In Luke 20:34-38, the Lord responds to a question by the Sadducees regarding the resurrection of the dead. The Sadducees denied the bodily resurrection and gave an example of how absurd it is to believe in it. Jesus answers them:
The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. But even Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are raised, when he called the Lord “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him.
There are a number of interesting elements in this response. However, this article will concentrate on one in particular. How are we to interpret the phrase, “those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection of the dead”? It appears Jesus is saying that if a person is going to be resurrected, he must be considered worthy of the honor. This implies that works of some kind are involved.
Dillow makes the comment that the response of the Lord here is “problematic for all interpreters.”1 Not surprisingly, different views of the Lord’s meaning have been offered.
II. DIFFERENT INTERPRETATIONS
Many assume that Jesus is speaking here of the requirements for entering the kingdom of God, and that this involves effort. If we take this verse in isolation from the rest of Scriptures, it is easy to see how some would conclude that a believer can lose his salvation if this effort is not present in his life. Matthew Henry takes this view. He says that even though a person is saved from hell by grace, reaching the world to come involves difficulty, and the believer is in danger of “coming short.” He must “run,” that is, live his life in such a way as to obtain final salvation.2
Of course, in a similar fashion, there are those who argue this verse is saying that if a person claims to be a believer, but there are insufficient works in that person’s life, this lack of works demonstrates he is not a Christian at all. He was never spiritually saved in the first place. Van Oosterzee says that only those in whom the “moral conditions” for the attainment of resurrection are found will be counted worthy of it.3
Both of these views are unsatisfactory. They both require works in order to enter into the kingdom of God. Eternal salvation is completely by grace apart from works. It is a free gift. As such, it cannot be lost, and one does not prove he has it by doing good works (John 4:13-14; Eph 2:8-9).
A more Biblical approach, at least soteriologically speaking, is found in the view that the Lord is speaking about those who will be raptured with the Church. Walvoord points out that those who hold to a partial Rapture use this verse for support. They maintain that while all believers will be in the kingdom, only those believers who are faithful to the Lord will be taken in the Rapture prior to the Tribulation—not all believers will be counted worthy to be a part of the Rapture.4
A related view is expressed by G. H. Lang. He believed there would also be a resurrection which only some believers would experience. Only faithful Christians, those who are worthy, would be resurrected to enter into the Millennial Kingdom. All believers, however, would be a part of the eternal state.5
These last two views, while maintaining the freeness of eternal life as a gift that cannot be lost, are defective as well. The Bible does not teach two separate resurrections for Christians, and 1 Thess 5:1-10 states that all Christians will be taken in the Rapture. In addition, Luke 20 is not discussing the Rapture of the Church.
A more satisfactory view is that the phrase “counted worthy” has no connection with the works of the believer. All those who have believed in Jesus Christ for eternal life are declared righteous by God. Since the believer is justified in God’s eyes through faith by God’s grace, he is “worthy” to be in the kingdom (Rom 3:21-24).6 The believer is worthy because of Christ’s work on his behalf.
While this last view is possible, this article will explore another option. This alternative interpretation seems to better fit the context of Luke 20 and finds additional support in the phrases used by the Lord.
III. THE CONTEXT OF LUKE 20 SUGGESTS THE ISSUE IS SANCTIFICATION
None of the Synoptic Gospels were written to unbelievers. The Gospel of Luke, for example, was written to a believer named Theophilus who had been instructed in Christian doctrine (Luke 1:1-4). Therefore, the Synoptics contain very little information on how to be justified by faith or how to receive eternal life as a free gift through faith alone. The reason is obvious. They were all written to people who were already justified and already had eternal life. They didn’t need to be told how to be spiritually saved. Hodges believes that Luke 18:9-14 is perhaps the only clear presentation of justification by faith in these Gospels. In addition, he believes Luke 20:35 is one of the very few passages in the Synoptics where it is even implicitly taught.7
However, the context of Luke 20 probably argues differently. There is nothing there that suggests Jesus is telling His listeners how to come to faith. After the Lord tells the religious leaders that judgment is coming upon them and the nation (20:9-18), there are a number of confrontations between Him and these leaders. They question Him about taxes and the resurrection (20:21-38). He rebukes them for their religious pride (20:45-47). He then contrasts these leaders with a poor widow in the temple (21:1-4).
In each of these cases, the Lord is teaching discipleship truths. There is a difference between salvation from hell and discipleship. The former is free. The latter involves works. Not all believers are disciples. Disciples are those believers who follow the Lord in obedience and desire to follow His teachings and example.
