Category Archives: Doctrine

Justified freely

Romans 3:23-24  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24  Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

The redemption that is in Christ Jesus, unfolds towards man in different stages, to those who first trusted in Christ, the body of Christ, Eph 1:11-12, and then all things in heaven and on earth, Eph 1:10, 1Ti 4:9&10. There is different doctrinal beliefs in today’s Christian world concerning salvation and being justified by grace. In order to understand what it means to be justified, the word itself should be defined, and then we will see what the scriptures themselves have to say about being justified. The following definition of the Greek word translated into the English word justified is from a Online Bible Greek Lexicon.

1344 δικαιοω dikaioo dik-ah-yo’-o

from 1342; TDNT-2:211,168; {See TDNT 192 } v

AV-justify 37, be freed 1, be righteous 1, justifier 1; 40

1) to render righteous or such he ought to be
2) to show, exhibit, evince, one to be righteous, such as he is and wishes himself to be considered
3) to declare, pronounce, one to be just, righteous, or such as he ought to be

The primary definition of render, from a online dictionary is “to cause (someone or something) to be in a specified condition”. That specified condition is righteousness. Since we are justified by grace it would profit us to read two sets of scriptures that specify how the justification process by grace takes place.

Titus 2:11-12 KJVS
[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

Titus 3:4-7 KJVS
[4] But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, [5] Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; [6] Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; [7] That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Both sets of scriptures describe in a large part how we are justified by grace. It is God working within our hearts, purifying our heart by faith with the abundant washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Ghost. In conjunction with God working on us externally, judging and correcting our errant behaviors. More on this a little later on. Many Christian denominations view justification as positional, but I see the scriptures describing it as a process. Since the end target of being justified by grace is righteousness, Ro 3:21-24, then how can justification be simply “positional”. A scripture that makes this apparent is Gal 5:5.

Galatians 5:5 KJVS
[5] For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

If being justified is positional and based solely on believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, then there would be no reason to have to wait through the Spirit for the hope of righteousness by faith. Now don’t misunderstand me, being justified can only take place by being in Christ Jesus, so in that sense, it is positional. But justification is a process a believer goes through to render him righteous.

Ga 2:16  Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Many Christians are confused, I know I was in times past, about differentiating between the works of the law and grace. To understand the difference between works of the law and grace, in regards to being justified, and how it impacts the body of Christ, one has to examine the scriptures and see what they say concerning the law and what they say concerning grace and justification by grace. First, one should keep in mind, that when the Apostles mentioned the law and grace, they were often contrasting the two ways of life a individual would seek to be justified before God. A scripture that demonstrates this is in Acts.

Acts 13:39-41  And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
40  Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets;
41  Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.

The work that is being worked, is God’s work in justifying the ungodly man throughout his life using His Spirit in the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, and chastising and disciplining the man, Titus 3:5, 2:11-12, He 12:5-8, 1 Co 11:31&32. The element of time is often and easily overlooked when reading these scriptures. Largely due to the fact that the Aorist verb tense in the Greek is most often translated to the past tense. When in fact, Aorist means without horizon, this verb tense is explained more fully by experts more qualified than I, in a upcoming article on this site. In the above Ga 2:16 verse, when it states that a man is not justified by the works of the law, one should keep in mind that the law was a way of life, that a person who lived under the law, observed their whole life, Ro 7:1. If one sinned, then he had to offer a sacrifice. So attempting to be justified under the law was very much so, a way of life, revolving around animal sacrifice. A fruitless way of life, in that the inner nature of the man observing the law was never really changed, Heb 9:10, Ro 8:3. Never the less, a Jew was bound to observe and live under the law. When we are called to Christ we are justified by, or throughout a life of faith, Ga 3:24. When a man works not, Ro 4:5 , and believes that God justifies the ungodly, through His grace, then his faith in God is counted for righteousness, Ro 4:3. The Greek word and definition for the word counted or accredited for righteousness in Ro 4:3.

“G3049  logizomai  log-id’-zom-ahee

middle voice from G3056;

to take an inventory, i.e. estimate (literally or figuratively).

