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Gospel Gazette Online
Vol.  10  No. 11 November 2008  Page 15                    powered by FreeFind

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Questions and Answers    Louis Rushmore

Predestination via the Backdoor

By Louis Rushmore, Editor

I read your explaination on predestination. Below is my quick paraphrase of how I understand your teaching on this topic: False doctrines teach: Predestination is God choosing people arbitrarily that he wants to save. Biblical doctrine teaches: God saves ALL people who comply with God’s “conditions” for grace & mercy. These are general summaries to what I got from your website. My question on this topic is: If salvation is based on the Biblical doctrine as you described above, (salvation is extended to all those who “COMPLY” with God’s conditions (repentence, confession, baptism, obedience, etc.), then all the billions of people in remote areas of the world who never heard about God, the Bible, never have the OPPORTUNITY to “COMPLY” with God’s conditions, and therefore are doomed because they happend to live in Africa, or the Rain Forrest, etc. where KJV Christianity is not taught? In other words, if salvation is based on man “complying” with God’s conditions, then those who live in coutries where the word is never taught never hava a chance for salvation. We don’t choose our parents, or where we are born, or what country we will be born in, millons before internet, radio, etc... never had a shot at being saved based on “complying” to God’s conditions. Therefore, seeing you don’t choose what country you are born in, woulddn’t that mean that God DOES/DID arbitrarily decide who would hear the word and comply vs. those who would never hear God’s word and would die in their sins?

First, that people who do not obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ are lost is clearly taught in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9. If it were not so, then there was no need for Jesus Christ to die the cruel death on the cross of Calvary for us; the fact that all mankind was lost already is the very reason that the Father sent the Son, because all mankind needed a Savior (John 3:16).

Second, mankind—not God—is responsible for man’s sin problem (Isaiah 59:1-3; Romans 3:10, 23). God, though, through Jesus Christ does provide a solution to man’s sin problem (Mark 16:16). The solution to man’s sin problem is available to anyone on earth, irrespective of race or gender (Romans 1:16; Galatians 3:26-29).

Third, that the one God of the universe exists and is all powerful is discernible from observation of the created world (Romans 1:19-20; Psalm 8:3; 19:9). As surely as Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary or a jumbo passenger jet had a creator (rather than resulting from random accident, such as an explosion), everything in this world and the planets and the universe, too, had a Creator.

Fourth, once aware from general revelation in the created universe that God exists, one has the responsiblity to seek specific revelation from our Creator God (Isaiah 40:26). By inspiration, the apostle Paul wrote that mankind is “without excuse” (Romans 1:20). Consequently, the example of Cornelius is heartening, and is the only biblical example of God responding to a prayer prayed by someone who is not his spiritual child (Acts 10:1-4); Acts chapters 10 and 11 unfold the opportunity presented to Cornelius to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ in answer to his prayers. The providence of God (Romans 8:28) works behind the scenes to fulfill the purpose of God, in the case of Cornelius, providing him opportunity, in response to his prayers, to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Fifth, we are no more in a position than was Job of old to second guess God or dispute the biblical declaration that God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 3:25; 1 Peter 1:17).

Sixth, we who live parts of the world where there exists greater opportunity, or in a period of time during which greater opportunities exist, to hear the Gospel or study God’s Word have greater responsibility: (1) to apply that biblical instruction to our own lives, and (2) tell as many others, near and far, about the Gospel of Christ as we possibly can. Part of the reason that people in some parts of the world are not aware of Christianity is because those who are aware of Christianity have not told those who are not aware of Christianity about it.

Finally, there is no such thing as “KJV Christianity,” and biblical truths are the same irrespective of in which reliable translation (in whatever language) they may appear. Interjection of so-called “KJV Christianity” into this or any other biblical discussion is disingenuous and irrelevant. Such off-hand references contribute nothing to sincere Bible study.

The Transfiguration of Christ

By Louis Rushmore, Editor

What does the word “transfigure” means when pertaining to Jesus Christ?? Thank you very much. ~ Sonny

The biblical account of the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ appears in Matthew 17:1-5 and Mark 9:2-7. Luke 9:29 records about the same occurrence that “the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening” (NKJV). The Greek word translated “transfigured” means “transformed,” and so it is translated in Romans 12:2; in 2 Corinthians 3:18 the same Greek word appears as “changed.” These are the only instances of the Greek word behind “transfigure” that appear in the Bible.

Vine’s Expository Dictionary defines the term as “to change into another form.” Barnes’ Notes says of the word for “transfigure” that: “It does not denote the change of the substance of a thing, but simply of its appearance. It puts on a new aspect.” Adam Clarke’s commentary adds: “That fullness of the Godhead, which dwelt bodily in Christ, now shone forth through the human nature…” The Gospel Advocate Commentary for the Book of Matthew, likewise, observes: “Jesus was ‘transfigured’ or appeared in his glorified state not veiled by human flesh.” Even more descriptive, James Burton Coffman in his commentary remarked: “The heavenly glory of Christ irradiated his face and clothing, demonstrating his eternal nature in a way to make the apostles who witnessed it absolutely certain that Christ was God in human form. The profound impression made by the event was permanent. Long afterward, John wrote, ‘We beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth’ (John 1:14).” Note also: “Although His features retained their recognizably human form, everything else about Him took on a blinding light, blazing with sun-like glory. This is the incident which so marvelously encapsules what the Apostles meant when they said: …‘We were eyewitnesses of His majesty’ (2 Pt. 1: 16ff)” (Fowler). More expressive yet of what the three apostles beheld, we have the following:

The usual outward expression of our Lord in His humiliation was that of the Man Christ Jesus, the Man of Sorrows, the One acquainted with grief. He, to the world, was the travel-stained, itinerant preacher, the claimant to the Jewish Messiahship. What the world saw was a peasant from Galilee, clad in homespun, the son of the carpenter of Nazareth. But now, that outward expression was changed. Out from within the inmost being of the Son of God, there shone that dazzling glory of the essence of Deity which He possesses co-eternally with God the Father and God the Spirit. It shone right through the clay walls of His humanity and through the clothing He wore. (Wuest)

The appearance of Jesus Christ on the occasion of His Transfiguration corresponded with the audible words from God Himself: “…This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him” (Matthew 17:5). Both by divine, audible confirmation and observable, visual evidence, the apostles of Christ (who were soon to be deprived of personal contact with Jesus) were sufficiently assured of the divinity of Jesus of Nazareth that they could carry on for a lifetime, come what may, as ambassadors of Christ in every way. The Transfiguration was temporary in manifestation, but permanent in affect, first to the apostles, and then for all humanity afterward as the testimonies of those eyewitnesses are recorded upon the Pages of Inspiration.

Works Cited

Barnes, Albert. Barnes’ Notes. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 1997.

Boles, H. Leo. Gospel Advocate Commentaries. CD-ROM. Austin: Wordsearch, 2005.

Clarke, Adam. Clarke’s Commentaries. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 1997.

Coffman, James Burton. Coffman’s Commentaries. CD-ROM. Abilene: ACU P.

Fowler, Harold. Bible Study Textbook Series: Matthew, III. CD-ROM. Joplin: College P., 1978.

Vine, W.E. Vine’s Expository Dictionary. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 1997.

Wuest, K. S. Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament : For the English Reader. CD-ROM.  Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997.

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