‘Except Through Me’

I am not a universalist. I do not believe that God will save everyone. He would have liked that (2 Peter 3:9), but that same verse makes it obvious that “not perish” is conditional upon “repentance.”

However, I am not fully convinced that when Jesus says ….

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” ~ John 14:6

… that He means “If you have not heard of me and therefore have not believed and done all the other things that a church tells you to do to express your belief in Me, you are forever lost and condemned to eternal punishment.”

What if He means by “no one comes to the Father except through Me” is that He is the one who decides who’s in and who’s out?

Romans 2:16 and 2 Timothy 4:1 strongly imply that both God the Father and Christ the Son are involved in judgment at a day yet to come. Acts 17:31 agrees. While “the Lord” could refer to either of them a few verses down in 2 Timothy 4:8, Paul specifies which Lord, the Lord who will be appearing: Christ Jesus. And in 2 Corinthians 5:10, Paul speaks of the “judgment throne of Christ.” Without doubt, Matthew 25 puts Jesus on that throne – in His own words.

In fact, the whole of Romans 2 deals with the subject of people judging each other and how unwise that is in view of the fact that God’s judgment through Christ awaits us all. He will judge based on truth (v. 2) – and we know that Jesus is the Word, the Truth (John 1:14; 17:17; and 14:6 above).

He is also life itself, and like God, gives it and renews it to whom He wishes (John 5:21). (In fact, read the whole of John 6 for a fuller picture. Add to that reading list John 10:28 and John 17:2 and Romans 8 for more about by Whom and how that life is given. And throw in 1 John 5 for good measure.)

Is it possible that when Jesus says “no one comes to the Father except through Me,” He is talking about Who He is, what authority and influence and power He has … rather than something that is required of people in response to a truth they perhaps have not even heard, or maybe just haven’t fully understood?


62 thoughts on “‘Except Through Me’

  1. Good thoughts, Keith. I still can’t get my head around the idea of God annihilating those who have never even heard of Jesus, because of the society and place where they were born. What makes ME worthy just because I was born in a “Christian” country?

  2. Very interesting thoughts, Keith.  And I don’t completely disagree…

    But I do have to ask…if one buys into the idea that God will save those who don’t know/haven’t heard of His Son…then why the urgency to share Him with those who haven’t heard???  I mean, in that case, might it be argued that you’re doing more harm than good through mission work, by evangelizing and, thus, giving those who haven’t heard an opportunity to reject Him???

    Sorry, I’m not trying to be difficult/argumentative…I’m just thinking out loud here… 

    • Because faith in Christ should change their lives. Salvation begins NOW, not when we die. Because the more Christians living on earth (assuming they are disciples and nt just believers), the better the whole creation is for everyone living in it.

      • Wendy, I don’t disagree with that statement.  I need Jesus not just at the Judgment Day, but today, right now.  I’ve always kind-of believed salvation to be a process as we are being transformed into His image.  That does start now, as we each do our part to help fight back against darkness and usher in His kingdom.  That’s why I said I don’t completely disagree with Keith’s observations/conclusions, and I do recognize the importance of showing Jesus to those who don’t know Him.

  3. There should probably be a Part 2 to this post.

    But my short answer is that I believe this life has great value as well as the next – if for no other reason than glorifying God and vindicating His goodness (for the reasons I outlined in my post “The Really, Really Big Picture”).

    And I believe that we will be judged by our works, which testify to our faith in God – and therefore, what is good. So that even if a good person has no concept of God taught to him/her, the good that she/he does is still a testimony to faith in goodness and love. God is love, of course. God is good. Teaching such a person about God through Christ may finish a rough-hewn work of God’s art, but it is art He has already begun and that person has been willing to be shaped by goodness.

    I think of people like Melchisedek and Cyrus when I ponder this; centurions Jesus met and women outside of the fold of Israel.

    Teaching Christ can do no harm to the ine taught. People who reject good will reject God.

    • Keith, I’m still not sure I follow you.  I mean, I agree with Wendy’s comment above, and I even agree with most of your response here.