In the question about taxes, Jesus says that disciples should give to God what belongs to Him (20:25). When He rebukes the leaders for their pride, He specifically speaks to the disciples and tells them not to follow the example of these leaders who loved the praise of men (20:45). In the example of the poor widow, it is also clear that He is speaking to His disciples. They should follow her example. She sacrificially gave to the Lord. In all these confrontations, the Lord is telling the disciples how to live, not how to receive eternal life.
In the Lord’s response concerning the resurrection, the question posed by the Sadducees is also related to discipleship. It involves Levirate marriage. In Deut 25:5-10, the Lord commanded that if a man was married and died without children, his surviving brother is to take his widow and raise up children in the dead brother’s name. This custom was practiced in some form even before the giving of the Law. It was a way to keep the dead brother’s name alive through the child who would be produced, and it was a way to take care of widows as well. Widows without any children were in dire financial straits.
But this was a costly endeavor for the surviving brother. Any child produced through the union would inherit the dead brother’s inheritance, which would otherwise go to the surviving brother. In addition, the surviving brother would have to pay for the upkeep of the widow. Not surprisingly, many men in this situation preferred not to assume this responsibility (Gen 38:6-10; Ruth 4:1-6). In fact, it appears that it was rarely done and was actually discouraged by religious leaders.
But the Sadducees give a hypothetical example of extreme devotion to God’s commandment in this matter (Luke 20:28-33). There were seven brothers. The first married a woman and died without children. Each brother in turn took the widow as a wife to raise up children in their dead brother’s name. They all died without producing any children. The Sadducees wanted to know whose wife she would be in the resurrection.
The Sadducees did not believe in a resurrection and used this example to show how ridiculous it was to believe in it. It would be impossible to sort out such a mess in marital relations! In addition, the Sadducees were rich and focused on this world. They were implying that the sacrifices these brothers made to obey the Lord were foolish. What is the point of obeying what the Lord has commanded when it comes with such a high cost, if there is no resurrection?
Even though the faith of these brothers is not mentioned, it is assumed they were believers.8 It is part of the story. The Sadducees assume that, if there was a resurrection, these men would be part of it. In His response, the Lord makes the same assumption. Others in the Gospel of Luke who are given as examples of believers without being described specifically as having saving faith would include the centurion of Luke 7:2-9 and the widow of Luke 21:1-4. All of these people paint a picture of how a disciple of the Lord should live.
The lives of these brothers are indeed commendable. While the religious leaders devour the livelihood of widows (20:45-47), these brothers take compassion on the widow of their brother, at great cost to themselves. They do what God requires of them (20:25).
The point here is that the very question which is posed to the Lord does not deal with how a person “goes to heaven.” It deals with how a person who believes should live. It is a question that involves discipleship truths. As will be seen, this is how the Lord also concludes His response to the Sadducees. He says that they all live for God (v 38). In referring to these brothers, the Lord is speaking of people who do just that.
It is not only the context which suggests that the Lord’s response deals with Christian living and not how one is spiritually saved. The words used by the Lord in His answer do as well.
IV. WORDS OF DISCIPLESHIP IN THE LORD’S RESPONSE
When Jesus responds to the question of the Sadducees in regard to these brothers, He uses a number of phrases that strongly suggest He is discussing discipleship and not simply describing people who will enter the kingdom. These words point to the fact that those who live lives of obedience to the Lord will not only be in the kingdom, but will be rewarded in that kingdom.
These phrases are: “counted worthy;” “attain that age;” “sons of God;” “Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob;” and “live to Him.”
A. Counted Worthy (v 35)
The Lord refers to those who are “counted worthy.” While, as discussed above, some take this to refer to those who are declared righteous by God through faith and to have nothing to do with works, the way this word is used in the NT suggests otherwise.
The Greek verb is kataxioō. It is a fairly rare word, only occurring three other times in the NT (Luke 21:36;9 Acts 5:41; 2 Thess 1:5). The word has the meaning of considering somebody worthy to receive some privilege, benefit, or recognition and clearly carries the idea that this is the result of something the person has done.10
The other three instances of the verb in the NT bear this out. In Luke 21:36 the Lord is talking about the coming Great Tribulation on the earth. Believers are to live righteously in light of that coming day (v 34). He tells them to be alert and not to live immorally. They should live this way in order to be counted worthy to stand before the Son of God without shame when He returns. This is a reference to a positive experience at the Judgment Seat of Christ.11 It is there that the Lord will evaluate the works of the believer in order to determine what rewards he will receive in eternity.
