For bible students to arrive at a correct understanding of any passage, we feel it is necessary to keep in mind the context and make proper allowance for the various figures of speech used, also not to seek to interpret one passage in a way that contradicts another or the general tenor of Scriptural teaching. Failure to observe these rules will surely make a true understanding impossible, and if the questions involved are vital, the mistake may amount to a wresting of Scripture, with the warning, as the apostle says, "to their own destruction." (2 Peter 3.16)
The purpose of this Question & Answer section is to help us understand scripture teaching regarding God's purpose with mankind and to help us give an answer to those who ask us the reason for the hope we have.
We have not attempted to go into any great depths of thought but show a foundation for the things we believe using what we hope is easy to follow language.
We pray that readers will find this a firm foundation on which to build and will see in it the unbounded love of God and Jesus who said "I and my Father are one" - one in love, purpose and commitment to the saving of whomsoever will.
ADAM AND EVE
Did Adam and Eve need the Tree of Life to keep them alive while in the Garden of Eden?
No, they had the food from the Garden to keep them alive. Genesis 1:29-30, "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. 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 all the beasts of the earth were given this food to sustain their natural life.
THE TREE OF LIFE
What was the purpose of the Tree of Life?
We feel sure the Tree of Life was a real tree and Adam and Eve had free access to it whilst in the Garden of Eden. Once Adam and Eve transgressed God's commandment they had to leave the Garden and no longer had access to the Tree of Life but they continued to live their natural lives remaining dependent upon the "every green herb for meat".
Apart from Genesis there are seven other references to the Tree of Life in the Bible – Proverbs 3:18, 11:30, 13:12, 15:4, Revelation 2:7, 22:14, and 22:17. Each of them refer, in some symbolic way, to more than our natural life – wisdom more precious than wealth, fruit of righteousness, hope realised, a wholesome tongue, a gift from Jesus, for healing of nations, right to eat of tree of life – such matters suggest an opportunity of eternal life for they appertain to spirit life.
In this present Christian dispensation we see Jesus as our Tree of Life because of all the things we read about Him in the New Testament. Here are a few verses from John's gospel:-
John 1:4, "In him was life; and the life was the light of men." 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." 3:36, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life." 4:14, "But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. 5:24, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. 5:26, "For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 5:40, "And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. 6:27-63: 27, "Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed." 32, "Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 33. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. 34. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. 35. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life... 40. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day... 47. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life... 50. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 51. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world... 54. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. 57. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. 58. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever."
This is ample evidence to show we have eternal life through Jesus and this is why we believe Jesus is our Tree of Life. We see the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden as symbolic of the offer of eternal life through obedience, that is, through the perfect obedience of Jesus who died for us and in whom we have our faith. We have the same choice as Adam and Eve, and we fail as they did; we have temptation to disobey. In fact, the whole purpose of law is to give us opportunity to obey our Creator. It is His Law we obey or disobey and there is no commandment that it is impossible for us to keep. Jesus said, be ye therefore perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect, and we know Jesus was perfect and He is our pattern. So when we offend, as we do from time to time, we have, by the loving mercy of God, Jesus to appeal to for forgiveness, and so live by God's grace. God's Law is good and by obedience we show we love Him.
THE FIRST TRANSGRESSION and THE WAGES OF SIN
Did Adam by his transgression, bring natural death into the world?
No. Adam was like other animals in respect to his physical needs requiring food for sustenance and in the natural course would die at some time as do all animals.
Natural life in all its forms was and is transient. Birth, growth to maturity, reproduction and death is God's arrangement for all living things since He brought each of them into being. Neither the natural death of Adam nor the natural or common death of any of his descendants was or is the penalty for sin.
Adam was created a corruptible creature and was to remain so all his natural lifetime. This is the position we, as descendants of Adam, are in and the hope of the Gospel is to receive a change to Spirit nature like the angels as we read in Matthew 22:30, "For in the resurrection they... are as the angels of God in heaven.
However, we read in Romans 5:12 "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" - but this does not apply to our natural death; it applies to the law of sin and death. This death is the wages due to the sinner unless forgiven.
In many parts of the world today the death sentence is enforced for serious breach of law and such was the case too under the Law of Moses as we read in Deuteronomy 24:16. "The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin."
This statement of fact of being put to death for ones own sin is straightforward to grasp and alone should be sufficient proof to show that the common or natural death is not the wages of sin. A 'putting to death' suggests a violent form of death.
