Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Saturday, December 03, 2005

TULIP ... Perseverance of The Saints

“I have been saved, I am being saved, and I shall be saved...”

Perseverance of the Saints (or preservation of the saints): Any person who has once been truly saved from damnation must necessarily persevere and cannot later be condemned. The word “saints” is used in the sense in which it is used in the Bible to refer to all who are set apart by God.

Perseverance: To persist in a state, enterprise, or undertaking in spite of counterinfluences, opposition, or discouragement

Saints: All who are set apart by God, chosen “in Christ”

Bringing up this subject could lead in many different directions. I have read so many thoughts in the blogosphere in regards to this subject.

1. One blogger says that the argument is a non-argument (losing salvation) because he doesn’t think that there is anything to lose yet. He doesn’t belive that we have obtained salvation. We are on a journey and as long as we are found “in Christ” when the time is up, then we will obtain salvation, but as long as we are still in these bodies, we are not truly saved yet.

2. Others (Arminians) seem to insist that somehow, you can change your mind about the Lord and fall away from Him by your own will, thus undoing any salvation that you may have had. It is as though the salvation in Christ rests upon your continuing decisions wholly. (I’m not sure what the difference between this view and #1 is).

3. Some say that once you hear the gospel and receive Christ, you are His and there is no way that you can ever then become not His. He gives you new life at the point of contact and you cannot ever die (or lose that life) by spiritual murder or spiritual suicide after receiving it, because it is eternal life.

4. Others seem to tie this doctrine to the issue of Lordship Salvation … in other words, salvation is more than just believing and receiving, but you must submit to His Lordship upon salvation or it is no real salvation at all. If you have not submitted to His Lordship, then you will not persevere in the good works which God has before ordained for you to walk in, and this is evidence that you really didn’t receive saving faith from the Lord in the first place.

I have always thought this fifth point of Calvinism to be the #3 belief above, but I may be wrong about that. My thinking that #3 was the doctrine was why I said I could accept it according to my understanding of the Scriptures. However, if I am wrong, and somehow it means something different, than maybe I am not even a “one-point Calvinist” either!

So … if Perseverance of the Saints means that once you hear the gospel, receive Christ, and are born-again, you are His … if it means that there is no way that you can ever, then, become lost again … that He gives you new life and you cannot ever die (or lose that life) by any decision or act of your own or another person or a demon. If that is what Perseverance (or preservation) of the Saints means, then I say amen to it! Here are the passages that would lead me to agree with that doctrine.

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. (John 5:24)

I would here challenge the Arminian or the #1 position from above. One reason why I can’t accept the Arminian label is because of this idea that you can go in and out of salvation for whatever reason. How can you change from being destined for death into a person destined for eternal life and then back into being destined for death again?

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. (John 6:37)

I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. (John 10:28-29)

The Father gives the believer to the Son. We will never be given back. Why? …because of the greatness of God!

Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life? (Romans 5:9-10)

The believers’ reconciliation was wrought while we were His enemies … (have been saved) … God reached out to us sinners when we were not seeking Him … He sought us … once we become believers, how can we be unreconciled to Him? … by becoming unbelievers?

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)

The reference to being sealed is that of the branding of an animal. I know people can try to have tatoos removed (but it is never truly removed), but … can you unbrand an animal? … neither can a believer become not one of God’s own. We have become His sheep (however the Calvinist and non-Calvinist differ on how we became those sheep, we can all agree that born-again Christians are truly His sheep, right?)

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2)

We are NOW the children of God.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)

I don’t believe that I was in Christ before I believed, (which is the logical conclusion of Unconditional Election), but now that I am in Christ, I am sealed there. There is no more condemnation to be charged against me. I am elect, or chosen of God by grace through faith, just like it says Ephesians. I have been chosen in Christ through faith in the gospel, and he has certainly predestined me to be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29) which will happen when I am translated (the shall be saved part of the sanctification process) upon the death of my body or the “rapture”. (We shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is [1 John 3:2])

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy … (Jude 1:24)

He will keep you from stumbling … (am being saved) He presents you blameless, (shall be saved/glorified) not you, yourself, because of your faithfulness or your good works.

Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died--more than that, who was raised--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword … For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8)

Could we add our own lack of faith after salvation, our struggles with obedience, our lack of good works, our change of heart, our decisions, our rebellion, … to the list of things that can separate us? (These are all sins - Christ died for our sins after we are born-again, too!)

For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. (Romans 11:29)

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge--even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you--so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Corinthians 1)

And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)

I challenge those who would call questioners of Calvinism Arminian: I firmly refute the Arminian idea of falling from grace or opting out of Christ. I have heard certain Calvinists say that an individual who doesn’t hold to all five points aren’t really Calvinists. So if some are not Calvinists because of rejecting one or more points, then how am I an Arminian?

Now, here comes the difficult part. I have read different places where the idea of once saved always saved is sort of ridiculed … OSAS … and I have read several Reformed people who have said they don’t believe in Eternal Security. This makes me wonder if I understand the doctrine of P correctly. Then I read this:

R. L. Dabney: "We [Calvinists] do not teach that any man is entitled to believe that he is justified, and therefore shall not come again in condemnation on the proposition "once in grace always in grace," although he be now living in intentional, willful sin. This is a falsehood of Satan we abhor. We say, the fact that this deluded man can live in willful sin is the strongest possible proof that he never was justified, and never had any grace to fall from. And, once for all, no intelligent believer can possibly abuse this doctrine into a pretext for carnal security. It promises to true believers a perseverance in holiness. Who, except an idiot, could infer from that promise the privilege to be unholy?"

Traditional Calvinism has uniformly asserted that "no man is a Christian who does not feel some special love for righteousness" (Institutes 3.6) and has rejected carnal Christianity as a form antinomianism.

Carnal Christianity would be a person who has “received Christ” but who lives like the devil, simply put. Is this possible? The Bible says “God forbid.” Where is an example of such a person? It could be said that the opposite of the licentious approach to Christian living would be the approach of Lordship Salvation. Is this the true 5th point of Calvinism? I haven’t fully looked into the Lordship Salvation issue. But I can say this: the offer of salvation in the epistles, after the cross, seems to be one of reconciliation, of imputed righteousness, not Lordship. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ … does this imply a whole bunch of conditions that don’t seem to be on the face of it and other pasages like it? Believe and receive … and submit to Lordship? If we could submit to Lordship, then why do we need the cross and the sacrifice of Christ? I find this doctrine a bit confusing.

These verses are brought up (Hebrews 12:14b, Ephesians 5:5, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Hmmm … Christ is our righteousness; He will make us fully worthy when we enter the Kingdom of heaven. He will take the positional sanctification that we have as a regenerated individual and translate it into an undeniable, overwhelming reality as these bodies of corruption are put off. We don’t become perfect in this lifetime. To say that the works that we can do after we become born-again in some way contribute to our salvation … that would seem to me like saying that a snail can help me carry a wheelbarrow of dirt across my yard. (But maybe I misunderstand…)

Either way, if P means that we are to continually be looking at ourselves and other Christians to see if we are submitting to the Lordship of Christ and continually evaluating whether or not we have enough works to prove that we are elect in the first place, then I am absolutely a 0-point Calvinist. It seems that this truly is the view of many of the Reformed people that I run across. I guess the only real purpose of the doctrine is to cast doubt or bring assurance on your own salvation or that of others. Is this the widely held view of the Calvinist or is it #3 from above?

I prefer to just look at the perfection of Christ and to know that it is His righteousness and His alone that will see me into the Kingdom and God’s glorious presence. I don’t want to live in sin, but sin is ever present with me. I don’t go around willfully doing acts of sin, but what about sinful thoughts … jealousy … selfishness … are these not sin? Should I doubt my salvation because I am not over these problems? I dare say, no person could ever be saved if it depended on our perseverance in practical sanctification to save us, just because of the very nature of our fleshly mind that is still here. I believe the teaching of practical sanctification is definitely biblical, but it should encourage us, not become a tool for doubt. I refute doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind!

But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. (Romans 7:23-25)

So am I a one-point Calvinist or not?


  • Hi Rose~
    What a great post to finish up your discussion of the TULIP. It sounds like you have worked through this one before. ;-) I have a quote from one of my all time favorite Calvinists:

    “If my good works had put me into Christ, then my bad works might turn me out of Him. But, since He put me in when I was a sinner, vile and worthless, He will never take me out, though I am a sinner, vile and worthless still.”

    Can you guess what 18th century preacher I am quoting?

    Bless you, my sister, my spouse.

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at 12/03/2005 7:03 PM  

  • Rose,

    Rose you would be someone who believes in Once Saved Always Saved.

    Perserverence of the Saints is a bit different but also believes in the work of Free Grace as you are speaking it. We lie in utter dependence on Christ for every part of our salvation. Election, Calling, Regeneration, Conversion, Repentance, faith, justification, sanctification, perseverance, and ultimate glorification are important parts of salvation. You have clearly shown how Salvation is of the Lord and eternal however at the same time it is also true of the fact that "God knows who are his" and many people reject the faith and aren't truly God's children.

    The real question Calvinists deal with in perserverence of the saints is about Christians who have later rejected Christ as their Savior and Lord.

    The scriptures clearly indicate that they were never saved from the first point. 1 John 2:19 says, "They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us."

    Once saved always saved is from God's perspective.

    In Christ, we are a new creation and we will bear some fruit because there is a manifestation of God's Grace in our life.

    The term Lordship salvation was coined by someone who opposed to the view that sanctification is a necessary fruit of our justification. No-Lordship proponents believe that you can reject Christ and still be eternally saved.

    That is wrong I believe from scripture because of the following :

    2 Timothy 2:14-19 " Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”"

    Mark 13:13, “You will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.”

    Luke 9:62, “Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God.’“

    1 Corinthians 15:1-2, “Now I would remind you, brethren, in what terms I preached to you the gospel, which you received, in which you stand, by which you are saved, if you hold it fast—unless you believed in vain.”

    Colossians 1:21-23, “And you, who once were estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, He has now reconciled in His body of flesh by His own death, in order to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before Him, provided that you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel, which you heard, which has been preached to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.”

    2 Timothy 2:11-12, “This saying is sure: If we have died with Him, we shall also live with Him; if we endure, we shall also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He also will deny us.”

    Hebrews 3:6, “Christ was faithful over God’s house as a Son. And we are His house if we hold fast our confidence and pride in our hope.”

    Hebrews 3:12-14, “Take care, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. Exhort one another every day, as long as it is called today, that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have shared in Christ, if we hold our first confidence to the end.”

    Hebrews 6:11-12, “We desire each one of you to show the same earnestness in realizing the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

    Hebrews 10:36, “For you have need of endurance, so that you may do the will of God and receive what is promised.”

    2 Peter 1:10 "10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall."

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/03/2005 7:54 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/03/2005 7:54 PM  

  • Rose,

    I also wanted to thank you for the verses you wrote up tonight as well as well as other nights. They were such a blessing.

    May God be praised for such a great and glorious gospel and His Redeeming Grace. Oh to sing for years and years on his mercy and what a sweet day to be with the Lord growing in greater and greater praise as the richness of his mercy will make us want to explode, but for know let's continue to praise God for His marvelous grace.

    Also wanted to note I realized I keep talking about labels and labels of Christian definitions and then talking of what I believe because of study of scripture as it relates to the study of salvation. This conversation could continue to go on years and years as we read the bible in the future and try to see the Gloriousness of His Gospel.

    Some people call me a 4 point calvinist or 4.5 point calvinist, that is fine, but more often just like you I don't like the labels or the fact that people label me. I realized that I just want to read the bible and study it with friends and be enamered with Christ and His Greatness.

    It sometimes feels to me that these labels sometimes come off as masks to who we really in Christ. For example we have a blogger we don't know anything how he looks except that his look is kind of like that of a Zane Hodges book ;-) Sadly I've noticed in all of this how we tend to view people through a lens of a theological system rather than who they are because we are blinded by what we consider to be their views.

    This is discouraging to me as it shows our continued need for sanctification in our daily lives and how easily we can turn to arugmentation rather than loving Christ together.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/03/2005 8:35 PM  

  • Rose, here are a few quotes from Calvinists:

    Mathison claims that eternal security "is neither Calvinistic nor Arminian" Talbot and Crampton consider it a "psuedo-Christian docrtrine." Gerstner describes eternal security as "antinomian."

    "We have no sympathy whatever with the bald and unqualified declaration 'Once saved always saved.'" (A.W. Pink)

    "It should be obvious that the Calvinist doctrine of the perseverance of the saints is not one and the same thing with 'once saved always saved'" (Talbot and Crampton)

    Note also what they say:

    How can you say that they say you need only do that? "Those who persevere not in faith and holiness, love and obedience, will assuredly perish." (A.W. Pink). Perseverance in the majority of reformed writers is necessary for final salvation.

    "There is a deadly and damnable heresy being widely propagated today to the effect that, if a sinner truly accepts Christ as his personal Savior, no matter how he lives afterwards, he cannot perish. That is a satanic lie, for it is at direct variance with the teaching of the word of truth. Something more than believing in Christ is necessary to ensure the soul's reaching heaven." (A.W. Pink)

    "Reader, if there is a reserve in your obedience, you are on the way to hell" (A.W. Pink).

    "Endurance in faith is a condition for future salvation. Only those who endure in faith will be saved for eternity" (R.C. Sproul)

    "Neither the members of the church nor the elect can be saved unless they persevere in holiness; and they cannot persevere in holiness without continual watchfulness and effort" (Charles Hodge)


    It is one thing to take a text, expound it, and show that it is saying what you are implying it is saying.

    It is another thing altogether to merely rapid fire prooftext, painting your general interpretation on them all, and presenting them without context or a word of explanation, as if the mere referencing of them should persuade the critical mind as to your view.

    I would be willing to discuss any of these texts in detail with you, as I disagree heartily with you that any of these verses prove your theology. On the contrary. I believe they support mine.


    By Blogger Antonio, at 12/04/2005 1:43 AM  

  • Rose, another great post.

    I think Eternal Security is a really important doctrine.

    A small point: I would not use John 6 to argue for Eternal Security because of dispensational considerations. I think Calvinists are wrong to use John 6 to support their view of election and to be consistent, I would not use that passage to support Eternal Security.

    Until recently I believed that Perserverance was a certain result of salvation. However, I think there is an alternative to Perserverance. That is the 'sin unto death'. The most obcious example of this is Ananias and Saphira. It is possible for a believer to so violate God's will as to receive chastisement that results in their physical death or the destruction of their flesh. But not spiritual death, I hasten to add.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/04/2005 7:39 AM  

  • j wendell,
    Thnk you for the encouragement. The preacher is the PRINCE of preachers, C.H. Spurgeon, right? I like the way he put that.

    I am so surprised!!!! Are you then telling me that your brand of Calvinism does not believe in the security of the believer? If that is so and works are necessary for salvation, then what makes this any different from works salvation? The Roman Catholic way that I grew up with? I don't see the difference, and I say this with all due respect. What of the death of Christ and why did he have to shed his blood if it was not to fully justify me postionally? I am so confused now about the TULIP. If you are unconditionally elected, the why is there a condition to stay elected? Help me here.

    I do totally agree about the labels thing. I HATE labels, but I guess I do see their usefulness, in a limited way. I think it would be nice if Antonio put a real picture of himself and not the book, but then again, people would still label him as they do with all of us. But, it's his choice!!

    Those quotes you have listed are telling. It seems from those quotes that maybe I am reading Shawn right. I am truly surprised. Thanks for sharing!!! I do kind of wonder about the reason for this. Are people afraid of OSAS, because they don't trust the average Christian to live right? If OSAS is true, we will just have a bunch of terrible living Christians who embarrass the church? Hmm... I think the Spirit of God will not allow us to persevere in life long sinful acts. I also don't know what is the difference between "the body of this death" and a sinful act. In other words, sin permeates our mind, even as a Christian, we still struggle everyday with the wretchedness of the self. So we can't truly bring our mind under the Lordship of Christ. TRULY. How then can any of us be saved under this condition? How can a theologian separate the thoughts from the action when Christ himself said the thought was where the real sin lies.

    Maybe I am confused about the Lordship movement and someone will enlighten me, here.

    Good point about John 6. Then again, there is enough elsewhere to back up "Eternal Security" and I agree with you that it is very important. How else can we not wonder constantly if we are good enough for the adoption? I also believe the same as you about Annanias ansd Saphira. Every blessing in Christ!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/04/2005 8:16 AM  

  • Antonio,

    Yes I'm just writing verses good point.

    I have only stated my beliefs about perseverence not expounded the scripture of those.

    You may be better off than me about time but I'm trying to state my beliefs.


    Rose I believe that God does produce in each of the truly saved sanctification. This is the fruit of faith not what saves us. We are saved by Grace through faith, we are not justified because of sanctification.

    I believe that God has created good works in Christ as the fruit of faith after someone comes to Christ.

