Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
Volume 02, Number 39
church of Christ
1860 Mt. Baker HWY
P.O. Box 30821
Bellingham, WA 98228
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Bible Classes.........7:00 PM
Mt. Baker church
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In this issue:
DO CHRISTIANS GO DIRECTLY
TO HEAVEN AT DEATH?
There are some who argue Christians go directly to heaven when they die.
They say Hades was broken up at the resurrection of Christ, Paradise was
transported to heaven, and now only the wicked go to Hades to await the
resurrection. If this seems strange to you, there is good reason — the Bible
does not teach it.
The statements of the Lord in reference to the rich man and Lazarus ought to
settle the matter. He said the wicked go to torments, the righteous to
Abraham’s bosom, and they are separated by a great, impassable gulf (Lk.
16:19-31). But, again, some say Hades was torn apart at the resurrection of
Christ. The Bible says Hades will give up the dead at the judgment (Rev.
Moreover, Jesus said, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your
friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also
invite you back, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the
poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they
cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just” (Lk.
Repayment, reward, is given at the resurrection. When will the resurrection
take place? When a person dies or when the Lord returns? Obviously, when the
Lord returns (1 Cor. 15:20-24). This cannot be answered by those who believe
Christians go directly to heaven at death. Further evidence of this comes
from Paul. He said, “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering,
and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I
have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for
me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will
give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved
His appearing” (2 Tim. 4:6-8).
The crown of righteousness, the crown of life, the incorruptible crown for
which we strive, will be given “on that Day,” at “His appearing,” not before
(1 Cor. 9:24-27).
Paul said, “Since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation
those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when
the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels” (2 Thess.
1:6-7). “Rest” will be given to the faithful child of God “when the Lord
Jesus is revealed.” That is the second coming, “when He comes, in that Day,
to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe,
because our testimony among you was believed” (2 Thess. 1:10). The Lord will
not be revealed before “that Day.”
Peter also teaches that eternal salvation is not enjoyed until the judgment.
He said there is “an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does
not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God
through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Pet.
1:4-5). “Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your
hope fully on the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of
Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:13).
Finally, hear Peter on Pentecost: “For David did not ascend into the heavens
…” (Acts 2:34). This is true even though Christ came forth from the grave
and ascended into heaven. Those who say Christ’s resurrection broke up the
Hadean world, and that He took Paradise with Him to heaven, contradict the
words of Peter. David, no doubt in Paradise, is not in heaven.
The idea that Hades is broken, that Jesus took Paradise with Him to heaven,
is pure fantasy. There is no evidence in the book of God for it. That is why
it sounds so strange to our ears. We want to examine two passages used to
advocate the idea that Christians are now in heaven.
First, Paul said, “For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to
depart and be with Christ, which is far better” (Phil. 1:23). It is argued
that Paul said he would be with Christ when he died. Well, the Hebrew writer
said, “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the
judgment” (Heb. 9:27). Does this mean we face the judgment individually at
the time we die? Will there be billions of days of judgment? No. There is
one judgment day (cf. Jn. 5:28-29). This passage simply gives a summary
about what will happen, death then judgment (they are sure to come).
Likewise, Paul mentions he will be with Christ after death.
Second, Paul said, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even
so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus” (1 Thes. 4:14). It is
pointed out that this means “those who sleep in Jesus” are in heaven with
Jesus and will come back with Him on the last day. Why, then, will they come
back if they are already in heaven? All this says is that those who are dead
in Christ will come back when Christ does. He will bring them out of the
Hadean world, give them a new body fit for eternity (cp. Jn. 5:28-29; 1 Cor.
Do Christians go directly to heaven when they die? No. They go to Hades, to
“Abraham’s bosom” and await the resurrection of the dead (Lk. 16:19-31; Jn.
VERSES FOR THE FIVE POINTS OF CALVINISM
Calvinism has been, and continues to be, a big problem. John Calvin's
doctrine has, to some degree, left its mark upon nearly every protestant
denomination. Calvin's system of theology contains five points: (T)otal
Hereditary Depravity, (U)nconditional Election, (L)imited Atonement, (I)rresistible
Grace, and (P)erseverance of the Saints. These are often remembered by the
acronym, "TULIP". Let's define each one:
TOTAL HEREDITARY DEPRAVITY.
This doctrine teaches that infants are born completely depraved (morally
corrupt; wicked), having no inclination whatsoever to goodness. It teaches
that infants are born in sin. Often this doctrine is referred to as the
doctrine of original sin. The title gives the definition: "Total" (The
whole, entire, complete, absolute) "Hereditary" (Inherited, conferred to,
passed on, relating to inheritance) "Depravity" (Moral corruption;
wickedness) suggesting our whole, entire being, body and soul, is born
corrupt by inheritance.
This doctrine suggests that God has predetermined the number to be saved,
predestinated those He has elected to be in that number to be saved and the
number foreordained by God cannot be increased nor diminished.
LIMITED ATONEMENT. This doctrine says that Jesus
died and shed His blood for the elect only. His blood cannot reach the
reprobate for He did not die for them.
IRRESISTIBLE GRACE. This doctrine would have you
believe that man is saved by the irresistible grace of God. They teach that
the Holy Spirit sends the elect a special inward call that brings them to
salvation. Thus, the Holy Spirit irresistibly draws the sinner to Jesus
Christ. They suggest that the Holy Spirit operates directly and separate
from God's word. This is sometimes called "The direct operation of the Holy
PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS.
Also called "once saved always saved" or
"once in grace, always in grace", this is the teaching that a child of God
cannot so sin as to lose his soul eternally. Thus, those God elects are
eternally secure no matter what they do.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY? Only
one verse from the Truth is needed to destroy each of these false theories.
Total Hereditary Depravity.
Ezekiel 18:20, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear
the iniquity of the Father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of
the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him and the
wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him."
Unconditional Election. 2 Peter 3:9, "The Lord is
not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is
longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all
should come to repentance."
Limited Atonement. 1 John 2:2, "He is the
propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of
the whole world."
Irresistible Grace. Acts 7:51, "Ye stiff-necked and
uncircumcised in heart and in ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as
your fathers did, so do ye."
Perseverance of the Saints. Hebrews
3:12, "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of
unbelief, in departing from the living God."
The plain teaching of the word of God stands against each point of
Calvinism. "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall" (1 Cor.
Created by John Bass, last updated.
The Mount Baker Beacon is a
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA.
Send all questions, comments to the editor, John Bass at (360) 325-5149