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Questions & Answers
December 1984
Volume: VOL. XXXI, NO. 10
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Questions & Answers
Good News Staff

You say that Jesus Christ did not come to save this world. But doesn't the Bible teach that He came to save the world by dying for it?

   Jesus certainly did come to die to pay the penalty for this world's sins (John 3:16). But have you read Romans 5:8-10? "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then , having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life."
   Jesus Christ bled and died for us. His death makes possible the forgiveness of sin. But we shall be saved by His life! Jesus' death does not impart eternal life it justifies your guilty past. It takes Jesus' life — the Holy Spirit — to impart eternal life.
   Notice Paul's teaching: "But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen And if Christ is not risen . . . you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished" (I Corinthians 15:13, 17-18).
   If Jesus Christ is not living — if His life is not living in you through the Holy Spirit, if there is no resurrection — then your faith is in vain. You are doomed to perish. You are yet in your sins because there is no living High Priest to plead for you.
   Jesus' death cannot, of itself, save you. Christ's blood makes possible the justification of your guilty past — your reconciliation to God. But it takes His life to impart eternal life to humans.
   But this is not what we are talking about when we say that if Jesus Christ came to this earth more than 1,900 years ago to save this world, He failed.
   Look around you. Nearly five billion people inhabit this earth. How many are true Christians? How many even know what a Christian is? Here is the Bible definition: "Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, 'I know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him" (I John 2:3-5).
   Looking at it this way — God's way — do you think that the many are being saved today? Are the vast majority living by every word of God (Matthew 4:4, Luke 4:4)? Have Jesus' teachings put an end to war, crime, adultery, thievery, hatred, famine?
   If this is the only day of salvation — if people today are now being given their one and only opportunity for salvation then God has failed. For millions have lived and died without any saving knowledge.
   But the fact is that Jesus Christ did not come to give everyone an opportunity for salvation at this time. Rather, your Bible shows that most of the world has been spiritually blinded, deceived, yes, made spiritually drunk on false religious beliefs. They cannot understand the Bible unless God reveals His truth to them (Revelation 12:9, Romans 11:25, 32).
   For 6,000 years God is allowing the world to go its own way to teach humanity that its ways only lead to misery and death. God will soon set His hand to save this world. That is the message of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. For 1,000 years the nations are going to learn the way to peace — and be given opportunity for salvation (II Peter 3:8-9).
   You need to understand the time element in God's plan of salvation. Read our amazing article entitled "Is This the Only Day of Salvation?" It will vividly explain why God has allowed mankind 6,000 years to go his own way and how God will remove the spiritual blindness from the eyes of humanity.

When was the Bible divided into chapters and verses?

   The system of dividing the Bible into chapters and verses is manmade and of comparatively recent origin. The Bible, as inspired by God, had no such divisions.
   Perhaps the first attempted division of the Bible was undertaken by the Jews. After the Babylonian captivity, they marked off the scrolls into subdivisions. This system was quite different from the one that is in use today, however.
   The first modern system of dividing the Bible into sections was devised by Cardinal Hugo in the mid-13th century. Hugo, who was compiling a concordance to the Latin Vulgate Version of the Bible, found it necessary to divide the Bible into sections. These sections basically became the chapters that we are acquainted with today. As yet there were no divisions into verses.
   Later, in 1445, Mordecai Nathan, a Jew, divided the Hebrew Old Testament into chapters. He and a later scholar by the name of Athias further broke the Old Testament chapters into verses.
   In 1551 the New Testament was similarly subdivided into verses, by English printer Robert Stephens. Ever since that time, the Bible has retained the present chapter and verse system.
   The system is not perfect. In some places, Stephens' divisions are inaccurate and tend to break the sense of the subject. Because of such imperfections, a new system of supplementing the chapter- verse division with paragraph arrangements has been adopted in many of the newer revisions of the Bible. This often helps the reader to better comprehend the subject matter.

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GNDecember 1984VOL. XXXI, NO. 10
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