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4Us2Us:  What does this mean?

Gary Googe Nov 06

4Us2Us Ministries is primarily concerned with the fact that although all the Bible is FOR us [4Us], it is not all TO us [2Us] or about us.  If you think that it is, what do you do with the following passages of Scripture that appear to be contradictory? What are we to think of these? They are ALL in the Bible, but they conflict with one another.  And even though the list you’re about to see is long, there are many more I could mention.  This is just a sampling.  So, let’s look at these.

The Bible teaches that people are justified for salvation by their works.

James 2:24

24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. [Emphasis added]

But in other places the Bible teaches that people are NOT justified by their works.

Galatians 2:16

16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. [Emphasis added]

The Bible teaches that water baptism is required for salvation.  Here’s a passage that is often used to present this thinking.

Acts 2:37-38

37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. [Emphasis added]

Then Peter also says this about it.

I Peter 3:21

21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: [Emphasis added]

However, other passages teach that baptism is NOT required for salvation and is not even a part of God’s program for us today.

I Corinthians 1:17
17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. [Emphasis added]

The apostle Paul tells us there’s only one baptism today and, as we’ll see, it is not water baptism.

Ephesians 4:4-5

There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

One Lord, one faith, one baptism, [Emphasis added]

That baptism Paul talks about is a dry baptism called the baptism of the Holy Spirit that joins us to Christ when we’re first saved.o

I Corinthians 12:13

13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. [Emphasis added]

What are we to believe about all this?

Still another example of this is what the Bible says about how God’s people are to observe the seventh day of the week Sabbath.

Exodus 20:8-11

Remember the sabbath day [Saturday], to keep it holy.

Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

10 But the seventh day [Saturday] is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. [Emphasis added]

However, other passages tell us we are not to observe the sabbath and that every day is now to be treated the same.

Colossians 2:16

16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: [Emphasis added]

The Bible commands circumcision for all males.

Genesis 17:10-11

10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.

11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. [Emphasis added]

But the Bible also tells us circumcision is not commanded and has no spiritual significance at all today.

Glatians 5:6 [and 6:15]

For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. [Emphasis added]

Because there are commands for it, some believe we are still under the authority of the entire law of Moses as it was in the apostle John’s time.

I John 2:3-4

And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. [Emphasis added]

But other passages tell us we are not under the authority of the Mosaic Law today.  In other words, we’re under no obligation to observe its commands.

Romans 6:14-15

14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. [Emphasis added]

People are prone to accept the earthly teachings of Christ over everything else, including His comments about the Mosaic Law and its place in our lives.  Here’s a passage they’ll sometimes use to justify that thinking.

Matthew 5:17

17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. [Emphasis added]

Here’s another passage they’ll use.

Matthew 23:1-3

1 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,

Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:

All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. [Emphasis added]

Some passages teach that because of sin in our lives the Holy Spirit can be taken away.

Psalm 51:11

11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. [Emphasis added]

However, other passages indicate that His presence with His people is permanent.

Ephesians 4:30

30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. [Emphasis added]

Some passages teach that God’s people are to pay tithes.

Malachi 3:10

10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. [Emphasis added]

But other passages teach that believers are not under the command to tithe, and that people are completely free to decide the amount themselves.

2 Corinthians 9:7

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. [Emphasis added]

Some passages say that confession of sins provides forgiveness.

I John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. [Emphasis added]

Other passages teach that confession of sins is not necessary because all our past, present, and future sins have already been forgivenI actually have a whole article on this website dedicated to this one entitled Confession:  Do we need to confess our sins for forgiveness? What do the Scriptures say about this?

Colossians 2:13-14

13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; [Emphasis added]

Are God’s people commanded to fulfill what is usually called “the Great Commission”? Some people assert that they are.

Mark 16:15-20

15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen. [Emphasis added]

Is this God’s commission for His people today? Many prefer to quote the Matthew 28:19-20 account of this instead, but weren’t all these things and more done by God’s people in the time frame of the book of Acts? Do we today have a different commission and message to bring to the world that does not include many of these things? Isn’t this next passage sometimes spoken of as our commission to the world for now.

II Corinthians 5:18-21

18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. [Emphasis added]

There are commands in the Bible for believers to sell their possessions and give the money they receive for them to the poor.  What are we to think of these commands? They are clearly more than suggestions.  Jesus told people [the “rich young ruler” in this case] that they were to do these things.

Matthew 19:21

21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. [Emphasis added]

In the time frame of early Acts, we see God’s people obeying this command to give away the proceeds from the sale of their possessions.  Is this an example for us to follow today? Don’t some people claim the whole book of Acts is to us today? Is this that is spoken in these next passages an example for us today?

Acts 2:44-45

44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;

45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. [Emphasis added]

Acts 4:34-35

34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,

35 And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. [Emphasis added]

However, there are other passages that say we’ll always have those who are poor [Matthew 26:11] and that all able-bodied people are to work for a living providing for their own.

I Timothy 5:8

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. [Emphasis added]

II Thessalonians 3:10-15

10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.

12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.

13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.

14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.

15 Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. [Emphasis added]

The Bible tells us there were signs prophets gave for people to look for that would let them know when Christ’s return is near.

