Irwinville Primitive Baptist Church

Unlocking Bible Truth

Unlocking the meaning of confusing
Bible verses, parables, and theology

“…the keys of the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 16:19

Bible Quotations
King James Authorized Version of 1611

By
Tom Hagler, Jr.
September 21, 2006

Notice!
Copyright laws do not protect this book. It may be copied in
whole or in part. Additional copies may be obtained from
Tom Hagler, 5 Somerset Court, Augusta, Georgia 30909.
Introduction
This book is another of Brother Hagler’s writings which is
intended for anyone seriously seeking the truth of the
gospel.
The true gospel will always confirm and establish that
salvation is solely of the Lord. Often many of God’s sincere
born again children will say they agree with this, but will
then turn right around and say there is something that man
must do. Whether it be to “accept Christ,” believe on
Christ, believe the gospel, repent, say a certain prayer, be
baptized, partake of communion, etc., etc. The truth is
either Jesus saved or He did not.
If something else must be done in order to be saved, then
no one is truly saved until that requirement is met. If that
requirement must be done by a man or men, then who
ever would meet that requirement becomes the savior.
This has been the theological struggle for many of God’s
children. How do we reconcile God’s sovereignty versus
man’s responsibility?
Primitive Baptists would contend such things as
repentance, confessing Christ as Saviour, and baptism are
things only a child of God will feel the need to do, and so
the desire and burden to do these things are an evidence
the person already has spiritual life. Their “born again”
conscience accuses them of their sins, and so they seek
forgiveness and fellowship with their Lord, so as to obtain
the joy of their salvation. This leads to a deliverance, or
salvation, in this lifetime.
This book is written in a loving spirit. The love of the Lord
Jesus Christ, the love of His Word, and the love of His
children is the motivation behind this work. It is written in a
straight forward, logical, and easy to follow style. It also
takes some of the difficult passages and explains them by
rightly dividing the Word of truth. The Bible is not self
contradictory. It is consistent throughout. Hopefully this
book when read sincerely will help a little lamb of God
better understand the precious truth that salvation is of the
Lord.
Elder Dwayne Hooven

Acknowledgements
Elder Dwayne Hooven, pastor of Augusta Old Line
Primitive Church, where I feel fortunate to be a member,
has made important suggestions to a number of my books
and booklets, to improve readability, and especially
valuable advice on doctrinal issues that have been
incorporated into this document.

My former pastors, Elder Harold Hunt, Maryville, TN, and
Elder Sam Bryant, Hoover AL, have always encouraged
me in writing and offered me the benefit of their great
wisdom in doctrinal matters. Their suggestions to this and
all my books have been invaluable.

The preaching of Elder Sonny Pyles has been the source
of the idea and expressions used in several chapters of
this book (as noted). In my opinion, he is the greatest
preaching evangelist alive today. He has been of
tremendous benefit to many Primitive Baptist Elders as
well as church members and has strengthened the Lord’s
churches all across America. He has been a great blessing
to us all.

My granddaughter Rachael and her husband Robbie
Mundy have been of great benefit to me as proofreaders
correcting my poor and unprofessional grammar.
Finally, I would like to express my appreciation to
Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Co., and Curtis C.
Thomas, the only surviving author of the excellent book
The Five Points of Calvinism, for giving me approval to
copy several portions of their book into my document. This
historically accurate presentation of the proclamation
published by the Synod of Dort in 1619 makes it easier to
distinguish between Reformed Theology (Calvinism) and
Primitive Baptist Theology.
Dedicated to…
…Billie, my wife of fifty-three years, November 27, 2006.
She is a wonderful wife, as well as a valuable advisor. She
is sensitive to the feelings of others, and so is most helpful
in my effort to not be offensive in my writing. She loves
people and is loved by everyone who knows her. God
surely blessed me to find her…to be the wife of my youth,
as well as wife of my old age.

Foreword
This book is for my friends and others who may be
interested in understanding some of the seeming
contradictions in the Bible. Hopefully, I can share a few
keys that have been exciting and uplifting to me because
they have unlocked the meaning of several important Bible
verses, parables, and principles of theology. This book is a
doctrinal study in which concepts suggested will reconcile
Bible verses so they fit together without contradictions.
In studying the Bible, one should always consider the
methods of Bible study taught in Scripture. Some of these
methods are as follows:
• 2 Timothy 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto
God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed,
rightly dividing the word of truth.” Jesus said something
divided against itself cannot stand (Matthew 12:25-26).
The Bible is the Word of truth, it could never be divided
against itself. There are no contradictions.
• 2 Peter 1:20 “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the
scripture is of any private interpretation.” Private
means separate or different. In other words, no
contradictions exist in the Bible. All verses must mesh
together and harmonize.
• 1 Corinthians 2:13 “Which things also we speak, not in
the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the
Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with
spiritual.”
• Isaiah 28:10 “For precept must be upon precept,
precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line;
here a little, and there a little.” This verse implies a
doctrinal systematic study of theology can be made
throughout Scripture.
• Nehemiah 8:8 “So they read in the book in the law of
God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to
understand the reading.”
What is Bible doctrine? Think of it as the steel girders
which support a tall skyscraper. In a similar manner the
proper doctrine provides a structure which supports all
Bible verses in a way that harmonizes Scripture without
contradictions. Why is Bible doctrine so important? Notice
the shocking and very strong statements by the Apostle
Paul:
• Galatians 1:8-9 “But though we, or an angel from
heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that
which we have preached unto you, let him be
accursed.” As we said before, so say I now again, If
any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that
ye have received, let him be accursed.
• 2 Corinthians 11:4 “For if he that cometh preacheth
another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or [if] ye
receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or
another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might
well bear with [him].”
Bible doctrine defines whether or not someone has
preached another Jesus, or another gospel. Another Jesus
or gospel determines if another spirit (implying a spirit
other than the Holy Spirit) is involved. Obviously this is a
very serious matter, whether it has eternal consequences,
or if only this lifetime is affected.
While there are many different Christian denominations
today, for this study, I will consider four Christian doctrinal
theology groups. Most, if not all, of the Christian religions
will fall into or between one of these theology groups:
Roman Catholic, Protestant Arminian, Protestant Calvinist,
and Primitive Baptist. Primitive Baptists (formally Separate
Baptist, Welsh Baptists, and called by other names over
the past 2,000 years) believe man provides no mental or
physical action or works at all in regeneration (being born
again) so as to be saved eternally for heaven. The other
three groups require an ever increasing amount of work,
with the Roman Catholic Church requiring the most. One
needs to know that the exercise of our faith is a work
according to 1 Thessalonians 1:3, “Remembering without
ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience
of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and
our Father;” 2 Thessalonians 1:11 states this same
principle. Our belief in Jesus is a work of God.
John 6:29 “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the
work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
In the first Section, I have included three chapters that
should give the reader a foundation to better understand
the chapters that follow. The concepts introduced are
straight-forward and simple…they should not be
controversial. I have tried to provide information in the next
three sections in a logical order so that each chapter builds
on what was previously written in earlier chapters.
The interpretation of Bible verses and parables are usually
determined based on one’s doctrinal beliefs. For this
reason, Theology Problems, Section II, will be dealt with
first. This will be followed by Problem Bible Verses, Section
III, and finally Problem Parables, Section IV.
To prepare the reader for what to expect in Section II,
entitled Theology Problems, it may be helpful to define
briefly the theology of Calvinists, Arminians, and Primitive
Baptists. Consider the following:
1. Calvinists believe in the absolute sovereignty of God.
They believe in the total depravity of fallen man, so
one’s salvation is only possible by a sovereign God.
That election (Ephesians 1:4-6) is unconditional, and
the atonement of Christ on the cross is limited to the
elect only by irresistible grace. These elect of God will
hear the gospel preached, they will be obedient unto
discipleship, and will persevere in faith so none will be
guilty of unbelief at the time of their death. Those who
die as infants, or who are mentally impaired, are saved
in a different way.
2. Arminians would say God’s election is based on His
foreseeing they would respond in a positive way to the
gospel call; therefore, man’s free will is the determining
factor. God’s grace is available to all humans, but this
grace can be resisted. Most Arminians would say those
saved by gospel preaching would be saved eternally
only if they are disciples of Christ at the time of their
death. Those who die as infants, or who are mentally
impaired, are saved in a different way.
3. Primitive Baptists believe a sovereign God has
unconditionally elected a people (limited atonement, or
particular redemption…Ephesians 1:4-6) for eternal
salvation. In Psalms 14:2-3, God sees the future in
which no one will seek Him; therefore, all are saved in
the same way…infant deaths, mentally impaired, etc. In
John 3:8 Jesus further confirms this fact: “The wind
bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound
thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and
whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the
Spirit.” No one can control the action of the wind, or the
Spirit of God in giving spiritual life to a child of God.
Most heaven bound children of God never hear the
gospel preached, many of those that do hear the
gospel message will not be obedient unto discipleship,
and some disciples of Christ will backslide and die in a
state of rebellion. God’s children will suffer in this
lifetime for their sinful acts, but never eternal damnation
in hell. The church is a hospital for sinners, and is not
used by God to save people for heaven. The church is
the place where God’s people can be comforted,
healed, and receive spiritual food through the preached
word…so as to grow and mature spiritually. All of the
elect of God will be born again by direct action of the
Son of God through the Holy Spirit sometime between
conception and death, and these will go to heaven after
death. Jesus says:
• John 5:25 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is
coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the
voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall
live.”
• John 6:63 “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh
profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you,
[they] are spirit, and [they] are life.”
Primitive Baptists believe there are many who will suffer
in the flames of hell for an eternity; however, by the
grace of God alone, “…a great multitude, which no man
could number…” (Revelation 7:9) will spend an eternity
in heaven.
In all sincerity, my primary goal is that no one will be
personally offended during this study, but rather will only
look to the Bible for proof on all points. Hopefully, enough
Bible proof will be provided in this small book so as to
interest the reader in a much deeper study.
Since I do not expect everyone to agree with the meaning
assigned to every verse quoted, I invite readers to give me
an explanation as to their interpretation. I need and want
constructive criticism. Please send any comments to Tom
Hagler, 5 Somerset Court, Augusta, GA 30909.
Let’s reason together from Scripture, as Acts 17:2: “And
Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three
sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures.”
Tom Hagler


Table of Contents
SECTION I
BEGINNING THE STUDY
CHAPTER I
CAUSE AND EFFECT ..............................................................................1
Conclusion.............................................................................................4
CHAPTER II
MULTIPLE SALVATIONS ........................................................................6
Eternal Salvation ...................................................................................7
Salvation from physical danger ............................................................9
Time Salvation.....................................................................................10
Conclusion...........................................................................................17
CHAPTER III
TOTAL DEPRAVITY...............................................................................18
Death by sin.........................................................................................18
Foreknowledge....................................................................................20
Unregenerate man cannot understand, hear or believe....................22
Other total depravity verses................................................................24
Conclusion...........................................................................................26
SECTION II
THEOLOGY PROBLEMS
CHAPTER IV
THE FIVE POINTS OF CALVINISM ......................................................29
Synod of Dort history ..........................................................................29
CHAPTER V
BAPTISTS FIVE DOCTRINES OF GRACE ..........................................34
Five Doctrines of Grace ......................................................................36
1) Total Depravity ...........................................................................37
2) Unconditional Election ............................................................... 37
3) Limited Atonement ..................................................................... 38
4) Irresistible Grace ........................................................................ 39
5) Perseverance1 of the Saints ...................................................... 40
Summation of thoughts on five doctrines of grace............................ 41
CHAPTER VI
SALVATION............................................................................................ 42
Salvation has five stages--four phases and one aspect ................... 43
The tenses of salvation ...................................................................... 45
Conclusion .......................................................................................... 46
CHAPTER VII
REGENERATION VERSUS CONVERSION......................................... 50
Regeneration ...................................................................................... 50
Conversion.......................................................................................... 55
The Role of Religion ........................................................................... 58
Conclusion .......................................................................................... 64
CHAPTER VIII
JUSTIFICATION ..................................................................................... 66
Justification by Blood.......................................................................... 67
Justification by Faith ........................................................................... 68
Justification by Works......................................................................... 69
Comments on the three courts........................................................... 70
Declare to be just................................................................................ 71
Proof that God has faith ..................................................................... 72
Man’s faith compared to faith of Christ and the faith of God ............ 74
Human brain compared to a computer .............................................. 76
Justification in the Divine Court.......................................................... 78
Conclusion .......................................................................................... 79
CHAPTER IX
LETTER TO A ROMAN CATHOLIC......................................................80
Comments on Rome Sweet Home.....................................................81
Idolatry .................................................................................................82
Baptism................................................................................................83
Mary.....................................................................................................86
Peter and the Catholic Pope...............................................................88
Holy days.............................................................................................90
The Eucharist or Catholic mass .........................................................90
The Church..........................................................................................98
Conclusion.........................................................................................101
SECTION III
PROBLEM BIBLE VERSES
CHAPTER X
WHAT THE GOSPEL IS NOT ..............................................................104
Four problem verses for the doctrine presented..............................105
Comments on James 1:18 ...........................................................107
Comments on 1 Peter 1:23, and 25.............................................107
Comments on Hebrews 4:12........................................................109
Comments on 1 Corinthians 4:15 ................................................109
Summation of comments..............................................................110
Conclusion.........................................................................................110
CHAPTER XI
FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD...................................................114
World..................................................................................................115
Believeth............................................................................................116
Purpose of the GOSPEL...................................................................120
Conclusion.........................................................................................121
World Verses.....................................................................................121
CHAPTER XII
GOD CHOSE US TO SALVATION FOR BELIEF OF THE TRUTH BY
THE GOSPEL ....................................................................................... 124
From the beginning........................................................................... 126
Obtaining of the glory ....................................................................... 132
Conclusion ........................................................................................ 137
CHAPTER XIII
CAN A CHILD OF GOD COMMIT SIN?.............................................. 139
Word verses...................................................................................... 139
Purpose of the Gospel...................................................................... 141
Two natures or two minds ................................................................ 144
Chastisement .................................................................................... 146
Summation........................................................................................ 147
SECTION IV
PROBLEM PARABLES
CHAPTER XIV
THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER....................................................... 149
The Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:3-23) ................................. 152
Rich Young Ruler (Mark 10:17-27) .................................................. 156
Conclusion ........................................................................................ 160
CHAPTER XV
THE TEN VIRGINS ............................................................................... 161
Elder W. A. Chastain’s position........................................................ 163
Elder C. H. Cayce’s position ............................................................ 171
Conclusion ........................................................................................ 177
CHAPTER XVI
THREE HEAVENS AND THREE KINGDOMS OF SCRIPTURE.......180
Three heavens ..................................................................................180
First Heaven..................................................................................182
Second Heaven ............................................................................187
Third Heaven.................................................................................191
Summation of Thoughts ...............................................................192
Three Kingdoms................................................................................195
Kingdom of God = Kingdom of heaven........................................198
Regenerate Elect of God (first heaven) .......................................199
The Lord’s Church (second heaven) ...........................................202
Eternal Kingdom (third heaven) ...................................................207
Kingdom Prophecy .......................................................................209
Summation of Thoughts ...............................................................212
Conclusion.........................................................................................213
Application one is regeneration....................................................214
Application two by conversion is God’s church ...........................215
Application three is glorification in paradise ................................215
Summation of thoughts.................................................................215

Section I
Beginning the Study
We will begin the study with a review of some material from my book Rightly
Dividing the Word of Truth. The purpose is to establish a foundation before we
consider theology doctrines, Bible verses, or parables that would otherwise be
much more difficult to understand. Since all Scripture must harmonize, the
simple, straight-forward verses set parameters to keep one from
misunderstanding the more difficult concepts.
Elder Sonny Pyles preached a sermon some time ago entitled “Three Essential
Facts.” We will start with two of the essential facts, or concepts, he described
in this excellent sermon. The first concept is labeled Cause and Effect (belief in
Christ is the effect of eternal life and never the cause), beginning on page 1.
The second essential fact is Multiple Salvations (there is more than one
salvation taught in the Bible), beginning on page 6. The third essential fact
covering the Kingdom Bible Verses (kingdom of God, kingdom of heaven, and
kingdom of His dear Son) will be covered later in the Parable Section, page
195.
Elder Pyles stated something to the effect that if one of God’s children could
understand even one or two of these concepts, then he would be a long way
down the road to understanding what the Lord has done for him. Hopefully the
reader will be satisfied that these concepts are truly Scriptural.
A final chapter in this section will be entitled Total Depravity, beginning on
page 18. It has been said that to fully appreciate eternal salvation, one must first
understand the hopeless condition from which one was saved because of the sin
of Adam in the dawn of time. All were dead in trespasses and sins. Only God
can help the dead.
Chapter I
Cause and Effect
1
Chapter I
Cause and Effect
The first essential fact of the three given in the sermon
preached by Elder Sonny Pyles, Graham, Texas, entitled
Three Essential Facts is “cause and effect.” Elder Sonny
said if we are blessed to understand only one or two of
these concepts, then we will be a long way down the road
to understanding what Jesus has done for us.
The principle of cause and effect applies to belief in Christ.
The question to be answered is “does our belief in Jesus
Christ as Son of God obtain eternal life for us, or does our
belief in Christ give evidence we are already eternally
saved?” Is belief in Christ the cause, or is it the effect (or
evidence) we are eternally saved? This chapter will show
that the Bible clearly teaches our belief that Jesus is the
Christ, the eternal Son of God, is evidence that we are
already a child of God.
Belief in Christ cannot be both the cause as well as the
effect of eternal life. It is technically impossible for it to be
both; it must be either one or the other. For real world
examples of cause and effect, consider a person that has
high fever. A medical doctor would say the fever is an effect
or evidence of some sickness. The doctor would then look
for the cause of this problem. The doctor would never
consider the fever to be the cause of the sickness. It is
impossible for something to be both the cause as well as
the effect of an occurrence.
Let’s consider another real world example. Imagine that an
electric lamp does not work. The fact that the lamp does not
work is the symptom, evidence, or effect that points you
Unlocking Bible Truth
2
back to the cause of the problem. The cause may be a
burned out light bulb, faulty wiring, unplugged cord, a
popped circuit breaker, etc. You could not say that the lack
of light is the cause of the problem. No light when the lamp
is turned on is the effect.
We should take the time now to prove with Bible verses that
our belief is always the effect or evidence of eternal life. Our
belief cannot possibly be both the cause (and a condition
that one must meet) as well as the effect or evidence.
Consider the following:
• 1 John 5:1 “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ
is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat
loveth him also that is begotten of him.” Our belief is
evidence that eternal life already exists.
• John 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.”
• John 6:47 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that
believeth on me hath everlasting life.”
• Acts 13:48 “And when the Gentiles heard this, they were
glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as
were ordained to eternal life believed.”
Our faith is listed as one of the nine “fruit of the Spirit” given
in the following verse:
• Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy,
peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
Chapter I
Cause and Effect
3
The fruit of an apple tree is an apple. First there must be the
apple tree, and then later the tree produces the apple as
fruit. In the same way a person must first be born of the
Spirit so as to have the Spirit of God dwelling within them
(1 Corinthians 3:16, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of
God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”), and
then the person is able to produce fruit of the Spirit…the
seventh fruit listed being faith. An unregenerate person
could not exercise his faith (which he does not have) by
believing that Jesus is the Christ until after he has been
born of the Spirit of God and received faith as fruit of the
Spirit.
If someone were to say that all people have a little faith, one
must then point out that the Bible clearly states all people
do not have faith. The Bible verse which says exactly that is
as follows:
• 1 Thessalonians 3:1-2 “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that
the word of the Lord may have free course, and be
glorified, even as it is with you: And that we may be
delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all
men have not faith.”
For this reason the gospel is delivered by a child of God
who has faith to other of God’s children who also have faith.
The gospel cannot be delivered from those who have faith
to those who are without faith. Notice what is stated by
Romans 1:17 “For therein is the righteousness of God
revealed from faith to faith:” In others words the gospel is
the power of God only to regenerate children of God who
have faith. 1 Corinthians 1:18 also says exactly that, as
follows: “For the preaching of the cross is to them that
perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the
power of God.”
Unlocking Bible Truth
4
Finally, the theory that a person must believe in Jesus
Christ as the Son of God in order to obtain eternal life has a
problem because of statements made by Jesus in the
Gospel of John:
• John 10:25-28 “Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye
believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name,
they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye
are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear
my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I
give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish,
neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”
• John 8:46-47 “Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if
I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of
God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not,
because ye are not of God.”
Jesus clearly states to His audience that they cannot hear
or believe because they are not God’s children. It is not a
matter of their decision for Christ. The problem is they have
no spiritual life.
These people addressed by Jesus do not have the ability to
understand spiritual matters. This principle is also proven by
the following verse:
• 1 Corinthians 2:14 “But the natural man receiveth not
the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness
unto him: neither can he know them, because they are
spiritually discerned.” (a natural man is unregenerate)
Conclusion
It should be very clear from the above that our belief that
Jesus is the Christ is evidence we are already a child of
Chapter I
Cause and Effect
5
God. It is the “effect” of being already born again. It cannot
be something we must try to do so as to obtain eternal life.
It is impossible for something to be both the cause of an
occurrence as well as being the effect and evidence.
Further, we also proved the unregenerate cannot hear,
understand or believe spiritual things, so how could they
believe Jesus is the Christ? Spiritual life must come first,
and then action is possible. In the physical or spiritual world,
life must be first, and then action is possible. Regeneration
by God (Ephesians 2:1, “And you [hath he quickened], who
were dead in trespasses and sins;”) gives spiritual life, and
then obedience to gospel commands offers the possibility of
a great blessing to the child of God to be enjoyed during his
lifetime. Only a few (compared to the great number to be in
heaven) of God’s children will enjoy the blessings of the
gospel.
Unlocking Bible Truth
6
Chapter II
Multiple Salvations
The purpose of this chapter is to consider how the Bible
uses “save,” “saved” or “salvation” to mean several different
things. This is the second essential fact taught by Elder
Sonny Pyles in his sermon entitled Three Essential Facts.
Too often the Bible believer assumes that the word “save”
means only saved eternally, which is not the case. When
one becomes aware of the different ways the Bible uses
this word, he is more likely to consider the context and
grammar, as well as comparisons with other verses, and not
jump to a hasty conclusion. We are told to “Study to show
thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to
be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
(2 Timothy 2:15)
One of the most important principles of Bible study is to
“rightly divide” the Scripture. The Bible contains examples in
which the meaning of the word “save” is obvious. For two
simple examples, notice the meaning of “save” in the
following:
• 2 Corinthians 11:24 “Of the Jews five times received I
forty stripes save one.” Paul obviously means he
received forty stripes except (or less) one, for a total of
thirty-nine stripes.
• Matthew 19:11 “But he said unto them, All men cannot
receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.”
Obviously “save” in this verse means “except.”
Chapter II
Multiple Salvations
7
The above verses could not be confused with saved
eternally; however, they show that one should at least
pause briefly to consider other possible definitions when the
meaning is not so obvious.
Eternal Salvation
To begin our study, let’s first look at verses that teach
eternal salvation. Very little, if any, disagreement should
exist as to their meaning. Notice that these verses clearly
state that the sinner has nothing to do with his eternal
salvation. Eternal salvation is totally a work performed by
God, alone and unaided. This fact is most important to
remember. Consider the following:
• 2 Timothy 1:9 “Who hath saved us, and called us with an
holy calling, not according to our works, but according to
his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ
Jesus before the world began.”
• Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have
done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the
washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy
Ghost;”
• Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through
faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not
of works, lest any man should boast.”
• Matthew 1:21 “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou
shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people
from their sins.” This verse does not say Jesus will try to
save His people if they will only cooperate. It just says
He shall save His people from their sins.
Unlocking Bible Truth
8
Notice the prayer Jesus prays to the Father just before He
is crucified. John 17:1-2 “These words spake Jesus, and
lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is
come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As
thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give
eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” Jesus has
power over all flesh, and this verse says He gives eternal
life to as many as the Father gave Him to save. As many as
means not one more or not one less. Apparently Jesus did
not just make a way of salvation possible if the sinner would
accept Him as their personal saviour, but rather, He actually
saved eternally every one the Father gave Him to save,
without the loss of even one. John 6:37-39 quoted below is
also very strong on this point. Jesus saved everyone
chosen by the Father as declared in Ephesians 1:4:
“According as he hath chosen us in him before the
foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without
blame before him in love:”
As noted above, Jesus Christ saves all those chosen before
the foundation of the world by the Father, and He saves
them eternally without the loss of one. This fact is also
clearly stated in John 6:37-39, as follows:
• John 6:37-39 “All that the Father giveth me shall come to
me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will,
but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's
will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given
me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at
the last day.”
Now, if the reader will refer to Chapter III, entitled Total
depravity beginning on page 18, we will see that the
spiritually dead sinner can neither hear nor understand
Chapter II
Multiple Salvations
9
things of God, and their carnal mind is enmity against God.
In this condition, the unregenerate must have a Saviour that
does everything, because the dead can do nothing for
themselves. Only God can quicken the dead, as given in
Ephesians 2:1 “And you hath he quickened, who were dead
in trespasses and sins:”
Before we begin to look at other “save” Bible verses,
remember how clearly the language used above teaches
that eternal salvation is totally the work of God, and that our
personal failures in this life do not hinder God from
accomplishing His purpose.
Salvation from physical danger
The following Bible verses deal with physical dangers which
could result in physical suffering and physical death. No one
would misunderstand these verses and think eternal
salvation is the subject. Notice how these Bible verses with
save or saved mean a timely deliverance from a timely
danger:
• Exodus 14:28-30 “And the waters returned, and covered
the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of
Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there
remained not so much as one of them. But the children
of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea;
and the waters were a wall unto them on their right
hand, and on their left. Thus the LORD saved Israel that
day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the
Egyptians dead upon the sea shore.” The Lord saved
the children of Israel that day from physical death at the
hands of the Egyptians. No one would make the mistake
of thinking this verse had anything to do with eternal
Unlocking Bible Truth
10
salvation. “Saved” in this verse means a timely
deliverance from a timely danger.
• Acts 27:31 “Paul said to the centurion and to the
soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be
saved.” Paul obviously means saved from physical
death due to drowning. Once again, “saved” in this verse
means a timely deliverance from a timely danger.
• Matthew 14:29-30 “And he said, Come. And when Peter
was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water,
to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he
was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord,
save me.” Peter was asking Jesus to save him from
drowning; he was not asking Jesus to save him
eternally. Peter was asking for a timely deliverance from
a timely danger.
• 1 Timothy 2:15 “Notwithstanding she shall be saved in
childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and
holiness with sobriety.” Everyone would agree that
saved in this verse does not mean saved eternally. The
verse means a timely deliverance from a timely danger.
After considering the above Bible verses, one should have
no problem understanding the correct meaning of the word
“save” or “saved.”
Time Salvation
The term “time salvation” or “temporal salvation” is not
found in Scripture. “Time salvation” describes salvation “in
time,” or salvation in this present world. This salvation is
also a timely deliverance from a timely danger. This timely
deliverance is a salvation from physical suffering and
Chapter II
Multiple Salvations
11
possible physical death from the chastening rod of God
against His disobedient children, as opposed to eternal
suffering in hell (called the second death). For a good
Scripture reference, consider the following:
• 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 “Know ye not that ye are the
temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in
you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God
destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye
are.” (Also Hebrews 10:26-31)
Now let’s get a little more complicated. Not everyone agrees
on the meaning of the following Bible verses. Even so,
unless the Bible has contradictions (and we know that it
does not) then these verses cannot refer to eternal
salvation, but must be a timely deliverance from a timely
danger for God’s born again children. In other words, they
must have reference to time or temporal “salvation,”
available to an obedient disciple of Christ.
• 1 Timothy 4:16 “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the
doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt
both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” Surely Paul
believes Timothy is already saved eternally. Surely he
does not think Timothy could save himself and those
that hear him eternally by taking “heed unto thyself, and
unto the doctrine, etc.” or he would be preaching a
works salvation about which Timothy and those that
hear him could boast. As Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace
are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it
is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should
boast.” Also, Titus 3:5 says the same, as follows: “Not by
works of righteousness which we have done, but
according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of
regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” In
returning to 1 Timothy 4:16, obviously Paul meant that if
Unlocking Bible Truth
12
Timothy takes heed to the doctrine and continued in it,
he could save himself and those that hear him from the
untoward generation of that day. Peter preaches this
same salvation in Acts 2:38-40, which deals with God’s
born again children following Christ as disciples. Not all
of God’s people will agree to be disciples. Those who
will not follow Christ as His disciples will never lose
eternal salvation, but their disobedience will result in
their suffering chastisement in this life, as in 1
Corinthians 3:16-17, Hebrews 10:26-31 and 12:5-11.
Since chastisement could result in not only physical
suffering, but also physical death, one could say the
salvation called for by 1 Timothy 4:16 is a “timely
deliverance from a timely danger” or “time salvation.”
• 1 Peter 3:20-21 “Which sometime were disobedient,
when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days
of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few,
that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure
whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the
putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a
good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of
Jesus Christ:” In what sense did water save Noah and
his family? Also, this verse says that baptism now saves
us in the same way that the water (floodwaters) saved
Noah and his family. We remember how wicked man
was in the days of Noah, as Genesis 6:5 “And God saw
that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and
that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was
only evil continually.” Also much violence existed, as
Genesis 6:13 “And God said unto Noah, The end of all
flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with
violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them
with the earth.” Returning to 1 Peter 3:20-21, the only
logical meaning for how water (the floodwaters) saved
Chapter II
Multiple Salvations
13
Noah and his family, is that it saved them from the
“wickedness “ and “violence” of that time. It was a “time
salvation.” Noah and his family were saved by
floodwaters from the untoward (unruly) generation of
that day. This salvation is compared to how we are now
saved by baptism. To prove this fact more clearly, see
Acts 2:38, 40: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and
be baptized….” Now in verse 40 we have “And with
many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save
yourselves from this untoward generation.” Obedience to
the gospel and baptism of a believer saves one, but the
salvation is not eternal. Rather, it is a salvation from the
wicked untoward generation in which we live. The same
principle applicable in the days of Peter (Acts 2:40), or in
the days of Noah (1 Peter 3:20-21), is applicable today.
The one who is to be saved through discipleship needs
“good works,” by being obedient to the gospel.
• Mark 16:15-16 “And he said unto them, Go ye into all
the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He
that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that
believeth not shall be damned.” We just learned above
that baptism saves one “from this untoward generation”
(Acts 2:40), which is a salvation in this life for a born
again child of God. For further proof on this verse, notice
that “every creature” refers to a born again person.
When referring to a person, creature is defined by the
Bible as in 2 Corinthians 5:17, which states the
following: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new
creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things
are become new.” Also, we know a believer is someone
that is already saved eternally, as 1 John 5:1,
“Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of
God:” We also learn that if this creature (born again
person) rejects the gospel message in unbelief and
Unlocking Bible Truth
14
refuses to be baptized, then he will be damned (suffer
chastisement, not eternal damnation) as Luke 12:47
“And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and
prepared not himself, neither did according to his will,
shall be beaten with many stripes.” From this verse we
should see that Mark 16:15-16 offers a timely
deliverance from a timely danger, or time “salvation.”
• Philippians 2:12 “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have
always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now
much more in my absence, work out your own salvation
with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in
you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” This
verse refers to a “works salvation,” so it cannot mean
eternal salvation based on the Bible verses quoted
earlier. “Fear and trembling” reminds one that God
chastens His rebellious and disobedient children.
Remember the Corinthian brethren who were guilty of
taking the communion service unworthily, as 1
Corinthians 11:28, 30 “Wherefore whosoever shall eat
this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily,
shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” The
30th verse says “For this cause many are weak and
sickly among you, and many sleep.” Disobedience cost
many of these Corinthians their health and some their
physical life. God’s children who possess faith need to
demonstrate “good works.” As James 2:20 says “But wilt
thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is
dead?” Good works can never produce eternal
salvation, but, for an obedient child of God, discipleship
yields comfort and spiritual happiness. This salvation
offers a timely deliverance from a timely danger, or in
other words, time “salvation.”
Chapter II
Multiple Salvations
15
• Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name
of the Lord shall be saved.” Notice the action needed by
the person in order that he receive salvation. As above,
this verse refers to a “works salvation,” so it must mean
the salvation “save yourselves from this untoward
generation” that was preached by Peter in Acts 2:38-40.
This salvation is gained by the obedient child of God
when he repents of his sins (Acts 3:19), confesses
Christ (Romans 10:9), and as a believer, submits to
baptism (Mark 16:16). Notice that the 10th Chapter of
Romans is addressed to God’s born again children. It
begins as follows: Romans 10:1 “Brethren, my heart's
desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be
saved.” Brethren is defined by Hebrews 3:1 “Wherefore,
holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling…”
Romans 10:2 says, “…they have a zeal of God, but not
according to knowledge.” The unregenerate do not have
a zeal of God because their “carnal mind is enmity
against God.” (Romans 8:7) Romans 10:1 says, “that
they might be saved.” This salvation is conditionally
based on works that will later be explained, such as to
confess Christ as saviour in the 9th verse. To confess
Christ is not the same as to accept Christ. No verse in
the Bible says we should accept Christ. Not one.
Ephesians 1:6 says “To the praise of the glory of his
grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the
beloved.” God made us accepted, not the opposite,
where we accept Christ. The unregenerate hate God,
their “carnal mind is enmity against God” (Romans 8:7).
The Bible verses quoted above speak of a salvation that is
in addition to eternal glory. Another verse states this fact
exactly, as follows:
Unlocking Bible Truth
16
• 2 Timothy 2:10 “Therefore I endure all things for the
elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation
which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” The elect are
God’s children, chosen by the Father as stated in
Ephesians 1:4. Paul endures all things with the hope
they may also obtain something in addition to eternal
glory, and that something is “the salvation, which is in
Christ Jesus,” the salvation Peter proclaimed, “Save
yourselves from this untoward generation” (Acts 2:40).