Might this in fact be similar to making payments on a item placed in a layaway plan? Every time a payment is made, it is counted or accredited towards the item that is being purchased. Once the total balance is paid, then the item in layaway is given to you. So to, believing throughout your life that God justifies the ungodly, that belief is counted or accredited towards righteousness until the redemption of the purchased possession, Eph 1:14.  Now remember, it is written that we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith, Ga 5:5. Even though a man’s faith is counted for or towards righteousness in God’s eyes, because the man believes God, and takes Him at His word. That does not mean that work is not being done throughout the man’s entire life, justifying him. Only the work that is being done, is done by God rather than by the man himself. The end result of the body of Christ being justified, is righteousness and to be found in Christ at the first resurrection, Php 3:10.  The man is not doing the work himself, but GOD IS! Much could be written about this subject and many scriptures cited but every once and awhile you stumble across a statement that so aptly and simply describes a certain thing, that it sticks in your mind. I often go to a local used book store and they have quite a number of used bibles at different times. I bought a Catholic bible called The New American Bible for a few dollars. I bought it because it was a study bible with many footnotes. In some areas of doctrine, Roman Catholic theologians are quite good. In a footnote explaining Romans 3:26, this is written. “Divine mercy declares the guilty innocent and makes them so.”  That short description captures the essence of justification. God does in fact, by His grace, justify the ungodly. Let us see another one of the ways this is done.

Tit 2:11-12 ¶  For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12  Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

One aspect of the grace of God, is that through grace we are being taught/disciplined/chastised. The Strong’s definition of the Greek word that is translated “teaching” in this verse is as follows:

_____Strongs_____

G3811  paideuo  pahee-dyoo’-o

from G3816;

to train up a child, i.e. educate, or (by implication), discipline (by punishment).

KJV: chasten(-ise), instruct, learn, teach.

This same Greek word is used in Hebrews 12:6 & 7 as the English word “chasteneth”. It is important to understand the distinctions Apostle Paul was making between a man, by his own effort, being justified or trying to be justified by works of the law, in contrast to God justifying a man through His grace. First off, Paul makes it clear that no flesh can be justified by the deeds of the law and that by the law comes the knowledge of sin:

Ro 3:20  Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Furthermore the flesh is too weak to observe the law and that is why God sent His son as a sacrifice to redeem us from the law and to condemn sin in the flesh, Ro 8:3. But all this does not somehow happen by magic, instantaneously, due to  grace, because God Himself is the one justifying us, and He does it freely, using His grace during our lives. Which teaches us and chastises us, Titus 2:12, He 12:6-11, on the one hand and then being washed in the regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, on the other hand, Titus 3:5. But notice, God is freely doing this work in our lives. Another aspect misunderstood, is the word freely and what it implies. Let’s take a look at that verse in Romans:

Ro 3:24  Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

You have to go to a couple verses later in Romans to understand what is being said in the previous verse, in context with the point Paul is making.

Ro 4:4-5  Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
5  But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

God wants a person to realize that He is the one that is justifying the ungodly man. Man, oh how he loves the work of his own hands. So much so at times it borders on idolatry. But God wants to make it clear, that none of our work entitles us or deserves the wage of salvation. God is freely justifying us by His grace, working in our lives, to make us capable for our inheritance, Col 1:12, Titus 3:7. God is doing the work. Have you ever heard the old saying, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” Well, that is what God is doing. God is going to mature each and every one of us. God is building the house with Jesus Christ, Heb 3:4&6, Ps 127:1. The sacrifice of Jesus redeemed us from the law, Ga 3:13, and now God is freely justifying us by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Jesus is the one who paid the price to redeem us from the law and reconcile us to God, and God is the one who does the work in justifying and sanctifying us, using His Spirit.

1Co 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

We are God’s workmanship in Christ Jesus, Eph 2:10. A scripture that demonstrates this explicitly is Php 2:12-13, the latter part of verse 13 should read ” both to will and to work his good pleasure”.

