EBible Fellowship Sunday Bible Study – 24-Feb-2008


by John McOwen


In my case, one of the greatest joys of being a Bible teacher and having an opportunity to teach from the Scriptures is when you get a phone call from someone who might have heard a message.  A lot of times, it is encouraging and wonderful.  However, sometimes it is challenging when someone disagrees with you.  This week, I had the opportunity to get probably the most satisfying of all, a letter.  I got a letter from someone.  I am not going to name the person but it is from a young child who asked me a couple of questions. 

I would like to take today’s study to look at this letter. I started to write out the answers the night I received it but I considered why writing a long letter when I could just speak it in person this Sunday and talk about it amongst all of us.  Hopefully she will be able to hear this and learn from it as I did because I was very challenged this week when I was attempting to answer these questions. 

I am going to start with the opening of the letter.  There are about four or five questions, and today’s Bible study is really going to be an answer to this wonderful seven-year-old girl who wrote me this week as I was surprised to find when I opened my mail that night. 

Dear Mr. John,

I just wanted to talk to you about the Bible.  I wanted the subject to be about how you are saved.

Question #1: What if you read the Bible your whole life, day and night, every day, and what if God came back today and said, “Well, you are not saved.”  Why would God say that?  Then what would the person say? 

This is an interesting question, a very interesting question and thought-provoking.  Basically, the issue is: when Jesus Christ returns, what would God say?  Why would He say to someone, “You are not saved?”  Obviously, in the Rapture, which we now know to be May 21, 2011, there are going to be people who are taken to Heaven, and others are going to be left behind. 

So why would God leave people behind?  Her question was, “Why would God say to someone, ‘You are not saved and that is why you are not going to Heaven’?”  In fact, here is a very good question.  What would a person who realizes that they are left behind and that they are not going to Heaven say that they were not saved? 

Let us start out with her first premise of someone who reads the Bible day and night all of their life.  Well, that is not me.  I did not start reading the Bible until twenty years ago.  That was the very first time I ever opened up a Bible.  I thank God that maybe over the last five to ten years I have been pretty used to reading it morning and evening.  I have this privilege because I am on the train going to work back and forth, which guarantees that I have some quiet time so that I can read, as well as study time at home at night.  So I might be in a category of someone who reads the Bible day and night, a little bit in the morning and a little bit in the evening, maybe a lot in the evening.  Some people might do it even more than this. 

Remember that her question was, “If you did something like this and God came back and said ‘You are not saved,’ why would He say that to someone?”  So is it possible that someone in that boat would not be saved?  This is the first real question that we have to answer. 

I am going to look at myself and say, “Well, I read the Bible, at least the last five to ten years, morning and night, just about every day.”  How about you?  Maybe you are in the same boat.  Maybe you do the same thing.  Is it possible that we could not be saved? 

Well sure; I do not know who is saved and who is not—even myself.  I pray daily that God would have mercy on me.  I do not know about you, but I pray this daily, especially now. 

One of the commitments I made for this new year is to live every day, and I mean every day, as if it is my last.  I am really trying to do this with the energy and the enthusiasm and the sobriety of the seriousness of God’s truth.  Nonetheless, I am praying for God’s mercy every single day. 

So if you are not saved when Christ returns to earth, why would He say to you, “You are not saved”? 

Here is the real answer; here is the crux of the matter.  First of all, it would not be because of anything that you did or did not do.  Your failure to do or say anything has nothing to do with the answer or the result.  This is the first issue that we have to realize, which is somewhat of a relief to some degree because it really has nothing to do with anyone saying, acting, or doing a certain thing or verbalizing anything.  This means that the burden is now off our backs to perform some thing or some function: being good, or having a formula, reciting some kind of prayer, saying the sinner’s prayer, or whatever. 

The reason that He would say “You are not saved” to anyone is simply because they were not chosen by Him.  God has to choose you for you to be redeemed, for you to be able to be raptured on the last day, the last day of this Great Tribulation, which will be May 21, 2011.  But remember, He chose people “before the foundation of the world,” and this is why it cannot have anything to do with what we do, say, think, or feel. 

Let us go to Ephesians 1:3-5 to prove this, to answer this question, because it is not what I think; it is what the Bible says.  Ephesians 1:3-5 says:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world…

There it is.

