THEOLOGICAL STUDIES

The Second Coming and Election

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BELIEFS BAPTISTS HAVE IN COMMON WITH ALL CHRISTIANS (cont'd)

The Second Coming of Christ

He [Jesus Christ] will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission. He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever present Lord.

X. LAST THINGS

God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.

Isa 2:4; 11:9; Mat 16:27; 18:8-9 Mat 19:28; 24:27, 30, 36, 44; 25:31-46; 26:64 Mark 8:38; 9:43-48; Luke 12:40, 48; 16:19-26 Luke 17:22-37; 21:27-28; John 14:1-3 Acts 1:11; 17:31; Rom 14:10; 1Co 4:5 1Co 15:24-28, 35-58; 2Co 5:10; Php 3:20-21 Col 1:5; 3:4; 1Th 4:14-18; 5:1; 2Th 1:7; 2:1-17 1Ti 6:14; 2Ti 4:1, 8; Tit 2:13; Heb 9:27-28 James 5:8; 2Pe 3:7; 1Jo 2:28; 3:2 Jude 14; Rev 1:18; 3:11; 20:1-22:13


This first statement actually falls under the category of God, specifically God the Son, Jesus. In agreement with all orthodox Christian faiths, Baptists believe in a literal second coming of Jesus Christ. The purpose of Jesus' second coming is to finish the work He began with His first coming: the total salvation of mankind, the destruction of the kingdom of Satan, of sin, and of death, and the radical transformation of the universe.

Denominations, in fact, many Baptists differ with regards to the nature of that second coming. Some believe it will be a 2-phase coming: a coming before the tribulation in which Jesus raptures His saints so that they will escape the tribulation and a coming after the tribulation. The vast majority believe in only a one-phase coming. The vast majority of Christians believe that the thousand-year reign of Christ is occuring right now, that is, He is reigning on earth through His church (Catholics). Others though believe that after He returns, Christ will personally reign upon the earth for a thousand years. This personal reign will consummate the reign the Father had given Him. The BF&M does not take a certain position on any of these views because regardless about which of these views you hold, you stand within orthodox conservative Christianity. The stress is on belief in a literal, physical second coming and not on the specifics of that coming.


BAPTIST BELIEFS IN COMMON WITH EVANGELICALS (Methodists, Nazarenes, Evangelical Lutherans, etc.)

V. GOD'S PURPOSE OF GRACE [Election]

Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is a glorious display of Gods sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility.

All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, bring reproach on the cause of Christ, and temporal judgments on themselves, yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

Gen 12:1-3; Ex 19:5-8; 1Sa 8:4-7, 19-22 Isa 5:1-7; Jer 31:31 Mat 16:18-19; 21:28-45; 24:22, 31; 25:34 Luke 1:68-79; 2:29-32; 19:41-44; 24:44-48 John 1:12-14; 3:16; 5:24; 6:44-45, 65; 10:27-29 John 15:16; 17:6, 12, 17-18; Acts 20:32 Rom 5:9-10; 8:28-39; 10:12-15; 11:5-7, 26-36 1Co 1:1-2; 15:24-28; Eph 1:4-23; 2:1-10; 3:1-11 Col 1:12-14; 2Th 2:13-14; 2Ti 1:12; 2:10, 19 Heb 11:39-12:2; 1Pe 1:2-5, 13; 2:4-10 1Jo 1:7-9; 2:19; 3:2


Some denominations, such as, Presbyterians, believe that a person is saved only because God chose them before the foundation of the world to be saved and that they are merely playing out God's choice. Before the beginning of the world, God chose this person to be saved and that other person to go to hell. Strangely enough, because of the influence of St. Augustine, considered to be one of the major doctors of the Roman Catholic Church, Roman Catholics hold to a similar view of predestination.

The main problem with this view of election is that it contradicts what we have seen of God in Jesus. No one yet has ever said that Jesus would do such a thing, send some people to heaven and the rest to hell before they even took a breath. Well, if Jesus the Son (the spitting image of His Father) would never do such a thing, much less would His Father do this. (This shows you how the principle that Jesus is the criterion by which we interpret Scripture comes into play.)

