Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
The message of Christ's righteousness emphasizes the relationship between justification by faith and the Day of Atonement. But is there a difference between Martin Luther's and John Calvin's understanding of justification by faith, and the truth of Revelation 18:1-4 that "the earth [will be] lightened with His glory" just before the return of Jesus--or is there no difference? Did the 16th century Reformers grasp all of the truth of the gospel? Is salvation (full and complete) "by grace ... through faith" (Eph. 2:8), or is it partly through works?
Paul tells us that there will be two classes of saints when Jesus returns: those who are resurrected in the "first resurrection" (Rev. 20:5 and 1 Thess. 4:16, 17) and those who will be "alive and remain [and] shall be caught up together with [the resurrected saints] to meet the Lord in the air." This second group will be "translated" as Enoch and Elijah were (Heb. 11:5; 2 Kings 2:11). The question is this: will those who at last are translated be people who are smarter and have done more works? Or will they be people whose faith has grown because their understanding of the gospel has grown?
The Bible teaches that in the last days God's people will grow up "unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, ... henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, ... but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things" (Eph. 4:13-15). They will believe all the truth that the Reformers taught more than 400 years ago, but they will also believe every further revelation of light that the Holy Spirit sends. God will have a people at last who "follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth," who are "without fault before the throne of God," who "come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rev. 14:4, 5; 1 Cor. 1:7).
These truths may be agreed upon: "The gospel ... is the power of God unto salvation" (Rom. 1:16), that "faith works by love" (Gal. 5:6), and that faith is dependent on the revelation of the love of Christ at the cross. Therefore, the "light [which] lightens the earth with glory" and makes possible every honest heart responding to the call from heaven, "Come out of [Babylon], My people" (Rev. 18:4), will be a clearer revelation of the cross of Jesus Christ.
What did He accomplish by His sacrifice? That love [agape] "constrains us; because we thus judge, that if One died for all, then were all dead: and He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again" (2 Cor. 5:14, 15). When one senses a greater "hunger and thirst for righteousness," entertainment loses its charm in comparison.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: January 1, 2001.
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