Another verse that says the gospel saves one of God’s
children who are already saved eternally, is as follows:
• 1 Corinthians 1:21 “For after that in the wisdom of God
the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by
the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”
We remember that someone who believes that Jesus is
the Christ, is already saved eternally. This fact is stated
in 1 John 5:1 as follows: “Whosoever believeth that
Jesus is the Christ is born of God:” It is also clearly
stated in John 6:47 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that
believeth on me hath everlasting life.” This salvation
must be a salvation from this untoward generation, as
Acts 2:40. Therefore, preaching the gospel only benefits
those who are already saved eternally. Actually, 1
Corinthians 1:18 states this fact, as follows: “For the
preaching of the cross is to them that perish
(unregenerate) foolishness; but unto us which are saved
(eternally) it is the power of God.”
Another verse that is related to this subject is not always
understood properly, in my opinion. Consider the following:
• Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide
is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to
Chapter II
Multiple Salvations
17
destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which
leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” If this
verse refers to eternal salvation and eternal destruction,
then it would support a works salvation. It must have
reference to “a timely deliverance from a timely danger.”
This advice about how we should conduct ourselves
during our lifetime must offer us time “salvation.” We can
save ourselves from this untoward generation (Acts
2:40, “Save yourselves from this untoward generation”)
that is a timely deliverance from timely dangers.
Conclusion
Hopefully, this chapter has created enough interest in the
words “save,” “saved” and “salvation,” so that the reader will
always examine more closely how the Bible uses these
words before jumping to a hasty conclusion as to their
actual meaning. See Chapter VI, Salvation, beginning on
page 42, to see the five stages of salvation for God’s
children…four unfailing phases, and one conditional aspect.
While there are many deep subjects in the Bible that are
difficult to understand, salvation should be straightforward
and simple for God’s children. The sovereignty of God
verses in Romans 9 do not conflict with the responsibility of
man verses given in Romans 10. His people can rejoice that
eternal salvation is totally in God’s hands, and the gospel is
sent to His elect children offering a salvation from this
“untoward generation” (Acts 2:40), free of the chastening
rod of God (1 Corinthians 3:16-17, Hebrews 10:26-31 and
12:5-11), in fellowship with Christ (Revelation 3:20-22) in
His church. This is called conditional time “salvation.” It is
gospel conversion unto discipleship in the Lord’s church for
blessings to be enjoyed during this lifetime.
Unlocking Bible Truth
18
Chapter III
Total Depravity
We will now consider the total depravity of every person
caused by the original sin of Adam. The natural state of
every human refers to their condition as they were
physically born into the world (not being born again).
However, we should also remember some will never be
born again, while some will be born again before they are
physically born, as in the case of John the Baptist (born
again when his mother was six months pregnant, Luke
1:15, 36, 41, and 44).
We know that Adam violated the Law of God, which was
recorded in Genesis 2:16-17, as follows: “And the Lord God
commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden
thou mayest freely eat: 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.” In the margin of many
Bibles, it states that the Hebrew language literally means,
“dying thou shalt die.” Three deaths will be suffered. Adam
immediately suffered death to fellowship with God. Next he
began to physically die, which ended 930 years after he
was created. (Genesis 5:5) And finally, eternal damnation
(known as the second death) would have followed physical
death, except for the grace of God.
Death by sin
Notice the sin of Adam, as clearly stated in the Roman
letter, “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.” (Romans 5:12) As an aside, for any
Christian who believes the book of Romans is literally
accurate, this person could not possibly believe in evolution
Chapter III
Total Depravity
19
since the Bible states there was no death before the sin of
Adam. Evolution teaches that there are billions of years of
death before man “evolved.” Both cannot be true. However,
this subject is covered in my book Rightly Dividing the Word
of Truth, Chapter XIX, Creation versus Evolution, beginning
on page 223. Also, a considerable number of books are
available to the reader on creation science
(www.AnswersInGenesis.org).
To better understand the state of all human beings because
of the sin of Adam, consider the statements of David in the
book of Psalms.
• “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my
mother conceive me.” (Psalms 51:5)
• “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go
astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” (Psalms
58:3) The age of accountability is not taught in Scripture.
Genesis 8:21 states, “…the imagination of man’s heart is
evil from his youth….”
Apparently, the sin of Adam resulted in everyone being
physically born spiritually dead (unless God quickens them
with the spiritual birth, while in their mother’s womb, as with
John the Baptist, recorded in Luke 1:15, 36, 41, 44). To
clearly see this particular occurrence (regeneration or being
born again), notice in Ephesians where the spiritual birth is
under consideration. In this case, a person was dead in
trespasses and sins, as follows:
• “And you hath he quickened; who were dead in
trespasses and sins: Wherein in time past ye walked
according to the course of this world, according to the
prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh
Unlocking Bible Truth
20
in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we
all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our
flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind;
and were by nature the children of wrath, even as
others.” (Ephesians 2:1-3)
Notice above that a person not born again is by nature a
child of wrath. Only God can quicken, or give life. The
above verse states, “And you hath he quickened, who were
dead in trespasses and sins.” The dead are dead, not even
a “spark of life” is present. Death does not exist in degrees
as in dead, deader and deadest. The dead are simply dead!
The unregenerate (spiritually dead) hate God (Romans 8:7)
and love evil (John 3:19). The giving of life to the dead is
something that only God can do, and it occurs for the elect
of God at some age between conception and death. This
fact should be obvious. Those physically born do not assist
their natural parents or God with the process of their
physical birth. The spiritual birth is even more of a miracle,
since this spiritual life will live forever and is not capable of
committing sin, as follows: “Whosoever is born of God doth
not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he
cannot sin, because he is born of God.” (1 John 3:9) Refer
to Romans 7:15-25 to see more on the two natures (carnal
and spiritual) of a born again person.
Foreknowledge
There are some people who think that God, who can see
the future, looked down through time to see who would
seek Him (even though we have shown above that the
spiritually dead cannot seek God). Based on this
misunderstood type of “foreknowledge,” God is supposed to
have elected for heaven, those who would seek Him. To
disprove this position, the several verses that are used,
Chapter III
Total Depravity
21
Romans 8:29, 1 Peter 1:2, II Timothy 2:19, and
I Corinthians 8:3, can be shown to have another meaning.
The verse in Romans states, “For whom he did foreknow,
he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his
Son, etc.” All of these verses actually mean God “foreknew”
those He chose from before the foundation of the world, as
follows: “According as he hath chosen us in him before the
foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without
blame before him in love.” (Ephesians 1:4) Foreknowledge
in the above verses means these individuals were the
objects of God’s love, as a man “knows” his wife. God’s
seeing into the future, does not mean He knew who would
accept Him in faith. Notice the words of Jesus, “Many will
say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in
thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy
name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess
unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work
iniquity.” (Matthew 7:22-23) Jesus, as God manifest in flesh,
knows everything. He knew about these people. He knew
these wicked people were not the object of his love. The
“foreknowledge” of God simply is God “knowing” the elect
individuals He loved from before the foundation of the
world, as given above in Ephesians 1:4.
Another problem exists with this line of reasoning, which
says since God can see the future; He has looked down
through time to see if any would seek after Him (even
though we have shown above that the dead cannot seek
God). The following is God’s statement on what He saw
when he looked down from heaven, through time.
• “The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children
of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and
seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together
become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no not
Unlocking Bible Truth
22
one.” (Psalms 14:2-3) God states no one will seek after
God. No one will “accept Him as their personal saviour”
unless they are already born again. No verse in the
Bible says that man accepts God. The elect of God are,
“made accepted in the beloved” as stated in Ephesians
1:6.
Apparently, if a person is not born again, it is not possible
for him to please God. God chose His children from before
the foundation of the world. (Ephesians 1:4) One might
question if God is unrighteous to hold this position. The
unborn have had no chance to exercise their “free will.”
Notice what Scripture says on this subject.
• “For the children being not yet born, neither having done
any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to
election might stand, not of works, but of him that
calleth; It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the
younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau
have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there
unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to
Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and
I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that
runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” (Romans 9:11-
16) Man’s will makes no difference! Only God’s will
matters, as follows: “Which were born, not of blood, nor
of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
(John 1:13) This verse could not be clearer!
Unregenerate man cannot understand, hear or believe
Apparently, the natural man (not born again) will not seek
after God. This condition is further confirmed, as follows:
Chapter III
Total Depravity
23
• “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit
of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he
know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1
Corinthians 2:14) Spiritual discernment is not a matter of
their decision.
The above verse states the natural man (not born again)
cannot understand spiritual things. Also, we have seen as
quoted above that the natural man will not seek after God.
However, some people still contend that if given the
chance, some will accept Christ if they hear the gospel
(good news of Christ) and believe what is preached. Jesus
states otherwise,
• “Why do ye not understand my speech? Even because
ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil,
and the lusts of your father ye will do.” (John 8:43-44)
There is a huge difference between “cannot” and “will
not” hear. Clearly, Jesus is speaking to people who are
not born again (not born of the Spirit of God). Jesus
continues speaking to these unregenerate people,
“Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the
truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God
heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not,
because ye are not of God.” (John 8:46-47) Jesus says
they do not have the ability. It is not a matter of their
decision.
• “Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not:
the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear
witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of
my sheep, as I said unto you.” (John 10:25-26) Jesus
says they do not have the ability. It is not a matter of
their decision.
Unlocking Bible Truth
24
From the above, we hear from the mouth of Jesus why the
unregenerate (not born again) do not understand and
believe Him. They do not understand because they cannot
hear His word. They do not believe, because they are not of
His sheep. They were not chosen by the Father before the
foundation of the world, as stated in Ephesians 1:4-6. They
were not born of the Spirit of God, as described in John 3:8
and Ephesians 2:1. God, and God alone, saves one
eternally for heaven. The unregenerate hate God and do
not want to be saved. Their “carnal mind is enmity against
God.” (Romans 8:7)
It appears a person who is not born again cannot go to
Jesus (they have no such desire) and accept Him as their
personal saviour. Is there a verse that clearly states this
fact? Yes! Consider the words of Jesus.
• “And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can
come to me, except it were given unto him of my
Father.” (John 6:65) This verse may offend some
people. It did even in the day when Jesus himself made
that statement. Notice the very next verse: “From that
time many of his disciples went back, and walked no
more with him.” (John 6:66) Jesus’ disciples left Him
even after they saw the miracles (described a few
verses earlier) performed by Jesus, as when He fed the
five thousand. (John 6:10) After this event, they would
have taken Him by force, and made Him a king. (John
6:15)
Other total depravity verses
There are other verses that clearly state the “total depravity”
of man. Please consider the following:
Chapter III
Total Depravity
25
• “How can man be justified with God? Or how can he be
clean that is born of a woman?” (Job 25:4)
• “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will
not seek after God; God is not in all his thoughts. His
ways are always grievous….” (Psalms 10:4-5)
• “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our
righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as
a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us
away.” (Isaiah 64:6)
• “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his
spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed
to do evil.” (Jeremiah 13:23)
• “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good,
and sinneth not.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20)
• “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the
end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 14:12)
• “As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one.
There is none that understandeth, there is none that
seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way,
they are together become unprofitable; there is none
that doeth good, no not one. Their throat is an open
sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the
poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of
cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood;
Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of
peace have they not known: There is no fear of God
before their eyes.” (Romans 3:10-18)
Unlocking Bible Truth
26
• “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually
minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is
enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of
God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the
flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:6-8)
Conclusion
The natural man (not born again) is totally depraved and
spiritually dead. He is completely unable to save himself in
any way and does not desire to be saved. He does not seek
God (Psalms 10:4-5 & 14:2-3). Spiritual matters such as
“preaching of the cross” are foolishness to him (1
Corinthians 1:18), and he cannot discern spiritual matters (1
Corinthians 2:14). His carnal mind is at enmity against God
(Romans 8:7); he cannot please God (Romans 8:8), and he
does not fear God (Romans 3:18). He is not subject to the
law of God (Romans 8:7). He is vanity and less than nothing
to God, and his righteousnesses are as filthy rags (Isaiah
64:6). He is hated (Romans 9:13 & Malachi 1:3) and
abhorred by God (Psalms 5:6).
If one is to be saved eternally, obviously, salvation is only
possible by God alone and unaided. There will be no
paradox between man’s free will and God’s sovereignty
when the above Bible verses on total depravity are
remembered. Our religious practice can have no place in
securing eternal salvation. It is easy to remember that until
we are alive in Christ from the sovereign work of God in
regeneration, we are simply spiritually dead. The dead can
do nothing to help themselves.
Once alive in Christ, and therefore eternally saved, the
gospel is sent to offer the child of God the possibility of
conversion unto salvation, to become a disciple of Christ in
Chapter III
Total Depravity
27
the Lord’s church. Becoming a disciple involves belief that
Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and then one must be
obedient to the commandments. This aspect of salvation
occurs during one’s lifetime, so it may be referred to as
conditional time “salvation.” The term “conditional” is used
because the condition that must be met is obedience to
God’s commandments. A regenerate child of God may
reject it or embrace it. Once embraced to become a disciple
in the Lord’s church, it may later be lost through sinful living
that will result in the chastening rod of God as given in
Hebrews 10:26-31. One may not “persevere” in gospel
obedience, and even die in this condition. However,
fortunately for God’s children, each and every one is
“preserved” in Jesus Christ by God. Notice Jude 1:1, “Jude,
the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them
that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in
Jesus Christ, [and] called:” If they are preserved in Christ
Jesus, and called (effectual call), then heaven is their home
regardless of what happens in this life. We are saved by
sovereign grace.
Unlocking Bible Truth
28
Section II
Theology Problems
This section will consider theology “problems.” A rebellion within the Roman
Catholic Church had been brewing for some time; however, beginning with
Martin Luther in the sixteenth century, the Protestant Reformation was well
underway. By the time these early leaders were all dead, the Protestant
movement was widespread across Europe. In 1618 the various Protestant
churches faced what must have been their first major doctrinal challenge from
within.
Chapter IV, The Five Points of Calvinism, beginning on page 29, gives the
history of this challenge in which the Synod of Dort was convened to deal with
the matter. Leading non-Roman Catholic theologians from all across Europe
were present in the proceedings. Out of this Great Synod, a proclamation was
issued May 9, 1619. This proclamation later became known as the “five points
of Calvinism.” The beliefs of Arminianism were all rejected. The terms
“Calvinism” and “Arminianism” originated from this Synod. For this reason, I
believe all Bible students should study to learn for themselves, what beliefs
were rejected, and which were confirmed as Scriptural.
Chapter V, Baptist Five Doctrines of Grace, beginning on page 34, contrasts
the beliefs of ancient Baptists with those of Calvinism. Scriptural proof is
offered to support the Baptist understanding. While these beliefs are very
similar, the small difference in interpretation has a big effect on the meaning of
both Bible verses and parables.
Chapter VI, Salvation, beginning on page 42, gives the five stages of salvation.
They are made up of four unfailing phases, and one conditional aspect. This
chapter is most important if one is to understand the various aspects of the
salvation of God’s elect children.
Chapter VII, Regeneration versus Conversion, beginning on page 50, explains
the difference in regeneration, and the salvation a child of God can experience
in this lifetime based on obedience to the commandments (conversion).
Chapter VIII, Justification, beginning on page 66, gives an explanation of this
important subject. Justification is a legal term, so if it is to be “rightly divided,”
one
must first determine the jurisdiction of the court being considered. The premise is
a
Supreme Court exists in heaven to settle eternal matters. Two lower courts exist
in earth to
determine the “born again” sinner’s fate while alive in this present world. The
Lord Jesus
Christ presides as Judge over all three courts. This important doctrine is
overlooked by
many. Without a proper understanding of this doctrine, one may miss important
advice the
Lord has preserved for His children which was intended for their benefit during
their
lifetime. Too often, the religious world thinks justification deals only with eternal
matters,
or that efforts in this area will have only eternal consequences. I suggest that this
assumption is incorrect.
Chapter IX, Letter to a Roman Catholic, beginning on page 80, considers the
doctrinal beliefs of this religious denomination. An effort is made to offer proof
as to why these beliefs are not Scriptural.
In summary, I would like to suggest there are four major doctrinal groups
within Christian churches: Roman Catholic, Protestant Calvinist, Protestant
Arminian, and Primitive Baptist. Protestant churches were essentially all
“Calvinist” in 1619 as proven by the Synod of Dort. Over the years, Protestant
denominations were made up of a mix of both “Calvinist” and “Arminian”
theology. Today they are mostly pure “Arminian,” as the Presbyterian
reference states in Chapter IV. Primitive Baptists have been called by various
names over the years, but their doctrine is unique.
Chapter IV
The Five Points of Calvinism
29
Chapter IV
The Five Points of Calvinism
If one intends to use the label “Calvinism,” or “Arminianism,”
it is most important that the person first define the particular
term. To do this, one should go to the origin which in this
case happens to be the proclamation that was published
following the Synod of Dort, May 9, 1619. My source is the
excellent little book by David N. Steele and Curtis C.
Thomas entitled The Five Points of Calvinism, as published
by Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Co., Phillipsburg,
NJ. Much of what will be given in this chapter is from the
above book by Steele and Thomas, as well as from my
book Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, Chapter III,
beginning on page 46.
Synod of Dort history
First, we need to consider a very brief history that explains
what this Synod of Dort actually was, and why it took place.
The doctrine believed by Martin Luther, John Calvin and the
other great men of the Protestant Reformation in the
sixteenth century is called Reformed Theology. A brief
outline of this doctrine is called “the five points of
Calvinism.” It should be pointed out that at the time this
synod first met, November 13, 1618, John Calvin, Martin
Luther and the other great men that played such a vital part
in the Protestant Reformation were then already dead.
Those that met at the Synod of Dort were non-Roman
Catholic leading theologians in Europe at that time.
The following history of the Protestant beliefs is given by
Steele and Thomas beginning on page 13 of their book as
follows:
Unlocking Bible Truth
30
• “In 1610, just one year after the death of James
Arminius (a Dutch seminary professor), five articles of
faith based on his teachings were drawn up by his
followers. The ‘Arminians,’ as his followers came to be
called, presented these five doctrines to the State of
Holland in the form of a ‘Remonstrance’ (i. e., a protest).
The Arminian party insisted that the ‘Belgic Confession
of Faith’ and the ‘Heidelberg Catechism’ (the official
expression of the doctrinal position of the Churches of
Holland) be changed to conform to the doctrinal views
contained in the Remonstrance. The Arminians objected
to those doctrines upheld in both inability, unconditional
election or predestination, particular redemption,
irresistible grace, and the perseverance of the saints. It
was in connection with these matters that they wanted
the official standards of the Church of Holland revised.”
Steele and Thomas outline the “Five Points of
Arminianism” as follows:
• “Roger Nicole (Baker’s Dictionary of Theology, p. 64)
summarizes the five articles contained in the
Remonstrance as follows: ‘I. God elects or reproves
on the basis of foreseen faith or unbelief. II. Christ
died for all men and for every man, although only
believers are saved. III. Man is so depraved that
divine grace is necessary unto faith or any good
deed. IV. This grace may be resisted. V. Whether all
who are truly regenerate will certainly persevere in
faith is a point which needs further investigation’
…The last article was later altered so as to definitely
teach the possibility of the truly regenerate
believer’s losing his faith and thus losing his
salvation.”
Chapter IV
The Five Points of Calvinism
31
• “A national Synod was called to meet in Dort for the
purpose of examining the views of Arminius in light of
Scripture. The Great Synod was convened by the State-
General of Holland on November 13, 1618. There were
84 members and 18 secular commissioners. Included
were 27 delegates from Germany, the Palatinate,
Switzerland and England. There were 154 sessions held
during the seven months that the Synod met to consider
these matters, the last of which was on May 9, 1619.
The Synod, Warburton writes (Ben A. Warburton,
Calvinism, p. 61) had given a very close examination to
the ‘five points’ which had been advanced by the
Remonstrants, and had compared the teaching
advanced in them with the testimony of Scripture. Failing
to reconcile that teaching with the Word of God, which
they had definitely declared could alone be accepted by
them as the rule of faith, they had unanimously rejected
them. They felt, however, that a mere rejection was not
sufficient. It remained for them to set forth the
true…teaching in relationship to those matters which
had been called into question. This they proceeded to
do, embodying the Calvinistic position in five chapters
which have ever since been known as ‘the five points of
Calvinism.’ The name ‘Calvinism’ was derived from the
great French reformer, John Calvin (1509-1564), who
had done so much in expounding and defending these
views.”
The “Five Points of Calvinism” expressed by the Synod
of Dort can be summarized as follows: 1) Total depravity,
2) Unconditional election, 3) Particular redemption or
limited atonement, 4) Irresistible grace, and 5)
Perseverance of the saints.
Unlocking Bible Truth
32
The above paragraphs attempt to provide a brief outline and
history of how the five points of Calvinism came into
existence and obtained that particular label. It also gives the
origin of the system of theology that is called Arminianism.
On this point, Steele and Thomas made other very good
observations. On page 15 of their book they state:
• “No doubt it will seem strange to many in our day that
the Synod of Dort rejected as heretical the five
doctrines advanced by the Arminians, for these
doctrines have gained wide acceptance in the modern
Church. In fact, they are seldom questioned in our
generation. But the vast majority of the Protestant
theologians of that day took a much different view of the
matter. They maintained that the Bible set forth a system
of doctrine quite different from that advocated by the
Arminian party. Salvation was viewed by the members of
the Synod as a work of grace from beginning to end; in
no sense did they believe that the sinner saved himself
or contributed to his salvation. Adam’s fall had
completely ruined the race. All men were by nature
spiritually dead and their wills were in bondage to sin
and Satan. The ability to believe the gospel was itself a
gift from God, bestowed only upon those whom He had
chosen to be the objects of His unmerited favor. It was
not man, but God, who determined which sinners would
be shown mercy and saved. This, in essence, is what
the members of the Synod of Dort understood the Bible
to teach.”
We have given a brief review of the history and origin of the
term “Calvinism” and “Arminianism.” The Protestant
Reformation all across Europe in the year 1619 believed the
doctrine expressed in the Five Points of Calvinism, and
acknowledged the Belgic Confession of Faith (written in
Chapter IV
The Five Points of Calvinism
33
1561) as being the standard of faith for all churches to
embrace, and declared Arminianism to be heresy. However,
as noted above in the Presbyterian publication by Steele
and Thomas, today we have most Protestant Churches that
embrace Arminianism doctrine.
Any child of God that loves God’s Word, and wants to know
the message God has preserved for His children to benefit
them in this lifetime, should study Bible doctrine. It is only
through sound doctrine that one can determine for
themselves which position is Scriptural, and which is not.
For their own benefit, God’s children need to be able to
defend their beliefs.
Unlocking Bible Truth
34
Chapter V
Baptists Five Doctrines of Grace
It is my humble belief that these great men of God at the
Synod of Dort in 1619 made one small error that created
the so called “paradox” of God’s sovereign grace versus
man’s free will that is admitted to today by many respected
theologians. In four of the five points, the work of God in the
eternal salvation of His elect (God’s sovereignty) is
combined with the works a regenerate person must perform
(man’s responsibility) to become a disciple of Christ in the
Lord’s church. If God is truly sovereign in eternal salvation,
and the Bible clearly teaches this fact, then man can play
no part at all in assuring himself a place in heaven.
Consider the following Bible verses that clearly teach this
principle:
• Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have
done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the
washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy
Ghost;”
• 2 Timothy 1:9 “Who hath saved us, and called [us] with
an holy calling, not according to our works, but
according to his own purpose and grace, which was
given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”
• Ephesians 2:1 “And you [hath he quickened], who were
dead in trespasses and sins;”
• Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through
faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
• Romans 9:15-16 “For he saith to Moses, I will have
mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have
compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then [it
Chapter V
Baptists Five Doctrines of Grace
35
is] not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of
God that sheweth mercy.”
This means that the expression “the responsibility of man”
(free will) applies only to God’s regenerate children, and it
has to do only with their obedience unto discipleship in the
Lord’s church for a blessing (salvation) available during their
lifetime. Peter admonished in Acts 2:40, “And with many
other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save
yourselves from this untoward generation.”
Not all of God’s children who will be in heaven will become
obedient church members, and some that have followed
Christ in baptism will later fall away (in time, not eternally).
Many of God’s regenerate children will die as infants, some
will have mental problems to prevent them from
understanding the gospel message, and then some will live
in remote locations so as to never hear the gospel message
preached. Further, some of His regenerate children who are
blessed to hear the gospel message will be sinful,
rebellious, and refuse to follow Christ as a disciple into His
church. In addition to this, as noted above, some of God’s
children in the Lord’s church will fall away, and some will
even die in this awful state. Notice the warning the Lord is
giving Laodicean Church members in the following Bible
verses:
• Revelation 3:15-19 “I know thy works, that thou art
neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So
then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor
hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou
sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have
need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched,
and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I
counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou
mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be
Unlocking Bible Truth
36
clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not
appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou
mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be
zealous therefore, and repent.”
While these rebellious children will suffer the chastening rod
of God during their lifetime that could even lead to physical
death, even these will be in heaven after death. Notice this
very clear warning for God’s children.
• 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 “Know ye not that ye are the
temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in
you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God
destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which [temple] ye
are.”
God is totally sovereign, and does according to His own will!
God holds His children accountable for their actions, or
inaction, during their lifetime.
Five Doctrines of Grace
To set forth the Scriptural five doctrines of grace that
express the historic doctrine that has been believed by
Baptists from the past until today, these beliefs will be
presented by an unusual method. The five points of
Calvinism as first published by the Synod of Dort, and as
given in the book by Steele and Thomas will be copied
exactly. The few words that must be changed in order to
express Primitive Baptist doctrine correctly will be typed in
bold letters. The suggested changes will be offered below
with a reason given for each change. Notice that the
changes eliminate the actions (works) of man to make
effective his eternal salvation! This distinction is very
important! Only these few words need to be changed.
Please note how close to complete agreement these
Chapter V
Baptists Five Doctrines of Grace
37
Protestant doctrinal beliefs from 1619 actually are to those
believed by Primitive Baptists. While the change is slight,
the effect of the change is great!
The five points of Calvinism from the Synod of Dort in 1619
(as taken from Steele and Thomas, pages 16-19) with
suggested changes (as noted in bold letters) are the five
doctrines of grace that are historic Baptist beliefs, and these
are Primitive Baptist beliefs today. Consider the following:
1) Total Depravity
“Because of the fall, man is unable of himself to savingly
believe the gospel. The sinner is dead, blind, and deaf to
the things of God; his heart is deceitful and desperately
corrupt. His will is not free, it is in bondage to his evil nature,
therefore, he will not---indeed he cannot---choose good
over evil in the spiritual realm. Consequently, it takes much
more than the Spirit’s assistance to bring a sinner to Christ--
-it takes regeneration by which the Spirit makes the sinner
alive and gives him a new nature. Faith is not something
man contributes to salvation, but is itself a part of God’s gift
of salvation---it is God’s gift to the sinner, not the sinner’s
gift to God.”
• [Note: No change needed from the Synod of Dort.]
2) Unconditional Election
“God’s choice of certain individuals unto salvation before
the foundation of the world rested solely in His own
sovereign will. His choice of particular sinners was not
based on any foreseen response or obedience on their part,
such as faith, repentance, etc. On the contrary, God gives
faith and repentance to each individual whom He selected.
These acts are the result, not the cause of God’s choice.
Unlocking Bible Truth
38
Election therefore was not determined by or conditioned
upon any virtuous quality or act foreseen in man. Those
whom God sovereignly elected He brings through the
power of the Spirit to a willing acceptance of Christ.
Thus God’s choice of the sinner, not the sinner’s choice of
Christ, is the ultimate cause of salvation.”
• [Note: The sentence to be omitted is “Those whom
God sovereignly elected He brings through the
power of the Spirit to a willing acceptance of Christ.”
The principle expressed in this one sentence is carried
over into the succeeding three points to produce a
heresy by creating the seeming paradox of God’s
sovereignty in eternal salvation versus the child of God’s
responsibility to follow Christ as a disciple. Also this
doctrine is incorrect because it forgets that some of
God’s regenerate children die as infants, have mental
afflictions, never hear the gospel, or reject the gospel
message in unbelief, as 2 Timothy 2:13 states, “If we
believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny
himself.”]
3) Limited Atonement
“Christ’s redeeming work was intended to save the elect
only and actually secured salvation for them. His death was
a substitutionary endurance of the penalty of sin in the
place of certain specified sinners. In addition to putting
away the sins of His people, Christ’s redemption secured
everything necessary for their salvation, including faith
which unites them to Him. The gift of faith is infallibly
applied by the Spirit to all for whom Christ died, thereby
guaranteeing their salvation.”
• [Note: The one and a half sentences that should be
omitted are as follows: “including faith which unites
them to Him. The gift of faith is infallibly applied by
Chapter V
Baptists Five Doctrines of Grace
39
the Spirit to all for whom Christ died, thereby
guaranteeing their salvation.” This erroneous thought
that the Holy Spirit will bring a child of God to “a willing
acceptance of Christ,” noted above is implied here as
being evangelical faith rather than the vital faith that it
actually is. It fails to recognize that man’s faith received
at regeneration is vital faith (fruit of the Spirit—Galatians
5:22-23), and can be neglected by the sinner to the point
of unbelief as Romans 3:3-4 “For what if some did not
believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God
without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but
every man a liar,” Even so, the sinner who neglects his
God given faith is still saved eternally.]
4) Irresistible Grace
In addition to the outward general call to salvation which is
made to everyone who hears the gospel, the Holy Spirit
extends to the elect a special inward call that inevitably
brings them to salvation. (Sentence to be added3) The
external call (which is made to all without distinction) can
be, and often is, rejected; whereas the internal call (which is
made only to the elect) cannot be rejected; it always results
in conversion4. By means of this special call the Spirit
irresistibly draws sinners to Christ. He is not limited in His
work of applying salvation by man’s will, nor is He
dependent upon man’s cooperation for success. The Spirit
graciously causes the elect sinner to cooperate, to
believe, to repent, to come freely and willingly to
Christ.5 God’s grace, therefore, is invincible; it never fails to
result in the salvation of those to whom it is extended6.”
• [Note: Words to be changed #1 “In addition to” should
be changed to “Rather than.” Suggested word change
#2 is “inevitably” to “immediately.” One sentence that
should be added as noted #3 to make clearer is “This
Unlocking Bible Truth
40
inward call made between conception and death
does not involve the gospel in any way.” Word
suggested change #4 is “conversion” to
“regeneration.” (See Chapter VII, page 50, for the
difference in these two words that have reference to two
completely different events.) The following sentence #5
should be omitted: “The Spirit graciously causes the
elect sinner to cooperate, to believe, to repent, to
come freely and willingly to Christ.” This should say
enables the sinner to cooperate for a possible salvation
in this lifetime since some of God’s regenerate children
die as infants, have a mental deficiency, live in a remote
place and never hear the gospel message, and then
some that do hear the message will not be obedient
unto church membership. Many of God’s born again
children are rebellious, being guilty of the sin of unbelief,
and while they are eternally saved, they will suffer in this
life for their rebellion as stated in Hebrews 3:1-19 and
Jude 5. Word #6 that should be changed is “extended”
to “intended.”]
5) Perseverance1 of the Saints
“All who were chosen by God, redeemed by Christ, and
given faith2 by the Spirit are eternally saved. They are kept
in faith3 by the power of Almighty God and thus persevere4
to the end.”
• [Note: Suggested word change #1 is “perseverance” to
“preservation.” Word #2 is “faith” to “spiritual life.”
Word #3 is “faith” to “spiritual life.” Word #4 is
“persevere” to “are preserved.” The word “persevere”
implies the effort of the sinner in this life will never fail.
This principle originated above in Unconditional Election,
and we know it is erroneous based also on Romans 3:3
and 2 Timothy 2:13 that were quoted previously.
Chapter V
Baptists Five Doctrines of Grace
41
“Preserved” is a Bible term as in 1 Thessalonians 5:23,
“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I
pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be
preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus
Christ.” Also Jude 1 states, “Jude, the servant of Jesus
Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified
by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, [and]
called.” It is only the effort of God that will never fail in
providing and preserving eternal salvation for His elect.]
Summation of thoughts on five doctrines of grace
Notice how the above changes solve the seeming paradox
already noted where the sovereignty of God in eternal
salvation is separate from the aspect of salvation that is
available in this lifetime to the obedient child of God who
becomes a disciple of Christ in the Lord’s church. Primitive
Baptist elders would label the above noted error adopted by
the Synod of Dort as absolute predestination, because it
has God predestinating events in this life as well as eternal
destiny. One who believes this heresy may be considered
to be an “absoluter,” rather than as a Calvinist. In truth, as
seen above, a Calvinist is an “absoluter.”
The above should prove God never intended His church
and the ministry of the gospel to be the “means” of making
eternal salvation effective. The church is a hospital for
sinners, a place of healing and comfort, a place for God’s
children to be fed for spiritual growth, and a place to
worship our Lord Jesus Christ in fellowship with Him and
His children. What a great deliverance or salvation for God’s
children to experience while alive during this “time” world!
Unlocking Bible Truth
42
Chapter VI
Salvation
A broad view of the word “save” and “salvation” was
presented in Chapter II, entitled Multiple Salvations,
beginning on page 6. For now, we will outline the five
stages of salvation involved in the salvation of God’s
children.
The reader most likely has been introduced to a concept
never before considered…the possibility that regeneration
and conversion are two completely separate events. Even
though this doctrine resolves the paradox of grace and free
will, and fits Scripture in a very logical fashion that gives all
the honor and glory to God, still it may be something new
for one to digest. To confirm if this concept is supported by
Scripture, a more extensive study will be required. Chapter
VII entitled “Regeneration versus Conversion,” beginning on
page 50, will attempt to further explore this subject.
One must heed the advice given in the following Bible
verse:
• Acts 17:11 “These were more noble than those in
Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all
readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily,
whether those things were so.”
