward, or forward only]:--eternal, everlasting) power and GODHEAD; so that they are without excuse." Heb. 9:14: "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the ETERNAL (aionos) SPIRIT offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"

- do you deny that the bad guys live forever? Of course, you think they will live forever in Hell.

***At the 1st death, the bad guys lose their body. At the 2nd death, they lose their soul. It seems that their spirit lives forever. We live forever because we are in Christ, and he lives forever. 1Jo 5:11 says, "this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son." If the Son is eternal, those in Christ are eternal."

***In Mar 9:43-48, Jesus said, "if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: WHERE THEIR WORM DIETH NOT, and the fire is not quenched..."

- When we Christians, saved by grace, during this "aion" of grace inherit "Eternal Life," what this means is that we inherit in this Aion everything that God has promised us--even if we are fortunate enough to be living so close to the end of it that we will not only see the end of ths "age of grace" but go into the next and the next with "aionion" Life. And what is the quality of that "Life?" It is not merely immortality, which even the bad guys have during their "aionion" existence in hell, and the lake of fire, but it is naturally and qualitatively different--as implied in God's description of the Aionion LIFE which we Christians will receive after being saved by GRACE. Were you not saved by grace? You seem to imply that you were not, that God chose you because he SAW you or FORESAW YOU doing something: choosing Christ with your own free will. You must feel that grace just levels the field and good guys can then choose Christ, and bad guys use their freedom to refuse the free gift of "aionion" life.

Wrong. The Bible says we are SAVED by grace: it didn't just make it so that you could then save yourself with your own free will. For by GRACE are you SAVED. Next it says, "through faith." Where did you get your faith?

You were just smarter, more spirtual, more wonderful than the "bad guys." And God siad, "Wow, I see a person (who is dead, DEAD! in trespasses and sins--and in spite of that, that person has FAITH to choose My Son! I must save that person. I AM a respecter of persons after all. I know that I said in My book that salvation is impossible for anyone, but, by Golly, My Scriptures are no match for a person that can overcome what I said was impossible in order to choose my Son. Wow, a Dead person with "free will."

And where did you get your faith? From yourself? Scripture says we only get it from Christ? "Looking unto Jesus, the AUTHOR and FINISHER of our faith. "Do you take credit for using your "free will" to BELIEVE in Jesus all by yourself, too? You ignore Phil 1:29 "For unto you it is given IN THE BEHALF OF CHRIST not only to BELIEVE ON HIM...."

***Man was put on this Earth to be tested. Would he or wouldn't he obey God. All failed the test. All needed a Saviour to save them from hellfire. Jesus came as their Saviour, but only those accepting him as their own personal Saviour are saved. Deciding for Christ is what does the trick, not any work that we do.

***In Mat 7:13, Jesus said, "ENTER ye in at the STRAIT GATE: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat." We are walking through life anyway. Before us are two ways. One more step in either direction can make an eternal difference, but we have to make a choice to go through the strait gate. Otherwise, we are still walking the way to destruction.

***Gal 3:24 says, "the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be JUSTIFIED BY FAITH." Jesus put aside sin as an issue in salvation. All have sinned and come short. Now the issue is "What think ye of Christ? whose son is he?" (Mt. 22:42). We are saved because we have faith in Christ. The faith is ours, because we choose to believe in Christ. Because we have faith, God gives us the free gift of salvation. It is not of works, lest any man should boast. To will is of the soul. God gives us a choice. Will we or won't we accept Christ. The soul that sinneth will die. We have to make a decision by using our will. To those that decide for Christ is the gift of salvation given. They made a choice to go through the strait gate instead of the gate that leads to destruction. They are justified by their faith.

***I don't take credit for my salvation. Jesus did the work. All I did was take his free gift he held out. Thank you Father for giving us Jesus.

> > But we can have "aionion life" (Eternal life through Christ alone) and the those who have not believed the Gospel ---to the really bad guy's get an "aionion" attitude adjustment. When they come out of the lake of fire, they will be just as happy as we: 1 Cor 15:23-28)

***That isn't scriptural, it is just someone's human reasoning. Rev. 20:11-15 says, "I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." There is no reprieve from there listed.