Acts 5:41 also involves works of obedience. The apostles were obedient to the Lord and continued preaching about Him even though the religious authorities commanded them not to do so. The leaders flogged them as a result. The apostles rejoiced that they had been “counted worthy” to suffer for the Lord.
In 2 Thess 1:5, Paul also speaks of suffering for the Lord (v 4). The believers at Thessalonica are given this opportunity in order that they may be “counted worthy” of the kingdom of God. One does not have to suffer in order to “go to heaven.” This verse is talking about rewards and an inheritance in the coming kingdom. It refers to reigning with Christ.12 To do so, one must suffer with Him (2 Tim 2:12). As will be seen, this use of the verb in 2 Thess 1:5 is especially relevant to its use in Luke 20:35.
An example of the Greek verb outside the NT also supports this meaning. The Fourth Book of Maccabees, written about the same time as the NT, speaks of the sufferings of Jews, including martyrdom, during the time of the Maccabees. Such sufferings made those who went through them “worthy” of a divine inheritance.13
In Luke 20:35 when the Lord speaks of those who are counted worthy, the verb used strongly suggests that they are worthy because of their works. The sacrifices paid by the seven hypothetical brothers in the question of the Sadducees also support this view. They certainly did good works.
B. Attain That Age (v 35)
The Lord speaks of those who are considered worthy to “attain” that age. The Greek verb tunchanō, “attain,” means to gain something, and in the NT it often means to gain it through effort.14 In Heb 8:6, for example, Christ “obtained” a better ministry than the high priests of the OT because He suffered and offered Himself as a sacrifice on the cross.
In 2 Tim 2:10, Paul exerts great effort so that the Jewish people would “obtain” a salvation that includes eternal reward (glory). This reward is received by enduring suffering with Christ (v 12).15 The reward is reigning with Christ. While all believers will be in the kingdom, not all believers will obtain this privilege.
Of particular interest is the use of the word in Heb 11:35. This is the only place in the NT, other than Luke 20:35, where it is used in connection with the word “resurrection.” The author of Hebrews speaks of believers who endured torture and martyrdom in order to “obtain” a better resurrection. This “better” resurrection, as in 2 Timothy 2, is the reward of reigning with Christ.16 Some believers will have a better resurrection because they will gain/attain this reward.
Those who are considered worthy will gain “that age.” The Lord says they will also experience the resurrection from the dead. There is a difference between attaining that age and being resurrected. Attaining that age refers to gaining an inheritance in the age to come. This would also, as in 2 Tim 2:10-12 and Heb 11:35, refer to reigning with Christ in that world.17 Those who reign with Him will reign over a certain number of cities (Luke 19:16-26). That is what they will “obtain” in that age. They will actually own a part of the kingdom. But this is only given to those who walk in obedience to the Lord.
C. Sons of God (v 36)
These victorious believers are also called “sons of God” by the Lord. In Rom 8:14-16 Paul makes it clear that there is a difference between being a child (teknon) of God and a son (huios) of God. All believers are children of God, but only those believers who live by the power of the Spirit in this life will experience the exalted status of being “sons of God” and “sons of the resurrection” in the life to come. All believers are sons of God in their position (e.g., Gal 3:26; 4:1-7). However, in Romans, and here in Luke 20:36, sonship is experiential. That is, only mature believers are sons of God in their experience now. They reflect the character of their spiritual Father. And in the coming kingdom, they will enjoy an exalted experience as sons of God.
Paul says that those believers who walk by the Spirit will suffer with Christ. The outcome of that life is that they will reign with the Lord (Rom 8:17). Jesus is “the” Son of God who will rule over the age to come. Those who are obedient and suffer with Him will be sons who rule with Him.
The Apostle John makes this point in the Book of Revelation. John wrote five books in the NT and never calls a believer a “son” of God. He always uses the word “child.” The only exception to that rule is Rev 21:7. John says that in eternity the believer who overcomes will inherit (gain!) the world to come and will be called the “son” of God.