    I don't believe there is such thing as a saving faith without sanctification because it is a work that God has promised to create in each of his children.

    Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/04/2005 8:28 AM  

  • Rose/John/Matthew/Antonio,

    The question I have for each of you. How do we as Christians deal with all of the verses together.

    1) Overwhelming verses about the truth of eternal security in Christ.

    2) Verses that indicate all true Christians continue in faith to the end

    3) Verses that indicate there are those who believe for alittle while but are not his true children.

    When I have seen all of these I have only come to try to incorporate all of these verses in my understanding of faith.

    How does do each of you deal with these verses at the same time? That's why I have come to the conclusion I have come to.

    I don't write this to argue, but trying to understand how others come to their conclusions based on all of scripture.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/04/2005 8:45 AM  

  • Shawn, I would also point out that there are verses that indicate that a believer can lose their physical life as a result of God's chastisement. These also need to be considered in discussing the topic of Perserverance.

    I think that most belivers will perservere as a result of God working in them through the Holy Spirit. However, I think the idea of perserverance being automatic leaves little room for the doctrine of chastisement.

    I think that a believer has two options- perserverance or destruction of the flesh. I think the idea of 'Carnal Christians' is wrong. The idea that Dispensational Non-Calvinists believe that you can live in sin after conversion is a straw man. God does not give us the option of living in a sinful manner. If we depart from the faith to live in sin, then he deal with us in judgment.

    J.N. Darby (the founder of Dispensationalism and the subject of my PhD thesis) wrote a devotional essay on the story of Christian girl who got engaged to an unconverted man. She got ill and died before the wedding. Darby argued in the strongest terms that her illness and death was the judgment of God, though she was a believer.

    As regards Justificationa dn Sanctification, I do think that you are in danger of confusing the two things. You said:

    'Rose I believe that God does produce in each of the truly saved sanctification. This is the fruit of faith not what saves us.'

    If our saving faith must involve the works of Sanctification, then the difference between the two things is purely technical. My justification depends upon my doing works. This is infused righteousness and on the road to Catholicism.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/04/2005 10:08 AM  

  • Matthew,

    Thanks, I'm just referring to Ephesians 2:8-9 in my understanding of what God does after we have been saved.

    Thanks for your comments.

    By the way, My mother now rejects Christ as her Lord and Savior and hateseverything to do with Christianity. She is not a professing Psychic and tells people's fortunes and now goes across the country in her psychic work.

    She and her husband are one of the primary people who helped me come to Christ when I was 15. I didn't live with her, but lived with my Father and step mother and her husband really discipled me in Christ.

    That is the reason I ask people who believe differently as I do know that people temporarily fall away from the faith (Think of Peter in his disowning of Christ and our own lives).

    I do know that those sheep who fall away temporarily will be restored back to the hope that they knew in the first place, however if my mother stays in this condition, I don't see how scripturally we could even come close to believing that she will be with Christ in heaven even if I want it so much.

    Please note I haven't given up in trying to share Christ with her and thanks for your discussion

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/04/2005 10:16 AM  

  • Matthew,

    Correction I said "She is not a professing Psychic "

    But I meant to say "She is now a profession Psychic"

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/04/2005 10:55 AM  

  • Matthew,

    I was thinking about something you said and your concern about me becoming a infused righteousness person. I see your point because I'm mostly stating how I'm at odds with certain forms of christianity that believe Sanctification is just for some Christians.

    The point I believe you are trying to make is that we can as believers put an bigger emphasis on obedience ABOVE trusting in Jesus and utter reliance upon Christ for all aspects of our sanctification.

    Sanctification is important part of each Christians life, however our obedience is flawed in, however if that is a LARGER OR BIGGER emphasis above trusting Jesus for all aspects of life and godliness we are possibly in danger of doing what the Galatian churches were doing, compelling people to perform some set
    of works in order to be accepted by God.

    There can be an overemphasis as the primary goal of a Christian on works and perfect obedience to such a degree that a Christian doesn't see and delight in what Christ has done. This is the heart of the matter of what your concern is.

    My belief is that the whole of the Bible teaches us PRIMARILY about the greatness of God, the sinfulness of humans and the Grace of God to save Sinners. Out of our changed hearts we love to follow and obey God, but it
    only comes because we are primarily focused on the Cross of Christ and the grace of God and the person of God. He has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the fact of Christ.

    We understand that one hand we are not justified by working of the law. We know that we cannot keep
    it. But we also know that the Scriptures are profitable for our instruction in righteousness. How so? Because it tells us how to live! So we read the word,
    but we are more than hearers - we are doers of that word. God is not interested in just hearers of the word, but doers as well.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/04/2005 1:28 PM  

  • Shawn, I disagree with your nos. 2 and 3. You have put the cart before the horse on that. You are using them as a premise without supporting these assertions from the Scripture. This is the reason why I would be willing to discuss any supposed support from the Scripture for these 2 unsubstantiated claims.


    By Blogger Antonio, at 12/04/2005 1:32 PM  

  • Hi Rose!

    Good job on the post. I wonder how much of our post-modern confusion about perseverance has to do with people who say they are Christians, who profess Christ as long as the health and wealth gospel is benefiting them and flee from Christianity when it requires sacrifice (give up Desperate Housewives and other primetime TV, NEVER!!!) Were they ever saved in the first place? Those Christians are very different from the biblical Christians (not sure what else to call them) I know in my life. Your commenters seem to be of the biblical ilk.

    How come you and others think Shawn is wrong? I don't see what you and Antonio are talking about. Maybe I'm more Reformed than I give myself credit for. They tend to lose me on the baptism of infants though.

    By Blogger mas, at 12/04/2005 2:11 PM  

  • My concern, Shawn, is your understanding of saving faith. If you held that saving faith is a passive reception of Christ, but the believer later receives sufficent faith to perservere and live in holiness, I would not be concerned. I am no longer sure this is correct, but it would not have given me the concern I now feel over you doctrine.

    What you seem to be advocating is that the saving faith that is involved in justification is the same faith that enables one to do works. I think this confuses justification and sanctification and so will lead in a Romanist direction.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/04/2005 2:51 PM  

  • Rose, is this the last post on TULIP? I have so enjoyed these discussions and reading your posts on the subject. I used to hate debating this subject, but the discussion here has been so warm and civil.

    When can we expect a series of posts on eschatology?

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/04/2005 2:59 PM  

  • Shawn, and mas,
    Hi and happy Sunday! The problem that I have with the Lordship Salvation is the "different gospel" thing. I hold in my hand a copy of the book "The Gospel According to Jesus" and in it, in the introduction, J. McCarthur says that Lewis Sperry Chafer has been presenting "a different gospel". He says, to paraphrase, that a gospel which says that you can go and live anyway you like after having recieved regenerating faith in Christ is "another gospel." First of all, I don't think any preacher would ever preach that a person should live however they want, doing willful acts of sin after salvation. BUT, if a preacher is posing a hypothetical of such a case, that is a different story altogether. If he is not telling people that they should live licentiously, but saying that if a person did... if a Christian had truly been born again, how could he then die (everlasting death)? It is the gospel. Christ is our righteousness, not our performance. However we get "into Him" (which has been all the subject of the previous posts) how can we get out of Him? Now Ephesians says that we should walk in [good works], but must we to be saved? I think not, else why the cross?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/04/2005 3:11 PM  

  • Mas,

    I'm a historic baptist at heart however goto an evangelical free church. I don't believe in baby baptism as well.


    I'm a blogger who at one minute is trying to take care of my little kids 2,3 & 5 and write something quickly as the kids get dressed or my kids are looking around and the next minute I'm trying to blog.

    Not a great combination if you want to write things like a treatise on justification or saving faith!! ;-)

    I'm sometimes in my statements are talking about justification and the next about sanctification of the believer. I tend to write in a praising kind of manner and am skipping to the sanctification at times when I started a discussion on sanctification. Please note I do believe they are different. When I blog as I am thinking of the greatness of Christ rather than being very clear about my words.

    Matthew you wrote "If you held that saving faith is a passive reception of Christ, but the believer later receives sufficent faith to perservere and live in holiness, I would not be concerned."

    I liked what you wrote and very well said, however I don't think I would use the term passive. I don't think saving faith is passive, it generally for most people involves crying, passions, etc, because they have seen the glory of God in the face of Christ.

    However, if by passive you mean the "empty hand of faith" bringing nothing to our salvation I totally agree with your statements above!!!

    Here's a great quote from the Westminster confession of faith "Those whom God effectually calleth he also freely justifieth; not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous: not for anything wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ's sake alone . . . (2) Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and his righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification; yet is it not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is not dead faith, but worketh by love."

    This would be a better way to specify what I think of on the topic.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/04/2005 3:17 PM  

  • On a personal note: the men that presented the gospel to me told me of the free gift of salvation. They told me that I did not have to give up sin to recieve Christ. They encouraged me to trust in Christ, to see that I was a sinner and ask Him for mercy because of His great sacrifice in which He haid paid the debt of all my sin. They told me "come to Him just as you are." He will clean you up, but that is for after you establish the relationship with Him by seeing what He has done for you and casting yourself on His mercy. Was that "another gospel"?

    This message is why I became a Christian. I didn't want to give up drinking, carousing, drugs before being born again. I don't think I would have wanted anything to do with a gospel that told me I must be ready to "follow Jesus" by living right and repenting of all my ways. I understood repenting at that time to be recognizing my sinfulness, but not necessarily stopping it. Of course, I almost immediately did stop most of the sinful practices right away, because the HS wasn't comfortable in the bar life I had been a part of. But even this, the putting off of specific sins, was a result of salvation. It was not the gospel that I received.

    JESUS. is that gospel.

    He saved me and He will keep me even in all the wretchedness of my currently wretched, selfish mind. Thinking that the sanctification we do down here is a step toward glorification is like thinking that a step out my front door gets me closer to China. It is insignificant. Christ is the significant one and by Him, I will stand in God's presence. In my life saving faith has produced change in outward behavior and interests of my mind, etc. IT IS THE FRUIT OF THE TREE, NOT THE TREE ITSELF OR THE SEED THAT BEGAN THIS TREE. I can't point to another Christian and say they have no fruit therefore say they have no tree. I must go by what they say they believe and whether they say they are trusting Christ. God will sort it all out because He sees into the hearts and searches the hearts.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/04/2005 3:27 PM  

  • Thats better, Shawn. I am not so sure that all new believers do behold the glory of God in Christ at their conversion, though.

    My concern has been that you have, in a number of comments, attatched various things to saving faith, such as love for Christ and willingness to lay down one's life which touch on sanctification. It is this that has lead to my concern that you believe in a form of infused righteousness to some degree.

    I believe you are a faithful servant of Christ who seeks to serve God and understand His word ever more fully. However, I think some of your comments indicate a degree of confusion in Calvinism that is greatly to deplored. I do not blame you, but your favoured system of theology. I hope I am not sounding at all arrogant.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/04/2005 3:29 PM  

  • Matthew,
    Thank you for saying that! You are so kind. I have been blessed to have you as a part of these discussions. I may do one "wrap up" post on TULIP and then put it aside for a very very very long time! (Put it in a box and throw away the key?)

    Why don't you do the eschatology discussion?

    Shawn, I'm still thinking about your question earlier:

    The question I have for each of you. How do we as Christians deal with all of the verses together.
    3) Verses that indicate there are those who believe for a little while but are not his true children.

    #3 ... where are such people discussed in the Bible? Give me some examples.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/04/2005 3:31 PM  

  • Rose,

    I don't know exactly to what Mac is referring to, but Eternal Security I think in some circles has created what seems to me to be a glossing over of the verses that refer to perseverence in faith and holiness and created a large amount of problems in the body of Christ. I don't have as much problems with Ryrie's stuff, but very confused with Hodges' statements as I don't know where he is getting them from scripture and that is distressing.

    For example to state that sanctification is only part of some believers lives and adding on of the term "carnal Christian" as some 2nd class of Christians (when in fact all christians are carnal). It's a different in that sense.

    To me saying that sanctification is just not part of God's redeeming Grace and many times people reject Christ afterward that tends to me to be a different than the way the apostles and jesus taught it.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/04/2005 3:35 PM  

  • Well, Rose~ I have already posted recently on my Bible Prophecy blog. Anyone is welcome to come and discuss that. However, as you already had a much larger number of visitors than I usually get when you started the TULIP posts, there was bound to be a lot more lively discussion.

    God Bless


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/04/2005 3:35 PM  

  • Matthew,
    I saw that at your blog. I just haven't had time to read it yet, what with being so busy with the family and the TULIP. :~) I will read it in the next two days.

    Every Blessing in Christ!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/04/2005 3:42 PM  

  • Rose,

    Great statements about not being fruit inspectors. That's so true, however my statements about sanctification are trying to reconcile all of the bible statements together.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/04/2005 3:42 PM  

  • Rose,

    God can work through our gospel presentation that are flawed. Hey hopefully he can work through me. I do think we should preach a message of repentence as well and would believe that is what the bible teaches the apostles did as well.

    About verses that refer to believers who believe for alittle while consider the following verses.

    Luke 8/Matthew 13
    2 Timothy 2:14-19
    Matthew 24:10
    Hebrews 6:4-6
    Mark 13:13,
    Luke 9:62,
    1 Corinthians 15:1-2
    Colossians 1:21-23
    2 Timothy 2:11-12
    Hebrews 3:6
    Hebrews 3:12-14
    Hebrews 6:11-12
    Hebrews 10:36
    2 Peter 1:10
    Galatians 1:6
    1 Timothy 4:1-2
    Hebrews 10:26-27

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/04/2005 4:03 PM  

  • Anyone gonna comment on my mother story?? It would be interesting to note various opinion on that.

    This sure hit me where I lived that is to be sure

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/04/2005 4:12 PM  

  • Shawn I have a similar mother. She has told me she prayed the sinner's prayer to get my husband to stop witnessing to her. Ouch, mom! Also, I don't believe that there is a second class of Christian. Either you're saved or you're not. But if your fruit looks, acts and smells like the world your fruit is probably of the world and not of God.

    By Blogger mas, at 12/04/2005 4:33 PM  

  • Hi Rose

    All of us know cases of apparently born-again believers who either drifted away from the church or fell into outright sin. Some repent and return, but others do not. What shall we say about them? Have they lost their salvation? Did they ever have it in the first place?
    Your salvation is eternally secure if God did the saving. But if you think that salvation is a cooperative venture between yourself and God-where you do a part and he does a part-then you're in big trouble because anything you start, you could mess up somewhere along the way. But if God started it, he'll also finish it.

    I'm so glad of that I miss every thing up.

    I thought I would my two cents in to.

    By Blogger forgiven, at 12/04/2005 4:39 PM  

  • Temporary faith.

    What a can of worms.

    Is eternal life conditioned on a faith that perseveres til the end?

    Is there not times in our Christian life that we have unfortunately been plagued with doubt and even have lost faith?

    To those who have experienced doubts, or loss, did God in those times fail His work of persevering in him?

    If eternal life is conditioned on faith til the end, wouldn't it then not be ours until death? What of the passages that state that eternal life is an immediate and present possesion of those who exercise a simple act of faith in Christ.

    So many questions!

    Shawn, how do YOU know that you do not have a temporary faith? There is no guarantee that you do. You may not be saved, but merely have a temporary faith. Look at the problems this would have with assurance!

    There are so many problems with the doctrine of spurious faith. There IS no doctrine of it in the bible. The very MOMENT you believe in Christ you HAVE everlasting life. Eternal life is not granted to you upon the succesful completion of faithful perseverance. It is the immediate and present possesion of the one who excercises simple faith in Christ, at that very moment.

    Let us say that I believed in Christ for His absolutely free gift of eternal life. By Christ's promise I HAVE that life as a present and immediate possesion.

    Later on, I lose my faith. This would be sin, no? Was this sin not a sin that was on Christ when He died? Did not Christ die for that sin?

    Jesus conditions eternal life on a one time appropriation of it by faith. If a linnear line aspect of faith was necessary for it 2 things could be observed:

    1) Eternal life would not come until death
    2) no one could make it. Christians (especially baby Christians) struggle with doubt in Christ. Conditions and circumstances sometimes break their faith like the winds and the waves did Peter.

    I could go on, and on, and on. This is merely philosophizing. Rather, we should look at texts of the bible.

    To end, I wish to quote Calvin concerning the dreaded doctrine of "Temporary Faith", which if true, NOT A SINGLE PERSON CAN SAY THAT THEY ARE SAVED FOR THEY TOO CAN MERELY HAVE A TEMPORARY FAITH THAT LATER PROVES EVANESCENT, therefore showing that they were never truly saved.

    "...experience shows that the reprobate are sometimes affected in a way similar to the elect, that even in their own judgement there is no difference between them... Not that they truly perceive the power of spiritual grace and the sure light of faith; but the Lord the better to convict them, and leave them without excuse, instills into their minds such a sense of his goodness as can be felt without the Spirit of adoption.

