Context is Key
"Past", "After" and “IF” are either overlooked or twisted out of context in order to accommodate modern doctrines.
Context is key...
Think how these following verses that use “past” and “after” in a very clear contextual way and how these are misapplied or flat-out ignored in order to accommodate modern doctrines such as OSAS and the Pretrib rapture. No one can do this thinking for you as it should be clear how this is being done. In many cases no matter how clear the context is people still fight against this in order to protect their pet doctrines.
Here we go...
"...sins that are past..."
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; Romans 3:24-25
"Immediately after the tribulation..."
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Matthew 24:29-31
But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven. Mark 13:24-27
Are we doing this anywhere else in scriptures?
The answer is an obvious "yes"!
Just do a study on the conditional if/then type statements found throughout scriptures and you will see that neglecting context for the sake of preserving extra-biblical doctrine is the norm and not the exception.
I have done some of the work for us here by taking from work I have already done in this area:
If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. John 15:10.
“IF” is a powerful word that is often not emphasized or it is ignored. This is done perhaps to make room for new doctrines. The popular mantra today is that God’s plan of reconciliation of man to Him is unconditional.
First we should make sure we understand what 'if' means.
Per Webster's 1828 (and all newer dictionaries as well...): 'IF'...is used as the sign of a condition, or it introduces a conditional sentence.
So "If" is definitely conditional in how it is used in many instances throughout God’s word...
A lot of people today miss this point entirely or only apply it where it is convenient.
Another great example of a conditional statement is when Jesus said "If ye love me, keep my commandments”. John 14:15
You cannot have it both ways. Either you love Him by keeping His commandments or you do not keep His commandments which, per the condition set by Jesus, means you do not love Him.
I wanted to try to include every conditional promise God put before us in His Word but I am finding that this will take a lot of time as there are many of these…I will offer a few examples as that should be enough to prove this Biblical concept.
There are other words as well that demonstrate that conditions are required to be met in order for something to occur. Following are just a few selected examples of promises God made that are based on conditions that men must meet in order for them to be fulfilled.
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. Genesis 4:7
For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee. Psalms 84:11-12
And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. Genesis 7:1.
Note that Noah and his family had to enter the ark or they would not be saved from the flood.
Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing Genesis 12:1-2.
Note that Abraham had to leave his country, kindred and father’s house and go to the land that God would shew him before the blessing would occur.
“That thou mayest” and “choose you” are clearly statements that constitute conditions. There are others as well but due to the sake of getting to the point quickly not all have been included as noted at the onset.
See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them. Deuteronomy 30:15-20
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 5:10-21
People today get this free gift confused by thinking it is unconditional and thus incorrectly communicate this out to others. God offered this gift freely through His Son and it is there for the taking. It is there for anyone who would call on the name of the Lord Jesus, repent and turn to God. To look past he conditional statements in the receiving of this gift is essentially taking scriptures out of context.
The gift is offered freely but one must turn to God and repent from their sins and trust in the name of the Lord Jesus in order to claim the gift.
Is a person saved without repentance?
Jesus said we will perish if we do not repent.
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. Acts 2:37-39
I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Luke 13:3 (and 7)
Oh but some will say, “what about Ephesians 2:8-9 where we are told we are saved through faith and not of ourselves, that it is the gift of God?” and that it is “not of works?” The gift is what Jesus offered on the cross and that was Himself. Again, we can do nothing to save us as only His blood can cleanse us from all unrighteousness. This is a fact. Again, to lay claim to this gift that is offered so freely one must repent and trust in Jesus. Once again, are we saved if we do not repent? As answered earlier, no, we are not. Jesus said unless we repent we will perish. See Luke 13:3 and 7.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
Many today over look or interpret the many conditional statements in the Bible in order to make these new doctrines work for them. New doctrines that fall into this modern day perversion is once saved always saved (OSAS) or originally termed the preservation of the saints as well as the popular mantra that God hates the sin but loves the sinner.
Are you guilty of falling into this trap? I was for many years of my walk with God until I came to terms with the original intent and the specific context of His word. I thus began to take Him at His word and I stopped trying to make His word say whatever I wanted it to say.
Conditional statements conclude in outcomes that are dictated by fulfilling, either in the positive or the negative, specifically identified actions or conditions…
I have addressed this in the past and the main complaint from many folks that is typically brought up whenever this issue is discussed is that this biblical line of thinking is a ‘works based’ salvation. This is not at all what the Bible states. Salvation was provided once and for all on the cross by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. What the Bible says is that faith itself is essentially works based in the sense that without good works, done selflessly and for the Lord, your faith is dead.
James 2:17-26 says:
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
If you, the salt of the earth lose your savour or saltiness if you will then you will be cast out and trodden under foot of men.
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Matthew 5:13
If you attempt to continue on in a reconciled relationship with God that supposedly includes worshiping Him alone and yet you have not attempted to be reconciled with another person over some wrong done then you will be judged and cast into prison. Full forgiveness is required on our part towards others in order for ourselves to be forgiven by God.
Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing. Matthew 5:23-26
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:14-15
Note that the following is another conditional statement that states that If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
One must do some serious doctrinal acrobatics to get around these promises in order to say that they are not conditional. Sad but many do this today and thus they try to broaden the road to life with their unbiblical thinking.
We must enter into the strait gait to life. Notice that we must enter in order to go anywhere. If we choose to take the broad way we go to destruction along with many others who choose this path…
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Matthew 7:13-15
"If ye love me, keep my commandments”…"Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” John 14:15
That is, “IF”…
In conclusion, context is key.