> > "Aionion" punishment lasts just as long as "aionion" bliss before the "aion" ends. It's as simple as that. Aion should never have been translated "eternal." Youngs has it right, an "aion" always ends. Aionion applied to God means merely that He is the God the the "ages!" People screwed up when they translated that word "eternal" Then they went on to translate as "eternal" things that lasted only an age! God is before ALL the ages, He created all of them, and He and every human being that has ever existed will be with Him eternally --long after the final "age" ends in 1 Cor 15:23-28.

- Can you see any other meaning for this last verse?

***1Co 15:20-28 says, "now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as IN ADAM ALL DIE, even so IN CHRIST SHALL ALL BE MADE ALIVE. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all." God in Christ and Christ in us, all one body.

***In John 17:20-23, Jesus said, "for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for THEM ALSO WHICH SHALL BELIEVE ON ME (HE IS ONLY SPEAKING OF BELIEVERS) through their word; THAT THEY (BELIEVERS) ALL MAY BE ONE, AS THOU, FATHER, ART IN ME, AND I IN THEE, THAT THEY ALSO MAY BE ONE IN US (I.E., THERE IS ONE BODY): that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I IN THEM, AND THOU IN ME, THAT THEY MAY BE MADE PERFECT IN ONE (I.E., IN THE BODY OF CHRIST); and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me."

> > ...This shows you the truth of the Bible. That grace really means grace: a person cannot save himself! If a person calls on Christ to be saved, it is because God had him do it. The person "feels" he has free will, but the Bible teaches him later that he called on Christ because it was "granted" him only:

***God wills that all be saved, but all will not. God does not coerce. We either come to him his way, of our own free will, or we don't. We're not robots.

> > "No man can come unto me except it were given unto him of My Father." John 6:65 See why eternal punishment is wrong?

***Don't be fooled by man's reasoning. When Jesus commanded us to take the strait gate, he said the broad gate led to destruction. He has never rescinded that statement....
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- You don't think it was the Plan of God to have Christ die on the cross for us?

***Not only was it the plan of God, it was the plan of the Son of God--before the world was. It is hard for us finite creatures to realize fully that God is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. There is no surprising Him. Satan is a created being, smart, but not smart enough to outsmart God. Just when he thought he was winning, because he got Jesus killed, he lost the main battle of the Angelic Conflict. God's plan prevailed....

> > When the Bible talks about our "aionion" God, it does not mean He only lives for an "age"--No. He is the God of the ages. We were created by the Eternal God, and all of us will live forever--even the "bad guys." But we can have "aionion life" (Eternal life through Christ alone)

- Are you trivializing the nature of that LIFE that we Christians are getting "Aionially" and thinking that the life of those being punished during the same "aion" is equal to that?

***We are getting eternal life. I Cor. 15:53 says, "this mortal must put on immortality." We will never die in any form or fashion from that time on. Actually, we have immortality now. We have it because our real essence will not die between now and our change. Christ won't let that happen. He can be trusted.

> > and the those who have not believed the Gospel--to the really bad guy's get an "aionion" attitude adjustment. When they come out of the lake of fire, they will be just as happy as we: 1 Cor 15:23-28) Maybe happier!

***Don't count on it. They are to be judged. Then "death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was NOT found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (Rev. 20:14,15). No more body, no more soul, incarcerated in the lake of fire forever. The feelings are of the soul. There will be no love, no gladness, no happiness, etc....

**Then tell me why Jesus had to die so that we could have eternal life?

- There is a difference between living forever and having Eternal" meaning "Aionion" Life. The bad guys are don't have "Aionion" LIFE. They do not yet possess the LIFE that Christ came to bring us, and THAT more abundantly-- Immortal, they are in hell and in the lake of fire without the LIFE that Christ gave to us freely.. by grace. Christ died to save us from that hell and the lake of fire. He also will save us from the Tribulation period.

***The bad guys don't have and won't have eternal life. There is one life, and after this the judgment. Heb 9:27 says, "it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment."

- Look at 1 Pet 3:18: "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, THE JUST FOR THE UNJUST, that he might bring us TO GOD, being PUT TO DEATH IN THE FLESH, BUT QUICKENED BY THE SPIRIT: )10) By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 20) Which SOMETIME WERE DISOBEDIENT, WHEN ONCE THE LONGSUFFERING OF GOD WAITED IN THE DAYS OF NOAH...."

- And 4:6 finishes what happened to these people living in hell: "For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that were dead (obviously meaning physically), that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but LIVE according to God IN THE SPIRIT.

