Do Christians Have to EARN the Rapture?

by Patricia Backora

I knew a pastor who held to a "Mid-Trib for the majority" position on the Rapture of the Church !e belie"ed that most of the church would ha"e to #o throu#h the first $%&' years of the (-year Tribulation before bein# raptured )nly the most spiritual saints would escape Part I of the Tribulation by risin# to meet Christ in the air in the "*irstfruits Rapture" +ll the rest of the Christians would ha"e to be "purified" by endurin# the persecution of the +ntichrist I contend that the Tribulation Period is for unbelie"ers and Tribulation con"erts, not for Church +#e belie"ers, who ha"e recei"ed the Ri#hteousness of !is !oly -on into their hearts by faith .I Cor %/$01 2ph $/%(3 The Tribulation is referred to as 4+C)B5- .Israel5s3 trouble, not the church5s trouble .4er $0/(3 The Tribulation Period will be a terrible time of the outpourin# of the wrath of 6od, as well as the wrath of satan throu#h the +ntichrist Re" 7/%(/ *or the #reat day of his wrath is come1 and who shall be able to stand89999This is the cry of wicked men who know they5re in deep trouble with 6od and can5t hide from !im Re" %'/%'/ Therefore rejoice, ye hea"ens, and ye that dwell in them :oe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea; for the de"il is come down unto you, ha"in# #reat wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time The an#el who proclaims this messa#e ur#es the inhabitants of hea"en to rejoice, but pronounces woe upon those who dwell on earth The an#el says this because because satan is after them <nlike saints of the Church +#e, Tribulation con"erts do not rejoice in tribulation .see Rom =/$3 because they

ha"e no assurance of ultimate "ictory o"er satan Their sal"ation depends on their ):> faithfulness and bein# able to stand up to the +ntichrist and refuse to take his mark If they fail to do these thin#s, they lose their sal"ation .In order to place the Church on earth durin# the Tribulation, you must say that 6od really has appointed us to wrath, e"en thou#h !e says has >)T appointed us to wrath .I Thes =/?3 )b"iously Christians throu#hout the centuries ha"e suffered the wrath of secular and reli#ious rulers and the wrath of unsa"ed lo"ed ones and enemies of all kinds But the wrath of the Tribulation Period is #onna be far, far worse Many contend that the Church needs lots of e@tra sufferin# to be purified, and the Tribulation is 6od5s bi# chance to do this But if the Church must be ApurifiedB by #oin# throu#h the 6reat Tribulation Period, that means only that part of the Church unfortunate enou#h to li"e on earth durin# that period of history will ha"e to suffer it, and 4esus5 precious blood was insufficient to purify a soul and e@tra sufferin# was needed Christ5s Church is one body .I Cor %'/%'3, comprised of all born-a#ain belie"ers since Pentecost If sufferin# throu#h the Tribulation is a prereCuisite for pro"in# faithfulness to 6od, then it follows that all other #enerations of Christians who e"er li"ed would ha"e to be resurrected to do their share of sufferin# under the +ntichrist also II Corinthians =/'% is one of the most awesome "erses in the >ew Testament/ *or he .6od3 hath made him .Christ3 to be sin for us, that we mi#ht be made the ri#hteousness of 6od in him >ow if Christ, at Cal"ary, e@chan#ed !is perfect ri#hteousness for our foul sin ra#s so !e could pay for our sins and make us ri#hteous before 6od, who on earth has the ri#ht to say that this or that saint doesn5t Cualify to be raptured8 +t Christ5s appearin#, true belie"ers in Christ will ha"e remained connected to Christ by faith, and by faith they are counted as ri#hteous .Romans %/%(1 D/=3 -o why should Christians #o throu#h any part of the Tribulation8 )ne of the stron#est ar#uments I5"e found a#ainst the Partial Rapture .total rupture3 position is this/ +ll true belie"ers in Christ ha"e been made )>2 -PIRIT with 4esus .I Cor 7/%(3 I Cor %'/%$ states that we are all baptiEed into one body and ha"e been made to drink into one -pirit Ferses %D-'' emphasiEe the unity of the body and the importance of each and e"ery member 6od !imself has set these members into the Body of Christ Ferse '' teaches a key truth which helps dispro"e the Partial Rapture theory/ 2"en those members of the body of Christ deemed the weakest are >2C2--+RG; -o which members of the body