      But you say that those who reject good will reject God.  

      I guess my question is what about those who have never rejected good–always treating their fellowman with love and respect–but, when taught & given the opportunity to believe, they reject God and His Son?

      • I understand the question, I think, but it’s a question that comes from a view of salvation that somehow, all of that is up to us. It’s still that view that, as teachers of the gospel, we determine who’s lost or not. Or that as those who learn as much as we can and do as much as we can, we determine whether we’re lost or not.

        Ultimately, I don’t believe God holds us responsible for the decision of others; just our own. And, ultimately, He decides – through Christ, in a way I don’t completely understand – who’s lost or saved. What He does ask us to do is share what we know of Him, and then we let the chips fall where they may and the cards play out as they will.

        Remember what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:17: “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.”

        I don’t think he was trying to belittle baptism, but to communicate what his responsibility was (to preach Christ), and what the listener’s responsibility is (to accept baptism, a life immersed in Christ). Paul wanted none of the responsibility of making others’ decisions for them or being credited with it by baptizing them. To him, it’s the message which has that power to make bad and good people better. But if it’s rejected, it’s rejected.

        If God knows the number of hairs (left!) on our heads, don’t you think He knows who will and who won’t accept His gospel? So that He can direct the steps of those who bring it, and when, and especially when souls are receptive? (Could that be why He diverted Paul from Bithynia to Macedonia – Acts 16 – and let Peter handle Bithynia later – 1 Peter 1:1?) Isn’t He sovereign? And loving? Will He choose those who want nothing to do with Him?

        I don’t have all the answers. I just believe that, as a fellowship, we have downplayed the role of Christ in the partnership of choice that determines salvation. (Matthew 11:27 / Luke 10.22) That’s not Calvinism, or predestination; it’s just recognizing that it is a partnership of choice: like in a marriage, the groom chooses the bride and the bride chooses the groom.

      • Many good people will miss heaven because they were disobediant. Romans 3:23 says “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” No one, has access to the Father, unless they accept His Son. Jesus said, “if you love Me, keep my commandments.”

      • Jeff, I don’t believe the quote actually says “unless they accept the Son.” I believe it says “No one comes to the Father, except through Me.” Let’s not add to it, shall we?

      • “No one comes to the Father except through me.” kb, your twisted way of thinking is hard to follow, Jesus is saying, unless you believe in Me, you don’t have access to the Father. God Himself said, “this is my Son, hear ye Him.” Anyone who refuses to believe in Christ is lost.

      • KB, you twist it by ignoring simple biblical truths. Are you denying that one needs to come to Jesus, are you saying one can skip over Christ and have the father? “the partnership of Christ and choice”? We can choose Christ and be saved or reject Him and be lost. The only choice I have is accept Him or not. The children of Israel for the most part rejected Him. They paid the price in 70 a.d. God’s wrath will once again be paid to those who reject His Son. kb, are you rejecting the authority of Christ?

      • Did you even read the post, Jeff? I’m talking about people who have never even heard of Jesus, the Christ; who have never had the opportunity to accept or reject Him.

        Romans 10:14 says, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?”

        Can we assume that they are eternally lost? Does that sound just or merciful on God’s part, let alone both?

      • KB, I understand what you are saying, If Christ says, NO ONE comes to the Father except through me, He means NO ONE, unless one is cleansed in the blood, no one gains access to the Father. A just God would not require those who hear to do one thing and let those who never hear skate. If thats the case, let us hide our children from the truth. You kb are questioning Gods wisdom. Why were the Apostles commissioned to preach the gospel to every creature in all the world? why do we try to reach as many people as we can? we do so because we understand the urgency. If believing, repentence, confessing and baptism and living faithfully are not a requirement for access to the Father, then its all a lie. Romans 6:23 ” For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” “NO ONE comes to the Father except through Me.”

      • Actually, what I’m questioning is making an assumption that can’t be fairly inferred from scripture, Jeff.

