Garage Sale Grace And Flea Market Salvation by Allan Turner


Garage Sale Grace And Flea Market Salvation
Allan Turner
The obvious question is, “What in the world do garage sales and flea markets have to do with grace?” The obvious answer ought to be, “Absolutely nothing!” But such is not the case. Many people today are in search of a bargain even in the religious realm.
The overwhelming success of garage sales and flea markets in today's society demonstrates that many are interested in a bargain. Likewise, in the spiritual realm, many seem to approach the subject of grace with the same bargain hunting frame of mind. They want to obtain the benefits of grace, but they want to do so as cheaply as possible. In truth, their question is: “How little must I give before I can possess it?”
Grace Is Free But Not Cheap
In Ephesians 2:8,9 and Romans 5:15-18, we find that salvation is by God's grace and cannot be merited by any work which man can perform. But for someone to think the benefits of grace can be had at bargain basement prices is a serious mistake and only serves to demonstrate how that individual has completely misunderstood the subject of grace. The unmerited and gracious gift of God's Son for the redemption of fallen man was not something that was deserved by any thing man has done or ever could do. It comes as a free gift from God and is completely unmerited by man, but this is not to say it is not without great cost on the part of both God and man. Does this all seem confusing to you? Are you wondering how something can be free yet costly? Then maybe you are confusing the physical and spiritual realms. Let's spend some time considering the cost of God's grace.
What It Cost God
Our God and Heavenly Father gave His “only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16,17). The Father gave His Son and the Son gave His life; but there is more. The relationship the Father and Son had enjoyed throughout eternity (John 1:1) was disrupted (Philippians 2:5-8) so that man could be justified (Romans 3:26). When one begins to contemplate the great sacrifice of both the Father and the Son, one is simply overwhelmed by the great cost of this thing called grace.
What It Costs Man
One gets an insight into what the “free gift” of salvation costs man when, in Matthew 13:44,45, our Lord said: “Again the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and seeketh all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” To receive the benefits of grace, one must be willing to give all that one has, i.e., “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24). In other words, in order to receive the benefits of God's grace, the Lord requires a complete sacrifice of our lives to Him (Romans 12:1,2).
The blood-bought are aware of the marvelous price God paid so that He could bestow His grace upon them (I Corinthians 6:19,20), and know they are under obligation to the Giver of this grace to walk in the footsteps of Jesus (I Peter 2:21-23). When one truly understands the great value of grace, he will give all that he has to possess it, knowing that there is no way he could ever really pay for it. It is within this context that the Lord said: “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light” (Matthew 11:29,30). He is not saying there is no work (i.e., righteousness) to be performed, but that when compared with the benefits to be received such righteousness is easy and light. In other words, “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).
Cheap Prices
When grace is reduced to a doctrine, principle, or system it is cheapened, and those who engage in such endeavors demonstrate a real lack of understanding about this subject. The religious world is full of flea market salvation and garage sale grace. Belief in God (viz., mental assent), we are told by some, is all that is necessary for one to receive the remission of his sins. The benefits of grace can be possessed, they say, without repentance, baptism, and a continual “walking in the light.” Furthermore, these “faith only” advocates tell us that once one has received the blessings of God's grace and been saved from his past sins he can never fall from such grace so as to be lost. In addition to being a clear contradiction of Scripture (cf. Galatians 5:4), such teaching cheapens grace and ultimately makes it nothing more than a cloak for evil-doing.
There are those who call themselves Christians today who have no concept of discipleship. They wish to join themselves to local churches of Christ but they do not intend to submit to church discipline. To those like this, the apostle Paul wrote: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:7-9).
That which has cost God so much cannot be cheap for us. It must be seen as the priceless gift it is. Although we give all we have to possess it, it is ours because God gave it to us. Let us always be determined to keep grace in its proper perspective, remembering what it cost our Heavenly Father and His only begotten Son. Let us be determined never to reduce grace to simply a theological system to be memorized. Let us teach that grace must be accepted on God's terms and not man's. In so doing, we will never become involved in that which is worthless, namely, bargain basement salvation!