Salvation is a very interesting subject. The word “salvation,”
when applied to the salvation of the elect children of God, is
an inclusive, all-embracing word that gathers into itself all
the redemptive acts and processes, such as foreknowledge,
election, predestination, adoption, justification, redemption,
grace, propitiation, imputation, conversion, sanctification,
and glorification. This chapter will attempt to break down the
various stages involved in the salvation of God’s people.
Chapter VI
Salvation
43
Salvation has five stages--four phases and one aspect
There are five stages involved in the salvation of God’s
people--four unfailing phases that are by God alone, which
always take place for the elect of God, and one aspect of
salvation, which may or may not occur. Consider the
following:
• (1) Phase one is the election phase. 1 Peter 1:2 “Elect
according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,”
Ephesians 1:4-5 “According as he hath chosen us in him
before the foundation of the world, that we should be
holy and without blame before him in love: Having
predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus
Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his
will.”
• (2) Phase two is the redemption and justification phase.
This was accomplished by Jesus Christ 2,000 years
ago-Romans 4:25 “Who was delivered for our offences,
and was raised again for our justification.” Romans 5:9
“Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we
shall be saved from wrath through him.” Ephesians 1:7
“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the
forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.”
• (3) Phase three is the regeneration phase. Titus 3:5 “Not
by works of righteousness which we have done, but
according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of
regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” John 3:8
“The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the
sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and
wither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”
Ephesians 2:1 “And you [hath he quickened], who were
dead in trespasses and sins;”
Unlocking Bible Truth
44
• (4) Phase four is the final glorification phase for entire
conformity to Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:52 “In a moment,
in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the
trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised
incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
• (5) The conversion aspect of salvation for the child of
God to become a disciple of Christ is called a Christian
in Acts 11:26 “…And the disciples were called Christians
first in Antioch.” Discipleship in the Lord’s church is
sometimes referred to as conditional time “salvation.” It
may, or it may not, take place for the child of God during
their lifetime. Some of God’s regenerate children die as
infants, some may have a mental affliction, and others
live in a remote part of the world. Some may hear the
gospel, but refuse to follow Christ as a disciple, or some
that do become disciples may then backslide and lose
this salvation. Even so, nothing in this life can affect their
eternal salvation to heaven. Conversion to discipleship
in the Lord’s church will be of great benefit to God’s
children during their lifetime. Many works are required
for the child of God to press into the kingdom (Luke
16:16) to become a converted disciple of Christ. They
must repent (Acts 3:19), confess Christ as their saviour
(Romans 10:9), and as a believer to submit to baptism
(Mark 16:16).
To see the four phases of salvation (for heaven that cannot
fail) as given above, consider the following:
• Romans 8:28-31 “And we know that all things work
together for good to them that love God, to them who
are the called according to his purpose. For whom he
did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be
conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be
Chapter VI
Salvation
45
the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom
he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom
he called, them he also justified: and whom he
justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then
say to these things? If God be for us, who can be
against us?”
The conversion aspect is omitted in Romans 8:28-39
because only a few of God’s people are ever converted to
become disciples of Christ, so as to receive a salvation in
time. Time “salvation” (conversion) offers a salvation from
this wicked untoward generation, as declared by Peter in
Acts 2:40. If a born again person is ever converted
(remembering that some of God’s born again children die
unconverted), this aspect (conversion) of salvation can then
be lost by the person through “backsliding.” Again, to see
more on Conversion, refer to Chapter VII, entitled
“Regeneration versus Conversion,” beginning on page 50.
The tenses of salvation
The above five stages of salvation occurs in three tenses of
time…Past….Present (between conception and
death)…and Future, as follows:
• Past tense. The Elect of God chosen before the
foundation of the world (phase 1) are redeemed and
justified by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ
(phase 2). As a result, the elect of God have been saved
from the eternal penalty of sin (death in Adam) and are
safe regarding their home in heaven at the end of time.
• Present tense (between conception and death). The
elect of God are regenerated, or born again (phase 3),
at some time between conception and death. The born
Unlocking Bible Truth
46
again person may or may not be saved during their
physical life from the power or habit of sin through the
aspect of salvation called conversion (5), so as to
become a disciple of Christ (called a Christian in Acts
11:26) in the Lord’s church.
• Future tense. The glorified child of God is saved from
the presence of sin (essence of sin in their body known
as their carnal flesh nature) in the sense of entire
conformity to Christ (phase 4).
Conclusion
There is only one salvation for God’s people; however, it
incorporates five stages in three tenses of time: past,
present (from conception to death), and future. There is a
verse that gives the three tenses of time:
• 2 Corinthians 1:10 “Who delivered us from so great a
death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet
deliver [us];” (So great a death must mean death in
Adam, doth deliver must refer to timely events, and yet
deliver us must refer to heaven in the future.)
The salvations mentioned in 2 Corinthians 1:10 have been
expressed as a past deliverance from the guilt and penalty
of sin (death in Adam), a present deliverance from the
power of sin through conversion into the Lord’s church, and
a future deliverance from the presence of sin, or essence of
sin in the human body by receiving a glorified body.
May we all praise God, and thank Him for His amazing
grace and mercy in the salvation of His people….all five
stages of salvation, with four unfailing phases that assure
heaven for the Elect of God, and one aspect for a possible
blessing during this lifetime.
Chapter VI
Salvation
47
As has been mentioned, the one aspect of salvation (stage
five) available to the obedient child of God is a temporal
blessing that incorporates gospel conversion unto
discipleship in the Lord’s church, and this aspect of
salvation can be lost through backsliding in rebellion against
God. Primitive Baptists would call this aspect (stage five) of
one’s deliverance conditional time “salvation.” Conditional
time “salvation” resolves the paradox between God’s
sovereign grace in eternal salvation (assures heaven for the
elect) and man’s will made free by regeneration as
exercised in obeying (or not obeying) the gospel that affects
the person’s quality of life and length of life.
Elder Harold Hunt wrote an excellent little book titled I Have
Set Before You Life and Death. He opens with a speech
God gave Moses to deliver to the children of Israel before
they possessed the Promised Land. The Promised Land
was a picture (or type) of the Lord’s church in our day. After
the gospel has been preached to God’s people, the New
Testament preacher should then read to them (possible
future church members) this same speech, because it
applies as much today as it did in the day of Moses. Please
notice the conditional time “salvation” God is offering His
people (Israel or us) available by obedience:
• Deuteronomy 30:15-19 “See, I have set before thee this
day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command
thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his
ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes
and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply:
and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land
whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn
away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn
away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I
denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish,
Unlocking Bible Truth
48
and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land,
whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. I
call heaven and earth to record this day against you,
that I have set before you life and death, blessing and
cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy
seed may live:”
This is a warning by God to His people commanding them
to obey His Laws and thereby choose life, which means the
abundant life mentioned by Jesus in John 10:10 “I am come
that they have life, and that they might have it more
abundantly,” or the life (free of destruction) as noted in
Matthew 7:13-14:
• “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and
broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many
there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate,
and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few
there be that find it.”
For another example, if we defile our bodies by committing
sinful acts, God will destroy us (physical death):
• 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 “Know ye not that ye are the
temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in
you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God
destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye
are.”
The failure to be obedient means suffering in this life and
death (not eternal damnation) as we are also warned in the
Hebrew letter:
• Hebrews 10:26-31: “For if we sin wilfully after that we
have received the knowledge of the truth, there
Chapter VI
Salvation
49
remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful
looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall
devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law
died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how
much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be
thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of
God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant,
wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath
done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him
that hath said, Vengeance [belongeth] unto me, I will
recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall
judge his people. [It is] a fearful thing to fall into the
hands of the living God.”
Notice the last verse quoted above. Hebrews 10:31 states,
“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
While this is not referring to eternal damnation, suffering in
this life, and maybe losing our physical life is bad enough.
The above is very good advice that we should heed. One
should choose life!
Unlocking Bible Truth
50
Chapter VII
Regeneration versus Conversion
The five stages involved in the salvation of God’s people
were covered above in Chapter VI, entitled “Salvation,”
beginning on page 42. This particular chapter will contrast
the difference between “regeneration” (third stage) and
“conversion” (fifth stage). “Conversion” is gospel conversion
unto discipleship in the Lord’s church for a blessing in this
life that can later be lost by committing sins. It is an aspect
of salvation one might call conditional time “salvation.”
Regeneration
To review, regeneration (phase three) by God is not
conditioned on any act or action by man, as this is the work
of God alone. Regeneration produces spiritual life (being
born again) which is part of the process of eternal salvation
provided for the elect of God as Jesus mentions to
Nicodemus in the gospel of John:
• John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily,
verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he
cannot see the kingdom of God.”
For a person to be born of the Spirit of God, he cannot
possibly assist God in any way, or perform any action of any
type that will be used by God in this occurrence. Nicodemus
did not understand Jesus’ saying that a person must be
“born again,” as evidenced by his statement:
• John 3:4 “Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be
born when he is old? can he enter the second time into
his mother's womb, and be born?”
Chapter VII
Regeneration versus Conversion
51
Jesus gives the answer several verses later:
• John 3:7-8 “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be
born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou
hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it
cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born
of the Spirit.”
Notice that Jesus compares being born again to the action
of the wind. No one can tell where the wind comes from or
where it will go. Jesus says further, “so is every one that is
born of the Spirit.” This means everyone is born of the Spirit
in the same way, and there are no special cases or
exceptions. A popular misconception is that if you will
accept Christ as your personal saviour, and invite Him into
your heart, then you will be “born again.” The position that
man must accept God not only contradicts what Jesus told
Nicodemus in the eighth verse above, but also is not
supported by any Bible verse. In fact, Jesus says no man
could go to Him unless the Father gave him the ability to do
so:
• John 6:65 “And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that
no man can come unto me, except it were given unto
him of my Father.”
The above statements by Jesus should settle this issue, but
if there are still some doubts about the actions of man
helping or hindering God in giving the spiritual birth,
consider the following verses:
• Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have
done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the
washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy
Ghost;”
Unlocking Bible Truth
52
• II Timothy 1:9 “Who hath saved us, and called us with an
holy calling, not according to our works, but according to
his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ
Jesus before the world began,”
Notice what Jesus prays just before He is crucified:
• John 17:1-2 “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his
eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come;
glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As
thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should
give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.”
If Jesus has power over all flesh, then He could do anything
He wanted to do. Jesus next tells us what He wants to do.
He says He will “give eternal life to as many as thou hast
given him.” As many as means not one more and not one
less than was given Him by God the Father.
Spiritual life is given directly by Jesus Christ as He said He
would do in the above verse John 17:2. Notice the words of
Jesus concerning spiritual life in the following verse:
• John 5:25 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is
coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice
of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.”
Spiritual life is not given through the words of Jesus
repeated by a man or a preacher, since flesh and blood
(humans) can add no profit to the process. Only the words
spoken by Jesus Himself through the Holy Spirit matter in
regeneration. Notice what Jesus said in this next verse:
• John 6:63 “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh
profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you,
they are spirit, and they are life.”
Chapter VII
Regeneration versus Conversion
53
God is the only giver of spiritual life. When a person is dead,
either physically or spiritually, he can do nothing. Also, he
cannot receive any form of help from any other human to
assist God in giving life.
As a matter of fact, God gives a number of different
expressions to explain to us how we receive this spiritual
life. While talking to Nicodemus Jesus compared it to our
physical birth. We learned from the above quoted verses
that it came from the voice of the Son of God through the
Holy Spirit. Next, we find that it is a translation. Notice this
verse:
• Colossians 1:13 “Who hath delivered us from the
power of darkness, and hath translated us into the
kingdom of his dear Son:”
In addition to this, the obtaining of spiritual life is described
as a quickening in the following verse:
• Ephesians 2:1 “And you hath he quickened, who
were dead in trespasses and sins:”
After considering the above descriptions of how we receive
spiritual life, as by being born again, regenerated, the voice
of the Son of God, quickened or translated, we realized that
for each of these expressions to describe the same thing, it
has to be an event which happened in an instant. If the
event took place over some period of time, like nine months,
then it could not be described as a translation or
quickening.
Further, we learn that the decision to cause one to be born
again was made by God and was not made by any human.
Consider this verse:
Unlocking Bible Truth
54
• John 1:13 “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the
will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
The above Bible verses clearly show that our good works
have no favorable influence on God, nor do they play even
the smallest role in achieving spiritual life. The event
happens in an instant, and we can do nothing to prevent
God from giving us the spiritual birth. In fact, every elect
child of God receives the spiritual birth at a time when he
hates God and is an enemy of God. Notice the following:
• Romans 5:10 “For if, when we were enemies, we were
reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more,
being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
Before we receive the spiritual birth, our carnal mind hates
God:
• Romans 8:7-8 “Because the carnal mind is enmity
against God: for it is not subject to the law of God,
neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh
cannot please God.”
In the unregenerate state, the gospel can be of no help
since this person cannot hear, understand, or believe
spiritual things, as follows:
• John 8:47 “He that is of God heareth God's words: ye
therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.”
• I Corinthians 2:14 “But the natural man receiveth not the
things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto
him: neither can he know them, because they are
spiritually discerned.”
Chapter VII
Regeneration versus Conversion
55
• John 10:26 “But ye believe not, because ye are not of
my sheep, as I said unto you.”
Conversion
Conversion is a process in which the regenerate child of
God (already saved eternally) turns from sinning against
Christ to attempting to follow Christ. This conversion has to
do with the child of God becoming a disciple of Christ by
being obedient to the gospel message. Conversion also
involves the form of worship he must follow. The child of
God has much work and many actions to perform. He must
repent of his sins:
• Acts 3:19 “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that
your sins may be blotted out, when the times of
refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;”
The child of God must confess Christ. The reader should be
aware that to confess Christ is not the same thing as to
accept Christ. Notice the following verse:
• Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth
the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God
hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
The child of God, as a believer, must submit to baptism, as
below:
• Mark 16:16 “He that believeth and is baptized shall be
saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
Notice that our belief of the gospel unto baptism by
following Christ as a disciple into His church yields
salvation, as stated in the above verses. This salvation is
Unlocking Bible Truth
56
not eternal, because the child of God already possesses
eternal life, but rather is an aspect of salvation that can be
enjoyed in this life, so it is called conditional time “salvation.”
This aspect of salvation is from this “untoward” (stubborn or
unruly) generation, and is one that a person can achieve for
himself, as Peter preached in Acts:
• Acts 2:38 “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be
baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ
for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of
the Holy Ghost.”
• Acts 2:40 “And with many other words did he testify and
exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward
generation.”
The number of Bible verses already quoted obviously
demonstrates that we cannot save ourselves eternally. Also,
considering all the righteous works a person must perform
in the conversion process, as given above, the verses show
that conversion is not the same thing as regeneration or the
spiritual birth. We remember the following Bible verses
already quoted above:
• Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have
done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the
washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy
Ghost;”
• II Timothy 1:9 “Who hath saved us, and called us with an
holy calling, not according to our works, but according to
his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ
Jesus before the world began,”
Chapter VII
Regeneration versus Conversion
57
Clearly, the value of religious conversion and the method of
worship have to do with benefits or suffering in this life for
God’s born again children. For this reason, it is called
conditional time “salvation.” We learn from Scripture that, as
children of God, we have set before us the opportunity of
obeying God’s commandments and enjoying a life with
blessings from God. On the other hand, if we rebel against
God and do not obey His commandments, we will suffer in
this life. This suffering will not be eternal in hell, but
temporal in this life, possibly resulting in death. Notice the
warning given below:
• Hebrews 10:26-31 “For if we sin wilfully after that we
have received the knowledge of the truth, there
remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful
looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall
devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law
died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how
much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be
thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of
God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant,
wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath
done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him
that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will
recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall
judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands
of the living God.”
The above warning for God’s children in the New Testament
was nothing new, because God’s people in the Old
Testament (the children of Israel), were given a similar
warning. This warning was given by Moses before the
children of Israel crossed over the river Jordan to possess
the Promised Land. To see this fact stated clearly by God,
notice the following:
Unlocking Bible Truth
58
• Deuteronomy 30:15-19 “See, I have set before thee this
day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command
thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his
ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes
and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply:
and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land
whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn
away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn
away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I
denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish,
and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land,
whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. I
call heaven and earth to record this day against you,
that I have set before you life and death, blessing and
cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy
seed may live:” (Verse 31:1 says “And Moses went and
spake these words unto all Israel.”)
God is not telling His people they will suffer eternal
damnation. God’s people already have spiritual life or
eternal life. Eternal means it is non-ending. God makes it
clear He is referring to things in this life by saying “ye shall
not prolong your days upon the land,” as opposed to eternal
damnation. This refers to “time” by living a longer life. When
God begins a work in the heart of one of His elect children,
He will finish it to the end, as stated below:
• Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that
he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it
until the day of Jesus Christ:”
The Role of Religion
The above Scripture and other previous arguments clearly
show that our religious practices have no affect at all on
Chapter VII
Regeneration versus Conversion
59
whether we will go to heaven or go to hell. If nothing we do
in this life can affect our eternal destiny, then why do we
work so hard in an effort to follow God’s commandments? I
will attempt to answer this question.
If we love the Lord and believe that we are His children, we
should live good, God-honoring lives out of appreciation for
what He did for us. The motivation should be from love.
Regardless, before we reach this point, I believe in many
cases we learn that we are one of His children at the time
we break God’s commandments. When we break God’s
commandments, all hell breaks loose, everything goes
wrong, and we suffer. We feel we are being punished for
something, which, in fact, is exactly the case. Notice the
following Bible verses:
• Hebrews 12:5-11 “And ye have forgotten the exhortation
which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son,
despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint
when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth
he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he
receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you
as with sons; for what son is he whom the father
chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement,
whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not
sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh
which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall
we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of
spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened
us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we
might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening
for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous:
nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of
righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”
Unlocking Bible Truth
60
The regenerate child of God who has never heard the
gospel message may first become aware of God’s presence
through the chastening rod of God, as given above. Also,
we know God (without being told about Him) because God
puts His laws directly into our mind at regeneration. Notice
these verses:
• Hebrews 8:10-11 “For this is the covenant that I will
make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the
Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in
their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall
be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man
his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know
the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the
greatest.”
God has a way of dealing with His regenerate children who
have not actually heard the gospel message or God’s laws.
These regenerate children include those who have died by
abortion, died at a young age, or even those who may have
lived a full life in a remote location without ever having
heard the law of God or the gospel message, as follows:
• Romans 2:12-16 “For as many as have sinned without
law shall also perish without law: and as many as have
sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the
hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of
the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which
have not the law, do by nature the things contained in
the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto
themselves: Which show the work of the law written in
their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and
their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing
one another;) In the day when God shall judge the
secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.”
Chapter VII
Regeneration versus Conversion
61
Notice the process of sanctification by God that takes place
even without the gospel and religious conversion. Even so,
for a born again child of God, one of the greatest gifts we
have in this life is the gospel. It offers the child of God
comfort, healing, and spiritual nourishment to grow in grace
and understanding, and best of all, fellowship with our Lord
Jesus Christ in His church. (Revelation 3:19-22)
Based on the above brief explanation, we see that while our
religious practice (our worship of God) has nothing to do
with obtaining eternal life for God’s elect children, it has
everything to do with our welfare in this life. Elder Harold
Hunt, Maryville, Tennessee, has said, “Gospel salvation has
nothing to do with our eternal destiny, but it has everything
to do with our welfare in this life. The well being of
individuals and nations, of entire civilizations and cultures,
are impacted by the influence of the gospel. Every other
consideration fades into nothingness compared with the
influence of the gospel.” The obedience of God’s people
within nations affects these lands, as clearly pointed out in
the following verse:
• 2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my
name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my
face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear
from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their
land.”
Even though the nation of Israel was warned by God
(Deuteronomy 30:15-19, quoted on page 58) concerning
the necessity that they be obedient to God’s Laws before
they possessed the Promised Land, in the opening chapters
of Judges we find that they violated this warning time and
time again, and suffered the consequences (timely
suffering, not eternal damnation), as follows:
Unlocking Bible Truth
62
• Judges 2:13-14 “And they forsook the LORD, and
served Baal and Ashtaroth. And the anger of the LORD
was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the
hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them
into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they
could not any longer stand before their enemies.”
The tremendous benefit to nations that occurred during the
Protestant Reformation as a result of gospel preaching and
the gospel conversion of God’s people is interesting to
study. Those nations that embraced the Reformation were
blessed to enjoy the Industrial Revolution. Nations like
Spain that did not, also did not enjoy the Industrial
Revolution. America has been tremendously blessed since
our beginning. Notice the nations of Central and South
America over the past two hundred years. These nations
are rich in natural resources, but the argument could be
made that their religion is the problem. This can be seen in
nations all over the world today where various different
pagan religions are worshiped. As Elder Hunt observed,
“every other consideration fades into nothingness compared
with the influence of the gospel.”
Now, let’s review briefly three periods of time and the three
forms of worship God established for these periods. The
method of worship that God established for the period from
Adam to Moses was the sacrifice of a lamb on an altar by
the head of the family. This sacrifice pictured the Lamb of
God who would take away the sin of the (elect) world, as
stated many years later by John the Baptist:
• John 1:29 “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto
him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh
away the sin of the world.”
Chapter VII
Regeneration versus Conversion
63
Next, the Levitical priesthood began with Moses. To make it
clear to God’s people that God was introducing a change in
the worship service, God performed miracles through
Moses covering a period of forty years. These miracles
began when the plagues against the Egyptian people set
the children of Israel free from Egyptian bondage. Next,
Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt and God
parted the Red Sea with a wall of water on either side as
they passed through. The walls of water later collapsed and
drowned the entire Egyptian army (Genesis 14:29-30). God
then provided the children of Israel food and water, and
ensured that their clothes and shoes did not deteriorate
(Deuteronomy 29:5). These miracles showed that God was
the author of this change in the worship service or
priesthood. The Levitical priesthood with all its rituals was a
pattern (Hebrews 9:23-24) that pictured what Christ would
actually do for the elect of God in all ages (since Adam).
The appearance of Christ ushered in the Melchisedec
priesthood as the final change in the form of worship
acceptable to God and is explained in great detail in
Hebrews Chapters 7-10. To show God initiated this change,
He provided another period of miracles lasting forty years,
which began with the miracles of Jesus. In performing the
miracles, Jesus demonstrated He was God manifest in
flesh, and He also claimed to be God, as in the gospel of
John:
• John 10:30 “I and my Father are one.”
The forty years of miracles performed by God through the
apostles included their raising the dead, and healing the
sick. To note the end of this forty year period, at the time the
New Testament book Philippians was written, we notice that
Paul thanked God that the life of Epaphroditus was spared
Unlocking Bible Truth
64
when he was sick “nigh unto death.” Paul’s God given
ability to heal the sick during the forty year period of
miracles had ended, as made clear:
• Philippians 2:27 “For indeed he was sick nigh unto
death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only,
but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.”
Conclusion
Hopefully I have shown the difference between
regeneration and conversion. These terms are not the same
thing. Regeneration is by God alone and achieves eternal
salvation for the elect of God, without the loss of one.
Conversion is for conditional time “salvation,” and it is a
process the child of God should perform and maintain so as
to be a disciple of Christ. Not all of God’s regenerate
children will be blessed to hear the gospel message. Many
will die young or have a mental deficiency to prevent the
necessary understanding. Some will hear the gospel and
choose to reject it. As a result of this disobedience they may
suffer, they may have their lives shortened, or they may
wish their lives were ended. As Hebrews 10:31 says, “It is a
fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
A disciple of Christ is called a Christian, as noted below:
• Acts 11:26 “And when he had found him, he brought him
unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year
they assembled themselves with the church, and taught
much people. And the disciples were called Christians
first in Antioch.”
As noted above, not all of God’s regenerate children will
become disciples of Christ, or as they are called, Christians.
Chapter VII
Regeneration versus Conversion
65
Predestination is not involved in conversion. God has many
children who are not Christians since they are not in the
Lord’s church. They may have heard the gospel, but have
rejected it. The ones that rejected the gospel may have
chosen to follow other religious orders, as with the Jews or
other eastern religions. In this case, these children of God
are regenerate, but they have not been converted to a
knowledge of the truth. They are not Christians, but they are
still God’s children. Some may have even been Christians
at one time, but have backslidden and fallen away from the
truth to other religions or to no religion. Unlike eternal
salvation, the aspect of salvation gained by conversion,
called time “salvation,” which offers great benefits in this life,
can be lost.
We need to keep in mind that regeneration is by God alone
for His elect children chosen before the foundation of the
world (predestinated), and nothing in this life can prevent or
alter the outcome intended by God. There is no paradox,
since man is not involved. Eternal salvation is by the grace
of God!
Unlocking Bible Truth
66
Chapter VIII
Justification
This chapter on Justification is copied from my book Rightly
Dividing the Word of Truth, Chapter XV, beginning on page
181. Justification is a legal term, so if it is to be “rightly
divided,” one must first determine the jurisdiction of the
court being considered. The premise is a Supreme Court
exists in heaven to settle eternal matters. This court is
involved with the work of Christ on the cross for the elect of
God, which results in regeneration and eternal salvation for
the elect.
Further, two lower courts exist in earth to determine the
“born again” sinner’s fate while alive in this present world.
These lower courts are involved with judgments relating to
the regenerates belief and obedience to God’s
commandments, which leads one to conversion to
discipleship in His church, and yields blessings in one’s
lifetime. Jesus Christ presides as judge over all three of the
above courts.
The above mentioned courts must exist because of Adam’s
sin. The law of God that Adam violated and the penalty to
be suffered are first mentioned in Genesis 2:16-17. These
verses state, “And the Lord God commanded the man,
saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
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.” The margins of many Bibles state that the
Hebrew language literally means, “dying thou shalt die.”
Three types of death are involved. Adam immediately
suffered death to fellowship with God. Next, he began to
physically die, ending in physical death. Finally, except for
Chapter VIII
Justification
67
the grace of God that provides eternal salvation for the elect
of God, Adam would have then suffered eternal damnation
(known as the second death).
Notice the sin of Adam, as clearly stated in the Roman
letter, “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.” (Romans 5:12) The human race has
inherited Adam’s sinful and sin prone nature. The three
courts of justice, which must deal with the sin of Adam, are
covered in the three sections that follow.
Justification by Blood
1) The “Divine Court,” or Supreme Court in heaven, is the
court that operates under the law of sin and death. Jesus,
the Surety, paid what the law demanded, as follows: “Who
was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our
justification.” (Romans 4:25) Jesus paid the price for every
elect child of God. The elect are as follows: “According as
he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world,
that we should be holy and without blame before him in
love:” (Ephesians 1:4) Also, we remember, “And almost all
things are by the law purged with blood; and without
shedding of blood is no remission.” (Hebrews 9:22) Our
justification is through Jesus’ blood (His death on the cross)
as follows: “Much more then, being now justified by his
blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” (Romans
5:9) Also, this same message is repeated in Ephesians, “In
whom we have redemption through his blood, the
forgiveness of sin, according to the riches of his grace.”
(Ephesians 1:7) This justification relates to eternal salvation,
and only involves heaven for God’s elect people, noted
above in Ephesians 1:4.
Unlocking Bible Truth
68
Justification by Faith
2) This court is the “court of one’s conscience,” and it is an
earthly court that involves conditional time “salvation.” When
God gives spiritual life (John 3:8 & 6:63) to His elect
children (Ephesians 1:4-7), He puts His laws in their mind
and heart as follows: “…saith the Lord; I will put my laws
into their mind, and write them in their hearts.” (Hebrews
8:10) As a result of this work of God, they become aware of
their sins and their consciences condemn them (Romans
2:15). The children of God feel a deep sense of guilt. They
“labor and are heavy laden” as Matthew 11:28 states, since
their consciences condemn them as being guilty of God’s
laws. They feel that, unless a remedy is found, they have no
hope in this life or after death.
Along with receiving the law of God “into their mind”
(Hebrews 8:10), they also receive nine manner of fruit
called “fruit of the Spirit” as listed in Galatians 5:22-23. The
seventh fruit listed is faith. When a born again child of God
hears the gospel message, obeys its commands, and trusts
by faith that a sovereign God alone and unaided has saved
him eternally, he then will feel secure. Justification by faith
satisfies the conscience and offers peace of mind in this life.
Galatians 2:16 states, “Knowing that a man is not justified
by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ
(Philippians 3:9 refers to the work of Jesus Christ, His
faithfulness), even we have (in obedience) believed in
Jesus Christ, that we might be justified (in our own minds)
by the faith of (which we received from) Christ (as a fruit of
the Spirit…Galatians 5:22-23), and not by the works of the
law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
Also, consider a similar statement in Romans 5:1-5, (the
first verse refers back to the preceding verse 4:25, “Who
Chapter VIII
Justification
69
was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our
justification.”), as follows: “Therefore being justified by faith
(the faith of Christ--not our faith--and His faithfulness in
keeping the terms of the everlasting covenant), we have
peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (justification
by blood): By whom also we have access by faith (the
sinner’s faith) into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice
in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in
tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope
maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed
abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto
us.” Justification by faith (the sinner’s faith) is often called
“time salvation,” because the benefits and penalties are
experienced by God’s people only in this life.
Justification by Works
3) This is the “court of our acquaintances.” Like the “court of
one’s conscience,” the “court of our acquaintances” is also
an earthly court. This court deals with how God’s people
conduct themselves in this life as a witness for Christ. It
deals with how God’s people are “judged” by others who
observe their conduct as a witness for Christ. God expects
His children to “bare fruit” by obeying His laws during their
lifetime; therefore, God holds them accountable through
chastisement when they fail (Hebrews 10:26-31). If their
light shines before men in such a way that observers are
forced to conclude that these individuals are children of the
Heavenly King, then one could say that they have been
justified by works. The book of James clearly explains this
principle. James 2:14-26 uses Abraham as an excellent
example and explains that faith without good works is dead
(James 2:17, 20, and 26). James also states, “Ye see then
how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.”
Unlocking Bible Truth
70
(James 2:24) Justification by works could also be called
“time salvation,” since God’s people only experience its
benefits or penalties in this lifetime. Notice that good works
and the exercising of our faith are necessary for salvation in
time (in this present world), through the lower earthly courts.
If the above verse from James concerned eternal salvation,
then it would contradict Titus 3:5, “Not by works of
righteousness which we have done, but according to his
mercy he has saved us, by the washing of regeneration,
and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”
Comments on the three courts
Notice that, unlike the other two earthly courts, the child of
God is totally and completely passive in the Divine Court.
Nothing in this life can alter the outcome or actions by the
Divine Court. There is no paradox in salvation. However,
God’s born again children are active in the other two lower
courts, and must be obedient to God’s commands and laws
if they are to be justified by faith and justified by works.
Notice as follows: “Then said Jesus to those Jews which
believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my
disciples indeed: And ye shall know the truth, and the truth
shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32) The benefits and
blessings a child of God obtains by obedience can be
enjoyed or lost in this lifetime by disobedience and sinful
acts. This fact is clearly stated in Hebrews 10:26-31 which
begins, “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the
knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice
for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgement and
fiery indignation”…
God holds his children accountable for their actions, or lack
of action, in this life. If in doubt, read Hebrews 12:5-11,
which begins, “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which
Chapter VIII
Justification
71
speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not
thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art
rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth,
and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth”…
The child of God does have trouble in this life as Paul made
clear in Romans, as follows: “For that which I do I allow not:
for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If
then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that
it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that
dwelleth in me.” (Romans 7:15-17) God’s children have two
different natures, one is carnal and the other is spiritual.
Declare to be just
There is another use of the word justify that may surprise
some Bible believers. Elder Sonny Pyles preached on
Justification at a meeting in the fall of 2001. He pointed out
that this term does not always mean a change for the better
or a spiritual improvement. God pronounced a woe against
some individuals who justified certain things, as follows:
Isaiah 5:20, 23 “Woe unto them that call evil good, and
good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! …Which justify
the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of
the righteous from him!” To justify the wicked (to declare
them just) is a justification that God condemns. It is not for
the better. Also consider this verse: “And all the people that
heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized
with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers
rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not
baptized of him.” (Luke 7:29-30) These people that heard
Him could not make God more just than He already was.
Justify in these verses mean “declare to be just.” Those who
were obedient unto baptism were by their actions declaring
Unlocking Bible Truth
72
God’s commands as being just. As with other words in the
Bible, justification has several different meanings.
Proof that God has faith
For one who believes in cause and effect, God is the first
cause in both creation and salvation. A born again person
has been given nine manner of fruit, as listed in Galatians,
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering,
gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance:
against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23) Man’s
faith is the seventh fruit listed. God, in the person of the
Holy Spirit, possesses these same nine fruits, but to an
infinite degree. God’s faith, or belief in Himself and belief in
all decrees by the Holy Trinity, is faith to an infinite degree.
If eternal salvation is by the faith of Christ and God’s faith,
then one might say there is a problem with this doctrine
since the word “faith” may imply imperfect knowledge.
God’s knowledge is perfect (Isaiah 46:10), so this position
may at first only appear to be inconsistent with the doctrine
of omniscience.
In a letter from Elder Harold Hunt, Maryville, Tennessee, he
gave a number of reasons why it is possible for God, an
infinite being, to have faith. Following are some of the points
he made:
• “W. E. Vine and J. H. Thayer are, perhaps, the two most
respected authorities with regard to the Greek language.
W. E. Vine defines faith as: “firm persuasion, a
conviction, trust, etc.” Thayer defines faith as,
“conviction, belief, trust, confidence….” Neither of them
finds the principle of limitation in the word itself. God the
Father has faith in His Son; He trusts His Son; He has
confidence in His Son. And God the Son has faith in His
Chapter VIII
Justification
73
Father. When the Father sent His Son into the world, He
had confidence in His Son that He would do the work
that was appointed Him. When the Son laid down in
death, He had confidence in His Father that He would
raise Him from the dead, and that He would accept His
sacrificial death as a full payment of the sin debt of His
people.”
