Category: Q & A (page 1 of 17)

Abraham: Father of Us All?

Ruth D – Romans 4:16 states that Abraham is the father of us all. Please explain.

Dave – This relationship that all true believers have with Abraham is spiritual rather than physical. If purely physical, all Gentiles would be out of luck for eternal life. By his willingness to give up the most precious thing to him (son Isaac), Abraham had a similar heart to God’s heart since God was also willing to give His only begotten Son. It was Abraham’s strong faith in God that is mirrored in all his “children” throughout the centuries until Jesus ends this world as we know it. One might say that Abraham put faith first and any works second in regard to salvation. In Genesis 22:17, God tells Abraham that He will “multiply his seed (or descendants) as the stars of the heavens and the sand which is on the seashore.” I think this not only refers to Jewish people and their nation, but to Gentile salvation as well. By us (Gentile or Jew) totally surrendering our lives in faith to God’s Son, we are just like Abraham, and God is super pleased. In present-day vernacular, Jewish Christians are sometimes called “completed Jews” and we Gentiles are “grafted in Jews” or “Spiritual Jews.” God has made it clear that genetic lineage does not count toward salvation (see Romans 11:13-21). All this is not to say that there are absolutely no distinctions between Jew and Gentile as Romans Chapter 11 reveals. But as far as salvation and obtaining favor from God is concerned, there is “neither Jew nor Gentile.”

Feedback:

Gary R – Has it ever occurred to you that to be Jewish is so very special and indeed they are God’s chosen people, what a shame they do not know or believe that wonderful GIFT!

Dave – Yes indeed, Jews are special. They were “the originals.” Romans 9-11 speaks of this, but they all must come to eternal life via the cross like anyone else. Because they rejected their Messiah, Jesus said that the Kingdom would be taken away from the Jews: “Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof” (Matthew 21:43). So the Age of the Gentiles began as the Jewish nation (not Jewish individuals) rejected the Messiah. So the Jewish nation is now in total darkness, in my opinion. Some Christians think that will not change, while others think God will convert mass numbers of Jews just prior to the Second Coming. In all this I know one thing for sure, God’s mercy goes deeper and farther than we think.

Mickey L – How Christians can say God is done with Israel is to totally disregard the Bible. It is called Replacement Theology and is rampant in the church. Denominations have taken their money out of Israel and have boycotted Jewish businesses. Why? Because they have replaced Israel of the Bible with the Christian Church. How you can disregard Romans 9, or Romans 11 is beyond me. Half the books in the Old Testement talk about the restoration of Israel. In Psalm 89:28-37, “My lovingkindness I will keep for him forever, and my convenant shall be confirmed to him. So I will establish his descendants forever and his throne as the days of heaven. If his sons forsake my law and do not walk in My judgments, if they violate My statutes and do not keep my commandments, then I will punish their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes. But I will not break off my lovingkindness from him, nor deal falsely in My faithfulness. My covenant I will not violate, nor will I alter the utterance of My lips. Once I have sworn by My holiness I will not lie to David HIS DESCENDANTS SHALL ENDURE FOREVER AND HIS THRONE AS THE SUN BEFORE ME. IT SHALL BE ESTABLISHED FOREVER LIKE THE MOON.” When we have leaders stand up and say God is done with Israel they are bring judgement on themselves, look at America today. God says I will bless those who bless Israel and curse those who don’t. Lastly, if God was not for Israel how could a nation, (the only one in history) be dispersed and then be reborn in one day, the wars they have fought without Gods help would never have been won and if God dosen’t keep is word to Israel why would He not forsake us as well. Look around it’s all about Israel they are the original olive tree we are the ones grafted in, not the other way around.

Dave to Mickey L – I ‘m not saying I embrace Replacement Theology to the point that we should forsake Israel, but how do you interpret Matthew 21:43?

Mickey L – We have been doing a Bible Study in Galatians and it’s all about the Law and how Christ came and that by grace we have been saved. Would this be where the rabinacle system has been rejected, where the age of the Gentiles comes in until as Scripture says the scales will be taken from their eyes? It seems if God wants to make a point in Scripture you will find the context somewhere else, all through Scripture the love for Israel is clearly shown, and to me this one sentence if taken in the context that God is done with Israel is refuted countless times in the Bible.

Dave to Mickey – I certainly hear what you are saying and I am not against the nation of Israel¬† and I do want that country to succeed. However, the Old Covenant promises to Israel were all¬†conditional and the nation broke that covenant several times throughout history. So God revealed to Daniel that this Old Covenant for “Daniel’s people” (Jews) would end in 490 years from the time permission would be given to rebuild Jerusalem until the Messiah comes. That 490 year period historically ended with Christ’s crucifixion. Even Romans Chapter 11 says that only a remnant of Jews will be saved, not the whole nation. Therefore, later in verse 25, “…all Israel will be saved” must refer to New Covenant believers rather than physical descendants of Abraham because that is True Israel.