of Christ would you amputate in order to justify the Partial Rapture theory8 :ill 4esus #et married to half a bride while the other half stays on earth to battle disease pla#ues, wars, famine and persecution8 In I Cor %/%$ Paul asks/ Is Christ di"ided8 Paul did not e@pect to see the body of 4esus Christ di"ided, either in the assembly of the saints or at the Rapture Christ will come for those who look e@pectantly for !is appearin# .II Peter $/%'3 Colossians %/''-'$ assures us that Christ will finally present us unto !imself as holy and unblameable Ferse '$ be#ins with "if" If we continue to be #rounded and settled in the *aith and not be mo"ed away from it )ur faith should be in Christ and !is ri#hteousness, which alone meets 6od5s standard of holiness The key to true eternal security lies not in performin# difficult works to earn our sal"ation, but in not turnin# our back on Christ in rebellion Many claim to be faithful Christians But I doubt that backslidden reprobates will be raptured up to hea"en out of a cathouse on the ni#ht of Christ5s +ppearin# The other side of the coin is this/ The :ord of 6od teaches us how to li"e holy li"es and we should walk in the li#ht of it, but we are ne"er to depend on our own human effort to #et us to hea"en -o lon# as we Christians dwell in this body of flesh, none of us are bi# enou#h to measure up to 6od5s standards of #oodness Christ is our all-sufficiency and our #oal should be that when !e returns, we are found in !is ri#hteousness alone .Philippians $/(-%%3 If only the spiritual #iants of the church will be raptured, where do you draw the line for either passin# or failin# the test of eli#ibility for the Rapture8 :e know from the :ord of 6od that lyin#, blasphemy, and adultery are sins But who on earth has the ri#ht to lay down hard and fast laws on issues where -cripture is silent8 :e5re openin# a can of worms when we say some saints are holier than others because they sleep on a -tyrofoam mattress or eat dry soup mi@ to sa"e more cash for the missionary fund There are a lot of so-called #ray areas where -cripture is unclear Is it okay for a woman to wear a bit of makeup or color her hair8 !ow bi# can her jewelry .if any3 be8 Can men #et a tattoo8 Is TF okay8 -t Paul ne"er watched it; :hat about country music8 :hat about wrestlin# matches or karate8 Can a couple kiss before they5re en#a#ed8 Is mi@ed bathin# at pools and beaches okay8 :hiskey mi#ht be the de"il5s brew, but what about beer8 2"en if we could draw up a lon# list of "do5s and don5t5s" to help us us measure someone else5s dedication to 4esus, how many times would you be allowed to slip and stumble and re#ain your spiritual footin# a#ain before

6od decided to flunk you in Rapture Readiness %0%8 !ow imperfect would you ha"e to be before your !ea"enly Bride#room broke off !is en#a#ement to you8 +nd on a more positi"e note, how "#ood" would your outward conduct ha"e to be before you could finally say you5d confirmed your reser"ation at the Marria#e -upper of the Hamb8 If you went a whole day without tellin# off that boss who makes you want to scream, would that make you holier than someone who5s always honest about how they feel8 :hen I went to school you could miss only so many Cuestions on the test and still #et a laEy "C" so you5d be able to say you5d passed the test !ow many times could you foul up and repent of it, and still say your conduct had been just #ood enou#h to earn the completion of your sal"ation, which will include bein# chan#ed to immortality at the Rapture of the Church8 :hat about people who are con"erted shortly before the Rapture and ha"en5t had sufficient time to #row in the ways of holiness8 :ill babes in Christ and spiritually immature people be disCualified from the Rapture alon# with reprobates who turned their back on Christ8 I don5t think so 4esus said/ "Het the little children come unto Me, for of such is the Iin#dom of 6od " +nd !e also said that whoe"er would not recei"e the Iin#dom of 6od like a little child could not enter in .Huke %J/%7-%(3 The completion of our sal"ation is to be perfected into Christ5s likeness, e"en to the e@tent of #ettin# a brand new body at the Rapture Philippians $/'% promises that Christ will chan#e our humble body to become as #lorious as !is own >otice, we don5t do that, Christ does; If 6od be#an a #ood work in us, why wouldn5t he be able to complete it8 Philippians %/7 says : Being confident of this very thing, that he that hath begun a good work in you will perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ. >otice, Paul didn5t say/ "Bein# unsure 6od is able to complete it all by !imself " By faith, not throu#h #ood works, 2noch was translated .taken to hea"en without first dyin# .!ebrews %%/=3 Before he was taken up, he could say that he had pleased 6od !ow did 2noch please 6od8 Kid he #i"e money to the Temple8 There was no Temple then Kid he #i"e to the poor8 :e can only speculate about that 2noch raised a family as most other people did But the one #ood thin# 6enesis =/'D records 2noch as doin# that set him apart from the rest was this/ he walked with 6od and 6od took him If you lo"e 4esus, you5ll want to spend time walkin# and talkin# with !im e"ery day as your best *riend +nd the day will come when at the end of one #ood lon# walk !e5ll say to you like !e did to 2noch/ ":hy don5t you just come on home with Me8"

