Question & Answer Forum

Is it scriptural to refer to a Believer as a “sinner saved by grace”?

Sinner saved by grace” is surely an accurate description of the Christian. He was once a “sinner” but such an identity has been changed by the free intervention of Divine grace. The memory of such forgiving and transforming mercy caused thanksgiving with the apostle in I Timothy 1:15, where, in a retrospective statement, he acknowledges “sinners, of whom I am chief.” This, however, is quite different to describing the believer as a “sinner” in the sense that he habitually practices sin and such is the usual meaning of the term “sinner” in the New Testament. While sin is still a serious reality creating tension in the believer’s present experience (see Luke 5:8), it is no longer the predominant or enslaving feature of his new life. Therefore he cannot be described as a “sinner” without further qualification. Positionally the believer is a “saint” in Christ. Practically, he no longer serves sin.

D. Gilliland

What does “having faithful children” (Titus 1:6) involve?

I Timothy and Titus give us God’s spiritual and moral standard for elders. The requirements in Ephesus and Crete are similar, yet the circumstances differ. In Ephesus, elders already existed (Acts 20:17). Timothy was to teach how to add to their number. The man aspiring to the work (1 Timothy 3:1) must evaluate himself by the necessary qualifications Paul lists; he must also have the respect of the believers, being “above reproach” and superintending his own home well.

Titus, with spiritual discernment, was to appoint elders, who must be blameless. As in I Timothy 3:4-5, his home life will indicate much about his character and suitability to be a leader in the assembly. The phrase “faithful children” in this context (Titus 1:6) probably means that they are believers. The word may “pista” mean either mean trustworthy or believing. In any case, they are to be of good reputation, “not accused of riot or unruly.” This contrasts with the Cretians who are “always liars, evil beasts, gluttons” (Titus 1:12).

If the assembly disciplined his child, an elder would not necessarily be disqualified on that basis. The circumstances would have a bearing. If the elder’s child is no longer in the home, then he is not directly under the “rule” of the parent. The elder should examine himself in the fear of God; by prayer and the counsel of other godly elders, he could expect wisdom from God (James 1:5) to make the best decision.

J. Abernathy

Is there a difference between what is implied in Acts 10:4, 22, 31 and what is taught in Romans 3:10 -12?

Romans 3:10-12 and the wider context state categorlcally that all, without exception, born of human parents are unrighteous. This must of necessity include Cornelius. The words, “Peter… shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved” (Acts 11: 14), and subsequent verses clearly teach that prior to Peter’s visit all who heard him preach were in their sins. Until all who heard Peter actually believed the message and received the Holy Spirit, none in Cornelius’ house were saved.

How then are we to understand how Cornelius’ alms and prayers “went up for a memorial before God” even though he wasn’t vet saved? Consider the saints of the Old Testament. Their piety and righteousness were not a prerequisite to God’s favor, but rather a response to God’s dealings. Consider Cornelius in this context: his good works are not a result of being intrinsically good, but a response to what he had learned of God. He was responding to light from God. God then reveals to Cornelius further truth by sending Peter to preach. Again, Cornelius receives God’s message. We must conclude that Cornelius is not good in himself, just as Romans 3:10-12 teaches, but is reckoned righteous as a result of his response to the gospel Peter preached.

S. Wells

Did Christ use the power of resurrection in his own resurrection (John 10:18)?

In John 10:17, 18, the Lord Jesus declares that He is God: “I lay down My life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.”

While speaking as the sovereign Lord, He displays the beauty of His meekness, obedience and perfect unison with the will of His Father, saying, “This commandment have I received of My rather.” As the Lord Jesus determined His own death, so also His resurrection was His own work. Verse 18 states that He had the power to do both, although in this verse He refers only to using that power to “lay it down of Myself.” However, in verse 17 He stated that the purpose for this was “that I might take it up again.”

The scriptures teach that God is one God without division, yet in a trinity of Persons. It is instructive to notice that each of the Persons, Father, Son and Spirit, is engaged in the work of Christ at Calvary, salvation, eternal life, the coming of the Holy Spirit and also in the resurrection of Christ. (I Corinthians 6:14, John 10:18, 1 Peter 3:18).

J. Smith