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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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Church sans Tribulation

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For those in Christ, there hasn’t been and will never be a general tribulation such as will involve the world (majority of society). This sense is in reference to the eschatological tribulation which contains “things which must shortly come to pass” (Rev 1:1). These “things” are not difficulties which believers endure that derive from the oppositions of men, but from the judgment from God, which answers to why children of God (e.g. those in Christ, which excludes any in the OT) are never seen in Scripture to encounter judgment of any kind—they being ever absent of it in the Lord Jesus (Rom 8:1).





Church sans Tribulation


Not only is the Church a product of this specific age with no relation whatsoever to any other age (after the OT and prior to Rev 20:4), but each believer is perfectly accepted now and forever before God on the ground of his position in Christ, and, being saved out of this cosmos world, he is no more of this world than Christ is of this world (John 15:18, 19; 17:14, 16).


The coming tribulation is the judgment of this world. Israel has her part in it since, being not yet saved (Ro 11:26), she is of the world (cf. Mat 13:44). The believer, being what he is in Christ, has no more a rightful place in this world’s judgments than Christ Himself or even any unfallen angel. Back of the theories that the Church will enter or pass through the tribulation is the Arminian heresy that the believer contributes something to his own acceptance before God, and, having failed to some extent in this responsibility, he will be purged and purified by the suffering which the tribulation affords.


There is a line of truth which concerns the believer’s personal faithfulness; but this is consummated before Christ at His judgment seat in heaven. As for any condemnation, or other judgment, the Christian is wholly delivered forever on the most righteous ground that a Substitute bore the condemnation and judgment and has provided a perfect standing before God. It is established by Scripture that the believer is delivered from all condemning judgments (John 3:18; 5:24; Rom 5:1; 8:1, 33, 34; 1 Cor 11:31, 32).


In general, those who contend that the Church will experience the tribulation assert that all believers—spiritual and unspiritual, will enter that period of suffering, though there are those believing in a partial rapture who assert that the Church will be divided and the spiritual element, which always includes those who advance this notion, will go directly to heaven, while the unspiritual will suffer for their sins in the tribulation.


This constitutes a Protestant purgatory. The answer to all such conceptions is the recognition of the truth that, when members of this sinful race go to heaven, it is not on the ground of their own merit, but only through the merit of Christ. It is to be remembered that each believer is already perfectly justified forever (Rom 5:1; 8:30, 33, 34; Heb 10:14), and this wholly within the range of divine justice (Rom 3:26). Thus the contention that the Church will enter or pass through the tribulation becomes and insult to, and unbelief towards (though ignorantly—NC) the measureless grace of God in His Beloved Son.


Those who entertain the idea that the Church experiences the great tribulation must reckon with the fact that of upwards of seventy-five generations (almost 2000 years) who comprise that company, all but the present generation have entered Glory without the supposed benefits of that purging experience. Why, then, should the last generation suffer that from which the vast host have been spared?


On this point a specious argument has been advanced, namely, that as the Church has suffered martyrdom in certain periods of her history she may be expected to suffer thus again at the end of her age; but back of this claim is the failure to recognize that past sufferings were due to the attack of wicked men upon the Church, while the great tribulation is God’s judgment upon wicked men. Wholly justified believers have no place among evil men who are destined to eternal doom.


- L S Chafer





Excerpt from MJS devotional for September 7:


“We are to draw nigh in faith where we already are in position.” - MJS


"Instead of the priest coming out to bless, as in Judaism, we are to go in for blessing. There are no barriers now. The Father has removed every hindrance and now it is for me to go in and abide. The teachers of Christendom have practically stitched up the veil which He rent. The rent veil in the Gospels is the Father’s coming out, but the rent veil in Hebrews is the believer’s going in." -J.B.S.


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