        “Let us hide our children from the truth” would only be said by those who believe all will be saved in the end, whether they hear or not (what I understand to be the universalust position). I’m not one of them. All will be judged by their works. Those who hear and believe are recipients of a promise. Those who do not hear do not know of the prmoise, but that doesn’t mean God can’t or won’t judge them fairly based on what they have done as a testament to the good they do believe in.

        “Believing, repentence, confessing and baptism and living faithfully” – as you phrased it – are a requirement for access to the Father for those who have heard and know of the promise.

        If what you say is true, then are we believers not guilty of the worst kind of genocide – the eternal kind – if we are not preaching the gospel every waking moment (rather than just on Sunday) and spending every last thin dime in our pockets to see to it that good news is preached to the poor? Could we sleep at night if we really, truly, deeply believed that all those who have not heard are automatically, eternally lost? Can we have any hope of eternal rest ourselves if God has laid that burden upon us?

      • “spending every last thin dime in our pockets to see to it that good news is preached to the poor”

        Well said Keith. The cathedrals and salaries of evangelical churches testify of the real beliefs of those who lead those institutions.

      • KB, “he that believes and is baptized will be saved.” either that is a true statement or it is not. We can assume from that passage that the opposite would be true, because the opposite is stated in the passage.(Mk 16:16) He that believes not, will be damned. We can also assume rightly, that those who never hear will also be damned, because never hearing is not believing. 2 Thess 1:7:8 “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor 6:9f the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God, only those who have been sanctified and justified in the name of Jesus Christ, those who have been washed. I am not responsible for anyones soul, unless I teach in error. Each one has a responsiblity to understand the will of the Father and come to know His Son. God only expects me to do what I can do. If I do what I can I believe God will bless me for that. If I do nothing, I will pay for that. Food for thought kb, what about all the Gentile people under the old covenant, a covenant in which they had no part.

      • With regard to Mark 16:16 – how does Romans 10:14 fit with that, Jeff? Can you still assume that those who have not heard are all damned?

        2 Thessalonians 1:7-8 – How does Romans 10:14 fit with that? Or Romans 1, which says that men DO know God “since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Paul says that they knew God and still disobeyed. If one can deduce God and His goodness from what has been created and yet chooses an unrighteous life, he falls under judgment and wrath.

        How does 1 Corinthians 6:9 square with Romans 10:14? It does say that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God. It does not say “only those who have been sanctified and justified in the name of Jesus Christ, those who have been washed.” Paul does indeed contrast the two – that was “what some of you were.” But hearing the gospel changed them. They were blessed because they accepted it.

        The position that anyone who doesn’t hear and believe and obey is damned was staked out by John Calvin and others long ago in the position known as “total depravity.” I don’t find it in scripture. There were people spoken of as “righteous” in the Old Covenant, long before the birth of Christ: Noah, Abram, and even David the sinner – many others. Job simply recognized that no one could be more righteous than God; Isaiah said that compared to His, our righteousness was just filthy rags. That doesn’t mean that righteousness doesn’t count for anything, does it? Isn’t the faith of the believer spoken of by the good he/she does? Is it more fair for God to judge all of us based upon how we have lived based upon what He has revealed to us – or just obliterate all of those who haven’t been fortunate enough to hear the full story?

        Wasn’t Rahab spared the destruction of Jericho because of how she acted on what she knew of God? Wasn’t Noah spared death by flood on the same basis? Had either one of them heard the gospel of Jesus? Do we dare say they both perish in hell in spite of their obedience because they never heard or knew enough?

      • And can we infer fairly from Mark 16:16 that all who do not hear are lost when the verse itself is in the very context of preaching the gospel to the world? If we were permitted to add the word “Only” at the beginning of the sentence, perhaps yes. Even then we would still be speculating about those who have not heard.

