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Home arrow Griffin's History arrow Questions and Answers-Part 7
Questions and Answers-Part 7 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sylvester Hassell   

 

Grace and Works

Q. "By grace are ye saved through faith" (Eph. 2:8); how through faith?
A. The Pharisaic and heathen doctrine of salvation by works is false; we are saved entirely by the free grace or unmerited favor of God; and true faith, the fruit of His Spirit (Gal. 5:22; John 16:13, 14; I Cor. 12:3), is the channel or medium through which we realize our interest in His salvation. Even John Wesley, one of the wisest of Arminians, in expounding Eph. 2:8-10, says that not only grace but also faith and salvation are all the gifts of God. "It is of faith, that it might be by grace, to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed," says the Apostle Paul in Rom. 4:16.

Q. If we are saved by grace and not by our works (Rom. 11:5-7; Eph. 2:8, 9; II Tim. 1:9; Tit. 3: 4-7), how is it that we are to be judged according to our works (Matt. 16:27; Rom. 2:6-11; II Cor. 5:10; Rev. 20:13; 22:12)?
A. Our works show our hearts and our characters. If God's grace is in our hearts and characters, it will shine in our lives; if His grace is not in our hearts and characters, our lives will be dark, selfish, worldly, and devilish. The good fruit shows the good tree; and the bad fruit shows the evil tree (Matt. 7:16-20; 5:16; 12:35; 25: 31-46; Isa. 61:3,11; 55:10-13; 43:21; 44: 1-5; Rom. 6; 13:10; Gal. 5:6; Eph. 2:10; Philip 2:12,13; I Thess. 2-5; James 2).

Q. If we are saved entirely by grace, as the Scriptures teach, how is it that Christ, our Divine Judge, will reward every one according to his works (Matt. 16:27; Rom. 2:6-11; II Cor. 5:10; Rev. 20:12, 13; 22:12, 13)?
A. A man's deeds show the spirit by which he is actuated, as the fruit shows the nature of the tree. If a man loves the Lord and His people, he will delight to serve Him and them, and take no credit to himself for such service; but if he has no such love, his conduct will plainly enough prove it (Matt. 25:31-46; Philip 2:12,13; Gal. 5:6, 16-25; Heb. 8:8-12; James 2).

Q. What is the difference between faith and grace?
A. Faith is belief, and grace is favor or gift; it is of God's free favor or gracious gift that we, in our hearts, believe in His Son as our Saviour (Rom. 4:16; I Cor. 12:3; II Cor. 4:6; Gal.5: 22; Eph. 1:19,20; 2:8,9; Philip 1:29; Heb. 12:2).

Q. What is the meaning of Peter's exhortation to his penitent hearers on the day of Pentecost, "Save yourselves from this untoward (crooked, perverse, wicked) generation" (Acts 2:40)?
A. The verb here rendered "save yourselves" is not in the middle voice with the reflexive sense, as this translation implies, but it is the passive voice, and literally means "be ye saved," that is, "be willing for God to save you from the character and doom of this wicked generation," which was soon to perish in the unparalleled suffering of the siege and capture of Jerusalem by the Roman general Titus. And being divinely wrought upon, his penitent hearers gladly received his word, and were baptized, and were thus added by the Lord to the church (Acts 2:41,47).

Q. Do such Scriptures as I Cor. 1:21; 9:22; Philip. 2:12; I Tim. 4:16; James 5:19,20, refer to a temporal or eternal salvation?
A. A temporal salvation, a salvation here in time, which God works in us by His Holy Spirit (Isa. 26:12; Ezek. 36:26,27; I Cor. 15:10; Ephes. 2:8-10, 18-22; Philip 2:13; 4:13), and which we are to manifest in our outward lives, and we will be more comforted in obedience than in disobedience, and we will gladly and justly give all the glory of both our temporal and eternal salvation to God alone. If the texts mentioned in the first sentence of this question mean our eternal salvation, then Arminianism is true, and the Bible doctrine of salvation by grace is fundamentally wrong.

Q. Does the Bible teach that there is a conditional time salvation?
A. The Bible does not use this phrase, and, as its truth is controverted by some of our brethren, it would probably be best to avoid it. But it is certain that the Bible does teach that there is a salvation or deliverance here in time, which we ourselves are to work out (Philip 2:12; Acts 2:40; I Tim. 4:16); yet we can only do this as God works in us by His grace (Philip 2:12,13; 4:13; John 15:4,5; I Cor. 15:10). The cause of the most controversies is the affirmative of one part and the denial of another part of the truth.

Q. Can any of the elect people of God commit the sin against the Holy Ghost either before or after regeneration?
A. No; for all the elect were redeemed by Christ and will be forgiven and saved eternally (Eph. 1; Pet. 1; Isa. 35; 53; 45:17; John 6:37-40; 10:15, 27-30; 17:1-24). As proved by the Scriptures in Matt. 12, Mark 3, and Luke 12, only the wilful, malicious, persistent enemies of Christ, children of the Devil, given up to hardness and impenitence of heart, ever commit this unpardonable sin.

Q. What does Paul mean when he says, "Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light" (Eph. 5:14)?
A. That the church, the children of God should arouse from their state of carnal security, slothfulness, worldliness, and indifference, which seems like spiritual death, and live more reverently, soberly, righteously, and affectionately, toward one another, more self-denyingly, like Christ, and the Lord would increase their heavenly light and comfort (Rom. 13:7-14).

