Consistency (II)

Introduction

How did yesterday’s homework go? What areas of theology does the passage address? The passage I asked you to consider was:

“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1Jo 2:1-2)

The first verse talks about sin (Harmatology) and about the advocacy of Jesus (Christology). The second talks about salvation (Soteriology).

As I mentioned, some folks understand this passage to mean that God will save everyone. This idea is called universalism. How does universalism square with other Bible doctrines you believe? I’m not going to do all the work for you, but here are some questions to consider:

  • If God will save everyone, why did Jesus say some people were going to depart into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels? (Mat 25:41)
  • Was Jesus wrong about this? If so, what does that say about Him? If He was mistaken, is He God?
  • Was He just trying to scare us, even though He knew that no one would ever really go to Hell? If so, what does that say about Him? If He lied to us, can He save us?
  • Since the Bible records His statements about Hell, what does this interpretation say about the Bible?

Another Example

Here’s a great example from Scripture of how being wrong in one area of theology ripples through to other areas.

“Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.” (1Co 15:12-20)

Paul tackled a false teaching that was going around in Corinth: that there is no resurrection. He traced the impact of this error on other doctrines. Take a look at all the connections he made to other doctrinal area. If there is no resurrection…

  • Christ isn’t risen.
  • Paul’s preaching was pointless.
  • The Corinthians’ faith was empty and their sins weren’t forgiven.
  • Preachers are liars.
  • Christians who have died are lost for ever.
  • The Christian life is a miserable way to live if there is no hope beyond the grave.

As you can see, Paul thought deeply about theology and saw how it is connected. This one error ripples through the doctrines of Christology, Soteriology, Ecclesiology and Eschatology. Since all Scripture is inspired, it must agree, or we’re not understanding it properly.

Read More About It

Hopefully you’ve been inspired by Paul’s example. Today, try your hand again at making the connection between doctrines. Take a look at this passage:

“Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom 5:20-21)

Believe it or not, some people have taken this passage to mean that it is good for them to sin. The argument goes something like this:

When I sin and God graciously forgives me, it glorifies Him. Therefore, the more I sin, the more He is glorified.

What doctrines does this touch on? In what ways do you have to warp biblical theology to make this fit?

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