      • kb,Mark 16:15,16, go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, why? because everyone who believes and is baptized will be saved.Romans 10:1 it was Pauls hearts desire that Israel be saved. v2 they had a zeal for God, but it was not according to knowledge. V3 they were seeking to to establish their own righteouseness, they had not submitted to the righteousness of God. V4 Christ was the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. V13 for whoever calls on the name of the Lord, will be saved. People need to hear the good news, or else they will perish, why? because they haven’t believed, they haven’t called upon the name of the Lord. I can still assume that those who never hear are indeed lost. Those who never obey the gospel will one day be met with vengence. Your correct kb, 1 Cor 6:9 does not say only those santified and justified will be saved but verse 11 does. God has provided us with a message that we can understand You should be able to see it, unless it is your aim to nullify God’s word and twist scripture to your own destruction. I believe total depravity had to do with being born sinful, inheriting your fathers sins, and there was nothing you could do for yourself, you had to pray that you were one of the elect. Scripture is clear kb, there are things people need to do in order to be saved. Number one, they need to hear. That is the urgency, that we reach as many people as possible,before it is eternally to late for them. Where is the scripture that says, those who never hear will be saved? Are you the one who is guilty of assuming? Are you seeking to establish your own righteousness? Are you guilty of adding the words, “not only” It’s clear kb after all these months of conversing with you, that you are what is called in the church, “a change agent.” One who seeks to change our dear Lord’s church, one who is not satisfied with how He set up His church, one who seeks to make Her just another denomination. Even now, you seek to change the the terms of entrance into the kingdom, denying that one needs to be found justified and sanctified in the sight of God.

      • A change agent? Do you think so? I find that change agency has a long reputation in scripture … all the prophets, Jesus Himself, and those who spoke for Him after: all telling people: “You must change! Repent!” And all of them calling into question what men had done with the religion God gave them.

        Brother Jeff, I’m not railing against the church Jesus established with His own blood, but what imperfect men have done to fence it in and build walls around it … without considering the sovereignty of the Christ who had authority to forgive sins before He was nailed to the cross.

        I can’t establish my own righteousness. By fate or blessing, I was born into an environment where I heard the gospel, believe, and am solely dependent on the righteousness I borrow from the perfect Christ.

        But I will continue to prove all things and hold fast what’s good – and if that means trying my best to strip away centuries of man’s teaching from the purity of divinely-inspired scripture and being regarded as a change agent for it, then yes, I will also continue to cry “Repent!”

        And remain in good company.

  4. Letting the chips fall where they may is not faith, that’s gambling. The Christian is to have utmost faith based upon their confession of Christ that they are saved by grace through faith. Doing good works and then hoping that they were good enough to earn God’s favor is not Christianity.

    • You’re confusing the faith of the one who shares it with the potential for faith in the one who hears it, David, when you say “letting the chips fall where they may is not faith, that’s gambling.” The salvation of a believer who shares his faith is not in question in this post; but the response of those who hear – or do not hear.

      Those who share should not be burdened with the responsibility for making the decision for those who hear; the hearer makes his/her own choice; he/she should and must. What I’m proposing is that those who live obedient lives – even without having heard about the One whom they obey – are judged (along with believers) by what they do. What we do testifies to what we believe: that goodness and selflessness and sharing and giving are the right way to live our lives.

      The questions I would ask of those who are convinced that “all-who-do-not-hear-are-forever-lost” would be: Does that sound fair to you? Does that sound like the judgment of a merciful as well as a just God? Can we trust God to make judgments that are just, and be willing to accept that we can reach only those He has enabled us to reach … and then be willing to see number of those He empowers us to reach as perhaps greater than we realize?

      And, rather than being defeatist in our attitude – or worse, arrogant – can we ask His help in reaching many, many more in ways we possibly can’t even imagine?

  5. “What if He means by “no one comes to the Father except through Me” is that He is the one who decides who’s in and who’s out?”