Php 2:12 ¶ Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

In Hebrews the 10th chapter, God Himself states what it is He is doing in the new covenant:

Heb 10:16-17  This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
17  And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

God is going to put His laws into our hearts and in our minds. Justification takes place in our hearts because the heart is what motivates our behavior. That is why Apostle Peter stated that our hearts are purified by faith, Ac 15:9. God sent Jesus to bless us by turning us away from our iniquities,  Ac 3:26. God alone does the work in justifying the ungodly man freely by grace, and that grace is only available through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. In the book of Galatians, Paul uses a metaphor, that if you examine closely and in conjunction with what I have just wrote, is quite illuminating.

Ga 3:24  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

The meaning for the Greek word translated as “schoolmaster” in the Authorized Version, means a slave whose duty was to escort a child to school. This slave had little or no part in educating the child.  Neither does the law, but when we are called to be in the body of Christ, we are in school. God’s school. Where He uses His word and His Spirit to discipline us and teach us and purity our hearts. All growth, all knowledge gained, all fruit of the Spirit, are all acquired through experience. You learn from a teacher or from books and even learn from the school of hard knocks. A school which I attended for many years and still sign up for a course every now and again. But you only learn through some form of experiencing. So that is why Paul was so concerned with the Galatian church observing the law. Because man’s effort to justify himself, by his own work, his own effort, frustrates the grace of God, and the Spirit of God.

Ga 2:20-21  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
21  I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
Ga 3:3  Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

The firstfruits of them that slept

1 Corinthians 15:20 KJVS
[20] But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

There is a common misconception shared by a large portion of Christianity regarding death and the disposition of souls after death. First of all dead means just that, you are dead and lack any conscious awareness, Eccl 9:5&6. There is a specific order assigned to those who are to be resurrected from the dead.

1 Corinthians 15:22-26 KJVS
[22] For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. [23] But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. [24] Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. [25] For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. [26] The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

The order of resurrections, which involves large groups of people, are the first resurrection of the just and unjust, Mt 25:34, 41, and the second general resurrection of the white throne judgment, Re 20:11-14. The dead know nothing and their souls are in a sleep state, Eccl 9:5&6, Job 17-13-16, until resurrected into a body. In Revelation it mentions souls under the altar in heaven.

Revelation 6:11 KJVS
[11] And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were , should be Revelation 6:9-11 KJVS
[9] And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: [10] And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? [11] And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were , should be fulfilled.

A good deal of the Christian peoples of the world think that when they die, they do not pass go, and they either go directly to heaven or hell. If you do a word study on the word “resurrection” in the bible you will see the word is only used in the New Testament. That is because the resurrection is completely dependent upon the messiah, Jesus Christ, 1 Co 15:22-25, who is Abraham’s seed, Gal 2:29. You can ascertain some of what Jewish people believed in, while Jesus walked the earth, from the different accounts given in the gospels. Of course what Jesus states presents sound doctrine. The Sadducees presented Jesus a question trying to trip him up if you will, Lk 20:27-35. It is a rather a involved question regarding seven brothers marrying the same woman in succession following each one’s death and not producing a child during their various union. This invented situation was geared to ask just one question. In the resurrection whose wife would the woman be. Jesus answer is as follows.

Luke 20:34-35 KJVS
[34] And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: [35] But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:

Let us take a look at verse 35 using a literal translation of the bible. Bear with me as this is relevant to the next point I am about to make.

Lk 20:35 Yet those deemed worthy to happen upon that eon and the resurrection from among the dead are neither marrying nor taking out in marriage. CLV

This scripture agrees in part with Col 1:12, and it is referring to the first resurrection of those, who will partake of the inheritance of Abraham. Those who are resurrected, will take part of the Kingdom of God, and rule and reign with Jesus Christ as priest and kings for a thousand years, Re 20:6. Just before Jesus was going to resurrect Lazarus, his sister Martha affirms her belief that her brother would be resurrected at the last day, Jn 11:24&25. The last day is a day of thousand years and Lazarus would be resurrected during or at the start of that day. I don’t want to get too bogged down in this, but in Lk 20:35, and in other verses in the New Testament, most bible translations will use a number of different words when translating the Greek noun G165.