…he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 

So you see, the choice happened before the world was created, before Adam and Eve were created.  Therefore, we could have nothing to do with why He would say when He comes back, “You are not saved and that is why you are not going to Heaven; that is why you are left behind.” 

Romans 9 is another great passage; let us go there.  This is familiar to a lot of people, but it bears repeating.  Romans 9:13-16 is further proof of this:

As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

We can see that the first reason for why God would hypothetically say to someone, “You are not saved and that is why you are not going to Heaven; that is why you are not being raptured” is because that person was not “chosenbefore the foundation of the world.”  This is the quick answer, the quick reason. 

The second reason has to do with our sinful nature: the actions and the consequences of what we do and how we were made in Adam.  Unfortunately, the seeds of sin were already planted. 

Let us go to Roman 3:10-12 to remind ourselves of why we are all in the same boat: 

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Since there is “none that doeth good,” there is nothing that I can do to change God’s choice “before the foundation of the world.” 

Romans 6:23 says: 

For the wages of sin is death…

If I am spiritually dead, my soul is dead and I am not going to have eternal life, which is why I am not saved.  To be saved means that I have eternal life; they are equivalent. 

So even if you are reading the Bible every day, even twice a day, it does not guarantee that you are going to go to Heaven, which was the premise of the first question.  If you remember, this is what she asked, seeming to think, “Wow, that would seem almost unfair.  It would seem almost incongruous that God would do that.  How could He say to someone, ‘You are not saved’ when they were reading the Bible every day, twice a day, all their life, even?”   

Well, remember, it has nothing to do with our actions.  It has nothing to do with a formula that we could recite.  Nonetheless, God does encourage us to read the Bible every day.  We should not fail to do this because this is the environment in which He saves. 

Romans 10:17 is another very familiar verse, which says: 

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Well, what does this mean? 

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

If I am hearing the Word of God, then faith is coming.  However, I just said that it is not our faith.  If we are saved, it is God who chose us and He chose us before the world ever began or was created.  Therefore, it is through “the faith of Jesus Christ” that He will save us.  This is the mechanism that we have.  This is how God does save someone.  He applies saving faith through His Word. 

We also know this from Ephesians 2:8-9, which is another very familiar passage.  It says:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

This means that even my own faith as I believe while I read the Word every day is not saving me.  Only God will save me if He so chooses.  If He chose me “before the foundation of the world,” He will save me through the Bible.  Through “the word of God,” He will apply salvation.

So this was a good question to start with.  The second question is part of why God would say that you are not saved. 

Question #2: Then what would the person say? 

Now, this is real.  In a little over three years, this is going to be a reality on this earth for a lot of people.  What are they going to say when they find themselves left behind? 

It may be one of you here today or it could be me.  Do you know that you are saved?  Are you crying out to God for mercy every day?  The Bible says that we are to “make your calling and election sure.” 

I can imagine a lot of things that people who are left behind could say.  Fortunately, I do not have to really guess what they are going to say because the Bible tells us in a couple of passages. 

Let us look at one in Matthew 25 where Jesus tells us what people will really be saying on May 21, 2011, and this should frighten us into really being extremely, not necessarily anxious, but desirous that we would be saved to avoid this plight.  In Matthew 25:31-43, Jesus sets the tone and says:

When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King…

This is just another synonym for the “Son of man.” 

…the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 

Here we see this again.  Remember that it was “prepared…from the foundation of the world,” which is when you were chosen. 

For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat… 

Or food.

…I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered… 

These are the people who are saved and are going to Heaven, to “the new heaven and the new earth.”

…Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King… 

The “Son of man.”

…shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand…

These are the ones who are not saved; these are the “goats.”

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no [food]: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

In verses 44-46, Matthew 25:44-46, this is what some people will be saying on that day who are not saved: 

Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

So this is going to be one of the questions people are going to be asking God when they realize that they are left behind, “When did we see You hungry, thirsty, in prison and did not visit You?”  And they are going to be perplexed.  In other words, they are going to be contrary, they are going to be challenging God, “I deserve to go to Heaven to be raptured, so why was I left behind?” 

This is the Bible’s answer to her question: what would the person say who is left behind?  Then she goes on in this letter with the next question. 

Question #3: Why would God make hell and why is it so horrible?    

This is a huge question, a huge question.  We will just spend a little bit of time trying to answer this. 