Another problem with Calvinism is that it assumes that God has a purpose for one part of mankind and yet another purpose for the remainder. Yet God has created all of us in His image, that is, to be like Jesus Christ (Gen. 1:27, Col. 1:15). Calvinism undermines this by asserting God has 2 purposes for mankind, salvation and damnation.

The primary problem with Calvinism is that it starts at the wrong place. In understanding God, Calvin started out with the premise that God is in complete control. As a result whenever Calvin saw a Christian, he assumed God had to have chosen him for salvation, otherwise, God was not in control. In the same way, when Calvin saw a non-Christian he assumed that God had chosen him not to be saved, otherwise, God was not in control. If Calvin had started out instead with Jesus in trying to know God, he would have done a lot better. To be sure in Jesus we see God in control; however, we do not see Him as a CONTROLLING personality, a major difference. We see Jesus reaching out and appealing to people to come to Him; however, we never see Him forcing people to choose for God.


According to John 6:37 and 6:65 who comes to Jesus for salvation?


With regards to Election Baptists (and other evangelicals) believe that God has chosen all people to be like Christ because He made them in His image. Moreover, they believe that a person comes to Christ only after the Holy Spirit has moved in the heart of that person. Sin has affected us to such a degree that we will never come to Jesus on our own. Election implies that we are saved only because God took the initiative, not we. Left to ourselves, we would have never taken the initiative to come to Jesus.

When the NT though claims that Christians are chosen, does that mean that non-Christians were NOT chosen? No, it just means that God's choosing us has had its desired effect. By accepting Christ in faith, God's choice of us has become effective.


According to Rom. 1:18-20 how does God reveal Himself to you and me?


According to John 14:9 and Col. 1:15 how does God reveal Himself to us?


Whereas Baptists believe that a person is saved only after God has moved in that person's heart, Baptists believe that God reaches out to all people: through creation, through the Bible, through the witness of Christians (personally, through TV and radio, through books, etc.) People alone (not God) are ultimately responsible for their accepting and rejecting Jesus.

There are 3 phases to salvation: justification, sanctification, and glorification.

JUSTIFICATION is the initial phase of our salvation in which because we confess Jesus as Lord and Savior, God declares us to be right with Him. The imagery behind this word is that of the courtroom: God is the judge, Satan is the prosecuting attorney, we are the defendant, while Christ is the defending attorney. Although we are guilty, because Christ paid for our sins on the cross, God now declares us "just," that is, "righteous." By this He means that we are now in a right relationship with Him BECAUSE OF WHAT CHRIST HAS DONE! (Propitiation, redemption, and regeneration also describe the initial stages of our salvation. Propitiation has behind it the idea of God's wrath which can be removed only by sacrifice. Jesus' death is the sacrifice which removes God's wrath (1 John 2:2). Redemption has behind it the idea of war and slavery. We have all been made Satan's prisoners-of-war in his struggle with Christ. Jesus pays the ransom to free the prisoners. The ransom? His shed blood. Regeneration means to be reborn. Although we have all experienced a physical birth, we must also receive a spiritual birth. When we receive Jesuas our Lord, His Spirit comes to live in us to create a new person (2 Cor. 5:17; John 3:3, 5).

SANCTIFICATION is the event in which God sets us apart at the time of our salvation. We are set apart for Him and set apart from the world. This process continues until we either die or Christ returns. God is continually setting us apart by making us like Him, like Jesus.

GLORIFICATION is the completion of our salvation. This will occur when Jesus returns. He will radically transform our bodies so that they are just like His. He will transform us internally so that we shall have the character of Christ (1 John 3:2; Phil. 3:21).


Salvation Is Only by Grace through FAITH

According to Eph. 2:8 "For by grace you have been saved through ___________."

Every Christian denomination believes that we are saved by grace. Yet, whereas sacramentalists believe that grace is found in substances (such as the elements in the Lord's Supper and the elements in baptism), Baptists and other evangelicals believe that God's grace is received only by faith (Eph. 2:8, 9). Faith involves believing to such an extent what God has said to us about Jesus that we submit to the lordship of Jesus Christ. When we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, His death becomes effective for us so that our sins are paid for. He now comes to live His life through us by means of His Holy Spirit. Submitting to His Lordship results in a changed lifestyle, one which resembles the lifestyle of Jesus Himself.