Foreknowledge, Predestination, And Glory By Allan Turner


Foreknowledge, Predestination, And Glory
By Allan Turner

The Father of Glory (Ephesians 1:17), the Lord of Glory (1 Corinthians 2:8), and the Spirit of Glory (1 Peter 4:14) were all three involved in a great endeavor to bring “many sons to glory” (Hebrews 2:10). This plan, appropriately called the Scheme of Redemption, originated and culminates in eternity (Romans 8:29-30). In reading these verses, it is difficult to avoid the idea that this scheme is, in the mind of God, a “done deal.”
But not a done deal the way the Calvinists claim. Yes, the Greek word proorizo, translated in the KJV as “predestinate,” does mean, according to Strong's, to “predetermine,” “decide beforehand,” or “foreordain,” but this does not mean that God made a choice of those He would save independent of anything they would do of their own free wills, as the Calvinists teach. Instead, God decreed in eternity (i.e., He predestinated) that those who were going be saved would be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29).
Contrary to the determinists point of view, God did not choose individuals to be saved unconditionally. Instead, based upon His foreknowledge, He predestinated (or determined beforehand) those who would be saved conditionally (i.e., those who would be conformed to the image of His Son). As Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:4-5, “just as He [the Father] chose us in Him [Jesus Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will” (emphasis mine, AT).
Consequently, when the divine Logos came to this earth as the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 to “taste death for everyone” (Hebrews 2:9), He did so for the ultimate purpose of redeeming those who would be the “many sons” and “many brethren” of Hebrews 2:10 and Romans 8:29. And, although the Father foreknew those who would be conformed to the image of His Son, the actual work of atonement was not limited to just these individuals, for it is not now, nor has it ever been, God's desire that anyone should perish (2 Peter 2:9). Even so, it is only those who are conformed to the image of His Son (i.e., those who are “predestined to...adoption as sons,” Ephesians 1:5) who will eventually be saved. Concerning these, Paul wrote, “Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Romans 8:30).
The ideas of“ universal salvation” and “once saved, always saved” are not taught in the Bible. However, the idea that God knows those who are His—not just now but forever—is clearly taught in God's word (2 Timothy 2:19; cf. Luke 10:20; Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5; Romans 8:29-30). In fact, it is this group, who are also know by God individually, that Paul wrote about in 2 Corinthians 3:18, when he said: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” In other words, as we see the glory of the Lord (i.e., the fullness of His grace and truth, John 1:14), we are being transformed into the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). Without being “conformed” or “transformed” into His image, one can neither become a Christian nor remain a Christian. This image, disposition, or mind to which all true Christians must be conformed is perfectly explicated by the earthly existence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and is referred to in Philippians 2:5-8. Those of us who live in the flesh, like the Word who took upon Himself flesh, must humble ourselves, just as He humbled Himself. We must become obedient even unto death, just as He did.
With all this said, anyone who thinks this means that the Christian must live perfectly in order to be saved is seriously mistaken. Yes, Jesus lived perfectly sinless in all His doings (John 8:29,34, 46; cf. 1 John 3:5,8-9), and we believe it is this perfection that Jesus was referring to when He told Philip: “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, `Show us the Father?'” (cf. John 14:6-11). And, as we have already learned, the Bible makes it clear that we must be conformed to the Lord's image; but the Bible teaches us just as clearly that the only way we can possess perfection is by the gift of righteousness (Romans 3:21-22; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:9).
Addressing this very point, Paul wrote to Titus: “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7).
Writing to the Ephesians about the same thing, Paul said: “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:4-9).
Sinless Perfection Vs. Imputed Righteousness
As some grudgingly admit, walking in the light (1 John 1:7) is not sinless perfection. We say grudgingly, because after hearing a brother in Christ upbraid another for teaching that walking in the light is not sinless perfection, I talked with this individual about what I thought were his misrepresentations of the position of the other brother, who was not present to defend himself. After discussing the issue for awhile, I finally asked him this question: “Do you believe that walking in the light is sinless perfection?” After a long pause, he said: “No.” “But,” he continued, “it's dangerous for us to say so publicly because those in the pews, who are not as studied as we are, will take this and run off into Calvinism.” Brethren, I can assure you I was both shocked and sickened by the hypocrisy and clerical superiority I saw and heard that day.
Yes, like many others, I believe some have gone too far in their interpretation of 1 John 1:5-10. In fact, some believe and teach what I think is egregious error on this passage; but, this does not give me the right to misrepresent either this passage or what someone might have said about this passage.
When we read 1 John 1:5-10, it is clear that God is not just “in the light,” as verse seven points out, but “God is light,” as verse five indicates. This means that righteousness is not a standard by which God is to be judged—God is the standard! Sinful creatures that we are, we will always find ourselves coming up short of this standard (Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:16). It is true that when the Light of the world (John 1:9; 9:5) took upon Himself flesh and lived among us, He was perfectly righteous in all His thinking, saying, and doing. Nevertheless, as we, His followers, “walk in the light as He is in the light,” this will not be a perfect walk—we will make mistakes; we will sin. To deny this is to call God a liar (1 John 5:10). However, when we do sin—and the Bible says we will— we will  confess our sin, if we are truly “walking in the light”(v. 9),and ask the Lord to forgive us (1 John 5:14-15), and then be confident that He has (v. 9; cf. 1 John 5:14-15).
Now, although no flesh has any cause to glory in His presence (1 Corinthians 1:29), because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), as we become obedient to Christ, we do receive a “righteousness of God” that is not our own (Romans 1:17; 3:21-22; 10:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:9). The New Testament refers to this as imputed righteousness (Romans 4:11, 23-25). Some—the Calvinists are nortorious for this—have mistakenly thought that the righteousness imputed to the obedient believer entails Jesus' perfect life. In other words, many wrongly think that God no longer sees our sins when He views us. According to this doctrine, when God looks at Christians, He only sees the perfect doings of Jesus while He was here on this earth—perfect doings which have now been imputed or accredited to us. This view is completely false! The righteousness imputed to the obedient believer is not derived directly from the Lord’s perfect life; instead, our imputed righteousness derives from the fact that Jesus' death satisfied the debt we owed for our sins (Romans 5:18). In this way, and this way only, we, “the ungodly” (Romans 4:5), have been justified (Acts 13:39; Romans 3:24; Galatains 2:16; Titus 3:4-7). If God has so justified us, who is it that can bring a charge against God's elect (Romans 8:33)?
But—and here is another critical point—although we are no longer under a system of perfect law-keeping for justification, we are “under law toward Christ” (1 Corinthians 9:21). As we follow Him as absolute Lord of our lives (Acts 2:36; Ephesians 4:5; Colossians 2:6; etc.), we are under obligation to be conformed to His image (Romans 8:29). As we do so, we become involved in those works (i.e., righteous deeds) God previously prepared for us: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesi ans 2:10). By doing so, we are able to “prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2). In fact, the Bible teaches that the Lord redeemed us from “every lawless deed” and purified us as His own special people that we might be “zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14). These good works reflect the glory of God, just as Jesus of Nazareth reflected the glory of God in the works He performed while here on this earth.
Today, as we develop the mind of Christ, we reflect God's glory. Although the reflection of this glory is not perfect, as it was in the case of Jesus of Nazareth, it is glorious nevertheless. Beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, we “are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Notice that Paul wrote, “from glory to glory.” We believe this expression means that as we follow Jesus as Lord, we are being transform- ed from the glory we now reflect in Christ to the glory we will eventually have in heaven. Now, neither this passage nor any others in the Bible teach that once we have been saved from our past sins by our obedience to Christ, we will always be saved. On the contrary, like Jesus, we too must be faithful unto death (Revelation 2:10). The Bible teaches that a child of God can be eternally lost (Hebrews 10:26-31; 2 Peter 2:20-22; Revelation 3:5). At the same time, the Bible teaches that the same foreknowledge that allowed God to know His plan for redeeming man would not fail (Acts 2:23), is the same foreknowledge that allowed Him to know beforehand that “many sons” would be brought “to glory” through His Son, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 2:10). We believe that the “to glory” in this verse is equivalent to the “to glory” of 2 Corinthians 3:18. Consequently, it refers to the eternal glory that we will one day share with our glorified Lord (Romans 8:18-23; 2 Corinthians 4:17-5:5; Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 3:4; 1 Peter 5:1-4, 10). These passages, of course, refer to the glorified human body (i.e., the “it” of 1 Corinthians 15:42-44) of which Jesus now partakes and which we, if we remain faithful unto death, will one day share.
Jesus, The Man, The Firstborn Among Many Brethren
Contrary to what some among us believe, Jesus did not quit being a man when He returned to heaven, but continues even now in heaven as a “man” (1 Corinthians 15:48; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 10:12-13) who, as our Mediator, lives to make intercession for us (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25). In this regard, it is interesting to note that in Colossians 1:18 Jesus is referred to as the “beginning, the firstborn from the dead.” “Beginning” here, we think, has reference to Jesus being the “Beginning of the creation of God” (Revelation 3:14), which is not referring to the old creation, which the Lord, as Logos, was very much involved in, but the newcreation which exists only in connection with Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15). Therefore, we believe this expression (i.e., “the beginning”) refers specifically to His position as the “firstborn from the dead,” which, in this case, means not only preeminence but also first in occurrence.
Jesus' resurrection was the first ever of its kind. He is the only one who has been raised from the dead, never to die again (Acts 13:34; Romans 6:9). But, the time is coming when His saints will be resurrected and glorified as well (see again Philippians 3:20-21). Therefore, Jesus' resurrection and glorification may be viewed as thebeginning of the “new heavens and the new earth” of 2 Peter 3:13. The process (cf. Romans 8: 29-30) — which will be accomplished when death has been totally destroyed by the resurrection of all the dead and the glorification of those justified by the precious blood of our Lord — has already begun! In His revelation to John, the Lord from heaven says: “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death” (Revelation 1:17-18).
Without The Resurrection, We Have No Hope
Jesus' resurrection is not only the beginning point of God's new creation; it is actually the very foundation of it. The power of His endless, indestructible, or indissoluble life (Hebrews 7:16), is the life upon which all life depends (John 5:21, 26; 14:6; Acts 3:15; Galatians 2:20; etc.). It infuses into our souls, sustains a living church in the midst of a lost and dying world, and offers hope for the new creation to come (cf. Acts 23:6; 1 Corinthians 15:19; Ephesians 1:17-22; Colossians 1:5; etc.). It is this the apostle Paul refers to as, “the power of His resurrection” (Philippians 3:10). It does not surprise us then that in the midst of a description of the nature of the resurrected body, Paul refers to Jesus as the second and last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45-49). Jesus, our elder brother (Galatians 4:4-7; Hebrews 2:10-11; 12:1-8), as the result of His resurrection, is the beginning of a new family that, unlike those of the first Adam, will be like Him. When we are raised, we will bear His likeness, “that He might be the firs tborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29). Again, this is the reason for our hope (1 Peter 1:3; 3:15). Consequently, at this very moment, “...we all, with unveiled face, beholding in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18). In 2 Corinthians 4:3-6, Paul said it this way: “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus' sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
As we conclude this study, it should be pointed out that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the guarantee of the judgment that will one day take place upon all those who reject Him, for God “...has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:31). “Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Corinthians 5:11a). Finally, with Peter, we say:“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:10-13).