This teachin# that you must earn throu#h #ood works the finishin# of your sal"ation is a heresy which has caused much an@iety in sincere Christians Gou didn5t ha"e to earn its be#innin#, and there is no way you could ha"e scraped up enou#h #ood works to pay for any part of your sal"ation, whether it be the be#innin# of it or the end 6alatians $/'-$ says/ Received ye the pirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith! "re ye so foolish! #aving begun in the pirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh! .which speaks of works of self-effort3 Christ is the author .be#inner3 and the finisher of our faith .!ebrews %'/'3 4esus was a carpenter I heard once that "author and finisher" were carpentry terms, which meant to be#in work on a piece .authorin#3 and finishin# it Christ is able to sa"e us T) T!2 <TT2RM)-T .!ebrews (/'=3 I5m sure 4esus wouldn5t start makin# a plow, then Cuit work on it and lea"e it half-finished I5m of the persuasion that the only way a Christian could e"er risk losin# his or her own sal"ation is if they decide they don5t want 4esus anymore and take themsel"es out of !is workshop for repairin# broken souls >o one else can take you or me out of 4esus5 !and, for !e says in 4ohn %0/'J that no one can pluck !is sheep out of !is !and !owe"er, there are lots of -criptures which warn a#ainst fallin# away from the faith, such as !ebrews 7/D-J and II Peter '/'0-'' Christ will ne"er force anyone to lo"e !im or remain true to !im In I Thessalonians D/ %7-%J Paul says/ $or the %ord #imself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of &od: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. 'hen we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the %ord in the air( and so shall we ever be with the %ord. )herefore comfort one another with these words. Paul did not say/ ":e who outshine all the rest spiritually will rise to meet the Hord in the air, so warn one another with these words " !ad that been the case, what comfort could those persecuted Christians ha"e drawn form such uncertainty8 :orryin# about bein# less spiritual than someone else would ha"e caused deep dread of ha"in# to face the +ntichrist, not joy in anticipatin# Christ5s +ppearin# :hen we #ot con"erted nobody stood o"er us and told us we had to #o out and do a lon# list of do5s and don5ts before the !oly -pirit had permission to breathe life into our innermost bein# If our ultimate translation into immortality is the end product of our sal"ation process, then why should that part be withheld from us anymore than the first part of our sal"ation process was8 Is the Blessed !oly -pirit any less of a 6ift than the Rapture will be8 Perish the thou#ht; 6od breathed !is !oly -pirit into our hearts by faith, not as wa#es for #ood works Paul asks in 6alatians $/'/ *id you receive the pirit by the works of the %aw, or by the hearing of faith! 2phesians %/%$-%D tells us that the Blessed