As we all know, we are beginning to learn more and more about hell, that it is not what we really thought it was.  We have been taught and we have certainly been under the impression and have believed ourselves for a long time that there would be people frying in some place called “hell” for all of eternity—whatever that all meant: fire, frying in a place called “hell.”  But we are now learning that this is not true. 

The question was, “Why would God make hell?”  So first of all, what is it?  We are learning that it is a period of literally five months, from May 21, 2011 to October 21, 2011. 

Let us take a snapshot from the Bible where it defines what hell really is.  Let us go to Revelation 9 where we will see hell being a period of five months and not eternity.  We will see what this means first and then we will talk about what eternity means.  Revelation 9:1-6 says:

And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.

It does seem that there is a primary reason that God will make this five-month period of time.  Generally speaking, we could say that it is for the purpose of punishing the unsaved, but that is only part of the answer.  The primary reason for this five-month period of time is to punish those who were the stewards of God’s Word and unfaithful in their duty.  This is the primary reason that this period is set up. 

There are other reasons for this, which we will get into in a second, but let us go to Matthew 23 to prove this, because it is not just me saying this or thinking this and it is not that I have a bone to pick with people in the churches because I am not in a church anymore.  Let us see here what this is all about.  In Matthew 23:13-14, Jesus said:

But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.

Then He picks it up in verses 29-33 of the same chapter.  It is talking about the same people, and we read in Matthew 23:29:33: 

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

So who is Christ most adamant about suffering during this period of time?   It was always the scribes and Pharisees, the teachers of God’s Word, the stewards of the truth who should have known better and who are being lax in their duties to declare the truth. 

Let us take a look now and run the whole gamut of the people who this period of time is primarily created and designed for, those who are really going to suffer intensely during this period of time.  This is referring to Roman Catholic priests who are guilty of crimes that we hear about here on the East Coast, all the way up to the Protestant minister who seems to be an upstanding, moral, righteous person, and anything in between in the church. 

For every single person, it is for the same reason because we are all sinners; however, this is primarily due to error after error that they were teaching.  They were teaching their own theology and not God’s.  They had a misinterpretation of the proper hermeneutical approach to the Scriptures that Jesus purposely hid for His own reasons.

Now, this is tough to say, because who am I?  Who am I really?  I am a nobody.  I am nothing.  I am as the Bible says, “less than nothing.”  I am no better than anyone whom I just mentioned.  I deserve wholeheartedly to go into this period of five months and be punished.  But as I mentioned earlier, I do cry out to God for mercy, day after day after day.  Every single day of my life now, I ask God for mercy, “Have mercy on me Lord, because I realize that I am not deserving of eternal life at all.”  I am not saying that these people are any less or more deserving than me, but nonetheless, for reasons God has set forth, that is why He made hell. 

Another reason that He created this period of hell is because of the consequences of our sin in general.  Lock, stock, and barrel, all people who are unsaved will obviously suffer to some degree during this period, as we have been studying. 

Genesis 2:16 started it all.  Let us read Genesis 2:16-17 where God told Adam:

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Thou shalt surely die.”  And what are “the wages of sin”?  We read in Romans 6:23 earlier:

For the wages of sin is death… 

So there we have it.  We are all sinners.  We are all deserving of death, whether we die before this period of five months starts or whether we get killed during that period of time or whether we die on October 21, 2011 when everyone who is left will be finally thrown into that furnace to be annihilated.  The ultimate reason for why God created hell, this period of time, is because of sin.  That is the bottom line and more torment will be especially given to those who were the stewards of His Word. 

Her next question was:

Question #4: Whatever it is, why is hell so horrible? 

The primary reason is because those who will suffer in it will realize one thing: they have lost their eternal inheritance.  What did Esau do when he found out that he had lost the rights of the firstborn, his inheritance?  Esau cried profusely when he realized the reality of trading that incredible inheritance, the right of the firstborn, for a bowl of pottage, for soup because he was hungry.  Imagine the people who will realize during that period of five months that they traded eternal life for sin, for the “the pleasures of sin for a season.” 

I am going to bring in an analogy here.  Imagine if you were a prisoner of war.  In our present political scene, John McCain is the frontrunner in the Republican primaries.  One big thing that everyone knows about him is that he was a prisoner of war during Vietnam, which is a badge of honor for him. 