Several verses clearly state we are saved eternally by the
faith (or work) of Christ or by God’s faith in His blood (or His
certain belief that Christ would submit to death on the
cross), which are as follows:
• “And be found in Him, not having mine own
righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is
through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of
God by faith.” (Philippians 3:9)
• “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of
Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for
there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come
short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by His
grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through
faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the
remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance
of God.” (Romans 3:22-25)
• “For what if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief
make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let
God be true, but every man a liar;” (Romans 3:3-4)
• “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto
salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter
1:5) This faith must be God’s infinite faith (or certain
Unlocking Bible Truth
74
belief in the work of Christ and that He would preserve
His children blameless until the end), since eternal
salvation is kept by God until “…the last time.” This
verse refers to the faith of God, or faithfulness of God.
Man’s faith compared to faith of Christ and the faith of
God
We should compare man’s faith to the faith of Jesus Christ
(in His humanity as son of Mary). Man’s faith is a fruit of the
Spirit (Galatians 5:22) as defined by Hebrews 11:1 which
states, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the
evidence of things not seen.” Jesus stated many times, “O
ye of little faith” as in Matthew 16:8 and Luke 12:28. Man
has only a little faith, and many times, the born again man
neglects this faith in acts of rebellion, as stated in Romans
3:3 and 2 Timothy, “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful:
he cannot deny himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13)
The following are good examples of many born again
people who lost their physical life (not eternal life) by
rebelling against God through sinful acts called “unbelief”
(man chooses to neglect their God given faith):
• “I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once
knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people
out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that
believed not.” (Jude 5) God would not destroy the
unregenerate for unbelief because they believe not
because they are not one of His sheep (as John 10:26
states). The unbelief of the unregenerate is the result of
God’s choice because God did not elect them from
before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). Now
compare this verse with 1 Corinthians 10:1-5 and John
6:54 as follows: “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye
Chapter VIII
Justification
75
should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under
the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all
baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And
did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the
same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock
that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with
many of them God was not pleased: for they were
overthrown in the wilderness.” (1 Corinthians 10:1-5) To
prove all were children of God, compare the wording
above to John 6:53-54: “Then Jesus said unto them,
Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of
the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in
you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood,
hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
The above verses prove that all the Jews who Moses led
out of Egypt were born again. Even so, many were
“overthrown in the wilderness” for the sin of unbelief.
This particular event referred to in Jude 5 is also referred
to in Hebrews 3:7-19. Our faith can fail to such an extent
that it costs us our physical life, but not eternal life, as
stated in Romans 3:3 and 2 Timothy 2:13.
On the other hand, Jesus in His humanity (as the son of
Mary) had great faith. Jesus in His divine nature is God;
therefore as God, He has infinite faith…or certain and
infinite belief in Himself and all His decrees.
Let’s consider Jesus Christ as completely man as well as
God manifest in flesh as given by John 1:1-4, 14. In His
humanity (son of Mary-Mary’s egg was fertilized by God
through the Holy Spirit as in Matthew 1:20), Jesus has a
sin-free nature, and a sin-free mortal mind similar to Adam
before the fall. The spiritual mind of Jesus Christ is God.
Unlocking Bible Truth
76
In contrast to Jesus, a born again person has a sinful carnal
mind, which is at “enmity against God” (Romans 8:7) and is
prone to sin (Romans 7:14-25). This born again person also
has a pure spiritual mind (2 Peter 3:1) which cannot sin, as
clearly stated, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit
sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin,
because he is born of God.” (1 John 3:9)
Jesus in His humanity, as the son of Mary, “increased in
wisdom, and stature, and in favor with God and man.” (Luke
2:52) God’s wisdom cannot increase, since it is infinite.
Jesus in His humanity could grow in wisdom, as He grew
from childhood as the son of Mary, and He could be
tempted as in Luke 4:1-13. Also, He prayed to God the
Father, as in John 17:1-26. (There are many other
references of Jesus praying to the Father.) Jesus, in His
humanity (as the son of Mary) had great faith or belief in
God by offering Himself to die on the cross (Romans 4:25)
in order to pay the price acceptable to God, and thereby
save all of the elect of God eternally. Jesus (the son of
Mary) knew He would suffer alone, separated from the
presence of God…separated from His Divine spiritual mind.
Matthew 27:45-46 notes that darkness was over all the land
from the sixth to the ninth hour, then finishes by saying
about the ninth hour, Jesus cried with a loud voice, “My
God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Jesus, (as the
son of Mary, the second Adam) was suffering the wrath of
God all alone.
Human brain compared to a computer
In considering the possibility of a person having two
natures, or two minds, refer to Bible examples of people
who are indwelled by unclean spirits. Our fleshly brain is like
computer hardware that can be loaded with more than one
Chapter VIII
Justification
77
software program. Remember the Gadarene man who lived
in the tombs? (Mark 5:1-19) This Gadarene man was
indwelled by many unclean spirits. When Jesus asked the
man his name, the unclean spirits said, “My name is Legion:
for we are many.” (Mark 5:9) Mark 5:13 states, “they were
about two thousand.” The software program that all humans
are born with is called our carnal nature, which was
inherited from Adam. God gives the born again person a
pure spiritual mind (2 Peter 3:1) at the time of regeneration
(Titus 3:5-7). This spiritual mind cannot sin (1 John 3:9). As
with the Gadarene man mentioned above, and many others
mentioned in Scripture, the human mind can also be
indwelled by one or more unclean spirits.
The occurrence of unclean spirits (fallen angels) indwelling
human beings is a clear fact of Scripture. However, how this
event occurs is less clear. We do know that, regarding the
Holy Spirit, Christ is knocking on the “door” of the heart of
born again people. This fact is clearly stated to the
Laodicean church, beginning at Revelation 3:14, and
extending to the end of the chapter. Notice as follows: “As
many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore,
and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any
man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to
him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to
sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am
set down with my Father in his throne. He that has an ear,
let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
(Revelation 3:19-22) Christ is addressing the “lukewarm”
(Rev. 3:16) regenerate church members, asking to be
invited into their hearts. If this case applies with the Holy
Spirit, surely it must also apply with unclean spirits. Unclean
spirits would not be able to enter uninvited into the human
mind. It is possible that Satanist and secret society rituals,
as well as religions which worship false Christ’s, are the
Unlocking Bible Truth
78
means of this invitation. To understand this last possibility,
consider the following: “For if he that cometh preacheth
another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye
receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or
another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well
bear with him.” (2 Corinthians 11:4) The worship of a false
Christ, or anti-Christ, may be very dangerous. The Christ we
worship is defined by the doctrine we believe. Therefore,
Bible doctrine is extremely important.
Justification in the Divine Court
Our legal justification before God by Jesus Christ (yielding
eternal salvation for the elect of God) is clearly stated, “Who
was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our
justification.” (Romans 4:25) This justification was effected
by the infinite faith, or certain belief by God, that Jesus in
his humanity (as the son of Mary, as the second Adam),
would submit to death on the cross. Jesus, in His humanity
(as the son of Mary), could have refused (in theory), or He
would have had no humanity.
Further, because of His great faith, (not infinite faith or
belief), Jesus Christ (as the son of Mary) believed that at
His death His soul would go immediately to God. Also,
Jesus (the son of Mary), had great faith (not infinite faith or
He would not have had a human nature) that God would
raise Him again from the dead three days after His death on
the cross, to accomplish legal justification--Romans 4:25.
God had “faith in His blood,” (Romans 3:25) which meant
that Jesus had to die as further stated “without shedding of
blood is no remission.” (Hebrews 9:22) In Christ’s death on
the cross, God had faith (infinite faith and certain belief) that
Jesus, the man (the son of Mary), would submit to death.
Chapter VIII
Justification
79
We know that Jesus, the son of Mary, prayed as follows:
“Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me:
nevertheless not my will, but thine be done.” (Luke 22:42
see also Matthew 26:39, 42 and Mark 14:36) Jesus, the
man, desperately wanted to avoid separation from the
presence and fellowship of God. While Christ was still alive,
hanging on the cross, God’s hatred and wrath was poured
out on Him (because He was bearing our sins, even though
He was Himself without sin). Jesus, the man, at the ninth
hour (it was dark over all the land from the sixth hour until
the ninth), cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou
forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) Jesus, the man (the son of
Mary), was alone and separated from God, suffering the
wrath of God for God’s elect children.
Conclusion
Thus, we see justification in three courts. We see the
amazing grace of God in saving His chosen people without
the eternal loss of even one. Our religious practice is not
involved here. However, God has preserved the gospel and
His church so as to offer a “salvation” for His children in this
life (based on their obedience) from this untoward, unruly
and wicked generation (Acts 2:38-40). We call this
conditional time “salvation.” One can only say, “Amazing
grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!”
Unlocking Bible Truth
80
Chapter IX
Letter to a Roman Catholic
The following is a modified version of a letter (additions and
revisions made in March, 2005) that was sent to a Roman
Catholic friend in the fall of 2002. After reading one of my
books, this particular friend loaned me a small book entitled
Rome Sweet Home by Scott and Kimberly Hahn. Scott and
Kimberly are both Presbyterian seminary graduates that
converted to Catholicism. After reading this book, I tried to
offer for consideration several beliefs of the Roman Catholic
Church that in my opinion involve major doctrinal issues that
are not Scriptural. In the original letter I did not deal with the
Eucharist (Catholic mass), in which they cite John 6:53-56. I
have now added a section on the Eucharist. Please
consider the following letter to my friend (referred to as
Adam in order to keep the name confidential).
We remember from Chapter IV (beginning on page 29) that
the Protestant theologians who met at the Synod of Dort
(November 13, 1618 through May 9, 1619) declared the
beliefs of “Arminianism” as heresy (page 32). The
Presbyterian publication The Five Points of Calvinism by
Steele and Thomas (page 15) reminds the reader of this
fact. It then points out that “these doctrines have gained
wide acceptance in the modern Church.” This publication
contends that wide spread beliefs accepted by today’s
Protestant Churches are heresy. Without doubt the Synod
of Dort in 1619 would have also declared many beliefs of
the Roman Catholic Church to be heresy. Hopefully one
can consider these Bible doctrine issues as being a search
for truth as taught in the Bible, and not be offended. It is my
sincere desire that God’s children will become more aware
of the need to study God’s Word on a doctrinal basis.
Chapter IX
Letter to a Roman Catholic
81
Dear Adam,
Thank you so much for allowing me the opportunity to read
about the conversion experience of Scott and Kimberly
Hahn from Presbyterian to Roman Catholic. Regardless of
their religious beliefs, they provide an excellent example of
how two of God’s children, who with much prayer, suffering
and study, changed from one religious belief to another
one which was quite different in doctrine and in practice.
While I do not agree with their decision, I have tremendous
respect for the way both of these children of God conducted
themselves during this transition. They were willing to give
up everything that meant anything to them in this life to
follow Christ as they understood Scripture.
It is really hard to understand how highly intelligent children
of God (many with Th.D.’s, Ph.D.’s and other degrees)
could interpret the Bible so differently requiring the
formation of many different religious denominations, but this
is the actual case. These strong beliefs not only separate
God’s children regarding their fellowship, but in many cases
over the years it has resulted in religious wars. While the
Catholics, Protestants and other religious orders (as
Eastern and Middle Eastern religions) have made war
against each other, at least I can say to my knowledge no
Baptist group has ever fought anyone even though they
have suffered persecution.
Comments on Rome Sweet Home
A number of things make me uneasy when considering the
Catholic Church. Scott did a good job in rationalizing these
problems for himself. However, still a number of things
concern me. Consider the following subjects.
Unlocking Bible Truth
82
Idolatry
It was explained to Scott that the images, statues and the
like are similar to family photographs in our home. They are
not worshipped, but represent those who are loved. In the
case of Jesus, it represents the one they worship. This
satisfied him, but it does not satisfy me considering the
history of idols and God’s commands against idolatry.
Humans are too quick to go from the position of being
reminded of the ones they love, to trusting and worshiping
the object or idol. Notice the following Scripture:
• Exodus 20:4-5 “Thou shalt not make unto thee any
graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in
heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is
in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down
thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God
am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers
upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of
them that hate me;”
• Deuteronomy 29:17 “And ye have seen their
abominations, and their idols, wood and stone, silver
and gold, which were among them:”
• 1 Samuel 4:3 “And when the people were come into the
camp, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore hath the
LORD smitten us to day before the Philistines? Let us
fetch the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of Shiloh
unto us, that, when it cometh among us, it may save us
out of the hand of our enemies.” (They suggest the ark
of the covenant may save them rather than the Lord.)
• 2 Kings 18:4 “He removed the high places, and brake
the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in
pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for
unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to
it: and he called it Nehushtan.”
Chapter IX
Letter to a Roman Catholic
83
• Acts 17:16 “Now while Paul waited for them at Athens,
his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly
given to idolatry.”
• Colossians 3:5 “Mortify therefore your members which
are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate
affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which
is idolatry:”
Even “covetousness” is called idolatry in Colossians 3:5. In
my words, idolatry is our trusting in objects, images, money
or material things rather than trusting in the Lord. I think it is
easy for humans to trust in a “good luck” piece rather than
trust in the Lord. Christ wants us to look to Him and not
center any of our attention on objects…it’s an age old
problem with humanity.
Baptism
On page 123 of Rome Sweet Home Scott answers a
question as to how he knows he is born again. He says he
knows he is born again because of what Christ did for him
through the Holy Spirit when he was baptized. For a proof
text he referred to 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.” I disagree
that this Scripture supports the theory that regeneration
occurs at the time of baptism because of John 3:8 (three
verses later). In this verse Jesus compares being born
again to the action of the wind, as follows:
• John 3:8 “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou
hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it
cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born
of the Spirit.”
Unlocking Bible Truth
84
Unlike the wind, you know and can control when a person is
to be baptized. Baptism cannot be involved with a person’s
being born again. Also, notice what the following verse says
about baptism:
• 1 Peter 3:20-21 “Which sometime were disobedient,
when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days
of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few,
that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure
whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the
putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a
good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of
Jesus Christ:”
How were the eight souls (Noah and his family) saved by
the flood waters? Their fellowship with God and their
physical lives were saved by a timely deliverance. They
were saved from the wickedness and violence in the world
while all the other people drowned in floodwaters at the time
of the flood of Noah. Likewise baptism offers us a way to
save ourselves, a timely deliverance, or salvation in this life,
by way of our entrance into the Lord’s church (Acts 2:47).
We can save ourselves by baptism as Peter says:
• Acts 2:38, 40, “Repent and be baptized in the name of
Jesus Christ…And with many other words did he testify
and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward
generation.”
We know we cannot save ourselves eternally by our works
(baptism would be works) based on the following:
• 2 Timothy 1:9 “Who hath saved us, and called [us] with
an holy calling, not according to our works, but
according to his own purpose and grace, which was
given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”
Chapter IX
Letter to a Roman Catholic
85
• Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have
done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the
washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy
Ghost;”
To see how we are born again, it is by the voice of Jesus
Christ through the Holy Spirit.
• John 5:25 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is
coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice
of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.”
• John 6:63 “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh
profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they]
are spirit, and [they] are life.”
Being born again occurs sometime between conception and
death (or aborted babies would not be saved) for the elect
of God referred to by the following verses:
• Ephesians 1:4-6 “According as he hath chosen us in him
before the foundation of the world, that we should be
holy and without blame before him in love: Having
predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus
Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his
will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he
hath made us accepted in the beloved.”
Before we are born again we hate God:
• Romans 8:7, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against
God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither
indeed can be.”
Unlocking Bible Truth
86
Before we are born again we cannot hear, understand, or
believe things of God, so only God unassisted can save us
eternally. This is proven by the following Bible verses:
• John 8:47 “He that is of God heareth God's words: ye
therefore hear [them] not, because ye are not of God.”
• 1 Corinthians 2:14 “But the natural man receiveth not
the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness
unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are
spiritually discerned.”
• John 10:26 “But ye believe not, because ye are not of
my sheep, as I said unto you.”
Mary
On pages 143 through 146 of Rome Sweet Home, Scott
gives us his understanding about Mary, the mother of
Jesus. I like the statement by Dr. Miravalle that the Catholic
Church does not consider Mary a goddess—she was
worthy of honor but not worthy of worship. I did not know,
and still do not believe that Catholics hold this position. I do
agree with that statement. However, they do pray to Mary
as well as to other dead saints of God who are in heaven
today. I would never do that since Jesus is our only
mediator with God the Father, as follows:
• 1 Timothy 2:5 “For there is one God, and one mediator
between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” This
leaves out dead saints as well as Mary, the Pope, any
Priest, or any other human.
Next, I believe Mary was a sinner like every other
descendant of Adam. The primary proof for this can be
found in the following statement by Mary herself:
• Luke 1:46-47 “And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the
Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.”
Chapter IX
Letter to a Roman Catholic
87
Notice Mary refers to the Lord as being her Saviour. If
Mary was sinless, she would not need a saviour.
Further, the only way Jesus could be born a sinless human
(even though His mother was a sinful human) is that His
father was God. The sin nature of Adam comes from Adam
only and not from both Adam and Eve. This fact is based on
the following verse:
• 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:”
Notice it does not say “as by one man and by one woman
sin entered into the world,” but only by one man. Eve ate
the forbidden fruit first, but if Adam had not eaten it, only
Eve would have died and not Adam nor their descendants.
Also Mary had other children. Consider the following:
• Mark 6:3 “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the
brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon?
and are not his sisters here with us? And they were
offended at him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is
not without honour, but in his own country, and among
his own kin, and in his own house.”
• Galatians 1:19 “But other of the apostles saw I none,
save James the Lord's brother.”
Mary inherited the sin nature from Adam exactly like every
other human. There was nothing wrong with Mary having
other children by her husband Joseph. It is just that her first
child, when she was still a virgin, occurred by way of God
through the Holy Spirit fertilizing her egg. As Scripture
makes clear, Jesus was born of a virgin mother (but not a
sin free mother).
Unlocking Bible Truth
88
Peter and the Catholic Pope
I do not believe Peter was the first Pope. The following
verses are used by Roman Catholics:
• Matthew 16:15-18 “He saith unto them, But whom say
ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said,
Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus
answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon
Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto
thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also
unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will
build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail
against it.”
In the above verses Jesus tells Peter that his belief that
Jesus is the Son of God is only possible by direct revelation
from God, and was not from man. This belief is the
foundation, or rock, that the Church of God is built on (not
on Peter). Our belief that Jesus is the Christ is evidence
(and is not the cause) of our being a child of God. 1 John
5:1 states this fact, “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the
Christ is born of God:” John 5:24, John 6:47 and Acts 13:48
state the same thing. Our faith comes from being born
again. Faith is a fruit of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us.
The “fruit” produced as a result of being “born again” is
listed in Galatians 5:22-23. This principle is the rock
foundation on which God has built His church. I believe
Primitive Baptists may be the only church order that
believes the above. We believe no human on his own, or
with the assistance of a preacher and gospel preaching, is
able to believe that Jesus is the Son of God. It takes direct
revelation from God. Hebrews 8:10-11 also states this fact
as follows:
• Hebrews 8:10-11 “For this is the covenant that I will
make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the
Chapter IX
Letter to a Roman Catholic
89
Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in
their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall
be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man
his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know
the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the
greatest.”
Next, the Pope in Rome is called the Holy Father, and
appears to accept worship as people bow before him.
Notice the story of Cornelius in Acts 10. When Peter went to
preach to Cornelius, his kinsman and near friends, it states:
• Acts 10:25-26 “And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius
met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him.
But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also
am a man.” The Pope in Rome would not have said
stand up.
Next, we are not to call any man father, as Jesus said in the
following verse:
• Matthew 23:9 “And call no man your father upon the
earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.”
Catholics call their Priest Father and the Pope Holy
Father. In my opinion, this is a very bad practice.
Finally, no man should be called holy or reverend (as with
Protestant preachers). Proof is found in the following Bible
verses:
• Psalms 111:9 “He sent redemption unto his people: he
hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and
reverend is his name.” This is the only verse in the Bible
where reverend is used and it refers to God.
• Mark 10:17 “And when he was gone forth into the way,
there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked
him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit
Unlocking Bible Truth
90
eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou
me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.”
If Jesus would correct the young man in Mark 10:17 for
calling Him good, since Jesus appeared as only a man (but
was God manifest in flesh--a fact unknown to the young
man), then surely the much stronger titles of Holy Father,
Father and Reverend would also be condemned by Jesus.
God does not share His glory with anyone.
Holy days
Primitive Baptist do not respect any days as being holy
days. Based on Romans 14:5-6, I would say it should be left
to one’s conscience. Consider the following Scripture:
• Galatians 4:10-11 “Ye observe days, and months, and
times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have
bestowed upon you labour in vain.”
• Romans 14:5-6 “One man esteemeth one day above
another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every
man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that
regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he
that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not
regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth
God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he
eateth not, and giveth God thanks.”
The Eucharist or Catholic mass
The first communion service took place at the time of the
Last Supper before Christ was crucified. The Last Supper
was actually the last Passover under the Jewish Law
period. The Passover began after God through Moses led
the children of Israel out of bondage from the land of Egypt.
The Passover was established by God to remind the
Chapter IX
Letter to a Roman Catholic
91
children of Israel of the night before Moses led them out.
The blood from the Passover lamb had been placed on
either side of the door and overhead thus forming a cross
that pictures Christ on the cross. When the Angel of Lord
saw the blood, He would “pass over” the house sparing the
first born of both man and beast as follows:
• Exodus 12:5-7 “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a
male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep,
or from the goats: And ye shall keep it up until the
fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole
assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the
evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it
on the two side posts and on the upper door post of
the houses, wherein they shall eat it.”
• Exodus 12:11-13 “And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins
girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your
hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD'S
Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt
this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land
of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the
gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.
And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the
houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will
pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you
to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.”
The above pictures Jesus Christ, the true Passover Lamb of
God, whose blood saves the elect of God (Ephesians 1:4-7)
from eternal death. The Jewish Passover was observed
once each year and was for the purpose of remembering
what the Lord had done for the children of Israel.
The Communion service is similar to the Jewish Passover in
that God’s children are to remember what Christ did for
Unlocking Bible Truth
92
them by dying on the cross of Calvary. Notice what
Scripture says concerning the Communion service:
• 1 Corinthians 11:25-26 “After the same manner also he
took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is
the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye
drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat
this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's
death till he come.” Notice it says “as often as ye eat
this bread, and drink this cup,” meaning there is no
specific frequency in which we are to observe the
Communion service. Normally, Primitive Baptist
churches observe it once or twice each year. Similar to
the Passover, the purpose is to remember what Christ
has done for us by giving His life on the cross that we
may be spared eternal death and damnation.
Now let’s consider the Catholic mass, called the Eucharist.
Based on History of the Church of God by Elder Sylvester
Hassell, beginning at the bottom of page 285:
• “The idolatrous doctrine of transubstantiation was first
explicitly taught by Paschasius Radbert, A. D.831, and
was first decreed as an article of faith at the instance of
Pope Innocent III., by the fourth ‘Lateran Council,’ A. D.
1215. This was more than a Millennium too late for it to
be a doctrine of the apostolic church.”
Catholics use John 6:48-58 as a proof text for the Eucharist.
Consider the following Scripture:
• John 6:48-58 “I am that bread of life. Your fathers did
eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the
bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may
eat thereof, and not die. 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
Chapter IX
Letter to a Roman Catholic
93
flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews
therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can
this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto
them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the
flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no
life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my
blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the
last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is
drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my
blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father
hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth
me, even he shall live by me. 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.” Notice the grammar above. Whosoever
eateth and drinketh hath…is already in possession
of…eternal life. Eternal life is not obtained or sustained
by the Eucharist. If this were the case, the church priest,
a sinful human, would have the power of giving and
taking away eternal life from a child of God.
In the above verses, Jesus starts by making reference to
the children of Israel Moses led out of Egypt. Jesus then
says that those people who already have spiritual life are
described as eating His flesh and drinking His blood. Notice
this same description is given to the children of Israel
Moses led out of Egypt in the following verses: (Note: No
Catholic mass or Eucharist is involved here, yet it is
described in the same way as given in John 6:53-56.)
• 1 Corinthians 10:1-12 “Moreover, brethren, I would not
that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were
under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And
were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the
sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did
all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of
Unlocking Bible Truth
94
that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock
was Christ. But with many of them God was not well
pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
Now these things were our examples, to the intent we
should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is
written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose
up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of
them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty
thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them
also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither
murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were
destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things
happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written
for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are
come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take
heed lest he fall.” While these children of God
suffered in this life and died untimely deaths for the evil
things they did, they were still God’s children who are in
heaven today. This is a warning to us that our conduct
can affect our quality of life, or even prematurely end our
physical life!
The above Bible verses describe all the children of Israel
led out of Egypt by Moses as being God’s children. This
description includes the fact that as children of God they
“did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink
the same spiritual drink,” and this refers to the body and
blood of Christ. These individuals are covered by the blood
of Christ. They have Christ in them as also stated in the
following verses:
• 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 “Know ye not that ye are the
temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in
you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God
destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye
Chapter IX
Letter to a Roman Catholic
95
are.” Christ through the Holy Spirit is in these children
of God. In the same way, God destroyed the children of
Israel for sinful acts (committed in the wilderness as
given in 1 Corinthians 10:5 above). We are warned in 1
Corinthians 3:16-17 that we could lose our physical life if
we defile our bodies, described as the temple of God.
Now let’s look at more verses used to describe the
communion service:
• Matthew 26:27-29 “And he took the cup, and gave
thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For
this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for
many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will
not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day
when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.”
Notice that Jesus is referring to wine and not his literal
blood.
Then consider the following verses:
• 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 “The cup of blessing which we
bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?
The bread which we break, is it not the communion of
the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread,
and one body: for we are all partakers of that one
bread.”
The word communion means an act of sharing in common
the thought of what Christ did for us. We are to drink the
wine and by so doing, to remember that Christ shed His
blood in order to redeem us from our sins and thus save us
from eternal separation from God in the flames of a literal
everlasting hell. We are to remember the death of Christ
and the fact that He gave His life for us that we may be with
Him in heaven some day. As already noted, this ordinance
of the church is fulfillment of what the Jewish Passover
Unlocking Bible Truth
96
pictured when the children of Israel observed this service
once each year as a remembrance of what God did for
them under Moses. In the same way, most Primitive Baptist
churches observe the communion service once or twice
each year. Again, the frequency for observing communion
is not given in the Bible.
The Catholic Eucharist or mass is usually observed by
Catholic churches once each week or more frequently. To
quote from Systematic Theology by Dr. Morton H. Smith,
“the Roman view calls for the idolatrous practice of
worshipping the elements. Many a Protestant refused to
receive the elements from a priest, because he had to kneel
as he received them. In addition to this, the idea that the
Supper is a continual re-sacrificing of Christ goes counter to
what Jesus himself said when he said, “It is finished.”
(Chapter XLVIII, IV F. 1. on page 692) As above, the
Eucharist bread and wine could become an idol in which
one places his trust for eternal life. It becomes a “works
salvation” and ignores Titus 3:5: “Not by works of righteous
which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved
us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the
Holy Ghost.” Also it forgets Romans 5:19 that states: “For
as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so
by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”
Eternal salvation is only from Jesus Christ to those chosen
by God before the foundation of the world, as follows:
• John 17:1-3 “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his
eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come;
glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As
thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he
should give eternal life to as many as thou hast
given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know
thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou
Chapter IX
Letter to a Roman Catholic
97
hast sent.” As many as means not one more and
not one less.
• Ephesians 1:4-6 “According as he hath chosen us in
him before the foundation of the world, that we
should be holy and without blame before him in love:
Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by
Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure
of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace,
wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”
If the bread and wine were the literal body and blood of
Jesus Christ, then Christ is essentially being offered every
communion. Hebrews 10:14 states: “For by one offering he
hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” If Christ
perfected forever, then there is no adding to that. Certainly
partaking communion does not add to salvation, nor does
any other work performed by man. Notice the following
Scripture:
• Hebrews 9:13 “For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and
the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth
to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the
blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered
himself without spot to God, purge your conscience
from dead works to serve the living God?” Christ
never has been offered to man as would be the case if
the wine and bread were the literal blood and body of
our Lord.
Finally, Hebrews 9:28 states “So Christ was once offered
to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him
shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”
Simply put, one offering, one time, and to God only. As with
the Passover, we are to remember by way of the
communion service what Jesus Christ (the true Lamb of
God) did for us by making the offering of Himself to God.
Unlocking Bible Truth
98
Historically the Catholic Church takes the position that
through the Eucharist service, the bread and wine become
the literal body and blood of Christ, properly called
transubstantiation. Participation in this service is necessary
for a church member to maintain his eternal life. If a person
is put out of the church, or excommunicated, they are to
understand that this is a sentence of eternal death in the
flames of hell. This doctrine gives the church tremendous
power over its members. As I understand it, the Roman
Catholic Church still holds to this position. Based on this
doctrine, the Roman Catholic Church must believe that only
its members will be in heaven.
The Church
In some ways Primitive Baptists view the church similar to
the way Roman Catholics view it, and in other ways it is the
opposite. Roman Catholics and Primitive Baptists both
believe their beginning dates back to the apostles in an
unbroken chain. Baptists were never part of the Roman
Catholic Church; therefore, they had nothing to protest as
did Protestant Churches, which reformed from the Roman
Church following the Protestant Reformation. The Lord’s
church has been named by its enemies over the years, so it
has been identified by many different names. The disciples
of Christ in the early church were called Christians:
• Acts 11:26 “And when he had found him, he brought him
unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year
they assembled themselves with the church, and taught
much people. And the disciples were called Christians
first in Antioch.”
At the time of Martin Luther, the reformers saw the Roman
Catholic Church was in such gross error that it was obvious
(to the reformers and their followers) that the Lord had not
Chapter IX
Letter to a Roman Catholic
99
preserved the Roman Catholic Church free from error and
untruth. The verse used by the Roman Church and referred
to by Scott Hahn as to the authority given by God to the
church is the following:
• 1 Timothy 3:15 “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know
how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of
God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and
ground of the truth.”
The above verse is also believed by Primitive Baptists since
Jesus said the following to Peter:
• Matthew 16:18 “And I say also unto thee, That thou art
Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the
gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” We believe
“the gates of hell” have not prevailed against the true
church of God. The question one should ask is where is
this church that God has preserved in truth for over 2000
years?
Regarding truth, we do not believe the Roman Catholic
Church ever had truth due to the many pagan Roman
customs they adopted in 300 AD under Constantine. These
errors are being pointed out in this chapter. One church
God has preserved in truth, we believe, is called Primitive
Baptist today, but has gone under many names over 2,000
years. We date from the time of John the Baptist and we
believe no material change in our doctrine or practice has
taken place. Or at least, that is our firm conviction.
Only God decides when to remove the candlestick, which
makes a church no longer God’s church. By removing the
candlestick, a church would no longer be a light unto the
world. They would still be God’s people, but to some extent
they would lose the light of the gospel, and other benefits
Unlocking Bible Truth
100
like the warmth, comfort, and security of sovereign grace.
See the warning the Lord gave to the church of Ephesus in
Revelation 2:4-5, “Nevertheless I have [somewhat] against
thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember
therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do
the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will
remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou
repent.” Unless God’s church members repent, and return
to their first love, the church at Ephesus may continue to
meet, but Christ would have removed the candlestick.
I feel sure just about all Christian denominations believe
they have truth, and are God’s church; however, this is a
decision that only God can make. While the Lord has many
born again children in these churches, all the various
Christian denominations, with different doctrines and
practice, cannot all be right. It is up to us, if the Lord is in
the matter, to compare the doctrine believed by the various
churches, and find the one that fits Bible verses without
contradictions.
One action any member of a church should take is to obtain
the Articles of Faith for the particular denomination. Does
the church teach and preach based on these Articles of
Faith? Do these Articles of Faith present a systematic
theology that is consistent with Scripture? Only a study of
the Bible on a doctrinal basis can answer these questions.
One important difference exists between Primitive Baptists
and Roman Catholics. We believe God has many children
in all the various denominations, and they do not. We
believe just the churches are in error and do not have the
truth (doctrine and practice) as preserved by God. For this
reason, the study of Bible doctrine is extremely important.
Chapter IX
Letter to a Roman Catholic
101
The way we are the opposite of the Catholic Church has to
do with how simply we are organized. We also have a very
simple worship service. We refer to the following Bible
verses:
• 2 Corinthians 11:3-4 “But I fear, lest by any means, as
the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your
minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in
Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus,
whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another
spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel,
which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with
him.” The Roman Catholic worship service and its
organization is not simplistic. Also, another Jesus is
preached by the Roman Catholic Church.
One may find it hard to believe, but there is no hierarchy in
the Primitive Baptist Church. We have pastors (titled Elders)
and deacons. We believe Christ through the Holy Spirit has
direct authority over each individual church. The pastor of
the church is the church leader as long as he follows
Scripture. All decisions of any importance are based on
majority vote of the individual church members. If a
Primitive Baptist Church slips into gross error, this fact will
become known and the particular church in error would not
be considered a church in our fellowship. In other words,
there are churches called Primitive Baptist that we do not
recognize in fellowship. But in all this, there is no national or
international organization to rule over the churches. Each
church stands alone under the authority of God based on
Scripture.
Conclusion
I know that I have had much to say in this letter that one
may take as meddling in someone else’s religious practice.
Unlocking Bible Truth
102
However, the study involved has been of great benefit to
me, and hopefully it will also prove to be of some value to
the reader. I guess you would say studying Bible doctrine is
my hobby. Also, I respect the beliefs of others and feel they
should follow the Lord in the way they believe is right. For
this reason, I left the Presbyterian Church in 1974, and feel
the Lord helped me to lead my family to the Primitive Baptist
Church. I believe I have been greatly blessed in my life for
this action. Regardless of what any of us believe, and this
includes me, I think it is always good to review our doctrinal
beliefs, and continue to insure these beliefs are fully
supported by Scripture.