!oly -pirit is the earnest .#uarantee3 of the future redemption of 6od5s purchased possession, which we are 2phesians D/$0 says we are sealed by the -pirit of 6od until the day of our redemption :hat8 +ren5t we already redeemed8 *rom the penalty of sin, certainly +lso we are bein# deli"ered daily from the power of sin +nd when we are translated to hea"en we will finally be deli"ered from the presence of sin, hallelujah; Romans J/'$ assures us of the future redemption of our body Romans %$/%% tells us that our sal"ation is nearer than when we first belie"ed +nd I take this also to mean our sal"ation .redemption3 from this sinful earth The same usa#e of this term "redemption" is indicated by the conte@t of Re"elation %D/$, where a special task force of 4ewish e"an#elists has just been redeemed from the earth In Huke '%/'J 4esus tells !is disciples to look up, for their redemption will draw near when si#ns of !is soon appearin# be#in to occur in the world If that imminent redemption from the earth is only for part of !is Body, then the Mother of all Church -plits is about to happen Christ5s Body is about to be broken apart, ruptured not raptured -ort of like if you went to the airport and tried to #et into the plane, only to ha"e the door shut on that half of your body that wasn5t "#ood enou#h" to #et in !alf of you would be left in !ouston while the other part flew to >ew Gork; 4esus prayed in 4ohn %(/ %% for the unity of !is Body, that we would all be one, e"en as !e and !is *ather are one If we continue to walk with 4esus in submissi"e faith and hold fast to the doctrine of sal"ation by #race throu#h faith in !is finished work on Cal"ary, we are part of Christ5s Body on earth and can e@pect to participate in the Rapture of the Church :e be#an this walk by faith, and we will finish it by faith +s for this craEy notion that the 6reat Tribulation will "purify" backsliders cau#ht in the cathouse, I "ery much doubt it If thin#s are bad now in the earth, then #ross darkness will fill the earth durin# the Tribulation .Isaiah 70/'3 If a backslider camps out in the cathouse now, chances are he5ll stay there durin# the Tribulation, just like Hot pitched his tent toward -odom and ended up li"in# there I #et the feelin# that backsliders will ha"e a much harder time of it spiritually durin# the Tribulation than sinners who come to Christ for the "ery first time in repentance The +postle Peter #i"es a #rim warnin# about backsliders in II Peter '/'0''/ $or if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the %ord and avior Jesus Christ( they are again entangled therein and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. $or it had been better for them not to have known the way to righteousness, than, after they had known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, 'he

dog is turned to his own vomit again( and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. >otice, Peter doesn5t hold out much hope for former belie"ers who #o back to their former immoral practices I doubt Peter is talkin# about belie"ers #oin# to baseball #ames or wrestlin# matches !e5s talkin# about the pro"erbial sow jumpin# back into the muck and mire of sin because he&she no lon#er wants to remain clad in the ri#hteousness of Christ >owhere does Peter promise that a backslider can earn his way back to 6od by sufferin# tribulation That smacks of the false doctrine of Pur#atory, where imperfect souls are .alle#edly3 purified throu#h pain to make them #ood enou#h to sCueeEe into hea"en Many self-ri#hteous people in 4esus5 day criticiEed !im for enjoyin# food and drink and #oin# to parties with ta@ collectors .Matt %%/%7-%?3 Those same people also criticiEed 4ohn the Baptist for doin# without the pleasant thin#s of this life alto#ether -ome mi#ht ha"e e"en thou#ht 4ohn to be more "irtuous than 4esus because 4ohn did not mi@ in sinful society, but li"ed in the desert 4ohn fasted most of the time and e"en when he did eat, he subsisted on #rasshoppers and wild honey But 4ohn himself said of 4esus in Matthew $/%%/ + indeed bapti,e you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than +, whose shoes + am not worthy to bear: he shall bapti,e you with the #oly &host and fire. In "erses %$ and %D 4esus comes to 4ohn to be baptiEed But 4ohn says/ + have need to be bapti,ed by thee, and comest thou to me! -o much for reli#ious stereotypin# to jud#e someone else as bein# unworthy of bein# raptured; :e are purified by the Blood of Christ alone :e deny !is power to sa"e us to the uttermost throu#h !is #race when we deny this key truth The Tribulation is #oin# to be the darkest, dirtiest, and most deadly dan#erous period in all history -inners are #oin# to ha"e all restraints taken off their beha"ior durin# the Tribulation, and all the masks are #oin# to come off the de"il to e@pose his utter u#liness It5s #onna be plum scary 4ust ima#ine how foul the atmosphere of this world will be then Bein# left behind to be in the Tribulation would no more ser"e to cleanse a backslider of his sins than takin# a bath in a sewer; If professin# belie"ers are too cowardly to cross their worldly friends by bein# true to Christ now, then how would li"in# in a hell on earth Tribulation Period make them more holy and coura#eous8 I suspect that part of the misunderstandin# about which Christians Cualify for the Rapture arises because it seems too #ood to be true that all of Christ5s true belie"ers would be taken up to hea"en in the same load That brin#s the spiritually proud down a pe# or two, so there is no room for boastin# .2ph '/J-?3 +lso, the completion of our sal"ation .#ettin# our resurrection body in the Rapture3 is the one part of bein# a Christian that is all pleasure and no pain >o more trials, no more reproach to suffer for

