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Frequently Asked Questions - Doctrines

FAQs - Doctrines

Those who are saved will not have their sins mentioned any more. Hebrews 10:17 – "And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more." This is a quotation from the prophecy Jeremiah made of the New Covenant – "And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." (Jeremiah 31:34) The New Covenant is unconditional – Hence the forgiveness is not conditioned upon the confession of the sins and iniquities.

Some think that there is an accounting for sins for believers based on Matthew 12:36-37 – "But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." I believe that the judgement here refers to the GWT judgment for unbelievers, and not to the judgment seat of Christ.

There is however an accounting we must give, as mentioned in Romans 14:10-12 – "But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. 12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God." The context of this passage is not of sin, but rather the true motives for the things that we have done (see vv.2-5 – we have no right to judge each other’s motives). Whatever good works we have done will be assessed by Christ who can see the motives behind them. Wrong motives would only reduce their value.

The Bema judgment is an assessment of our works to see whether we are deserving of rewards or not. It will be like the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30). But the question comes that at the end of the parable of the Talents the last servant was cast into the outer darkness and there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

In order to understand what this outer darkness and gnashing of teeth is, let us look at another parable – the Parable of the Marriage feast in Matthew 22:2-14. Toward the end of the parable there was a man at the feast who did not have a wedding garment – "And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." This man who did not have the wedding garment is cast into the very same place where the third servant of the Parable of the Talents was cast. Now, in the wedding parable it is clear that the man who did not have the wedding garment represents those who are unsaved but who try to get into God’s Kingdom. In those days, the host would actually provide the wedding garment to his invited guests. This guest had apparently refused to wear the garment provided by the host. This aptly symbolizes salvation that is given to us by God’s grace.

If anyone tries to get into God’s kingdom without receiving God’s offer of salvation, he may be able to fool men, but he cannot fool God. (see also Matthew 13: 42,50; 24:46 - hypocrites)

Coming back now to our Parable of the Talents, we can now see that the place of Outer Darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth is not anywhere in heaven, but rather a description of eternal punishment in Hell. Hence the Parable of the Talents is not so much a description of what happens at the Bema Judgment, but of the faithfulness that is required of God’s People. And those who are not faithful may turn out to be false disciples who will be shocked to face the GWT judgment instead of the Bema judgment!

Interesting question but no satisfying answer can be given until we see it! Based on sanctified imagination: The glorified ones will be immortal, sinless and will rule the world with Christ. They will be able to do things that Christ in His resurrected body was able to do – e.g. appear and disappear, walk, talk, eat. (Question of where they will live - in their mansions in heaven? I.e. Like Christ they can travel freely between heaven and earth) The living ones will be subject to them, but will continue to be capable of sin and under the curse of death, although they will live longer (Isaiah 65:20).

a. Hades designates the realm of the dead, sometimes without any distinction of whether it is heaven or hell. E.g. Acts 2:31 – "He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell [hades], neither his flesh did see corruption." It also used to designate the place of eternal torment (i.e. Gehenna) where unsaved sinners go to immediately after death – Luke 16:23 – "And in hell (Hades) he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom."

b. Hell (Gehenna) designates a place of fiery torment. E.g. Mark 9:43,44 – "And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." (cf. Isaiah 66:24).

c. Bottomless Pit (abyss) designates a holding place for the plague of locusts that were released in the fifth trumpet judgment. It also seems to be the abode of demons (Luke 8:31 – ‘the deep’), of Satan (who is called "Apollyon" – Destroyer - the angel of the bottomless pit, 9:11), and of the Antichrist (11:7: 17:8). It later becomes the place where Satan is imprisoned for 1,000 years (20:1,3)

d. Lake of Fire and brimstone designates the final place of fiery torment for all unbelievers (20:14,15; Matthew 25:41) as well as for Satan, the Antichrist and the False Prophet (20:10). It is different from the earlier abode of the dead (Hades, 20:14).

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

November 19 & 26 - The End of the World

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 2 Peter 3:10