Matthew 24:33

33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. [Emphasis added]

But the Bible also tells us that this whole period in which Christ returns to meet His people in the air was a mystery, not even known to any of the prophets.  So, how could they write Scripture about it?

I Corinthians 15:51-53

51 Behold, I shew you a mystery [MUSTERION = a secret]; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. [Emphasis added]

Probably the most important of the differences we find in the Bible are those that pertain to the means to salvation and eternal life.  Notice what the apostle Peter says about the means to salvation. 

Acts 2:37-38

37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. [Emphasis added]

Is this our gospel message today?  Here they were told to first repent, meaning to change their mind about Jesus and accept Him as their Messiah, and then to be baptized for the remission of sins so that the Holy Spirit could be received.  Then we have at least one verse that speaks of two different gospels, provided that you don’t read it in a modern translation that twists it to make it consistent with some people’s beliefs.

Galatians 2:7

But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; [Emphasis added]

There in one verse you have TWO different gospel messages mentioned.  Then we have what is called the gospel of the grace of God which is the same gospel as the gospel of the uncircumcision. [For more details about this there’s my article called Gospels:  Did Peter & Paul preach the same gospel?]

Acts 20:24

24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus [meaning by special revelation], to testify the gospel of the grace of God. [Emphasis added]

All this that you’ve just read is just a partial list of such items.  In case you ever wondered, can you now see why we have so many church denominations with such a variety of beliefs? What they’ve done has been picking and choosing which ones they preferred to believe and then ignored and/or distorted the others.  It should be known to all that God is not the author of all this confusion.

I Corinthians 14:33

33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. [Emphasis added]

What are we to do with all these passages that seem to be contradictory? As you can see, there is Scripture that can be quoted to prove all these different beliefs.  Is the Bible contradictory? Isn’t it easy to see why some people claim that it is.  Well, I hope you’re glad to know that it is not contradictory.  But the solution to all this is found in what is called the right division of Scripture.  If people will learn the means to doing this, all these things can be rightly sorted out so that it becomes clear as to exactly what God expects of His people.  Here’s the command for us to make the effort to do this.

2 Timothy 2:15

15 Study [SPOUDAZO = be diligent] to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [Emphasis added]

It is by this God-given means that these things can be sorted out so we can see exactly what is addressed to us today and what is addressed to a people of another time.  But it is because people have not taken the time to learn how to sort these things out that we have denominationalism.  The 4Us2UsMinistry was designed with the goal of helping people rightly sort out these different commands and prohibitions.  The goal is to help you see clearly what God’s expectations are of you in this time in which we live today.

So much of the problem on all this in every generation is tradition.  Also, it is often hard to get people to abandon long-held views about things.  Such was the case when our Lord walked this Earth during His earthly ministry.

Mark 7:9

And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. [Emphasis added]

Time and time again I’ve personally seen people go with tradition, rather than accept the teaching of the Scriptures.  The majority position also has a lot to do with all this.  One of the first things you’ll learn in growing spiritually is that the majority position on Bible teachings is usually wrong.

This verse we saw earlier [2 Timothy 2:15] not only tells us that we must be diligent in our Bible study, but it also tells us how we are study it.  People must accept this principle of right division.  This teaching of how all the Bible is for us, but not all to us or about us is a serious matter.  Understanding it isn’t optional for gaining a clear understanding of the Scriptures.  It is essential!

In their laziness, some will dispel all this, saying this is something for “preachers” to know.  I beg to differ! This is something every believer should know.  We are Christ’s representatives, His ambassadors.  We are all to be “preachers” in the sense that we are to be proclaimers of God’s Word.  The Greek word typically translated “preacher” in the Bible is KERUXZ.  It means herald, proclaimer, or preacher.  This is something we’re all to be.  It is in this sense that we’re all to think of ourselves as being in full time Christian service.  In all that we say and do we’re to serve well as Christ’s heralds, His preachers, His personal representatives in His absence.  That’s why we’re also called ambassadors.  An ambassador represents his country in a foreign land.  That’s where we are.  Our home as God’s people is Heaven.  Our stay here is only temporary.  But while we’re here we need to work hard at representing Christ and His teachings well.  We can only do that if we become serious students [disciples] of Christ and His teaching.  And His teaching today comes to us primarily through the writings of the apostle Paul.

I Corinthians 14:37-38

37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

Then there’s a warning to those who won’t do this.

38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant. [Emphasis added]

There you have it! You can learn the Scriptures by rightly dividing them or remain in ignorance and confusion.  All this is that important.  If you’re going to be obedient to this next command, that’s what you’re going to have to do.

Colossians 3:16

16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. [Emphasis added]

Your growth to being a truly mature believer depends on all this.  Being stabilized in God’s Word demands this.

Romans 16:25

25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you [STERIZO = establish or stabilize] according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, [Emphasis added]

Becoming stabilized as a mature believer by God’s Word is to be your primary goal in life.  It should take priority in your mind over everything else.  Being able to live a stable life with meaning and purpose depends on it.

1 Thessalonians 3:13

13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints. [Emphasis added]

If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll begin this honorable work today.  The material on this website is being developed to help you do this.  I’m personally thankful to have this opportunity to be of service to you in this way.  It is my opinion that this is the most important thing I’ve ever done in all my life and I’m so glad to have you be a part of it.

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