bein# true to our faith Maybe that5s why some self-ri#hteous preachers teach that we ha"e to earn the Rapture >ow if you5re #oin# to e@clude some belie"ers from the final part of their redemption, where do you draw the line to decide who5s worthy and who isn5t8 +nd what reli#ious official on earth is di"inely in"ested with the authority to set the bare minimum of #ood conduct which would be necessary for bein# taken up in the Rapture8 :hat Cualifies you to be the cream of the crop when Christ har"ests !is belie"ers from the earth8 +ll I know is, if abidin# in Christ the Hi"in# Fine isn5t enou#h to Cualify me to #o up in the Rapture, I doubt anythin# else will I remember our pastor tellin# us that as times #rew more perilous in the earth we should be on the lookout for the appearin# of the +ntichrist But -cripture tells us to look instead for the +ppearin# of our Hord 4esus Christ .Titus '/%$3 This is the Blessed !ope of the Church, while lookin# for the +ntichrist would be the Blasted !ope In 4ohn %D/%-$ 4esus promises us that !e will come a#ain to recei"e us unto !imself :e are Christ5s purchased possession which !e will soon redeem from the earth The Blessed !ope of Christ5s soon +ppearin# brou#ht #reat joy to the early Church, thou#h they could not foresee that some ',000 years of the Church +#e would elapse before it happened !ow would it ha"e brou#ht the early persecuted Church any joy if they were supposed to be lookin# for the +ntichrist and the be#innin# of the Tribulation Period when the +ntichrist would only put them throu#h far worse sufferin#s8 I belie"e that Christ will first appear for !is people, then after at least ( years, !e will return with !is people to rule and to rei#n on earth for %000 years, as promised in Re" '0/D,73 If, as some belie"e, the +ppearin# of Christ and !is -econd Comin# are one and the same thin#, there would be no space in time for the Marria#e -upper of the Hamb and no time for Christ to hand out rewards in hea"en to !is faithful saints before !is Rei#n on earth !ow, then, would each saint know which city they were appointed to rule o"er durin# that time8 If Christ5s +ppearin# for the Church and !is Comin# to rei#n on earth happened simultaneously, e"ery belie"er would be translated to immortality at the same time, so there wouldn5t be any mortal belie"ers left for Christ and the immortal saints to rule o"er, and no mortal couples to bear children in the Millennium .Isaiah 7=/'03 -o I definitely don5t support the Post-trib position, which states that Christ won5t come for us until the end of the Tribulation Period !ere is another distinction between the two scenarios/ +t the Rapture, the ri#hteous will be taken from amon# the wicked +t the -econd Comin#, the tares, or the wicked, will be taken from amon# the wheat .ri#hteous people