Jesus was the exception to the teaching that "every man shall be put to death for his own sin"; He was put to a violent death though in His case it was totally undeserved and it was not for Himself. We are told that it was for us - to take away the sin of the world! (John 1:29). This "sin of the world" is Adam's sin by which we are all in bondage as his descendants.
PASS FROM DEATH TO LIFE
Jesus said that the faithful have "passed from death unto life". What death has the faithful person passed from as he can still expect to die the common death of all men?
The death that the faithful baptized person is saved from is not natural death that we all die at the end of our lives, if it was then Jesus' sacrifice has failed, for we all still die. No, there is a second death for those who have died in their sins; those who are enlightened but choose to turn away from God's offer of redemption. This is not natural death - it is a judicial death and this is the death that Jesus' sacrifice saves us from, when we turn to Him in faith.
CHANGE OF NATURE
Could Adam have lived for ever without a change of nature?
The body with which Adam was created was not designed to continue for ever. This is shown in 1 Corinthians 15:42-49 we read the body "is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: it is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, the first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly."
It is evident from this that there will be a change of nature in due time for the faithful.
WHAT CHANGE TOOK PLACE
Was Adam's nature changed from the "very good" condition after he transgressed?
There is no evidence in the Scripture for any change in Adam's nature. There was however, a change in Adam's relationship to his Creator. Whereas he was created a Son of God and remained so while obedient to Him, by transgression he sold himself to be a servant or slave of sin – "his servants ye are to whom ye obey" (Romans 6:16). All Adam's descendents are born into this bondage to sin; not made sinners nor made sinful, neither are they held guilty of Adam's sin, but they are legally held in bondage to sin for the purpose of salvation that by one sacrifice many are saved as we read in Romans 5:18, "Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life."
It isn't true to say God's creation became less than very good at any time. Neither did man necessarily become more sinful. We have been given free-will to choose. Whether one wishes to serve God or not is a matter of our own choice - just as it was for Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve did not have to sin and neither do we.
However, Yes, we see many evil people bringing up their children to be evil too and this wrong behaviour is due to selfishness and self-righteousness and ignorance. Paul tells us in Romans 1:28 of those who do not like to retain God in their knowledge.
WHAT DEATH DID ADAM DIE
We read in Genesis 2:17 that "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Was this impending death fulfilled?
When two words are repeated in the Hebrew language as we find here where we have 'death' and 'die', i.e. Muth TeMuth translated "surely die", it is used to show the certainty of the matter and so it was translated "surely die" to emphasise the certainty of death. Because Adam and Eve did not die the very day they transgressed many people believe it means they started dying that day and that they would die within a 'day' of a thousand years. But was this the sentence?
Our first two questions related to this and here we can take the matter further and say that the animals sacrificed to provide Adam and Eve with coverings were slain in their stead.
Their punishment was commuted by God by way of atonement. This actually is a perfect example of what was to come later, by way of the law, and ultimately with the provision of Jesus Christ. So, the death that eventually claimed Adam and Eve was not the punishment for the sin they committed.
FORGIVENESS THROUGH THE SHEDDING OF BLOOD
In Genesis 3:21, we read "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them." This required the slaying of at least one animal and maybe two. Adam and Eve had transgressed God's commandment and as God says there is no forgiveness of sins without the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:22) it is evident that Adam and Eve were forgiven by this act and the skins were in effect the covering over of their sin.
What is the connection between the animals sacrificed in Eden and the Sacrifice of Jesus, the Lamb of God?
We see the animal which was sacrificed in Eden as a type of Jesus' sacrifice. We are told that the blood of bulls and of goats which were sacrificed under the Law of Moses cannot take away sin (Hebrews 10:3). It is evident that sins were 'covered over' by the sacrifice of animals but not taken away until Jesus came so John the Baptist hails Jesus as, "Behold! The Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29). This was effectively fulfilled when Jesus gave His life in sacrifice on the cross.
It maybe said that we are not told that Adam and Eve repented of their transgression, which is true enough, and nothing had been said beforehand that God would accept repentance. This was an entirely new experience for Adam and Eve of course, and they were afraid of God and tried to hide from Him. They were certainly not rebellious once they had transgressed, but were downcast, dreading what God was going to do next.
We have been given a very brief outline of events in this account in Genesis and it is easy to speculate one way or another but if we look at later events recorded in Scripture we see that, while God is long-suffering He does not forgive those who persist in rebelling against Him, though He is pleased to forgive and in fact wants to forgive all who will seek Him with all their heart. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son for us that we might be forgiven.
Next, one may ask how can anything take away something that you have done wrong? Some wrong thing that has been done cannot be undone, of course, but Jesus took away the consequence of our transgressions so that we can stand before God as though we had done nothing wrong. This is forgiveness without limit.
