Round 2

Watchman Nee Purgatorial Supporter

So, who is it that will reign on earth with Christ for a thousand years?

I read your explanation of 1Cor. 3:11-15 and this stood out to me:

"Justification is not a reward for services rendered, but a free gift. This the foundation that even if all else is burned up, the Christian is still forgiven of sin, and thus enters into heaven. But beyond justification there are rewards for services rendered."
This basically states what Watchman Nee is stating.  You say that there will be a reward for services rendered that are not "burned up", so what is this reward?  It says that the "Day will declare it".  If someone doesn't know that their work is "wood, grass, or stubble" until "the Day", which I assume to be the day of Christ's judgment, how then would they be able to repent of it and when would they receive their reward?  Here you say:
"All Christians face a judgment. This illustration is particular to Christian ministers, but really applies to all Christians, in that all are really ministers to the edification of the Body of Christ. Will the things we are building in our own lives and in the lives of others stand up to the trials God puts them through? We must build with truth and holiness in mind. For nothing short of these will stand. And we must impart a sense of genuine caring for others. For this will produce the type of Christians who are self-propagating, a blessing to the Body of Christ. Look at the institutional churches around you. Many are reduced to mere social clubs in less than a generation. Much time and energy (not to mention money) are "burned up". Churches get away from the Bible and build upon human philosophy, political correctness, and they are wasting much of the time and talents of people who come to them. Though they may congratulate themselves on their size and modify their message to attract people, but will the quality of faith they've imparted stand God's judgment?"

"It is not the Christians who will be burned up, but rather their sins. For we enter into heaven free from sin, rewarded on the basis of our good works born of faith. If they wasted much of their life on sin, they lose many potential rewards. Both Jesus and Paul strongly motivate people out of the sense of seeking rewards in heaven. This is not emphasized much in modern Christianity."

So you agree then that salvation is not by works, but you think that there will be people who are "rewarded on the basis of... good works."  If they don't know whether or not their works are pleasing until "the Day declares it" then how can they receive their reward?  When you say that "Churches get away from the Bible and build on human philosophy, political correctness," you seem to think that they are still in the church, just misguided and only building wood, grass, and stubble.  But aren't these actions leaving their first love, something that was said to repent of?  Jesus isn't about political correctness or human philosophy, He's about us coming to Him for life and overflowing the life that He has given us into other believers to build up His body.  If we start spreading the message of doing good deeds or being politically correct, then we aren't spreading the Gospel.  We have left our first love and we should repent.  No matter how "good" our message is, if it is devoid of Christ as our life, then it isn't the Gospel.  Even if it is to imitate Christ's Sermon on the Mount, that would not be the proper way to express Him.  The Sermon on the Mount is like the New Testament "law".  The law was given to show us who God is, not so we would imitate it by the power of our flesh, but so that we would know when we sin.  When the Israelites saw that they sinned, they were to come to the tabernacle and give a sacrifice.  So, through the law God led the Israelites to the tabernacle, which is where He was.  Similarly, the Sermon on the Mount and many other moral teachings of Christ's are given to us so that we would not try to imitate them, but to see where we fall short and recognize that we need more of Christ as our life.  We aren't supposed to try and do it by the power of our flesh, we are to recognize that we can't do it, but Christ in us can.  If anyone says that they can love someone the way it is explained in 1 Cor. 13, then they are lying to themselves.  We cannot do this, but Christ in us can do it.  This is why we are told to "walk by the Spirit" in Galatians.  If we try to do things without Christ, no matter how good they may be, they will ultimately be by the power of our flesh and end up being wood, grass, or stubble.  In this is the principle of the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  With life there is dependence and with knowledge there is independence.  We depend on breathing and eating to stay alive, but with knowledge you can learn something and then know it without having to learn anymore about it.  You go to school and learn everything a teacher tells you and then you don't have to depend on that teacher anymore.  Similarly, we can know every verse of the Bible backwards and forwards and feel then that we don't need it anymore because we already know it.  That's part of what the scribes and Pharisees did.

I apologize if this is stuff that you feel you don't need to hear.  I only wrote it because I see that in your site you focus a lot on the teachings and doctrines, but not much on the person of Christ.  He is ALIVE!  Hallelujah!  He lives in us!!  Praise the Lord!!  We are His brothers!

One more quick point, what is our goal?  I think the biggest goal we should have is not to get into heaven, because I'm not sure if we even go and I know we don't spend eternity there.  Our goal should be God Himself as our life so that we can be His sons.  That is our goal.  Our goal is not to go to heaven but to be sons of the Most High!  We have the spirit of His son in us crying "Abba Father!"  How joyous this fact is!  We are being brought into sonship!