    Keith you truly confuse me sometimes, not about my belief, but yours. When you say God is a trinity, of three equal beings, these questions arise, without any good answer. If Jesus is the “door keeper” which Paul says he is.
    ( Act 17:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by [that] man whom he hath ordained; [whereof] he hath given assurance unto all [men], in that he hath raised him from the dead. )
    Why would he not say (no one comes to the kingdom, except through me)?
    If as you say God is both the Father and the Son, and the HG as well,
    If the three are inseparable, why wouldn’t you be with the Father, when you came to Jesus?

    “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” ~ John 14:6
    It seems clear to me there is a distinction made here between two beings. One guarding the way to the other.
    And just as plain is the fact that the doorman will seperate the sheep from the goats, and the wheat from the tares.

    • I simply don’t understand your question, Laymond. I’ve never said anything but God is One, yet He is also more than One. I don’t understand how that is possible – clearly you don’t either – but I believe it to be true because scripture says so. I’ll just leave it at that.

  6. Keith, If two Catholic Priest meet in the hallway and speak, #1 said good morning, father, and #2 responds how are you this morning father. Why do they call each other father? If you can figure that one out maybe you can figure why, God calls God, Father.

  7. Keith,

    This question know doubt is truly connected to the recent controversy stirred up by Rob Bell’s new book, “Love Wins.”

    And I do appreciate the heart of this question about genuine concern for those who have never heard the gospel. This is no doubt a sincere question about God’s character that we may struggle with to work out at times. There is certainly no shame in that…Abraham did the same thing prior to the destruction of Sodom. Is God merciful? Is He just? Is He righteous? Then what about the heathen?

    Of course to us it just seems natural to feel and think as so many do, “It doesn’t seem fair that God would condemn someone just because he never had the opportunity to hear the gospel and respond to it.”

    As hard as it is, as you know, we need to park at the door “what I think is fair” and “the way I think things should be” in order to try to understand what scripture actually claims.

    First off, I’d encourage you to check out Kevin DeYoung’s blog article:

    Here he address this issue especially again, in light of his book review of Bell’s book.

    He discusses how the “through” in John 14:6 means “through faith in me”, and not through His saving work (which is of course true). He goes back and looks at both the immediately context and the entirety of John’s gospel and how it is full of promises for those who believe and how in the same way, John gives dire warnings for those who do not believe in Jesus such as John 3:18.

    He concludes,

    “Unless we believe that Christ is “he,” the long awaited Messiah and heaven sent Son of God, we will die in our sins (8:24). Jesus could not make the point any clearer. “Through” means “through faith.” Inclusivism and John 14:6 cannot be friends.”

    For me Keith, I come back to the fact that God does not condemn the person because he has never had the opportunity to hear the gospel; each of us will condemn ourselves because we know that we have messed up and have not lived a perfect and sinless life.

    Some of us will come to that realization as we compare our lives with God’s Word, others will come to that realization as they compare their lives with what they understand to be right. (cf. Romans 1-2) And since we are all sinners, no one can come into the presence of a holy God based upon the righteousness of our own merit.

    This of course is where the Good News of the Gospel comes into play. God has broken into this dark world with the light and salvation of His Son. Jesus has died for everyone. The covenant he has made possible through his blood extends to all peoples, tribes and nations – to the whole world. (cf. 1 John 2:2; Rev. 5:9)

    No group is excluded. God desires everyone to repent from their sins and enter the salvation He has provided through Jesus. (cf. Acts 10:34)

    Of course, the reality is that we can’t blame God if people will be lost who never heard – we need to consider our responsibility. Because how is the gospel message reach neighbors and tribesmen?

    God does not boom His message from heaven. He works through people like you and me who will carry His message to others. (cf. Matt. 28:19-20; Mk. 16:15-16; 2 Cor. 5:14-21) This is the context of course of Romans 10:10-17.

    Since the reality is that we are ALL lost, it is only those who do respond to the message of Jesus who will be saved. This seems to be exactly what Jesus is saying: “No one comes to the Father except by me.” (John 14:6)

    Paul seemed to settle it when he said, those outside of Christ are “without hope and without God.” (Ephesians 2:12)

    This of course is what motivated Paul to be one of the greatest missionaries that has ever lived. Perhaps it is because he truly understood that none of us, not even those proverbial people in the remotest jungle, can be declared righteous if they are left to themselves.