How does Jesus' sacrifice save the sinner from the consequence of his sins?
A sinner owes that which he cannot pay without perishing; he owes his life. The basis of the Atonement is that if someone else could be found with the means to pay the debt, and providing the supreme authority sanctions the transaction, the sinner might be free from his debt while at the same time the justness of the law is upheld. God, in His ultimate love for His creation, brought Jesus into the world for this purpose.
When Jesus, in His supreme love for us, submitted Himself to the death of the Cross, He made Himself the sin-bearer, translating into reality the deliverance from the death foreshadowed in Eden when Adam was covered by skin of the slain animal. Jesus' death was therefore an exact substitutionary sacrifice. We have been purchased out of bondage, the bondage of sin, by the payment of a price. It is a figurative transaction, but it was completed by a literal price, the life of Jesus which he laid down for us on the Cross.
In Acts 19:3-5 we read, "And he said to them, unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, unto John's baptism. Then Paul said, John verily baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." What is the difference between the two baptisms?
In Romans 6:3, we read, "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?" John the Baptist could not have baptised anyone into the death of Jesus as He had not at that time given His life in sacrifice. But John had said, "I indeed baptized you with water; but he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit." (Mark 1:8). Jesus confirmed this when He said to Nicodemus (John 3:5), "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
The Apostle Paul tells us that "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Corinthians 15:22). (That is, all those in Christ shall be made alive, not all people), and from this we see we can either be "in Adam" or we can be "in Christ".
In our natural birth to our parents we are born as descendants of Adam and therefore we are "in Adam" by birth. We can, by a new birth, be "in Christ" by baptism into Him. We would compare this to a person who having been born in one country wishes to become a citizen of another, for example, having been born in England I am naturally a citizen of this country, but if I were to choose to be a citizen of the U.S.A. for instance I could apply to that country for citizenship and live there instead of in England. Baptism then, is our means of leaving behind our relationship to Adam and from this time on be related to Jesus.
For our salvation then, baptism is necessary. It is the answer of a good conscience toward God (1 Peter 3:21) and by it we receive the promise by faith of Jesus Christ... given to them who believe" (Galatians 3:22).
By faith we are restored to grace and favour with God and become His children and as we are now "in Christ" we are free from any future adverse judgment as we read in Romans 8:1,2, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."
Once a person is baptised it can be said "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 not His. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised Christ from the dead will also quicken your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwelleth in you." (Romans 8:9-11).
No one can be in Adam and in Christ at the same time. We have to accept we have been bought from our old master, redeemed by Christ, and "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other (Matthew 6:24).
"For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." (Romans 8:15-17).
Let us next turn to the subject of Judgment. It is the expectation of all Christians that there will be a day of judgment for all people at some future time and many Bible references are quoted for this yet there is much argument as to when the Day of Judgement will be, who will be brought before the Judgement Seat of Christ, where it will take place and what will be the result for various groups of people.
We of course acknowledge the many judgments of God through past ages and that there are judgments yet to come, but we are told that the wages of sin is death and we ask what death this refers to for in Hebrews 9:27, we read, "And as it is appointed for men once to die, but after this the judgment." It is obvious from this that the common death which comes to us all at the end of our lives is not the judgement for our sins - but that there is a judgment which follows later. Also it was mentioned in the above section that there is to be no future adverse judgment for the faithful. How can we be so sure?
Because sin leads to so much harm, God, who is Love, will not let a sinner live for ever. Nevertheless a sinner, however bad, who repents of his deeds and turns to God and appeals to His mercy and loving kindness with his whole heart is forgiven and offered the free gift of eternal life in the appointed way through baptism into the sacrificial death of Jesus.
We see three groups of people and first will briefly mention those who never come to a knowledge of the Gospel; these are unaware of God's ways and remain unenlightened and are therefore not counted as being under His laws and so they do not receive any penalty or punishment under the law but are as the beasts that perish. As Paul wrote in Roman 4:15, "where no law is, there is no transgression". For these people there is no future resurrection or judgment for them recorded in scripture.
Then there are those who come to a knowledge of God and His ways and know of the Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ. Having this enlightenment it is incumbent upon them to seek for more knowledge and understanding to ensure their salvation is secure. They know they are under law and ought to seek to obey God but if they do not and remain unrepentant sinners they become subject to adverse judgment in due time. Let us take a few thoughts from Romans 2:8,9 & 16, "but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness - indignation and wrath... tribulation and anguish... in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ;" Romans 1:18, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness... we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things."