If we ever believe a church is in error scripturally, we should
simply leave the church and search for one that follows
doctrinal beliefs that harmonize Scripture without
contradictions. This was one purpose for my book entitled
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, published in the spring of
2003, and this book, Unlocking Bible Truth, published two
years later. Hopefully, this effort will benefit other of God’s
children as they search the Scriptures. I believe they will
find Primitive Baptist doctrine as presented honors the
sovereignty of God and His Bible.
Based on this brief study, I do not believe the Roman
Catholic Church has been preserved by God “the pillar and
ground of the truth,” as quoted in 1 Timothy 3:15. Doctrinal
beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church violate
commandments of God on too many key issues. It is easy is
read in the Old Testament the judgement of God against
Israel for many of these same errors. Remember, a
religious denomination is defined by the doctrine they
believe. Hopefully God’s children will follow the example of
the Bereans, as follows:
Chapter IX
Letter to a Roman Catholic
103
• Acts 17:11 “These were more noble than those in
Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all
readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily,
whether those things were so.”
Brother Adam, and all others that read this public letter,
please forgive me if anything I have written has been
offensive. My desire has only been to offer for consideration
the true Bible position, as I understand it, on the various
doctrines examined.
Sincerely
Tom Hagler
Section III
Problem Bible Verses
This section will consider some “problem” Bible verses that at first reading
may appear to teach one thing, but after a closer study they teach something
altogether different.
A closer study includes considering the context, the grammar, and sound
doctrine which includes a comparison with other Bible verses so as to
harmonize the meaning. We must remember 2 Peter 1:20, “Knowing this first,
that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” Scripture
contains no contradictions. In 2 Timothy 2:15 we read, “Study to shew thyself
approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly
dividing the word of truth.” But if Scripture is not rightly divided, and it
appears to be divided against itself, this interpretation cannot stand. Jesus
taught this message in Matthew 12:25, “And Jesus knew their thoughts, and
said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation;
and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:” The Bible is the
Word of Truth; therefore, it could never be divided against itself.
The Bible verses that follow may not have been a problem for some of our
readers, because they may not have known that the meaning they assumed to be
correct was actually in conflict with other Scripture. For this reason, it is so
important to study Bible doctrine. Think of doctrine as the steel girders which
support a sky scraper. In a similar manner the proper doctrine provides a
structure which supports all Bible verses in a way that harmonizes Scripture
without contradictions.
Unlocking Bible Truth
104
Chapter X
What the Gospel is not
The above chapters have attempted to show that the
eternal salvation of God’s elect children (Ephesians 1:4
“According as he hath chosen us in him before the
foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without
blame before him in love:”) was settled by God before the
foundation of the world and is assured (Romans 8:28-31)
without the use of the gospel. The gospel and gospel
preaching are involved with the conversion to discipleship of
the obedient child of God during their lifetime if they are
blessed to hear it preached. However, it is important to
remember that many of God’s children (saved eternally) are
either not obedient to the gospel or they may never hear the
gospel preached as in the case of infant deaths, those with
mental afflictions, and those in remote parts of the world.
While the above arguments presented in the previous
chapters do seem to be conclusive, there are still some
Scripture references which appear to teach that God uses
the gospel (for man’s religious practice) as some type of
divine instrument infused with a God given power of its own
so as to achieve eternal salvation. Many of God’s children
believe the gospel must be coupled with the “work of the
cross,” in order to make the death, burial, and resurrection
of Jesus….effective unto eternal salvation.
In this chapter, we will examine what we believe are the
principle passages which appear to teach that God uses the
gospel and man’s religious practice as a “means” for the
child of God to obtain eternal salvation. We must explain
the meaning of each verse in light of all other Scripture on
the subject. Every passage must be taken in context, and
Chapter X
What the Gospel is not
105
the grammar taken exactly as written in the AV 1611 King
James Bible. This exercise is necessary if we expect to
show there are no contradictions in the Bible concerning
these particular verses.
Notice: Most of the material which follows is found in the
booklet “Utility of the GOSPEL” by Elder Conrad
Jarrell…printed 1977.
Four problem verses for the doctrine presented
Consider the following Scriptures that appear to teach that
God uses the gospel as a “means” in the spiritual birth.
• “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that
we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”
(James 1:18)
• “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of
incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and
abideth for ever….And this is the word which by the
gospel is preached unto you.” (1Peter 1:23 and 25)
• “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper
than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing
asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow,
and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the
heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
• “For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ,
yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have
begotten you through the gospel.” (1 Corinthians 4:15)
The above verses may lead one to consider that a person is
“born again” by the preached word (or the gospel) even
Unlocking Bible Truth
106
though we have given compelling arguments to the
contrary. If we remember 2 Peter 1:20, “Knowing this first,
that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private
interpretation”…we understand there are no contradictions
in the Bible. With this fact in mind, let us examine the above
four verses.
To begin, most of our problems are resolved if we
understand which “word” is under consideration in the
above Scripture. As 2 Timothy 2:15 states, we should be
“…rightly dividing the word of truth.” Many words will have
more than one meaning.
Now, let us examine the word “word.” There are three kinds
of “word” used in the Bible…there is the written word, the
spoken word, and the living Word. Jesus Christ is the living
Word of God. If we can prove the above “word” verses refer
to Jesus Christ, the living Word of God, and not to the
spoken word, or written word, then, to a great degree, we
will have been successful in reconciling these verses.
The fact that Jesus Christ is the Word being referred to in
the following two verses is rarely disputed:
1. “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the
Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three
are one.” (1 John 5:7)
2. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with
God, and the Word was God. The same was in the
beginning with God. All things were made by him; and
without him was not anything made that was
made….And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt
among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the
Chapter X
What the Gospel is not
107
only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
(John 1:1-3, 14)
The following should also be obvious: “Even as they
delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were
eyewitnesses, and ministers of the Word.” (Luke 1:2) One
cannot be an eyewitness of the written or spoken word, but
can be an eyewitness of the living Word. The word
eyewitness in the original Greek language was used to
mean a direct vision of deity…such as in Greek mythology,
a character claims he saw Zeus. Jesus was deity. Also, in
this context, “ministers of the Word”…would mean “body
servants” of the living Word…Jesus.
Comments on James 1:18
Using the above logic, James 1:18 is resolved, “…Of His
own will begat He us with the Word of Truth….” Jesus did
say, “…I am the way, the Truth, and the life….” John 14:6.
Jesus is the living Word of Truth. James 1:18 could be
quoted as follows: Of His own will begat He us by Jesus
Christ.
Comments on 1 Peter 1:23, and 25
The verses in 1 Peter can be resolved in the same way as
above. In verse 23, we have, “Being born again, not of
corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word (Logos in
the original Greek language) of God, which liveth and
abideth forever.” How could a written or spoken word be
living? Jesus Christ does live and abide forever. Jesus
Christ is also referred to as the Seed of God, as follows:
• Galatians 3:16 “Now to Abraham and his seed were the
promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many;
but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.”
Unlocking Bible Truth
108
• Galatians 3:19 “Wherefore then [serveth] the law? It was
added because of transgressions, till the seed should
come to whom the promise was made; [and it was]
ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.”
Now, back to the passage we were considering, but two
verses later, in 1 Peter 1:25, we have, “And this is the word
(rhema in Greek) which by the gospel is preached unto
you.” Since the word preached is a different Greek word,
this difference should make it clear we are born again by
the living Word (Logos), Jesus…and informed of this “good
news” by the gospel…the written word (rhema). This
principle is plainly stated as follows:
• 2 Timothy 1:9-10 “Who hath saved us and called us with
an holy calling, not according to our works, but
according to His own purpose and grace, which was
given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is
now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour
Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath
brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”
Could this principle be any clearer? Jesus Christ, the
incorruptible Seed of God, gives spiritual life. In John
5:25, Jesus says: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour
is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the
voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.”
The gospel makes manifest, or brings to light, what
Christ has done for His regenerate children.
Only God can give life, and this is without help from the
dead, alien, and unregenerate sinner. After all, the
spiritually dead are dead. Ephesians 2:1 states, “And you
hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and
sins…” This good news is brought to light through the
gospel.
Chapter X
What the Gospel is not
109
Comments on Hebrews 4:12
The next bullet quotes Hebrews 4:12 which in part states
“…the Word of God is quick…,” or alive. The written word
cannot be alive. This “Word” must be the living Word of
God--Jesus Christ. Also, this verse says that the Word of
God is a “…discerner of the thoughts and intents of the
heart.” How could this be the written word? The living
Word…Jesus Christ…is a discerner of the thoughts and
intents of the heart. Finally, in Hebrews 4:14, we have
absolute proof as follows:
• “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is
passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us
hold fast our profession.” (Hebrews 4:14)
If one reads Scripture in context and reads all the Scripture
on the subject, there should be no problem in reconciling
any seeming contradiction.
Comments on 1 Corinthians 4:15
The final verse above to consider states, “For though ye
have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not
many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you
through the gospel.” This verse seems to have the apostle
Paul claiming that he is their spiritual father. However, we
remember Jesus said in Matthew 23:9, “And call no man
your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is
in heaven.” Now, since Paul is an inspired apostle, he could
not say anything contrary to the teachings of Jesus.
Also, in Galatians 4:19, Paul appears to say he is a spiritual
mother. This verse states, “My little children, of whom I
travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.” We
cannot believe that Paul thought he was spiritual father to
Unlocking Bible Truth
110
the Corinthians, then later tell the Galatians he was their
spiritual mother. The answer to this dilemma is found in the
verse before the one under consideration…1 Corinthians
4:14, which states, “I write not these things to shame you,
but as my beloved sons I warn you…” The apostle Paul was
using figurative language. He was the spiritual father to the
Corinthians in the same way that one would say George
Washington is the father of our country. No one in the
United States seriously considers this statement to mean
George Washington is their literal ancestor.
Summation of comments
Hopefully, the above explanation has proven through
Scripture what the gospel is not. The gospel and gospel
preaching is not used in any way by God to assist man to
secure a place for the sinner in heaven. God is sovereign
and all powerful. He is not hindered in any way by weak and
sinful man. However, the gospel is most important for the
born again child of God during this lifetime. The gospel
makes conversion possible, offering the penitent sinner
fellowship with Jesus and salvation during this life from the
wicked world…or as Peter said in Acts 2:40, “…Save
yourselves from this untoward generation.” We know we
cannot save ourselves for heaven.
Conclusion
If the above four verses are the most persuasive in the
Bible which appear to take the position that the gospel is
used by God to offer eternal salvation to the whole human
race (and it is my sincere understanding these are the best
on this subject)…then it must be obvious these verses
teach us something altogether different. The voice of Jesus
Chapter X
What the Gospel is not
111
Christ through the Holy Spirit, the living Word of God…and
not the gospel … calls to life (born again) the elect of God.
• John 5:25 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is
coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice
of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.”
• John 6:63 “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh
profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they
are spirit, and they are life.”
God, alone and unaided, gives spiritual life (being born
again):
• John 3:8 “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou
hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it
cometh, and whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born
of the Spirit.” Man cannot control the wind…nor can man
control the Spirit of God.
To those He chose before the foundation of the world:
• Ephesians 1:4-6 “According as He hath chosen us in
Him before the foundation of the world, that we should
be holy and without blame before Him in love: Having
predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus
Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of His
will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He
hath made us accepted in the beloved.” In the above
passage it states God makes us accepted in Himself,
not that we accept God. No Bible verse says we accept
Christ! Not even one! Where did this popular
misconception originate from?
God performs this directly without man’s assistance.
Unlocking Bible Truth
112
• John 1:13 “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will
of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
….through the Spirit, by the voice of the living Word of
God….Jesus Christ.
• John 6:63 “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh
profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they
are spirit, and they are life.”
The sovereign God of the universe, who created all things
in the universe, is also sovereign regarding who He will
have in heaven. The elect of God (Ephesians 1:4-6),
whether an unborn baby, the mentally handicapped, those
in remote parts of the world, or those who in rebellion reject
the gospel, every elect child of God is safe as regards
eternal salvation. This doctrine is predestination.
To better see God’s sovereignty and predestination,
consider the following verse:
• Romans 9:15-16 “For He saith to Moses, I will have
mercy on who I will have mercy, and I will have
compassion on who I will have compassion. So then it is
not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of
God that sheweth mercy.”
God has pre-determined the final eternal destination of His
elect children. He will not lose even one. Even so, God’s
born again children are responsible and held accountable
by God in this life for their own actions. Through the
providence of God, events may or may not be changed as a
result of prayer. Many examples in Scripture prove this fact.
“…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth
much.” (James 5:16)
Chapter X
What the Gospel is not
113
God has provided the gospel for conversion, to call his
children to repent (Acts 3:19), in belief to confess Christ
(Romans 10:9), and be baptized (Mark 16:16)… so as to
enjoy the comfort of the Holy Spirit (Jesus called the Holy
Spirit the Comforter in John 14:26) in fellowship with Jesus
Christ through the Spirit. What a wonderful salvation for
God’s people while in this life!
Restated, in regeneration God gives His children a new
nature called “a new creature” in 2 Corinthians 5:17:
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old
things are passed away; behold, all things are become
new.” In 2 Corinthians 1:22, this new nature, or “new
creature,” is referred to as follows: “Who hath also sealed
us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” This
down payment (earnest) is referred to in Ephesians 1:14 as
follows: “Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the
redemption of the purchased possession…”
The gospel is for conversion and makes it possible for
God’s obedient children to be added to His church (Acts
2:41) to enjoy the “earnest of our inheritance” by
experiencing a “little bit of heaven” (our inheritance) while
still on earth, by being in fellowship with Jesus Christ (as
Rev. 3:20-21), through the Comforter, the Holy Spirit.
Hopefully this chapter has shown what the gospel is not, as
well as, the purpose God actually intended for the gospel.
The gospel and our religious practice is for conditional time
“salvation.” It brings to light, or makes manifest, what Christ
has done for us, as stated in 2 Timothy 1:10, “But is now
made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus
Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and
immortality to light through the gospel:”
Unlocking Bible Truth
114
Chapter XI
For God so loved the World
This Bible verse, John 3:16, is misunderstood by most of
God’s people. It is generally taken as giving us the way in
which we can be born again. They would say that God
loves the entire human world, and if one will only believe
that Jesus is the Christ (the eternal Son of God), invite Him
into your heart, then this person will become born again.
The purpose of this chapter is to look much deeper into this
important Bible verse, and based on the actual grammar
and Bible principles already established, determine the
actual meaning.
We will consider John 3:14-18. These verses as they
appear in the King James AV 1611 Bible are as follows:
• John 3:14 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the
wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:”
• John 3:15 “That whosoever believeth in him should not
perish, but have eternal life.”
• John 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.”
• John 3:17 “For God sent not his Son into the world to
condemn the world; but that the world through him might
be saved.”
• John 3:18 “He that believeth on him is not condemned:
but he that believeth not is condemned already, because
he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten
Son of God.”
Chapter XI
For God so loved the World
115
Note: The words above that are underlined, world and
believe, are for emphasis.
The following consideration will primarily provide Bible
based definitions for the words “world” and “believeth,” and
will show which “world” obviously is under consideration in
John 3:16. However, the expression “whosoever believeth”
may not seem so straightforward at first. Even so, in light of
the actual grammar, as well as the way in which the Bible
uses “believeth” in a number of Bible verses, the meaning
of this phrase will become clear.
World
Let’s first consider “world.” One must know which “world” is
the object of God’s love. We know that in the in the 9th
verse of the 17th chapter of John, Jesus prayed just before
He was crucified: “I pray for them: I pray not for the world,
but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.”
This prayer clearly demonstrates that a world exists that
God does not love. In fact, in the 17th chapter of John,
“world” is mentioned 19 times, and refers to at least four
different “worlds.” (as shown later, beginning on page 122)
One should verify this fact for himself.
Further, consider the “world” mentioned in Luke 2:1. This
verse states as follows: “And it came to pass in those days,
that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all
the world should be taxed.” Does this verse refer to the
whole human world? Of course not! It means the whole
Roman world. However, many people make this mistake
regarding John 3:16. In light of John 17:9, John 3:16 clearly
has reference to the “elect world” which God chose before
the foundation of the world. Ephesians 1:4 states:
“According as he hath chosen us in him before the
Unlocking Bible Truth
116
foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without
blame before him in love.” The elect world is the object of
God’s love in John 3:16.
Now, let’s look closer at the “elect.” Peter writes in 1 Peter
1:2, “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the
Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience
and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you,
and peace, be multiplied.” “Foreknowledge” is also
mentioned by Paul in Romans 8:29, “For whom he did
foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the
image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among
many brethren.” Foreknowledge means God “knew” the
elect before the world was created. God “knew” them in the
same way a man “knows” his wife. God has an intimate love
that He has had for His elect since before the foundation of
the world, as in Ephesians 1:4.
Now, notice another comment by Jesus. In Matthew 7:22-
23, Jesus states: “Many will say to me in that day, Lord,
Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name
have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful
works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you:
depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Jesus being God
manifest in the flesh knew about these people. Jesus
obviously means He never knew these people intimately.
They were never the objects of His love (foreknowledge)
from before the foundation of the world. God only loves the
“elect world.”
Believeth
Next, the phrases “whosoever believeth in him,” “believeth
on him,” as well as “believeth not” will now be considered.
The main point to remember is that one’s belief that Jesus
Chapter XI
For God so loved the World
117
is the Christ cannot be both the cause as well as the effect
of eternal life. In the real world, we always consider if
something is the cause of a problem (or occurrence), or if it
is just the effect, symptom, or evidence that points us back
to the cause of the problem.
Cause and effect has already been covered in detail in
Chapter I. Even so, let’s review a real world example of
cause and effect. Imagine that an electric lamp does not
work. The fact that the lamp does not work is the symptom,
or effect, that points you back to the cause of the problem.
The cause may be a burned out light bulb, not plugged into
the socket, faulty wiring, popped circuit breaker, etc. You
could not say that the lack of light is the cause of the
problem.
“Believeth” (as “whosoever believeth”), based on the actual
grammar, is interpreted “whosoever is in the state of
believing.” Our belief is always given in the Bible as an
evidence, or effect that has resulted from one being already
born again as given in 1 John 5:1, John 5:24, Acts 13:48,
John 10:26, Galatians 5:22-23, etc. Notice the reading of
the above mentioned verses:
• 1 John 5:1 “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ
is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat
loveth him also that is begotten of him.”
• John 5:24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth
my word (John 8:47), and believeth on him that sent me,
hath everlasting life, and shall not come into
condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”
Unlocking Bible Truth
118
• Acts 13:48 “And when the Gentiles heard this, they were
glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as
were ordained to eternal life believed.”
• John 10:26 “But ye believe not, because ye are not of
my sheep, as I said unto you.” (Jesus did not say if you
will believe, you will become one of God’s sheep. He
said the opposite.)
• Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy,
peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
The following is a review from previous chapters on being
born again, (as stated by Jesus in John 3:3 “Except a man
be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God,”). The 8th
verse of John 3 states “The wind bloweth where it listeth,
and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell
whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that
is born of the Spirit.” No man can control where or when the
wind will blow (which is the reason that Jesus gave us this
example), or, similarly, where or when the Holy Spirit will act
in giving spiritual life. In John 6:63, Jesus states: “It is the
spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words
that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”
Jesus also states in John 5:25: “Verily, verily, I say unto
you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall
hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall
live.” This verse refers to the actual voice of Jesus, through
the Holy Spirit, as when Jesus called Lazarus from the
grave in John 11:43. The words from Jesus, as repeated by
man, do not lead one to become born again, rather, the
voice of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit accomplishes
this purpose. Man is not involved in this action in any way,
Chapter XI
For God so loved the World
119
since the unregenerate man is spiritually dead (Ephesians
2:1) and hates God (Romans 8:7). Ephesians 2:1 states:
“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses
and sins.” The dead can do nothing for themselves. Only
God can give spiritual life.
Another verse that shows God’s sovereignty in eternal
salvation is John 6:44: “No man can come to me, except the
Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up
at the last day.” This principle is repeated by Jesus in John
6:65: “And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man
can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my
Father.” Jesus is the way, as: “Jesus saith unto him, I am
the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the
Father, but by me.” Those chosen by the Father (Ephesians
1:4) are given (not offered) eternal life by Jesus, as stated
in John 17:2-3: “As thou hast given him power over all flesh,
that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast
given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee
the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
Notice the limitation (to whom Jesus will give eternal life)
strongly expressed by Jesus in praying for “as many as,”
which means not one more and not one less. Only those
God the Father gave Jesus will be given eternal life, as in
John 6:37-39: “All that the Father giveth me shall come to
me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For
I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the
will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which
hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should
lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.”
As stated before, belief in Christ is the evidence of spiritual
life. Many people today say that belief in Christ is the cause
of spiritual life. Something cannot be both the cause as well
as the effect of an occurrence. The Bible always takes the
Unlocking Bible Truth
120
position that belief is the effect. This faith is a “fruit” of the
Holy Sprit that dwells within them. (Galatians 5:22-23)
We will now consider the phrase “believeth not” in John
3:18. Refer to John 10:26, since Jesus was speaking to
some unregenerate people. He stated: “But ye believe not,
because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.” In
other words, they do not believe because they are not a
child of God. They do not believe because they are not of
His sheep. Someone not born again is totally unable to
believe that Jesus is the Christ. The unregenerate cannot
understand spiritual things, as stated by 1 Corinthians 2:14:
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of
God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know
them, because they are spiritually discerned.” The
unregenerate cannot hear spiritual things, as Jesus stated
in John 8:47: “He that is of God heareth God's words: ye
therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.”
Purpose of the GOSPEL
Bible verses like Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call
upon the name of the Lord shall be saved,” are not referring
to eternal salvation, but rather to the aspect of salvation that
is available for God’s children in this life resulting from
obedience unto discipleship in the Lord’s church. This
salvation is from this wicked “untoward generation,” as in
Acts 2:40. This salvation is in addition to eternal glory, as
Paul stated in 2 Timothy 2:10: “Therefore I endure all things
for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation
which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”
Chapter XI
For God so loved the World
121
Conclusion
Rather than to teach how one is to be born again, these
verses assure a child of God that his eternal salvation is
secure. Based on the explanation above, John 3:14-18
could be rewritten so as to clearly show which world is the
object of God’s love. Further, a person that does believe
that Jesus is the Christ is already a child of God. The
phrases “believeth in him” or “believeth on him” could
obviously be replaced with the phrase “a child of God.” The
phrase “that believeth not,” could be replaced with “is not a
child of God,” or “is not of His sheep.”
John 3:14-18 could then be rewritten as follows:
• And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,
even so must the Son of man be lifted up on the cross of
Calvary: That whosoever is a child of God should not
perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the elect
world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that
whosoever is a child of God should not perish, but have
everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world
to condemn the elect world; but that the elect world
through Him might be saved. He that is a child of God is
not condemned: but he that is not a child of God is
condemned already, because he is not of His sheep.
World Verses
C = Created world: H = Human world: NE= Non-Elect world:
E = Elect world
John 17:5 “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine
own self with the glory which I had with thee before the
worldC was.”
Unlocking Bible Truth
122
John 17:6 “I have manifested thy name unto the men which
thou gavest me out of the worldH: thine they were, and thou
gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.”
John 17:9 “I pray for them: I pray not for the worldNE, but for
them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.”
John 17:11 “And now I am no more in the worldH, but these
are in the worldH, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep
through thine own name those whom thou hast given me,
that they may be one, as we are.”
John 17:12 “While I was with them in the worldH, I kept them
in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and
none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the
scripture might be fulfilled.”
John 17:13 “And now come I to thee; and these things I
speak in the worldH, that they might have my joy fulfilled in
themselves.”
John 17:14 “I have given them thy word; and the worldNE
hath hated them, because they are not of the worldNE, even
as I am not of the worldC.”
John 17:15 “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of
the worldH, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.”
John 17:16 “They are not of the worldH, even as I am not of
the worldC.”
John 17:18 “As thou hast sent me into the worldH, even so
have I also sent them into the worldH.”
Chapter XI
For God so loved the World
123
John 17:21 “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in
me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the
worldE may believe that thou hast sent me.”
John 17:23 “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be
made perfect in one; and that the worldE may know that
thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved
me.”
John 17:24 “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast
given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my
glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before
the foundation of the worldC.”
John 17:25 “O righteous Father, the worldNE hath not known
thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that
thou hast sent me.”
Unlocking Bible Truth
124
Chapter XII
God chose us to salvation
for belief of the truth by the gospel
It has been suggested that 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 may
give the strongest argument of any Scripture supporting
Calvinist theology, and further, these verses supposedly
refute the theology of a Primitive Baptist which has been
presented above. Besides this, an argument can even be
made that these verses favor Arminian theology. An effort
will be made to see what position is correct.
To begin the study, we must first define again briefly the
theology of these three groups. This was given in the
Foreword.
1. Calvinists believe in total depravity so only a sovereign
God can save. That election (Ephesians 1:4-6) is
unconditional, and the atonement of Christ on the cross
is limited to the elect only by irresistible grace. These
elect of God will hear the gospel preached, they will be
obedient unto discipleship, and will persevere in faith so
none will be guilty of unbelief at the time of their death.
Those who die as infants, or who are mentally impaired,
are saved in a different way.
2. Arminians would say God’s election is based on His
foreseeing they would respond in a positive way to the
gospel call; therefore, man’s free will is the determining
factor. God’s grace is available to all humans, but this
grace can be resisted. Most Arminians would say those
saved by gospel preaching would be saved eternally
only if they are disciples of Christ at the time of their
Chapter XII
God chose us to salvation
for belief of the truth by the gospel
125
death. Those who die as infants, or who are mentally
impaired, are saved in a different way.
3. Primitive Baptists believe a sovereign God
unconditionally elects a people (limited atonement, or
particular redemption…Ephesians 1:4-6) for eternal
salvation. In Psalms 14:2-3, God sees the future in
which no one will seek Him; therefore, all are saved in
the same way…infant deaths, mentally impaired, etc. In
John 3:8 Jesus compares being born again to the wind.
No one can control either the action of the wind or the
Spirit of God in giving spiritual life to the elect of God.
Most heaven bound children of God never hear the
gospel preached, many of those that do hear the gospel
message will not be obedient unto discipleship, and
some disciples of Christ will backslide and die in a state
of rebellion. God’s children will suffer in this lifetime for
their sinful acts, but never eternal damnation in hell. The
church is a hospital for sinners, and is not used by God
to save people for heaven. The church is the place
where God’s people can be comforted, healed, and
receive spiritual food through the preached word…so as
to grow and mature spiritually. All of the elect of God will
be born again by direct action of the Son of God through
the Holy Spirit sometime between conception and death,
and these will go to heaven after death. Jesus confirms
this fact in John 5:25 and John 6:63. Primitive Baptists
believe there are many who will suffer in the flames of
hell for an eternity; however, by the grace of God alone,
“…a great multitude, which no man could number…”
(Revelation 7:9) will spend an eternity in heaven.
This chapter will not deal with the consequences God’s
people will suffer if they fail to obey the commandments
Unlocking Bible Truth
126
unto discipleship in the Lord’s church. Neither will we deal
with the many great blessings God’s people will enjoy if they
are obedient and take up their cross and follow Christ into
His church. These are important subjects already
considered in other chapters of this book, and in my book
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth. Also, there is available
from other sources a considerable volume of excellent
written material that deals with these important subjects.
We will now consider the above Bible verses that at first
reading appear to only support the Calvinist system of
theology, and see if after closer consideration they may be
more compatible with Primitive Baptist beliefs, or even
Arminian beliefs. Notice closely the reading of these two
Bible verses as they appear in the AV 1611 King James
Bible.
• 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 “But we are bound to give
thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the
Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you
to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief
of the truth: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel,
to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
From the beginning
As suggested by Elder Sam Bryant (pastor from Hoover,
AL), the key to understanding Bible verse 2 Thessalonians
2:13 is in knowing the meaning of “from the beginning.” This
expression appears 23 times in the New Testament. It
means “from the beginning” of the ministry of Jesus in 12
verses (M of J), “from the beginning” of the world (or
creation) in 8 verses (C), and “from the beginning” of the
period of the apostles in 3 verses (P of A). A Calvinist
would say the phrase “from the beginning” as appears in 2
Thessalonians 2:13 means from before the foundation of
Chapter XII
God chose us to salvation
for belief of the truth by the gospel
127
the world when God the Father chose the elect of God for
eternal salvation (Ephesians 1:4-6), He also chose these
same individuals (all of the elect) for “belief of the truth” (to
hear the gospel during their lifetime and to be obedient to
gospel commandments). This may be one possible
meaning as the verse is written (if we ignore the rest of the
Bible); however, not one of the 22 other verses mean from
before the foundation of the world, and I do not believe that
is the meaning intended for this verse. I hope to show it has
reference to the period of the apostles.
Many other Bible verses reject the thought that “belief of the
truth” was expected by God for all of the elect. For instance,
some of God’s children die very young, some have a mental
affliction to prevent their understanding the gospel
message, there are those who live in a remote part of the
world and never hear the gospel preached, and then there
are even some of God’s regenerate children who hear the
gospel preached, but because of worldly cares they are not
obedient to the commandments and may even die in
unbelief. At least, this is what a Primitive Baptist would
argue.
But for now, let’s consider “from the beginning” Bible
verses: (C) = Creation (M of J) = Ministry of Jesus
(P of A) = Period of Apostles
1. Matthew 19:8 “He saith unto them, Moses because of
the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away
your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.” (C)
2. Mark 10:6 “But from the beginning of the creation God
made them male and female.” (C)
Unlocking Bible Truth
128
3. Mark 13:19 “For [in] those days shall be affliction, such
as was not from the beginning of the creation which
God created unto this time, neither shall be.” (C)
4. Luke 1:2 “Even as they delivered them unto us, which
from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers
of the word;” (M of J)
5. John 6:64 “But there are some of you that believe not.
For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that
believed not, and who should betray him.” (M of J)
6. John 8:27 “Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And
Jesus saith unto them, Even [the same] that I said unto
you from the beginning.” (M of J)
7. John 8:44 “Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the lusts
of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the
beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is
no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of
his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (C)
8. John 15:27 “And ye also shall bear witness, because ye
have been with me from the beginning.” (M of J)
9. Acts 11:4-5 “But Peter rehearsed [the matter] from the
beginning, and expounded [it] by order unto them,
saying, I was in the city of Joppa praying: and in a
trance I saw a vision, A certain vessel descend, as it had
been a great sheet, let down from heaven by four
corners; and it came even to me:” (P of A)
10. Acts 15:18 “Known unto God are all his works from the
beginning of the world.” (C)
11. Acts 26:5 “Which knew me from the beginning, if they
would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our
religion I lived a Pharisee.” (P of A)
12. Ephesians 3:9 “And to make all [men] see what [is] the
fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of
the world hath been hid in God, who created all things
by Jesus Christ:” (C)
Chapter XII
God chose us to salvation
for belief of the truth by the gospel
129
13. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 “But we are bound to give thanks
alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord,
because God hath from the beginning chosen you to
salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of
the truth:” (P of A in my opinion.)
14. 2 Peter 3:4 “And saying, Where is the promise of his
coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things
continue as [they were] from the beginning of the
creation.” (C)
15. 1 John 1:1 “That which was from the beginning, which
we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes,
which we have looked upon, and our hands have
handled, of the Word of life;” (M of J)
16. 1 John 2:7 “Brethren, I write no new commandment unto
you, but an old commandment which ye had from the
beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye
have heard from the beginning.” (M of J)
17. 1 John 2:13 “I write unto you, fathers, because ye have
known him [that is] from the beginning. I write unto
you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked
one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have
known the Father.” (M of J)
18. 1 John 2:14 “I have written unto you, fathers, because
ye have known him [that is] from the beginning. I have
written unto you, young men, because ye are strong,
and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have
overcome the wicked one.” (M of J)
19. 1 John 2:24 “Let that therefore abide in you, which ye
have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have
heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also
shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.” (M of J)
20. 1 John 3:8 “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the
devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the
Unlocking Bible Truth
130
Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the
works of the devil.” (C)
21. 1 John 3:11 “For this is the message that ye heard from
the beginning, that we should love one another.” (M of
J)
22. 2 John 1:5 “And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though
I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which
we had from the beginning, that we love one another.”
(M of J)
23. 2 John 1:6 “And this is love, that we walk after his
commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye
have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.”
(M of J)
Based on the above, it appears more likely that Paul is
stating in 2 Thessalonians 2:13 that “from the beginning”
when the Holy Spirit led Paul to enter Thessalonica (Acts
17:1) and preach the gospel, that God was pleased to have
chosen to bless a number of His already regenerate
children in Thessalonica. God had set these blessed
individuals apart so as to establish a church by way of
“sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.”
After all, only those who have been born again have the
ability to hear, understand or believe the gospel, as follows:
John 8:47 “He that is of God heareth God's words: ye
therefore hear [them] not, because ye are not of God,” 1
Corinthians 2:14 “But the natural man receiveth not the
things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him:
neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually
discerned.” John 10:26 “But ye believe not, because ye are
not of my sheep, as I said unto you.” Therefore, the
preaching of the cross (gospel message) is not the power of
God through “sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the
truth” for the unregenerate. For these it is only foolishness
Chapter XII
God chose us to salvation
for belief of the truth by the gospel
131
as 1 Corinthians 1:18 states: “For the preaching of the cross
is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are
saved it is the power of God.”
This shows that God has blessed the effort of God’s
obedient children in Thessalonica to “press into the
kingdom.” This occurrence is stated in Luke 16:16, “The law
and the prophets were until John: since that time the
kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into
it,” by adding them to the church (church kingdom) as also
noted by Peter in Acts 2:38-41, 47. To better understand
the various “kingdoms” taught in Scripture, see Chapter
XVI, “Three heavens and three kingdoms of Scripture,”
beginning on page 180, and the kingdom verses page 195.