    In Romans 1:5, we can hear Paul’s missionary goal: “Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the nations to the obedience of faith.”

    Keith, surely at the very least, we can agree the Bible is clear about this: only those who personally respond to Jesus in repentance and faith may know the present blessing and assurance of salvation.

    We long deeply for all to enter in to the joy of Christ’s redemption.

    Anyway, don’t always stop by your blog, but always enjoy your reading your thoughts, though I don’t always agree:)

    Try to give Chuck a hard time on Sunday:) Tell him to quit quoting so much Bob Dylan: in his sermons:)lol!!

    God bless,

    Robert Prater

    • @Robert – I do agree with you about fairness. Yet I wonder about how just it is to write off all of creation that have not heard the literal name of Jesus.. or however that names translates in their own language. Is it possible that some follow Jesus without knowing his literal name? It seems possible. And if it is possible then it would seem unjust of anyone to write them off on a technicality.

  8. Thanks for your well-considered response, Robert. Though I agree that we should not presume to judge in the place of God, I also believe that we are created in His image and part of the genetic programming He has given us (as you refer to in Romans 1-2) is that we have a sense of right and wrong; a sense of what is just and what is merciful. So, men are withuot excuse. Obviously, only people who are doing wrong need an excuse; people who are doing right do not. They are “a law unto themselves.” They’ve recognized and lived by the semse of right and wrong God gave them and are choosing to do right. Are they perfect? Of course not. But they’re good.

    And what I keep coming back to is Romans 10:14 … how can they believe, unless they have heard? Paul recognizes this. You and I do, too. Surely God does also, or His Spirit would not have inspired those words. I trust Him to judge fairly – with justice and mercy – through His Son, as He has said He will.

    I don’t think the post you’ve cited really takes that into consideration! So I don’t think it’s within our purview to add to what Jesus says in John 14, not even the words “faith in” – because He was talking to the apostles about those who could have faith in Him – those who had heard Him and knew His voice (as in John 10) – the apostles themselves! Then He states a much broader principle in v. 6 – building on the John 10 metaphor – He is the gate, the Shepherd. No one comes to the Father but through Him. It is not, as I pointed out in the post above, simply the salvific work God did in Him, but also the judgment God will yet do through Him. (in the rest of the discourse, chapter 15ff, He speaks of that judgment.)

    I wouldn’t classify myself as an inclusivist in the way Kevin’s post defines it. For those who have heard of and know of Christ, yet reject Him out of hand, there is no hope in Him. Those who remain impenitent will do things – sin – and all of us will be judged by our works, believers or not. Our works don’t earn the free gift of salvation bought by Christ’s blood, but they do testify to our faith in what is right and good and selfless and full of love – and that is God as revealed in Christ.

    Whether believers or not, everyone chooses to live either a preponderantly good or impenitently evil life.

    In whatever measure of discerning good / evil / just / merciful / selfless / selfish / fair / unfair God has given me, that is the reason why I perceive it is perfectly fair for God to judge us all based on what we do – He has given each of us what we need to make that choice.

    I do definitely agree that the one who has not heard the gospel and does not believe misses out on a great joy in the part of salvation that marks a believer’s life – and gives him/her a purpose in life: sharing the gospel. Romans 10:14 also points out how vital it is for us to be part of God’s work in reconciling the world to Himself through the gospel, both now and in the age to come – and I’ll bet we agree on that, too!

  9. The opening scenes of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” find Earth of the 1970s about to be destroyed by a bureaucratic alien species called the Vogons, in order to build an interstellar expressway. They are unsympathetic that the people of Earth have not responded in time to the Vogon’s intent-to-obliterate form, filed in a filing cabinet at the nearby Alpha Centauri system, only four light years away.

    Reading this, we find it ridiculous and absurd because Earth people of the 1970s had no way to reach that star nor any knowledge of it or a filing cabinet near it. (We still don’t.)