    "Still it is correctly said, that the reprobate believe God to be propitious to them, inasmuch as they accept the gift of reconciliation, though confusedly and without due discernment... Nor do I even deny that God illumines their minds to this extent, that they recognize his grace; but that conviction he distinguishes from the peculiar testimony which he gives his elect in this respect, that the reprobate never obtain to the full result or to fruition. When he shows himself propitious to them, it is not as if he had truly rescued them from death, and taken them under his protection. he only gives them a manifestation of his present mercy. In the elect alone he implants the living roots of faith, so that they persevere even unto the end. (Institutes III.II.11-12)

    Ineffectual grace (my term) is due to the ministry of the Spirit in imparting "transitory" faith or temporary faith. John Calvin argues this from Scripture on the basis of Heb 6:4-5:

    "I know that to attribute faith to the reprobate seems hard to some, when Paul declares it (faith) to be the result of election. This difficulty is easily solved. For...experience shows that the reprobate are sometimes affected by almost the same feeling as the elect, so that even in their own judgement they do not in any way differ from the elect" (Institutes III.II.11)


    By Blogger Antonio, at 12/04/2005 4:39 PM  

  • See Rose
    I messed up my writing
    God Bless

    By Blogger forgiven, at 12/04/2005 4:42 PM  

  • Matthew,

    Here's the verse I was talking about when someone comes to Christ. It seems to me that they are seeing the glory of God in the face of Christ and what we are to focus on in our preaching.

    2 Corinthians 4:5-6 "For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/04/2005 4:50 PM  

  • "There is nothing to prevent His giving some a slight knowledge of his gospel, and imbuing others thoroughly... the light which glimmers in the reprobate is afterward quenched..."
    (Calvin "Institutes..." III:ii, 11-12

    Calvin seems to credit God with working an almost fiendish deception upon the reprobate, "enlightening some with a present sense of grace, which afterwards proves evanescent." (Institutes, III:ii, 11)

    To sum it up:

    "Whoever said, 'The Calvinist knows that he cannot fall from salvation but does not know whether he has got it,' had it summed up nicely." (D.A. Carson)


    By Blogger Antonio, at 12/04/2005 4:50 PM  

  • forgiven,


    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/04/2005 5:01 PM  

  • Sorry, I've been away and have little time. My own blog is suffering as a result. The only stuff I post is what I wrote weeks ago and I cut and paste for Advent.

    I might be able to find time to comment after Christmas.

    By Blogger Earl, at 12/04/2005 9:27 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    I've been very busy lately, sorry I've been missing out on such an excellent conversation!

    I think I am closest to position #1 on the list you gave. This oversimplifies it, but here's the basic point I would ask someone to think about:

    The Bible never says in a plain, doctrinal creedal statement "You can lose your salvation." or, "Beware, lest you lose your salvation." or "Oops! Sorry! Looks like you just lost your salvation!" If the Bible made such a statement, there would be a premise for believing such a doctrine.

    On the other hand, the Bible never plainly says: "You can never lose your salvation." If it did say that, there would be a premise for that belief.

    Neither belief has an actual Scriptural premise. The premise is merely assumed and efforts are made to build upon the assumption. Soon, an impressive structure ascends and it looks like a formidable argument. But is it? Is either one?

    Jesus spoke of those who would build on the sand. They did not have His word for a foundation, but the structure went up anyway; and for a while it may have looked grand! But it would eventually fall, and the fall of that house would be great.

    So if the Bible doesn't use either premise to adddress salvation, what sort of terminology does it use? The actual Biblical premise is either to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Phil 2:12) or to "Neglect so great a salvation." (Heb 2:3).This portrays salvation in more of a progressive sense, having a beginning and also a final consummation.

    Actually I've still got a lot of work I need to get back to, but here's a link (if you don't mind) where this perspective is explained further.

    Hope everyone here is doing well. Loks ike even Shawn has finally got some spare time on his hands :0)

    By Blogger loren, at 12/04/2005 9:56 PM  

  • Loren,

    I was more stating how can you state that Reason #1, #2, & #3 above which can be found throughout the scriptures. If you believe that only #1 can be found in scripture it would be nice to hear some rendering of those verses as I have listed to Rose.

    Do you agree like Antonio that #2 & #3 can't be clearly seen in scripture. I find a very ackward reading the of warning texts otherwise very confusing.

    1) Overwhelming verses about the truth of eternal security in Christ.

    2) Verses that indicate all true Christians continue in faith to the end

    3) Verses that indicate there are those who believe for alittle while but are not his true children.

    I believe all 3 are true at the same time.

    The warning texts are for Christians and those who profess faith in Christ in my article I wrote a bit ago.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/04/2005 11:27 PM  

  • Loren,

    The Gospel of John, the only book in the Bible with the express, explicit, and written purpose of being evangelistic (John 20:31) makes it very clear that salvation cannot be lost.

    John 4:14
    but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."

    Here we drink of the water and we will never thirst! Why? The water becomes its own perpetual spring.

    John 5:24
    "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

    This covers all the bases. MOST ASSUREDLY, most solemnly Jesus asserts that the believer has 3 things true of him:

    1) Present: has eternal life
    2) Future : shall not come into judgment
    3) Past: already passed from death unto life

    John 6:40
    40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day."

    Jesus WILL raise the recipient of eternal life

    John 10:28
    And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish

    How clear is "shall never perish"?

    John 11:25-26
    "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.

    Here is a most solemn promise. Notice especially verse 26. Language could hardly get more emphatic then the Greek of verse 26 that you can't lose eternal life.

    It contains "ou me eis twn aiwnios" = "not never into eternity" We shall not never into eternity die.

    As to Phil 2:12, no verse could hardly be taken more out of context. How are you so sure the "deliverance" (grk "soteria") in that verse means "eternal salvation from hell"? I assert that it does not.

    And Shawn, you did not care to comment or answer any of the quetions from my "temporary faith" comments? You opened up that can of worms.


    By Blogger Antonio, at 12/05/2005 1:00 AM  

  • Shawn,
    Yes, good point. But how much of this knowledge of glory do we behold at conversion? I suppose a simple understanding of the cross shows a good deal of the glory of Christ.

    As for spurious faith; no doubt there are people who appear to be saved and who fall away. However, if these people were unsaved they must have had no faith at all and ought to have known better. I do think the idea of a spurious faith, whereby one thinks he is trusting in Christ, but is not is very problematic.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/05/2005 4:08 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Again I read with interest but this time my heart won’t let me be silent. My sympathy for Shawn is overwhelming. I’ll pray for his family.

    The understanding of sanctification and what it actually is and who accomplishes it might be of help. I know many perceive it as personal piety but I don’t find the scripture to indicate that anywhere. It seems that what has been defined here as sanctification is what I find the scripture to call reasonable service. I won’t press anyone to accept my understanding but I would ask that you examine the verses that pertain to sanctification. I find it is nothing less than an act of God. If anyone finds evidence to the contrary I would appreciate it.

    May God continue to bless your efforts here.

    By Blogger Kc, at 12/05/2005 7:47 AM  

  • We adopted a little girl. When she was four, she misbehaved. We sent her back to the adoption agency. She seemed to straighten out so we adopted her agian.

    I have been adopted into the family of God. If I misbehave will He......?

    By Blogger Joe, at 12/05/2005 8:28 AM  

  • Hi Rose and Shawn and Antonio,

    To be honest I'm in such a huge rush that I haven't had time to read the previous remarks in any detail. But here's a quick thought:

    If you pull out your concordance and look up the passages that actually use the words 'save', 'saved' or 'salvation', you'll find that there are more than 110 such verses in the New Testament alone (and far more than that in the Old).

    But If you'll look at the Scriptures that are used in arguing that a Christian can or cannot lose their salvation, you'll find that not a single one of them even mentions salvation. Or conversely, how can we build such an understanding on salvation without mentioning a single verse that actually talks about it? After all, there are only 110 of them!

    (Actually there are two verses that at least mention the word, but in neither case is it the actual point under discussion).

    So the most basic objection I would have for everyone's Scriptural quotations is that they are all off subject, and as such they must depend on syllogisms. This adds a step of human reasoning that says something the Scriptures aren't necessarily saying.

    For example, Gal 5 says: "You have become estranged from Christ; you have fallen from grace." One could make the point: "Well, we are saved by grace, but these Christians fell from grace. So what are they saved by now?" This might sound like an awesome argument. But in reality it's not talking about salvation, it's talking about grace.

    In a similar way, the Scriptures usually quoted are not actually discussing salvation, they are talking about peripheral subjects such as abiding in Christ, eternal life, or faith. No doubt these are closely associated subjects, but it is still dangerous to build a premise on a syllogism.

    In case anyone is unfamiliar with syllogisms, here's the classic example. 1. River are made of water. 2 Water runs downhill. Therefore: 3. Rivers run down hill. That sound nice and logical, but in reality it is too simplistic and can lead to error. For example, if I said that 1. Steam is made of water. 2. Water runs downhill. Therefore 3. Steam runs downhill. . . would that be correct? No because steam rises. Even the classic syllogism illustrates the problem well. Syllogisms can be handled at a more complex level of understanding but they are unsuitable for use as a premise.

    Try looking up the 110 verses I mentioned. Look for how they reflect on Jesus. Find their common testimony. Find one verse that plainly states this common perspective in a doctrinal, creedal statement. You'll have to arrive at a conclusion similar to the one I've come to favor.

    I'll try to check back and read somemore tonight.

    By Blogger loren, at 12/05/2005 8:31 AM  

  • Loren,

    The facts of those who shipwreck the faith and fall away from the faith are abounding in Jesus' and the Apostles statements.

    We as Christians can't negate the warnings throughout scriptures in our understanding of OSAS. We should do well to listen to them as they are given for each of us who are believers even though the sheep will not ever be plucked out of his hand. In the words of a John Piper song/hymn "God's mighty word can never fail, Though some be lost and saints be frail.
    There is a chosen Israel, Who cherished Christ and never fell. All the elect in Christ prevail,
    God's purpose stands it cannot fail. God's purpose stands it cannot fail."

    What I'm trying to get away from is this idea that we continually skip over verses that are large warnings because they don't directly say salvation. The fact is they do. God put them their for the body of Christ.

    True believers make it to the end and continue in the faith the scripture is clear on that. All of the true sheep will continue in faith, but have many moments of lose of faith and denying Christ (example, Peter & Christ)

    This is fact of falling away is all over the scriptures and Jesus and the apostles direct these statements to the all people who profess Christ. Both those who will make it to the end and those who don't!!! It's there for all of us.

    Let's take the warnings and security verses into consideration in our theology or we could be like those who want to explain away all scripture. This is a tendency in theology to not get to the heart of the bible.

    We should take these warnings seriously and not negate them so our theology of OSAS or POTS should incorporate the warnings as well.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/05/2005 10:03 AM  

  • Joe,

    There is no such thing as temporary adoption in the body of Christ.

    Please see the note above to Loren.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/05/2005 10:05 AM  

  • Matthew,

    I think the portion of scripture that indicates "For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." it is directly referring to salvation meaning that God has taken away the darkness of our sin and death and is making his glory alive in the life of the believer.

    In the words of Charles Wesley (whom I think may have meditated on this verse related to the darkness and light to explain how he got this awesome hymn) " Long my imprisoned spirit lay, Fast bound in sin and nature’s night; Thine eye diffused a quickening ray— I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
    My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee."


    I guess I just don't get what you are saying so I have skipped over. Please forgive me for not discussing. Maybe we can continue at another blog if possible, I just don't want to be argumentative and since we see the scriptures fairly differently I don't want to be argumentative.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/05/2005 10:18 AM  

  • Earl,
    Thanks for stopping by. I was counting on you to tell me whether I am a one point Calvinist or a 0 point Calvinist.

    You are the blogger #1 that I was referring to in my post (I told you I had been reading in your archives ... the letters to "?" I can't remember his name) Anyways, thanks for commenting.

    Like I said at the beginning of the post, I knew this discussion could go in plenty of different directions and to be truthful, I am amazed at how many different directions it has gone. My head is spinning. I still want to look up the verses that Shawn has posted.

    I still wish I could hear what you have to say to Antonio's question about temorary faith and how it relates to you.

    Thanks for your brief comment, in so few words, you have said a VOLUME!!!! God is so much better of a parent than we are, is He not?

    Thanks for speaking up. I too am concerned at the works/faith, insecurity marriage. Not that I think a Christian should not work, but must he? Our salvation has been secured.

    thanks for bringing to my attention so many "bizarritiies" (new word) from Calvin's Institutes. I am more amazed every day at what he really was teaching. Now I understand why a dear senior lady who owns a Chritian bookstore here got a pale look on her face when I asked if she could order "Calvin's Institutes".

    Every Blessing in Christ!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/05/2005 10:20 AM  

  • Good Morning Rose

    Matthew 1:21
    1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

    Meaning a total salvation, it is finished.

    By Blogger forgiven, at 12/05/2005 10:52 AM  

  • Forgiven,

    Agreed his people will be saved.


    You believe in OSAS which may or may not be perseverence of the saints for some believers in OSAS. Some people who believe in eternal security also believe in POTS, however some don't.

    Based on what you have said so far I would say you are a dispensational non-calvinist or 0-point calvinist not or a 4-point arminian who believes in eternal security if you like definitions or as I would like to call you a "adopted born again christian". This is what I was referring to when people called you semi-pelagian. I don't like these labels as they tend to hurt people's feelings.

    I can give you a much larger listing of scriptures if you like to look into and research for yourself in context if you like about shipwrecked faith and perseverence of the saints. However if not then I can skip it.

    Thanks I may discuss it with Antonio more if need be and I know that I will talk to him about the nature of saving faith and shipwrecked faith on my blog soon enough as he promised to comment often.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/05/2005 11:16 AM  

  • Amen, forgiven. "Tetellesti" I believe is the word Jesus called out on the cross to proclaim that his sacrifice was complete.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/05/2005 11:17 AM  

  • What does POTS translate into?

    By Blogger mas, at 12/05/2005 11:54 AM  

  • mas,
    I think Perseverance of the Saints. That threw me at first, too. BTW, your comment earlier about feeling an emptiness before salvation... don't you think all the people in the world are really suffereing from this in one way or another? I do. I think that is why we have all the myriads of entrapments that are a delusion of fulfillment.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/05/2005 12:08 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Yep, I think everyone has that same empty feeling too. There is only one way to really fill that emptiness and that is with Christ, anything else is in vain. I guess that takes us back to election. If everyone has a God shaped hole but most of the world choses to fill it with other shapes how does God awake in us the realization that it is a God-shaped hole and not money shaped or vanity shaped or whatever thing you try to plug it with? But we have moved on from that question and are now wondering whether you are a 1-point Calvinist. I definitely can't answer that one for you.

    By Blogger mas, at 12/05/2005 12:38 PM  

  • Rose,

    If you really need a classification then let it be "ROSES" ;-)

    By Blogger Kc, at 12/05/2005 1:39 PM  

  • Ill call my position on this Perserverance or Death. I cannot see a Biblical alternative between perservering in the faith or being chastised unto death. I do not think God gives us the option of being a carnal Christian.

    I doubt the Calvinists would find this an acceptable position. But would Antonio accept this position?

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/05/2005 1:59 PM  

  • First of all, it is a huge thing to state that all true Christians will persevere until the end. This has NOT been established.

    Although eternal life is dependent upon God alone, sanctification is a co-operation between God and man.

    Also, as with receiving ANY gift, it takes but a ONE TIME APPROPRIATION. The immediate act of simple faith in Christ with the purpose of receiving eternal life brings the immediate and present possesion of eternal life to the one who exercised the act of faith.

    It is the sad fact that people can get saved then walk away from "the faith" later and permanently. Are they still saved? Yes.

    Such a person will have the chastening of the Lord on his life. His life will be devoid of true purpose and meaning, and he will suffer eternal consequences at the judgement seat of Christ (yet he himself will be saved, yet as through fire). My pity goes to those who get saved and then later fall away. In a sense, they end up in a temporally worse state than when they were unregenerate. For the hand of God will be heavy on them, their lives are robbed from true purpose and meaning.

    All this talk about God persevering the saint is really confusing. Now it can be substantially shown that "true" Christians fall and sometimes very hard.

    Does this betray a half-hearted work on God's part? God's work of salvation is perfect, but his work of temporal progressive sanctification is patchy, perforated, and variable? Do all true saints attain the same level of sanctification? Why not?

    Do you see what involvement the saint has even in the doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints?

    So in essence, for the Calvinistic doctrine of perseverance to be true, all that has to happen is that the Christian just has to die with faith.

    He can get saved, then fall into grievious sin for an unspecificed amount of time, walking away from "the faith", for years, then a month before he dies, return to the faith, thus proving he was elect.

    The subjective nature of this is startling! All the confessions admit that elect can fall away, even unto grievous sin, for substantial amounts of time. Yet the only thing they say that is true of the elect is that at some time they will come to their senses.