Q. Do we get rest IN or FOR coming to Christ (Matt. 11:28-30)?
A. It is more scriptural to say that we obtain rest in and not for obedience (Psalm 19:11; James 1:25; Heb. 4:3). If we do not come to or believe in Christ, we do not obtain rest; but God's especial electing grace is the cause why we come to Christ (John 6:37-45; Psalm 65:4; Isa. 27:13; 34:10; 55:1-13; Isa. 61:11; Jer. 31:3, 7-9, 31-37; Ezek. 36:25-27).

Q. Do the Scriptures set forth both a time and eternal salvation?
A. No one except those who are willfully or unintentionally ignorant of the Scriptures deny this fact. Salvation is deliverance, and human beings are delivered from distress both in time and in eternity. Our eternal salvation is alone by the free grace of God through His atoning Son and renewing Spirit; and if we are here in time delivered from trouble in our obedience unto God, that very obedience comes from the grace of God (Isa. 26:12; Philip 2:12,13; Heb. 13:20,21).

Q. What is it "to break one of the least commandments" (Matt. 5:19)?
A. All the commandments of God are of divine authority, and the transgression of any of them is sin (I John 3:4); but Christ Himself speaks of a "greater sin," and a "greater damnation" (John 19: 11; Matt. 23:14; see also Matt. 11:20-24); and He speaks of "the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, faith, and the love of God" (Matt. 23:23; Luke 11:42). The moral law of ten commandments alone was written by the finger of God upon two tables of stone, and was called the covenant of God with national Israel (Exod. 34:28); and its observance was repeatedly declared by the prophets to be of far more importance than the observance of the ceremonial law. And the commandments of the first table of the moral law, showing our duty to God, are more important than the commandments of the second table, showing our duty to our fellow men. And in each table the greatest and most important commandments are put first, just as, after we are quickened from the death of sin, the light of the Holy Spirit shows us first our greatest and then our lesser sins - the heavenly light of the early morning shining more and more unto the perfect day.

Q. Does the olive tree, differently from other trees, affect the character or quality of the fruit borne by the branch grafted in it, as intimated by the Apostle Paul in Rom. 11:17-24?
A. It does, because of its extraordinary vitality and longevity; the olive tree sometimes lives a thousand years. Spiritually speaking, it is Divine grace, and not human nature, that grafts the wild olive branch into the good olive tree; the root is Christ; the sap is the Holy Spirit; the tree is the true Church, and the branches are His regenerated people, who derive all their heavenly beauty, vigor, and fruitfulness from the Divine Root through His indwelling Spirit.

Q. In II Cor. 6:1 the Apostle Paul, in the King James Version, says, "We then, as workers together with Him, beseech You also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain;" what does he mean?
A. The words "with Him" and "You" are in italics, which shows that Paul did not write them. The exact language of Paul is: "But we also, working together, exhort that you receive not the grace of God in vain." By "we" he means himself and Timothy (II Cor. 1:1), and of course all other gospel ministers. And by exhorting the Corinthians (and of course all other) Christians not to receive the grace of God in vain, he means to exhort them to manifest the grace of God in their conduct and conversation, not to hide the light which God had given them, but to let it shine, to abound in good works in which God had before ordained them to walk, to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, to prove that Christianity is not an empty profession, but a Divine reality (I Cor. 15:10; Matt. 5:16; Eph. 2:10; Tit. 2:11-15).

Q. What is meant by "resisting the Holy Ghost" (Acts 7:51)?
A. Resisting or opposing the Spirit of God in His ministers, and persecuting those servants of God (Acts 7:51-53; Neh. 7:30). No human being can withstand the almighty power of the Holy Spirit in regeneration (John 3:8).

Q. What does Jesus mean by saying, "Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire" (Matt. 7:19)?
A. That all the finally unregenerate and impenitent and unbelieving and wicked will be cast into the everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels (Matt. 25:41,46; Rev. 21:8).

Q. Please explain in the Advocate the second and third verses of I John.
A. The apostle here gives a rule whereby we may know whether one professing to have the Spirit of God really has it. Jesus is God's Son, born of Mary - God manifest in the flesh - human and divine, and came to destroy the works of the devil and will ultimately do so and save from sin every one God gave Him. Those who confess not that Christ came in the flesh to do the work He came to do, is not of God, but are led by the spirit of anti-Christ. And when John wrote he said, "... and even now already it is in the world." At that early age of the church the spirit of anti-Christ was being manifest. And Paul, a little later said, "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived." (II Tim. 3:12). And Jesus said, "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they would deceive the very elect." (Matt. 24:24). P.

Q. Are regeneration and obedience produced by the same kind of process?
A. According to the Scriptures, they are not. Regeneration is declared by John to be "not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:12,13; 3:3,5,6,8; I John 2:29). While in obedience to the commandments of God, the will of man is always represented to be involved, God commanding and commending for obedience, and forbidding and condemning for disobedience (Gen. 2:16,17; 3:16-19; 4:7-12; Exod. 20, 35; Deut. 22, 23; Josh. 24:15-24; I Kings 28:21; I Chron. 38:9: Eccles. 12:13,14; Isa. 1, 19, 20; Ezek. 18, 30; Matt. 16:24,25; John 5:40; II Cor. 8:12; Rev. 22:17); but the will to obey the Lord comes from the inworking and powerful grace of God (Psalm 110:1-3; Phil. 2:12,13; Heb. 13:20,21).

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 11 October 2006 )
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