"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Chapter Thirteen by Mark Copeland

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                            Chapter Thirteen

Jesus began teaching in parables regarding the kingdom, seven recorded
in this chapter (Mt 13:1-9,18-33,36-52).  His goal appeared to separate
the truth seekers from the curiosity seekers, as He explained the
parables privately to His disciples (Mt 13:10-17,34-35).  At Nazareth,
He taught in the synagogue where He found an unreceptive audience


   *  The purpose of parables

   *  What the parables reveal about the kingdom of heaven


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Seven parables concerning the kingdom of heaven - Mt 13:1-9,18-33, 36-52
   - The purpose of parables - Mt 13:10-17,34-35
   - Jesus rejected at Nazareth - Mt 13:53-58

2) List the seven parables of Jesus found in this chapter (3,24,31,33,
   - The parable of the sower
   - The parable of the wheat and tares
   - The parable of the mustard seed
   - The parable of the leaven
   - The parable of the hidden treasure
   - The parable of the pearl of great price
   - The parable of the dragnet

3) What was Jesus two-fold purpose in teaching in parables? (10-17,
   - To keep truths of the kingdom hidden from those not seeking the
   - To illustrate truths of the kingdom to those with ears and hearts
     willing to listen

4) What does the parable of the sower illustrate? (3-9,18-23)
   - Different types of listeners and their response to the word of the

5) What does the parable of the wheat and tares illustrate? (24-30,
   - The efforts of the devil to undermine the work of the Son of Man

6) What do the parables of the mustard seed and the leaven illustrate?
   - The growth and spread of the kingdom heaven

7) What about the parables of the hidden treasure and pearl of great
   price? (44-46)
   - The great worth of the kingdom, found accidentally or after
     diligent search

8) What does the parable of the dragnet illustrate? (47-52)
   - The final makeup of the kingdom will be determined at the end of
     the age

9) Why was Jesus rejected by many at Nazareth? (53-58)
   - They were apparently blinded by their familiarity with Him and His

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Chapter Twelve by Mark Copeland

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                             Chapter Twelve

Opposition to Jesus and His ministry increased, spear-headed by
Pharisees who objected to Jesus’ conduct on the Sabbath (1-14).  Jesus
humbly sought privacy, which fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy concerning
God’s Chosen Servant (15-21), but Pharisees followed Him making
blasphemous accusations against the Spirit and demanded a sign (22-45).
When Jesus’ physical family wanted to see Him, Jesus identified His
disciples as His true family (46-50).


   *  Jesus and the Sabbath day

   *  The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit

   *  The true family of God


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Controversies over the Sabbath - Mt 12:1-14
   - The humility of the Chosen Servant - Mt 12:15-21
   - Blasphemous opposition by the Pharisees - Mt 12:22-45
   - Jesus’ true family - Mt 12:46-50

2) What were Jesus’ disciples doing that angered the Pharisees? (1-2)
   - Plucking heads of grain to eat on the Sabbath day

3) What was Jesus doing that angered the Pharisees? (9-14)
   - Healing on the Sabbath day

4) What prophecy did Jesus fulfill warning people not to make Him known?
   - That He would not quarrel or cry out (Isa 42:1-4)

5) How did the Pharisees explain Jesus’ ability to cast out demons? (24)
   - He did it by the power of Beelzebub, ruler of the demons

6) What was the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? (31-32)
   - Attributing Jesus’ ability to cast out demons to having an unclean
     spirit (cf. Mk 3:30)

7) For what will one give an account in the day of judgment? (36-37)
   - Every idle word

8) What sign did Jesus say He would give to the Pharisees? (38-40)
   - The Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of
     the earth

9) Who did Jesus identify as His true family? (49-50)
   - His disciples, i.e., whoever does the will of His Father in heaven

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Chapter Eleven by Mark Copeland

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                             Chapter Eleven

While the apostles were fulfilling the limited commission, Jesus was
approached by emissaries from John the Baptist who received confirmation
that He was "The Coming One" (1-6).  Jesus revealed that John was "The
Messenger" foretold by Malachai and that many were inconsistent in their
opposition to both Jesus and John (7-19).  Jesus then rebuked cities
which did not repent at His teaching (20-24), and at the same time
extended a tender invitation to those who would accept His teaching


   *  The relationship between Jesus and John the Baptist

   *  Why the day of judgment will be more tolerable for Tyre, Sidon,
      and Sodom than it will be for Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum

   *  The Savior’s tender invitation to those with troubled souls


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - John’s disciples come to Jesus - Mt 11:1-6
   - Jesus’ discourse regarding John the Baptist - Mt 11:7-19
   - Woe to impenitent cities - Mt 11:20-24
   - The Savior’s prayer and tender invitation - Mt 11:25-30

2) Why did John send two disciples to Jesus? (2-3)
   - To confirm that Jesus was "The Coming One"

3) What evidence did Jesus offer to John’s disciples? (4-5)
   - His miracles, and the fact that the poor have the gospel preached
     to them

4) What two O.T. prophecies did Jesus say that John fulfilled? (10,14)
   - Mal 3:1 and Mal 4:5

5) Who did Jesus say would be greater than John the Baptist? (11)
   - He who is least in the kingdom of heaven

6) How did some people describe John and Jesus? (18-19)
   - John:  having a demon
   - Jesus:  a glutton, winebibber, and friend of sinners and tax

7) Why did Jesus rebuke the cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and
   Capernaum? (20)
   - Because they saw His might works and yet did not repent

8) To whom did Jesus extend His invitation?  What did He expect in
   return? (28-30)
   - To all who labor and are heavy laden (by the guilt of sin)
   - To take His yoke upon them and learn from Him (become His disciple)

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Chapter Ten by Mark Copeland

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                              Chapter Ten

Following His own call for prayer for more laborers (Mt 9:37-38), Jesus
selected twelve disciples to be His apostles and gave them power to cast
out demons and heal all kinds of disease (1-4).  He then sent them to
preach and heal throughout the cities of Israel with specific
instructions in what has come to be called "The Limited Commission"


   *  The twelve men selected to be Jesus’ apostles

   *  Evangelistic principles utilized by Jesus


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - The appointment of the twelve apostles - Mt 10:1-4
   - Instructions for the twelve for the limited commission - Mt 10:5-42