    If a true Christian can do that, why not say he can do that until death?

    The totally subjective and variable nature of God's perseverance of the saint is incredible.

    The big objection to my position is that it will cause antinomianism. Well, grace wouldn't be grace if it couldn't be abused. But since the Christian is in a new relationship with God, God is not pleased to leave His wayward and unfaithful children in that state. He is the chastening, disciplining, and wrathful father. He has many means at His disposal to correct the erroneus saint. He could also say, as has been mentioned by Matthew, "ENOUGH" and take the Christian home.

    A professor of mine coined a saying. "If you do well in the Christian life, God will take you home and crown you. If you fail miserably, God may crown you and take you home."

    Eternal life is a FREE GIFT. It is appropriated by a single act of faith (like a xmas gift is appropriated by a single act of receiving in the hands).

    Once that gift is in the possesion of the believer, he shall never thirst, never hunger, never perish, never not ever die into eternity, never come into judgment.

    Now the person is saved, he builds his life. He can build his life on the words of Christ or not. The one who builds his life on Christ builds his life on a rock. The others on the sand. The one who builds his life on the sand ruins his temporal life in the sense that all that he could have accomplished, all the meaning and purpose is lost and ruined. And his life in an eternal sense has been lost as well. The loss of reward in the kingdom will be great: the priviledges, honors, and glories of co-ruling and co-reigning with Christ will have been given up. He will be in the kingdom, but he will be considered LEAST.

    The intimacy you develop with Christ now will correspond to the intimacy you will share with Him in the kingdom.

    Far from being antinomian, the Free Grace gospel provides two things:

    1) a Free gift of eternal life
    2) a doctrine of both temporal and eternal accountability.

    The Arminian rightly understands that the warning passages are for true Christians, yet wrongly assumes that a loss of eternal life is in view.

    The Calvinist wrongly understands the warning passages as applying to spurious Christians.

    The truth is that the warning passages are talking to Christians but are not speaking as to a losing of salvation, but to both the temporal and eternal consequences for unfaithfulness, chastenings, corrections, discipline in the present, and loss of significant rewards in the future.

    Also, Loren,

    It is the knee jerk reaction of 20-21st century readers of the Bible to import into the word "salvation" the meaning "deliverance from hell" each time he reads it. The Greek readers of the New Testament would not understand it that way. The Greek word for salvation is "soteria" which merely means "deliverance". It is up to the context to decide what kind of "saving" or "deliverance" is in mind.

    My study of the New Testament occurences shows that only around 50% of the time does the Greek word "soteria" have as its meaning in the context that of eternal salvation from hell. The rest of the times they are temporal deliverances from calamity, circumstances, enemies, etc, and also can talk about various deliverances from undesirable consequences at the judgement seat of Christ.

    Wow, long comment!


    By Blogger Antonio, at 12/05/2005 2:07 PM  

  • Matthew,

    The Carnal Christian is not something that is "acceptable" to God as a rightoues alternative. To this I whole-heartedly agree. But there is such a "classification" of Christians. 1 Cor 1-4 (and quite frankly the whole epistle) shows us of their presence. I do think with this you would agree.

    Now to the Carnal Christian God applies His correcting ministry. If that doesn't work, He can and often does apply His wrathful ministry, taking their lives (as He did with Annanias and Saphira and those in Corinth who ate the Lord's supper unworthily).

    To avoid and/or preempt God's temporal disciplines the carnal Christian must repent of his doings.

    The carnal Christian, if he continues to spurn the corrections of God may look forward to pre-mature death and an unfavorable review at the judgement seat of Christ (Bema).

    The book of proverbs is full of these principles:

    wickedness can cut one's temporal life short
    righteousness can lengthen one's life

    I once higlighted the verses in Proverbs that speak unto this and I literally had to highlight dozens of verses. This is a theme that runs throughout the book. Also the theme of God's correction is definitly there as well.

    The above observation is a hint to the salvation that James has in mind chapter 2. Yet I will wait to expound that on my blog in my series in James.

    Matthew, your position is essentially mine. I have never read any of Darby, but I probably would do well to widen my reading to include him.

    If I were to pick one book authored or specifically about him, which would you recommend?


    By Blogger Antonio, at 12/05/2005 2:23 PM  

  • Antonio,
    I am glad we largely agree.

    J.N. Darby's writings are incredibly difficult and badly written. He wrote 34 volumes of papers (I have read about 20 volumes so far).

    His best work is probably his five-volume 'Synopsis of the Books of the Bible'. This can be read online on the StudyLight webisite.

    Some of his papers are available as pamphlets. My favorite of these is 'The Notion of a Clergyman Dispensationally the Sin against the Holy Ghost'.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/05/2005 2:31 PM  

  • Antonio,

    I'll get back to you previous points if I have time, but right now after hearing your statements I have a question.

    How within your theology does Judas fit? You statement about faith is true in Judas, he definitely had faith and turned to Christ for 3 years I suppose.

    However the truth is the scriptures indicate he is in hell?

    How does Judas fit into your theology, did he not believe and receive the gift of Grace and believe in Christ but is the son of destruction and it clearly indicates it would be better if he had not been born.

    Shawn Lynes

    ps. I'm not writing this to depress anyone. More later.. especially in the warnings verses

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/05/2005 3:32 PM  

  • Rose,

    Can I ask you three questions?

    1. Why did Jesus talk to his disciples and Judas the same way?

    2. In the book of Numbers(primarily chapters 11,14,21) the trials of the desert revealed something; what was it? (Numbers 14:11)

    3. What is the word for confess in greek found in Romans 10:9 when Paul says we must *confess* the Lord Jesus *and believe in order to be saved?

    Simeon told a young Mary that her soul would be pierced so that the thoughts of hearts would be revealed. The closer we get to the cross the more our hearts are revealed and whether we hold fast to our confession or deny it reveals whether we be a Judas or a true disciple. Yes salvation is a gift. Peter called men to repent in Acts and then they would recieve the gift of the Holy Spirit. In some circles I grew up with a teaching that bypassed that repentance that prepares the heart to receive. You are right that Rome teaches works; they add to the gospel message, yet there is a sifting away of repentance that teaches you can have your cake and eat it too. It is the same lie that Aleister Crowley tried to sell. Do what thou wilt! There must be an inner breaking and turning from rebellion against God. I do not speak of perfect submission but I do speak to a broken and contrite heart that the Lord desires. Cain would not break. He was told to turn but his rebellion would not yeild. The whole travesty of Gods anguish is over this issue. Sin and rebellion. I learned that in my quest to exentuate the positive, i was diminishing the negative that all men must come to terms with before they can be saved. Our depravity and unwillingness to follow, but Jesus makes it clear that not everyone that sayeth unto me Lord Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven but those who do the will of my Father.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 12/05/2005 3:40 PM  

  • >as I disagree heartily with you that any of these verses prove your theology. On the contrary. I believe they support mine.<

    Dear friends let us look to the truth and seek after it instead of prove theology. We cannot seize what belongs to God alone.

    The whole question of possession is why Eve sinned. It is why the lost son came home and why the lost son who was home wouldn't come home. We would have nothing were it not given to us from above. Do we understand the purpose of the gift? The possessions of God can be money, skills, intellect or even theology. Even that does not belong to us.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 12/05/2005 4:14 PM  

  • Shawn, I am happy to answer your question. It is true, though, that my post had many questions directed at you and the rest that believe in perseverance of the saints.

    Judas was an example of a disciple who was unregenerate. The Greek word for disciple is "mathates" meaning "learner" or "student". The rabbis had disciples as well. Disciples of teachers during that time went from city to city, town to town, following their teacher and learning from them.

    Many people illegitametly equate the word "disciple" in the synoptics with the idea of "regerate person". One of the first rules of hermeneutics is the law of identity or affirmation. It is erroneous to affirm the identity of two things unless scripture does so. Similarity is not identity. One must never say that two things are identical just because they may appear similar. It must be affirmed that they are. So much heartache and trouble would be avoided if this rule of hermeneutics was strictly adhered to.

    You write:
    You statement about faith is true in Judas, he definitely had faith and turned to Christ for 3 years I suppose.
    "he definitely had faith ... I suppose..." (Doesn't seem like you are willing to go to the mat for that assertion after all!) He had faith I am sure, yet not in the correct things. Judas had faith in Jesus to be a conquering political leader. He followed Christ with this aspiration. He obviously did not believe in Christ with the intended purpose of receiving eternal life.

    In John chapter 6, believe it or not, John refers to those who turned away from Jesus as disciples, and says that Jesus knew that they didn’t believe (vv 60-66). So in the broadest sense, you see, a disciple is someone who is a follower, somebody who is learning from a system, and it may even be someone who doesn’t believe. Judas was one of the twelve disciples. Peter was one of the twelve disciples, but there is quite a difference between the two.

    It is dangerous to assume rather than demonstrate.

    Since Jesus says that whoever merely drinks of the water He gives shall never thirst again, and Judas is portrayed as the son of perdition, it is safe to say that Judas did not drink of the water that Jesus gives.

    If Judas' faith was merely temporary, he would still be saved, as clearly shown in the parable of the sower.

    According to Reformed theology, salvation is contingent on linear faith. Jesus' offer to the Samaratan women at the well thus turns from "whoever drinks of the water that I shall give them shall never thirst again" into "whoever CONTINUES to drink of the water I give them shall never thirst again".

    What a mistake! Of course if you continue to drink something you will never thirst! How is that contrasted with the physical water in John 4 that must continually be drawn?

    Luke 8:11-15
    "Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. 13 But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. 14 Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 15 But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.

    In the pro-life movement for plants, life begins at germination! The seed was planted and created life in the last three soils. Two out of the last three soils does not produce fruit to maturity.

    Only the first one, where it is both explicitly said that Satan stole the seed, and explicitly said so that they should not believe and be saved, does no life occur. In the last three, the seed produces life! This is the word of God producing regereration.

    The fruit bearing after one is regenerate is conditioned upon soil of the heart of the individual (if you disagree with this, why then do some produce 40, 60, 100?).

    The differences between salvation and discipleship:

    Eternal life/Justification
    By Grace
    Christ's love for me
    Christ's Commitment to me
    Christ's cross for me
    Eternal life

    An unbelievers response
    New Birth
    One Condition

    Discipleship (for believers)
    By works
    Through faithfulness
    My love for Christ
    My commitment to Christ
    My cross for Christ
    Eternal Rewards

    A believer's response
    Continued growth
    Many conditions

    (These lists are meant to be viewed side by side for better understanding of contrast).


    By Blogger Antonio, at 12/05/2005 4:39 PM  

  • >and as such they must depend on syllogisms. This adds a step of human reasoning that says something the Scriptures aren't necessarily saying.<

    Dead on brother Loren. We can raise all kinds of hypotheticals, but truth is Jesus told even John the Baptist, "How blessed are those who have no doubts about me!"

    You see God never issues truths to make us comfortable in our salvation so that we can coast and enjoy ourselves. He doesn't wish for us to be comfortable in our salvation but *confident!

    You see I could go on and form a whole doctoral thesis on why sister Sally died early or uncle Bud lived long in faith but they are all my opinions.Those are all shifting sand arguments.Even I have found this true dwelling on my own personal feelings and experiences. We are to go on Scripture and take heed to the warnings of Jesus. The question is do we respond positively or negatively to what Scripture says. Our growth should be continual and if we are offended and fall away at what Scripture says or rebel then it is a definate sign of unbelief. Don't look at your neighbors only look to Him and His word. You alone are accountable for yourself.

    John gave us one way to truly know if we know Him. I John 2:3-6 and Jesus' own words found in John, "If you continue in my word then you are my disciples indeed and you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free."

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 12/05/2005 5:16 PM  

  • Bhedr,
    Is this a test? Here you are again, asking questions. ;~)

    1. Because Judas was a disciple … he was following Christ, which was an action at that time.

    2. The trials in the desert revealed that the chosen people of God failed miserably. Even when God revealed himself to them, they complained because they didn’t like being without a home and they didn’t trust God, they weren’t satisfied with Him, but rather, they were put out for all the inconvenience. Even Moses and Aaron were imperfect in their service for Him and couldn’t enter the Promised Land.


    Homologeo 5:199,687
    Phonetic Spelling Parts of Speech
    hom-ol-og-eh'-o Verb

    to say the same thing as another, i.e. to agree with, assent
    to concede
    not to refuse, to promise
    not to deny
    to confess
    to confess, i.e. to admit or declare one's self guilty of what one is accused of
    to profess
    to declare openly, speak out freely
    to profess one's self the worshipper of one
    to praise, celebrate


    Pisteuo 6:174,849
    Phonetic Spelling Parts of Speech
    pist-yoo'-o Verb

    to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in
    of the thing believed
    to credit, have confidence
    in a moral or religious reference
    used in the NT of the conviction and trust to which a man is impelled by a certain inner and higher prerogative and law of soul
    to trust in Jesus or God as able to aid either in obtaining or in doing something: saving faith 1bc) mere acknowledgment of some fact or event: intellectual faith
    to entrust a thing to one, i.e. his fidelity
    to be intrusted with a thing

    Now I have a couple of questions for you:

    1. Is it possible that Judas could be forgiven for his sin and we could see him in heaven?

    2. Even though the next generation of Israelites were the ones who “got to enter” the promised land, were they not rebellious too?

    3. Do you see some kind of performance or action associated with those Greek words in Romans?

    I am perplexed by the insistence on changing your ways gospel. There is a heart change that happens when we realize our sin is not OK and see the sacrifice that was made on our behalf. Most of us want to change our ways when this happens, but does changing our ways save us? Isn't it by grace through faith in the COMPLETED work of Christ that salvation is received?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/05/2005 5:16 PM  

  • Rose and Bhedr,

    It is impossible to call on the one in whom you have not yet believed Romans 10:13.

    If you take romans 10:9,10 as the conditions for eternal life, then by virtue of the confessing (which is done with the mouth in the context) you are requiring a work for it.

    The passage is talking about a full-orbed salvation for the Jews. The Jews were going through very rough temporal times at the writing of Paul to the Romans. Paul says that in order for their full-orbed salvation (eternal life AND temporal deliverance) they must believe (for justification) and then call upon the name of the Lord (for temporal deliverance).

    Confessing the Lord, calling upon the name of the Lord is a Christian activity: Rom 10:12; 1 Cor 1:2; 2 Tim 2:22; 1 Pet 1:17.

    As for eternal life, the intermediate agency that appropriates eternal life is a moment of purposeful punctilliar faith in Christ. Faith alone in Christ alone! "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved"!


    By Blogger Antonio, at 12/05/2005 6:08 PM  

  • Antonio,

    "So much heartache and trouble would be avoided if this rule of hermeneutics was strictly adhered to."

    I was just asking your opinion of Judas not implying anything.

    I agree with you that Judas was not regenerate (That's clear in Jesus' statements in John 17 amd others), but how can you say he didn't have a kind of false faith in Christ.

    Judas and had a type of faith in Christ that doesn't save. His faith was not placed in the one true God. He had turned Jesus into something he was not in his own mind. He was not really seeking the one true Lord and Savior, but a political ruler Judas hoped to come with. At least we can agree with something. ;-)

    Judas had a kind of faith in Jesus, but not a true faith and repentence and love of the one true Jesus. That much can be sure, why else was Judas trying to follow after a different kind of Christ.

    You would agree that those who have shipwrecked the faith as well never had saving faith correct. For example, Hymenaeus and Philetus had swayed away from the truth and tried to turn others away from the truth, but thankfully even though people are trying to deceive even the elect (if that were possible) the Lord's foundation still stands firm and the "Lord knows who are His."

    As with the parable of the Sower, Jesus again and again talks about falling away and not continuing to the end to specify that you have not been saved or the branches that don't bear fruit apart from Christ will be burned in the fires of hell (Matthew 10, Mark 13, etc). The fruits in our life are a gift of God and that is the difference between the gospel you are stating and the one I'm speaking of. I believe the gospel of God's Grace does produce in us the fruits that Jesus talked about throughout the scriptures, not having the fruits proved that our first confession was fake and not salvation of the Lord. The amount we hunger and thirst for the Lord does vary between believers though and I'm not talking about perfect fruit. That's the common thread in the scriptures about those who have been saved.

    Everytime Jesus is speaking of the Parable of the Sower can be related to the other kinds of parables he did as well. Think of the fact that John 15 talks about the parable of the True vine. Based on your statements the branches on the vine can't lose their salvation because they actually having growth as a plan, however the verse indicates otherwise.

    John 15:1-6 Please note verse 6 as it is critical to this understanding of parables with Jesus and life is only in Christ alone. This is the same purpose he wrote the parable of the sower. He is trying to teach the same thing in this passage. If you are apart from Christ you will be burned. "If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned."

