Question: Paul, writing to the Romans and Corinthians speaks the following:

Rom 15:4 4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. NIV

1 Cor 10:6-11 6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry." 8 We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did-and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. 9 We should not test the Lord, as some of them did-and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did-and were killed by the destroying angel. 11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. NIV

Let's all assume that Paul is speaking to believers in churches. Two questions:

1) Is Paul suggesting that the writings, warnings, and instructions, etc. from the Old Testament are to be studied and remembered as valid teachings that can be valuable for dealings with today's lifestyles?

2) Do these warnings, teachings, and instructions place into the hands of believers, that should be carried out (with the help of Christ) in order to keep from falling back into sin? If so, does that seem to put some, if not all of the responsibility for righteous living on the shoulders of believers? Other scripture should be included to confirm your comments.

Answer: First, Paul is writing to believers.

Yes, the things written before (Old Testament) were written to tell the story of how God deals with man and how man is supposed to deal with God. The examples definitely did teach that the current believers should not fall back into sin and suffer the same condemnation. Also, 2 Tim 2:15 teaches us to study God's word so that we can rightly divide the word. In other words, learn what to apply and what not to apply in our age we live in.

Your second question is worded in such a ways as to suggest that we are taking away from the grace of God. That simply is not the case. The scriptures teach that we shall stand before God in judgement to give an account of what we did in our lives and with our bodies. Certainly, the responsibility is upon us. What Christ did was to provide an avenue through which we could have access to God in fellowship. By becoming our propitiation, he provided a way in which we can become justified before God. His shed blood provides the spiritual cleansing we need.

Read Titus 2:11-14 and concentrate upon v.12. Does not the scripture teach that God's grace TEACHES us to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age? Of course it does. Yes we do have responsibility that is upon our shoulders. God made the provisions available to us for justification. It is our responsibility to seek those provisions and meet the requirements to achieve them.

Keep studying God's word. (Carey Scott, 7-8-2000,

Followup statement by questioner: You have answered question two in the manner that is correct so far as it should have been asked. The grace of God brought us salvation through Jesus Christ; but we have a duty before God, to allow His Word to so permeate our spirits and minds that we fail not to understand and obey. Sorry if I was not clear.

A good example my son gave is as follows: I may have given him his new SUV for his birthday; but he is responsible to put gas in it and drive it responsibly according to the laws of our city and state.

As you have so clearly stated, we DO have a responsibility to "care" for our salvation "walk". We are to walk worthy of our calling. Some of the people of God, having been rescued and saved from peril in Egypt, went back on God and fell into sin. Amazing, since they had God's continual presence with them in the cloud or the pillar of fire! Moses goes up the mountain to receive the law and the people down below are planning sin parties. Shows us the necessity of continual discipleship.

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