by Jerry Shugart

Once a Jew sinned presumptously, he was cut off from among the people and that means they could no longer offer sacrifices for their sins. And those in Hebrews who were offering sacrifices were sinning presumptously by ignoring the fact that the law was done away for all who believed the gospel.

However, the punishment for this kind of sin was only "temporal". Today that same type of punishment is in effect for those who are members of the Body of Christ. If a Christian continues to sin willfully and that sinning brings reproach to the church the Lord will put them to sleep:

"For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep" (1Cor.11:29,30).

We can see that this same principle is in effect in the Body of Christ as one of the Christians in the church at Corinth was living with his father's wife and by doing so he was bringing reproach upon that church. And his punishment is made known by Paul:

"To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus" (1 Cor.5:5).

So the verses in regard to the punishment for sins of presumption is not loss of salvation,but instead it is "temporal" punishment and judgment.

But some say that this punishment is not just chastening but instead loss of salvation because they can expect is the same fire which shall 'devour the adversaries.' "

The word "adversaries" refers to those who act against the will of the Lord, and by continuing to practice Judaism they would indeed be considered "adversaries". Their punishment would be the same as the punishment of the man in the church at Corinth who was living with his father's wife, but that punishment would not include a loss of salvation.

James 2:24

In reply to the teachings of Cornelius Stam I quoted Sir Robert Anderson writing that "He (Abraham) was justified by faith when judged by God, for God knows the heart. He was justified by works when judged by his fellow men, for man can only read the life " (Anderson, The Gospel and Its Ministry, [Kregel Publications, 1978], pp.160-161).

To this there are some who say that no one was observing Abraham's actions when he offered Isaac then Abraham could not have possibly been justified by works when judged by his fellow men.

However, these people overlook the fact that this incident is recorded in the Scriptures and "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for...instruction in righteousness" (2 Tim.3:16).

Just because other men were not present does not mean that other men cannot have a knowledge to what happened at that time. These same people who teach justification by faith plus works for others in past dispensations also say that in any dispensation the goal is to be justified by God and NOT by men.

A Christian is to keep himself holy and to do good works in front of man for the same reason that Israel was to do good works. The Lord Jesus told that nation:

"Ye are the light of the world...Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Mt.5:14,16).

The Lord Jesus Himself recognizes the idea that men can appear "righteous" before other men (Mt.23:28) so this concept is not foreign to the Scriptures.

1 Peter 1:9

"Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls" (1 Pet.1:9).

Those who say that those who received the Jewish epistles say that since "works" were required for salvation then they did not receive salvation at the beginning of their faith. They quote 1 Peter 1:9 to attempt to prove that salvation came to these believers at the end of a faithful life.

First of all, the Greek word telos is translated "end", and that word can mean "the aim, purpose " (Thayer's Greek English Lexicon). Therefore, Peter's words can mean "receiving the purpose of your faith, the salvation of your souls". Here is another translation of the same verse:

"...obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls" (1 Pet.1:9; NASB).

Secondly, the Greek word komizo is translated "receiving", and it is in the present tense. If the salvation remains in the future then Peter would not use the word "receiving", but he does. If those who teach "works" salvation for those who received Peter's epistles are correct then Peter would have said, "You will receive the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls." But that is not what he said.


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