2) List the names of the twelve apostles (2-4)
   - Peter and Andrew, James and John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas,
     Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Labbaeus surnamed Thaddaeus,
     Simon the Cananite, Judas Iscariot

3) What was to be the range of their preaching?  Their message? (5-7)
   - Only to the house of Israel; "The kingdom of heaven is at hand"

4) What miracles were they to perform as they preached?  At what charge?
   - Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons
   - No charge for their services ("Freely you have received, freely

5) How were they to be supported? (9-11)
   - By people willing to receive them into their homes

6) What were they to do if they were not received by a house or city?
   - Depart, shaking the dust from their feet

7) What did Jesus prepare them to expect? (16-26)
   - Persecution

8) What were they to fear more than persecution? (28,33)
   - Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell; being denied
     by the Lord

9) What did Jesus acknowledge His teachings might do? (34-36)
   - Separate members of the same family

10) What blessings would befall those who assisted the apostles? (41-42)
   - The same reward for their service

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Chapter Nine by Mark Copeland

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                              Chapter Nine

Back in Capernaum, Jesus’ ministry in Galilee continued with both
forgiving and healing a paralytic (1-8).  Matthew the tax collector was
called to be a disciple, who invited Jesus to his home where He was
questioned by the Pharisees and disciples of John (9-17).   Asked by a
ruler to go and raise his dead daughter, Jesus did so, healing a woman
with a flow along the way (18-26).  Afterward Jesus healed two blind men
and a man who was both mute and demon-possessed (27-34).   He then went
about the region, teaching and healing, moved with compassion for the
multitudes that came to Him (35-38).


   *  Jesus’ power to forgive sins

   *  His willingness to eat with sinners

   *  His compassion for the lost


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Five miracles in Capernaum of Galilee - Mt 9:1-8,18-34
   - The call of Matthew and the questions at his house - Mt 9:9-17
   - The itinerant teaching and healing in cities and villages - Mt 9:35-38

2) List the five miracles recorded in this chapter (1-8,18-34)
   - Jesus forgives and heals a paralytic
   - Jesus heals a woman with a flow of blood
   - Jesus restores a ruler’s daughter to life
   - Jesus heals two blind men
   - Jesus heals a man mute and demon-possessed

3) How did Jesus demonstrate His power to forgive sins? (6)
   - By healing a paralytic

4) Who was called to be a disciple and then gave a feast at his house?
   - Matthew, also known as Levi, author of this gospel (cf. Lk 5:27-29)

5) What two groups confronted Jesus regarding what two issues? (11-17)
   - The Pharisees, concerning eating with sinners
   - The disciples of John, concerning fasting

6) What explanation did Pharisees give for Jesus’ ability to exorcise
   demons? (34)
   - "He casts out demons by the ruler of the demons."

7) What moved Jesus to call for prayer for more laborers? (36-38)
   - Compassion for the multitudes who were like sheep without a

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Chapter Eight by Mark Copeland

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                             Chapter Eight

As Jesus’ ministry in Galilee continues, Matthew describes several
miracles and related events.  Coming down from the mount, Jesus cleansed
a leper (1-4).  Entering Capernaum, He healed a centurion’s servant
(5-13).  Arriving at Peter’s house, He healed his mother-in-law and many
demon-possessed and all who were sick (14-17).  Before crossing the Sea
of Galilee to escape large crowds, Jesus challenged two would-be
disciples (18-22).  After calming the winds and waves of a great tempest
(23-27), He arrived on the other side of the sea where He healed two
demon-possessed men (28-34).


   *  The nature and purpose of the miracles performed by Jesus

   *  The cost of discipleship


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Five miracles in the regions of Galilee and the Gergesenes - Mt 8:1-17,23-34
   - The cost of discipleship - Mt 8:18-22

2) List the five miracles recorded in this chapter (1-4,5-13,14-17,23-27,
   - Jesus cleanses a leper
   - Jesus heals a centurion’s servant
   - Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law (and many others)
   - Jesus calms the wind and the waves
   - Jesus heals two demon-possessed men

3) Before healing the centurion’s servant, what impressed Jesus? (10)
   - The great faith of the centurion who was a Gentile

4) Before healing the servant, what did Jesus foretell? (11-12)
   - Gentiles would enter the kingdom, while many Israelites would not

5) In Peter’s house, who did Jesus heal?  What prophecy was fulfilled?
   - His mother-in-law, and all the sick that were brought to Him
   - "He Himself took our infirmities And bore our sicknesses" - Isa  53:4

6) What two lessons did Jesus teach about discipleship? (19-22)
   - It can mean a life of poverty; it requires precedence over familial

7) What can we learn about fear and faith, before Jesus calmed the sea?
   - Fear comes from having little faith

8) Who did the demons acknowledge Jesus to be as He confronted them?
   - The Son of God

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Chapter Seven by Mark Copeland

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                             Chapter Seven

The "Sermon On The Mount" continues with Jesus discussing the
righteousness of the kingdom with respect to man’s relation to man, with
a warning regarding judging (1-6), the importance of persistence (7-11),
and keeping "the golden rule" (12).  It concludes with exhortations to
enter the kingdom:  choose the narrow and difficult path (13-14), watch
out for false prophets (15-20), do the Father’s will (21-23), being
doers of the Word (24-29).


   *  The nature of judging condemned by Jesus

   *  How Jesus’ "golden rule" differs from that found in other religions

   *  The importance of doing the Father’s will to being saved


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Righteousness with respect to man’s relation to man - Mt 7:1-12
   - Exhortations to enter the kingdom - Mt 7:15-29

2) What sort of judging is Jesus warning against? (1-6)
   - Not all judging, but hypocritical, censorious condemnation (cf. Jn 7:24)

3) How does Jesus illustrate the need for persistence? (7-11)
   - By literally saying "keep on" asking, seeking, knocking

4) How does Jesus’ "golden rule" differ from that found in other
   religions? (12)
   - Most state it negatively (Don’t do to others what you don’t want
     done to you)

5) Contrast the two "ways" described by Jesus (13-14)
   - The way to life:  narrow gate and difficult way, found by few
   - The way to destruction:  wide gate and broad way, traveled by many

6) How do false prophets operate?  How can we identify them? (15-20)
   - As wolves in sheep’s clothing; by their fruits

7) Who will not enter the kingdom of heaven?  Who will?  (21-23)
   - Many who believed in the Lord, did many great things for Him, but
     practiced lawlessness (i.e., did things without His authority)
   - Those who do the will of His Father in heaven

8) What is the key difference between the wise and foolish listeners?
   - The wise do what Jesus said, the foolish do not

9) Why were the people astonished at Jesus’ teaching? (28-29)
   - Because He taught as one having authority

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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Are You Informed About Islam? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Are You Informed About Islam?