One thing that I really enjoy about Watchman Nee and Witness Lee's teachings is they emphasize that we are all ministers.  Why has this been de-emphasized?  You may say it hasn't but it really has.  You yourself de-emphasized it in the second sentence one of the paragraphs quoted above.  Of the many verses of the Bible that speak on this matter, one of my favorite is 1 Cor. 14:26- "What then brothers?  Whenever you come together, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation.  Let all things be done for building up."  The main focus that we should have on this verse are these words- "whenever", "each one" and "has".  Whenever means exactly that, each one includes everyone, and has doesn't mean "should have" or "needs to have" but HAS!  How wonderful!  We all HAVE something to give to the meeting.  Another good verse is in 1 Peter that says we are ministers not of the letter, but of the spirit.  If we all were to share at the meetings our own portion of Christ, then they would be so much more fruitful when it comes to building up each others faith.

Let me know what you think,

BCBSR Response

You ask, "who is it that will reign on earth with Christ for a thousand years?" The sons of God will reign - those who were purchased by the blood of Christ.
"You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth." Rev 5:9,10
"They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years." Rev 20:4-6
Realize that "He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars— their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." Rev 21:7,8
But then again "everyone born of God overcomes the world." 1John 5:4 There isn't a single person born of God who will partake of the second death. Nor can you find among them any who could be characterized as cowardly, sexually immoral, liars, or the like. And why is that? It is because "No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God." 1John 3:9 And in fact "This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother." 1John 3:10
"No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning." 1John 3:6-8
"For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person— such a man is an idolater— has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient." Eph 5:5,6
Or "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." Eph 6:9,10
Now you might say that you know of such and such a "Christian" who lives a lifestyle of sin or who has left the faith. Should such a person be reckon of Christ? Certainly not. How does the Bible evaluate such people? "They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us." 1John 2:19
And "certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord." Jude 1:4 "In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires. These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit." Jude 1:18,19
You saying concerning the Sermon on the Mount, "We aren't supposed to try and do it by the power of our flesh, we are to recognize that we can't do it, but Christ in us can.  If anyone says that they can love someone the way it is explained in 1 Cor. 13, then they are lying to themselves.  We cannot do this, but Christ in us can do it.  This is why we are told to "walk by the Spirit" in Galatians.  If we try to do things without Christ, no matter how good they may be, they will ultimately be by the power of our flesh and end up being wood, grass, or stubble."
Who said anything about doing it in the flesh? If Christ is in us then we obey his commands because of our regenerate nature. Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." Mt 7:21 If a person is not walking as Christ walked (For "Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did." 1John 2:6) then I would say to such a person, "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you— unless, of course, you fail the test?" 2Cor 13:5
Now as for "doctrines and teachings", it is very convenient to say as Witness Lee instructs to "forsake all of those teachings, regardless of whether they are right or wrong.", that "we do not need the Bible study classes" and that "we all must have our heads cut off.", and "do not pay attention to the forms, the regulations, the teachings, the doctrines, Christianity and religion." It is very convenient if you're going to introduce a "Christ" which is different than the Biblical Christ. It would be very convenient for such a person to reject what the Bible says and opt to listen to the  "Christ" they feel in them. But I say that if such an organic experience of Christ is not in line with the Biblical definition of Christ, then such an experience is illegitimate and they are placing their faith in a false Christ.
You say concerning my writings, "I only wrote it because I see that in your site you focus a lot on the teachings and doctrines, but not much on the person of Christ." Yet I've written extensively on the person of Christ. In fact the whole Bible is about the person of Christ.
I believe in the Christ of the Bible. His person, his works, his teachings and doctrines as revealed through the writers of the Bible - including those of his apostles. What of those who reject such writings? The apostle says, "We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood." 1John 4:6
If you would like to get to know the person of Christ through the Word of God, might I suggest the following study guides:
"If you abide in His word, you are His disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 3:31,32
What is the goal? Is the goal to become a son of God? Becoming a son of God is a free gift given by the grace of God. It is not a matter of effort, but rather freely given to those who believe, as it is written, "to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God." John 1:12
Becoming a child of God is not the goal of the Christian life. Rather its the definition of what a true Christian is. If a person is not a child of God then he is a child of the devil regardless of what he calls himself. So what is the goal?  "The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith." 1Tim 1:5 Therefore "Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart." 2Tim 2:22 "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope— the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good." Titus 2:11-14
Steve Amato

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources

Edition: Jul 29,2015