who came to Christ durin# the Tribulation Period3 Matthew %$/$7-D$ speaks of the Hord sendin# !is an#els to #ather up the tares from !is Iin#dom, lea"in# only the ri#hteous remainin# to #o into !is Iin#dom I belie"e this means that when Christ returns, !e will jud#e those few mortals who ha"e sur"i"ed the Tribulation Those who are wicked and unfit to enter !is %000year Iin#dom will be cast off the earth, while ri#hteous mortal sur"i"ors of the Tribulation will enter the %000-year Iin#dom to replant and replenish a planet depopulated and ruined by the terrible Tribulation jud#ments Re"elation '0/(-? indicates that some descendants of the ori#inal ri#hteous mortals who be#an life in the Millennial Iin#dom will finally rebel a#ainst Christ and perish because of it 6od has many children, but no #randchildren :e are not robots 2ach person must accept Christ for himself In Huke %'/$7 4esus speaks of ser"ants who wait for their Hord to return *R)M T!2 :2KKI>6 >ow if Church +#e -aints are the ones waitin# for him to come back from the weddin#, then :!G :+->5T T!2 BRIK2 )* C!RI-T <P I> !2+F2> :IT! 42-<- +T !2R ):> :2KKI>68 :!G :+-!2 -TIHH )> 2+RT! :+ITI>6 *)R !2R BRIK26R))M :!) 4<-T 6)T M+RRI2K :IT!)<T !2R8 That makes no sense 4esus was addressin# belie"ers of the >ation of Israel here, because before the #ospel was taken to the 6entiles in the book of +cts, 4esus was sent )>HG to Israel, as it states in Matt %0/D and %=/'D 4esus tells !is disciples that they are to #o )>HG to the lost sheep of the !ouse of Israel, and !e was sent )>HG to them 4esus was not addressin# the mostly 6entile church in this discourse The Church +#e .and the re"elation of the church bein# the Bride of Christ3 occurred only after the resurrection of Christ, and only after the >ation of Israel rejected its last brief window of opportunity to recei"e the kin#dom offered by Peter and other 4ewish apostles In !is )li"et discourses on the Hast Kays, 4esus makes no mention of sal"ation by #race throu#h faith in !im alone In Matt '=/ $%-D7 4esus lists a bunch of #ood works which must be done by a certain cate#ory of belie"ers before !e will allow them into his kin#dom and spare them the torments of hell They must feed the hun#ry, clothe the naked, and "isit sick people and prisoners They must do their best to hold out to the end, despite fierce persecution and indescribable sufferin# .Matt %0/''3 Those same conditions for stayin# sa"ed will apply to future Tribulation saints In addition, tribulation saints must >2F2R take the Mark of the Beast or they5ll #o to hell for sure with no further opportunity for repentance .see Re" %D/?%03 If these people fail to meet all these conditions they5re toast If this isn5t workin# and sufferin# to earn your own sal"ation, then I don5t know what else you5d call it

By contrast, Paul, apostle to the 6entiles, teaches throu#hout Romans and 6alatians that sal"ation is the free #ift of 6od, not a reward for #ood works The Book of Re"elation is a messa#e to the church .Re" %/ D3 *or the first three chapters 4esus deli"ers powerful messa#es to the se"en churches of +sia Minor But after chapter three, you read no more references to the church :hereas 6od saw no distinction between belie"in# 4ews and 6entiles durin# the Church +#e, now !e purposely chooses e"an#elists from e"ery tribe of Israel e@cept Kan and 2phraim, who, BT:, had a lon# history of idolatry .althou#h the half-tribe 2phraim would be included in the tribe of their father 4oseph, see Re" (/D-J3 -ome wonder if the +ntichrist will hail from the tribe of Kan because Kan is described as a serpent and doesn5t contribute to the task force of %DD,000 4ewish e"an#elists .6en D?/%(3 In chapter four, 4ohn finds himself cau#ht up into hea"en with 'D elders, who are probably representati"es of belie"in# Israel and the church, since there were %' tribes in Israel and twel"e apostles of the lamb Tribulation saints, who ha"e to :)RI to keep 6od5s sal"ation, will >)T be members of the Body of Christ Their sal"ation will more closely resemble that of )ld Testament Israel than what we enjoy today durin# the Church +#e Their sal"ation will be kept throu#h works, not by #race as it is today !ebrews chapter %% lists se"eral )ld Testament men and women who were accounted ri#hteous by 6od because of :)RI- that they did, not because of restin# in faith on what Christ has already done on our behalf, as we do There is some debate as to whether the book of 4ames is more #eared toward Tribulation saints than to the Church +#e, because while other apostles see no distinction between 4ewish and 6entile Christians .+cts %=/?1 Rom $/''1 %0/%'3, 4ames addresses his book to the Twel"e tribes of Israel .4ames %/%3 In 4ames '/ '% and '= 4ames says certain people are justified by doin# #ood thin#s for 6od, which ties in with !ebrews %% 4ames says faith without works is dead Paul, by contrast, says that our sal"ation is not of works, lest any man should boast .2ph '/?3, and someone who Aworketh notB but belie"es on !im :ho justifies the un#odly, his faith is accounted for ri#hteousness .Rom D/=3 Paul e"en warns we can fall from #race by relyin# on the works of the law .6al =/D3 The works of the law include all the animal sacrifices, ri#hteous and charitable acts prescribed by the Haw of Moses The )ld Haw commanded fair business dealin#s, returnin# pled#es .collateral3 to poor people, rescuin# your nei#hbor5s endan#ered li"estock, showin# charity to widows and the fatherless, feedin# the poor, and bein# nice to forei#ners 4ames %/ '( says that pure reli#ion in the si#ht of 6od is to "isit the fatherless and widow in their affliction and to keep himself unspotted from the world This is the kind of ri#hteousness claimed by 4ob, an )ld