Strong’s Number
G165
Original Word
αἰών
Transliterated Word
aiōn
Phonetic Spelling
ahee-ohn’
Parts of Speech
Noun Masculine
Definition
for ever, an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, eternity
the worlds, universe
period of time, age
Usage by Word
ever (50), world (32), never (7), began (3), evermore (3), ages (2), eternal (2), worlds (2), course (1), end (1), standeth (1)

The whole point of language is to communicate thoughts and ideas in as precise and clear fashion. Now granted, there is going to be a new heavens and earth, 2Pe 3:12&13, at the beginning of the Kingdom of God. So I suppose for the sake of argument, “world” could be used in Lk 20:35. But in all cases where G165 is used should be translated into the words age or eon, as it more accurately presents the different ages of God’s unfolding purpose in the earth. For a more expansive coverage of this see this article. http://www.justifiedfreely.com/?p=269. I read a article over a decade ago on the Internet, that gave me insight in regards to a reason behind the wind of doctrine of man in this case, Eph 4:14. Most of the early religions and the mythologies of early civilizations were designed towards controlling people within those societies. The belief and fear of eternal torment does have a significant restraining influence on people’s who live in societies, past and present. Laws are effective because there are penalties involved if one breaks the law. Fines, imprisonment and in extreme cases the death penalty. I once stated to a man at a certain church that I believed God was going to save all men, and that hell or torment was finite not eternal. He said if that were true, then why should he go to church. And I said because your called by God and are a slave to righteousness. It was clear that the man’s mindset was on not spending eternity in fire. Fear of a eternal torment, and the preaching of it, is also a big money maker. Which is why you see so many different denominations and sects of Christianity in the world today. Almost all of which preach and uphold the doctrine of eternal hell. God’s main characteristic is love, 1 Jn 4:16. It is also written that no one can resist God’s will, Ro 9:19, and that He justifies the ungodly, Ro 4:5. So why would God save some on the one hand and consign a good deal of humanity to a eternal torment on the other hand? But that is not the scope of this post. The important thing that a person needs to understands, is what is taking place in regards to doctrine. In order to teach and maintain the concept of eternal damnation, the New Testament scriptures needed to be translated in a certain way to hide the truth of the matter in regards to death. So the major religious institutions over the centuries, printed translations which obfuscated certain words to hide the truth of the gospel. Jesus came preaching the kingdom of God. That kingdom is a thousand year kingdom. If you are found worthy of that great calling, and God is able to make you worthy, you will take part of the first resurrection of the just, Re 20,4-6. If not, you sleep in the grave until the white throne judgment. Those who are resurrected in the first resurrection of the unjust will suffer torment for apparently a thousand years.

Re 14:11 And the fumes of their torment are ascending for the eons of the eons. And they are having no rest day and night, those worshiping the wild beast and its image, and if anyone is getting the emblem of its name CLV

Eons of the eons is a superlative. Just as Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lord. So to his thousand year reign will be the greatest eon of all eons. But in most all other translations of the bible Re 14:11 will read similar to this.

Revelation 14:11 KJVS
[11] And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

So, in order to use religion and fear as a control mechanism, early Christianity was infused with the Greek and Roman mythologies of the immortality of the soul and eternal torment by fire. The Old English word hell actually means under the ground. You would put your potatoes in hell for the winter. And if you look in The Strong’s Concordance, at the usage of the Hebrew word sometimes translated into the English word “hell”, you will see this:

Usage by Word
hell (31), grave (28), pit (3), grave’s (1)

The trouble with the mistranslation of words in the bible, is a mistranslation does not hold true in all the verses where the Hebrew and Greek words are used. So you have to expand the definition of the word to support the doctrines of man and their religious institutions. With study, the truth of the scripture becomes clear and the indoctrination we were subjected to as we grew up, looses the grip it has on us. Religious institutions and even the media reinforce the indoctrination of the immortality of the soul and of either going to hell or heaven or some place in between after you die. Many of the major denominations have forgotten they are not of this world, and they do not presently reign, as the kingdom of God is slated for the age to come, Ro 12:2, 1 Co 4:8, Re 20:6. So they have no business in assisting governments in controlling and governing the people in the world. Their primary function is clearly outlined Ephesians.