Primitive Baptists would say that the obedience of the child
of God to the gospel unto discipleship in the Lord’s church
yields a salvation that could be referred to as conditional
time “salvation.” Conditional time “salvation” is a convenient
label to describe gospel conversion unto discipleship in the
Lord’s church for a salvation to be enjoyed (or later lost by
rebellion against God) by the child of God during this
lifetime. It is a salvation “from this untoward generation”
referred to by Peter in Acts 2:40. This salvation is in addition
to eternal glory, as stated by Paul in the following verse:
• 2 Timothy 2:10 “Therefore I endure all things for the
elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation
which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”
Notice the construction of the above sentence: “may” let’s
us know something is only a possibility, and the words
“also” and “with” makes it clear that it is “in addition to.”
Therefore, “salvation in Christ Jesus” mentioned above is in
addition to eternal glory. All the elect of God will enjoy
Unlocking Bible Truth
132
eternal glory, including those who die as infants, have a
mental affliction, live in a remote place and never hear the
gospel, and even those of the regenerated elect who
through sinful living, hear the gospel preached, but rebel in
unbelief. Three verses later, in 2 Timothy 2:13, we see proof
that God knew many of His regenerate children would be
guilty of unbelief, as follows: “If we believe not, [yet] he
abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” Another verse
that says the same thing is Romans 3:3-4 “For what if some
did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God
without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every
man a liar;” These last two verses teach eternal security for
God’s children.
To see many examples of God’s children who are heaven
bound, but are guilty of unbelief, see pages 27-39 in my
book Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth under the section
“God’s children guilty of unbelief.”
This should reject the Calvinist understanding of the phrase
“belief of the truth” in 2 Thessalonians 2:13. Many of God’s
children who have faith (fruit of the Spirit…Galatians 5:22-
23) rebel against God and are guilty of unbelief, and they
may even suffer and die in this awful state. “Belief of the
truth” in this verse means God’s children believing in the
preached gospel and being obedient to gospel
commandments unto discipleship in the Lord’s church.
Obtaining of the glory
Now let’s consider 2 Thessalonians 2:14. As Elder Harold
Hunt (pastor from Maryville, TN) mentioned concerning this
verse, first we need to understand more about “glory.” This
verse states “Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the
obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Exactly
Chapter XII
God chose us to salvation
for belief of the truth by the gospel
133
what is that “glory of our Lord Jesus Christ,” and where and
when do we as children of God obtain it? Is he talking about
the glory of eternal heaven or is he talking about that glory
with which God adorns the life of His obedient child right
here in this world?
Elder Hunt states further, “Whatever this glory is, it is
obtained by the saints. The various dictionaries define
obtain as ‘to acquire by effort,’ or ‘to acquire by trying.’ If we
make the glory under consideration to be the glory we will
receive in eternity, it is hard to see how that fits either the
Primitive Baptist point of view or that of the Calvinist.” That
would support Arminian theology. He goes on to say, “On
the other hand there is a sense in which Christ is glorified in
the life of His obedient children in this time world, and that
glory does come in connection with our trying and our
effort.”
Elder Hunt gives proof of the above by the following Bible
verses:
• John 15:8 “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear
much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.”
• Galatians 1:24 “And they glorified God in me.”
• 1 Peter 4:14 “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ,
happy [are ye]; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth
upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your
part he is glorified.”
• 2 Corinthians 4:15 “For all things [are] for your sakes,
that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving
of many redound to the glory of God.”
• Ephesians 1:12 “That we should be to the praise of his
glory, who first trusted in Christ.”
Unlocking Bible Truth
134
• Ephesians 3:21 “Unto him [be] glory in the church by
Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.
Amen.”
As stated above, Elder Hunt observed that this “glory of the
Lord Jesus Christ” the child of God receives is the result of
their effort, their trying, to live in such manner as to reflect
(1st) the sanctification of the spirit, and (2nd) their belief of
the truth.”
Elder Hunt then states the following: “There is no text in the
Bible that—at first reading—appears to support the
Calvinist’s position more clearly than these two verses do;
but if the Calvinist insists on putting the salvation under
consideration on an eternal footing, he will serve the
Arminian cause much more than he does his own. This
glory—this salvation—is obtained by effort, by trying.
Primitive Baptists call this salvation conditional time
“salvation.”
The Calvinist is entirely correct in insisting that salvation for
heaven is wholly and solely of grace. It is not based on
man’s effort, as Titus 3:5 states: “Not by works of
righteousness which we have done, but according to his
mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and
renewing of the Holy Ghost;” In this the Calvinist far
surpasses the Arminian. No consistent Calvinist can claim
that we gain eternal heaven by our own effort—by our own
trying. Notice 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 again:
• 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 “But we are bound to give
thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the
Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you
to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief
of the truth: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel,
to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Chapter XII
God chose us to salvation
for belief of the truth by the gospel
135
We must keep it always in mind that this salvation, this
glory, is obtained by effort, by trying. Remember Arminian
theology? The Arminian would ignore Psalms 14:2-3 (“The
LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men,
to see if there were any that did understand, [and] seek
God. 3 They are all gone aside, they are [all] together
become filthy: [there is] none that doeth good, no, not
one.”), and Romans 3:10-18 (which essentially says the
same thing, but in more detail). The Arminian would say
God looked down through time to see who would respond in
a positive way to the gospel message, and based on man’s
free will, God elects these individuals “to salvation through
sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:” The
Arminian would say the 14th verse above explains that God
did this by way of the gospel. The Arminian in this case is
also forgetting 1 Corinthians 1:18 “For the preaching of the
cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which
are saved it is the power of God.” The gospel is of no
benefit to the unregenerate, or “them that perish.”
Now, let’s return to Primitive Baptist theology. With regard
to the expression that “God hath….chosen you to
salvation,” Paul introduces the concept expressed by Peter
in Acts 2:47, in which case Peter preached to these early
Christians admonishing them to repent and be baptized. In
the 47th verse, it states “And the Lord added to the church
daily such as should be saved.” Notice that God adds
these obedient children of God (heaven bound already) to
the church such as should be saved (this “church” or
“gospel” salvation is in addition to eternal glory as the above
quoted 2 Timothy 2:10 clearly states). It is not only the
obedient child of God requesting baptism and the
agreement of the church congregation to receive the
Unlocking Bible Truth
136
individual, but also God makes the decision to add “such
as should be saved” to the church. After all, God “is a
discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
(Hebrews 4:12) For reasons satisfactory to God alone, all of
God’s children who will be in heaven after death are not
blessed to be added to His church while alive in this time
world.
Elder Harold Hunt made some good observations on the
above subject. He stated, “The text tells us that God has
chosen these people. That is, perhaps, the easiest part of
the text. If God blesses somebody with gospel benefits, you
can be sure that it pleased God to bless them. Everything
that God does, He does according to His will, according to
His purpose or choice; He does not do anything by
accident.” Elder Hunt gave as a reference the experience of
King Nebuchadnezzar in the Old Testament as follows:
• Daniel 4:34-35 “And at the end of the days I
Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and
mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the
most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth
for ever, whose dominion [is] an everlasting dominion,
and his kingdom [is] from generation to generation: 35
And all the inhabitants of the earth [are] reputed as
nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of
heaven, and [among] the inhabitants of the earth: and
none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest
thou?”
Unless we are willing to conclude that every lukewarm
Christian is bound for eternal damnation, we have to admit
that many truly born again children of God are less
interested in studying their Bibles. They are less interested
in knowing the truth it contains, and in applying those
principles to their lives. Luke warmness characterizes all
Chapter XII
God chose us to salvation
for belief of the truth by the gospel
137
they do. Even in “time salvation,” God blesses, because He
chooses to bless. Conditions are connected with “time
salvation,” but that does not mean God is obligated to bless,
simply because we met conditions. God is never indebted
to anybody. Every blessing we receive, whether in time or
eternity, springs from the sovereign good pleasure of God.
Consider the following: “But rather seek ye the kingdom of
god; and all these things will be added unto you. Fear not,
little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you
the kingdom.” (Luke 12:31-32). But then these blessings
can be lost. Notice the possibility of loosing conditional time
“salvation.” Revelation 3:14-22 is addressed to the
Laodicean church, and to lukewarm Christians that “art
neither cold nor hot,” and so the text says “I will spue thee
out of my mouth.” This means church benefits may be lost;
thus, the loss of conditional time “salvation,” not the loss of
eternal salvation.
Conclusion
My conclusion is that the two Bible verses in
2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 do not support Calvinist theology.
Further, I believe these verses do fully support Primitive
Baptist theology. Arminian theology was also briefly
rejected. Many Bible verses could be offered to reject
Arminian theology, as was done at the Synod of Dort in
1619 by Protestant theologians from several European
countries. Under Section II, Theology Problems, see
Chapter IV, The Five Points of Calvinism, beginning on
page 29 for a brief history concerning the Synod of Dort.
This will give the origin of the labels Arminianism and
Calvinism. In the next chapter, Chapter V, Baptist Five
Doctrines of Grace, beginning on page 34, will explain the
difference in theology between the Five Points of Calvinism
Unlocking Bible Truth
138
and the Baptist Five Doctrines of Grace (Primitive Baptist
beliefs). While these two doctrines are very similar, the
difference has a big affect on the meaning of a number of
Bible verses and parables.
Chapter XIII
Can a child of God commit sin?
139
Chapter XIII
Can a child of God commit sin?
The following will be thoughts on the very interesting Bible
verse which states as follows:
• 1 John 3:9 “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit
sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin,
because he is born of God.”
A proper interpretation 1 John 3:9 makes it possible to
understand how God could say in Romans 9:11-13, “(For
the children being not yet born, neither having done any
good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election
might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) It was
said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is
written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” God
hated Esau even before he was physically born!
First, let’s consider more closely what 1 John 3:9 is actually
saying. This verse is clearly stating a born again person
cannot sin… because his seed remaineth in him. I believe
the seed that generates spiritual life is Jesus Christ, the
living Word of God, and not the written word (Bible).
Consider the following:
• 1 Peter 1:23 “Being born again, not of corruptible seed,
but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and
abideth for ever.”
Word verses
Now, let us examine the word “word.” There are three kinds
of “word” used in the Bible…there is the written word, the
spoken word, and the living Word. Jesus Christ is the living
Word of God. If we can prove that “word” in 1 Peter 1:23
Unlocking Bible Truth
140
refers to Jesus Christ, the living Word of God, and not to the
spoken word, or written word, then we will be able to
correctly understand 1 Peter 1:23 and 1 John 3:9.
The fact that Jesus Christ is the Word being referred to in
the following two verses is rarely disputed:
• 1 John 5:7 “For there are three that bear record in
heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and
these three are one.”
• John 1:1-3, 14 “In the beginning was the Word, and the
Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same
was in the beginning with God. All things were made by
him; and without him was not anything made that was
made….And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt
among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the
only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
The following should also be obvious:
• Luke 1:2 “Even as they delivered them unto us, which
from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of
the Word.”
One cannot be an eyewitness of the written or spoken word,
but can be an eyewitness of the living Word. The word
eyewitness in the original Greek language was used to only
mean a direct vision of deity…such as in Greek mythology;
a character was an eyewitness that claims to have seen
Zeus. Jesus was deity. Also, in this context, “ministers of
the Word”…would mean “body servants” of the living
Word…Jesus.
It is Jesus Christ, the living Word of God that calls (the
effectual call) an elect child of God to spiritual life through
Chapter XIII
Can a child of God commit sin?
141
the Holy Spirit. The Bible and gospel preaching are not
involved as 1 Corinthians 1:18 makes clear, as follows: “For
the preaching of the cross is to them that perish
foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of
God.”
Consider the following Bible verses in which it is Jesus that
gives spiritual life. Jesus Christ is the incorruptible “seed”
that generates spiritual life:
• Galatians 3:16 “Now to Abraham and his seed were the
promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many;
but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.”
• Galatians 3:19 “Wherefore then [serveth] the law? It was
added because of transgressions, till the seed should
come to whom the promise was made; [and it was]
ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.”
• John 5:25 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is
coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice
of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.”
• John 6:63 “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh
profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they]
are spirit, and [they] are life.”
Purpose of the Gospel
Let’s consider the born again person who lives and dies
without ever hearing the gospel preached. In order to see
the effect of regeneration on this person, and how God
deals with him, consider God dwells within the person and
puts His laws in the person’s mind:
• 1 Corinthians 3:16 “Know ye not that ye are the temple
of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”
Unlocking Bible Truth
142
• Hebrews 8:10 “I will put my laws into their mind, and
write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God,
and they shall be to me a people.”
Notice the way in which God judges:
• Romans 2:12-15 “For as many as have sinned without
law shall also perish without law: and as many as have
sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the
hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of
the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which
have not the law, do by nature the things contained in
the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto
themselves: Which show the work of the law written in
their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and
their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing
one another;)”
The extent of God’s judgment:
• Luke 12:47-48 “And that servant, which knew his lord's
will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to
his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that
knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall
be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much
is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom
men have committed much, of him they will ask the
more.”
We next remember the warfare between man’s carnal
nature and his born again spiritual nature:
• Romans 7:14-17 “For we know that the law is spiritual:
but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I
allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate,
that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent
unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that
do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.”
Chapter XIII
Can a child of God commit sin?
143
The above outlines how God deals with His born again
children who have never heard the gospel preached. At
regeneration, God’s Holy Spirit dwells within them (1
Corinthians 3:16), His Laws have been written in their heart
and mind (Hebrews 8:10), then God allows “their
conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the
mean while accusing or else excusing one another”
(Romans 2:12-15) so that through chastening based on the
understanding they have (Luke 12:47-48), God has begun a
process of sanctification through the Holy Spirit even
though these people have never heard the gospel preached
or even know God’s name. Regeneration makes a big
difference in the life of a child of God even without the
gospel ever being heard by the individual.
Regeneration (eternal salvation) by God for the elect of God
(Ephesians 1:4-6) is not a process. It does not involve the
gospel or require the obedience of the child of God.
Regeneration is something that is instantaneous and occurs
between conception and death. It is referred to as a
translation:
• Colossians 1:13 “Who hath delivered us from the power
of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of
his dear Son:”
Regeneration is referred to as a quickening:
• Ephesians 2:1 “And you hath he quickened, who were
dead in trespasses and sins:”
After regeneration, God’s children have the ability to hear,
understand and believe things of God. Since God’s children
are human and not robots, they have the ability to either be
obedient to God’s commandments (written in their heart at
regeneration and in some cases also verbally by gospel
preaching, if one is so blessed) or to rebel and be
Unlocking Bible Truth
144
disobedient. While disobedience will be chastened by God
as in Hebrews 10:26-31 and Hebrews 12:5-11, the child of
God will still be in heaven after death.
To say God, who “is a discerner of the thoughts and intents
of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12), cannot make His presence
known to a regenerate person just because he has never
been exposed to the gospel, is insane. God does not need
the help of any human to achieve His desire in saving the
elect of God for eternity as well as a timely deliverance for
the obedient. If we were involved in eternal salvation, then
some of the nicest people would spend eternity in hell, and
some of the worst and most evil “politically correct” people
would be in heaven.
Two natures or two minds
Now, to review again some of the above, once a child of
God has been given spiritual life, Jesus Christ through the
Holy Spirit dwells within the mind of this child of God, as
follows:
• 1 Corinthians 3:16 “Know ye not that ye are the temple
of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”
In affect, the child of God has two minds, or two natures.
Consider the following verses:
• Romans 7:15-17 “For that which I do I allow not: for what
I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I
do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that [it
is] good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that
dwelleth in me.”
In the above verse, Paul is saying “then it is no more I that
do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.” There is an “I” that does
not sin.
Chapter XIII
Can a child of God commit sin?
145
The born again person has two minds, or two natures, that
are referred to as follows:
• Galatians 5:16-17 “[This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit,
and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh
lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh:
and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye
cannot do the things that ye would.”
The born again person has a pure sinless mind (in addition
to his evil carnal mind). The pure sinless mind is referred to
in the following Bible verse:
• 2 Peter 3:1 “This second epistle, beloved, I now write
unto you; in [both] which I stir up your pure minds by
way of remembrance:”
Notice the clear description of these two minds, or two
natures, described as 1) works of the flesh (carnal) and 2)
fruit of the Spirit (spiritual) in the following verses:
1. Galatians 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are
manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication,
uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred,
variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such
like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told
[you] in time past, that they which do such things shall
not inherit the kingdom of God.”
2. Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy,
peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
The Spirit and the flesh are referring to the spiritual nature
or mind that is indwelled by God, and the carnal mind, or
nature, is referred to as flesh. Every human receives at birth
the carnal mind as a result of the original sin of Adam. A
Unlocking Bible Truth
146
child of God has both natures, or both minds, and they are
contrary one to the other.
Chastisement
When we sin, it is our carnal nature that sins. If we do not
bring the carnal mind, or nature, under control…then God
will surely chasten us. This chastening only affects our
physical life (not eternal life), but it can be so severe as to
cost us our physical life. Notice the following Bible verses:
• 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 “Know ye not that ye are the
temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in
you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God
destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which [temple] ye
are.”
• Hebrews 10:26-31 “For if we sin wilfully after that we
have received the knowledge of the truth, there
remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful
looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall
devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law
died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how
much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be
thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of
God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant,
wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath
done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him
that hath said, Vengeance [belongeth] unto me, I will
recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall
judge his people. [it is] a fearful thing to fall into the
hands of the living God.”
• Hebrews 12:5-11 “And ye have forgotten the exhortation
which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son,
despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint
Chapter XIII
Can a child of God commit sin?
147
when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth
he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he
receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you
as with sons; for what son is he whom the father
chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement,
whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not
sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh
which corrected [us], and we gave [them] reverence:
shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the
Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days
chastened [us] after their own pleasure; but he for [our]
profit, that [we] might be partakers of his holiness. Now
no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but
grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the
peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are
exercised thereby.”
Summation
Now, let’s return to Jacob and Esau, and the fact that God
loved Jacob and hated Esau even before these twin boys
were physically born. Remember that our bodies are the
temple of God, because Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit
dwells within us. While Jacob was a sinful human, guilty of
more sins than we are told about concerning Esau; even so,
God loved the born again nature, or pure mind, of Jacob
that could not sin. Esau was not chosen before the
foundation of the world as was Jacob, so Esau only had a
sinful carnal mind. This should now make it clearer.
Remember the following Bible verse?
• Ephesians 1:4 “According as he hath chosen us in him
before the foundation of the world, that we should be
holy and without blame before him in love:”
Unlocking Bible Truth
148
Now it should be clear that God only loves the “pure mind”
(2 Peter 3:1 as quoted above) He gives us at regeneration.
Since God dwells within this pure mind (1 Corinthians 3:16),
it cannot sin as stated in 1 John 3:9, “Whosoever is born of
God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and
he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” This seed that
remains in the child of God is Jesus Christ, the incorruptible
seed (Galatians 3:16, 19, 1 Peter 1:23) that gives spiritual
life, as clearly stated in John 5:25 and John 6:63, all of
which have already been quoted above.
Hopefully the reader now understands that while the pure
mind of a child of God received in regeneration cannot sin,
he still has the old carnal mind that hates God and loves
sin. We must keep under our bodies (carnal mind or flesh
nature), and bring it into subjection so as to not become a
castaway by losing the fellowship of disciples and of our
Lord Jesus, and as a result, to suffer chastisement from
God. Paul stated this exactly in 1 Corinthians 9:27, “But I
keep under my body, and bring [it] into subjection: lest that
by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself
should be a castaway.” Paul did not worry about being cast
into a flaming eternal hell, but rather to lose fellowship with
his Lord and Saviour, and to lose the joy of his salvation, as
David prayed in Psalms 51:9-12, “Hide thy face from my
sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean
heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me
not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit
from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and
uphold me [with thy] free spirit.” David had lost the joy of his
salvation because of his sins associated with Bathsheba.
Section IV
Problem Parables
This section will consider some “problem” parables. As with problem Bible
verses, after a closer study, some parables may teach something altogether
different than what one at first thought. The particular doctrine a person
believes will change the meaning of parables. Even so, the Bible can prove
which interpretation is correct, and by doing this, also show which doctrine is
Scriptural and which is not.
The parables that follow may not have been a problem for some of our readers,
because they may not have known that the meaning they assumed to be correct
was actually in conflict with other Scripture. For this reason, the study of Bible
doctrine is so important. As Elder Cayce mentioned in Chapter XV, on page
177, “We only ask our readers to consider the thoughts we have given. If they
are not in harmony with the Bible, do not receive them.” If one does not agree
with the interpretation given, please contact me with Scripture references that
support another meaning. I am sincere in this request. I need and want
constructive criticism.
Chapter XIV
The Parable of the Sower
149
Chapter XIV
The Parable of the Sower
This chapter will consider the familiar parable Jesus taught
concerning the parable of the sower, as given in Matthew
13:3-23. In my opinion this parable is not fully understood
by many Bible believers. Based on Bible doctrine as given
in previous chapters of this book, hopefully the lesson
taught by the parable of the sower will now be much easier
to understand. In this chapter, I will quote a number of
points as suggested by Elder Harold Hunt, Maryville, TN.
In the parable of the sower, the subject is hearing and
understanding the “word of the kingdom, (Matthew
13:19)…the preached gospel. The misunderstanding by
many concerning this parable is they consider the “seed
sown in good ground” (Matthew 13:8) to be the only
example in the parable representing children of God.
Arguments will be made in this chapter to hopefully prove
that the seed sown “by the wayside,” “into stony places,”
and “among the thorns” are also examples of God’s children
who, after hearing the preached gospel, for various
reasons, do not bear fruit. They are regenerate, but they are
not obedient unto discipleship in the Lord’s church so as to
“bear fruit.” They do not enjoy the great blessing in this life
from gospel “salvation.” This is a salvation from “this
untoward generation,” as Peter declared in Acts 2:40. They
are still God’s people, but because of their rebellion, they
may suffer chastisement in this life unless they become
obedient to God’s commandments. God chastens His
rebellious children as noted in Hebrews 10:26-31 and
Hebrews 12:5-11.
Unlocking Bible Truth
150
This parable does not have to do with hearing the “holy
calling” (2 Timothy 1:9, “Who hath saved us, and called us
with an holy calling, not according to our works, but
according to his own purpose and grace, which was given
us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”) that is given by
Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit to the elect of God in
regeneration. Jesus Himself describes this “holy calling” in
the following Bible verses:
• John 5:25 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is
coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice
of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” The
dead cannot help in this process…they are dead!
• John 6:63 “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh
profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they
are spirit, and they are life.”
In the parable of the sower, the hearing can be hindered by
stony ground, thorns, etc. The spiritual life giving “holy
calling” by Jesus Christ, the Seed of God that produces
regeneration, cannot be hindered or resisted. This
incorruptible Seed of God that always produces spiritual life
unto eternal salvation is described as following:
• 1 Peter 1:23 “Being born again, not of corruptible seed,
but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and
abideth for ever.” This “word of God” is the second
person of the Holy Trinity as given in 1 John 5:7, “For
there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father,
the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”
Jesus is referred to as the Seed of God in Galatians 3:16:
“Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made.
He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one,
And to thy seed, which is Christ.” Physical life comes
from the corruptible seed of man, while eternal life comes
from the incorruptible Seed of God, Jesus Christ.
Chapter XIV
The Parable of the Sower
151
Concerning how one is born again, Jesus told Nicodemus in
John 3:8, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou
hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it
cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of
the Spirit.” Jesus compares regeneration to the wind which
blows where it listeth…wherever it pleases. Stony ground,
thorns, etc. have no effect regarding regeneration.
However, there are many things that can prevent the gospel
from bearing fruit.
In the parable of the sower, all four examples “received
seed.” The unregenerate “natural man” cannot receive the
things of the Spirit of God according to 1 Corinthians 2:14,
“for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know
them, because they are spiritually discerned.” As Elder
Harold Hunt has said, the key to understanding the text is in
making a distinction between that fruit that comes from
being born again, and the fruit that comes from hearing,
understanding, and obedience to the preached gospel. For
gospel fruit, consider the following:
• Colossians 1:5-6 “For the hope which is laid up for you
in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the
truth of the gospel; Which is come unto you, as it is in all
the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you,
since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God
in truth:”
The preached gospel does not always bear fruit in the lives
of its hearers. Some truly born again people reject the truth
of the gospel, and so do not bear gospel fruit. In contrast to
this, the Spirit of God dwelling within a born again person (1
Corinthians 3:16: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of
God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”) always
bears fruit…whether one ever hears the preached gospel or
not. In some it bears much fruit, and in others it bears less
Unlocking Bible Truth
152
fruit; however, the Spirit of God in a born again person’s
heart always bears fruit, as described in the following Bible
verses:
• Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy,
peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
The above fruit from the Spirit of God that is most clearly
recognized is compassion for our fellow man. That is the
one identifying mark of the children of God in the final
judgment as described in Matthew 25:31-46. In the final
judgment what the Lord says to those on His right hand He
says to all His children. A person may reject the truth of the
gospel, but if he manifests no compassion for his fellow
man, there is no reason to believe he is a child of God.
With the above principles in mind, and the foundation of the
Bible doctrine established in previous chapters, we can now
begin our study.
The Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:3-23)
The “parable of the sower” teaches us some interesting
principles about how God’s children receive the gospel
message. After giving us the parable in Matthew 13:3-8,
Jesus then in the 11th verse answers His disciples’ question
as to why He spoke in parables: “He answered and said
unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the
mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not
given.” Jesus is rebuking God’s children within the nation of
Israel who have drifted away from God and His laws, as had
happened many other times in their history. This could also
happen to us today, and I believe it actually has. Even
though Jesus has explained the parable, many today have
misunderstood the true lesson being taught.
Chapter XIV
The Parable of the Sower
153
Jesus says further: “And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of
Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear (the
unregenerate cannot hear, as John 8:47), and shall not
understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are
dull of hearing (only dull, not devoid or dead), and their eyes
they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their
eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with
their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal
them.”
This saying must refer to God’s rebellious “born again”
children who are not yet fully converted, and is similar to the
case of Peter in Luke 22:31-32: “And the Lord said, Simon,
Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may
sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith
fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy
brethren.” Peter was born again (as proven by Matthew
16:16-17 compared to 1 John 5:1), but had not yet been
fully converted.
The unregenerate are spiritually dead. Ephesians 2:1
states: “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in
trespasses and sins:” The dead can hear nothing, so
parables would be unnecessary.
Finally, Jesus explains the parable to the disciples,
beginning at Matthew 13:18:
• Matthew 13:18 “Hear ye therefore the parable of the
sower.”
• Matthew 13:19 “When any one heareth the word of the
kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the
wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in
Unlocking Bible Truth
154
his heart. This is he which received seed by the way
side.”
• Matthew 13:20 “But he that received the seed into stony
places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon
with joy receiveth it;”
• Matthew 13:21 “Yet hath he not root in himself, but
dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution
ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.”
• Matthew 13:22 “He also that received seed among the
thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this
world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word,
and he becometh unfruitful.”
• Matthew 13:23 “But he that received seed into the good
ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth
it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an
hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”
Notice that in each case, whether “by the way side,” “into
stony places,” or “among the thorns,” Jesus always starts by
saying they hear the word. Therefore, we know these
individuals are children of God because of what Jesus told
some who were unregenerate, as follows:
• John 8:44 “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts
of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the
beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is
no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of
his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” Then a few
verses later Jesus said the following:
• John 8:47 “He that is of God heareth God's words: ye
therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.”
Chapter XIV
The Parable of the Sower
155
Jesus would not need to use parables with these people
who are “not of God.” Jesus tells them they have no
ability to hear.
Next, notice in Matthew 13:19, that the one who received
seed “by the wayside” had the seed sown in the heart. We
remember 2 Corinthians 3:3: “Forasmuch as ye are
manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by
us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God;
not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart.” The
unregenerate have a heart of stone, which would make
sowing seed impossible, but the fleshy heart of a born again
person would be able to receive the sown seed.
Furthermore, in Matthew 13:20, the one that received the
seed “into stony places” received it “with joy.” Only God’s
children can receive God’s Word with joy. Joy is one of the
nine fruits listed as fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23.
Obviously, Matthew 13:20 is also referring to a child of God.
In Matthew 13:22 the seed was received among the thorns,
and this is described as one who hears the word (only a
born again person can hear spiritual things…John 8:47), but
the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches
chokes the word so the person becomes unfruitful.
Finally, those that received the “seed into the good ground,”
are those of God’s children who hear the Word, understand
it, and bear various amounts of fruit. God expects all of His
children that are blessed to hear the gospel message to
bear fruit as disciples. Even so, many are rebellious and
refuse to become disciples of Christ.
Regardless, God deals with His rebellious children
according to their understanding, as shown in Luke 12:47-
Unlocking Bible Truth
156
48: “And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and
prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall
be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did
commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few
stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be
much required: and to whom men have committed much, of
him they will ask the more.” God is merciful and patient, but
He expects His children to obey His commandments and
bear fruit as disciples of Christ.
Rich Young Ruler (Mark 10:17-27)
The story of the “rich young ruler” as recorded in the gospel
of Mark also teaches us some interesting lessons that relate
to the parable of the sower overlooked by many. These
verses are as follows:
• Mark 10:17 “And when he was gone forth into the way,
there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked
him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit
eternal life?” (Eternal life is the subject under
consideration.)
• Mark 10:18 “And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou
me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.”
• Mark 10:19 “Thou knowest the commandments, Do not
commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear
false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and
mother.”
• Mark 10:20 “And he answered and said unto him,
Master, all these have I observed from my youth.”
Chapter XIV
The Parable of the Sower
157
• Mark 10:21 “Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and
said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell
whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou
shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the
cross, and follow me.”
• Mark 10:22 “And he was sad at that saying, and went
away grieved: for he had great possessions.”
• Mark 10:23 “And Jesus looked round about, and saith
unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches
enter into the kingdom of God!”
• Mark 10:24 “And the disciples were astonished at his
words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them,
Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to
enter into the kingdom of God!”
• Mark 10:25 “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye
of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the
kingdom of God.”
• Mark 10:26 “And they were astonished out of measure,
saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?”
• Mark 10:27 “And Jesus looking upon them saith, With
men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all
things are possible.”
First, notice that the rich young ruler wanted to know how to
obtain eternal life, as he made clear in Mark 10:17.
However, notice the remark by Jesus in Mark 10:25: “It is
easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than
for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” The
disciples then ask the question “Who then can be saved?”
Unlocking Bible Truth
158
In Mark 10:27 we have the answer: “And Jesus looking
upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with
God: for with God all things are possible.” This verse should
make it very clear that it is impossible for man to do
anything to obtain eternal salvation. God is totally sovereign
in eternal salvation.
Even so, another most important point is made in Mark
10:21: “Then Jesus beholding him loved him.” It appears
that this rich young man is already a child of God. One who
seeks God does so because he is already a child of God as
in 1 John 4:19: “We love Him because He first loved us.”
Christ knows the children chosen by the Father from before
the foundation of the world, including the rich young ruler. If
Jesus loves a person, this love goes back to before the
foundation of the world…Ephesians 1:4, “According as he
hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world,
that we should be holy and without blame before him in
love:”…and extends on into the future into heaven itself at
the end of time.
Further, we remember that Jesus has power over all flesh to
save eternally any that God the Father has given Him to
save. This point is clearly stated in the prayer Jesus prayed
before His crucifixion in John 17:2, “As thou hast given him
power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as
many as thou hast given him.” As many as means not one
more, and not one less.
Since the rich young ruler is already a child of God, Jesus is
using this account to explain the duty of a child of God, as
well as the impossibility of the non-elect to obtain eternal
salvation by their own efforts. The non-elect do not love
God or want to know His ways. Notice how the
unregenerate are referred to in Job 21:14-15: “Therefore
Chapter XIV
The Parable of the Sower
159
they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the
knowledge of thy ways. What is the Almighty, that we
should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we
pray unto him?” The unregenerate hate God as given in
Romans 8:7, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against
God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed
can be.”
Now, let’s return to the rich young ruler. Because the rich
young ruler has too much trust in riches to become fruitful
as a disciple of Christ, Jesus says he must first sell all that
he has, give to poor, and then follow Him as a disciple.
These actions are necessary if he is to be fruitful. In this
parable, after the gospel seed is sown, being fruitful is the
result Jesus desires.
Also, this rich young man fits the case in the parable of the
sower which “received seed among the thorns,” as stated in
Matthew 13:22. This verse states: “He also that received
seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the
care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the
word, and he becometh unfruitful.” He is a child of God who
is unfruitful as a disciple of Christ.
The rich young ruler went away grieved in Mark 10:22. An
unregenerate person would not react in this way (to go
away grieved). If he was unregenerate, he would have
reacted as in Acts 7:54: “When they heard these things,
they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with
their teeth.” The rich young ruler must have suffered later
for his disobedience; however, I believe he is in heaven
today. God’s laws are commandments for his children in
this life. Disobedience will be punished in this life as given
in Hebrews 10:26-31 and 12:5:11.
Unlocking Bible Truth
160
Conclusion
God commands His children to take up their cross and
follow Christ, which is not just an invitation, but is a
command we should gladly follow. God expects His children
to bare fruit as disciples by being witnesses. To be a
disciple of Christ is to enjoy the comfort of the Holy Spirit in
fellowship with Jesus Christ in His church. In the letter to the
Laodicean Church, Revelation 3:14-22, Jesus warns this
church that because they are lukewarm, and are “neither
cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” This is loss
of fellowship with Christ in His church. Jesus then says in
verses 3:20-21, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if
any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to
him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that
overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I
also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his
throne.” There are many great blessings available to God’s
children that bear fruit as a witness for Christ in His church.
Our religious practice is most important. One’s “salvation”
during this lifetime can then be lost sometime later if the
gospel seeds have been sown “by the wayside,” “into stony
places,” or “among the thorns.” Our disobedience to the
gospel commandments are sinful acts of rebellion against
God...even so, eternal salvation can never be lost. When
God quickens (Ephesians 2:1 “And you hath he quickened,
who were dead in trespasses and sins;”) the elect of God to
spiritual life, this eternal life will last forever, even though the
body is subject to physical suffering and physical death. Our
obedience unto salvation in the Lord’s church offers us the
abundant life, as described by Jesus in John 10:10, “The
thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I
am come that they might have life, and that they might have
it more abundantly.”