***It doesn't say they will have their body and soul restored. We can't just assume that. God is always perfectly fair. It may be that some of the people on Earth before the flood did not hear Enoch the prophet preach the gospel. If not, maybe they had a chance to believe the gospel or not, but we can't assume that. It is a maybe. It is not something we can build a doctrine on. Jude 14,15 mentions that Enoch (a Gentile) was a prophet. It says, "Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him."

- Then when Christ "took captivity (hell) captive" it means He emptied hell temporarily, and it has been filling up again since then.

***I don't think he emptied Hell. There were 2 compartments, as we can see in Luke 16:19-31. He took the saved ones to the heavenly Paradise.

- Only later will they exclaim: For great is thy mercy upon me: and hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell." (Psalm 86:13)

***David was still alive when he said that. He knew that the Lord had delivered him from the lowest hell. Actually, he would have been in the other compartment and taken to Heaven on Resurrection Day....

- Of course, "Looking unto Jesus, the AUTHOR and FINISHER OF OUR FAITH." REV 22:3 "AND THERE SHALL BE NO MORE CURSE." Why will there be no more curse?

***1. Christ was raised up on the tree once for all men of all time. That will never be repeated. 2. The coming asteroid impact will never be repeated, either. It is "the curse" of Zech. 5:1-4.

- "Gal 3:13 "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law being MADE A CURSE FOR US."...

Obviously many things are destroyed in hell, pride, arrogance, all evil (although some are so bad they need the lake of fire--the "second death") Finally, hell is cast into the lake of fire, and the lake of fire is finally done away with, since God calls it "the second death." (1 Cor 15:26)

***I think Isa 34:5,8-10 is referring to the Lake of Fire formed by the asteroid impact. It says, "my sword (Sword of the Lord, the asteroid) shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of MY CURSE, to judgment...it is the day of the LORD'S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion. And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night nor day; THE SMOKE THEREOF SHALL GO UP FOREVER: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever."

**...Why do we have to be changed, made immortal, if everyone already has eternal life?

- To become "a new creature."

***We became a new creature when we were saved. 2Co 5:17 says, "if any man be in Christ, he is a NEW CREATURE: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."...

- As you know, when you are born again, you become a new creature--all things are new, etc. You are not only immortal (do you deny that good and bad guys right now are immortal?)

***Yes. The bad guys will lose their soul at the second death. They are not immortal in their whole person, body, soul, and spirit. By contrast, we will retain our body, soul and spirit.

- like the "bad guys" who must spend the rest of the aion in hell, but you have that quality of LIFE that the Trinity has promised all people even DURING THIS AION!, but which the bad guys will get only after one or two more eons in the aion of hell and the lake of fire.

***Scripture please. They won't ever get everlasting life. That is a man-made doctrine, a lie.

**1Co 15:51-53 says, "Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be CHANGED, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump:

Yes, of course, that trumpet will blow at the "end of the world." which AS YOU KNOW means the end of this "aion." Would we not have to be changed at the rapture to be caught up in the air with the Lord?

***I Thess. 4:13-18 does not mention that we are changed at the first trump of God. Verses 16 and 17 say, "the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with THE TRUMP OF GOD (the first trump): and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." It is only at the 2nd Rapture, the "last trump," that we are said to be changed (I Cor. 15:51,52).

** for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible,

These "dead" are the "dead in Christ" of 1 Thes 4:16 who were not saved when they died. So instead of "absent from the body, present with the Lord." they went to "hades." (the unseen world) where they "heard the gospel preached as in 1 Peter 4:6) and have become Christians. These are the dead "in Christ" that rise, then we who are alive are caught up together with them...etc.

***Oh, what a tangled web we weave. I'm sorry, but that is so far-fetched, I can hardly believe you said it. All of the dead "in Christ" are saved. To be "in Christ," we must be saved. Rom 8:1 says, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are IN CHRIST Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." None of those in Christ are going to Hell--ever. No man of the Church Age is going to get a second chance in Hell."...

**2Ti 2:15 says, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." We should study and determine whether "aion" is a word with different meanings, the meaning to be determined by the context.

