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  • Paul McArthur

Was Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea Saved?

Updated: Apr 20, 2022

The Bible says very little about both men. But, what the bible says and does not say is very significant.

John 3:1 says Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a ruler of the Jews. As a Pharisee Nicodemus demonstrated a severe lack of knowledge of the scriptures. Jesus said, John 3:10 Art thou a master of Israel and knowest not these things?

Knowest not... what? Nicodemus did not know 'Ye must be born again'. Jesus inferred that Nicodemus should have known. This points out something very significant that is often overlooked.

'Ye must be born again' is an Old Testament teaching NOT a New Testament teaching. The Pharisee, the Ruler of the Jews, should have known this.

Many preachers today do not know this is an Old Testament teaching because it was popularized in the 1960's as a New Testament teaching.

John 7:50 refers to Nicodemus as 'he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them'. That's a pretty generic thing to say about Nicodemus.

The only other mention of Nicodemus is in John 19:39. Again, Nicodemus is described saying 'And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night...'.

There are three mentions of Nicodemus calling him a Pharisee, a ruler of the Jews, the one who came by night and then again, the one who came by night.

Now what does the bible say about Joseph of Arimathea? There are 4 verses that mention Joseph.

Matthew 27:57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple...

Mark 15:43 Joseph of Arimathea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.

Luke 23:51 ... he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God.

John 19:38 And after this Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus.

The bible says Joseph 1) was a disciple, 2) waited for the kingdom of God, 3) waited for the kingdom of God, again and 4) being a disciple, again.

The bible does not say Nicodemus was a disciple. The bible does not say Nicodemus was even honourable. Nicodemus did not wait for the kingdom of God, either.

Nicodemus is noted for one particular thing... a GOOD WORK.

Many people look to Good Works as a sign of salvation. Calvinists in particular look for Good Works as a sign of salvation. I have close relatives who believe... If you are saved then you WILL have Good Works as a SIGN of your salvation. Heath Lambert, head wolf & Calvinist, at FBC JAX, teaches you will have Good Works if you are saved.

The problem with looking at somebody's good works as a sign of salvation is Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith and not that of YOURSELF (You can't DO anything to save yourself), IT (SALVATION) is the gift of God, NOT of WORKS, lest any man should boast.

I highlighted "IT" with (SALVATION) because Calvinists are grammatically challenged. They say IT (FAITH) is the gift of God.

Calvinists are not aware of Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life (SALVATION) through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The gift of God is SALVATION not FAITH.

Was Joseph of Arimathea saved? Yes. He was a disciple who waited for the kingdom of God.

Was Nicodemus saved? No. He was just a Pharisee, a ruler of the Jews.

The sad irony is Jesus gave Nicodemus the most famous salvation verse in all of the bible. John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

The bible never called Nicodemus a disciple or one who waited for the kingdom of God.

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