    Do we Christians find it ridiculous and absurd that the God who created all of us would, on pain of eternal damnation, hold all of His created people to the same standard of obeying the gospel – believing it, repenting, confessing Jesus as Christ, being baptized into His name, living self-sacrificial lives of worship – even though many of them for almost a couple thosand years have never had any kind of access to that information?

    (And we wonder why writers like Douglas Adams lampoon Christians.)

  10. Jhn 9:41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

    Rom 7:8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin [was] dead.

    It does make one wonder why all the earth had to die in the flood, before the law.

    Act 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

    evidently when Paul spoke at Mars Hill, he thought he had preached the message to the whole world.

    • Genesis 6:12 says, “God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways.” He had given the people of that day a sense of right and wrong, and judged them by their actions. Only Noah and his family were found righteous.

      As far as Acts 17:30 goes … I don’t think there has ever been a time when God hasn’t asked repentance of His creaton … but He was willing to defer final judgment until after His Son proclaimed it by His words and perfect life.

  11. Keith, I’m not sure if this has been said yet in this thread of responses to this post…so I will go ahead and say it.

    You linked to Matthew 25 in the actual blog, referring to it as a passage that places Jesus Himself on the throne as Judge.

    Since your main idea here (as best as I understand it based on your follow-up comments) seems to be that people will be judged based on their works (which testify to what or Whom they believe in), I think it’s noteworthy that in the Matthew 25 passage, not only is Jesus the Judge, but He is judging people based specifically on their actions: “I was hungry/thirsty/naked/sick/in prison and you did/did not feed/clothe/visit Me.”

    Just something to think about…

    • Yes! Revelation 20:12 indicates the same thing:

      “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.”

  12. My understanding is, we will be judged on what we do, not what we believe.

    Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

  13. Jam 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
    Jam 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

    I don’t know where people get the idea that they will be saved by, faith, and grace.

    • Because faith in God’s grace motivates the good that we do, as believers. Ultimately, we are not saved by faith nor works – but by “God and … Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead.” (2 Timothy 4:1a)

      • Right, we will be judged by God through Jesus, but there has to be some basic rules of judgement otherwise it is not judgment, judgement has to have a marker by which judgement is made.

  14. Pingback: Scriptural Salvation: Loss-Gain Analysis « Blog In My Own Eye

  15. Laymond, I’m in big trouble if I’m saved by my works. If I did 1000 good deeds a day until my earthly death, it still wouldn’t add up to The Grace God extends to me & all who call on His Name, who SEEK Him daily for Help, & who try to exhibit The Fruit of The Spirit living inside us.

    • Oh, annie – mine field ahead! Laymond doesn’t believe that the Spirit lives inside of believers, except in the form of the scripture He inspired … and He is not distinguishable from God the Father.

  16. Keith, that is what is wrong here, you have “Grace” confused with “Gift”. The air we breath is a gift from God, If you refer back to scripture to those who received the “grace/ favor” of God they earned it in some way. Yes there is a reason for being in favor of God.
    Gen 6:8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
    Gen 6:9 These [are] the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man [and] perfect in his generations, [and] Noah walked with God.

    Luk 1:30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
    WHY? Was it a gift or was there a reason.

  17. Well, I see I have no takers as to what “Being in the grace of God” means. I
    cannot tell you if the bible is a true representation of what has happened since
    the day of creation, or if the story of creation itself, is created from facts given to us by God. I can tell you I was brought up in a Christian family that believed it was,and therefore I was taught to belive it, also. The story of creation had to be delivered to man by God, the creator, or it was a man made story, there is no in between possiable. We read that early on in the history of this world man brought about his own demise by disobeying his creator, and thus came about the fallen/sinful world in which we live, and try to survive. From the time Man turned from God to follow Satan, the world has had a new leader, one that we chose.
    Look at the times in the book of John where Jesus called “the devil” prince of the
    world. and those who choose not to follow God, as the children of Satan.