It is definitely, as the meaning of "aion" is definitely determined by the context when "age-lasting LIFE" is contrasted with "age-lasting PUNISHMENT." Again, "Eternal life" doesn't just refer to immortality. It is referring to the quality of our existence as Christians --given "His Life". He is the Way, the Truth, and the "Life:" Life, does not just mean immortality, obviously, because all of us Christians DIE physically down here if we don't make the Rapture. Obviously the Life Jesus is talking about is more than mere physical existence.

***Yes, Jesus talked about eternal life. You can choose "age-lasting LIFE" if you insist. As for me, I choose eternal life, immortality.

**2Co 5:1 says, "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." The word eternal is Strong's166, aionios, from 165, aion; PERPETUAL (also used of past time, or past and future as well): --eternal, for ever, everlasting, world (began).

- And of course, that is the problem. Youngs says "aion" can never be translated "eternal" "for ever" "everlasting"

***Where does it say that? Don't pass on hearsay without looking it up yourself. I've looked through my Young's Concordance. I haven't found anywhere that Young said that. All he did that I know of is put "Age" as a definition for aion, and "Age lasting" as a definition for aionios. In the back, he lists the words that are used to translate "aion" and "aionios." Eternal in in both lists. It is used to translate "aion" twice. It is used to translate "aionios" 42 times. Everlasting is used to translate "aionios" 25 times.

***Aion is translated eternal in Eph. 3:11, "According to the eternal purpose." It is translated "eternal," "ever," and "ever" in 1 Tim. 1:17, which says, "unto the King eternal (aion), immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever (aion) and ever (aion). Amen."...

**Strong's 165 is aion, prop. an age; by extension PERPETUITY (also past); by impl. the world;

- Context. Context. Look where the "perpetuity exists. Strong's here says "an age" then "by extension, perpetuity. Logic? You extend it future and past, it is still an age.

***Here is the context. Aion is translated eternal in Eph. 3:11, "According to the ETERNAL PURPOSE which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord." Aion is translated "eternal," "ever," and "ever" in 1 Tim. 1:17, which says, "unto THE KING ETERNAL (aion), immortal, invisible, the only wise GOD, be honour and glory for ever (aion) and ever (aion). Amen." That is in perpetuity.

- "the world" also. Check it out. It means "age" also, unless you are talking about "kosmos" etc!!!

***Luk 18:30 says, "Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world (aion) to come life everlasting" (aionios). Young's definition of "aion" here is "Age, indefinite time, dispensation." Is eternity an indefinite time?

**spec (Jewish) a Messianic period (present or future): Age, course

- Correct. Then to to stoop to no logic it all, and the basis of no Scripture at all Strong's states, as does the "poisonous Vine's": "Eternal, (for) ever (-more)

- THIS IS WHY YOUNGS CONCORDANCE IS BETTER THAN STRONGS!!!

***I have used both concordances for many years. I find Strong's is the one I use more often. Sometimes the only reason I grab Young's is to keep my place in Strong's as I look up something else. I don't think Young's is better. Strong's is....

> > "No man can come unto me except it were given unto him of My Father." John 6:65 See why eternal punishment is wrong?

**The Lord died for the sins of the whole world. He wills that all be saved. That doesn't mean that all will be saved. We are not coerced. Man is given free will.

- Really? So then it is not of him that WILLETH...but of God that showeth mercy (Ro 9:16)

- Which were born, not of blood, nor of the WILL of the flesh, nor of the WILL OF MAN, but OF GOD (John 1:13)

***Rom. 9:13-16 says, "it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy."

***God is sovereign. He has mercy on those whom he wills to have mercy on. He has compassion on all whom he wills to have compassion on, and he is free to make his own decisions. If he chooses to have mercy on us, it is not because we deserved it, willed it or earned it. He doesn't owe it to us. It is 100% because HE decided to have mercy on us. We are just lucky that he is a good God. We couldn't change him if he wasn't.

***John 1:11-13 says, "He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But AS MANY AS RECEIVED HIM (I.E., ACCEPTED HIM FIRST), TO THEM (THE BELIEVERS) GAVE HE POWER TO BECOME THE SONS OF GOD, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."

***Our accepting Him comes first. Some will accept him, and some will stumble over that stumbling stone. Only those that believe in him will be given the power to become the sons of God. That is his decision, and we can't change it. He has simply decided, willed, to give those that believe in him the power to become the sons of god. All we can do is say, thank you Lord for this wonderful gift.