Ephesians 4:12 KJVS
[12] For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

I would suppose there is no sense in going on and on about it. As stated before, religious indoctrination is hard to break free from. The 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians is devoted to the subject of death, and our hope in Christ, of the resurrection from the dead, and should be carefully read. The whole point of the law was it imparted the knowledge of what sin was, and the penalty of sin is death, Eze 18:20. Our hope is in Christ and the resurrection from the dead.

Cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive

Eph 4:14  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

The Apostle Paul exhorted and taught the church of God in order to perfect/mature the body of Christ. He desired that each member of the body, would eventually come into the unity of faith in love and grow up into the head, which is Christ. But before that happened they, as children, would be tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. The scope of this article is to point out one way that the doctrine of man lie in wait to deceive and hinder those children, who are being brought into maturity by God. Through the Holy Spirit, Apostle Paul informs us that the love of money is the root of all evil, 1Ti 6:10. I would maintain that money and the love of money was and is behind the Apostasy of the early church and has corrupted the gospel of Christ since. One of the biggest money makers for the various religious denominations over the centuries is the doctrine of eternal hell/damnation. Fear of that outcome has prompted many a man to make donations to religious institution during his life and on his death bed. The cunning craftiness used to support this belief, is how the word of God is translated and appears in modern day translations. Over the centuries, major publishing houses, hand and hand with major religious institutions have deceived their members. Part of the rational behind the deception, is that the major church denominations historically sought to help civil governments maintain a ordered society. The fear of a eternal torment did just that as a cradle to grave indoctrination. Consequently publishing houses and major religious denominations have exerted much control over the words used in bible translation and the doctrines those words support. It is stated six times in the New Testament that all things are of God, 2Co 5:18, and our present day situation we find ourselves in, regarding doctrine, was prophesied by Paul.

2Ti 4:3  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

So at this time it behooves us to take to heart what the Apostle Paul urged Timothy to do.

2Ti 1:13 Have a pattern of sound words, which you hear from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.CLV

The definition for the Greek word translated into the English word “pattern” from the Strong’s Concordance.

G5296  hupotuposis  hoop-ot-oop’-o-sis

from a compound of G5259 and a derivative of G5179;

typification under (after), i.e. (concretely) a sketch (figuratively) for imitation.

Clearly, the meaning of the word, is to imitate or reproduce precisely from the original words or letters spoken by Paul, regarding the gospel of salvation. If you read 2Ti 1:13 in context you will see that the above verse is talking about the gospel of Jesus Christ and what that gospel has brought to light. And Paul urging Timothy to hold fast a pattern of sound words that Timothy had heard from Paul.

2 Timothy 1:9-10,13 KJVS
[9] Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, [10] But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: [13] Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

I love the gospel of Jesus Christ, in which the truth is self contained and very difficult to hide or obscure from those who would study to show themselves approved, 2Ti 2:15. So let us take a look at a particular word in regards to how most modern translators, translate a specific Greek word. One of the subtlest mistranslations of words that profoundly changes doctrine is the mistranslation of the Greek words aion and aionios. G165 and G166, as these words appear in the Strong’s Concordance. G165 in the Greek is often mistranslated into English as “for ever” and G166 often appears as the English word “eternal” or “everlasting”. Hence the notion of eternal hell or eternal punishment. Let us look at one such scripture verse where aion, G165 is used and how it is translated.

Jn 8:51 . Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. AV

Most all modern bible translations will read similar to the Authorized Version in regards to this verse. A daily reader of bible verses will know this verse is at odds with other bible verses, a few of which appear below.

Heb 9:27  And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
1Co 15:22  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Context is one method of understanding the meaning of a word, and since a derivative of the Greek word aion appears in Jn 8:51 as “never”, this presents a problem in terms of consistent translation practices for the men that are translating from the original manuscripts. If aion means “for ever” it can hardly mean “never” as the two words are nearly opposite in meaning. But to support a widely held doctrine, eternal hell, that is what the translators are forced to do, mistranslate the very words of our Lord and savior. Back again to 2Ti 1:13, where Paul urges Timothy to have a pattern of sound words. Words have meanings, precise meanings, otherwise language is not a useful tool. I have looked at how Jn 8:51 reads in the Greek language using a Greek and Hebrew interlinear and very few bible versions have captured the meaning of this verse as it appears in original manuscripts as well as the Concordant Literal NT.

