LENDING MONEY FOR INTEREST
Question: How should we interpret the parable in Matthew 25:27? (Lai, Chingliu)
Answer: The talents in this parable are the gifts of the Holy Spirit. "Deposited my money with the money changers" (v. 27) means to pass on to one or two people the gift you have received from the Holy Spirit and to let them work, so that you can receive some interest indirectly. When the Lord comes back, you can recover "what is [the Lord’s] with interest."
Question: What does Matthew 24:28 refer to? (Lai, Chingliu)
Answer: At the time of the great tribulation, Christ will be in the air, while Antichrist will be on the earth. The two will be at a standoff with one facing the other. The saints will be taken to the Lord. Hence, the Body of Christ will be united with Christ in the air. Antichrist also has his followers; they will be united with him on earth and will become his corpse, because they are men dead in sins. This will stand in opposition to the Body of Christ. These two will also be at a standoff with one facing the other. The vultures signify sin or judgment. Where the followers of Antichrist will be, there will be sin and judgment also.
JUSTIFICATION BY WORKS IN JAMES
Question: Are Ephesians 2:8 and James 2:14 talking about two separate things: one about saving ourselves, and the other about saving others? If both refer to the same thing, are they not contradictory? Please correct me. (Lai, Chingliu)
Answer: Ephesians 2:8 and James 2:14 are both about ourselves. We are saved through faith. This is proven by the entire Bible without controversy. But we should know that the justification that Paul speaks of is different from the justification that James speaks of. We have received two justifications. Paul in Romans 4 speaks of the truth of justification by faith, whereas James in James 2 speaks of the reason for justification by works. One thing can be used as a key to understand these two justifications: the history of Abraham as quoted by both Paul and James. Paul’s quote of Abraham’s history in Romans 4 was for proving the truth of justification by faith, and it is recorded in Genesis 15, whereas James’ quote of Abraham’s history in James 2 was for proving the reason for justification by works, and it is recorded in Genesis 22. Paul talked about the time before Abraham had a son, when he believed that God would give him a son. James talked about Abraham’s obedience to God in offering Isaac as an offering. Abraham’s first justification lies in his faith in God giving a son. His second justification lies in his offering of Isaac. Abraham was justified twice; so are the believers. We are first justified by faith, and then we are justified by works. Unfortunately, many Christians only receive the first justification. However, to fail in the second justification does not mean that a person has lost the first justification. The first justification depends entirely on the Lord Jesus. The second justification is obtained after receiving the first justification through appropriating the Lord’s good works. In Romans 4 and Ephesians 2, Paul annulled work entirely. James in his Epistle emphasized both faith and works; he never annulled faith. From this we see that faith is the foundation of justification. Furthermore, the salvation and justification mentioned in James 2:14 are not justification and salvation before God. What this verse is saying is that in man’s eyes, without good works, a Christian will not be considered righteous even if he attributes everything to faith in God. Please read verse 18. James did not say that God will not save or justify, because as soon as a person believes in the Lord Jesus, God will save him and justify him (Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 3:22, 24, 28; 4:4-5). However, the world will criticize such a person’s faith (James 2:18). Hence, James 2 is merely telling us man’s view. The purpose of James’ Epistle is to exhort people to " become doers of the word and not hearers only " (1:22). Furthermore, what he mentioned was merely a man’s evaluation. Hence, words such as "Can that faith save him?" "Faith...is dead," and so forth, refer only to what people see in a believer and to the result of truth in man’s eyes. They do not refer to the soul. We should know that we are first saved, then we perform good works. We do not perform good works first and then become saved. After we are saved, we spontaneously perform good works. But those who merely perform good works will never be saved. "Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved" (Acts 16:31).
Question: The devil tempted Adam by using a snake. But in Matthew 4:1-2 what did the devil use to tempt the Lord Jesus? (Wu, Kiangsi)
Answer: Satan has not the slightest place in the Lord Jesus (John 14:30). Hence, he could not tempt the Lord Jesus the same way he tempts us. He probably appeared in person when tempting Him.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 07: The Christian (5), Chapter 15, by Watchman Nee)