Questions & Answers
Good News Magazine
January 1982
Volume: Vol XXIX, No. 1
Issue: ISSN 0432-0816
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Questions & Answers
Good News Staff  

Would you explain John 10:30? What did Christ mean when He said He and His Father are one?

   Jesus was revealing that there is one Godhead, or one God Family, who are of one mind and purpose. But that Family is now composed of two individuals, God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. This is clearly stated in John 1:1: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." The "Word" or "Spokesman" was the One who later became Jesus Christ (see verse 14).
   Hebrews 1 also shows conclusively that Christ was and is now God: "God... Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Heb. 1:1-3). God says of Christ, "Let all the angels of God worship him" (verse 6). Only a member of the God Family is worthy of worship.
   But the God Family is not limited to God the Father and Jesus Christ: "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God" (John 1:12). Hebrews 2:7-8 shows that man, like Christ, was made for a while "a little lower than the angels," but that he is to be crowned "with glory and honour."
   Everything is to be put "in subjection under his feet," but "now we see not yet all things put under him" because the resurrection to immortality hasn't occurred yet.
   So the Family of God will eventually be expanded to include all of mankind who choose to follow God's way. Christians "now are ... the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is" (I John 3:2). I Corinthians 15:53 adds, "For this... mortal must put on immortality."
   Here the Bible says plainly that resurrected Christians are to be immortal like Christ. When we are changed, our mortal bodies will become spirit bodies like His (Phil. 3:20-21).

Who was the disciple "whom Jesus loved" (John 13:21-25)?

   Some days after Jesus' resurrection from the dead, Peter engaged in an extended discourse with the risen Christ. Concluding the conversation: "Peter turned and saw following them the disciple whom Jesus loved, who had lain close to his breast at the [last Passover] supper and had said, 'Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?' When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, 'Lord, what about this man?' Jesus said to him, 'If it is my will that he remain [alive] until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!' "(John 21:20-22, Revised Standard Version).
   Verse 24 then reveals the identity of this disciple and future apostle: "This is the disciple who is bearing witness to these things; and who has written these things; and we know that his testimony is true." This could be none other than the author of "the Gospel According to John."
   John was also favored to be among the disciples who witnessed a foretaste of the Kingdom of God in vision (Matt. 17:1-6).
   It was also John who was the first disciple to believe Christ had risen from the dead. Shortly after Christ's resurrection, Mary Magdalene came and saw that the tomb was empty. "So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved" (John 20:2, RSV).
   John outran Simon Peter to the tomb, but impetuous Peter went in first (verses 3-7). "Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed" (verse 8).

Would you explain what law Paul was referring to when he said, "By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight" (Rom. 3:20)?

   Paul is referring to the whole system of law. No law-keeping of any kind can justify a person in God's sight - it takes the acceptance of Christ's sacrifice. No law can justify sin. Only Christ's blood can pay for our sins and justify us to God. Even keeping the commandments perfectly for the rest of our lives would not pay for the sins we have committed in the past by breaking the law.
   Sin is the breaking of God's laws (I John 3:4). The penalty for sin is death (Rom. 6:23). The only way to have that penalty removed is through the grace of God. But, once forgiven, we must stop sinning - stop breaking God's laws (Rom. 6:1-2).
   The same principle is applicable even in adherence to the laws of our land. Take a traffic violation, for example. When a person receives a citation for breaking the law by running a stop sign, a fine is usually imposed. Regardless of how many times a person continues to stop at the sign, having received the citation, the fine must still be paid.
   This is the case with God's law. No matter how much we keep the law after having broken it, the penalty must still be paid. This is why Paul explains justification is apart from the keeping of the law.
   Paul makes it quite plain that it is not obedience to the law that justifies us. Instead, it is the faith and sacrifice of Christ coupled with our belief in Him that justifies or makes us right with God. But this by no means implies that we must stop obeying the law. We must have active, living faith in God as Abraham had, which will even lead us to a more complete obedience to God's perfect and righteous law. We are to have good works, but we are not to depend on those works for our salvation.
   The simplest way to understand the law and justification question is this: Only Christ's sacrifice and His life in us can forgive sin and save us (Rom. 5:10). But Christ will not save any unless they keep His laws (John 14:15, 15:10, I John 2:3-6).
   Faith without obedience IS dead!

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Good News MagazineJanuary 1982Vol XXIX, No. 1ISSN 0432-0816