    Jhn 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.
    Jhn 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
    Jhn 14:30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.
    Jhn 16:11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
    Jhn 17:9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast
    given me; for they are thine.
    ( I pray not for the world ) I assume here, the reason was because it belongs to
    the Devil, and Jesus has no part in helping him.
    (just a small digression, when we blame God for horriable things that happen in this world, we are wrong. thank you)

    Yes I see the reason for Jesus mission, and death was a mission to show and tell
    how we can make amends for the sinful life we lead, yes we have to gain our
    freedom by our actions, just like mankind lost the favor of God by his actions we
    must gain it back, the same way. But Jesus left specific instructions on how to do
    that, when he left.

    • “The story of creation had to be delivered to man by God, the creator, or it was a man made story, there is no in between possiable.”

      The “in between” that I think possible is that Moses simply recorded the history that was passed down orally by his ancestors.

      Whether the account is literal or not, the spiritual message of Genesis is the same. God created everything and called it good. Then humans screwed it up.

  18. The man at the beginning who got the message from God and then passed the story on to his son.. who passed it on to his son.. until it finally got to Moses who wrote it down according to the version that he heard.

  19. Bob, said “The man at the beginning who got the message from God —-”

    I believe that is what I said Bob.
    I said.
    “The story of creation had to be delivered to man by God, the creator, or it was a man made story, there is no in between possiable.”

    If you just want to disagree with me on something Bob, pick something we disagree on .

    • Laymond, the story of creation that we read in Genesis may or may not be the one that was delivered at the beginning since it was written down by Moses and not Adam. My point, which you seem to miss, is that Moses may not have gotten the creation story delivered from God but from oral tradition. And that is a third possibility whether you want to accept it or not. And to be clear here are the three possibilities concerning the story of creation:

      1) Creation is a man made story that Moses wrote down.
      2) God dictated the message to Moses and he wrote it down.
      3) The ancients communicated the story that originally came from God to their descendants orally. Moses took that story and wrote it down.

      And I am glad that we both now agree that there are more than the two possibilities.

  20. Bob, show me where I said “God dictated it to Moses” and you would be right. and I could be wrong, but if you notice I did not distinguish, “what Man” Just “man”/ mankind.

    I believe this very thing (misunderstanding what is actually written)is why there is so many versions of what was written,in the bible. And this is a very good example of us not being willing to own up to our mistakes. Bob, I never said God told Moses, I said God told man, or man made it up. and I hold to my analysis. I do not agree there are more than two ways in which it could have occurred.

  21. I did not say “God gave it to Moses, or Moses made it up” sorry Bob you need to pick on something else I said to disagree with.I am sure there is something better there to discuss.

  22. Laymond, if you are saying that “God told man” includes

    “God told man, then man orally told other men over a period of centuries, then man wrote down what was orally communicated”

    then I will say that I was mistaken and misunderstood what you were stating. Thanks for the conversation.

  23. That is exactly what I meant, by what I wrote, and Bob, you know I never tire of any conversation. If I were sensitive about being “picked on” disagreed with, I surely would never comment on some of the blogs that I do. 🙂

  24. Romans 1:18-23 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. SO THEY ARE WITHOUT EXCUSE. 21For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

    It seem to me that God will make sufficient revelation of himself to every man so that any man who suppresses the truth revealed will have no excuse when the wrath of God comes. Then it seems logical to me that those people who respond favorably to the light of revelation given them will be safe.

    Infants who die before all of their cognitive skills are fully developed will not be condemned to destruction because they did not respond in a certain way to the claims of the gospel. The same is most certainly true of adults who are mentally incompetent. The idea that every human who dies without having heard the name of Jesus is condemned is odd indeed. In the case of the infant, the child does not have to hear and respond to the gospel to have the atonement of Jesus applied to them. Why would it be a stretch for the one who has never heard but did not suppress the truth revealed to him, but tried to life his life in the light given him, that he too could have the benefits of Jesus worth and work though never hearing the name? We must never forget in these sort of discussions that God is just.


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