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Summary: How to deal with difficult verses

A. INTRODUCTION: WHY SOME VERSES ARE HARD

1. Because God is truthful, He wrote a Bible that is truthful. Truth is consistent with its self, and correlates with reality (the laws of nature).

2. What appears to be a contradiction, has an explanation.

3. We won’t understand everything. Peter said of Paul, “Our beloved brother Paul . . . has written to you . . . things which are hard to understand” (2 Peter 3:15-16).

4. What was apparent to Jews or the early church is not always easy for us to understand.

B. HOW TO DEAL WITH PROBLEM VERSES

1. Content: what is the background and purpose of the chapter?

2. Description and prescription: the Bible will accurately write what “Satan” or people said, or did, even though it was a lie, or inconsistent with the rest of the Bible.

3. Appreciate the limitations of languages, i.e., no numericals in Hebrew, changing meaning of words.

4. Absence of evidence doesn’t mean the Bible is wrong, i.e., the Bible mentions cities that archaeology hasn’t yet found.

5. When a verse is inconsistent with your point of view (theology), maybe you need to change.

C. ETERNAL SECURITY VS. LOSING ONE’S SALVATION

1. “My sheep hear My voice . . . I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:27-28).

POINT:

a. Eternal life lasts forever.

b. They are called “My sheep,” i.e., belong to Jesus.

c. They never perish.

COUNTERPOINT: But people can jump out of God’s hand by sinning.

2. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God . . . if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God and put Him in an open shame” (Heb. 6:4-6).

POINT: It’s impossible to repent and get saved again if we willfully sin, because Christ can’t die for sins again.

COUNTERPOINT:

a. This is hypothetical not actual, “if horses can fly.”

b. This is empty profession, but not possession. They only “tasted;” only became partakers of the Holy Spirit, did not possess Him, only “tasted the Word of God.”

c. Threshold faith, not fully saved. They began the conversion process, but not saved.

d. Lots of reward. This is directed at sinning believers who openly embrace Christianity by “openly crucifying Jesus.”

e. Saved Jews going back into Temple sacrifices and Old Testament observances. When they sacrificed a lamb, they “openly crucified” Jesus (Towns’ belief).

3. “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries” (Heb. 10:26-27).

POINT:

a. Willful sin leads to a “fiery” hell.

b. If we know and sin, we will be lost.

c. No forgiveness to sinning saint.

COUNTERPOINT:

a. The willful sin was going back to “temple sacrifice,” but the blood of a sacrificed lamb will no longer take care of sin, as it did in the Old Testament.

b. Illustration of God’s punishment in Moses’ day because they “rejected Moses’ law.”

c. By temple sacrifices they openly, “Trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant . . . a common thing and insulted the Spirit of grace” (Heb. 10:29).

4. “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch, and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned” (John 15:6).

POINT:

a. The rejecters who don’t abide in Jesus are burned in “fire,” i.e., hell.

b. The rejecters are allowed to wither and die (spiritually and physically).

c. “They gather” is a reference to angels who carry out God’s judgment.

COUNTERPOINT:

a. The word “abide,” means to remain, obey, or relate to Jesus.

b. Empty profession; they are a vine that doesn’t abide in Jesus, because they are unsaved, they will be punished in hell.

c. Rewards. The verse begins in the singular, “He,” but changes to plural, “Them” which is a reference to their works that are burned up (see 1 Cor. 3:12-15).

d. Sin unto death. When a believer (1) sins against light, (2) continually, (3) openly to embarrass Christ, he is taken home prematurely in death. “There is sin leading to death” (1 John 5:16).

D. CONCLUSION

1. Good Christians can and will disagree because no one knows perfectly all there is to know.

2. We must never disagree on the essentials (fundamentals) of the faith, but we will disagree on disputed areas such as sovereignty vs. free will, sign gifts, eternal security.

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