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Thought for the Month

of May 1997

Next up-date: 1st June 1997 (God willing).

 


Query:

Does the Bible contradict itself? For example:

"By the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in His sight" . Romans 3:20.

Not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified". Romans 2:13.

 

Response:

The Bible often has within it things which are called by the same name, but which are different. Often the difference is in time, but sometimes it is in event or action. For instance, there are at least four other 'comings' of Christ referred to in the Bible since His initial appearance as a man.

First, we have the "coming in His kingdom" mentioned in Matthew 16:28. That happened "after six days" when His disciples saw Him with Moses and Elijah on the mountain top. Matthew 17:1-13. Moses represented those who will be resurrected, Elijah those who are alive and who will be translated at that time, so there was the kingdom in miniature. See 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

Then there is the 'silent' coming like "a thief'". 1 Thessalonians 5:2. That is very different in time and event because a thief comes and goes without warning or noise.

After that there is the 'coming' which is described as "the lightning [which] comes out of the east, and shines even unto the west." Matthew 24:27. This is usually known as the 'second coming' and will be seen by all as it is written, "Behold He comes with clouds, and every eye shall see Him." Revelation 1:7. See also Matthew 24:30; Luke 21:27. In this 'coming' the dead saints are resurrected first and then the living join them as they all meet with Christ "in the air". 1 Thessalonians 4:17.

Last of all is the 'coming' to the Mount of Olives which splits apart as His feet touch it, because sinful earth cannot stand the touch of a sinless One. Zechariah 13:4-5.

Our subjects today, however, are different in time only.

"By the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in His sight" is referring to the deeds done in the body BEFORE the individual becomes a Christian. Nothing of that life has any value in God's sight, and in fact, the exchange of lives at conversion produces a 'new man' or new life altogether. 2 Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 3:9-10. So those "Deeds of the law" come first and cannot help in justification.

However, AFTER the birth of the Christian, 'deeds' become important in that they show the faith of the faithful. It is written, "A man may say, 'You have faith and I have works'. [However] show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works." James 2:18. These latter 'deeds' are not intended to impress God, but are for our fellowman or woman, and are the result of the power supplied by God. Therefore it is written, "the doers of the law shall be justified", not by their deeds but by the use of the power. Thus it is clear that these two verses refer to different times.

Conclusion:

When Jesus said, "You are my friends, if you do whatsoever I command you," He was calling for deeds from Christians which would glorify His Father. John 15:14. That which appears to be a contradiction is often just a misunderstanding of time or event.

Spiritual Dictionary.

Contradictions:

Apparent contradictions in the Bible can often be resolved by comparing their times or events.


Next query. To be discussed from 1 June.

What is man, that You are mindful of him? Or the son of man [his descendants], that You visit him? You made him a little lower than the angels; You crowned him with glory and honour, and did set him over the works of Your hands... " Hebrews 2:6-7.

- What was God's purpose in creating Adam and Eve and giving them the ability to pro-create.


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