The Lord Himself also spoke of the requirement to be a son of God. Those believers who are peacemakers will be called by this title (Matt 5:9). It is difficult to determine in Matthew 5 if the Lord means they will be called sons in this age or the age to come. We could say that both are true. As believers walk by the Spirit, they manifest a righteous life and can be called the sons of God now. However, no believer can do this perfectly since we all live in a body of flesh. In the resurrection, that limitation will no longer exist. At that time, the imperfect mature status of believers who walk by the Spirit will be on full and perfect display when they receive their resurrected bodies.18
Therefore, all believers are sons of God in this life. But in the age to come obedient believers will be His sons in a perfect sense. The same could be said about the Lord also calling these believers “sons of the resurrection.” These are men and women who lived their lives in light of the age to come. The resurrection power of the risen Lord is seen in their lives.19 They looked forward to the resurrection, and that determined the manner in which they lived. They looked for the reward. The seven brothers referred to in the question posed by the Sadducees made the decisions they did based upon the resurrection. In the resurrection, they will reign with Christ. The resurrected power of the Lord seen in their lives in an imperfect way will also be on full display after the resurrection of their bodies.
Attaining the age to come and being a son of God involves work. So does being like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
D. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (v 37)
In demonstrating to the Sadducees that the dead will be resurrected, the Lord quotes from Exod 3:6. In this verse, concerning the burning bush, God is called the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jesus then says that God is the God of the living and not the dead.
A common interpretation of this saying by the Lord is that since Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had been dead for many centuries when God said these things to Moses, this shows that these men were still alive and not dead. They were with God and therefore God was going to raise them from the dead. The fact that they were still alive proves that there will be a physical resurrection.
But does it? Could one not argue that even if these three men were alive spiritually in the presence of God that it is just as possible that they would remain in that state forever? They remained alive for centuries without a physical resurrection, so how does that argue that their bodies will rise from the dead?
As a result of these questions, Lane takes a different view. He says that Jesus is arguing that God had made a covenant with these men. He had taken care of them through all of their lives, including times of difficulties. How could He not save them through their greatest misfortune, which is death? The covenant God made with them implies that He will raise their bodies from the dead.20
Related to the covenant God made with these men is the idea of rewards. God had promised certain things to them. These promises included certain earthly blessings for them and their descendants. They would possess the land of Israel forever (Gen 17:8). They would also bless all the nations of the earth (Gen 22:17).
The author of Hebrews points out that these men were men of faith who looked for the rewards God promised (Heb 11:6). Abraham looked for a city to live in that was built by God (Heb 11:10). That never happened in his earthly life. As they faced death, both Isaac and Jacob blessed their children concerning things to come. Jacob’s son Joseph ordered the sons of Israel to take his bones back to Egypt because he knew of these promises (Heb 11:20-22). He believed those bones would be resurrected in the future.
The promises God made to these men and the rewards for which they lived cannot be fulfilled if they live forever as spirits without bodies. Their bodies must be resurrected and live on the earth in the future Millennial Kingdom and new earth.21 Since God promised these things to these men, the very character of God requires a bodily resurrection.
These three men walked in obedience to the Lord. They were men of great faith because they lived for the age to come. Abraham left his hometown to follow the Lord’s commands. He was willing to sacrifice his own son. All three of these men were pilgrims in a foreign land. In that sense, the seven brothers in the Sadducees’ question were like that. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as well as these brothers, were men who were “counted worthy” by the way they lived their lives.
In Matt 8:10-11, the Lord points out that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were men of great faith. When the kingdom of God comes, men such as this will sit in positions of honor at the wedding feast of the Lord. This will be one of the rewards they will receive. The centurion of Matthew 8 is one who demonstrates a similar kind of faith.22
The only other time Luke mentions these three men together is in a passage parallel to Matt 8:10-11 (Luke 13:28-30). The point is the same. To make it clear that He is talking about rewards, after discussing Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Lord says many who are first will be last and many who are last will be first. Not everyone in the kingdom of God will be equally rewarded.23 Some believers will be greater than others. Those who follow the Lord in discipleship will be greater than those who do not.
The mention of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob supports the idea that the Lord is not speaking simply about those who “go to heaven.” Those who are counted worthy are people like these three men. They obey the Lord and walk by faith by believing there is a new age coming in which those who do so will be greatly rewarded.
E. Live to Him (v 38)
The Lord ends His response to the Sadducees concerning the certainty of the bodily resurrection of believers by saying, “they all live to Him.” Since these are His final words on the question, they carry extra weight. It is a summary of His entire response to the Sadducees. Jesus is not speaking of how a person is justified by faith, but how a believer should “live.” He should live like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the seven brothers mentioned in the question.
The word translated “to Him” clearly refers to God. God is mentioned in the previous verse as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Greek pronoun is in the dative case and is best taken as a dative of interest. God takes an interest in how His people live their lives.24 In light of the idea of rewards in the Lord’s response, Heb 11:6 comes to mind. Those who want to please God must believe that He rewards those who seek Him.