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

With the advent of 9/11, our world, and the way we view it, has been forever altered. As you well know, Islam has not only captured international attention, it is expanding its influence and making extensive encroachments into American culture. Over 1,200 mosques dot the American landscape—most built within the last two decades. Influential American authorities, from politicians to public school educators, are promulgating the equal acceptance and pluralistic promotion of Islam in public life. The first Muslim in recent American history was elected to theU.S. House of Representatives and took the oath of office on a Quran (Warikoo, 2007). The Democratic National Committee recently invited a Shi’ite Imam to lead the opening prayer at their winter meeting (“Imam Leads...,” 2007).
The time is here. Christians, and for that matter, Americans, can no longer afford to be uninformed about the threat that Islam poses to Christianity and the nation. It is imperative that Christians recognize the critical need to influence the expanding numbers of Muslim converts in our prisons as well as those entering the country. We simply must “be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).
Allow me to remind you that Apologetics Press has produced a book that will both inform you about Islam, as well as prepare you to help Muslims see the truth. The Quran Unveiled examines Islam’s holy book with a view toward ascertaining whether it is, in fact, of supernatural origin. If the Quran is from God, it must possess the self-authenticating attributes and characteristics of divine inspiration. If it is not from God, though it may possess certain positive, even valuable, qualities, it must be rejected as disqualified to legislate human behavior in an absolute and ultimate sense.
The Quran Unveiled provides the reader with a meticulous assessment of several significant teachings of the Quran. Here are some of the critical questions answered in the book:
  • Does the Quran teach that a man may have up to four wives?
  • Does the Quran teach that Christians are “infidels”?
  • Does the Quran endorse violence and killing in order to advance Islam?
  • Does the Quran teach that Jesus is the Son of God—or simply a human prophet?
  • Does the Quran teach that virgins await those who enter Paradise?
Allowing the Quran to speak for itself, The Quran Unveiled provides sufficient evidence to bring the reader to the firm realization that the Quran and the Bible stand in stark contradistinction to each other.
Many people refuse to consider the beliefs of others, and simply stick with those beliefs to which their family and cultural environment exposed them. But in order to grasp the full extent of the chasm that exists between the Bible and the Quran, one should read both thoroughly. Muslims should read the Bible, and Christians should read the Quran. The disparity between the two is monumental.
Apologetics Press continues to pursue its cutting-edge articulation of New Testament truth as it relates to current culture. The Quran Unveiled is one more important resource in the “A.P.arsenal” in our ongoing defense of the Christian Faith and our warfare against the forces of Satan. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. We urge you to secure your personal copy today. Or, if you prefer, we also have available The Islam Seminar DVDs that allow you to view a live lecture and PowerPoint presentation of much of the material contained in the book.


“Imam Leads Democrats in Prayer of Conversion” (2007), World Net Daily, February 3, [On-line],URL: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=54085.
Warikoo, Niraj (2007), “Ellison: Quran Influenced America’s Founding Fathers,” Detroit Free Press, January 5, [On-line], URL: http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070105/NEWS01/70105032/ 0/NEWS02.

Why Seven Days? by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Why Seven Days?

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Have you ever wondered why, all over the world, in civilization after civilization, we find people scheduling their lives based on a seven-day week? The origins of other units of time are easy to understand. For instance, a year is the amount of time it takes for the Earth to orbit the Sun. A day is the amount of time it takes for the Earth to make a complete rotation on its axis. A month is the approximate time between new moons. And seasons are determined based on an equinox or solstice. But no celestial, lunar, or planetary movement or system accounts for our seven-day week.
A brief look back into history shows that the seven-day week has prevailed as the paramount routine for humanity in general as far back as historical records can go. Although some societies and cultures did use weeks other than the seven-day week, it still has stubbornly maintained its preeminence. Today, the seven-day week is universally accepted, even though the French attempted a ten-day week during the French Revolution in 1791, and the Soviet Union, as late as the early 1900s, attempted a five-day week—to no avail.
Where did the seven-day week originate? The most plausible explanation comes from the book of Genesis. The first chapter of Genesis explains that God created the entire Universe is six, literal twenty-four hour days. The beginning of chapter two states, “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done” (2:2).
Exodus 20:8-11 gives an explanation as to why God framed His creative activity according to a seven-day week. This passage teaches us that God worked six days and rested the seventh day in order to provide a pattern for the Jewish workweek. Because God worked six days and rested on the seventh day, the Jews were instructed to do the same.
In truth, an all-powerful God could have created the Universe in seven seconds, seven years, seven decades, or seven million years. God’s week of seven days, however, was given purposefully to man as a pattern to follow. This pattern has prevailed for several thousand years. The Sun, Moon, and stars were given “for signs and seasons, and for days and years” (Genesis 1:14), but not for the week. The week was instituted specifically by God, based on His creative activity. The seven-day week is yet another testimony to the truthfulness and accuracy of the Genesis account of Creation.

Wrong Must Be Explained by Brad Bromling, D.Min.


Wrong Must Be Explained

by Brad Bromling, D.Min.

Lyle and Erik Menendez brutally killed their mother and father. The evidence is plain; no one denies it. So, why is it so hard to find them guilty? Their defense attorneys argued persuasively that the brothers endured a nightmarish childhood of sexual and physical abuse, and that they were thus acting out of a kind of insanity that excuses them from first-degree murder charges. The arguments on both sides reduce to the same basic premise: wrong was committed.
The prosecution accused the brothers of murder and appealed to the public’s sense that murder is evil. Likewise the brothers, in claiming they had been mistreated, appealed to a society that abhors child abuse. This was not a matter of arbitrary human laws being violated, it went much deeper. It was a matter of “right and wrong”—a concept that is universal and unique to humanity.
No matter where people are found, they recognize that some things are wrong. Although human groups differ on what they prohibit, they all censor something. C.S. Lewis articulated this point well:
Think of a country where people were admired for running away in battle, or where a man felt proud of double-crossing all the people who had been kindest to him. You might just as well try to imagine a country where two and two made five. Men have differed as regards what people you ought to be unselfish to—whether it was only your own family, or your fellow countrymen, or everyone. But they have always agreed that you ought not to put yourself first. Selfishness has never been admired. Men have differed as to whether you should have one wife or four. But they have always agreed that you must not simply have any woman you liked (1952, p. 5).
This also is personal. When I look inside myself, I find this moral sense that I did not invent. I can find no explanation for it in the world—it must derive from beyond that realm. If there is nothing but matter in the Universe, and matter is the only eternal reality—then how do you explain this moral sense in humanity? Did it arise from rocks, trees, or animals? No, this moral sense is one of the clearest and most personal reminders that there is a God.


Lewis, C.S. (1952), Mere Christianity (New York: Macmillan).

Will Those Who Have Never Heard the Gospel Be Lost? by Bert Thompson, Ph.D. Jim Estabrook


Will Those Who Have Never Heard the Gospel Be Lost?

by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.
Jim Estabrook

We live on a planet populated by approximately six billion people. Six billion! And most of those, it probably would be safe to say, never have been afforded the opportunity of hearing the gospel message about the salvation that comes through Jesus Christ. Therefore, obviously, they cannot respond in obedience to that saving message—even though they might be willing to do so if presented with the prospect. What will happen to these people? Will they be lost eternally? Or will God make some kind of “special allowance” so that they can be saved and thereby enjoy eternity in heaven with Him and His Son?
As we examine these kinds of questions, it is vitally important that we remember two points. First, “the Judge of all the Earth” will “do right” (Genesis 18:25). God is every bit as infinite in His mercy and His grace (Hosea 6:6; Matthew 9:13) as He is in His justice and His severity (Hebrews 10:31). Second, since it is the Word of God that instructs us regarding man’s eternal destiny, and since all men eventually will be judged by that Word (John 12:48), it is to God’s Word that we must go to find answers to inquiries concerning mankind’s ultimate destiny. Fortunately, in His wisdom, God has not left us to our own devices concerning matters that relate to our salvation. As Jeremiah wisely observed: “It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (10:23).


