The UK Bible Students Website
Christian Biblical Studies
GRACE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
Scripture references are to the NIV, Anglicised Edition of 2011
JESUS PERFORMED HIS miracles of healing for only a fraction of the people of Israel. We do not know how many there were, for not all instances were recorded. Such works were intended to prefigure the great time of healing to come at His Second Advent, then in the distant future.
He did not address the problems of water quality or currency reform or the state of housing. He did not attempt to settle family quarrels, as when He was asked by a man in the crowd, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.’ Jesus replied, ‘Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?’ (Luke 12:13, 14). His essential mission was to call out the true believers – the ‘Israelites indeed’ – with a view to their exaltation to reign with Him a thousand years in His Kingdom to come. Under this reign of righteousness Christ and His Church will implement wide-sweeping, radical reform of the conditions which now prevail as a result of the curse of sin and death, and bring about a restoration of all the privileges and blessings forfeited through the sin of Adam. His Church – also referred to as a ‘little flock’ – come under the process of election by faith during the Gospel Age.
All members of the human family will ultimately benefit from this. ‘For he [God] has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead’ (Acts 17:31). Christ’s Millennial reign will be a time of righteousness in action, involving the rule of law, the application of fair-minded justice, and a process of salvation for the world, based on the ransom-sacrifice of Christ. The two, separate processes – Election and Free Grace – are mentioned in 1 John 2:2, in which the Apostle John writes that Christ ‘is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world’ (emphasis supplied).
We do not argue for salvation to eternal life for every person. The Scriptures teach plainly that each one will bear final responsibility for his or her everlasting fate, depending on their response. But only after all efforts to win the sinner to faith and repentance have been exhausted will the judgement be meted out: death without remission, extinction. It is a mistake to think that in this present, imperfect world those who lack faith should be judged on such a weighty matter as fitness for eternal life. Election and Free Grace operate in separate dispensations. It is a distinction worth keeping in mind.