    How can we not hold our confidence to Christ in the end and still have shared in Christ (Hebrews 3). This warning is not to be taken as a warning of losing benefits of the gospel, but a stern warning to the body to not neglect each other each day. We do truly do need each other to make it to the end.

    Sometimes the scriptures refer to chastening hand of the Lord as you and Matthew had indicated, but losing faith clearly indicates throughout scripture a shipwrecked faith or a faith that didn't save.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/05/2005 6:08 PM  

  • Rose,

    I hope you don't mind my jumping in. This is an interesting topic.

    What seems to be missing from the conversation is how a covenant is made and how it then operates with the parties involved.

    When a person puts forth the offer of a covenant, it will, of necessity, contain conditions. These covenantal conditions are both different and separate from the requirements established for entering into the covenant in the first place.

    The entrance requirements are established by the one who defines and offers the covenant.

    The conditions of the covenant are to be clearly outlined so that the one entering into it cannot say later that they were tricked, and therefore the conditions would no longer apply.

    It seems to me that most of the back and forth discussion here is due to a misunderstanding of the covenant process.

    For your consideration:
    the present (or new) covenant was enacted to make good on a promise Elohim had made to Avraham, and through his seed, to the nations. The requirement for entering into this covenant is trust (or faith if you prefer). Yeshua was given so that we would have the opportunity to trust and thus enter into the covenant.

    Once in, the conditions of the covenant apply. If you are uncertain about how that works, please read the promise of the this covenant, in its entirety, in Jeremiah 31. There you will find the reason that the previous covenant failed and why the offer of the newer one was made.

    A discussion of the conditions is lengthy and would require Rose's approval before going in that direction.


    By Blogger Ephraim, at 12/05/2005 6:27 PM  

  • Ephraim,
    Of course, have at it! I am interested in what you have to say. Please elaborate.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/05/2005 11:21 PM  

  • I can smell Covenant theology.

    Are Christians under a Covenant? We receive the benefits of the New Covenant, but this is a covenant that is made with Israel.

    God Bless


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/06/2005 4:31 AM  

  • You wrote: "I still don't know if I am a one-point Calvinsit or not. Would some discerning Calvinist read this post and tell me, please?"

    Which one do you want to be? I give you permission to be either one or neither.

    By Blogger Joe, at 12/06/2005 6:52 AM  

  • shawn: exactly!

    By Blogger Joe, at 12/06/2005 6:57 AM  

  • Joe,
    That's kind of funny for you to say "exactly" to Shawn ... he has entered about 20 comments and expressed himself widely.
    (... and he has been more than welcome to do so - I'm glad to have him ...)
    What are you saying "exactly" to? :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/06/2005 7:43 AM  

  • Justification vs. Sanctification

    Rose:There is a heart change that happens when we realize our sin is not OK and see the sacrifice that was made on our behalf. Most of us want to change our ways when this happens, but does changing our ways save us?

    The heart change (Ezekiel 36) is a correct (and biblical) metaphor. Not the "blood pump" - that is the physical organ/muscle - but the heart (as in getting to the heart of the matter).

    At the moment of justification/salvation, every genuine believer receives a new "heart" from God - that is, they become a new creation, or said another way, they are immersed by Christ into the universal church - they enter into that strong tower, as it were.

    It isn't a carnal change - their flesh remains unredeemed and unchanged - it is a spiritual birth that would be otherwise forensic if it didn't manifest itself in a changed attitude about obedience to God. The new creation wants to obey.

    Not that we become puppets - but that our new heart desires to obey God rather than sin. Our carnal self continues to produce carnal desires, but our new nature is suddenly presenting ulterior desires. We begin to hate that part of us that wants to gratify the flesh, and we begin to love that part of us that loves to honor God.

    From the moment we are saved, until the moment our flesh is redeemed we will live in tension - if we obey the flesh, the spirit is grieved, if we obey the Spirit, we must overcome our carnal resistance to do so - either way, no matter what we do, it is a struggle and always will be.

    The counterfeit to genuine Christianity looks identical on the outside, but not on the inside. The counterfeit is deceived - that is, they imagine that they are genuine, because they have "believed" the facts. They readily believe that Jesus was who he said he was, and they acknowledge the same doctrine as the genuine believer - but they are not trusting in Christ to save them. They are trusting in their own ability to acknowledge the truth of Christianity, rather than trust entirely on the Christ of Christianity. There are many flavors of the counterfeit - but it is marked by this: fear.

    They obey because they are afraid that failure to obey will prove they are not saved.

    They want to go to heaven because they are afraid of going to hell - deep down they could care less if God was in heaven or hell - so long as they don't have to go to hell.

    Anyone who is genuinely saved will quickly tell you that real Christians will always evidence their salvation in a love for God, a love for other believers, and a changed life. Their obedience is not given to purchase grace, but in response to the inner motivation (the new heart) given to them by God at the moment of salvation.

    Those who imagine that in order to be saved one has to "change their ways" - they are mistaken. Genuine salvation produces genuine change, but change itself means nothing. How many wicked men have turned to Islam and trained themselves to be moral as a matter of habit? This doesn't win them eternity in heaven anymore than it would if they decided to call themselves Christians.

    The label doesn't impress God - God is looking for changed hearts - and he knows where they are, because he is the one who changes them.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 12/06/2005 11:27 AM  

  • Dyspraxic Matthew,
    Let's get a full whiff of what Ephraim has to offer , if he wants to continue. Hearing all the diverse comments here has really helped me.


    I completely agree with what you have said, except this part:
    "real Christians will always evidence their salvation in a love for God, a love for other believers, and a changed life."
    I guess I'm just not ready to say that this ALWAYS happens. It should happen. But... since it is a RESPONSE on our part, isn't there a chance that we will allow the tension to swing toward the flesh? (thus the carnal Christian). It is a choice on our part, is it not?

    BTW, you read my post I assume. I would like you to tell me (since I respect you as a calvinist, even though you don't go around calling yourself such at every turn) was my original understanding (#3 in my post) of the fifth point correct, or is this other definition (#4 in my post) the right one?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/06/2005 11:44 AM  

  • Daniel,
    What you are saying directs us to look inwards for our assurance of salvation.

    I am left needing to be sure that my hear is really changed.

    It also leaves one wondering how sincere was one's conversion. Maybe I am just believing in the fact of Christ's death and resurrection? Am I feeling enough? Am I loving Christ enough?
    Do I hate my sins enough? One is left having to rely on one's exeprience not on Christ for assurance.

    I do not feel very much love for Christ at all. I am not sure that I do love Him at all. Do I know I am saved?

    because I am absolutely confident that He gave His life for me and rose from the dead so that I might have life. I know that I am dead to sin and risen with Christ. These facts are my ground of assurance.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/06/2005 11:52 AM  

  • Matthew (DF),

    Christ died to bring you to God and not to love him as the object of your faith shows you might not have God because your faith is in the wrong object.

    Daniel's correct here. There is such a thing as loving the benefits Christ gives rather than loving Christ.

    Many false professors of the faith want the benefits of going to heaven, but don't really want Christ. Did Christ primarily die to bring you to be free from hell or to be brought to God?

    If I could be free from Hell, but not have God would I be happy, not to the Christian.

    The scripture says many times say that many professors of Christianity only have a form of godliness - but truly are
    not saved. Our assurance comes in our hope of Christ and because as the scriptures state we love him as Daniel has said.

    The following don't prove genuine faith

    Conviction of Sin
    Making a Decision

    There is fruit to being a Christians and those who say the fruit is not there aren't reading the bible.

    Christians in their sanctification (sometimes flawed) have love for God, repentence, humility, prayer, desire for God to be glorified, growth in the Lord, obedience, turning to the Lord for hope, etc

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/06/2005 12:45 PM  

  • So faith in Christ is not enough?

    Love is demonstrated in works, by being faithful, in heart, in thought and deed.

    What we have then is faith plus works. Luther should not have bothered. The doctrine we are left with here would have given him as much assurance as he had when he was a Catholic monk.

    I can be sure that I have faith in what Christ has done, but I can never be sure that I love Christ enough.

    I am left at the tyranny of my emotions. I do not feel love for Christ, so according to Daniel and Shawn, I might not really be saved. But how do I make myself feel love for Christ?

    I could plead with God for mercy, as Shawn suggested before, but then I have already done that. I know that I am justified in Christ and have received mercy.

    I could say more prayers and read my Bible more often and see if that makes me feel more love for Christ. Good idea, but is that much different from Luther's attempts to find assurance in works?

    This theology simply directs one's attentions away from Christ and towards one's self.

    I am sorry to be blunt.

    May God Bless you Shawn and you may you know peace in Him


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/06/2005 1:01 PM  

  • I think I have one more thing to say and probably will expound more on this on my blog in a minute.

    Sorry Rose, yes I am being annoying, but this is great topic.

    I have a question about love and seeking

    Why are most people taking out love in the equation for Seeking God. I don't fully understand this. If you are truly seeking something you find it to be more desireable than something else right? You desire it more than doing something else.

    For example everything we do involves love and desire. If we want to seek Christ we desire to do seek Him more than something else like sin. We think the pleasures of Sin with the pleasures of knowing God are more valuable than something out and seek Him out.

    Those who say you can seek and not love God are being confused.

    Let's look at Jesus' logic on this.

    Jesus said in Matthew 16

    "Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?

    Do you see Jesus' logic here? You are seeking him because you find him to be more valuable than having the whole world.

    Christians seek him because we find him to be more valuable than the pleasures of sin. You are seeking Him because you desire him more than what the world has to offer.

    Much of our seeking that is involved is replacing the pleasures of sin for the pleasures of God.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/06/2005 1:08 PM  

  • I'll address Matthew's comment first:

    He said;

    "Are Christians under a Covenant? We receive the benefits of the New Covenant, but this is a covenant that is made with Israel."

    Yes, you are correct. It is a covenant made with the whole house of Israel. But, at the time it was spoken through Jeremiah, the houses were listed separately, the house of Yehudah (Judah) and the house of Israel (the 10 scattered, or northern tribes). While a detailed discussion of how the promised seed has been scattered throughout the known world through those 12 tribes is way beyond the space available, suffice it to say that the promise of life to the nations through Messiah has been, and is being, accomplished just as prophecy has declared. And it is done by means of a covenant.

    YHVH interacts with mankind through covenants. His promises are contained within them. Our responsibilities are defined within them. It is an agreement made between the heavenly and the earthly. There are 7 covenants that are described in scripture. Six have been enacted, one is left to be fulfilled.

    So, Matthew's question, are Christians under a covenant? the answer is, if you, as a Christian, are not in (or "under" if you think that's better) the present covenant, then you do not have an agreement with YHVH and thus, you do not have eternal life. Outside of the covenant there is only death. (I hope that is not too dramatic).

    Put in more pleasant terms, your assurance of life everlasting comes from the promises contained in the covenant that has been enacted through the death, burial and resurrection of YHVH's Messiah, Yeshua.

    Luk 22:19 "He took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and gave to them, saying, "This is my body which is given for you. Do this in memory of me."
    Luk 22:20 Likewise, he took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you."

    At this point in time Messiah Yeshua provided the disciples with the symbols for the rememberance of what was about to take place. The enactment of the promised covenant. Remember that the only scriptures in existence at that moment was the TaNaKh (previous, or old, covenant). So when Yeshua said that He was enacting the new covenant, their reference would have been the promise of that covenant given by the prophet Jeremiah. There are many other places in those scriptures where the covenant is mentioned, but Jeremiah is sufficient for our purpose here.

    There is currently no other covenant between YHVH and mankind. You are either in that covenant through trust in Messiah Yeshua, or you're not. If you are, then you are joined to, and become part of, the whole house of Israel, because that is who the covenant is made with. Ref. Eph ch. 2.

    That people from other nations could join Israel is nothing new. The provision for anyone whose heart was stirred to serve the Elohim of the Hebrews and to become part of the nation, or house, of Israel was established in the previous covenant. And they, the converts, were to be treated as native born. One Torah for both. That is an insight into how YHVH thinks about those who serve Him. One Torah for both. Not separate commands and practices, just one, as He is One.

    So why did Sha'ul (Paul) say that the entrance of the Gentiles (nations) into the covenant made with Israel was a mystery?

    Does anyone care to take a turn at that, or should I go on?

    Thank you for the invite Rose. You are a friendly group.


    Hi Daniel, I've not forgotten, just haven't put it together yet.

    By Blogger Ephraim, at 12/06/2005 1:14 PM  

  • I just read Shawn's comment, Matthew's comment and then Shawn's comment.

    Shawn, I am speechless.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/06/2005 1:16 PM  

  • Matthew (DF),

    The problem with trying to discuss a topic is that you sometimes focus on what you don't agree with. Calvinists and dispensational non-Calvinists and arminians all agree the hope starts in Christ alone, but Calvinists want to keep the warnings as they are spoken plainly.

    "For every look at yourself take 10 looks at Christ"

    I'm talking about the theology of the bible. It includes both the warnings as well as the encouragement and I can't see why we would skip over any of them. Though how I primarily see the scriptures is the hope you have in Christ as the primarily ways of assurance.

    God uses both to help us cling to Christ in my life. That is why I need the body of Christ to help me and I them.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/06/2005 1:17 PM  

  • I recognise that what God offers is desirable. But desiring what you know to be good is very different from loving it.

    I am also not sure that Jesus is addressing His disciples on Christian ground.

    Jesus certainly deals with the objection that faith in Him might lead to persecution here.

    If this passage is addressed to the believer, then it means that they will be rewarded for their willingness to lay down their lives. If they refrain from laying down their lives, they will lose them anyway.

    As we follow Christ, the Holy Spirit makes Him more desirable to us. Do we desire Him that much at conversion?

    We know that what He offers is good, though we may not appreciate how. We know at conversion that if we do not accept Him we are lost.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/06/2005 1:18 PM  

  • Ephraim,
    I see nothing in Scripture to indicate that the Church is a party to any covenant, though she partakes of the New Covenant blessings.

    God deals with the earth through covenants, but the Church is an heavenly body. It is redeemed through identification with Christ, the heavenly man.

    If Christians were under a covenant, we would be on earthly, Jewish ground. No, we are seated in Christ in heavenly places. We dwell in Him. We do not experience Him through a mediatorial covenant.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/06/2005 1:24 PM  

  • Are you sure you have understood the warnings correctly, Shawn?

    In my experience, Calvinists tend to have a minimal recognition of the importance of chastisement.

    I think it comes from the tendency of Calvinists to take nearly everything in the Bible as being about eternal salvation. What about blessings and life in this world?

    God Bless


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/06/2005 2:00 PM  

  • Matthew,

    That is quite a bit of confusion you've got going there. I'll wait until you and Shawn have worked out your issues before making an attempt to sort out the misunderstandings you have about covenants, Jews, Christians, earthly and heavenly realms and of what redemption consists.


    By Blogger Ephraim, at 12/06/2005 2:49 PM  

  • Here is the Revised Standard Version of my comment to Shawn.

    I said, "We adopted a little girl. When she was four, she misbehaved. We sent her back to the adoption agency. She seemed to straighten out so we adopted her agian.

    I have been adopted into the family of God. If I misbehave will He......?"

    See he said, "Joe, There is no such thing as temporary adoption in the body of Christ."

    And I said, "Exactly."

    Do you think I could have made it a little clearer to start with?

    By Blogger Joe, at 12/06/2005 4:34 PM  

  • Shawm, your talk about Judas is a bit off chart. You see, believing something about Jesus (whether it is false or true) is not what Refmormed people talk about when they talk about spurious faith. So Judas is not an example.

    Reformed people talk about spurios faith thus: that someone believes the gospel in his head only and not in his heart. The doctrine of spurious faith is not the same thing as someone believing, let's say, that "Jesus was a prophet". Sure that is true, but that is not saving knowledge.

    Same as if someone believed that Jesus is an alien. This is not what Reformed writers mean when they talk about spurious, temporary, or "so-called" faith.

    So to bring up Judas is a very bad choice. You may not understand what the reformed believe about temporary or spurious faith.

    They pose it as a difference between head and heart faith.

    you write:
    You would agree that those who have shipwrecked the faith as well never had saving faith correct.

    I DO NOT agree! Those whose faith have ben shipwrecked HAD FAITH. And all it takes is a moment of faith in Christ to appropriate eternal life.

    Did you see the parable of the sower? The last three "sprang up". The word of God created life in the heart and the last three "sprang up". The word of God is the gospel here! And the gospel, planted in the heart, created regenerate life. The last three are CONTRASTED with the first one, where the word of God was stolen out of the heart.

    What was Jesus saying? He was saying:

    1)Some won't believe
    2)Some will believe, get saved, and later have their faith shipwrecked
    3)Some will believe, get saved, and won't produce fruit to maturity
    4)Some will get saved and produce mature fruit

    It is hard to get around the fact that the last three "sprang up" when the word of God was planted in their heart. Life was created in the heart. And this life is contrasted to the only example where Satan stole the sead out of the heart. Why was the seed stolen out of the heart?