There are those who suggest that surely God would not banish from His presence for eternity those who never had an opportunity to hear and obey the gospel message in the first place. Consider the following examples. In his 1909 volume, Systematic Theology, A.H. Strong wrote:
Since Christ is the Word of God and the Truth of God, he may be received even by those who have not heard of his manifestation in the flesh.... We have, therefore, the hope thateven among the heathen there may be some...who under the guidance of the Holy Spirit working through the truth of nature and conscience, have found the way to life and salvation (p. 843, emp. added).
Approximately fifty years later, popular evangelical theologian Karl Barth defended such a concept via what he called his “biblical universalism.” He wrote: “We have no theological right to set any sort of limits to the lovingkindness of God” (as quoted in Dyrness, 1983, p. 105). In commenting on Barth’s viewpoint, apologist Cornelius Van Til wrote:
For Barth, man, as sinner, is, to be sure, under the wrath of God, but this wrath is, itself, a form of the all-overreaching grace of God. There is no eternal punishment for those who are in Christ [because] there are no men who are not in Christ (1965, p. 38, emp. added).
Another modern-day evangelical, Neil Punt, invoked Barthian ideas in his book, Unconditional Good News, wherein he rejected the idea that sinners actually must believe and obey the gospel in order to be saved because “It is an error to think that there is anything that must be done to inherit eternal life” (1980, p. 135, emp. added). In What the Bible Says about Salvation, Virgil Warren wrote:
Even some two thousand years after the Great Commission, more people in the world have not heard the gospel than have heard it. The secret things do belong to God, but Christians and non-Christians alike cannot help wondering about the justice as well as the compassion of a God who assigns to eternal torment people who, for reasons beyond their control, never heard about fellowship with him through Jesus Christ.... Our opinion is that scripture does not automatically assign the unevangelized to endless hell (1982, pp. 104-105, first emp. in orig., last emp. added).
In their book, Answers to Tough Questions, Josh McDowell and Don Stewart stated:
Although the Scriptures never explicitly teach that someone who has never heard of Jesus can be saved, we do not believe that it infers [sic] this. We do believe that every person will have an opportunity to repent, and that God will not exclude anyone because he happened to be born at the wrong place and at the wrong time (1993, p. 137).
Statements such as these certainly could cause some to conclude that God simply will not judge the lost, but instead will deem them worthy of eternal salvation merely (or solely!) because they never had an opportunity in their lifetimes to hear the “good news” made available to humankind through the gospel of Christ. While at first glance such a notion may appear comforting, and may appease our human sensitivities, the truth of the matter is that it has monstrous theological and spiritual implications. Consider these facts.