The idea of living to/for God is a theme that the Apostle Paul takes up in his letter to the Romans. It appears twice in Rom 6:10-11. In the first instance in v 10, it refers to Jesus Christ. After Jesus bore the sin of the world while He was on the cross, sin no longer has any attachment to Him. In His resurrection life, the life He lives is completely oriented towards God.25
In the very next verse, Paul says that believers should live in the same way. In Christ and the resurrection power available to the believer because of his union with Him, the believer also can “live to God.”
It is significant that this concept of living for God occurs in Romans 6. Romans 5–8 is a long section in Romans which deals with Christian living. The concept of justification by faith occurs in Romans 1–4. So, for Paul, living for God is a doctrine that belongs to discipleship and is not related to how a person is justified before God or receives eternal life.
In Romans 6, Paul is arguing that after being justified by faith, the believer has the power to live a life that pleases God. It is through the power of the Spirit who dwells within the Christian. The same power that raised Christ from the dead is available to the believer to live that kind of life. It is a life of resurrection power (Rom 6:5; 8:11).
Even a casual reading of Romans 5–8 demonstrates a connection with the response the Lord gives to the Sadducees in Luke 20:34-38. As we have just seen, Paul speaks of “living for God” (cf. Luke 20:38). In the concept of the life of resurrection, one is reminded that those who are considered worthy are “sons of the resurrection” (Luke 20:36) In this section of Christian living/discipleship in Romans, Paul also speaks of the “sons of God” as those who walk by the power of the Spirit (Rom 8:14; Luke 20:36).
Even though he uses different words, the apostle also speaks of gaining an inheritance in the world to come. For those believers who are sons of God and walk by the Spirit and thus suffer with the Lord, they will reign in His kingdom (Rom 8:17).26 This reminds the reader of those who “attain” the age to come (Luke 20:35).
As argued in this article, the response of the Lord to the Sadducees has a heavy emphasis on rewards in the coming kingdom of God. In Rom 8:18, the idea of sharing in Christ’s glory refers to the same thing. This glory is reigning with Him in His kingdom. This is for those believers who suffer with Christ.27
To find such parallels between Romans 5–8 and Luke 20:34-38 is not surprising. In the Book of Acts, Luke was the traveling companion of Paul. It is natural that the theology of Paul would be reflected in Luke’s writings.
The Gospel of Luke was written to believers. The vast majority of Luke’s Gospel concerns how Christians should live. This is what discipleship is all about.
Even during the last week of Jesus’ life, He was teaching these vital truths to His disciples. As the opposition to Him grew, the religious leaders asked Him questions in order to trip Him up. They wanted to diminish Him in the eyes of the people and His disciples. These questions involved tricky political and theological issues.
In answering these questions, the Lord did not simply point out the errors of His enemies. He also taught His disciples things they needed to know. When it came to the issue of the resurrection of the body, the Sadducees clearly felt that any sacrifice for the Lord was a waste of time and effort. The seven brothers involved in their hypothetical situation paid a great price to obey Deut 25:5-10, but it was all for nothing. The reason was simple: our physical bodies will not rise and therefore what we do with them is of no importance.
But the Lord responds and says that the exact opposite is the case. Following the Lord in discipleship is indeed costly, but it is more than worth it. Nobody enters into the kingdom of God by works, whether those works are prior, during, or after salvation. But works are indeed important. Those who are faithful to the teachings of the Lord will be “counted worthy” of great reward in the kingdom of God. They will rightly be called mature “sons of God,” and as sons of the resurrection, their exalted status in the kingdom will reflect the way they lived.
This, of course, provides a contrast with the Sadducees. They were rich and had positions of authority in this present age. Along with other religious leaders, as we see in the context of Luke 20, they loved their money and privilege (Luke 20:45-47).
Disciples of the Lord do not live that way. They live for the world to come. They live for wealth and authority in that age. God has promised these things, and to fulfill these promises, God must raise them from the dead.
They will “attain” the age to come in the sense that they will actually inherit a portion of that age and rule over it with Christ. Like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, they will have these positions of honor because of the way they lived. The religious leaders wanted positions of honor at feasts in this world (Luke 20:46), but disciples look for positions of honor at a feast with the Lord in His kingdom. But just as in the case of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, this takes faith. It is a faith which causes one to live in such a way as to lay up treasures in a world and age we cannot see.
