The Daily Word of Righteousness

Four Warnings From the Joshua Era, continued

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. (II Timothy 4:3,4—NIV)

A third unscriptural tradition is that every believer when he or she dies will live in a mansion and walk on a street of gold. The destiny of believers who die may vary greatly, according to the Scriptures. We do not know much about the period of time between death and resurrection. However we have constructed an extensive mythology about mansions, streets of gold, harps, and golden slippers. There is a street of gold in the new Jerusalem, but it probably is symbolic of the purified faith of the saints. And the Greek text does not mention mansions.

A fourth unscriptural tradition is that we shall receive our reward when we go to Heaven. The New Testament is clear that we shall receive our reward when the Lord returns, in the day of resurrection, not when we die.

A fifth unscriptural tradition is that our physical body will not be raised from the dead. Here again is the influence of Gnosticism. As far as I know Christianity is the only religion that places great emphasis on the redemption of the flesh-and-bones body of man and the release of the material creation into the life of the Spirit. All other religions point toward an afterlife in the heavens.

The bodily resurrection from the dead is the focus of the Christian salvation.

A sixth unscriptural tradition is that we can never be lost once we have been saved. Here is one of the unscriptural teachings that have done great damage to the moral strength of the believers. The whole book of Hebrews, for example, is one long warning to the believers about growing careless in the midst of their discipleship. First John, Second Peter, Jude, and Revelation contain the severest of warnings to Christians concerning the diligence of their pursuit of Christ. To ignore the biblical consequences of failing to serve Christ diligently is to prove the teacher or believer is deluded concerning the nature of the Divine redemption.

A seventh unscriptural tradition is that of the so-called "pre-tribulation rapture" of believers, a flight to Heaven to avoid Antichrist and the Great Tribulation. This idea is so unscriptural that any intelligent young person could quickly point out from the Bible the errors and inconsistencies of the pre-tribulation rapture hypothesis and, in fact, the entire model of Dispensationalism. The concept of a "dispensation of grace" that prevents God from seeing our behavior is unscriptural, in fact, antiscriptural. Any teaching that advises us we do not have to keep God's commandments is clearly unscriptural.

An eighth unscriptural tradition is the overemphasis on God's love and the consequent neglect of the truth concerning God's severity.

A ninth unscriptural tradition is the concept of the "ticket." Once we take "the four steps of salvation" we have a ticket to Heaven. By relegating our salvation to an action taken in time past we neglect the biblical emphasis on working out our salvation from day to day, and also on the future aspect of salvation. He who endures to the end shall be saved, not a person who bought his ticket at some past time.

To be continued.