**He is tested whether he will obey God or not, whether he will accept the Messiah or not. Man's choice

- This is the crux. Is our salvation up to us, or Christ? Do we really choose Him, or does He choose us? "You did NOT choose me, but I chose you." John 15:16

"But GOD HATH CHOSEN the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28) And base things of the world and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29) THAT NO FLESH SHOULD GLORY IN HIS PRESENCE. 30) But OF HIM are we in Christ Jesus, who OF GOD IS MADE UNTO US wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, HE THAT GLORIETH, let him glory in the Lord. (Or would you rather glory in your own wisdom and free WILL, as you seem to be doing.)

***I'm not glorying in anything but Christ. He only deserves glory. We cannot save ourselves. Either God saves us or we are lost. And He has decided to save those that believe in Christ. "WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST IS BORN OF GOD" (I John 5:1). Why? because God decided that was the way it would be done. He decided to have mercy on believers.

***1Jo 2:23 says, "Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also." Why? because God decided that's the way it would be.

**determines his destiny. God knows ahead of time who will and who won't choose to accept Christ.

- So His choosing you is BASED ON WHAT YOU DO? "do" means "erg" in Greek, something that performs a certain amount of "work" You base your salvation on your "works?"

***No. No amount of work on my part would merit salvation from our Holy God. Then how can I be saved? Do what God told me to do to be saved. He decided to give those that believed in his Son the power to become sons of God.

- This is the crux. Did grace merely enable you to choose? It did not save you, merely enabled you to choose Christ? This is the Roman Catholic position.

***Rom 11:6 says, "if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace."

***His grace is like his mercy. He decided to give me the power to become a son of God because I believe in his Son. I decided to believe in his Son. He decided to give believers the power to become sons of God. That is 100% his decision. He decided it before I even came to be.

- Or is it as the Bible says? That we were actually "saved by grace" itself before we even chose Christ?

***Grace is not a separate entity activated aside from God. It the graciousness of God. Alone, grace cannot save. Who would be doing the saving, thin air? It is God who has graciousness toward us, mercy toward believers in his Son. By the grace of God we are saved. Even when we say we are saved by grace, one has to understand that it is by the grace of God that we are saved. We just shorten it sometimes.

***Grace is Strong's "5485 charis, ...from 5463; graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act (abstract or concrete; literal, figurative or spiritual; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude):--acceptable, benefit, favour, gift, grace(- ious), joy, liberality, pleasure, thank(-s, -worthy)."

- How can a dead person choose Christ? Were we not all dead in our sins before Christ quickened us? A dead person has no free will.

***We were dead in our sins until we accepted Christ. A man can be dead in his sins and still walk the streets. Death awaits at the end of his life. Before death, that person can decide to believe in Christ. At that point, God will give him the power to become a son of God. Man decides, and God bestows a gift upon him right off the bat--more than just one gift. R.B. Thieme says that there are 31 thing Christ does for us at Salvation. I couldn't give you the list, it has been too long. The main one is that Christ baptizes us with the Spirit of Christ, which is the Spirit of God. Rom 8:9 says, "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."

- John 5:21: "For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will." Where was their free will --the ones that were not "quickened?"

***Quicken is Strong's 2227 zoopoieo...to (re-)vitalize (literally or figuratively):--make alive, give life, quicken. Both the Father and the Son of God can raise anyone from the dead. The choice of who gets raised from the dead is His.

- For by grace are you saved through faith, and that (referring to faith, of whom Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of) NOT OF YOURSELVES: IT IS THE GIFT of God: 9)NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast. 10) FOR WE ARE HIS WORKMANSHIP, created UNTO good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (Eph 2:8,9,10)

- What do these Scritprues mean to you?

***Salvation is a gift from God. It is bestowed on those that believe in the Son of God, simply because God decided to do it out of the goodness of his heart. Since we didn't work for it, we can't boast. God did it all. However, he created us unto good works. The works are because we want to please him who was so gracious to us.

- You did NOT CHOOSE ME, but I chose you.

***God is omniscient. He knows who will obey him and who won't. Those that will, he chooses to be part of the Body of Christ. Those that won't can still be used to bring prophecies to pass.

**Those that won't

why won't they?

***Some try to be saved by their works. Others don't believe in Christ. Rom 9:32,33 says, "Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone. As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed."

