|Back to Back Issues Page|
Rebuilding the Foundations basics: the foundations that need to be rebuilt
April 30, 2022
What Foundations Are We Rebuilding?
2 Timothy 2:19 spawned my Rebuilding the Foundations web site and book. It reads:
"Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal: 'The Lord knows those who are His;' and, 'Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to keep away from wickedness.'" (NASB)
According to the Bible, God's firm foundation has "Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to keep away from wickedness" inscribed on it. Based on what I had learned from evangelicals, this was not even close to what I would have written on God's firm foundation. I would have inscribed something like "Salvation is by faith apart from works."
I spent years (1986-1992) wrestling with the contrast between Ephesians 2:8-9:
"For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast."
and Romans 2:7:
"To those who, by patiently continuing to do good, seek glory honor and immortality, [God will repay] eternal life."
In 1992, with the help of one sentence in one of the earliest Christian writings outside the New Testament, I finally understood. That sentence--or portion of a sentence--was, "having made it manifest that in ourselves we were unable to enter into the kingdom of God, we might through the power of God be made able" (Letter to Diognetus, ch. 9, can be read at https://ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01/anf01.iii.ii.ix.html).
I was misunderstanding "saved" in Ephesians 2:8-9. I, and all my teachers, were understanding "saved" to mean "going to heaven." That is not what Paul meant. For Paul "saved" in Ephesians 2:8-9 meant Ephesians 2:10: "We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works."
There are a list of things in the New Testament whose purpose is to give us the power to do good works:
1. The Scriptures are to equip us for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
2. The atonement, Jesus' death and resurrection, was so we would be "ransomed from lawlessness" and "zealous for good works" (Tit. 2:13-14).
3. Grace defeats sin's dominion over us (Rom. 6:14), and teaches us "to live soberly, godly, and righteously" (Tit. 2:11-12).
4. The purpose of church, "the assembling of ourselves together," is to provoke one another to love and good works (Heb. 10:24-25).
Once we realize that having the power to do good works is salvation (at least in the context of Ephesians 2:8-9), it becomes much easier to understand both 2 Timothy 2:19 and the fact that Christians will be judged by their works.
A good additional study is Jesus' letters to the 7 churches in Revelation, chapters 2 and 3. Jesus emphasized "works" or "deeds" in those letters. They are sort of a judgment according to works by letter so that the churches can repent before the last day, when we will all be judged by our works and there will be no repentance.
My Rebuilding the Foundations book gets even more foundational, explaining works, judgment, and the false traditions we have received from the Reformers. The Reformers did the best they could in response to the horrific state of the Roman Catholic Church at the time, but we must go back to the beginning, to the teaching of the apostles, not just back to the Reformers and their reaction (over-reaction?) to the RCC. You can get the book free at Smashwords, 99 cents on Kindle, and less than $10 in paperback.
|Back to Back Issues Page|