Vol.XV No.III Pg.5
May 1978

An Essential To The Whole Truth

Robert F. Turner

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some future "millennium" when He will "rule with a rod of iron;" and some even have Him forcing obedience so all will be saved. (A "works" regime, at the point of a gun.) This is ridiculously inconsistent with their present concepts of love and grace. The truth is, if Christ is now Priest, He is also now King — and He is now both. A further truth is, we must not interpret Christ as Priest in such a way as to negate Christ as King.

Now kingship says "rule." If we would benefit by the kingship of the Savior we must submit to His rule, be obedient to His laws. "Grace and works are mutually exclusive" ONLY in a context that identifies "works" as a seeking for freedom from guilt on the basis of perfect obedience. This in no wise negates law, the necessity for obedience, nor the propriety of gospel preachers telling sinners what they must do in order to be saved. We should emphasize that our King is merciful — that He Himself has died that we might be "forgiven" — but offering and ruler are not "exclusive." They are beautifully blended in God's plan of redemption for free-moral-agent creatures. (And make no mistake about it — this free-will. character of man is key to the age-long furor over all such matters in theology.)

The Augustine-Pelagius controversy (early 5th. century) and its aftermath produced generations of theologians who regard man as incapable of doing anything truly good. Even his "faith" is "a gift of God" bestowed rather than gendered by evidence. In controversy, they seem to think only of the sacrificial role of Christ and conveniently forget "conditions of salvation" for, in their minds, this could only refer to man as the means of saving himself. "Earned" "Merited " ad the like, freely from their pens. When our brethren pick up such terminology in order to emphasize the priestly and sacrificial role of our Lord they seem to forget all they have known about Christ as King: "all authority is given — go, preach, baptizing" (Matt. 28:18-f). The denominationalists have an excuse (?). Individuals are "elect" to be saved by an unconditional bestowal of "grace." But what excuse (?) have our brethren??

When the whole truth of God is put into one package — all scriptures considered — we must reckon with man as capable of choice, and God as no respecter of persons. All have sinned, and we cannot be pronounced justified on our own merit. Forgiveness is made available, upon e merit o Christ; but it will only be enjoyed by those who put their trust in Him — and that involves obeying Him to the very best of their ability, denying "self."

The "roles" of Christ beautifully fit this situation. When Philip went to Samaria, he "preached Christ"(Acts 8:5); but this included the "kingdom of God" (rule), "the name of Jesus Christ" (means, or power), and "baptism" (message). Prophet, Priest, and King — all necessary if we are to be saved through Jesus Christ. With wondrous love and mercy God gave His Son for all mankind "while we were yet sinners." His absolute sovereignty is vindicated in final judgment where those who strove to serve Him will be blessed, and the rebellious condemned.