**he can still use to bring his prophecies to pass. Of such was Pharaoh. God hardened his heart

- Yes, God hardened his heart. Where was his "free will?"

***By his own free will, Pharaoh chose to worship idols. God knew that he was one that would not be saved. After Pharaoh hardened his heart first, God hardened it even more on down the line in order to bring the Israelites out of Egypt with wealth and all the materials for building the tabernacle.

**to bring the Israelites out of Egypt on time and with a certain amount of wealth, for in effect, they plundered the Egyptians. The Egyptians were glad to give the Israelites things and get them out of there before all Egyptians died. The Israelites ended up with the correct things, including gold, to build the Tabernacle--another of God's miracles.

**We have been promised eternal life, because we accepted Christ as our own personal Saviour. We will end up with a resurrection body, a soul and a spirit.

- This is true. But we only accepted Christ because God "granted unto us eternal LIFE" (aCTS 11:18) And no man can accept anything from God unless God gives him that power: (John 3:27)

***The eternal life did not precede our accepting Christ. Since only those that have accepted Christ are given eternal life, the eternal life follows the acceptance of Christ. Without God, we can't do anything. John 3:27 is talking about Christ. After he was baptized, men started following him instead of John the Baptist. John wasn't worried about that. He said, "A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven." Don't worry. If God wants to bestow a gift on you, he will give you the power to accept it.

** Non-believers don't have much to look forward to.

- That is why Christ died for us us all and throughout all eternity! Hell and the lake of fire are "aionion" punishment, and no "chastisement seemeth good. But they will be learning stuff, too, and when they get out they will be very, very happy, wouldn't you think?

***Rest assured. They won't get out except to be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment. Then they will go into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:14).

**The first death is death of the body. The second death is death of the soul. Only the spirit is left.

- Could you produce some Scriptures here, please?

***Rom 8:10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness." Eze. 18:4: "THE SOUL THAT SINNETH, IT SHALL DIE."

- Is God Agape love? Why then would He never forgive His enemies? Why would He roast eternally those He "chooses" not to save by grace. Does not grace mean salvation in spite of our being able to do nothing for our own salvation?

***Agape love is one of God's attributes, along with perfect justice, omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, etc. He loved us enough to put Jesus Christ through crucifixion. He decided that eternal life would be given to those that accept Christ. He decided that eternal life would not be given to those that do not accept Christ. To be fair and perfectly just, he cannot go back on his word. He is gracious to those that he chooses to be gracious to. His graciousness will not give us salvation unless we have accepted Christ. His decision stands.

- Was not Paul our "pattern" as to how salvation would be forever? Consider 1 Tim 1:16 "Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, THAT IN ME FIRST Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a PATTERN to them which should hereafter believe on him TO LIFE EVERLASTING."

***There is your pattern. Everlasting life is given to them that believe in Christ.

- Where was his "free will" when he was knocked off his horse and blinded for three days? If he is the chief of sinners, what does that make Hitler?

***He had a choice, even then. He could believe Jesus, or he could just get mad because he couldn't see for three days. He had been against Christians. He was trying hard to do what he thought he was supposed to do. However, when he found out that he was wrong, he didn't hesitate to change his views. He went from sincerely wrong to sincerely right in one big hurry. That is to his credit. He was teachable, not obstinate.

***Sin is sin, whether Paul or Hitler commits it. Paul was salvagable. His sins were forgiven. It seems that Hitler's were not. He'll get what he deserves.

- So, which is it? Are you going to believe that you were saved by grace, or by your "free will?" If you think it is your free will, then possibly "another Jesus" "saved" you--certainly not the one of Scripture, who said in John 6:65, "And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father...."

Do you honestly think that there was something within you that caused you to use your free will to choose Christ, and that God saw that, and upon that basis, chose you--WHICH IS WHAT YOU SEEM TO HAVE SAID? Or was salvation totally up to God, and He saved you by grace through faith---a faith of which "He is the AUTHOR AND FINISHER?"

***I believed in Christ, so Christ baptized me in the Holy Spirit and gave me a promise of eternal life. He saved me. I couldn't save myself. I couldn't earn it by good works, either. However, he saved me because he had made the decision to give believers the power to become sons of God. He was making good on that decree. By the graciousness of God am I saved. He didn't have to save man, but he loved him and decided to make a way that he could be saved. We have to abide by his rules or forfeit our chance for eternal life.

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