First—in light of the commands inherent in the Great Commission given by the Lord Himself prior to His ascension back into heaven—how can we entertain any suggestion that the “unevangelized” will be saved? Christ’s instructions were crystal clear: “Go ye therefore, andmake disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you...” (Matthew 28:19-20). If the view is correct that the unevangelized peoples of the world will be redeemed without ever having been exposed to (and obeying) the gospel, then potentially we could be doing them great harm if we carry out the Lord’s command and teach them the truth. By introducing them to the gospel, we might well be condemning those who otherwise would have been saved. When R.C. Sproul wrote his book, Reason to Believe, he expended considerable effort in explaining why such a position is unscriptural. He prefaced his discussion with the following statements:
The unspoken assumption at this point is that the only damnable offense against God is the rejection of Christ. Since the native is not guilty of this, we ought to let him alone. In fact, letting him alone would be the most helpful thing we could do for him. If we go to the native and inform him of Christ, we place his soul in eternal jeopardy. For now he knows of Christ, and if he refuses to respond to Him, he can no longer claim ignorance as an excuse. Hence, the best service we can render is silence (1981, p. 50).
Ponder the situation of a person who never has the opportunity to hear the gospel. If the ideas expressed in some of the above quotations are correct, then that person will be saved necessarily. But what about the person to whom we present the gospel message, and who then, of his or her own personal volition, chooses (for whatever reason) to reject it? Having spurned God’s offer of salvation through His Son, can such a one then be saved? Not according to God’s Word!
The writer of the book of Hebrews noted: “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more a sacrifice for sins” (10:26). In Luke 13:34-35, Christ Himself lamented the rejection of the gospel message by His own Jewish brethren (who had been presented with the gospel message, but had rebuffed it repeatedly).
Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem,...how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her own brood under her wings, and ye would notBehold, your house is left unto you desolate: and I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until ye shall say, “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Luke 13:34-35, emp. added).
Consider, too, the important spiritual principle set forth in Hebrews 6:4-6, which, although admittedly speaking about people who once had accepted Christ as their Savior and then had abandoned their faith in Him, nevertheless mentions those who at one time were “enlightened” about Who He was and the salvation He offered—only to reject both Him and that salvation. Would it not, then (if the views discussed above are correct), be better simply to keep the Word of God “a secret” from the heathen and the unevangelized so that they—as a result of their ignorance—can be saved and not be put in the position of knowing the gospel message and possibly rejecting it? In their book, I’m Glad You Asked, authors Kenneth Boa and Larry Moody correctly observed:
Those who have heard the Gospel and rejected it are doubly guilty—they have rejected not only the Father but also the Son. And the Scriptures are clear about the judgment which awaits those who have refused God’s offer of salvation. The wrath of God abides on them (John 3:36; cf. Heb. 2:3; 10:26-31) [1982, p. 160].
Second, those who suggest that the heathen and unevangelized will be saved “as a result of their ignorance” of God’s law have failed to realize that such people are lost, not because they are ignorant of God’s law, but because they have sinned against Him. Almost all humans recognize (albeit begrudgingly, at times) that ignorance of the law does not excuse us from the law’s penalties and/or punishments. [“But officer, I didn’t know the speed limit was 15 miles per hour in the school zone.” “Yes, sir. The courthouse is open 8 to 5, Monday through Friday. You may pay the $150 speeding citation at any time during those hours. Have a nice day.”] One must distinguish between knowledge of a law and the existence of a law. If one must know the law before he can transgress the law, then there would be no such thing as a “sin of ignorance.” Yet the Bible speaks plainly of that very thing (Leviticus 4:2,22, 27; Acts 3:17; 17:30-31). Ignorance of the law is neither a legitimate excuse nor an effective guarantee of salvation.
Paul wrote in Romans 2:12: “For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without the law: and as many as have sinned under the law shall be judged by the law.” In his commentary on the book of Romans, R.C.H. Lenski discussed Paul’s statement about those who “perish without the law” when he wrote:
The only difference will be that those without the law will merely perish without the law, while those with law will be judged by means of law—two routes that lead to the same goalJustice will be prominent in both instances; for the Judge will not apply law to those who ended as nothing but sinners without using anything like real law—that would be unfair. Nor will he need law in the case of these—they merely perish as the sinners that they are. The only fair thing in the case of others who made law their boast will be that the Judge uses this means when he pronounces judgment on them; and the fact that this judgment will be one of condemnation is plain: “they did sin” exactly as those “did sin” of whom Paul just said “they will perish” (1961, p. 158, emp. added).
When people are lost, it is due to their having sinned against God. Isaiah wrote:
Behold, Jehovah’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, so that he will not hear (59:1-2).
Boa and Moody commented:
Sin is a universal human condition (1 Kings 8:46; Ps. 51:5, Romans 3:9,23; 1 John 1:8), and it causes a breach between man and God (Isa. 59:2). Sin leads to death (Romans 6:23), and the wrath of God abides on all who are separate from Christ (John 3:18,36). All have sinned, and those who have not been “justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24) are under divine condemnation (Romans 3:10-20; 5:16-19) and must stand before God in judgment, because apart from Christ we are enemies of God (Romans 5:10).... People are not lost because they have not heardThey are lost because they are sinners. We die because of disease, not because of ignorance of the proper cure (1982, p. 147, emp. added).
Man is lost as a result of being afflicted with the horrible “disease” of sin—a condition that, unless treated, always is fatal (Romans 6:23). Because God is depicted within Scripture not only as loving (2 Corinthians 13:11; 1 John 4:7-16) and merciful (James 5:11), but also as holy (Psalm 22:3) and just (Psalm 89:14; Isaiah 45:19; Revelation 16:7), He cannot (and will not!) overlook sinIt must be (and will be!) punished. But is there a remedy for this terminal disease known as “sin”? And if so, what is it?
Yes, fortunately there is a remedy for mankind’s otherwise lethal condition. He can have his sins forgiven. The great Old Testament prophet Isaiah wrote: “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool, if ye be willing and obedient” (Isaiah 1:18-19). The key phrase, of course, is “willing and obedient.” But willing to do what? And obedient to what command? To be washed in the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ as God has decreed! The blood of bulls and goats never was able to take away man’s sins, no matter how unblemished the sacrificial animal(s) may have been. But the blood of Christ can (Hebrews 10:4-18). And it is the only thing that will! The Scriptures speak clearly to this fact when they state that Christ shed His blood on the cross for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3; Romans 5:8-9), and that He is the “lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). Furthermore, it isonly through Christ that a person can be saved from the wrath of God (cf. Romans 5:1, 8:1, and Hebrews 10:31).
The inspired writers of the New Testament placed great emphasis upon the necessity of being “in Christ.” In the American Standard Version of the Bible, the phrase “in Christ” appears 89 times in 88 verses. The New Testament makes it clear that it is only when a person is “in Christ” that he has “redemption” (Romans 3:24), “eternal life” (Romans 6:23), “every spiritual blessing” (Ephesians 1:3), “forgiveness” (Colossians 1:14), and “salvation” (2 Timothy 2:10). Those who have been baptized “into Christ” (which is how the Bible tells us we get into Christ—Galatians 3:27; Romans 6:3-4) will not be condemned (Romans 8:1). What is the logical implication? Those outside of Christ will not have forgiveness, salvation, or eternal life, but will be condemned for their sins. Whether a person has never heard of Christ or whether he simply has heard of Him but not obeyed Him, that person is outside of Christ. According to the apostle Paul, any person who fits into either category will be lost eternally. He said that Jesus will render “vengeance to them that know not God” and to those who “obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thessalonians 1:8). He further described these unbelievers as those “who shall suffer punishment, even eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (2 Thessalonians 1:9).
While it is true that knowledge of both God’s existence and His “everlasting power and divinity” may be gleaned from the general revelation He has provided of Himself in nature (cf. Romans 1:19-20, Psalm 19:1, Acts 14:17, and Hebrews 3:4), that revelation is limited, and cannot explain to man what to do to be saved. As impressive, as powerful, and as pervasive as general revelation is, it nevertheless is deficient in and of itself. For many, nature has ceased to be a perspicuous revelation of God. It may have been so before sin entered the world, but even if it were, man’s nature now has become so polluted that he steadfastly refuses to read the divine script around him. General revelation simply is not enough. It never was intended to be. It does not afford man the reliable knowledge of the nature of God, of his sin against God, of his need for Jesus Christ as his Savior, and other important spiritual information that he absolutely must know in order to be saved. It therefore is inadequate (by itself) as the sole foundation of a person’s faith. From nature alone, man never would be able to infer the need for a personal Savior.
That fact—that from nature alone man never would be able to infer the need for a personal Savior—is critically important in the present discussion. As J.I. Packer noted: “The Bible says that God’s general revelation, even when correctly grasped, yields knowledge of creation, providence, and judgment only, not of grace that restores sinners to fellowship with God” (1973, p. 115, emp. added). This assessment is correct. If a person does not know that he stands in need of a personal Savior; if he does not know Who that Savior is; if he does not know how to be “willingly obedient” to that Savior; and if he does not know how to appropriate the salvation that comes only through that Savior, then how can he possibly know how to get rid of his sins in order to stand sanctified before God? Jesus Himself said in John 14:6: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me” (emp. added). In a discussion of this verse, Gene Burgett noted:
The phrase “no one cometh unto the Father, but by me” is clearly a universal negativewhich states in positive terms, “all men who come to the Father, come by me.” If the only ones who come to the Father are those who come by way of Jesus Christ, then it is apparent that all who do not know Jesus will be lost. There can be no salvation in Buddha, Mohammed, Hari Krishna, or any other name other than the name of Jesus (Acts 4:12) [1993, p. 176, emp. in orig.].
If people could be saved in times past—and can be saved today—without the sacrifice of God’s Son (and they cannot—cf. Hebrews 10:4-10 and Acts 4:12), then why would God have sent Him to Earth in the first place?!
The fact of the matter is, God promised salvation only to those who hear the gospel message (Romans 10:17), believe on His Son (John 3:16), confess Christ’s name (Matthew 10:32-33), repent of their sins (Luke 13:3), have those sins remitted through baptism (Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21), and remain faithful (Revelation 2:10). Subsequent to the Day of Pentecost, Peter called upon his listeners to: “Repent ye therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19). The word for “blotted out” derives from a Greek word meaning to “wipe out, erase, or obliterate.” The New Testament uses the word to refer to “blotting out” the old law (Colossians 2:14) and to “blotting out” a person’s name from the Book of Life (Revelation 3:5). One of the great prophetical utterances of the Old Testament was that “their sin will I remember no more” (Jeremiah 31:34).
There was no happy solution to the justice/mercy dilemma. There was no way that God could remain just (since justice demands that the wages of sin be paid) and yet save His Son from death. Christ was abandoned to the cross so that mercy could be extended to sinners who stood condemned (Romans 3:23; 6:23). God could not save sinners by fiat—upon the ground of mere authority alone—without violating His own attribute of divine justice. Paul discussed God’s response to this problem in Romans 3:24-26 when he stated that those who are saved are
...justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God set forth to be a propitiation, through faith, in his blood...for the showing of his righteousness...that he might himself be just and the justifier of him that hath faith in Jesus.
Mankind’s salvation was no arbitrary arrangement. God did not decide merely to consider men sinners, and then determine to save them via a principle of mercy and grace. Sin had placed men in a state of antagonism toward God that was so severe, men were referred to by inspiration as God’s “enemies” (Romans 5:10). Mankind’s sin could be forgiven, and men once again could become God’s friends, only as a result of the vicarious death of God’s Son.