Jn 8:51 Verily, Verily, I am saying to you, If ever anyone should be keeping My word, he should under no circumstances be beholding death for the eon.”

So, it is not that a person who keeps Jesus word will never die, as that is contrary to other bible verses. It is that if a person keeps his word, he will not be seeing death for the aion or eon. That eon or age being referred to is the thousand year Kingdom of God. Often you will see for ever and ever in the King James Version and most all other modern versions, which if properly translated, should appear as ages of the ages. One verse in particular is Re 11:15.

Re 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

Let us compare this verse with a literal translation.

CLV Re 11:15 And the seventh messenger trumpets. And loud voices occurred~ in *heaven, saying, “The kingdom of *this world became~ our *Lord’s and His *Christ’s, and He shall be reigning intofor the eons of the eons! Amen!”

In terms of context and in agreement with other scriptures, we see in the scriptures that Jesus’s reign is limited, and lasts a thousand years because of 1Co 15:25 and Re 20:6. So his reign is described as the age of the ages which is a superlative. Just as Jesus is Lord of Lords and King of Kings, so to the age he reigns, will be the greatest of all ages. I cannot undo years of indoctrination by religious institutions, and their cunning wind of doctrine in one fell swoop in your minds. It took me years of reading the scriptures and studying them, and praying for wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, before the scripture verses fell together into a interlocking, unified whole. The New Testament and the gospel of salvation, started coming into focus for me, when I came to accept that the definition for G165 was  “age”. The various and conflicting words used, instead of age, leads a person to much confusion and likely that is the intent. I have come to prefer a literal bible translation where the translator endeavors to use only one English word for any Greek word. Notice below the varied words used in the King James Version for the Greek word aion.

G165  aion  ahee-ohn’

from the same as G104;

properly, an age; by extension, perpetuity (also past); by implication, the world; specially (Jewish) a Messianic period (present or future). Compare G5550.

KJV: age, course, eternal, (for) ever(-more), (n-)ever, (beginning of the , while the) world (began, without end).

Most modern translations use the same English words, in the various scripture verses, for the Greek word aion. Is that because these translators of the various bible versions are upholding the doctrine of a eternal hell? Keep in mind that G166, aionios, translated as eternal or everlasting, has the root word of G165 and it is used as a adjective, like in the following verse.

Mt 25:46  And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Now read this verse from three other bible versions which I personally favor.

Mt 25:46  And, these, shall go away, into, age-abiding, correction, but, the righteous, into, age-abiding, life. Rotherham
Mt 25:46  And these shall go away to punishment age-during, but the righteous to life age-during.’ Young’s
Mt 25:46 And these shall be coming~ away into chastening eonian, yet the just into life eonian.” CLV

Several points should be made. God is love, so why would He save some and not all men? If all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, Ro 3:23, and God Himself justifies the ungodly, Ro 4:5, and no one resists His will, Ro 9:19. Then why would God throw some of mankind into a eternal hell? If you read a couple of the above versions of Mt 25:46, you get the impression from the language that those who are being punished are being punished in light of correction. The Greek word used is kolasis and the Strong’s definition is “penal infliction”. This Greek word is only used one other time in the New Testament, 1 Jn 4:18. In the AV it is translated into the English word “torment”. I prefer the Concordant Literal New Testament rendering of this verse. A penal institution is also known as a correctional institution whose goal is correct a man or woman to make them fit for life in society.

1Jn 4:18 Fear is not in *love, but *perfect love is casting out *fear, thatfor *fear |has chastening. Now he *who is fearing~ is not perfected~ in *love.

You don’t punish a child for no reason and to no end. You punish a child in light of correction, in light of maturing them, in light of preparing them to be productive and peaceful members of society. Why do you suppose God is referred to as, the Father, Mt 6:9? And if God scourges the sons and daughters He receives, Heb 12:6.  Is He wrong for inflicting wrath on the unrighteous, Ro 2:8? No, because wrong behavior deserves discipline which is going to ultimately lead to correcting that which is wrong in the unrighteous person. Just like those sons and daughters, who are also being chastised, in light of judgment and correction , 1Co 11:32. The whole point of the New Covenant is that God is going to write His laws on the hearts and minds of mankind. The body of Christ first, then the rest of humanity, 1Ti 2:6. A thousand years in the lake of fire that burns with brimstone is mentioned several times in the book of Revelation. The Strong’s Concordance definition of the Greek word translated into the English word “brimstone” offers insight.

