Questions & Answers

Harold S. Paisley

Question: How can 1 John 2:2 "And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" be reconciled with "He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world" (Ephesians 1:4)?

Answer: Much time has been wasted in trying to reconcile such Scriptures. In recent times controversy has again surrounded the subject. We doubt if any have profited by such debates as far as spirituality is concerned.

We do not need to reconcile two sides of truth but believe them both equally. It is clear from the Bible presentation of the gospel that the first truth to be known by the sinner is "He is the propitiation for our sins and the whole world.' God's love for the world is the theme of evangelism. Until this is accepted by the sinner he has nothing to do with 'chosen in Him before the foundation of the world."

No one comes to the Saviour on the grounds of election. When the blessed truth of electing grace shapes the presentation of the gospel message, the offer of salvation is shadowed by the confusion of doctrines.

The gospel is for the world of sinners. The salvation is free to all and sufficient to save the vilest offender who repents and believes. Our Lord Jesus plainly stated "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel' not to the elect but "to every creature' (Mark 16:15).

On the outside of the door are plain words: 'Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Looking back, only when inside the door, are the plain words "Chosen in Him before the foundation of the world."

How will we be able to understand or explain these wondrous truths? None can fathom or plumb the twofold cord of love in this life. We even wonder in the ages to come if we will be able to. Salvation is sufficient for all and efficient for all who believe.

The writer's personal testimony is "We should hold both truths full and entirely, but with a firm confession we cannot explain either but worship God for each.

Question: Concerning the bodies of the saints that arose and came out of their graves after His resurrection and appeared unto many, did they go to heaven or return to their grave?

Answer: Nor further information is given in Matthew 27:51-53 from which the question is based. We venture to suggest that the close relationship of their resurrection with that of the Lord Jesus leaves little doubt that it was a true and lasting resurrection. It is our personal belief that they were the first stage of the resurrection of the sleeping saints of whom Christ was the firstfruits. When the Lord comes into the air, the second stage will take place and the remaining saints who have died will be raised when He returns in glory. When this has transpired, we read "This is the first resurrection" which is the completion of the raising of all believers (1 Cor. 15:20-26; Rev. 20:4-5).