It seems clear from this that the apostle Paul is saying that God has a very real and deep anger against sinners (which is all of us), which will only be turned away by individual faith in the Atonement made by Christ. Those who refuse their opportunity to obtain salvation offered in love by God will reap the reward of their deeds. So if we received the call of the gospel and fail to obey it but continue to sin presumptuously and are unrepentant, or have wilfully withstood the grace of God, then the sleep of death will be ended by an awakening to shame and contempt - the resurrection to judgment, to suffer the condemnation of the second death which is truly the wages or penalty of sin. This is the death to be feared, for in effect, such a person has "crucified the Lord afresh" (Hebrews 6:4-6)
The third group is the faithful. If during our life we heard the call of the gospel and responded, and have accepted the principles and provisions made for our deliverance then our sleep of death will be concluded by an awakening to the eternal life conferred upon us during our probation and will receive the gift of life for evermore. For such as these the plain statements of Jesus are present realities; "He that believeth is passed from death unto life" and "He that believeth shall never see death." The death which the believer shall never see is that death after judgment which is the wages of sin and which results in eternal destruction. The sleep of death at the end of a faithful life counts only as a rest from one's labours.
The truth is then, that so far from having to go on trial for his life at the judgment, one who belongs to Christ is assured now of a glorious waking; the blessedness of his position is that there is no uncertainty, his name has been inscribed in the book of life even now and the object of his life is so to walk that it is not blotted out. That is why Revelation 20:6 says, "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years."
Jesus does not say that in the judgment he that believeth shall not be condemned; He says he that believeth shall not even come into judgment. (Romans 8:1). Why? Because at that day those who belong to Christ have been judged already; judgment takes place day by day during our lifetime. Paul says: "For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged (day by day), we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world." (1 Corinthians 11:31,32).
Anyone whose soul is burdened can seek peace with God through Jesus. One such, who realizes his position and says "I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned..." need have no doubt about his reception, "But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him... for this my son (or daughter) was dead and is alive again; he (she) was lost and is found. And they began to be merry." (Luke 15:18 and 22).
THE 'VIRGIN BIRTH'
Is the Virgin Birth
important? Surely any man who lived a good life could have done
the same. Why was Jesus not the son of Joseph?
Yes, the Virgin Birth was very important
indeed. We know that Jesus was the Son of God, born of the
Virgin Mary and we must never overlook the significance of this
matter. It is a known and accepted biological fact that life is
passed from father to child and having God as His Father means that
Jesus’ life was not passed down from Adam but direct from God.
Mary was a descendant of Adam and this ensured that Jesus was “made
like unto His brethren” (Hebrews 2:17) but the “life of
the flesh is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11) and as the foetus
makes its own blood which never mingles with the mother’s
blood, there was no possibility of the life in Mary’s blood
being passed down to Jesus. So we can say with assurance that
Jesus’ life did not came from Mary.
Let us compare and contrast these two Sons of God, Adam
and Jesus, from scripture:
Adam received his life from God at his creation.
Jesus received His life from God by begettal.
Adam transgressed God’s commandment and served Sin as a master.
Jesus always did His Father’s will and never served Sin.
Adam, by sinning was in bondage to Sin.
Jesus was never in bondage to sin.
Adam, through transgression, became alienated from God.
Jesus was never alienated from His Father.
Adam’s descendants are all concluded under sin.
Jesus was not concluded under sin.
We see then that Adam once had the same standing as
Jesus inasmuch as he too, was a Son of God, but he lost that position
through transgression of God’s law. He forfeited his life
and became a servant of Sin – as Jesus said, “No man can
serve two masters.” (Matthew 6:24) and as Paul explains, “Know
ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his
servants ye are whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of
obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 6:16). ‘Sin’
is personified as a ‘master’ or a ‘King’
reigning over his servants - and servants receive wages; “the
wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23).
The First Sin.
The one sin of Adam meant that his life was forfeit, or
under sentence of death, and he should have died in the day he
transgressed God’s commandment. But God in His mercy,
provisionally covered over that first sin when the animal was
sacrificed in Eden allowing Adam to continue his life under new
circumstances outside of the Garden of Eden. It is surely
obvious that had Adam died in the day of his transgression we would
never have lived. But Adam lived on and the life he passed down
to his descendants was a life under sentence of death, or as Paul
expresses it, “concluded under sin” (Galatians 3:22).
