Acceptable to God without Being Saved?
Saul's encounter with Jesus on the Damascus road is usually discussed from a theological grid that is unsupported by the historical record preserved in the Scriptures. Saul never called himself a convert; he was righteous before he trusted in Jesus; his faith didn't change from what it had been before, nor did his zeal for God. He was already acceptable to God before he trusted Jesus. More
This is the second book of a five volume series attempting to rediscover the amazing encouragement the Scriptures offer to all men everywhere. This five book series must be read in order and seen as five layers of foundation needed for understanding the message of the Bible and, thereby, all the events and circumstances of life. They set forth what the Bible actually says about the major topics that concern us all. Systematic theology, on the other hand, has unintentionally hidden from view the simple truths of the Bible by a presumptive systematization of the Bible's teachings, mixing topics together like so many ingredients thrown into a blender. When justification, salvation, eternal life, the kingdom of heaven, redemption, and the like are blended together with the presumption that they are basically describing the same thing, the message of the Bible is lost. This series of books attempts to set aside the myriad assumptions that systematic theology rests upon (as it mixes together a variety of concepts, losing sight of their individual messages and contributions) and demands a “chapter and verse” proof for everything that is presented as Christian truth. Being close in meaning (or supposing that two things are close in meaning) will no longer be counted as being good enough. Different topics are not synonymous unless the Bible specifically says they are.
The first volume clarifies the topics of justification, salvation, and eternal life. This second volume demonstrates from the inspired personal testimonies of Saul, which Luke the physician recorded for us when he wrote the Book of Acts, and from Saul’s own inspired writings, principally parts of the Letter to the Galatians and of the Letter to the Philippians, that Saul was already acceptable to God as a young boy, that he was called by God into the ministry as a Pharisee, and that he was righteous before God before he ever trusted in Jesus. Consequently, the inspired testimony of the Scriptures concerning Saul the Pharisee illustrates how badly our systematic theology has caused us to stray from the teachings of the Bible.
What encouragement these revelations will be to the person weighed down by the doctrines of man’s supposed total depravity or his supposed assured destiny in hell forever. We need a new, more thoroughly Biblical view of God, of ourselves, and of the rest of the world. This book will confirm the principles set forth in the first book because they will be seen in the life of Saul before he encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus and before he believed on Him in that encounter. Saul’s life will confirm for us what the first book set forth as fact, namely, that God is at work around the world in people’s lives even if they did not know of Jesus Christ or even if they had rejected Him when they first heard about Him.
On the one hand, if a person has never heard of Jesus, God is still working in his life through the revelation that He has given to him. And if a person has responded in obedience to that revelation, he is acceptable to God apart from belief in Jesus.
If, on the other hand, a person did have a chance to hear about Jesus, but he rejected that message, he loses the precious benefits that God intended to grant him through Jesus while he lives upon the earth. And when Jesus the Messiah returns to set up His Kingdom upon the earth, he will not be allowed to enter it, regardless of the obedience that he might have displayed in his life. Saul is the epitome of all those who have lived their lives since the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry, making him a God-given model for us to know how God sees all the peoples of the world today.
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