So imagine being a prisoner of war in wartime.  Sometimes a nation will send in a SWAT team to try to rescue people.  Maybe you have seen some programs on this in the past.  Our country has done this a few times.  If you remember, Ross Perot tried to do this with his own resources. 

In this concentration camp, you are treated terribly or you are being tortured as a prisoner of war.  Imagine a helicopter from our own country, the United States.  You are out in some foreign land when all of a sudden that helicopter comes down with the American flag on the side.  The SWAT team comes out and they rescue eight of your buddies.  However, for some reason, they cannot get to you. 

When there is a rescue mission, there is a very small window of opportunity.  Maybe it is only a few minutes before they realize that they have to get out.  They get the eight men, they climb up on the ladder as the helicopter starts hovering above, and they escape.  But you realize that you are left behind.  They wanted to get you, but they could not.  They could not get you.  They could not find you for whatever reason, and so you are left behind bars, whatever it was. 

Imagine the horror and the terror in your body when you finally realize that this is it—this is it.  They tried to rescue you.  Now you realize that there is no way that you are going to get out of this, and then you also realize that they are probably going to torture you even more now just to get back at the United States for coming and rescuing some of your buddies.  So this is not going to be a pleasant period of time. 

Matthew 24 tells us of how the feelings and emotions will be for these people who will be suffering during this time.  In Matthew 24:29-31, Jesus said:

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

This is like the picture of the helicopter coming down to rescue the prisoners of war. 

Now turn over to verses 45-51 of the same chapter.  In Matthew 24:45-51, Jesus said:

Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them [food] in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites… 

And listen to this because this is the answer to the question as to why hell will be so horrible: 

…there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Imagine weeping and crying endlessly with no easing of your sorrow and pain.  It will not be for just an hour after which Mommy comes over to comfort you and finally placate your fears.  “Weeping and gnashing of teeth” is why hell will be so horrible.  This is going to be an intense and incredibly painful and sorrowful period of time, and not just physically but mentally and spiritually as those left behind forever realize that they will have no eternal life, “I am doomed!  I am done!” 

Then she continues on in this letter to ask the next question: 

Question #5: Does God still like the people that are not saved? 

This is a tough question.  Does God still like the people who are not saved? 

I will tell you this, I had a hard time answering this question, so I am going to give you the Bible’s answers for you to decide.  It is hard for me to even answer this question without just reading the Scriptures that talk about it, so that is what I am going to do. 

Let us go to Psalm 5.  The question is: does God still like the people who are not saved, those who will be left behind and who are going to suffer for this period of time?  We read in Psalm 5:4-5:

For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.

Iniquity is sin.  “Thou” is speaking of God.  Here God says that He hates all workers of sin.  Therefore, this is one of the answers.  

But I told you that this was a tough question, yet this sounds easy thus far.  “God hates all workers of iniquity,” right?  But we have to compare this to other Scriptures.  When we do so, we can see the compassion that Jesus Christ has on all people. 

Let us go to Luke 13 where we will seemingly see a paradox, even though we know that it is not paradoxical but in keeping with God’s perfect personality and character traits.  Luke 13:34-35 says:

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem…

Jesus is speaking here.

…which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!

What does He mean here where He says, “How often would I have gathered thy children together…and ye would not”? 

Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Do you see why this is tough to answer?  What else did Jesus say? 

Let us turn to John 13.  Jesus said in John 13:34: 

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

We know that He is not just talking about loving the people whom we fellowship with, those whom we know who love the Bible.  Jesus is commanding us to love everyone, “love thy neighbour as thyself,” and yet He says:

…as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

Can you see why this question is so hard to answer: does God still like the people who are not saved? 

Let us look at one more verse concerning this question and then we will get to her last question.  Let us turn to a verse that you probably know very well from the Old Testament.  Turn to Ezekiel 33:11 where we read: 

Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked… 

God has “no pleasure in the death of the wicked,” and yet we read in Psalm 5 that He “hatest all workers of iniquity.”  I leave the answer to your question, “Does God still like the people who are not saved,” to these Scriptures for you to look at and to determine for yourself how God really views this situation.  This is very, very, very tough to answer.

Her last question was:

Question #6: How does God choose which people are saved or not? 

Remember that we talked earlier about how God chose people and selected them “before the foundation of the world.”  He did not pick by the best attitude at all. 

