Translations: Chinese GB Big5

Joy and Peace in Believing

Rom 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Those of us who believe the gospel are outright given eternal life right now. Salvation from condemnation has already been accomplished, and that not based upon our performance, but rather simply because we believe in Christ and Christ's promise. Jesus promised, "whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." John 5:24 And consequently we rejoice the fate firmly established for us because we believe that God is willing and able to do what He promised. Therefore "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful." Heb 10:23 and "He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful." 1Cor 1:8,9 Doubting the promise of God is doubting God. Faith in Christ should eliminate doubt. And as such joy and peace in believing are inherent qualities of saving faith.

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God." Rom 5:1,2

Such qualities of saving faith are indicative of those elect to eternal life. Regarding the promise of God Abraham "did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised." Rom 4:20,21 Likewise of the Thessalonians Paul says, "we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you" 1Th 1:4 He then goes on to explain how he knows that. One such evidence is "in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit." 1Th 1:6 He also speaks of "your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ." 1Th 1:3

An indication of such hope is freedom from fears and anxieties. Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27 and Paul, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Php 4:6,7 Those who are anxious about whether or not they will be saved are those who not only don't believe the gospel, they don't obey it. Obedience to the gospel means to believe it. "The way of peace they do not know." Rom 3:17

Now there are those who, unlike the Thessalonians, are onee "who hear the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away." Mt 13:20,21 The joy that comes from believing the gospel of grace endures in the midst of opposition.

The Galatians received the word with joy but were challenged with opposition from the Christian sect of the Circumcision and consequently Paul noticed, "What has happened to all your joy?" Gal 4:15 That sect was the forerunner of the Neo-Circumcision sects of today, like Catholicism and other salvation by works Christian sects. Paul says of the Circumcison, "This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves." Gal 2:4 Slaves to a joyless salvation by works soteriology. In contrast "there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death." Rom 8:1,2. Salvation by works Christianity is enslaved to the law of sin and death, their salvation being contingent upon sin.

Many of the Salvation by Works Christians sects attempt to mislead people into thinking they don't believe in salvation by works. In many cases, like with Catholicism, they'll parse between two types of salvation. The first being "initial salvation" or they may refer to it as "justification" which they say is by faith alone apart from works, but for them that is just the start of the process of salvation culminating in "Final salvation" which involves works. They don't believe that if a person is initially "saved" by faith he will finally be saved. Salvation is not actually salvation if the person ends up in hell. So if salvation is not finalized upon coming to faith in Christ, it's not salvation.

But concerning Final Salvation, take Catholicism. According to the Catholic Catechism it says under the topic "Final Salvation"
http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2.htm#2068
The Council of Trent teaches that the Ten Commandments are obligatory for Christians and that the justified man is still bound to keep them; the Second Vatican Council confirms: "The bishops, successors of the apostles, receive from the Lord . . . the mission of teaching all peoples, and of preaching the Gospel to every creature, so that all men may attain salvation through faith, Baptism and the observance of the Commandments.
In fact what the Catholics refer to as "Commandments" go beyond the 10 Commandments as they add a plethora of commandments like if you wear a condom you're guilty of a mortal sin. Can't find that in the 10 Commandments. Likewise other Neo-Circumcision non-Catholic sects, like the holiness Pentecostals will have their own plethora of commands they have to comply with in order to be saved. It's a different gospel. Yes, they'll claim it's scriptural. But they'll misread scripture to get at it.

The kingdom of God is not a matter of conforming to regulations. "For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" Rom 14:17  In contrast in my dialogues with salvation by works Christians they discourage peace and joy. They're trouble by the fact that, unlike themselves, we of the faith are confident of our salvation status and our destiny. "Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy" 1Peter 1:8 

"To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen." Jude 1:24,25

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Jul 29,2019