Chapter XV
The Ten Virgins
161
Chapter XV
The Ten Virgins
The parable of the ten virgins given to us by our Lord Jesus
Christ in Matthew 25:1-13 is really not easily understood.
This chapter will compare the opinion of two Primitive
Baptist elders who differ in their explanation of the parable
with the hope of gaining a little more insight into its
meaning. First, we will go to Elder W. A. Chastain,
proprietor and editor of Message of Peace, Springville,
Illinois. Elder Chastain first wrote an editorial on this parable
November 15, 1922, and then reprinted it by request in the
September 1938 issue of his publication. He began this
editorial by stating the following: “Many of our dear brethren
will differ with me on my understanding of the parable, but
we are not writing for argument, but that we may arrive at
the truth.” (All quotes are in italic letters.)
Next, Elder C. H. Cayce (1871-1945), Thornton, Arkansas,
also acknowledged the problem faced by some in
understanding this parable. As owner and editor of his
publication The Primitive Baptist, in an editorial dated
November 10, 1914, he observed, “There is a difference
among the brethren concerning the teaching of this parable,
and we cannot understand why brethren insist on having
differences discussed, when those differences are not vital.”
He goes on to say one who has been rather harsh in
promoting a particular position on this parable should
exercise a little more patience.
The above statements made by two elders is mentioned
before we begin this study in order to alert the reader that
careful consideration will be necessary if one is to gain a
Unlocking Bible Truth
162
proper understanding…and even then we may fall short of
our goal. We will need to heed Biblical advice as given in 2
Timothy 2:15, and “Study to shew thyself approved unto
God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly
dividing the word of truth.” In order to understand what God
intended for us to receive through this parable, it must be
“rightly divided.”
Before we begin, it seems appropriate to quote this parable
exactly as it appears in the King James Bible. Consider very
closely the following, and notice especially the portions
underlined:
• Matthew 25:1-13 “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be
likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and
went forth to meet the bridegroom. 2 And five of them
were wise, and five [were] foolish. 3 They that [were]
foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4 But
the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 While
the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.6
And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the
bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. 7 Then all
those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the
foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our
lamps are gone out. 9 But the wise answered, saying,
[Not so]; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go
ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. 10
And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and
they that were ready went in with him to the marriage:
and the door was shut. 11 Afterward came also the
other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12 But he
answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you
not. 13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor
the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”
Chapter XV
The Ten Virgins
163
Elder W. A. Chastain’s position
We will begin with the views expressed by Elder Chastain.
He stated that he believes “the whole use and application of
the parable is to show that Christ is coming the second
time, and at a time when we may not be watching for Him. It
teaches we should pray privately and publicly, and attend to
the ordinances of the Lord’s house…that our hearts, and
thoughts, and affections, conversations, and actions should
all be to the glory of God, and that we should be ready for
the Bridegroom’s coming. That He will come is certain, but
we neither know the day nor the hour.”
Elder Chastain summarizes the key points as follows:
1. I do not think it has reference to disobedient Christians,
for I think it refers to the end of the world, or to the
second coming of Christ.
2. The foolish virgins are told, ‘I know you not,’ and found
the door shut. There was no mercy shown them, while to
disobedient Christians, mercy is shown.
3. So far as a profession is concerned, they all came with
their lamps; they all slumbered and slept; the difference
seems to be in the oil---some had oil and some had
none.
4. The foolish thought they could buy oil, or salvation,
which shows their vain, natural ideas of salvation.
The above approach to this parable seems almost logical,
but then I have some second thoughts because all ten are
referred to as virgins. I cannot imagine in what sense an
unregenerate, wicked, natural man could ever be referred to
by God as being a foolish virgin. Also, I am not sure the oil
represents the oil of grace. Further, I do not agree with the
notion that the five wise virgins were eternally saved
because of implied actions they took in being “wise.” They
Unlocking Bible Truth
164
made sure they had oil (as supplied by Christ), trimmed
their lamps, and suggested to the foolish virgins in verse 9
that they should go to them that sell and buy oil for
themselves. You cannot buy grace, it is unmerited favor.
That interpretation appears to me to be an eternal salvation
by works. Eternal salvation is not by works of righteousness
we perform according to Titus 3:5-6 “Not by works of
righteousness which we have done, but according to his
mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and
renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us
abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;” More study
of Elder Chastain’s editorial is needed if we are to
understand what he actually means. Let’s now consider
Elder Chastain’s expanded arguments in an effort to see
how he justifies these assumptions.
In the preceding Chapter (Matthew 24), mention is made
of the second coming of Christ, the joys of the righteous
and the punishment of the wicked, and a good
description given of the last judgement, and I believe it
best and right to view this parable as looking forward to
that.
Some might ask, were not all ten, virgins? Yes, it is true,
but they were virgins for quantity, and this number has
reference to the Jewish forms of worship. It took ten
persons to form a congregation and enjoy the blessings
of service under the Jewish forms. The blessings of the
Bridegroom, which consisted of seven blessings, was
not said except in the presence of ten persons, etc., and
the whole alludes to the solemnities of a marriage
among the Jews.
The design of the parable is to show what will be the
standing of professors of Christianity at the second
Chapter XV
The Ten Virgins
165
coming of Christ; to show the real Christians from the
nominal professor; to show just how far a person may go
in profession only, and yet be shut out of heaven. It
shows, too, the certainty and suddenness of Christ’s
coming and the necessity of being ready for it, and that
sometimes before this or at that time, then shall the
church or kingdom be like ten virgins.
Elder Chastain’s warning sounds too much like the
effectiveness of our eternal salvation is conditioned upon
our successful efforts and work to insure that as disciples
we have sufficiently persevered in faith until death.
The Bridegroom evidently is Christ. He is represented as
their Husband, King, and Priest, and provides for them
rich food, and clothes them in a robe of righteousness,
and nourishes and cherishes them as His own flesh, and
holds sweet communion with them, and makes them
heirs to all He has. He saw them and knew them in all
the purposes and decrees of God, and loved them, and
asked them of His Father to be given Him as His spouse
and bride---and the Father did give them to Him in the
everlasting covenant.
I believe the lamps represent the external profession of
religion. Now, both the wise and foolish virgins had
lamps. The lamps are distinct from the oil of grace, and
the vessel of the heart in which grace is, and is that into
which the oil is put, and burns so as to become visible;
and must be daily trimmed and filled with oil as fresh
supplies from Christ. Unless this is true, the profession
may go out and be dropped and lost, as some of these
lamps.
Unlocking Bible Truth
166
If he is saying the daily trimming and filling of the oil of
grace Christ gives us in regeneration (and Christ
replenishes it?) is a work we must perform as wise virgins,
then we are assisting Christ in making, maintaining, and
securing our eternal salvation. This notion is doctrinal error
according to Titus 3:5-6, Ephesians 2:8-9, and 2 Timothy
1:9 that states: “Who hath saved us, and called [us] with an
holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his
own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus
before the world began.” We also remember Galatians 3:1,
3, “O foolish Galatians, … Are ye so foolish? having begun
in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” Our
work in the flesh makes nothing perfect! Increasingly, I do
not believe the oil in this parable represents the oil of grace.
These virgins all took up a profession of Christ and His
gospel; some upon the experience of the grace of God,
and others without an experience and without
considering the nature and importance and
consequences of a profession. So they all went forth to
meet the Bridegroom. Some loving, desiring and longing
to see Him; the others only in the way of a visible
profession of religion and outward service. “A lamp
without oil will not burn long; so a profession without
grace will not last long,” says Brother J. H. Oliphant.
The wise virgins were not especially wise in the things of
the world, nor in their own conceits, which rather is often
the case with natural men and empty professors, but
they are such as are wise unto salvation, realizing that
salvation is all of the Lord. They not only know how a
sinner is saved, but they feel the need of being saved
and are sensible of their sins. They appeal to Christ for
salvation, and trust in Him and commit their souls into
His care. They look to Him for pardon, and to His blood
Chapter XV
The Ten Virgins
167
for atonement, and to His fullness for daily supplies.
They know Him, prize Him and value Him as their
Savior, rejoice in Him and give Him all the glory. They
are wise in the profession of religion and take it up
aright---upon the principles of grace---and hold fast
without wavering, and walk and live as becometh saints.
“And five were foolish.” Not in the things of life, nor in the
judgments of others, nor in the things of the world; but
they were so in the business of salvation, as all are who
build their hopes upon their own works, or on birth
privileges, or on carnal descent from good men, or on a
religious education. They were such as know not
themselves and the impurity of their hearts and natures.
They know not Christ and His salvation, and are
altogether strangers to grace and spiritual experience;
and consequently foolish in their profession, which they
take up without the work of the Holy Spirit of God; and in
a little while wholly drop their profession or wholly lean
upon it.
“Took no oil with them.” By oil, is evidently meant the
Spirit of God Himself, who is the oil of gladness and the
anointing which teacheth all things, and the regenerating
and sanctifying grace of the Spirit. It may have respect
to the precious oil or ointment poured on Aaron’s head,
which was emblematical of the grace of God, which was
poured forth without measure on Christ. The foolish
virgins, though they took up the lamp of profession, yet
were unconcerned for the oil of grace to maintain their
lamps. They were ignorant of the nature and use of true
grace. They saw no use for it and made light of it,
therefore, neglected it.
Unlocking Bible Truth
168
But the wise saw the need of grace, and felt it in their
hearts. They saw it as a principle of light, life and love,
and as a holiness wrought in a man’s heart by the Spirit
of God. This oil of grace was not naturally in them, nor
was it obtained by the power of their free will; but was
freely given unto them and powerfully wrought in them.
“They slumbered and slept.” The foolish virgins were in a
dead, lifeless and sleepy frame of the spirit. They were
indifferent about the things of Christ and His kingdom,
and were unconcerned about the omission of duty, or
commission of sin, and entirely easy in their sad state.
The wise virgins are children of the day, and though they
sleep, their hearts wake, and they sleep with grace in
their hearts. This cannot be said of the foolish virgins or
formal professor.
At midnight there was a cry made, Behold the
Bridegroom cometh.” This proves to us the certainty of
His coming to judge the quick and the dead. “Go ye out
to meet Him.” Both wise and foolish virgins arose and
trimmed their lamps.
The foolish virgins betrayed their ignorance of grace and
salvation in asking it of the wise ones. They did not
seem to realize that salvation came through Christ
alone. They thus betrayed that they were in the same
darkness that Nicodemus was in when he asked if a
man could enter his mother’s womb a second time and
be born again. Men of the world may, I believe, see the
grace of God in others and be convinced of it, and
acknowledge it, as these foolish virgins did. Such
persons may also be desirous of this grace of God; not
because of the intrinsic nature and worth of it, but from a
mere principle of selfishness. It seems, too, that the
Chapter XV
The Ten Virgins
169
world would go anywhere for it rather than to Christ. The
foolish virgins here betray their folly by coming to the
saints for it. Grace comes only through God, and is
never to be had from men nor from the angels. The
reason for their asking was that their lamps had gone
out, which would indicate the inefficiency of a mere
profession of external religion to meet the Bridegroom.
This mere profession had now become useless and
unprofitable, because they had not the oil of grace---they
had only the profession of it.
The above refers to Matthew 25:8 in which the lamps that
once had been lit, had now gone out. If the lamps of the
foolish virgins had once been lit, then they had already
been born again to receive the “oil of grace.” How could the
supply of oil run out and they lose eternal salvation?
Romans 8:38-39 states, “For I am persuaded, that neither
death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor
things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth,
nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the
love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Again, the
oil must not be the oil of grace.
“The wise answered, No.” Not from a narrow spirit or a
careless one, but from indignation at the honor put upon
them and the slight put upon God and Christ and the
Spirit of grace. The wise knew that all grace comes from
God and could not bear such application to them for it.
But go rather to them that sell, and buy. “Yea, come buy
wine and milk without money and without price.”
The foolish virgins did really and actually go out to buy
grace. They did not go to Christ, for they would have met
Him, but they went elsewhere. They thought they could
obtain grace by their own efforts. Though they went to
Unlocking Bible Truth
170
buy, they could not buy, and their efforts were in vain.
While they were trying to buy, the Bridegroom came---in
person---to judge the world and to raise the dead; and
they that were ready, went in. Not ready by mere
profession, but ready in that they had the wedding
garments on, washed in the blood of Christ and having
the oil of grace in their hearts---a spiritual knowledge of
Christ, faith in Him and an interest in Him. Such are
ready for death and eternity. They shall go in with Him
and be forever happy.
“The door was shut.” Afterwards came the other five
virgins. They were foolish, and virgins in name only.
They were unprepared ones. Heaven is a prepared
place for a prepared people. “The door was shut.” They
said, “Lord, Lord, open unto us.” But the Bridegroom
answered, “I know you not.” He knew their voice and
knew them as creatures, but as to His covenant of
grace, He did not know them in that. He knew they were
only graceless professors, who had trusted to and
depended upon their own righteousness and their
external profession of religion. They were none of His
people whom He foreknew, or that were embraced in
His choice or election; hence, He says, “I know you not.”
He knew them not in His covenant of grace.
The door being shut, the state of the wise will be
everlastingly settled, their communion with Christ will be
free and uninterrupted, and that forever; no enemy of
their soul can follow them to give them any disturbance,
and they shall never return to a state of sin, sorrow, nor
death; but shall forever be happy with God and the
Lamb.
Chapter XV
The Ten Virgins
171
The doctrinal position of Elder Chastain seems to be
consistent with Reformed Theology in which God’s children
supposedly will persevere in faith as disciples until death.
This position teaches God’s children may backslide, but
before death, God will insure they are restored to
discipleship. If this does not occur, a Calvinist would say
this backslidden person was a false professor, a foolish
virgin, “who had trusted to and depended upon their own
righteousness and their external profession of religion.”
(See above) Elder Chastain takes the position that “heaven
is a prepared place for a prepared people.” This is only true
if one understands that it is God that makes the preparation
in both the place and the people. If Elder Chastain means
we had best be prepared by way of our good works in
discipleship if we want heaven to be our home, then he is
taking an unscriptural position consistent with Reformed
Theology.
Elder C. H. Cayce’s position
A key question to resolve in this parable is exactly when did
the Bridegroom come? In a book entitled The Writings of S.
A. Paine, page 88, additional light is shed concerning the
question as to the time when the Bridegroom mentioned in
this parable came (or will come) to the wedding. Elder Paine
(1874-1910) was acknowledged to be one of the ablest
preachers the Primitive Baptists have had in recent years.
He stated the following on the marriage of the Bridegroom:
While John was teaching and baptizing in Jordan,
making people ready, he was then fulfilling the prophecy
concerning him. Malachi 3:1, “Behold, I will send my
messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me:
and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his
temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye
Unlocking Bible Truth
172
delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of
hosts.” Who is this but the Savior coming to John on the
bank Of Jordan? And in coming to him He comes to, or
confronts those whom John has made ready. He calls
this, coming to His temple. Here is where the marriage
occurs. We hear John exclaiming: “Behold the Lamb of
God that taketh away the sin of the world.” Here is the
midnight cry: “Behold the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out
to meet Him.” Those who were ready, who were
prepared in heart, and had obeyed the teachings of
John, were admitted to the marriage. Hence Christ
suddenly comes to his temple, even the messenger of
the covenant “whom ye delight in.” This was fulfilled in
Jesus’ approach to John and those whom he had
baptized, here the union of bride and Bridegroom was
effected, and the church, there began in its incipiency---
began to be builded. That is just how near the kingdom
was, as expressed by John, when he says: “The
kingdom is at hand.” (Matthew 3:2)
Elder Cayce is in agreement with the position that Elder S.
A. Paine presented above. He believes the time the
Bridegroom comes to the wedding in this parable is
referring to the first appearance of Christ, and not to the
second coming as believed by Elder Chastain. Further,
Elder Cayce believes the method of worship…law service
versus gospel service…that God would accept from His
people determines which of His regenerate children were
wise virgins and which were foolish.
While the article by Elder Cayce does not summarize his
argument similar to the four points made initially by Elder
Chastain, it is possible to obtain his position on these four
points based on what he wrote. I will take the liberty of
doing just that for the purpose of providing an initial
Chapter XV
The Ten Virgins
173
overview of how Elder Cayce will approach this parable.
The reader will then know what to look for, and as a result,
may be better prepared to compare the two interpretations.
If Elder Cayce had given the four points as did Elder
Chastain, they would be paraphrased as follows:
1. The kingdom of God is likened unto ten virgins, five
were wise and five were foolish, but all ten were virgins,
or God’s regenerate children among the Jews. The
wise believe the gospel message and follow Christ into
the gospel kingdom (church). The foolish virgins (God’s
regenerate Jews) rejected the gospel message and
clung to the old law service.
2. The foolish virgins who were told “I know you not,” and
found the door shut, were being told that God would no
longer respect and accept the law worship service,
since the law service had ended.
3. The oil in the parable represents the form of worship
God would accept from His people, whether it is the law
service or the gospel service.
4. The purchase of oil mentioned has to do with worship,
not grace (regeneration), and is explained in Isaiah
55:1-2 “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the
waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and
eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and
without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for [that
which is] not bread? and your labour for [that which]
satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye
[that which is] good, and let your soul delight itself in
fatness.”
Elder C. H. Cayce wrote the following:
The word “then,” the first word in the chapter, is used
here in the sense of therefore. It denotes a reason; for
Unlocking Bible Truth
174
this reason “shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto
ten virgins.” The kingdom of heaven is likened unto ten
virgins, not likened unto five virgins. Five of the virgins
were wise and five of them were foolish; and the
kingdom of heaven was likened unto all of the ten. They
all slumbered and slept---both the wise and the foolish.
At midnight the cry was made, “Behold, the Bridegroom
cometh.” Midnight denotes a time of darkness, and all
were slumbering. So, at the closing out of the law
dispensation, at the time of the coming of Christ into the
world, it was a time of darkness---gross darkness---and
all were slumbering.
The foolish said, “Give us of your oil; for our lamps are
gone out”---or, “our lamps are going out.” Their lamps
had been burning once; but they are going out now.
There was a light in law worship and law service in the
law dispensation; but as the law dispensation is going
out, the light of that worship and service is also going
out. The light was only a borrowed light, it is true; but it
was needed then. In the night time, we need the light of
the moon, which is a borrowed light; but when the day
has come, and the sun has risen, the light of the moon is
not needed, and goes out. The day of gospel worship
has now come; the sun of gospel light is shining; the
light of law worship is no longer needed, and it has gone
out.
“But the wise said, Not so; lest there be not enough for
us and you; but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy
for yourselves.” We do not presume that the wise virgins
would tell the foolish ones to go and buy that which was
necessary for them to have in order that they have a
home in heaven. The grace of God in the eternal
salvation of poor sinners is not for sale. If it is, we cannot
Chapter XV
The Ten Virgins
175
imagine who keeps a supply on hand for sale. But there
is something for sale without money and without price.
See Isaiah 55:1-2 “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye
to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy,
and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money
and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for
[that which is] not bread? and your labour for [that
which] satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and
eat ye [that which is] good, and let your soul delight itself
in fatness.” This language was addressed to Israel, the
Lord’s children. There was something they could buy;
but they could not buy redemption or regeneration.
Again, Revelation 3:18: “I counsel thee to buy of me
gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white
raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the
shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine
eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” This
language was for the church at Laodicea. They were the
people of God. There was something for them to buy;
and they could buy it in no other way than in rendering
the service to the Lord which He required of them, and in
being diligent in the same. The Lord does not require
law worship or service; but He requires gospel worship
and service. The light of law worship and law service
has gone out.
“And while they went to buy, the Bridegroom came; and
they that were ready went in with Him to the marriage;
and the door was shut.” The readiness here, we think, is
the engaging in gospel worship and service. The door is
shut on law worship and law service. That is closed out.
It is not admitted in the gospel kingdom or church of
Christ. The Lord has closed the door against that, and
no man has the power or authority to open the door and
admit law worship and law service into the church.
Unlocking Bible Truth
176
“Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord,
Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say
unto you, I know you not.” He does not recognize law
service. The light of that service is gone out. He now
requires gospel service. Law worship and law service is
not acceptable to Him. Those who engage in that kind of
service are not recognized by Him. He will not receive
them or their service. If the church engages in it, the
candlestick will be removed.
“Watch therefore.” For the reason that all this is true, we
should watch. How necessary it is that we watch, and
not engage in law worship and law service. If we do
engage in such, we may be assured of the fact that the
Lord will not recognize it, and that He will not receive us
into the manifestation of His presence here. “For ye
know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of
man cometh.” He comes in the manifestation of His
Spirit often; we know not when He will thus come. We
should be diligent in rendering the service He requires,
so we may be ready for Him when He does thus come.
“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me,
to give every man according as his work shall be.”
(Revelation 22:12) He comes quickly, or often.
The final and great lesson taught in the parable is that
we should watch. It teaches the necessity of doing this.
The reason for doing this is that the law dispensation is
at an end, and the light of the law worship and law
service was going out. Hence, the great lesson taught is
the closing out of the law dispensation, law worship and
service, and the ushering in of the gospel dispensation,
gospel worship and service.
Chapter XV
The Ten Virgins
177
This finishes the explanation by Elder C. H. Cayce on the
parable of the ten virgins. He then states, “Now, in closing,
we only ask our readers to consider the thoughts we have
given. If they are not in harmony with the Bible, do not
receive them. We do not want, and neither will we have,
controversy on the matter. We give our views only because
so many have requested us to do so.” That is wonderful
advice.
Conclusion
When the marriage of the Bridegroom takes place is the
most important question determining which interpretation is
Scriptural. Did it take place at the first appearance of Jesus
Christ, or will it take place at the second coming of Christ?
My personal belief is that it took place at the first
appearance of Christ as explained by Elder C. H. Cayce
and Elder S. A. Paine.
As noted at the beginning under the heading of Elder
Chastain’s position, and a number of times later, I have
mentioned points that do not appear Scriptural to me. I
know Elder Chastain must have been a wonderful soldier of
the Lord that was sincere in what he believed; however, I
feel he embraced Reformed Theology as expressed in the
1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith closer than most
Primitive Baptists today will accept.
Hopefully, I have not been unfair by questioning Elder
Chastain’s work. He is not alive now to defend himself, and
for this I apologize. However, from reading a number of old
copies of the Messenger of Peace, Elder Chastain has
included a number of Calvinist articles. For example, in the
January 1938 issue, he included an article from The
Presbyterian, entitled “John Calvin in 1937.” A sub heading
Unlocking Bible Truth
178
states, “An appreciation and Tribute by Professor W.
Harvey-Jellie, Presbyterian College, Montreal, Canada. This
was not the only Calvinist article he published, even though
there were many excellent articles that were doctrinally
sound as seen by most Primitive Baptists.
First, I noted the parable refers to all ten as being virgins.
This being the case, I cannot imagine in what sense an
unregenerate, wicked, natural man could ever be referred to
by God as being a foolish virgin. It is logical for God to refer
to a born again person as a virgin in the sense that he has a
pure mind, as Peter noted 2 Peter 3:1, “This second epistle,
beloved, I now write unto you; in [both] which I stir up your
pure minds by way of remembrance:” This spiritual mind
cannot sin according to 1 John 3:9, “Whosoever is born of
God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and
he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” We know our
carnal mind received at birth from Adam does sin. The
warfare of our two minds is mentioned in Romans 7:14-25.
The unregenerate person only has an evil carnal mind.
Further, I am uncomfortable with the notion that the position
Elder Chastain is taking has the five wise virgins being
eternally saved because of implied actions they took in
being “wise.” They made sure they had oil (as supplied by
Christ), trimmed their lamps, and suggested to the foolish
virgins in verse 9 that they should go to them that sell and
buy oil for themselves. That sounds too much like works a
child of God performs for salvation from this untoward
generation (Acts 2:40) so as to join the Lord’s church. One
cannot buy grace for eternal salvation. Eternal salvation is
not by works of righteousness we perform according to
Titus 3:5-6 “Not by works of righteousness which we have
done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the
washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”
Chapter XV
The Ten Virgins
179
To repeat my comments on page 177, the doctrinal position
of Elder Chastain seems to be consistent with Reformed
Theology in which God’s children supposedly will persevere
in faith as disciples until death. They may backslide, but
before death, God will insure they are restored to
discipleship. If this does not occur, a Calvinist would say
this backslidden person was a false professor, a foolish
virgin, “who had trusted to and depended upon their own
righteousness and their external profession of religion.”
(Page 170) Elder Chastain takes the position that “heaven
is a prepared place for a prepared people.” (Page 170) This
implies we had best be prepared (our good works) if we
want heaven to be our home. I would say no to that. Our
preparation for heaven was by the blood of Christ alone. He
paid it all!
While I favor the explanation given by Elder Cayce over that
which was given by Elder Chastain, it is left to the reader to
study each article, and decide for himself which of these two
(or another) is more logical, Scriptural, and God honoring. I
believe most Primitive Baptists will favor the interpretation of
this parable as that given us by Elder C. H. Cayce. His
explanation in affect warns us of the need to study Bible
doctrine so as to not let the legalism of the law service
creep into the church, because if it does, Christ may remove
the candlestick. This would mean a loss of the blessings of
the church in this lifetime, but not a loss of our eternal
salvation. The warning to the Laodicean Church in
Revelation 3:14-22 is a good example.
I pray that this study has been of some benefit to God’s
people, and will bring them closer to a knowledge of the
truth, and the comfort of better understanding the eternal
security of God’s sovereign grace.
Unlocking Bible Truth
180
Chapter XVI
Three heavens and three kingdoms of Scripture
Although not a parable, this interesting chapter will consider
the possibility that there are actually three different
“heavens” taught in Scripture. I chose this subject after
reading a booklet published in 1956 by Elder A. E. Richards
(formally from the West Texas prairie country) entitled Why I
Am A Primitive Baptist. Next, an effort will be made to show
there are three aspects of kingdom taught in Scripture
(kingdom of God, kingdom of heaven, and kingdom of His
dear Son). This subject came from a sermon by Elder
Sonny Pyles, Graham, Texas, entitled Three Essential
Facts. An effort will be made so show that the three
kingdoms correspond exactly to the three heavens, and that
an aspect of salvation is connected to each of the three.
Three heavens
I believe most Christians would say the first “heaven” is
within the earth’s atmosphere, the second “heaven” would
be outer space where we have planets and stars, and the
third “heaven” is the eternal paradise of God. In Gill’s
commentary, after mentioning the third “heaven,” he refers
to “the airy and starry heavens.”
There are Primitive Baptists that believe there is a spiritual
application. My dictionary gives one definition of heaven as
“the abode of God.” We hope to prove there is a spiritual
application in which the child of God after regeneration is
called the temple of God for the first “heaven” (as noted in 1
Corinthians 3:16), and the church would then be the second
“heaven.” In addition to the eternal heaven, or paradise,
God has also taken up residence in both the first “heaven,”
Chapter XVI
Three heavens and three kingdoms of Scripture
181
and the second “heaven,” which should justify the use of the
non-Biblical label of “heaven” in these cases.
We know “kingdom” is mentioned many times in the New
Testament. Three aspects of this “kingdom” tie in with the
above mentioned three “heavens.” There is some degree of
salvation connected to each of the three “heavens” and
three “kingdoms.” By definition a “kingdom” is a territory
ruled by a king. Jesus Christ is the King of kings, and the
Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6:15), and He is present in each of
these heavenly abodes, or kingdoms. “Kingdoms” will be
dealt with next.
Elder Richards introduces the subject of three heavens by
stating the following:
I know that when Paul used the term “third heaven,” he
recognized the existence of the first and the second
heaven. And this leads me to this question, “what are
the first and second heavens?” Are we going to forget
about them, or are we going to examine these things
and thus, by harmonizing the Scriptures, come to a
realization of the truth?
Before we see how Elder Richards deals with this subject,
we should first quote the following Bible verses.
• 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 “I knew a man in Christ above
fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or
whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew
such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I
cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up
into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is
not lawful for a man to utter.”
Unlocking Bible Truth
182
We know this man Paul referred to was himself,
based on his comments a few verses later, as follows:
• 2 Corinthians 12:7 “And lest I should be exalted above
measure through the abundance of the revelations,
there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the
messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be
exalted above measure.”
First Heaven
In an effort to find a Biblical answer to the possibility there
are three different “heavens” taught in Scripture, Elder
Richards begins with two more questions:
We read about the “first resurrection” and the
“second death,” and these lead us to ask another
question or two. What about the “first death” and the
“second resurrection?” All of these are pretty well
connected in with heaven, and hell. Unless we know the
meaning of these expressions, we cannot be expected
to know very much about the truth of the Bible.
Let’s see the Scripture Elder Richards is referring to, as
follows:
• Revelation 20:6 “Blessed and holy [is] he that hath part
in the first resurrection: on such the second death
hath no power…”
• Revelation 20:14 “And death and hell were cast into the
lake of fire. This is the second death.”
Elder Richards then continues by offering a solution to
some of these questions, with the following:
Let’s see if we cannot study this a little closer and get a
clear and beautiful picture of the whole matter. When the
Chapter XVI
Three heavens and three kingdoms of Scripture
183
first man (Adam) violated God’s law, he died. And of
course, this was the first death…all mankind died
with Adam in this first death.
We have good Bible verses to make the point that the sin of
Adam brought death to the whole human race:
• 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:”
• Romans 5:17 “For if by one man's offence death
reigned by one; much more they which receive
abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness
shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.”
By establishing what the “first death” means, we can now
see that whatever overcame this first death must be the
“first resurrection.” The first man Adam brought death, so
the “second Adam,” the Lord Jesus Christ, brought a new
life, or “spiritual life” (being born again), by way of the first
resurrection.
Elder Richards continues:
Jesus says “I am the resurrection, and the life” (John
11:25), and of course when Christ arose from the grave
following His crucifixion, death, and burial, that was the
first resurrection. And all those who have a part in the
first resurrection, then the second death hath no power
over them. (Revelation 20:6 says exactly that, as quoted
above.) When Christ shed His blood on the cross and
then was resurrected, all those for whom that blood was
shed had part in that (first) resurrection. If Christ died for
you, then He was also raised for you. In John 5:25 we
read,
Unlocking Bible Truth
184
• “The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall
hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear
shall live.”
The “dead” of this text are those who were in the first
death, and those who “live” are those who have part in
the first resurrection.
To be resurrected is to be elevated, to be lifted up to a
higher place, or higher order or standing. And this
resurrection puts people into a new life (or spiritual life).
This is the first “heaven” in which he is placed. We
sometime refer to it as the spiritual kingdom…this is the
place of light a person is translated out of darkness into.
• Colossians 1:13 “Who hath delivered us from the
power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the
kingdom of his dear Son:”
This heaven knows no denominational bounds, no race,
no creed or color. This is the body spoken of in 1
Corinthians 12:13, “by one spirit are we all baptized into
one body.” This is the Holy Spirit baptism. You get the
first heaven by the precious blood of Christ being shed
for you, and it being sprinkled upon your heart; by His
free grace, which is unmerited on your part.
Every person who lives on earth, from the first man until
the last one to ever be born of woman, who has had or
will have his heart tendered by the grace of God,
becomes a member of this body….enters into this
“heaven.” He might not have ever been taught about
Jesus Christ, and he might not know anything about the
apostle’s doctrine; in fact he may be worshipping a
golden calf or a frozen pumpkin, but if he is one of the
Chapter XVI
Three heavens and three kingdoms of Scripture
185
beneficiaries of the blood of Christ, he is a member of
the Kingdom of God, in what we term the spiritual phase
(spiritual life) for the lack of a better word….this is the
first “heaven.” That inner spirit of man, one born of God,
is just as pure and holy as God Himself, and does not
sin.
Elder Richards has shown us the first “heaven” into which
an elect child of God is translated. This new life is called
spiritual life (regeneration). Think of this new nature, or new
mind, as if it was computer software. We are born with a
sinful carnal software mind we inherited from Adam. In
regeneration, God loads a new software package into our
brain (the fleshly computer hardware). This new spiritual life
we receive in regeneration (new nature or new mind), is one
that is elevated into a totally pure and sinless state. This
new nature, or mind, cannot commit sin, and it dwells in the
presence of God Himself!!! God has written His laws into
this sin-free mind, and even though no gospel message has
ever been heard, this child of God shows evidence of
regeneration through the fruit he bares in his life. The child
of God now has the ability to understand spiritual things,
unlike the unregenerate natural man.
If all the above can be proven by Scripture, then we may be
justified in labeling this new spiritual life where God abides
the first “heaven.” Consider the following Bible verses that I
believe do prove this point:
• 1 John 3:9 “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit
sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin,
because he is born of God.”
• Romans 7:15-17 “For that which I do I allow not: for what
I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I
Unlocking Bible Truth
186
do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that [it
is] good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that
dwelleth in me.” There is an “I” that cannot sin, even
though our carnal mind does sin.
• 1 Corinthians 3:16 “Know ye not that ye are the temple
of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”
• Hebrews 8:10 “For this [is] the covenant that I will make
with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord;
I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their
hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to
me a people:”
• Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy,
peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
• 1 Corinthians 2:14 “But the natural man receiveth not
the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness
unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are
spiritually discerned.”
While the Bible does not call it the first “heaven,” one may
say it surely must be somewhere between earth and
heaven! God’s children feel they are from another world,
and are strangers in this earth, as follows:
• Hebrews 11:13 “These all died in faith, not having
received the promises, but having seen them afar off,
and were persuaded of [them], and embraced [them],
and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on
the earth.”
To finish our discussion on the first heaven, Elder Richards
further explains the extent to which this new spiritual life in
Christ Jesus has been elevated.
Chapter XVI
Three heavens and three kingdoms of Scripture
187
Romans 8:2 states, “For the law of the Spirit of life in
Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and
death.” He is no more under the law of sin and death.