Testament character, in 4ob chapter $% 4ob says nothin# about bein# justified by faith in Christ alone >or does any other )ld Testament saint In Matt 7/% 4esus warns !is listeners not to do their alms in the si#ht of men to #ain their praise, or they won5t #et any reward from their *ather in hea"en + note in the mar#in clarifies AalmsB as meanin# Ari#hteousnessB If this is true, 4esus was eCuatin# .sincerely done3 #ood works with ri#hteousness, at least in that conte@t -uch #ood works include #i"in# to the poor, prayin# and fastin#, all traditional 4ewish reli#ious duties :hen the Rich Goun# Ruler asked Christ what he had to do to enter into eternal life, 4esus told him to keep the Ten Commandments But he also had to sell all his possessions and #i"e the proceeds to the poor .see Matt %?/%7-''3 4esus said that after he made this #reat sacrifice of all his wealth that he would be perfect But Paul ne"er teaches Christians to make themsel"es destitute in order to achie"e perfection The writer of !ebrews teaches that we are perfected by the )>2 offerin# of Christ fore"er .!eb %0/%D3 Paul ur#ed Christians to remember the poor and send relief to them, but ne"er said belie"ers had to #i"e all they had to the poor in order to be sa"ed Clearly, there is a dispensational difference here 4ust like )ld Testament saints #ained fa"or with 6od by performin# hard feats of faith tailor-made for each indi"idual, 4esus tests the Rich Goun# Ruler to see if he will do somethin# difficult to show his faith in 6od The youn# man failed !e lo"ed his wealth way too much +braham passed his own hard test by offerin# Isaac on the altar in 6enesis '' Interestin#ly, 4esus did not ask rich Lacchaeus to sell all his possessions as !e did the Rich Goun# Ruler, althou#h Lacchaeus was a crooked ta@ collector who ob"iously lo"ed money But once Lacchaeus promised to #i"e back four times what he5d stolen and donate half his #oods to the poor, 4esus said that on that same day sal"ation came to Lacchaeus5 house .Huke %?/J-?3 >otice also, another reason sal"ation came to his house, in "erse ?/ *or .because3 Lacchaeus was a son of +braham; >ot because Lacchaeus put faith in the future sacrifice of Christ or said some sinner5s prayer to clear thin#s up with 6od Clearly, Lacchaeus li"ed under the )ld Haw, and works .or lack of them3 still determined whether or not you5d enter into eternal life Kescent from +braham seemed to carry a certain amount of wei#ht back then as well, unless you failed to be a lo"er of 6od like +braham was, then it counted for nothin# 4esus sa"ed Lacchaeus before !e died on the Cross !e sa"ed Lacchaeus before sal"ation was offered to the 6entiles without their ha"in# to work for it + radical chan#e took place after the Cross, and especially after Paul recei"ed the re"elation of sal"ation by #race throu#h faith alone Gour family tree no lon#er mattered 6ood works couldn5t purchase you a spot in

hea"en <nder the >ew Co"enant, #ood works are a BGPR)K<CT, or fruit, of Christ in you, the hope of 6lory But some pastors put the cart before the horse and say a person has to produce the fruit before he can e@pect eternal sal"ation 6ood works did play a major role in #ainin# and keepin# sal"ation back in the )ld Testament This would e"en ha"e applied to 4ews who li"ed durin# Christ5s earthly ministry But our #ood works can5t earn a sin#le, solitary drop of the precious blood of Christ to apply to our li"es 2phesians D/$0 says we5re sealed by the !oly -pirit of 6od unto the day of redemption >o mention of our works keepin# us sealed It5s either 6od or you who #ets you throu#h -o who do you trust more8

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