To put it simply, the Sadducees were saying men and women should live for themselves; we should grab whatever this world has to offer. But the Lord teaches His disciples to “live for God.” While this is not a requirement for gaining eternal life, it is a requirement for being a disciple. It is a requirement for being counted worthy to gain riches in the age to come.
1 Joseph Dillow, Final Destiny: The Future Reign of the Servants Kings (Monument, CO: Paniym Group, 2012), 1006.
2 Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994), 1897. Thomas Schreiner takes a similar view in regards to gaining “final salvation,” even though he would not say a believer loses salvation. See, Thomas R. Schreiner, Run to Win the Prize: Perseverance in the New Testament (Wheaton, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2010).
3 J. J. Van Oosterzee, A Commentary on the Gospel of Luke (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008), 309; Ajith Fernando, “Heaven for Persecuted Saints,” The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology, 18 (2014): 127–28. The most popular book reflecting that view today would be John MacArthur, The Gospel According to Jesus (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1989).
4 John F. Walvoord, “Premillennialism and the Tribulation: Partial Rapture Theory,” Bibliotheca Sacra 112 (1955): 200-201.
5 G. H. Lang, Firstborn Sons: Their Rights and Risks (Haysville, NC: Schoettle Publishing, 1997), 72.
6 Zane C. Hodges, “Harmony with God: Part 3 of 3,” Chafer Theological Seminary Journal 9, (2003):35–36; Alberto S. Valdés, “The Gospel According to Luke,” The Grace New Testament Commentary, rev. ed., ed. Robert N. Wilkin (Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society, 2019), 165; Robert N. Wilkin, “Are Believers Worthy of Entering the Kingdom?,” https:// faithalone.org/magazine/y1989/89june3.html. Accessed September 4, 2020; Robert H. Stein, Luke (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 1992), 502. Stein is a little confusing in discussing his view. He says that those who are worthy are those who enter the kingdom through “repentance and faith.” He does not explain what repentance means. If he means a lifestyle of turning from sins, he would align himself with the view that good works are necessary to prove one’s worthiness of entering the kingdom.
7 Hodges, “Harmony,” 36.
8 In the OT, people were saved by believing in the coming Messiah for eternal life. These men would be examples of that faith.
9 The Majority Text here has the verb, but the Critical Text does not. The Critical Text reads “may be able.” The Critical Text is the reason many English translations are rendered that way.
10 BDAG, 523.
11 Valdés, “Luke,” 167.
12 Robert N. Wilkin, “2 Thessalonians,” The Grace New Testament Commentary, rev. ed., ed. Robert N. Wilkin (Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society, 2019), 468.
13 4 Maccabees 18:3.
14 BDAG, 1019.
15 Robert N. Wilkin, “2 Timothy,” in The Grace New Testament Commentary, rev. ed., ed. by Robert N. Wilkin (Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society, 2019), 492.
16 Kenneth W. Yates, Hebrews: Partners with Christ (Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society, 2019), 188. In Hebrews, the word to describe a believer who will reign with Christ is metochos, which means a close partner.
17 The word for “age” is translated “world” in Rom 12:2.
18 Zane C. Hodges, Romans: Deliverance from Wrath (Corinth, TX: Grace Evangelical Society, 2013), 228.
19 John Niemelä, “That I May Attain to Whose Resurrection? Philippians 3:11,” JOTGES 25 (2012): 31. Niemelä writes that Paul in Phil 3:11 desires to live through the resurrected power of Christ in his daily life.
20 William L. Lane, The Gospel According to Mark (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1974), 430.
21 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 259.
22 Hal Haller, Jr., “Matthew,” in The Grace New Testament Commentary, rev. ed., ed. Robert N. Wilkin (Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society, 2019), 27.
23 Luke does mention Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in Luke 3:34, but this involves the genealogy of Christ. Many interpreters reject the idea that the picture of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the wedding feast teaches about rewards. Since the Lord mentions “weeping and gnashing of teeth” they feel it is describing the experience of people in the lake of fire. However, this is a parable and speaks of the remorse believers will experience at the Judgment Seat of Christ because of the loss of eternal rewards. For further study, the reader is encouraged to see Zane C. Hodges, A Free Grace Primer (Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society, 2011), 364 and Dillow, Final Destiny, 775-76. Hodges and Dillow speak of the Matthew 8 passage. But the same could be said of the parallel passage in Luke. The parable speaks of a meal in which some believers will not be able to partake even though they are in the kingdom (Matt 22:2-14).
24 Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar: Beyond the Basics (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 142.
25 Hodges, Romans, 174.
26 Ibid., 224-25.
27 Dillow, Final Destiny, 86, 127.