    Luke 8:12
    "lest they should believe and be saved" !!!

    Now the same word for believe is in verse 13, where it talks about those who believe for a while. It does not have a modifier saying it is false faith or what. They BELIEVE! And what happens when a person believes? Verse 12 says they are "saved"!!

    The Lordship Salvation proponents take this parable WAY out! They import into it their theology rather than look at it for what it says! It is SHAMEFUL!

    You write:

    As with the parable of the Sower, Jesus again and again talks about falling away and not continuing to the end to specify that you have not been saved or the branches that don't bear fruit apart from Christ will be burned in the fires of hell (Matthew 10, Mark 13, etc).

    First, it is very shameful to import into the meaning in John 15 when it says "fire" that it is hell. Fire is a word used to describe judgment. Those Christians who do not abide in an intimate relationship with Christ will experience God's temporal chastisements!

    Look again at John 15! For here is another shameful attempt by Lordship Salvation to evade the text of the Bible:

    John 15:2
    2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away;

    Where is the sphere of the person who does not bear fruit?

    It is "in Christ"

    Jesus is talking to his 11 disciples ONLY in the UPPER ROOM. Judas was ALREADY GONE. He is talking to his regenerate disicples.

    And he says to His regenerate disciples: "ABIDE IN ME"

    This is a command! Far from being a necessary result of regeneration, Christ COMMANDS his disicples to REMAIN in Him.

    It is a CLEAR evasion of the text that the Lordship Salvation advocates do here.

    There are people "IN CHRIST" who bear no fruit!

    I will again re-post it:

    John 15:2
    2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away;

    The BRANCH that is IN THE VINE OF CHRIST who does not bear fruit he takes away! They will be thrown into the fire of his temporal judgement. NOT LOSS OF SALVATION OR proof that he wasn't a branch in Christ!


    But Lordship Salvation dodges this clear statement.

    You write:
    believe the gospel of God's Grace does produce in us the fruits that Jesus talked about throughout the scriptures, not having the fruits proved that our first confession was fake and not salvation of the Lord.
    This assertion of yours has been proven false by both the parable of the sower, where the last three soils "sprang up" and the word of God which was planted there created life, thus they were saved and John 15, where Jesus was talking to his regenerate disciples, commanding and encouraging them to "abide" (Why command something to regenerate disciples that they will by necessity do by their regeneration anyway?!!). For the ones "in Christ" who bear no fruit are taken away.

    You write:
    but losing faith clearly indicates throughout scripture a shipwrecked faith or a faith that didn't save.
    This has been FAR from demonstrated. I have demonstrated just the opposite:

    A moment of faith (a drink of the living water) causes one to never thirst again.

    The temporary faith in the parable of the sower was more than a moment of faith, and the seed of God's word "sprang up" and created life in the heart. Satan did NOT steal this seed. The seed REMAINED and created LIFE! This man is regenerate! Yet he later lost his faith.

    This man will not co-rule, co-reign with Christ. He will lose significant rewards, and he will in this lifetime experience God's temporal displeasure. He is a child of God!

    There are branches "in Christ" who do not bear fruit. This is the clear statement in John 15! And it is the Lordship Salvationist who must IMPORT INTO THE TEXT of John 15 the MEANING OF HELLFIRE! It just isn't there!

    Jesus is also talking to the regenerate 11 and encouraging them, commanding them to abide! Far from it being the NECESSARY RESULT OF SAVING FAITH AND REGENERATION, the regenerate disciples are COMMANDED to abide. Why command the regenerate disciples to do something that they would necessarily do anyway?

    Each command in the New Testament is an ENTREATY TO THE WILL of the REGENERATE PERSON for the purpose of SANCTIFICATION. If progressive sanctification is a NECESSARY and INEVITABLE result of regeneration why waste the time entreating the will of the Christian to obey commands that bring sanctification?

    Eternal life is a FREE GIFT. It takes but a MOMENT of appropriation by purposeful faith in Christ. That some fall away later is shameful. They will answer for their unfaithfulness at the judgment seat of Christ. They will experience God's temporal judgment for thier sin here and now. Yet they will not lose their salvation. They are the ones who believe for a little while (yet it only takes a moment of faith in Christ), where the seed of the Word of God springs up and creates life, but later they fall away. These produce no fruit, so according to John 15, they will be taken away into the fire of God's temporal judgment and his unfavorable judgment at the Bema of Christ.

    It is shameful how Lordship salvation uses their theology to interpret the Bible, rather than see the CLEAR expressions of it!


    By Blogger Antonio, at 12/06/2005 4:42 PM  

  • Ephraim:

    I understood salvation (or the new covenent) to be a free gift. God upholds all sides and we enjoy the benefits ... and the earthly struggle of being one of His. Human beings fail in covenenats with God, because we can never uphold our end, because we're sinners. I have never heard of conditions which, if we do not keep, would cause God to revoke the benefits Christ has won and offered in the covenant where His very person is the fulfillment of it wholly. I think maybe you lost me, Ephraim. Thanks for sharing, though. Share some more if you think you can get through to me with your view knowing what you know so far.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/06/2005 4:45 PM  

  • Shawn quoted the Bible:
    "Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?
    This is the call to discipleship and not the call to receive a free gift! Picking up one's cross is a difficult WORK. Giving up one's life is a difficult WORK. There is no talk whatsoever of faith in Christ, or eternal life, or what have you!

    What is Jesus talking about here? This is a challenge to the believer in Christ, and invitation to discipleship.

    Jesus is talking about eternal realities here. From that vantage point one can speak of a life that is lost when viewed from an earthly perspective, but preserved when viewed from a heavenly one.

    Conversely, onemay speak of a life preserved fom the standpoint of temproal experience, but lost from the standpoint of eternity.

    The martyr for the cause of Christ has certainly lost his life in a temporal sense. But the life laid down for God is not REALLY lost. Indeed, such a life achieves a kind of immortality. Its value and impact are unending, as is also the glory it gains for the Christian who has made such a sacrifice.

    On the other hand, to shrink from the pathway of obedient suffering may be temporarily self-preserving. But the life selfishly held back is lost in terms of enduring eternal worth.

    It would be a mistake to think here of heaven or hell. The call which precedes this challenging conception is a call to self-denial and bearing one's cross. It is a call to follow Jesus, that is, a call to discipleship.

    There are many who equate the call to self-denial, self-mortification, giving up one's life, and doing all other kinds of hard works, with conversion, but by so doing they either explicitly or implicitly deny the freeness of the gospel. By no stretch of the imagination is the demand for self-denial and self-sacrifice an invitation to receive a free gift. The attempt to harmonize these polarities always ends eiter in hopeless absurdity or in theological sophistry.

    In this respect the man on the street is often more perceptive than the theologian. If someone were to offer him a gift in return for self-denying obedience, he would readily recognize that offer as grotesquely misrepresented!

    The Son of God never engaged in such contradictions. What was free, He represented as free. What was costly, He presented as costly. The experience here described is costly!

    The rubbish put forward these days by MacArthur and his kin is meaningless, such as when they say that "salvation is free but will cost you everything". This, is in fact, ridiculous. It is sophistry and contradiction.

    Jesus is talking about the construction of a life that will have enduring meaning and worth into eternity, that will bring with it the contingent glories of a life that has been laid down for Christ.

    The call to salvation is the call to receive an absolutely free gift: eternal life (that results in many more co-ordinate blessings as well), which is received by purposeful (i.e. in order to receive eternal life) faith alone in Christ alone. Faith in Christ for eternal life begins one's "life".

    The call to discipleship is a call to the "abundant" life. It is the the call to living now that results in purpose, fulfillment, joy, (with sufferings and persecutions), in other words: real living. It is the call to living now that one "loses" his life in an earthly perspective but gains it from a heavenly perspective.

    Eternal life is not a static thing. It can be increased. It can be built upon. Present possesion of eternal life is only one aspect. Eternal life as a future thing is something that is merited by faithful obedience and perseverance. It is a reward. Present possesion of eternal life is just the starting in the life of the believer. The new believer is now called to give up his life to find it.

    Here is where the rubber meets the road:

    The believer who submits himself to discipleship will have meaning, purpose, fulfillment, joy, and the abundant life NOW as a result of his discipleship that includes dying to self, living for Christ, and picking up one's cross. He also in the future life will have provided for himself a richer experience in the kingdom of God that is truely richer! Glories, honors, inheritance, and co-reigning with Christ are some of the things he has to look forward to.

    The Christian who does not submit himself to discipleship will endure chastenings, temporal consequences, lack of real purpose, meaning, and fulfillment (the non-abundant life). He will not be able to look forward to a favorable review at the judgement seat of Christ (the Bema). He will have saved his life (in the present) but lost his life (in the future), the life he could have had in the kingdom of God. Yes he is saved and will be in the kingdom. But he considered the gaining of the world as compensation for him losing his life. He will be in the kingdom; saved, yet as through fire.

    "Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely" (Rev 22:17) is far from being identical with "sell whatever you have and give to the poor." Such declarations are manifestly not saying the same thing. Casuistry alone can reduce them to some form of equivalence.


    By Blogger Antonio, at 12/06/2005 5:36 PM  

  • Rose,

    First let me say..peace...I want you to know that I am not trying to be testy:-)

    1. Judas was condemned and the Scripture makes that clear. Any hypothetical is unprofitable. Jesus told his disciples that one would betray him and one had a demon but he didn't let them know till the end who it was and even then they didn't know. They were left serching what was in their hearts; which is the purpose of Scripture as well as the Cross.

    2.All of Israel cried out because of their bondage but very few had true faith and really wanted to know God. Caleb and Joshua were among that small number. Most of Israel rejected God and despised Him even for all the wonderful things he did. They only wanted His possessions and never had a change of heart that was reflected in their lives as it was in Moses'. compare Hebrews 11:24-26 with Numbers 14:11 and then go to John 2:23-25.

    3. No I do not see a performance word here, but I do see an oath of heart given from the lips as a result of understanding the Love of God and the price He paid on the Cross. It reflects the desire of the heart in response to the call of God's Spirit. To understand this word lets see how it is used elsewhere(first let me say Rose that I understand your concern of legalism as you came out of Rome and truly you needed to hear that you cannot earn your salvation. I hope you will be able to separate this point and see the importance of confessing Christ's Lordship with a surrendered heart; although imperfect; yet in the process of being refined.Note one thing that although David fell into sin, He never tried to seize Christ's Lordship and he didn't put prophets to death who rebuked him. Even when given a chance to seize Saul's kingdom he would not hurt God's anointed)Now back to the discussion.

    Jesus said to beware of both the leaven of the Pharisees(legalism) and of Herod(Antinomianism)

    In Mark 6 we learn that Herod liked to listen to John the Baptist and was even trying to keep him safe while at the same time enjoy the sin that He was being rebuked of. IOW, trying to do like many in our country and I did at one time, "Have our cake and eat it too!"

    In Matthew 14 we learn that He hated John but feared the multitude. Did Mark know a different Herod or will the real Herod please stand up? Remember Jesus' warnings of Herod's leaven and the fact that once, He called him a Fox.

    James says the doubleminded man is unstable in all his ways and he cautions us to not be hearers but doers of the word deceiving ourselves. You see Scripture doesn't contradict itself, we do and yet we think we can sit in judgment of it. Mark and Matthew seem to contradict but in reality Herod was the contradiction. What would seperate all this and reveal his true intentions and heart motive?

    Herod promised his neice whom he lusted after anything she wanted. Matt 14:7. That oath was His hearts desire and that word *promise* is, you guessed it, the same word in greek {homologoe} Paul used when calling us to confess Christ and believe to be saved.(I am shocked that a brother dismissed that word as applying to Israel only. Goodness. Phew. Brother are you sure about that? I implore you to reconsider what you are saying for the precious plight and affection of our dear Lord.)

    Herod was forced to cut off John's head which in reality was what he wished though he made himself and others believe he didn't.

    You see this is the offense of the cross and if we don't fall in brokeness upon Him(Yeshua) then one day we will be crushed by Him. Is His Lordship important?

    "But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them and slay them before me!" Luke 19:27 {I can almost hear someone saying, "but thats taken from a parable"}

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 12/06/2005 5:37 PM  

  • Hang in there Shawn! I really appreciate your heart and I agree with most of what you say so I to will give you a hearty excactly!

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 12/06/2005 5:48 PM  

  • Rose,

    One of the misunderstandings that is prevalent in Christianity is that of what a covenant is and what it means.

    Hopefully I can answer some of your questions.

    First, Messiah Yeshua is not the covenant. He came on behalf of His Father to enact, enable, begin, put into motion, the covenant which had been promised. He alone met the requirements, as evidenced by His being raised from the dead, that would allow the elect, the chosen, those who would exercise faith in Him, to enter into the covenant with YHVH.

    One of the promises of the new covenant is the gift of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) who would be given to the elect to enable them to walk in the ways of the covenant.

    Looking at Jer 31:33,

    Jer 31:33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Yisra'el after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people:
    Jer 31:34 and they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD; for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more.

    YHVH is saying that the knowledge of Elohim will be within the heart of the believer. Meaning that we will not need to convince each other that He exists and is who He says He is. Note that all of our arguments are about how we perceive Him, not about whether He exists.

    Again in Ezekiel,

    Eze 36:24 For I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all the countries, and will bring you into your own land.
    Eze 36:25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
    Eze 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.
    Eze 36:27 I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my ordinances, and do them.
    Eze 36:28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.

    You may ask, and many Christians do, "does this pertain to me?"

    Let's see:

    Acts ch. 10,

    Act 10:43 All the prophets testify about him, that through his name everyone who believes in him will receive remission of sins."
    Act 10:44 While Rock (Peter)was still speaking these words, the Ruach HaKodesh fell on all those who heard the word.
    Act 10:45 They of the circumcision who believed were amazed, as many as came with Rock, because the gift of the Ruach HaKodesh was also poured out on the Goyim.
    Act 10:46 For they heard them speaking in other languages and magnifying God. Then Rock answered,
    Act 10:47 "Can any man forbid the water, that these who have received the Ruach HaKodesh as well as we should not be immersed?"
    Act 10:48 He commanded them to be immersed in the name of Yeshua the Messiah. Then they asked him to stay some days.

    It seems that both parties present at that event were surprised about what took place. Was this evidence that people outside of the Jewish community were going to be part of the covenant that had been promised? Yes. And yet when Christians read things like "walk in my statutes", or, "keep my ordinances", they immediately think, or are taught, that it does not have anything to do with them. That they are part of or "under" some other kind of agreement with the Creator.

    Scripture does not provide another agreement (covenant, testament) than the one promised by YHVH and enacted by Yeshua, but, as good lawyers do, the words are twisted up into knots and the meanings obscured until folks can't even agree as to whether or not they are even saved!

    So, to sum up:

    Yeshua is not the covenant. He is the One who enacted it on our behalf. It is commonly called justification.

    Once you have entered into the covenant (agreement) with YHVH through faith in His Son, you begin the process of learning how to walk in His ways and be pleasing to Him who has called you. It is commonly called sanctification.

    During this learning process you have access to the Father through Yeshua by the Spirit. As we learn mistakes are made, faults are discovered, weaknesses exposed, and so forth, but the promises of YHVH are not revoked during that time.

    That is the wonderous beauty of a covenant. YHVH makes a commitment to us and we respond by making a commitment to Him. He asks things of us and we ask things of Him. Because of the agreement that we have entered into, He responds to us and we respond to Him. It is commonly called a relationship.

    To be specific, it is a marriage relationship. And as in an earthly marriage there are conditions and expectations on both sides, so also in the heavenly relationship. There are conditions and expectations on both sides. It is what Sha'ul (Paul) was alluding to when he spoke of our earthly marriage and its spiritual significance (the great mystery).

    This is getting long so I will stop. Did I answer your questions, or make it worse?

    btw, Thank you for asking.


    By Blogger Ephraim, at 12/06/2005 6:26 PM  

  • Please take note that I referred to Antonio as brother. I am not questioning anyones salvation if by any means that impression is left. I am concerned with his dismissal of the word Confess as it could effect other mens conversions. It must be noted that the Person of Christ is the way of Salvation and we must confess Him from the belief in our hearts. This is a confession made with God and not man. Many confuse this with Soul winning. It is an inward yeilding to Him as Lord that also pours out of the mouth as a result. Have you ever heard that song.."I gotta tell somebody, what Jesus did for me!"

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 12/06/2005 9:43 PM  

  • I should have figured this posting would have the most comments, sorry I haven't had more time to keep up with it! One more point for those who have problems with my 'progressive' view of salvation, ending in a consummation:

    If you believe we can never lose our salvation, why does a progressive understanding trouble you? The two are still perfectly compatible. Or if you believe a Christian can lose their salvaiton, it still leaves you room to make your case. There was never a compelling reason for anyone to oppose it.