Strong’s Number
G2303
Original Word
θεῖον
Transliterated Word
theion
Phonetic Spelling
thi’-on
Parts of Speech
Noun Neuter
Definition
1. brimstone
a.divine incense, because burning brimstone was regarded as having power to purify, and to ward off disease
Usage by Word
brimstone (7)
Usage by Book
Luke, Revelation

Children of the living God

Romans 9:26 KJVS
[26] And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.

There are some very important distinctions made in the New Testament in regards to the children of God. So much so, that it is often difficult to rightly divide verses that make these distinctions and derive sound doctrine from them. I guess the first order of business would be to cover what distinguishes a child of God from others that walk this earth.

Romans 9:11-16 KJVS
[11] (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) [12] It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. [13] As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. [14] What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. [15] For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. [16] So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

Granted, there is a lot going on in these verses. But to make sense of these verses in light of God’s plan, a few other verses sheds light on why God operates in this manner. God’s end game is to present all men perfect in Christ, Col 1:28. All children born into this world are immature and by their very nature, slaves to the flesh. Through their life experiences and parental guidance these children achieve varying degrees of maturity. But the maturity God has in mind, greatly exceeds what man can achieve on his own and requires a hands on approach by Him.

Hebrews 12:6,11 KJVS
[6] For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. [11] Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised there by.

Read also He 5:14. So the sons and daughters he plans to mature are chosen before the world began, Eph 1:4. The definition of election in Ro 9:11
Thayer’s Definition
1. the act of picking out, choosing

To shed more light on the subject of how the elect are chosen let us look at this verse.

Ephesians 1:11 KJVS
[11] In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

The body of Christ will be joint heirs of the world along with Abraham and his seed Jesus Christ, Gal 3:29. And those who obtained this inheritance, obtained it by random chance. Definition of the Greek word translated into the English word inheritance in Eph 1:11.
Thayer’s Definition
1. to cast lots, determine by.

Since maturity/perfection has to be learned and cannot be imparted, it was necessary for God to create a learning environment. And to instill in Adam and Eve, the capacity to know the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, Ge 3:22. For a more detailed examination on this train of thought you might want to read these articles.

Behold, the man is become as one of us

For the creature was made subject to vanity

Before we move on let us be clear. In order to teach maturity, godly maturity, it was necessary for God to allow a imperfect world to unfold. Individual choices made by the people in this world, result in varying degrees of good or evil. But the good can never counter balance and remove the evil in this world due to the flesh and lusts of the flesh in all the individuals that inhabit the earth. The difference between children of God and the rest of humanity is that God indwells the vessels of mercy by His Spirit, in order to teach them.

Romans 8:9,16-17,19 KJVS
[9] But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. [16] The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: [17] And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him , that we may be also glorified together. [19] For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

Apostle Paul earlier in the 9th chapter of Romans calls these children of God vessels of mercy.

Romans 9:23-24 KJVS
[23] And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, [24] Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

These vessels of mercy are comprised of Jews and Gentiles. From this point on we will key in on the Jewish portion of the vessels of mercy. A couple chapters later in Romans, Paul reinforces the concept regarding these vessels of mercy being afore prepared unto glory, and makes a important distinction regarding the Jewish component of the body of Christ.

Romans 11:1-2 KJVS
[1] I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. [2] God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew.

Verse 2 is not complete because I did not want to to sidetrack the reader from the important distinction Paul is making in this statement. The Jewish members of the vessels of mercy are those who God foreknew and predestinated to be in the body of Christ. There is a distinction made regarding Israel in the New Testament. You have Israel of the promise (seed) and Israel of the flesh.

