LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Let clear Scripture interpret more difficult Scripture!

2 Thessalonians 2:13-17 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. (14) To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (15) So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter. (16) Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, (17) comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

Paul is certainly not describing a parable in this passage. He is not speaking allegorically. It is not part of poem. It is not a metaphor. It is not some kind of illustration. Paul is speaking directly to the church of the Thessalonians. Therefore, we should use this clear teaching of Scripture to interpret more difficult passages as well as parables. We should not let bizarre interpretations of parables be used to discount clear Scripture passages. This is even truer when many other clear passages teach the same truth over and over again.

By taking the clear passage above literally we learn the following:
1) Paul gives thanks to those brothers who are chosen by God to be saved. God imparts grace to the brothers that He has chosen and they all come willingly (see also Romans 8:30).
2) They believe the truth of the gospel that sanctifies them (see also John 17:17). Truth = the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It does not mean a little truth with a lot of error or even some error. It means faith that the Son of God, Jesus Christ, died on the cross and rose from the dead to pay the penalty for the sins of those chosen by grace and purchased a place for them in heaven. Saving faith is faith in this truth.
3) Verse 13 above is clear that those God saves he also sanctifies by the Holy Spirit. All (100%) to which God gives the grace of faith and belief will also be sanctified by grace. Sanctification means they will all grow in grace and holiness. The Holy Spirit does not fail in making the redeemed into new creations (see 2 Cor. 5:17). The Spirit of God leads all (100%) of those that are redeemed (see Romans 8:14).
4) All (100%) of those saved and sanctified will overcome and obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 John 5:1-4 & Romans 8:30).

Therefore, the above passage in Thessalonians teach that everyone born of God by the Spirit will be sanctified by the Spirit and obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Everyone! Yet some use the parable of the wedding feast to assert that some saved Christians will be thrown out of the wedding feast and into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth because they have not earned enough rewards through works. To make such an interpretation requires that you ignore, discount, or re-interpret this crystal clear passage of 2 Thessalonians 2:13.

Isn’t the plain meaning of this passage in 2 Thessalonians clear enough or does it need further exegesis with ifs, ands, and buts? Since all of the truths in this passage are also presented clearly in many other passages of Scripture, what possible reason would anyone have to reject the literal meaning here? Should bizarre parable interpretations trump clear Scripture? Should we believe the power of God the Holy Spirit in verse 13 could be overcome by the power of Spirit of the age?

Brethren, we should avoid anyone who discounts or denies the power of God! The clear teachings of Scripture do not require a teacher or a preacher. I would encourage everyone to read the Bible and discern for themselves those basic fundamental principles that are taught concerning the Holy Spirit’s role and power in justification and sanctification. He who began a good work in you will carry it out to completion (Phil 1:6). God through grace and power is working in Christian sanctification. Rejoice in that fact.

7 Comments:

Blogger donsands said...

"He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it." 1 Thes. 5:24

Jesus Christ will do it. What will He do? Sanctify us completely, and preserve us blameless. verse 23

Good teaching Wayne.

"The faith which has not a sanctifying influence on the character is no better than the faith of devils. It is a dead faith, because it is alone." -JC Ryle

April 15, 2008 10:45 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Don,
Thanks for the thoughts and the J.C. Ryle quote.

Spurgeons in a sermon on this passage said the following:

1. election produces GOOD RESULTS. "He hath from the beginning chosen you unto sanctification of the spirit, and belief of the truth."........

2. Those who are elect, are elect unto sanctification and unto faith .......

3. Do not sit down and fancy that you are to be saved without faith and holiness. That is a most abominable and accursed heresy, and has ruined thousands.......

4. Moreover, election will make us holy........


In number 3, Spurgeon did not mean that man must produce his own holiness apart from God. He is just reporting what the plain and literal meaning of this passage asserts.

April 16, 2008 1:49 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

E X C E L L E N T!!!

April 16, 2008 7:00 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Wayne,

I'm just astonished that people can be comfortable in so radically separating the justification aspect of salvation from the santification aspect. Yes, Justification is where God declares that one righteous who believes in Jesus. But, God saves people for a purpose - that He may conform them to the image of His Son - Sanctification. 1 Peter 1:2.

My daughter is going to be using this computer today for some class work. That means BC is all yours; perhaps tomorrow too as I must run to get my dad's medicade paperwork off to its destination.

April 16, 2008 8:29 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Mark,
Thanks. Will do.

I think it is interesting that Paul says “he called you through our gospel”
I think that means that he is not calling anyone through a Zane Hodges (et al) gospel that has redeemed Christians sanctified through the Holy Spirit being thrown into the outer darkness where there is weeping an gnashing of teeth. No, such a gospel is, not only not traditional, it is a different gospel just as much as the one Paul alludes to in Galatians 1.

April 16, 2008 10:41 AM

 
Blogger Gayla said...

Amen.

Excellent article, Wayne.

April 16, 2008 11:58 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Gayla,
Thanks. I do believe that the truths in 2 Thess. 2:13-14 are very plain and clear. They are also repeated many places in the Bible. God's grace calls a person willingly to saving faith and also sanctifies them in holiness and obedience. If they are not sanctified, then they have not been justified and will indeed be thrown into the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

April 16, 2008 10:45 PM

 

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