First of all, when did He choose them?  Ephesians 1:4 says: 

…he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world… 

Therefore, do you see that His choosing could not have been by attitude?  One’s attitude cannot have nothing to do with salvation because if you are already “chosenbefore the foundation of the world,” it has nothing to do with what you did from the moment you were born or even conceived in the womb or anything involving the rest of your life. 

Secondly, how did God choose?  Remember that we read in Romans 9:13: 

…Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated…

And Romans 9:15 said: 

…I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

In other words, He is telling us how He chose.  In layman’s terms, He is saying, “Well, you do not need to know.  I did it the way that I wanted to do it.  I chose whom I wanted to choose.  I had mercy on whom I wanted to have mercy.  Therefore, do not ask any more questions about it.” 

Is it the best attitude?  We are going to close with this thought, because she finally asked: 

Question #7: Does He pick by the best attitude? 

Well, what is really the attitude of the people who are saved, not that it saves them?  The Bible gives us some clues in James 2:5-9 in the New Testament:

Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

A follow-up passage is found in 1 Corinthians 1.  Where I am going with this is that it states, “not many mighty.”  There are not many wealthy and well-to-do who are found in this great camp of believers.  1 Corinthians 1:26-29 states:

For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:


That no flesh should glory in his presence.

It is the humble.  It is the meek.  It is the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, 6, and 7. 

I hope that you can identify with this last passage because David was a great type and figure of the Lord Jesus Christ.  There is a beautiful verse in the Old Testament that sums up who these people are whom God selects and chooses “before the foundation of the world.” 

How are they in this world?  How are they acting?  Well, 1 Samuel 22:1-2 is a great passage.  This describes so many of us, so many of us, so I hope that you can identify with this.  With 1 Samuel 22:1-2, we will close with this beautiful letter that I received this week from that youngster.  Remember David is a picture of Christ, and it says in 1 Samuel 22:1:

David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father’s house heard it, they went down thither to him.

Then in 1 Samuel 22:2, it says:

And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men.

It is the people who do not have their lock and stock in this world’s goods.  It is the people whom God has given a joy for the things that are eternal, the things that are of the soul.  Those are the people who give evidence of His saving grace. 

God bless you and may He give each and every one of us His greatest gift of all, eternal life.  Amen.

Questions and Answers

1st Question:  I have a question as to the parable that you included in your teaching in Matthew 25 where Christ is describing the king and those who come to the king. 

Matthew 25:40 says: 

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Those were the ones who were saved.  The others were the ones who did not do these things. 

I am interested in knowing what your insight might be on the spirituality of this. 

John:  He touches on a very good point, which is the spiritual meaning of that parable.  In essence, on the surface, it seems to suggest that if I am saved, I am the one who stopped at the beggar on Market Street in PA to talk with him and maybe to console him, but maybe the other person who goes to church did not. 

But that is not it.  The spiritual meaning of “Naked, and you clothed mein prison, and ye came unto me” is referring to being in Satan’s kingdom.  Remember in all the other places in the Bible we looked at today, the spiritual meaning is referring to when you release them from that bondage through the truth of the Gospel, through the true theology of God’s Word. 

So the saved are those who are giving the true message of salvation, not the ones who are keeping them bound, naked, hungry for truth.  That is a whole study in itself, but you made a very good discerning point.  Thank you for bringing that up. 

2nd Question: You mentioned that you cry to God for mercy.  Is this a cry for salvation?  I am just wondering if God has been pleased to give someone the confidence to know that they are saved.  Is it necessary to continue crying to God for salvation, or is this just out of a hatred for our sins?

John:  That is another very discerning point because I did say that.  That is another whole issue that could take 45 minutes.  I speak for myself on this issue.  Do I take my salvation for granted or can I really be convinced in the Bible that I am saved?  With the end approaching this close, do I kind of take it for granted? 

To me, personally, it makes a lot of sense for me to cry out for mercy, a) for a hatred for my sins—there is no doubt about that—sin is driving the desire to do that.  b) I also do not want to be presumptuous in any way because I know that it is not because I am up here teaching the Bible or trying to witness to people at work or wherever I am or whatever I am doing that saved me, “Oh, that guy is saved, because remember, there is a Protestant minister out there doing whatever and he may not be saved.” 

What is the difference between the two?  That is what drives me to say this.  I do think that this topic deserves a study, but  I cannot give it justice and an answer other than to just speak personally for myself at the moment.