    No one, whether Calvinist, Arminian or 'other', has any problem accepting that a person who believes the gospel and walks with the Lord will be saved. The problems arise in accounting for the state of the backslider. Does anyone want to assure a person of their salvation while they are delving back into sin? Of course not. You just have different ways of reaching the same conclusion, and which is themost Scriptural:

    Arminian: 'You could lose your salvation'. Well if that's the case it's gone forever, unless Christ is re-crucified for you which will never be. So what role does repentance play?

    Calvinist: 'My question is, was he ever really saved in the first place?' So in one circumstance you'd assured him he was saved and could never lose it; but if his circumstances changed you'd tell him he was never saved in the first place! How assuring is that supposed to be?

    In a practical sense, both perspective tie true assurance to a true walking with the Lord, and abiding in Him. It's only a matter of how one arrives at this conclusion, so why not simply say it, especially if that's what the Bible does, too?

    I hope we will all be challenged to think on this, and on some of the other things that have been shared by so many others, and allow the Lord to challenge any tradition creeds that may be playng a part of our understanding, as opposed to the Scriptures alone in this role. And a huge thanks to Rose for hosting all of this and wading through the arguments!.

    Be blessed.

    By Blogger loren, at 12/06/2005 10:53 PM  

  • Loren,

    There is one other category that is completely different than arminian and calvinist

    non-calvinist eternal security :

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/06/2005 11:53 PM  

  • Loren writes:
    Does anyone want to assure a person of their salvation while they are delving back into sin? Of course not.
    It is not really anyone's job to give ANOTHER person assurance. But the backslider FOR CERTAIN can have ABSOLUTE CERTAIN assurance of eternal life!

    How? When he looks to the promise of Christ is faith he will by necessity have certain absolute assurance.

    John 6:47 "Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life"

    If you believe Jesus here in his promise, you will by virtue of that faith in Him necessarily have assurance or eternal life. But if you dont have certain assurance, how can you say you believe in Him? The promise guarantees eternal life to the believer in Him, yet you are not CERTAIN that you have eternal life? The guarantee is wrapped up in the promise to the believer in Christ. If you believe Christ, you MUST ALSO NECESSARILY believe you are saved.

    Loren, I may be missing something here. But I can't understand how you can be speaking about assurance in the first place!

    You said you most closely ally with Rose's 1st example, whereby salvation does not come until death, or later, or what have you.

    The only assurance that you could expound is the certainty that salvation is NOT possesed.


    By Blogger Antonio, at 12/07/2005 1:00 AM  

  • Ephraim, the language of Covenant is not really applied to the Christian, except in terms of how he benefits from the New Teastament.

    The New Testament places the Christian in Christ, seated with Him in heavenly places.

    Christ offered a perfect sacrifice for sin and was raised to life. Ny faith the believer is identified with Christ's life and when Christ sat down in heaven, the bleiver is also placed in that heavenly position. The Christian is as free from condemnation as Christ, because He is in Christ. To place the Christian under a covenant is to bring him down to earth and remove him from his position of justification in the risen Christ.

    Ephesians 1:19
    And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

    Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

    Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

    And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

    Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

    But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

    Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

    And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

    That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

    But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

    For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

    Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

    And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

    And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

    For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

    Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

    And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

    In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

    In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

    To squeeze a legal, covenant relationship into this glorious work of justification in Christ is a denial of the very foundation of redemption.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/07/2005 4:06 AM  

  • Matthew,

    Two things:

    1) how do you suppose that a person can benefit from something that they are not a part of?


    2) quote the rest of the second chapter of Ephesians. Put it into the context it was written in. Trying to amplify the mystical, spiritual aspect of the text while leaving out the reason it was written in the first place does not make a compelling argument.

    The covenants of YHVH do not make the promises of YHVH void. In fact, it is through the covenants He has made with mankind that we have any hope at all. This is very clear in scripture.

    Should we go through the verses?


    By Blogger Ephraim, at 12/07/2005 11:52 AM  

  • Loren,
    I agree about the Calvinism and Arminianism trouble. Neither of them offers any security about the final destination! Have you considered that Antonio's doctrine does, however? I don't know if I am a Free Grace theology person, but I believe like him that we recieve eternal life at the moment of conversion and works or lack of works does not take away our life. Confidence in Christ.

    Are you then saying somehow that the law of Moses is for the Christian to follow, or am I missing something?

    Joe, I get it now, you were responding to Shawn's response to you. There was so much in-between I got confused!

    Thanks for your comments. I am glad you are not questioning others' salvation. God searches the hearts. There is so much that is God's business that is none of ours, eh?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/07/2005 2:44 PM  

  • Sorry, just had to send you over the top. ;-)

    By Blogger Kc, at 12/07/2005 2:45 PM  

  • Ephraim,
    1. We benefit from the New Covenant as believers through being in Christ. He is the mediator of the New Covenant. If Christians were a party to the New Covenant, then we would not need the Covenant to be mediated to us.

    2. Ephraim, you have a Bible. Have those verse been misapplied?

    (3). The Covenants are not void. They will be fulfilled in God's time. However, the Covenant's deal with earthly mankind, not the Church which occupies a parenthetical stage in God's dealings with the world.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/07/2005 4:10 PM  

  • Rose,

    My experience on the blogs in this neighborhood is that trying to answer your question as openly and as honestly as I can goes downhill so quickly that any meaningful discourse becomes impossible through the noise.

    But yes, there is a very sound scripturally based answer. Perhpas the day will come when we could explore it here.

    Matthew, Matthew, Matthew.... I don't know what to say. You sound like some folks I've heard trying to make the argument that they are "spiritual Israel". That their life is "hid in Christ" and they occupy the heavenly realms with Him. What they do with their earthly life in the meantime is beyond me. Maybe for them it doesn't matter.

    Really, if what you are trying to say is the reality, then why is any of this discussion on this topic taking place?

    You dwell in the heavenly realms, you should not be subject to anything here on this earth, right? The type of earthly concerns being brought up on this blog should not affect those who have no ties here, no worries about the legality of their blessings and how those blessings come to them.

    I am not trying to be sarcastic here. But I do want to highlight a question:

    If you do not have any earthly ties to the covenant from which you derive your benefits, then how shall Messiah judge you when you stand before His seat? What could He judge you with..., what rule, what condition, what requirement, what expectation? If those things do not exist for the Christian, then why bring up the judgement seat of Christ in the first place?

    What was Paul talking about, a judgement only for the Jews who are bound by a covenant that holds them hostage to the earthly realms from which, being unable to escape due to some legality, they will be justified or condemned based on their ability to perform the requirements of said covenant?

    Does that really make any sense? More importantly, is that the clear teaching of the scriptures? That the Jews will be judged according to the new covenant and the Christians get a pass because they occupy heavenly realms? I've not read that part.

    Ephesians ch. 2:

    Eph 2:10 "For we are his workmanship, created in Messiah Yeshua for good works, which God prepared before that we would walk in them.
    Eph 2:11 Therefore remember that once you, the Goyim in the flesh, who are called "uncircumcision" by that which is called "circumcision," (in the flesh, made by hands);
    Eph 2:12 that you were at that time separate from Messiah, alienated from the commonwealth of Yisra'el, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
    Eph 2:13 But now in Messiah Yeshua you who once were far off are made near in the blood of Messiah."

    You skipped this part. Strangers from the covenants. From the sound of what Paul is saying, that doesn't look like a good thing.

    What do you think?


    By Blogger Ephraim, at 12/07/2005 5:19 PM  

  • All I am saying is put the Assurance back on the Rock. let the Scriptures search your heart. Gain your confidence in knowing Him not in writing down a date and convicing the Devil when he tempts you that you are lost. No where in scripture do you find that. Even the apostle Paul calls us to examine ourselves whether we be in the faith 2 Corinthians 13:5

    Far to many people are given a prayer and promise that says do your prayer and go on about your way. You don't have to sign up for any discipleship courses if you don't wanna and those searching portions of Scipture that test whether you faith is genuine, Don't worry thats talking about something else. Don't trust what men tell you only trust what Scripture says.

    Those passages about losing and gaining shouldn't be brushed aside and they are not talking about this life alone. Consider the passage that says, "What does it profit a man though he gain the whole world and loose his own *soul*" I thought this quote from our Christmas Cantada, "Jesus our Treasure" is good:

    "To follow Jesus means giving up things that are very precious to you...like anger...like revenge...like self-pity and bitterness and ...unforgiveness. If it hadn't been for Jesus, I never would have learned that you can give up everything...the good, the bad, the safe, the secure...everything...and still come away with more that you had before."

    Justification is a one time act of God and if your salvation is real then like Shawn says you will be put through this process of sanctification. His hand will chasten along the way and as He takes from you, you gain more, but if a soul draws back from this life and leaves it then I believe it to be a sign of unbelief. This is the truths revealed in Scripture and I cannot ignore what Scripture says in order to accomodate how I wish to feel about something. Go back a re-read Matthew 13.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 12/07/2005 5:27 PM  

  • Bhedr,
    I don't even have a date. I understand what you mean.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/08/2005 11:25 AM  

  • Ephraim,
    It is important to have a clear understanding of the heavenly nature of the Christian's position, both individually in terms of his justification and corporately in terms of his membership of the Church.

    The body of Christ is on earth, yes. That is quite Scriptural. However, its head, the Lord Jesus Christ, is in heaven. The head and the body are united, just as a husband and his wife are untied as one body. Hence, spiritually the Christian is already seated in heavenly places, though he be on the earth. When the Church is translated to heavenly glory at Christ's coming (Post-Trib in my view), it is the not the beginning of a new phase of the Church's existence, but a realisation of what is already in place.

    Yes, God judges the Christian, not according to any covenant, because a Christian is not under any covenant, but rather in accordance with his heavenly calling. If we do not walk according to the Spirit, we become subject to God's discipline.

    Ananias and Saphirah were judged for breach of any law or covenant, but for their act of grieving the Holy Spirit, a breach of their heavenly relationship, which had been affected by Christ's ascending and sending the Holy Ghost.

    As for the verses I did not quote, there is nothing in them to imply that believers are under a covenant; that would be quite foreign to the theology of the New Testament.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/08/2005 11:53 AM  

  • Bhedr,

    Very well said.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/08/2005 2:14 PM  

  • Matthew,

    I'm not sure how this verse can be misconstrued:

    Eph 2:12 "that you were at that time separate from Messiah, alienated from the commonwealth of Yisra'el, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world."

    Being a stranger (having no relationship) with the covenants of promise is tied directly to not having any type of relationship with Messiah and having no hope and being without God in the world.

    And yet you say that Christians have somehow circumvented this relationship with the covenants of promise, and have established a heavenly relationship without being subject to those covenants which make such a relationship possible.

    You know, there are people who do not believe that a person can be saved if they don't go to church. I could not find scriptural support for that position any more than I can find scriptural support for yours. You are selecting certain items of faith to make a point and ignoring the rest of the scriptures which deal directly with that issue.

    Discussion in that context can't continue. I will concede that we see things quite differently.

    Thank you Rose for allowing me to participate. I look forward to another lively discussion in the future.


    By Blogger Ephraim, at 12/08/2005 2:51 PM  

  • Ephraim,
    That verse shows that the unbeliever is a stranger to the covenants without hope. It does not say that we find hope through becoming part of the covenant.

    No, the theology of Paul shows that the hope of the Christian is found in being identified with Christ's death and resurrection, becoming dead to the law and raised to new life in Christ.

    The Covenants do not offer salvation, they rather deal with the government and regulation of God's earthly people, the Jews and the nations.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/08/2005 3:18 PM  

  • Hi Rose (and Antonio),

    I took a look at Antonio’s last argument as your requested. I guess I do need to clarify.

    Let’s go back to the 110 verses from the concordance that use the word save, saved, or salvation, Based on those quotations ask let’s ask ourselves: At what point a person can say He is saved? And when we do this, we will find two answers:

    About half of those Scriptures show salvation as occurring at once, as soon as a persons believes. “Behold, now is the day of salvation; now is the appointed time.” The other half portray salvation as a futuristic event, “ready to be revealed in the last time.” (And in fact, the futuristic verses are much more pointedly taught). Since I don’t believe the Bible contradicts itself, I accept both as true. Since I don’t believe Christ will be re-crucified at some point, I accept both as one and the same. But the only way to do that is to understand a progression, leading to a consummation: “Working out your own salvation with fear and trembling”.

    As an example of this concept: let’s say you’re given an appointment to West Point. You are given everything you need: time, books, meals, lodging, uniforms, instructors, a curriculum, a schedule, etc. If you work this out with fear and trembling you will graduate; but if you neglect so great a scholarship you will never graduate. And it wouldn’t be fair to say you lost your commission, or that you never got the gift. You never gained it’s fullest sense because you’ve squandered it.

    If you accept this sort of premise and re-read each of those other 110 verses, you’ll find a perfect harmony. Rater than neglecting so great a salvation, we work out our salvation with fear and trembling. There is no ‘embarrassing verse’ that the other guy quotes that you know in your heart you really can’t answer – like Calvinism and Arminianism have when they look at each other’s quotations. And when you look for Jesus in the middle of this understanding, you’ll see that He is the salvation of God (Ps 118:21-22; Luke 2:30), and that true salvation means abiding in Him, which is as close to the heart of the New Testament as one can possibly get.

    And so I do have a really big problem with something Antonio said: “But the backslider FOR CERTAIN can have ABSOLUTE CERTAIN assurance of eternal life!” (Emphasis in the original). This is nothing but carnal security, pure and simple: historically, one of the most odious objections against Calvinism: “He who says to the wicked, ‘You are righteous,’ him the people will curse; nations will abhor him.” (Prov 24:24).

    In fact, if you really look up ‘eternal life’ in a concordance, you’ll see that the whole counsel of Scripture constantly ties it to the concept of abiding in Christ, in a progressive sense:

    “Eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality.”
    (Rom 2:7)

    I want to make it clear that I really respect most of what Antonio has shared, because it is obvious that he is a first-class thinker, so I don’t intend this to be personal in any way. (Iron sharpens iron – I consider him a friend and I hope he thinks the same of me.)

    Okay them, so what about the case of the backslider? There are two parts to this answer, based on the true significance of abiding in Christ:

    "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”
    (John 15:5-6)

    “And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.”
    (Rom 11:23)

    A person who is backsliding is neglecting their salvation. They haven’t lost, it, they’ve simply ceased working it out. They can still repent and get it right. If they do, it’s the very same salvation they started with (as in Gal 5:1). But what if their master should return and finds them in this state? Not just struggling, but actually presuming on Him about it? “My master delays His coming.” Will He not come in an hour unexpected, cut him in two and appoint his portion with the hypocrites, where he will have wailing and gnashing of teeth? What else could we be thinking? I think we’d better start talking about this the way that Jesus does, even if it challenges some of our underlying Calvinistic or Arminian assumptions.

    One last thought. A good Calvinist could be following the Lord with all of his heart right now, and everyone might admire him. He could even be the pastor. He may have served the Lord faithfully all of his life. But how does he know whether the day will come, perhaps ten years from now, when he will backslide unexpectedly? In that day the other loyal Calvinists will assure him that he was never really saved in the first place. So how assuring is this doctrine really, after all? Or what comfort can really be obtained from it? The only alternative is to offer them carnal security in their sin, which is an utter failure for everyone. Isn’t it so much closer to the heart of Scripture (the heart of God) to tell them to repent, confess their sin, and God will cleanse them of all unrighteousness?

    By the way, the reason I’ve been falling behind in blogging is because Im preparing a new break-out module on a Christ-centered soteriology. Hopefully I will have at least the first half of it ready to post by tomorrow evening, but if not, than soon.

    By Blogger loren, at 12/08/2005 7:35 PM  

  • This whole conversation is forcing me to consider re-opening a blog. Pray for me about this as I don't wish to detract attention from my family and need to pace myself. Stay tuned. I may be comming out of semi-retirement. In the meantime to understand justification as a one time legal act of God and then sanctification with continuance as a biblical general rule consider these two passages. Zechariah 3:1-6 and Jeremiah 29:11-14

    A few months ago I watch a movie that was totaly secular but presented an excellent word picture for understanding election, justification, sanctification and continuance to consummation. (as loren puts it) I agree with Loren in part but am unsure where He stands on the legal act of God's justification of the sinner. I think and hope he believes in this.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 12/08/2005 8:43 PM  

  • Brian, thank you for your thoughts and all your lucid participation. May you do what is right.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/08/2005 9:00 PM  

  • Loren,

    You said,
    "Isn’t it so much closer to the heart of Scripture (the heart of God) to tell them to repent, confess their sin, and God will cleanse them of all unrighteousness? "

    Yep it is. You are saying the right thing. That's what I hope and pray for opportunities to do with my mother and my wife's sister. My mother is now a Psychic who hates Christ and my wife's sister is now a muslim who thinks the apostles wrecked the true teachings of Christ.....

