Kindly explain `1 Tim. 2:4-6`.
<ANSWER>–God will have all men to be saved (from the death conditions that came upon all because of father Adam’s disobedience; just as the whole race is in a dying condition with the vast majority in the tomb, so the Lord will have “all,” “every man,” saved from this condition of death) and to come to the knowledge of the truth (in order to bring the race–all men–to the knowledge of the truth it would be necessary to resurrect them from the grave, for very few members of the race have come to the knowledge of the truth in this present life, as the Lord Jesus Himself stated on one occasion, “Strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life; and few there be that find it”), for there is one God (not three Gods nor many), and one Mediator (go-between), the Man Christ Jesus, who (will satisfy the claims of Divine Justice and bring about the atonement or reconciliation between God and men, because, by the grace of God, He) gave Himself a ransom for all (“every man,” which truth; or fact is), to be testified (to all) in due time, when all have come forth from the tomb.
Would you please explain what is meant by `John’s Gospel, sixth chapter and forty-fourth verse`; and does this harmonize with `Rev. 22:17`–“Whosoever will let him take of the water of life freely”? (H.B.M.)
<ANSWER>–Jesus’ words, “No man can come to Me except the Father which sent Me draw him,” have long perplexed Bible scholars and Christian people in general. The thought usually is that the Lord is desirous that all mankind should be saved in this present Christian Era. And if this be so, then why does the Father “draw” so few to Christ? Why does He not draw all men unto Him? The difficulty is that many have failed to note the Scripture teachings concerning the Divine purpose. All Bible scholars recognize that the doctrine of “election” is taught in the Scriptures. And nearly all are aware that “free grace” is likewise set forth. In attempting to apply both these Bible teachings to the present Era, confusion has resulted. God is now drawing to Christ such as He desires shall be members of His Church, the Bride of Christ. In other words, God is “calling” or inviting a few–“the elect”–to be joint-heirs with His Son in the glories of the Kingdom. When this election is completed, then God’s free grace will be extended to all the world of mankind.
Is it true that the “Highway of Holiness” is opened up now and that the way of salvation is so plain that a “wayfaring man though a fool shall not err therein” (`Isa. 35:8-10`)? If the way is so plain and clear and simple that a foolish person need make no mistake about it, then why is there so much confusion among the learned clergymen, Doctors of Divinity, etc., as to the proper methods of salvation, some teaching one thing and some another? As an honest skeptic and one seeking to know the way of salvation, can you direct me to this “Highway”?
<ANSWER>–We are not surprised that you have failed to find the “Highway.” The Lord Jesus referring to the conditions of salvation during this present Gospel Age, declares that “Strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life and few there be that find it.” As a matter of fact, the Scriptures point out three ways:–“The broad-way, leading to destruction,” “The narrow way to life,” and the “Highway of Holiness.” (`Mat. 7:13,17`; `Isa. 35:9`.) It is very evident from the conditions which you mention that the latter of these ways has not been in existence thus far, but as the Scriptures affirm, it will be opened up for the world at the time of our Lord’s second coming. Then when Satan, that old “lion” (`1 Pet. 5:8`), is bound (`Rev. 20:2`) the Prophet’s words shall be fulfilled. “No lion shall be there,” and “the redeemed of the Lord (the world of mankind) shall go up thereon with everlasting joy and singing upon their heads, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”
How could the repentant thief on the cross go to Paradise THAT DAY, with Jesus, when Jesus did not ascend to Heaven until forty days after His resurrection on the third day?
<ANSWER>–The word “Paradise” signifies, “a delightful garden, park, or pleasure ground.” The garden of Eden was the original Paradise, where man dwelt before disobeying the Divine command. Because of disobedience he lost this Paradise. (`Gen. 3:22-24`.) When the race of mankind comes again into harmony with the Creator by becoming obedient to the Lord, the “earth will become as the Garden of Eden,” and mankind will be restored to that Edenic condition. (`Acts 3:19-21`; `Eze. 36:35`.) “The desert shall bloom and blossom as the rose and springs shall break forth in the wilderness, and the solitary place shall be glad for them–the happy world of mankind. (`Isaiah 35`.) Such conditions will take place when our Lord “comes into his kingdom.” The thief asked to be remembered “when Thou comest into Thy kingdom,” and our Lord will come into His kingdom at His second coming. Our Lord did not go to Paradise that day, but went to the tomb, as the Scriptures declare, from which he was raised the third day. The passage with the punctuation properly made, placing the comma after the word “today,” clears the matter up. “Verily I say unto thee today (now), thou shalt be with Me in Paradise”–at My second coming, when the Kingdom of Heaven shall be established in the earth. Punctuation is a modern invention, dating from the year 1515 A.D. The comma was placed in the text by the translators under King James, and it is evident that they made the mistake of placing it before instead of after “today.”
What will become of the heathen? Will they be saved because of their ignorance?
<ANSWER>–If ignorance were a basis of salvation then all should have been left in ignorance, for then all would have been saved. And if the heathen are saved through ignorance then also all of the babes and children who have died before attaining years of discretion and knowledge, and therefore in ignorance–these likewise should be saved. What a great missionary Herod must have been when he slew so many of the infants of Bethlehem, for of course these were all saved to Kingdom glory! And what a pity we did not all die as infants! Heaven would be a delightful place filled with heathen and infants! We are informed in the Scriptures that the heathen’s trial time for eternal life will be after the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, when not only the heathen but all the world of mankind shall be fully enlightened as to the way of salvation; when the way is so plain that a wayfaring man, though unlearned, shall not err. The babes developing to maturity will likewise have their opportunity of salvation, for eternal life is to be given to those only who exercise faith and obedience. Those who disobey, after full opportunity has been received, shall die the “second death.”
Is the thought that “Once in grace, Always in grace” biblically correct?
<ANSWER>– The Word of God does not support the idea that one cannot lose their salvation, which is the concept of “Once in grace, always in grace”. Please consider the following verses: JOHN 15:6, “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”; 1 CORINTHIANS 9:27, “…but I buffet my body, and bring it into bondage; lest by any means, after that I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected.”; HEBREWS 6:6, “…and then fell away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh and put him to an open shame.”; HEBREWS 10:26-27, “For if we sin willfully after we receive the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more a sacrifice for sins but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fierceness of fire which shall devour the adversaries.”; SECOND PETER 2:21, “For it were better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment delivered unto them.”; FIRST CORINTHIANS 10:12, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed unto himself lest he fall.