Did God Hate Esau?

Ruth D – Please explain Romans 9:13 – “I loved Jacob but hated Esau.” Does that mean certain people will never be saved, because God has not chosen them, or does it go back to faith and works?

Dave – Thank you for your question. It is not an easy one. Romans 9-11 are difficult chapters to grasp. After rereading all of Chapter 9, I can share some ideas with you. Overall, we must remember that God knows the future. He knows who will have the right attitudes and saving faith before they are even born. For example, He knew what Esau and Jacob would be like before their birth, and the reason He hated Esau was because he was not man of faith and spirit but rather a “man of the world,” i.e., tough, strong, good hunter and, most importantly, he did not value spiritual things.

Paul is also revealing something God said repeatedly throughout the Old Testament, that only some Jews will be saved (“the remnant”), most would not. Paul is making clear that physical lineage does not determine who obtains eternal life. It seems as though there are only two “philosophical” options regarding human life – either we trust that we are good enough for Heaven or we are not and need saving by God’s mercy. Humans can will to do this or that, but the bottom line is this – have they found God’s mercy? I know that verses 15-16 in Romans 9 make it sound like God selects people on earth to be saved and also chooses some to go to destruction. Some Christians believe this concept of predestination where God just does what He does and individuals have no choice. But I contend that even when people are chosen or called they can renege on the invitation like Judas Iscariot did. Saul/Paul was chosen as demonstrated by a strong vision that most people never get, but he still could have walked away from the Lord. I further believe that God’s mercy is willing and waiting for sinners to repent and find Jesus. I do not believe that if such a person does this that God will say “No, you have not been chosen by Me.”

I further think that the idea of predestination in Romans 8:29 means that as God saw the future and He decided to make those willing souls to become like Jesus eventually. In other words, before He made everything, He made the decision to do what was necessary to make evil disappear forever, knowing full well what He had to do to accomplish this. Those souls who would respond to His Truth (mercy), would therefore be predestined to eternal life.

Again, this is difficult to deal with and I am not saying all I’ve said is totally the Truth. It’s just the way I have dealt with your question for the 44 years I’ve known Him.

QA #38 Feedback on concept of predestination:

Nels F (10/7/13) – So interesting–thanks!

Believing vs Following

Ruth D – My husband believes in Jesus, and he believes God raised Jesus from the dead, so it seems like Romans 10: 6-10 is saying he is saved, but he’s not in love with Jesus. So is he saved?

Dave – We can’t take one passage build an entire doctrine upon it. We need to take all verses in the Bible into consideration before drawing conclusions on questions and issues. Regarding this one, Jesus told people to not only believe in Him but to also follow Him. Many Americans will tell us that they believe in Jesus, meaning that He is the Messiah and died for our sins and rose from the dead. But many of these are not following Him. Jesus said we are to take up our cross, deny ourselves, and follow Him. This means our “self” no longer rules and we live for Him (not that saved people do this perfectly all the time, but they DO do it). If a person shows no signs of repentance or salvation, then I would say they are not saved (but I am never with anyone 24-7 to know this for sure). James speaks about faith without works is dead and that a person would show their faith by their works. This means that if a person has real faith that saves, then there will be evidence flowing through their behavior that a change has taken place. In addition, Jesus told of a man who was “dressed in the wrong clothes” at “God’s Big Banquet in the sky.” Apparently he thought he was saved, but wasn’t.

Having said all that, I hasten to say that I cannot judge your husband by pronouncing him unsaved. It is just too deep for my spirit to do correctly. I would certainly encourage him to read the Word, attend church, and plug into other believers. If he refuses all of these options until his death, I doubt his salvation but I do not sit on God’s Throne. A good question to ask folks is not if they are a Christian, but rather are they following Jesus?

Feedback:

Pat T – I agree with everything Dave says and want to add something I recently read by Os Guinness who pointed out that some people have many obstacles in their life to overcome before becoming true believers, but as long as they are heading in the right direction we should never judge them but encourage them in their journey toward the faith. One’s mate can be such an encourager. Guinness also points out that some may never arrive to the faith but we can’t make that judgment, only God has the privilege to know another’s future.

Alona R – I think you answered Ruth well and your answer should be taken to heart by her husband and many others that we know. Thank you for that explanation – I think I’ll save this for future use!

Gary R – I think its a very slippery slope when people start questioning people’s salvation possibly because someone’s ideas about salvation do not conform to their beliefs or behaviors. Be careful.

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