    That's what the study of Soteriology should do is get us is focus on Christ and teaching us to praying for others and sharing the gospel with more and more people in a way that is like the bible shows us to.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/08/2005 9:07 PM  

  • Loren,

    You said,
    "Isn’t it so much closer to the heart of Scripture (the heart of God) to tell them to repent, confess their sin, and God will cleanse them of all unrighteousness? "

    Loren, I agree with this as well. With Shawn's mother and sister-in-law ... and many of the people that we know who act bizarre after having once been church members and professing Chritians ...

    I would wager (although that is not a good Baptist thing to do) that if you could really get in a heart to heart talk with them, they would freely admit that they never really meant it when they "asked the Lord to come into their lives" or "said the prayer". Just to be clear, Shawn, I don't think "saying a prayer" saves anyone. I don't think "walking an aisle" saves anyone. It is a heart call on the Lord in sincerity recognizing one's sin and need. This is not a light matter as I have seen it belittled in other comments by Lordship proponents.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/08/2005 9:31 PM  

  • I don't feel compelled to go tit-for-tat with Loren on his post, but suffice it to say that in either case of being in sin or walking faithfully with the Lord, should not have any consequence as to whether one is certain that he has eternal life or not.

    Eternal life and salvation is never conditioned upon the men's faithfulness. It was conditioned on Christ's faithfulness.

    Therefore when such a one is caught up in sin or such a one is walking with the Lord, looking to Christ and His promise in childlike faith brings certainty of eternal life in both instances.

    They are both looking to the faithfulness of Christ. Even in my best times of being in stride with Christ, walking faithfully in the light as He is in the light, I discerned unfaithfulness on my part. Looking to that will not bring certainty. But looking to Christ will.

    This whole thing about "carnal assurance" is a fabricated ploy to take one's eyes off of Christ and place them on self, when in reality, which everyone seems to at least give lip service, eternal life is based only one man's faithfulness: Christ. And at no time should one's own faithfulness play a part in the gaining of assurance. It didn't play a part in our salvation! Why should it play a part in our estimation of it?

    If someone is saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ because of HIS faithfulness, why must one look to his works to find assurance of the possesion of it?

    Why must one wait until he is at some subjective level of sanctification and/or faithfulness in his walk before he can have a measure of assurance?

    I'll tell you what "carnal assurance" really is: the "assurance" that comes from looking to one's own self rather than merely looking to Christ.


    By Blogger Antonio, at 12/08/2005 10:14 PM  

  • Rose,

    Agreed Rose, and thanks for the straw man snifing, my wife and I says that not to hurt you or other free grace brothers/sisters. I Zane Hodges' beliefs to be a serious error as Zane Hodges' believes mine to be as well.

    But when I look back on my life with my mom it does seem she seemed very sincere definitely more sincere than many people I know today. She and her husband really discipled me in the Lord and constantly teaching me the gosple and the power of gospel in everyday life, etc. She slowly slowly every so slowly falled away..... I do recall provoking/encouraging her to keep her faith on many occasions trying to show the Glory of God in the Face of Christ.

    I also have so many friends who basically love the Christian things : Christian Rock music, Christian Fads, Christian Friends, but do they love Christ and His Word? I don't know because none of that is interesting as the other loves.

    This is why I believe that "salvation is of the Lord" as you do.

    Interesting that you are right today my mom would say it was just a joke, but it was at the time a very real thing in her life.

    Well anyway thank goodness for God's love and grace today.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/08/2005 10:20 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Antonio, at 12/08/2005 10:27 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Antonio, at 12/08/2005 10:30 PM  

  • Rose,

    did you read my comments on this thread about the parable of the sower?

    People who get truly saved can fall away (yet God is faithful to His promise).

    Now it is true that there are people who "fall away" who were in reality not saved. They did not understand the gospel: as there are SO MANY DIFFERENT ONES FLOATING AROUND. But we know that there is only one true gospel. So these people could have believed a false one.

    But it is just as true that there are people who believed, got saved, but later fall away: some reasons are that they were stunted in their growth, because they were not discipled, were drawn away by false teachers, etc.

    It is a sad fact that some who truly believe and get saved fall away. There is a series admonishment from James to us who see such people fall away:

    James 5:19-20

    Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

    Brethren (read post one in my James series, James means by brethren: regenerate brothers), if anyone AMONG you, (that means other brothers in the Lord) WANDERS from the truth (implication? you can't wander from something if you weren't at one time related to it!)try to turn that person back. Why? Because turning a sinner BACK to the truth will save a life from death (sin causes death, just ask people whose family members died from alcholism and drug overdose and aids, etc) and will cover a multitude of sins (straight from proverbs no less!)


    By Blogger Antonio, at 12/08/2005 10:32 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Hmm, this is a perplexing one. So someone can turn to sin and still be absolutely saved, and if we don't think so we've gotten our eyes off Jesus? What about the person who is backsliding?

    It may be good Calvinism to make such points, but is it good Jesusism? 'Cause Jesus Himself said that He would tell them to depart with their lawlessness, He would appoint them their portion with the hypocrites, that we should watch and pray, etc.

    This reminds me of something you said in an earlier posting. How many points are simply based on earlier points, and not on the Bible itself? Anyway, enough for now. Have a good night.

    By Blogger loren, at 12/09/2005 2:27 AM  

  • I find this word Jesusism really annoying. Why?

    Because it identifies our theology with our Lord's ministry to Israel, as found in the Synoptics. Jesus or Yeshua of course reflects Christ's Jewish ministry. Having our focus on the synoptics in this way distracts us from out heavenly position as justified in the risen Christ, the heavenly man.

    If a Christian sins, the Lord will judge them for their carnality through His ministry of chastisement; to their death if necessary.

    To say that turning to sin prevents someone's final salvation is a denial of the Christian's position in Christ. Can one who is identified with Christ, sat down in heavenly places have sin laid to their charge.

    Let us be careful of allowing earthly warnings from distracting us from the wonder and glory of waht Christ has accomplished in redeeming us.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/09/2005 7:19 AM  

  • >Eternal life and salvation is never conditioned upon the men's faithfulness. It was conditioned on Christ's faithfulness.<

    Amen and good point Antonio. If anyone does not believe this then He has not come to terms with Himself. Having said that the bible clearly shows us that we are to treat those that live in sin and call themselves brethren as unbelievers. We simply do not know the differance between a Judas and a Peter. Perhaps even Peter himself wondered in his denying Christ if he was the one Jesus kept speaking about. Later He would discover that this was a time of darkness to purge Him deeper and do a deeper work in him.God uses those times of feeling "cut off" to strengthen our walk. We do not know as the other disciples did not fully understand who the Judas was or the differance at the time of Peters denial or even their denial in scattering, but at the same time he told his disciples that they were clean except for one of them. Who?

    An eagle teaches her young to fly by dropping them yet after she drops them she glides under them deeper in order to catch them so that they not fall to their death. This time of "cutting off" is a deep time of growth in which the soul examines whether he truly belongs to God or no. This is the way of God and is clearly shown through out scripture.


    I will pray for your mom. It is possible she is indeed lost and you should warn her of this, but it may be that she is going through this time of being dropped into a deeper walk with God. We do not know. only He does. In the words of Corrie Ten Boom, "There is not pit that He is not deeper still."


    By Blogger Bhedr, at 12/09/2005 8:31 AM  

  • Loren,

    I think a huge problem that you have is the distinctions between different usages of the Greek word "soteria" (salvation). It was a VERY flexible word in Greek, yet to us Christians, we have ossified it into the concrete meaning of eternal salvation from hell.

    There are many senses and imports to the Greek word, not to mention tenses! It is used very differently throughout the New Testament! You seem to have a very rigid understanding of the word.

    Also, there is a difference between eternal life as a present immediate possesion by grace through faith as an absolutely free gift, and the future acquisition of it. Eternal life as a future prospect is always used meritoriously, while the present possesion of it is always used as receiving a free gift through faith.

    Eternal life is not a static entity. The reception of it by grace through faith is merely the starting point of it. We have the opportunity to build it up so that it creates for us the the abundant life here temporally and the rewarded glorious and triumphantly overcoming experience in the future kingdom.

    Some will be merely entering the kingdom, while others will co-rule, co-reign with Christ, having the abundant entrance and the merited glories that were conditioned on faithfully suffering for Christ and overcoming with faithful obedience till the end.

    You must see that the word "salavation" and the concept "eternal life" are used differently in different contexts.


    One method of taking stock of whether or not a person is saved is to ask them about their doctrine. In Matthew 7, the false prophets are wolves in sheep's clothing, therefore, you cannot tell by their outward appearance and acts that they are inwardly ravenous wolves. Jesus says that we can know by their fruit. Their fruit is the doctrine and teachings that they give.

    If someone says that they are trusting in their repentance, their submission to Christ, AND Christ, well, the chances are that they aren't saved (unless at a previous point they believed the true gospel).

    The same test is found in Deuteronomy for prophets. You can tell who they are by what they say. And when you cross-reference Matt 7 with Matt 12, you find out that Jesus uses fruit as what people say.

    You can't tell by the outward acts of the false prophet that he is a false prophet, because he is a wolff in sheep's clothing. You can only tell by his fruit, which is his doctrine.

    If Shawn's mom says that at some point she entrusted her eternal destiny to Jesus Christ by believing on Him for eternal life, and you have no reason to doubt her telling you the truth, then I have every reason to believe that she is saved yet in a backslidden point.

    Yet if she states that she was trusting in something else, and not fully in Christ, well then, she was never saved.


    By Blogger Antonio, at 12/09/2005 3:13 PM  

  • Hi Rose,
    This is such along thread_____________________

    Hi Antonio,

    Hypothetically, how do you answer if someone assumes you are an open Theist? I know someone in that situation.

    firmly in Christ,
    brother John

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at 12/09/2005 5:03 PM  

  • Hi Antonio,

    Yes, I know the Greek word has many applications but it really doesn't matter. The concept fits the ones that refer to salvation, or even the one that could go either way (did you have a specific example in mind, that you feel I've misapplied? I'm open to discussing it).

    In any case, the heart of God that is seen through either type application is constant. That's the constant element within the flexibility of application.

    By Blogger loren, at 12/09/2005 7:30 PM  

  • You are right about Matthew 12 being what we say but are you sure about Matthew 7. The application in this passage lets us know that we can judge by what one does as well. Do you remember that Jesus said "Tuly this nation honors me with their lips but their hearts are far from Me."

    How are we to apply Matt 7. Do you remember how John the Baptist spoke when saying bring forth fruits meet for repentance and the crowd responded by saying what do we do? He spoke of the axe cutting down the tree. Here also in this passage Jesus does as well.

    Vs 19. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

    Still not convinced? Ok then lets forget about John the Baptist as I think you believe his call to repentence was for Israel if I remember. Correct me if I am wrong.

    Lets look at Vs 21 which is the true context here. "Not everyone who *says* to me, "Lord, Lord" shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but He who *does* the will of my Father."

    Now many did things but only on their terms and not According to Scripture as the graphe is the written manifestation of the Logos. If one not wish to obey and
    turn at the rebuke of Scripture then how can one say He believes in the Logos(eternal Word, Knowledge wisdom etc.) Jesus is the Logos the Living Word.

    In proverbs we hear wisdom crying out saying, "How long you simple ones will you love simplicity, *turn* at my reproof and I will pour out My Spirit on you."

    We also know of the verse, "He that covereth His sins shall not prosper, but He that confesseth his sins and forsakes them, of Him will I have mercy."

    Still not convinced? Perhaps you feel this verse applies to Israel only as well. Ok thats fine lets look back at Matthew 7 and look at the context once again and see if it reflects fruits with lips as Matthew 12 does.

    Vs 24 *Therefore* whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does*them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the Rock.

    We learn about the foolish man as well and this text truly echoes Proverbs and substantiates *Who* Yeshua is. The Logos spoken of in John 1. The light that nobody wanted. Why? Because men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. John 3:19

    This also is the context of John 3 in correllation of Nicodemus questions regarding being born again.

    We look to the Serpent in the wilderness because we acknowledge as some of Israel did that they were evil and complained against the truth and that was why they suffered the snake bites. We see our sin and wish to turn from it and to the light recieving Him who is wisdom taking His yoke upon us to learn to do good and delight in knowing Him. It is very simple but we have confused this message.

    If we truly receive Jesus then we receive all of him. Rebuke and all and wish to walk with Him and obey Him. *HE* is eternal life. John 17:3

    "For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth cones to the light, that his *deeds* may be *clearly seen*, that they have been *done in God.*"

    Please consider reading God is the Gospel by John Piper. This may be helpful as well. Eternal life is a free gift. The problem is we have reduced this gift and presented Heaven as dying and going to a Bermuda like place or for the kids a Disneyland of sorts. True Eternal life is to know and follow God for all eternity. We shouldn't be consumed with questions of is there football or Nascar in Heaven or my favorite foods? Etenal life is to know God and it can beging now if one wishes to truly receive Him and not some ideology presented by man. We then begin a preperation to be wed to Him and we wait for Him as those *wise* virginswith oil in their lamps.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 12/09/2005 7:48 PM  

  • j wendell,

    That is an interesting question you ask. May I ask what these persons have given to support this contention? I am wondering what specifically have I said that would lend to that label.

    There is just too much in Open Theism that is blatantly wrong, but there is much to learn from it.

    If I were to categorize myself, I would say that I am a Molinist (Middle-knowlege) but modify it in some circumstances.

    When you gonna get another entry in on your blog?


    By Blogger Antonio, at 12/09/2005 8:06 PM  

  • Antonio,
    I meant I know someone who has been accused of "Open Theism"

    I just put up a new post. Thanks for asking!

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at 12/09/2005 11:16 PM  

  • I personally think Middle Knowledge is to close to soft determinism for my liking.

    Unless Middle Knowlegers sccept some sort of Determinism, I am not sure how they can hold logically that God would know about possibilities that have not been actualised. I prefer Simple Foreknowledge.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/10/2005 5:57 AM  

  • Matthew,

    Did you really mean to say that "I believe that the bible teaches simple foreknowledge"?

    Is that what you believe the bible teaches or what you prefer. I couldn't quite get what you meant

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/10/2005 6:45 PM  

  • I think the Bible teaches foreknowledge. To my mind, simple foreknowledge fits both the Biblical evidence and philosophical grounds better.

    God Bless

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/11/2005 3:57 AM  

  • Hi, Rose,

    Here is another two-and-a-half-years-late comment. I would put myself in Camp #3, while feeling a little less confident in its accuracy (because of the warning verses, particularly in Hebrews) than I do on some of my other Calvinism/Arminianism views. This could make me a "1-pt Calvinist"...or it could make me an Arminian.

    I was surprised that no one brought up here that Arminianism does in fact not entail a belief that salvation can be lost. That view might be better called Wesleyanism or some other term, because, at least according to a book I read by Robert Picirilli (I may have misspelled his name), Arminius actually never taught the possibility of apostacy, though he admitted to doubts on the subject. That puts me squarely alongside him here. The label "Arminianism" has been sufficiently maligned and pegged with all sorts of views that Arminius himself never expressed (his writings are surprisingly close to Calvinism in sentiment, focus, and terminology, with the exception of the fundamental parting of the ways on Unconditional Election) that many such as Roger Olson and Robert Picirilli use the terms "Orthodox Arminianism" or "Reformed Arminianism" or "Classical Arminianism" (though, interestingly, Picirilli, apparently unlike Arminius, believes in the possibility of believers' apostacy). I too dislike labels (they can be a handy shorthand for your beliefs but, as we see here, they also carry baggage and internal disagreements and hardly ever match up 100%) and prefer to stick with simply "Christian" as at the end of the day it's the only one that really matters. But Orthodox/Reformed/Classical Arminianism pretty much accurately sums up what I understand the Bible to teach (I'd recommend a book by Roger Olson on Classical Arminianism). And, FYI, I prefer "Reformed Arminianism" because as a non-Catholic the Reformation is mine as well. I really dislike the usurping of the term "Reformed" to indicate "Calvinism" -- we reformed from Catholicism (in which both "Calvinist" and "Arminian" theological writings can be found), not Arminianism, y'know. ;)

    So, this comment is less directly about the "P" itself and more about my frustration that for so many people "Arminian" has come to mean simply "doesn't believe is OSAS/P" -- it is much more complex, and I would actually estimate that OSAS/P Arminians greatly outnumber non-OSAS/P Arminians.

    And, Rose, if I may, to follow on some of yours and others' earlier comments, I respectfully suggest that Orthodox (etc.) Arminianism is the closest position to yours as well, as best I understand it. (I think you could also go for 1-2 pointer -- as some people seriously do -- having in mind the somewhat different interpretations of what is meant by "T", but I believe it would be silly because it misses the heart of Calvinism (as I see it), Unconditional Election. TULIP is just another spring flower without the capital U.

    If anyone actually reads this (and is still reading now!) I do hope it hasn't been too rambling. It is WWWWAAAAY past my bedtime. Good night!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/02/2008 1:28 AM  

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