Romans 9:6-8 KJVS
[6] Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: [7] Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. [8] That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

Paul uses a allegory that makes the same distinction in Gal 4:21-26 by calling Jerusalem of his day the children of the bond woman, because they are in bondage to the law. Interestingly enough the mother of the children of promise, is Jerusalem above, the mother of the free in verse 26. This allegory was hard for me to come to grips with at first because those that received the law at Mount Sinai are usually presented in the media and in most Christian churches as God’s chosen people. But it is important to realize that the children of promise lived side by side with Israel of the flesh throughout the Old Testament and there are a few scripture verses that reflect this.

Romans 9:10-13 KJVS
[10] And not only this ; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; [11] (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) [12] It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. [13] As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

John 8:42-44 KJVS
[42] Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. [43] Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. [44] Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

The reason the Pharisees could not hear him because they were not his sheep, not the children of God. This next verse really highlights the difference between Israel of the promise and Israel of the flesh.

Romans 11:3-5 KJVS
[3] Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. [4] But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. [5] Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

See also He 3:15-19. The rest, or day of rest that is mentioned in these verses is the seventh day or the thousand year Kingdom of God, He 4:4, Rev 20:6. The Greek word translated into the English word remnant in Ro 11:5, only appears this one time in the New Testament. Isaiah, being a prophet, was of the promise seed, which of course is Jesus Christ, Gal 3:16&29. It is always important to remember that God’s promise was to Abraham his seed, singular, who is Jesus Christ and those in him, Gal 3:16&29. Paul in another set of verses identifies who and what a Jew is.

Romans 2:28-29 KJVS
[28] For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: [29] But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

Apostle Peter at the Jerusalem council also makes a statement about the heart, Acts 15:9. Those of you who believe there is a gospel for Jewish believers in Christ and the gospel of grace for the Gentile believers in Christ, should read Acts 15:8-11. Especially verse 11.

Acts 15:11 KJVS
[11] But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

Now who was the we that Peter was referring to? Well it was a council that took place in Jerusalem, so those attending were Jewish. But rest assured God will save Israel of the flesh when the Deliverer comes out of Sion.

Romans 11:25-26,28 KJVS
[25] For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. [26] And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: [28] As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.

One other distinction made regarding the children of God, the promise seed, is made in the 11th chapter of Hebrews.

Hebrews 11:39-40 KJVS
[39] And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: [40] God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

The precise meaning of these two verses has eluded me for years. But a fresh look at something, can often reveal fresh insight. Verse 39 points out that the Old Testament Saints received not the promise. I have often wondered if the mystery of God, Christ in you the hope of glory, Col 1:27, was retroactive and in play within the Saints of the Old Testament? Since the Holy Ghost was and is instrumental in justification and sanctification, are the OT Saints perfected? The word promise in verse 40 may in fact answer that question. The word promise also has its distinctions. Paul makes one in Galatians.

Galatians 3:13-14 KJVS
[13] Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: [14] That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

The blessings of Abraham are that those in the body of Jesus Christ, are turned away from there iniquities, Acts 3:25&26. Largely by and through the agency of the Holy Ghost, who is working from the inside and on the outside of us perfecting us through the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Ghost and God chastising His sons and daughters. If you have not the Spirit of Christ, you are none of his, Ro 8:9. But the word promise can also be looked at in the larger, final sense, He 9:15. So in He 11:39, what promise is this verse referring to? Verse 40 states that God had provided some better thing for us. Was that some better thing, the baptism of the Holy Ghost? Not enough information in that verse to make a determination. But a couple other verses may help in making a determination.

1 Peter 1:10-12 KJVS
[10] Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: [11] Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. [12] Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

Verse 10&12 might suggest that the Old Testament Prophets did not partake of the Holy Ghost. The Spirit of Christ that was in the Old Testament prophets was the Pre incarnate Word of God who spoke through the prophets. Jesus makes this statement in the gospel of John that is related to the question at hand, at least in my mind.

John 17:23 KJVS
[23] I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

There are gray areas in scriptures that don’t answers all the questions that arise. Since Jesus said that they may be made perfect in one, which obviously points to the future mystery of God at work in a believers life. Where does that leave the Old Testament Saints? I hesitate to come to a firm conclusion in this matter regarding the Old Testament Saints and their perfection. Feel free to comment if you know of any verses that give additional information.