How Do Our Sins Affect Our Rewards?
We all sin and we all sin every day. We are not going to stop sinning as long as we are in these bodies. We practice some sins more than others. As I understand it, sin is sin to God, whether it’s a little one (humanly speaking) or a big one; it’s all the same to God.
My question is how does that figure into our rewards? Didn’t David and Solomon commit major sins near the end of their lives? And if sin is not conquered (since we sin everyday) how does that figure into rewards or no rewards? ~BP, email
Yes, I believe that the Bible does teach that some sins are worse than others.
Yes, we all sin daily, even hourly.
How do our sins work into rewards? Tough question.
Here is my short answer.
Sins can lessen our eternal rewards because sins can lessen our lifespan and hence our time of service; they can lessen our effectiveness if we sin and do not confess them; and they may lead others to be less open to us and our ministry.
Our evaluation at the Bema will be based on what we have done, “whether good and bad” (2 Cor 5:10). While sins will not be judged as sins, our deeds will be judged. Bad deeds will have some impact on our overall judgment, although the Lord does not clarify this. We do know, however, that we reap what we sow (Gal 6:7ff).
If we persevere in our confession of Christ, then we will rule with Christ in the life to come (2 Tim 2:12) even though we are still sinners at the time of the rapture or death (Rom 3:23; 1 John 1:8, 10). Of course, this assumes we are not walking in rebellion at that time. In that case, we would not rule (1 Cor 6:9-11; 2 Cor 5:19-21).
How much we will rule is determined by how well we did with our time, talent, and treasure. My guess, and it is just that, is that bad works will in some way detract from the value of some of our good works. We know from Luke 19:16-26 that some will rule over 10 cities, some over 5, and some not at all. From that we can extrapolate the idea that rulership will range from being over one tiny rural city to many major cities.
It is not healthy to focus on our sins. We are to focus on Christ (2 Cor 3:18) and His beauty. We are to confess our sins (1 John 1:9) and focus on Him and His soon return.
I hope that helps. ~Bob
Is Water Baptism for Today?
A friend who identifies as a Mid-Acts Dispensationalist argued that water baptism is a Jewish ceremony that is not for the Body of Christ. He pointed me to where Paul says, “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel” (1 Cor 1:17a). He said that means water baptism is not for Christians. And when Paul says there is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph 4:5), he claimed the “one baptism” is baptism by the Spirit into Christ to the exclusion of water baptism. Otherwise, if we had both water baptism and spirit baptism, that would equal two baptisms, not one. How do I answer him? ~GG, email
I’ve learned a lot from Mid-Acts Dispensationalists like Cornelius Stam and Charles F. Baker and Harry Bultema. But I think they’re wrong on the water baptism issue.
First, what did Paul mean when he said he was not sent to baptize but to preach the gospel (1 Cor 1:17a)? There are two options.
You can take the Mid-Acts position and say that Paul meant that water baptism is not for the Body of Christ.
But here’s another option. If the Body of Christ began with Paul (as Mid-Acts people say), isn’t it significant that he was baptized with water and with the Spirit (Acts 9:17, 18)? And isn’t it significant that in his ministry establishing the Body of Christ he baptized people with water (1 Cor 1:14-16)?
In light of these facts, Mid-Acts folk reason that Paul must have received further revelation clarifying that water baptism was no longer for the Church, so he changed his earlier practice and stopped baptizing people with water.
I think the real explanation is much simpler. It’s more likely that Paul simply meant that water baptism was not the primary duty of his evangelistic and missionary commission.
The other apostles had this same debate about running the day to day affairs of the local churches. They were spending too much time serving food to widows and not enough time preaching. So they said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables” (Acts 6:2, NIV), and they appointed deacons to do it instead. That doesn’t mean the apostles never helped the poor. It just means that wasn’t their primary job.
Paul is making the same point about baptism and his commission. Water baptism is the primary job of the local assembly, not of itinerant evangelists and apostles like himself. He came to preach, not to baptize.
Second, does the fact that we have “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph 4:5) obviously mean there is one Spirit baptism to the exclusion of water baptism? I don’t think so.
We know that the “one baptism” that Paul mentions includes water baptism because when Paul was baptized with the Spirit he was also baptized with water (Acts 9:17, 18). And later, when Paul told the Corinthians that “by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (1 Cor 12:13), we know from Acts that they were also baptized with water (Acts 18:8). So the Biblical evidence strongly suggests Spirit baptism and water baptism go together.
Mid-Acts brethren protest that this would mean we have two baptisms (water + Spirit), not one. But that would be like arguing that since Jesus had human and divine natures we have two Lords, not one. Nonsense. Water baptism is the outward sign of being baptized into Christ by the Spirit. They aren’t two different baptisms, but two aspects of one baptism.
The OT and Everlasting Life
My understanding is that the OT is silent on everlasting life.
Is it your view that, as God’s chosen people, all pre-Messiah Jews are in the kingdom age as well as the new heaven and new earth?
What is your view regarding OT non-Jews that died pre-Messiah? ~MDY, email
First, the OT is not silent on everlasting life as John 5:39-40 shows: “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” The Lord’s audience did not object. They didn’t say, “Wait one minute. We don’t know what you mean by eternal life. Where is eternal life in the Scriptures?”
In the OT the promise is that the one who believes in the coming Messiah will live forever in a glorified body in the kingdom (cf. Gen 5:21-24; 12:3; 15:6; Job 19:25-27; Jude 14-15). That is the OT equivalent of everlasting life in the future. For the OT equivalent of everlasting life now, see the expression knowing the Lord in the OT (e.g., Judg 2:10; 1 Sam 2:12; 3:7; Isa 19:21; Jer 31:34).
Second, I’m not sure what you mean by “all pre- Messiah Jews.” In my view the message of life has not changed since Adam and Eve. The way to be born again has always been by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ for everlasting life. Works have never been a condition. Ethnicity has never been a condition. Now before Jesus’ baptism, where John the Baptist and the Holy Spirit identified Him publicly as Messiah, people had to believe in the coming Messiah for everlasting life. They likely did not know His name is Jesus. But they knew that it was by faith in Him that they had everlasting life. That is why Paul twice cites Abraham and Gen 15:6 to prove that justification and regeneration are by faith alone in Christ alone (Rom 4:3; Gal 3:6, 7, 8, 9, 10-14). The Lord Jesus cited Abraham too as one who believed in Him (John 8:56).
Third, Gentiles before the Church Age were born again in the same way as Jews, by faith alone in Christ alone. No one ever has or ever will be born again by animal sacrifices, worship, acts of obedience, humility, etc.
So who will be in the Millennium and the new earth from the OT era? All who believed in the Messiah for everlasting life will be there. All who did not won’t.
I hope that helps. ~Bob
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