The second death has no power over him or her. That
person is now under the law of the Spirit of life.
Second Heaven
Elder Richards now continues with an explanation on what
he calls the second “heaven.” He states the following:
We now come to a discussion of the “second heaven.”
This is a “new plateau of life.” The second heaven is
what we refer to as the church here in the world, the
visible kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. Every child of
God is under commandment to obey the law of Christ
and to keep His Word. It is conditional on our part
whether or not we enter this heaven. In Luke 16:16 we
read, “The law and the prophets [were] until John: since
that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every
man presseth into it.” The only way a person can get into
this kingdom is by pressing into it. Jesus once told a
man “if thou wilt enter into life, keep the
commandments.” (Matthew 19:17) The life we get by
keeping the commandments is in the church, and we
begin to live it as soon as we enter (by baptism).
Let’s pause and consider the benefits of the church, being
labeled here the second “heaven.” Peter preached to some
of God’s people shortly after the day of Pentecost, and told
them of the following “salvation:”
• Acts2:28-41 “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and
be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus
Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the
gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and
Unlocking Bible Truth
188
to your children, and to all that are afar off, [even] as
many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many
other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save
yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they
that gladly received his word were baptized: and the
same day there were added [unto them] about three
thousand souls.”
We know we cannot save ourselves for eternal salvation, so
this salvation must be something available for God’s
obedient children who have been converted to the truth in
this lifetime--a “now” salvation. We notice Peter mentions
more on this subject later in his First Epistle, as follows:
• 1 Peter 3:20-21 “Which sometime were disobedient,
when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days
of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few,
that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure
whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us (not
the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer
of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection
of Jesus Christ:”
The salvation available from baptism is compared to the
salvation of Noah and his family by the floodwaters. The
floodwaters drowned the sinful violent people that could
have brought physical harm as well as sinful temptation to
lead Noah and his family to the broad way of destruction
instead of the strait and narrow way that leads to life and
peace in fellowship with God. Noah’s family was saved from
that “untoward generation” before the flood. The church
offers us this salvation today, if we “press” into the kingdom
(Luke 16:16), or this second “heaven,” for a now salvation
from today’s untoward generation (Acts 2:40).
Elder Richards now continues his discussion:
Chapter XVI
Three heavens and three kingdoms of Scripture
189
We read in Revelation 12:1-9, where there appeared a
great wonder in heaven (verse 1), that old serpent called
the Devil and Satan was cast out into the earth (verse
9). Of course this is figurative language, but we all know,
if we know anything about the truth of God, that Satan
has never been in heaven and immortal glory, or
paradise, the third heaven, for no sin of any kind is
allowed there. The “heaven” mentioned in these verses
is surely something else (and not the third heaven, or
paradise). God’s justice and holiness guards the portals
of glory against anything evil, and certainly the things
mentioned as happening in this twelfth chapter of
Revelation could not ever take place in that celestial
home above.
But it is different in the church here on earth, or in the
second “heaven” (sometimes called the kingdom of God
or kingdom of heaven). The guard and the protection of
this heaven is placed with men, and men sometimes
make mistakes. We read in the second chapter of
Revelation of a church that made a mistake. And God
told that church “repent or I will remove the candlestick.”
(Revelation 2:5)
Local bodies sometimes go wrong to the extent they
lose their identities, or in other words, God removes the
candlestick, or takes their light away from them.
Sometimes God’s people are deceived and Satan
appears to them in the form of “a wonder,” or “an angel
of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). But they can repent and
cast Satan out of the church, or cast him out of “heaven”
(second heaven).
Satan is ever lurking to get in, many times he goes to
the church with you, and if you are not careful he will go
Unlocking Bible Truth
190
right into the church with you and “his tail will cast you to
the earth.” Satan is wroth with the Lord’s people and he
is making war against them. He will do, and is doing
everything he can to destroy the church, and he knows
the best way to do that is from within. So, if permitted, he
will go in and take the topmost seat. It is a perpetual job
to keep him and his angels cast out.
We hear much said about the strait and narrow way, and
also about the broad way (Matthew 7:13-14). Both of
these paths are open to the child of God. One of them
leads to the church, and a life of Christian devotion, and
the other leads to a misspent life. If you take the broad
way, Satan will cast you to the earth, and you will miss
the joys and happiness of a life in (fellowship with)
Christ, and in His service.
This road to life is hard to find because Satan will
camouflage the entrance…he will try to hide the true
beauties of this way. He will erect huge signs, bearing
false literature, to the so called beauties in the broad
way. He makes it as difficult as he can for you to find the
way of life, and then once you do find it, he tries every
conceivable way to lead you astray, or cast you to earth.
Luke 12:32 says, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's
good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Only a very few of
God’s people are blessed to experience gospel conversion
by entering His church in this life. Only God decides if one
or more of today’s Christian denominations are actually His
church. God may remove the candlestick from any church
so as to make it no longer God’s church, as He warned the
church of Ephesus in Revelation 2:5.
Chapter XVI
Three heavens and three kingdoms of Scripture
191
Third Heaven
Elder Richards now considers the third heaven:
Who is it that will enter this heaven? How do they get
there? How many will be there? We hear a lot said about
the “judgement day,” and this is supposed to be at the
final consummation of time, when people will enter into
life eternal, according to the way they pass the
judgement.
Well, Primitive Baptists believe in a final judgment day,
but we will take it like it is taught in the Bible, rather than
the way so many people erroneously describe it. I think
we have a pretty good description of the “judgement
day” in the 20th chapter of Revelation. Let me give you
this in my words and then you turn and read it and see if
this is not what it teaches.
There is to be a judging that takes place, and John who
was allowed to see this in a special vision saw it this
way: the dead small and great were delivered up. And
before the judgement throne there was the Lamb’s Book
of Life, and also the books (in the plural). In the Lamb’s
Book of Life are written the names of all those the Father
gave the Son. All of them will be kept by the blood of the
Lamb (Colossians 3:3 and John 10:28-30) and none of
them is lost. But those who are not found in the Book of
Life will be judged out of the books according to their
works.
Any person who is judged according to his own works,
will certainly be condemned, and it so states in
Revelation 20:12-15. All whose name was not written in
the Book of Life were judged according to their own
works, and were cast into the lake of fire.
Unlocking Bible Truth
192
Also, we learn here (Revelation 20:14) what the second
death is. It says, “And death and hell were cast into the
lake of fire. This is the second death.”
John in his holy vision saw the people in the third
heaven singing praises unto the Lamb for redemption
out of every nation, kindred, people and tongue…an
innumerable host that no man could number. This is
stated in Scripture as follows:
• Revelation 7:9 “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great
multitude, which no man could number, of all nations,
and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before
the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white
robes, and palms in their hands;”
The third heaven is the eternal heaven, or paradise. This is
where God’s children will spend eternity at the end of time.
Summation of Thoughts
The first “heaven” is the “new” heart or mind of a born again
child of God. Two good Bible verses, one of which was
quoted above, prove that God has taken up residence in the
child of God so as to justify calling this the first “heaven.”
Consider again the following:
• 1 Corinthians 3:16 “Know ye not that ye are the temple
of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”
• 2 Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves, whether ye be
in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your
own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye
be reprobates?”
These born again children of God have been raised by God
(first resurrection) to life in Christ:
Chapter XVI
Three heavens and three kingdoms of Scripture
193
• Revelation 20:6 “Blessed and holy [is] he that hath part
in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath
no power…”
Those children of God who died with Adam (first death) at
the dawn of time were included by God in the death, burial
and resurrection of Christ, and are beneficiaries of His
blood. This first resurrection that raises us from death in
Adam into divine life is not only called a “translation” as in
Colossians 1:13, as quoted on page 184, it is also called a
quickening, as follows:
• Ephesians 2:1“And you [hath he quickened], who were
dead in trespasses and sins;”
This first resurrection is also referred to as the new birth, or
regeneration, as follows:
• Titus 3:5-7 “Not by works of righteousness which we
have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by
the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy
Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus
Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we
should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal
life.”
The above verses should make it very clear that man
cannot assist God in the first resurrection, or this first
“heaven,” and it occurs at a time of God’s own choosing.
This new spiritual life (regeneration) takes place sometime
between conception and death.
The elect of God are brought into this first “heaven” by the
sovereign work and grace of God. It does not involve any
religious denominational practice or any effort by man. This
salvation includes all of God’s elect children…those who
have died before physical birth or died at a very young age,
Unlocking Bible Truth
194
those who are mentally impaired, as well as all others. The
gospel message is not involved…it is by the voice of the
Son of God (John 5:25 and John 6:63). As Revelation 7:9
describes, this includes “a great multitude, which no man
could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and
tongues.”
As Elder Richards explains it, the second “heaven” is the
local church (not brick and mortar, but the people), the
place of rest for the faithful Christians who attempt to obey
the commandments, and who worship “in spirit and in truth.”
(John 4:23-24) We know we can call this place heaven,
because God also abides in the church, as follows:
• 1 Peter 2:5 “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a
spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual
sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”
• Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered
together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
Only a few of God’s people are blessed to hear the gospel
preached, and are then obedient unto conversion and
discipleship, by entering into this strait and narrow way that
leads to abundant life in Christ Jesus. Luke 12:32 says,
“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to
give you the kingdom.” But those who do enter live an
abundant life, or as Jesus said in John 10:10, “I am come
that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more
abundantly.” It is a life of inner peace and comfort in
fellowship with Christ and His people.
As already noted and clearly stated by the Apostle Paul in 2
Corinthians 12:2-4, the third “heaven” is paradise itself, in
the presence of God for eternity. This second resurrection
Chapter XVI
Three heavens and three kingdoms of Scripture
195
takes place when the Lord returns at the end of time, and
His children, whose names are written in the Lambs Book of
Life, are raised up to paradise in glorified bodies so as to
spend eternity with the Lord.
To review again, there are three heavens for an elect child
of God to experience. Regeneration provides the first
heaven. Conversion unto discipleship into the Lord’s church
offers God’s obedient children the second heaven, if they
are so fortunate as to hear the gospel preached, and if they
obey the commandments (this can be later lost by sinful
living). Finally, at the end of time, all of God’s children will
enjoy the third heaven in glorified bodes.
Regeneration, conversion, and glorification are the means
God employs for a child of God to enjoy some degree of
salvation in each of the three “heavens.”
Three Kingdoms
This portion of the chapter will explore the meaning of
verses that contain the expressions “kingdom of God,”
“kingdom of heaven,” or “kingdom of His dear Son.” These
phrases were dealt with as the third essential fact taught in
the sermon by Elder Sonny Pyles entitled Three Essential
Facts. The first two essential facts were covered in Chapter
I and Chapter II. As you read this concerning the three
kingdoms, please notice the similarity of each kingdom to
the three heavens previously studied. I believe they are
essentially the same thing, and some degree of salvation is
connected with each of the three heavens and three
kingdoms.
As Elder Pyles stated, if one assumes that in every case
these “kingdom” expressions have reference to the eternal
Unlocking Bible Truth
196
heaven, then this assumption will lead to endless confusion.
However, it is also wrong to assume that in every case they
have reference to the Lord’s church. He stated that the
Bible uses these expressions in several different senses.
An attempt will be made to deal with three senses that the
Bible refers to when using the word “kingdom.”
To begin the study, and better appreciate the problem, let’s
compare a number of different Bible verses that appear at
first to contradict each other. First, let’s notice the following
two Bible verses:
• Luke 17:20 “And when he was demanded of the
Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he
answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh
not with observation:”
• John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily,
verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he
cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Further explanation is needed regarding the kingdom of
God that comes without observation, and the kingdom of
God that can only be seen if one is born again.
Now let’s compare two other verses, as follows:
• Colossians 1:13 “Who hath delivered us from the power
of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of
his dear Son:”
• Luke 16:16 “The law and the prophets were until John:
since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and
every man presseth into it.”
Chapter XVI
Three heavens and three kingdoms of Scripture
197
Obviously the kingdom into which one is translated is
somewhat different than the kingdom into which you must
press. We remember the Bible verse concerning Enoch, as
follows:
• Hebrews 11:5 “By faith Enoch was translated that he
should not see death; and was not found, because God
had translated him: for before his translation he had this
testimony, that he pleased God.”
Enoch did not have to perform any action when God
translated him into heaven. In the same way, the person
being translated into the kingdom of His dear Son is
passive, and does no work such as “pressing” into this
kingdom. However, Luke 16:16 refers to the kingdom of
God being preached, and “every man presseth into it.” The
obedient child of God must press against the world, the
flesh and the devil. Obviously, these two verses (Colossians
1:13 and Luke 16:16) are not referring to exactly the same
thing. We will explain later what these two “kingdoms”
actually are.
Finally, consider two more aspects of the kingdom that
seem to be at odds with each other:
• Matthew 11:12 “And from the days of John the Baptist
until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and
the violent take it by force.”
• John 18:36 “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this
world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my
servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews:
but now is my kingdom not from hence.”
Unlocking Bible Truth
198
Notice that in Matthew 11:12 quoted above, the kingdom of
heaven can suffer violence…or can be abused by the world.
History is filled with examples of God’s church and its
members being persecuted. However, when Pilate asked
Jesus in John 18:33 “Art thou the King of the Jews?” Jesus
stated in John 18:36 (quoted above) that if His kingdom
were of this world, then His servants would fight. Obviously
the kingdom that can suffer violence in this world is not the
same aspect of the kingdom that Jesus told Pilate was “not
of this world.”
As Elder Sonny Pyles explains further, if you try to compare
these kingdom verses side by side, they will never make
sense. The above examples should make this point clear.
He suggested the following analogy to gain a better
understanding. Consider a Texan is walking down a street
in Paris, France. If someone approaching him would ask if
he was from North America, he could answer yes. If another
person would ask if he was from the United States, he could
also answer yes. Finally, if a third person would ask if he
was from Texas, he could again answer yes. In each
geographic location, the smaller is contained in the larger,
so he is truthful in answering yes to each question. This
principle can also apply to the various kingdom verses.
Kingdom of God = Kingdom of heaven
The terms “kingdom of God” and “kingdom of heaven” are
two names for the same thing. These expressions are used
interchangeably in the gospels. The mother country of this
kingdom is heaven, and God is the King. To prove this fact,
consider the following parallel verses in Matthew and Mark:
• Matthew 4:12, 17 “Now when Jesus had heard that John
was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee;……. From
Chapter XVI
Three heavens and three kingdoms of Scripture
199
that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for
the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
• Mark 1:14 “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus
came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom
of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the
kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the
gospel.”
Further, both terms are used together in two succeeding
verses:
• Matthew 19:23-24 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples,
Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter
into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It
is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle,
than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”
Regenerate Elect of God (first heaven)
First, we will deal with a very large group of people in this
present world who are the elect of God, as described below:
(In the analogy, this is the United States.)
• Ephesians 1:4 “According as he hath chosen us in him
before the foundation of the world, that we should be
holy and without blame before him in love:”
These elect individuals will be given spiritual life by
regeneration as described below:
• Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have
done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the
washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy
Ghost;”
Unlocking Bible Truth
200
These individuals have been given spiritual life:
• Ephesians 2:1 “And you hath he quickened, who were
dead in trespasses and sins:”
All of the above actions are performed by God alone,
without any effort being performed by the individuals
involved, since the dead can do nothing for themselves.
You might say these individuals have been translated into
the kingdom of His dear Son, as follows:
• Colossians 1:13 “Who hath delivered us from the power
of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of
his dear Son:”
The translation of the child of God comes without
observation, as Jesus stated. This kingdom is within the
regenerate child of God.
• Luke 17:20-21 “And when he was demanded of the
Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he
answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh
not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or,
lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”
The Pharisees were expecting that when the Messiah
came, He would establish a political kingdom in which the
Jews would overthrow all their enemies. Jesus is explaining
that the kingdom God would establish at His coming would
be one you could not see physically, but rather would be
located in the hearts of His children. These are spiritual
things only a child of God could understand. Furthermore,
the Pharisees Jesus was speaking to in Luke 17:20 must
have been unregenerate. In this state these Pharisees
cannot hear spiritual things:
Chapter XVI
Three heavens and three kingdoms of Scripture
201
• John 8:47 “He that is of God heareth God's words: ye
therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.”
The unregenerate cannot understand spiritual things:
• I Corinthians 2:14 “But the natural man receiveth not the
things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto
him: neither can he know them, because they are
spiritually discerned.”
The unregenerate cannot believe:
• John 10:26-28 “But ye believe not, because ye are not
of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my
voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give
unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish,
neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”
In this condition, they cannot see, or observe, the kingdom
of God, or the kingdom of heaven. To the unregenerate
human world, the Lord’s church and preaching of the cross
is only foolishness:
• I Corinthians 1:18 “For the preaching of the cross is
to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are
saved it is the power of God.”
Further, Jesus says this kingdom of God is within you;
therefore, it cannot be seen by human eyes. Consider the
following verse that states the Spirit of God dwells within the
regenerate child of God whose body is called a temple:
• 1Corinthians 3:16-17 “Know ye not that ye are the
temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in
you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall
Unlocking Bible Truth
202
God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which
temple ye are.”
The unregenerate human world could never see the
kingdom of God described above concerning regenerate
children of God. The kingdom of God is within them as is
also stated above in Luke 17:21, “Neither shall they say, Lo
here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within
you.” A salvation or deliverance is enjoyed by the born
again child of God, even though they may have never heard
the gospel message.
• 2 Timothy 1:9 “Who hath saved us, and called [us] with
an holy calling, not according to our works, but
according to his own purpose and grace, which was
given us in Christ Jesus before the world began…”
This holy calling is the voice of the Son of God as stated in
John 5:25, “…the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of
God, and they that hear shall live.” This calling is unto
regeneration. This kingdom is sometimes called the invisible
church.
The Lord’s Church (second heaven)
Next, we will deal with the smallest group of people, the
Lord’s church. The church consists of God’s born again
children who, through their obedience to gospel commands,
are disciples of Christ. (In the analogy, being a disciple of
Christ is likened to being a citizen of Texas.)
The Lord’s church is referred to as the kingdom in many
Bible verses. The Lord’s church is the smallest kingdom
group, and is referred to as only a “little flock,” as the
following:
Chapter XVI
Three heavens and three kingdoms of Scripture
203
• Luke 12:32 “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's
good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
God’s born again children must press into this kingdom
actively, as follows:
• Luke 16:16 “The law and the prophets were until John:
since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and
every man presseth into it.”
John the Baptist proclaimed this kingdom, as follows:
• Matthew 3:1-2 “In those days came John the Baptist,
preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying,
Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” At
hand means this church kingdom is soon to be
established. It does not mean the eternal heaven, or
some kingdom that will be established at the second
coming of Christ thousands of years in the future.
Jesus preached this same message:
• Matthew 4:17 “From that time Jesus began to preach,
and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at
hand.”
To demonstrate that the church and the kingdom of heaven
as given above are one and the same, notice that Jesus
refers to both as if they are the same. Consider these
verses:
• Matthew 16:18-19 “And I say also unto thee, That thou
art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and
the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will
give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and
whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in
Unlocking Bible Truth
204
heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall
be loosed in heaven.”
The Lord’s church is the kingdom of heaven that is
persecuted, or suffers violence, as follows:
• Matthew 11:12 “And from the days of John the Baptist
until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and
the violent take it by force.”
In order for a person to see the kingdom of God, or that
aspect which is the Lord’s church, then this person must
already be born again. Jesus confirms this fact to
Nicodemus as follows:
• John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily,
verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he
cannot see the kingdom of God.”
In this state of possessing spiritual life, the children of God,
if they are ever blessed to hear the gospel preached, are
now able to see the much smaller aspect of the kingdom of
God that is the Lord’s church. After hearing the gospel, they
may or may not choose to press into the Kingdom of God:
• Luke 16:16 “The law and the prophets were until John:
since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and
every man presseth into it.”
For children of God to “press into the kingdom of God,” or
church, they must repent of their sins:
• Acts 3:19 “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that
your sins may be blotted out, when the times of
refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;”
Chapter XVI
Three heavens and three kingdoms of Scripture
205
They must confess Christ (notice the verse does not say
“accept” Christ) as their saviour:
• Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth
the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God
hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
As believers, the children of God must submit to baptism:
• Mark 16:16 “He that believeth and is baptized shall be
saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
If the children of God do not “press into the kingdom,” in the
church, they will miss receiving the salvation “from this
untoward generation” as preached by Peter in Acts:
• Acts 2:38-40 “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and
be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus
Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the
gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and
to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as
many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many
other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save
yourselves from this untoward generation.”
Even if these children of God do not “press into the
kingdom,” as outlined above, they are still regenerate
children of God. Their rebellion will be punished by God in
this life as stated in Mark 16:16 above…”but he that
believeth not shall be damned.” Other excellent verses on
damnation in this life (chastisement) are given in Hebrews
as follows:
• Hebrews 10:26-31 “For if we sin wilfully after that we
have received the knowledge of the truth, there
Unlocking Bible Truth
206
remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful
looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall
devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law
died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how
much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be
thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of
God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant,
wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath
done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him
that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will
recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall
judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands
of the living God.”
• Hebrews 12:5-11 “And ye have forgotten the exhortation
which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son,
despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint
when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth
he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he
receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you
as with sons; for what son is he whom the father
chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement,
whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not
sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh
which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall
we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of
spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened
us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we
might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening
for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous:
nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of
righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”
As stated above, many born again people who are
regenerate, for one reason or another, have not “pressed
Chapter XVI
Three heavens and three kingdoms of Scripture
207
into the kingdom” by obeying the gospel message. Many
reasons exist as to why only a few of God’s people are in
the Lord’s church. They may have died in infancy or at a
young age. They may have a mental handicap. They may
not have been blessed to ever hear the gospel message
preached. Or finally, they may have heard the gospel
preached, but have not wanted to give up some of the
“pleasures” of this world. As a result, many born again
people are not in the Lord’s church. They are sons of God,
but they have not been converted to a knowledge of the
truth, and through obedience unto baptism, they have not
become disciples of Christ in His church. They are
regenerated, but not fully converted.
Those individuals who are blessed to be in the Lord’s
church, (kingdom of heaven or kingdom of God, as it is
called), come to realize that they are out of place in the
world. They love the gospel and they love the Lord’s
people. They feel as if they are strangers in a far country.
Notice again this Bible verse quoted earlier:
• Hebrews 11:13 “These all died in faith, not having
received the promises, but having seen them afar off,
and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and
confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the
earth.”
The kingdom described by the various verses given above
is sometimes referred to as the “visible” church.
Eternal Kingdom (third heaven)
Finally, we will deal with the eternal kingdom that is based
in paradise (heaven and immortal glory). It is the mother
country, so to speak. (The mother country would be North
America in the analogy given by Elder Sonny Pyles.)
Unlocking Bible Truth
208
Before the crucifixion of Jesus, Pilate asked Jesus if He was
King of the Jews. Jesus answered as follows:
• John 18:36 “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this
world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my
servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews:
but now is my kingdom not from hence.”
Obviously, Jesus is referring to the eternal kingdom that is
in paradise, or heaven and immortal glory. Another example
of verses that refer to the kingdom of God as being the
eternal kingdom is as follows:
• I Corinthians 15:50 “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh
and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither
doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I show you a
mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be
changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the
last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead
shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
As stated above, this kingdom is based in heaven, and God
is the king. (Paul was caught up into this third heaven as
saw things he could not repeat, as given in 2 Corinthians
12:2-4.) However, many members of this kingdom are in
this present world. They are strangers and pilgrims from a
far country, as in the following verse that has been quoted
before:
• Hebrews 11:13 “These all died in faith, not having
received the promises, but having seen them afar off,
and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and
confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the
earth.”
Chapter XVI
Three heavens and three kingdoms of Scripture
209
Kingdom Prophecy
Prophecy in the Old Testament concerning the Kingdom of
God can be found in 2 Samuel as follows:
• 2 Samuel 7:12 “And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou
shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after
thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will
establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my
name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for
ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he
commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men,
and with the stripes of the children of men:”
The house noted above is the heart of each “born again”
person. As Luke 17:21 says, “for behold, the kingdom of
God in within you,” as well as, I Corinthians 3:16 “Know ye
not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God
dwelleth in you?”
This kingdom was declared and established at the time of
the apostles. To prove this fact, consider the sermon
preached by Peter “when the day of Pentecost was fully
come,” in the second chapter of Acts:
• Acts 2:29-35 “Men and brethren, let me freely speak
unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and
buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had
sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins,
according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on
his throne; He seeing this before spake of the
resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell,
neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God
raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being
by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of
Unlocking Bible Truth
210
the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed
forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not
ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The
Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I
make thy foes thy footstool.”
The kingdom was declared and established at the time of
the resurrection of Christ (see above), when David was still
in the grave. Contrary to the premillinial belief, Christ will not
be brought back at the “second coming” to set up the
kingdom. At the second coming of Christ, both the just and
the unjust will be raised (including David), those which are
alive will be caught up together, and Christ will deliver up
the Kingdom to the Father. Consider:
• I Corinthians 15:24 “Then cometh the end, when he
shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the
Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all
authority and power.”
At this time, Jesus has been reigning on the throne of David
for about 2,000 years. The one thousand year reign spoken
of in Revelation 20:2-5 is a large precise number and is
used in the same sense as “thousand” spoken of in Psalms
50:10, Psalms 105:8 and Deuteronomy 7:9.
Let’s look at a second analogy with the hope of better
understanding what has been presented above. Consider
that the church of Jesus Christ is an embassy in a foreign
land (the world). The embassy property in the foreign land is
owned by the mother country (heaven). The pastor would
be similar to the ambassador of this embassy. The one who
rules the embassy is the president of the mother
country…in this case it is God the Son (our Lord Jesus
Christ) through the Holy Spirit. When a citizen of the mother
Chapter XVI
Three heavens and three kingdoms of Scripture
211
country is traveling in this foreign land (the world) and visits
the mother country embassy (the church), he feels that he is
back home. Even so, many of these citizens of the mother
country traveling in this foreign land may never enter the
embassy, yet they are all still citizens of the mother country.
Not all of God’s regenerate children will be converted
disciples of Christ, in His church.
As you consider the comparison of the church being an
embassy in a foreign land, you realize that the Lord’s
church actually offers the child of God a little taste of
heaven (the mother country) while still on earth. The church
member enjoys fellowship with Jesus Christ Himself, as
Jesus declared to the Laodicean church. This verse is
addressed to church members who are guilty of sins that
could cast them out of the church.
• Revelation 3:20-22 “Behold, I stand at the door, and
knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I
will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with
me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in
my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down
with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him
hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
The above verse was addressed to the Laodicean church,
not to dead alien unregenerate sinners, as some people
think. Remember, only God’s born again children can hear
God’s words:
• John 8:47 “He that is of God heareth God's words: ye
therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.”
To repeat, God’s church offers the child of God a small
taste of heaven on earth. In church, they have their “pure
Unlocking Bible Truth
212
mind” (2 Peter 3:1) stirred up, which is a mind that cannot
sin (1John 3:9). This “pure mind” is the earnest of our
inheritance (heaven is our inheritance) that is sealed by the
Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14). Children of God “labor and
are heavy laden” (Matthew 11:28) until through obedience
they press into the kingdom (Luke 16:16) to become
converted disciples of Christ in His church and find rest for
their souls. This “rest” one receives (Matthew 11:28) in the
church offers healing…the church is a hospital for sinners.
The church is the place where God’s people can receive
spiritual food through the preached word, and as a result
they can both grow and mature spiritually. Notice this verse:
• I Peter 2:2 “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of
the word, that ye may grow thereby:”
Many of God’s children today are still spiritual infants who
are suffering and do not know why. They need to heed this
warning given in Hebrews 3:7, “as the Holy Ghost saith, To
day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in
the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness.”
Conversion unto discipleship in the church is the only way
God’s people will ever be truly happy in this life on earth. No
amount of material success and worldly recognition can fill
this need. Hopefully, God’s children today will understand
this truth, turn back to the Bible, and “save” themselves
“from this untoward generation” (Acts 2:40). A Primitive
Baptist would call this conditional time “salvation,” because
this deliverance is provided by God to be enjoyed during
this lifetime.
Summation of Thoughts
The kingdom of God, kingdom of heaven, or kingdom of His
dear Son is wherever God is ruling. Whether it is…
Chapter XVI
Three heavens and three kingdoms of Scripture
213
1. in the heart of each of God’s regenerate (born again)
children…
2. in His church that is a small group of God’s born
again people who have been obedient unto the
gospel message and have become converted
disciples of Christ, or finally…
3. in glorified bodies in the eternal heaven itself…
in all the above kingdoms, God is ruling. In each “kingdom”
we find God in the person of Jesus Christ dwelling, so this
qualifies it to be designated also as “heaven,” and the child
of God enjoys some degree of salvation in each. Wherever
God is ruling, this place is surely heaven.
Conclusion
An effort has been made to show that the Bible makes
reference to three different “heavens,” and these are the
same as the three “kingdoms.” Too often the Bible student
takes one particular meaning of a word, and then assumes
the Bible always uses the word in this one sense. There are
many examples other than the words “heaven” and
“kingdom” to disprove this assumption. One must always
consider the context and grammar, as well as a comparison
of how the word is used elsewhere in the Bible.
One of the best examples of a word having multiple
meanings that could lead to confusion is the word “world.”
Consider the following verse, and how “world” is used:
• John 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.”
Unlocking Bible Truth
214
This verse is dealt with in Chapter XI, beginning on page
115. The point made is that when Jesus prayed to the
Father before He is crucified, in John 17, Jesus mentions
“world” 19 times to refer to 4 different worlds. These
nineteen verses are given in the above chapter beginning
on page 122. Salvation is another example. It does not
always mean eternal salvation as pointed out in Chapter II,
entitled Multiple Salvations, beginning on page 6.
In the case mentioned in this book, I believe “heaven” and
“kingdom” have at least three different spiritual applications.
Hopefully, all three applications have been proven. The
following is a summary.
Application one is regeneration
Regeneration (Titus 3:5) is the first “heaven,” or “kingdom.”
The new nature, or pure mind (2 Peter 3:1) of the born
again child of God cannot commit sin (1 John 3:9), has
God’s laws written into this pure mind (Hebrews 8:10), and
has been proven to be an abode of God (1 Corinthians
3:16). When an elect child of God is quickened (Ephesians
2:1) into spiritual life, he has been translated into the
“kingdom” of His dear Son (Colossians 1:13), for a salvation
as mentioned in the following verse:
• 2 Timothy 1:9 “Who hath saved us, and called [us] with
an holy calling, not according to our works, but
according to his own purpose and grace, which was
given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”
Notice above in this first case we have the 1st heaven in the
1st kingdom, obtained by regeneration, which insures the
child of God eternal salvation.
Chapter XVI
Three heavens and three kingdoms of Scripture
215
Application two by conversion is God’s church
The church offers the child of God the second “heaven,” or
“kingdom,” being considered. God dwells within the local
church, since the body of believers are a spiritual house
built of lively stones (1 Peter 2:5). In the church where two
or more are gathered together in His name (Matthew
18:20), Jesus did say He would be in their midst. If the child
of God presses into this church kingdom, as mentioned in
Luke 16:16, they can save themselves. Peter preached this
fact in the following verse:
• Act 2:40 “And with many other words did he testify and
exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward
generation.”
Notice above, we have the 2nd heaven in the 2nd kingdom
that offers the obedient child of God salvation during their
lifetime by way of conversion.
Application three is glorification in paradise
When the Lord returns at the end of time, we look forward to
glorification in the third heaven. God allowed Paul to be
caught up into the eternal heaven as mentioned in 2
Corinthians 12:2-4. When Jesus told Pilate His kingdom
was not of this world, He was speaking of paradise (John
18:36). Everyone agrees that God dwells in this kingdom
we have called the 3rd kingdom, or paradise, as called the
3rd heaven (2 Corinthians 12:2), and the salvation in
paradise for God’s glorified children is for eternity.
Summation of thoughts
Hopefully the case has been made to demonstrate
Scripture supports the proposition that there are three
heavens that are an abode of God, which are also called
Unlocking Bible Truth
216
kingdoms. In each the child of God will experience some
degree of salvation, or deliverance.
We have also shown three different aspects of salvation
provided for by God for His elect children based on the
death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The means God
employs to accomplish these deliverances are regeneration
(sometime between conception and death), conversion
(conditional based on obedience) and glorification at the
end of time.
The above three aspects of salvation, past, present, and
future, are mentioned in one Bible verse. Consider the
following Bible verse:
• 2 Corinthians 1:10 “Who delivered us from so great a
death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet
deliver [us],”
The deliverance from “so great a death” must refer to death
in Adam, as opposed to mere physical death. The
expression “doth deliver,” must refer to the possibility of
conversion for conditional time “salvation.” Finally, “in whom
we trust that he will yet deliver [us],” must refer to our
eternal salvation in glorified bodies at the end of time.
By understanding there are three heavens, or three
kingdoms, that provide three aspects of salvation, we have
solved the so called doctrinal paradox regarding the
sovereignty of God in eternal salvation…versus…the
exercise of man’s “free will” that provides a salvation in this
lifetime.
God is totally sovereign in regeneration; thus securing
eternal salvation for His elect children (Titus 3:5). Man’s
“free will” is only involved in gospel conversion unto
discipleship for a child of God (already born again) into the
Chapter XVI
Three heavens and three kingdoms of Scripture
217
Lord’s church for a salvation as noted by Peter, “save
yourselves from this untoward generation.” (Acts 2:40) This
aspect of salvation is conditional based on hearing and
understanding the gospel, and then by obedience to the
commandments (that can be lost later by sinful rebellion). In
other words, regeneration and conversion are two separate
things (covered in more detail in Chapter VII, beginning on
page 50) made clear by the three different aspects of the
“kingdoms,” or “heavens,” as shown in this chapter to be
supported by Scripture. It presents a beautiful picture of
what God has done for His children.
HOME