Paul Bilal Williams wrote:
Ken, I’m just curious to know how you deal with this passage? (in the com box of “The Theology of Snoopy”)
I argue that salvation was available BEFORE Jesus ever saw a cross: . . .
And then you quote Luke 19:1-10 – the story of Zaccheus – (My emphasis added)
“He entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax-collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.’ So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, ‘He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.’ Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, ‘Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.’
Paul Williams wrote:
“Today salvation has come to this house” – Not tomorrow; not next week; not when Jesus allegedly dies for his sins – but TODAY.
As you have done with every Scriptural passage that you are abusing (Matthew 18:22-35, Matthew 19/Mark 10; Luke 18:9-14, Matthew 6:9-13); you ignore the context of the passage. Just two paragraphs earlier, in chapter 18, Jesus gives us the context of His travel to Jerusalem – and His purpose there. The events of the gospels are leading up to the cross and resurrection.
31 And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32 For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. 33 And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” 34 But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.
Another part of the context is the verse right after the story of Zaccheus, in Luke 19:11 – Luke’s gospel was written assuming the person has read chapters 1-18 and to the end, to get the over-all context and meaning of the passage. In chapter 24, Luke reports on how Jesus opened the disciple’s minds to understand the Scriptures. (24:32; 44-45)
One of the great themes of the gospel of Luke is that Jesus came to save sinners and the outcasts of society (Gentiles, poor, women, tax-collectors, prostitutes, etc.); also the gospel of Luke takes special care to mention that Jesus is journeying to Jerusalem, the city where redemption will be accomplished. (see Luke 9:31; 9:51; 12:50; 13:32-35; 17:11; 18:31; 19:11; 19:28; 19:41-45; 21:20-24; 24:46-48 – repentance for forgiveness of sins is based on His suffering, death, and resurrection; and that message must be proclaimed, beginning from Jerusalem, to all the nations.)
So the story of Zaccheus is mentioned in the midst of Jesus’ purpose as Savior (Luke 2:11; 19:11) and His journey on the way to Jerusalem to be crucified and resurrected. Luke is not obligated to mention faith in the work of Christ on the cross before it happens, because all true believers before the cross, in some basic sense, had the faith of Abraham, which was in the Lord (Yahweh) and His promise to send one from his own body to the redemption of people from all the nations, and the one who would crush the serpents head. (Genesis 3:15, 12:1-3; Genesis 15:1-6; John 8:31-58 – a true son of Abraham before the cross is trusting in the Lord, repenting of their sins, that they are a sinner by nature, and trusting Christ/Messiah, even though they cannot articulate the details of his redemption.
Verse 9 is clear – Zaccheus was saved because he was a true son of Abraham, having the faith in the Lord as Abraham did (Geneis 15:1-6; 12:1-3; John 8:56-58), not as many ethnic Jews did, trusting in their ethnicity – Luke 3:8.
“Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father,’ for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham.” (Luke 3:8)
Zaccheus was not saved by his good works (Ephesians 2:8-9; Galatians 2:16), rather his good works of returning whatever he cheated people out of and giving back even 4 times more, were the results of him being changed by Christ. “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature, the old has passed away, behold, new things have come.” ( 2 Cor. 5:17) True repentance results in a changed life. (Luke 3:8; Acts 20:26; 2 Corinthians 7:7-10)
Galatians 3:7 – “Therefore, to be sure, it is those who are of faith who are the sons of Abraham.”
Galatians 3:29 – “And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”
Romans 4:16 – “For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all”
See also Romans 2:28; and Romans 4:11
Jesus said “Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and saw it, and was glad” and “before Abraham was born, “I am” (John 8:56-58 – I am the existing one, Yahweh, alluding to Exodus 3:14 and Isaiah 43:10-13; 44:6)
In Genesis 15:1-6, the Lord tells Abraham that one will come from his own body who will be the seed that will be the Messiah – and “Abram believed in the Lord and He credited to him as righteousness.” Genesis 15:6. This is quoted in Galatians 3 and Romans 4 and James 2. The faith of all true believers before the cross was in Yahweh as Lord as the one God, and in His Messiah that He would send.
So, since Zaccheus was “constantly seeking Jesus and desired to see Him” (verse 3)– this shows his repentance and faith was a focus on who Jesus is and what He would do. His salvation is not based on good works, but the fact that God had changed him into a true son of Abraham, (not a Pharisee or unbelieving Jew – Luke 3:8); but a spiritual son of Abraham who had real faith and real repentance, which becomes clear after the cross and the rest of the NT evidence.
So, the reason salvation came to his house, today, is why?
“because he too, is a son of Abraham”. He proved that his nature had been changed with the faith of Abraham – in the Lord and His Messiah (Genesis 15:1-6; John 8:56-58; Galatians 3:7; Romans 4:11, 16; Luke 3:8 – he has true repentance and didn’t trust in his Jewishness, rather he repented of his whole lifestyle of sin and cheating and trusted in Jesus the Messiah with all his heart). The “today” emphasis is the same as the thief on the cross – Luke 23:43 – simple repentance and trust in the Messiah Jesus, even though they didn’t know all the details about the cross theology.
Now, you have been refuted on every passage you try to bring, and so you need to realize what Snoopy said, “Has it ever occurred to you that you might be wrong?”
And I am sure that Pastor Steve Latham would agree with me.
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