Some have suggested that Christians are narrow-minded when they suggest that mankind’s salvation can be found only in Jesus Christ. Truth, however, is narrow! In addressing this point, Kurt DeHaan wrote:
Would you call a nutritionist narrow-minded if he said that a human can’t survive very long without food or water? Is an aerospace engineer pigheaded to propose that the only way to fly to the moon is by spacecraft, not by hang glider? Is it scientific bigotry to say that gasoline can burn but water cannot? Is it mathematical prejudice to claim that two plus two equals four, not three, five, or twenty-two? The issue is a matter of truth, not a matter of bigotry or prejudice (1988, p. 4).
Truth is a precious and priceless commodity—which no doubt explains why the Proverbs writer admonished: “Buy the truth, and sell it not” (23:23). Jesus Himself said: “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32, emp. added).
But what about sincerity? Does it count for nothing? While sincerity certainly is important in a relationship with God, the fact of the matter is that God does not want just sincerity; He wantsobedience. Saul (who later would be called Paul) was “sincere” in his persecution of Christ’s church, and even did what he did to oppose it “in all good conscience” (Acts 23:1; 22:19-20; Galatians 1:13; 1 Corinthians 15:9), yet God struck him blind (Acts 9:3-9). Paul later would admit in his own writings that he was sincere, but sincerely wrong. DeHaan observed:
Isn’t it enough to be sincere? No, it’s not. Sincerity is important, but it’s not an adequate substitute for knowing the truth. Sincerity doesn’t pass a college entrance exam. Sincerity doesn’t win an automobile race. Sincerity doesn’t repair a broken washing machine. Sincerity won’t bake the perfect cake. And sincerity won’t pay your rent or mortgage. Sincerity will not fill the gap when there is a lack of skill or knowledge, nor will all the sincerity in the world transform error into truth (1988, p. 8, emp. added).
While the Lord certainly wants us to be sincere, He also requires something else, which is why He instructed: “If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
The truth of the Lord is narrow, as Jesus made clear in His beautiful Sermon on the Mount (read specifically Matthew 7:13-14). In fact, Christ observed: “Not everyone that saith unto me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Jesus later commented on the attitude of the people of His day when He said: “This people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me, teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men” (Matthew 15:8-9).
Consider, for example, the account related in 2 Samuel 6 about Uzzah. God had given the Israelites explicit instructions about the construction of the Ark of the Covenant (see Exodus 25:10-22). It was to be made of acacia wood and covered with gold. It was to have two gold-covered, acacia-wood rings on each side, through which two gold-covered, acacia-wood staves could be placed in the event that it had to be moved (Exodus 37:1-5). But He also had given the Israelites explicit instructions about the transportation of the Ark. It was to be carried only by those from the priestly tribe of Levi, specifically the Kohathites (Numbers 7:9). [The Kohathites descended from Kohath, the second son of Levi; the other two groups were the Gershonites and Merarites (cf. Numbers 3:17ff.). The members of the tribe of Levi also were charged with carrying other items of religious significance, including the altars, lampstand, sanctuary vessels, etc., associated with the Tabernacle (see Numbers 3:31).] The Ark was to be moved only after it had been appropriately covered by a blue cloth. And the Israelites (even the Kohathites) were commanded—upon penalty of death—never to touch the Ark (Numbers 4:15,19-20).
King David had ignored each of God’s commands in regard to the transportation of the Ark. God had not commanded that the Ark be moved, and it certainly was not being moved in the manner prescribed by His law. The Ark had been placed on an ox cart being tended by two brothers—Uzzah and Ahio (the latter of whom, apparently, was driving the cart). The text says simply: “the oxen stumbled.” Uzzah—no doubt believing that the precious cargo was about to tumble from the cart and be dashed to bits—reached up to steady the Ark. And the moment Uzzah touched the Ark, God struck him dead!
Was Uzzah sincere in his attempt to protect one of the Israelites’ most priceless and treasured possessions? Undoubtedly he was. But his sincerity was for nought because he disobeyed. Note specifically the Bible’s statement that “God smote him there for his error” (2 Samuel 6:7). God’s commands were explicit; His truth was narrow. Uzzah ignored that truth—and died for having done so.
Will those who never have heard the gospel be lost—even though they might be “sincere”? Indeed they will be! Their separation from God throughout eternity will have been caused by two factors: (1) they sinned against God; and (2) they had not been taught—and thus were not able to take advantage of—the gospel plan of salvation that was offered to all men as the free gift of God (Romans 5:15-21; 6:23b) to restore them to a covenant relationship with Him.
For those of us who do know the truth regarding what men must do to be saved, the burden to share that truth with those who do not know it presses down with unrelenting fury. When Philip stood in the chariot of the Ethiopian eunuch who had been to Jerusalem to worship, he asked: “Understandest thou what thou readest?” That Ethiopian gentleman’s response still burns in our ears over two thousand years later: “How can I, except some one shall guide me?” (Acts 8:30-31). That is the Christian’s job—to gently guide the lost into “the way of salvation” (Acts 16:17). In 2 Corinthians 4:5-7, Paul wrote:
For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.... But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves.
A chapter earlier, the apostle had reminded those first-century Christians at Corinth: “Ye are...an epistle of Christ...written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in tables that are hearts of flesh” (2 Corinthians 3:2-3).
What a blessed opportunity—and onerous responsibility—to be the “earthen vessel,” the “living epistle,” used by the Lord to bring another soul back into His fold. Realizing that “he who converteth a sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:20), and knowing the “goodness and severity of God” (Romans 11:22), dare we countenance failure? No! Speaking on God’s behalf, the prophet Ezekiel warned:
I have made thee a watchman.... Therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, “Thou shalt surely die,” and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thy hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul (Ezekiel 3:17-19, emp. added).
Those who never have heard—and thus never have obeyed—the truth of the gospel message willbe lost! And if we do not do our utmost to get that message to them—so will we! While the unevangelized may be lost, they do not have to remain lost. And we may be all that stands between them and an eternity of separation from God.


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Burgett, Gene (1993), “What About Those Who Have Never Heard?,” Whatever Happened to Heaven and Hell?, ed. Terry M. Hightower (San Antonio, TX: Shenandoah Church of Christ).
DeHaan, Kurt (1988), What About Those Who Have Never Heard? (Grand Rapids, MI: Radio Bible Class), [a tract].
Dyrness, William (1983), Christian Apologetics in a World Community (Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press).
Lenski, R.C.H. (1961), The Interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg).
McDowell, Josh and Don Stewart (1993), Answers to Tough Questions (Nashville, TN: Nelson).
Packer, J.I. (1973), “Are Non-Christian Faiths Ways of Salvation?,” [Part IV of a series titled, “The Way of Salvation”], Bibliotheca Sacra, April.
Punt, Neil (1980), Unconditional Good News (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
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Strong, A.H. (1909), Systematic Theology (Philadelphia, PA: Judson Press).
Van Til, Cornelius (1965), Karl Barth and Evangelicalism (Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian and Reformed).
Warren, Virgil (1982), What the Bible Says about Salvation (Joplin, MO: College Press).