Our life then, is as Adam’s life - under forfeit to Sin as a
We see from this that Jesus, because of the virgin
birth, had an unforfeited life, a life not passed down from Adam; a
life not in bondage to Sin, not concluded under sin, in fact, a free
Freedom From Sin
This freedom Jesus has promised to the faithful.
John 8:34-36, “Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto
you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the
servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free
indeed.” Free, as sons of God by adoption, and no longer
servants of sin. This is the work of God in Jesus – to
give this freedom to the faithful that they may abide with Jesus for
ever. Freedom from condemnation as Paul tells us in Romans 8:1,
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in
Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.”
So the one sin of Adam brought all his descendants into
subjection, concluded under sin - not as a punishment for something
we did; not as a curse for something Adam did, but for the purpose of
a blessing in God’s plan of redemption and salvation in Jesus
Christ, “that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be
given to them that believe.” (Galatians 3:22).
The purpose then, of the Virgin Birth was to produce a
man who was personally free and uncondemned and therefore in a
position to offer himself as a sacrifice. All we have
considered here are legal matters consequent upon the Law of Sin and
Death (Roman 8:2), condemnation from which we have been freed.
Unless Jesus had received His life direct from His
Father He could not offer it back to His Father to “take away
the sin of the world” as John the Baptist said at His baptism.
(John 1:29). Nor “give His life a ransom for many”
(Matthew 20:28), as Jesus said of Himself.
But Jesus was rejected as the Son of God by the Jews in
authority in His day, refusing to be enlightened as to their
position. Jesus said, “This is the condemnation, that
light is come into the world and men prefer darkness,” and
again, “Except I had come and spoken unto them they had not had
sin”, showing that enlightenment brings responsibility.
But when we become enlightened and responsible we find that what God
requires initially is not strict obedience to a legal code, as the
Jews thought and sought to their sorrow to observe, but faith in the
promises made to the fathers. When we learn what these are and
what faith involves, we find that we are under the law of (the) sin
and (the) death and ready to perish. If anyone then thinks he
can obtain forgiveness and salvation by good works he is doomed to
failure. But salvation is by the grace of God.
If Jesus had not been the Son of God there would have
been no salvation for us.
If Jesus had not lived a life of perfect obedience
before His sacrifice it would not have been an acceptable offering
and there would have been no salvation for us.
If Jesus had not given Himself as the sacrificial Lamb
of God there would have been no salvation for us.
If Jesus had not risen from the dead to be our Mediator
and High Priest at God’s Right Hand to give continual
forgiveness to the meek of the earth, there would have been no
salvation for us.
Jesus means of birth, His manner of life, His willing
sacrifice in place of Adam, His resurrection by His Father, are all
essential steps ensuring salvation for the faithful.
From what has been written above
you will have realised that a completely true and full understanding
of God’s Plan of Redemption has not been handed down to us by
any of today’s denominations with their made-made Creeds
designed to exclude rather than include would-be disciples of Jesus
Christ, and that it is not safe for us to accept their interpretation
of every point without satisfying ourselves of their soundness.
The revelation of God is progressive; this is true of
the Scriptures themselves in their gradual unfolding from Genesis to
Revelation; it is true of the working out of the Plan itself; and it
seems to be equally true of the re-discovery of the true
understanding of the Gospel in these last days.
Since the Middle Ages much groundwork has been laid by
reformers and during the nineteenth century very many Bible scholars
broke free of Roman Catholicism, searching the Scriptures for
themselves. They became teachers and leaders of a large variety
of new sects and denominations all with varying views regarding what
was Bible teaching. While we must be very thankful for the
earnest labours of early reformers we see divisions are not good;
Christ is not divided.
Each one of us must progress from light to light as we
prayerfully consider and study the things God has caused to be
written for our learning. Let us be honest enough and humble
enough to follow where the truth leads us.
The responsibility now rests upon you, the reader, to
decide where the truth lies and what your own position is. Do
not be put off with the excuse that these questions are deep and
involved and beyond your ability. The plain truth of the matter
is that they are so utterly simple when once the mind has been freed
from unscriptural errors, and we wonder why such errors are still
tenaciously held by the majority. But we must avoid anything that
bars progress and listen to God when He says “Come now, and let
us reason together.”
Do you know why the death of our Saviour was necessary
for our Salvation? If not, ask some of your Church leaders to
tell you. If they cannot explain it to your satisfaction, or
tell you it is too deep for simple people to understand, or if there
is any point in our writings you are not clear about, we invite you
to email us and we will undertake not only to make you wise unto
salvation, but help you to a fuller and deeper appreciation of the
Love of God in Christ, and to be able to read your Bible with a new
and better understanding.