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

Monday, January 23, 2006

What Can Be Done, By Whom?

"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what can you do for your country."

This famous quote is from the inaugural speech delivered by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. I think it is a very good quote. As a citizen of a country, a person should be looking to see what he can contribute, rather than holding his hand out all the time to receive. Actually, I think many of our social ills are because citizens don’t do what President Kennedy suggested. Many have become people who are always looking to government as some sort of parent ... even as they see themselves as a needy child. This is not how one helps to make one’s country strong and robust.

This John F. Kennedy quote occurred to me on my morning walk today. I was thinking about the gospel. I was thinking about this question, “What is the gospel?” The answer to that question has always been somewhat simple for me to answer, but it doesn’t seem like it is all that simple for some. I have always viewed salvation as a sinner receiving the most wonderful gift from the heavenly father. I have always seen it as exactly the opposite of the John F. Kennedy statement. If I could switch his quote around a little it might look something like this: “Sinner, ask not what you can do for God, but what He has done for you.”

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

So what is the following kind of talk? “The gospel is committing your life to God and just laying it at His feet. You have to be willing to let Him have His way with your life and give up all your expectations of what you want out of life, submitting to Him. That is what brought about my being born again.” Is this the gospel? In my understanding, the gospel is about becoming fit for God’s presence. A sinner is not acceptable, he is covered with sin, tainted. Then, when the gospel is received into the heart, sins are cleansed, he is given the eternal right to life with God, and the gift of the Holy Spirit to help him along in the rest of his walk on earth. That is what God wants to do for sinners! Am I not right?

I am not talking about Christian service and how a child of God learns and grows and works. There is a place for that teaching and it is important. No one is encouraged to receive the gift of salvation and then rest on the laurels, becoming complacent, or worse, abusing the grace of God. As believers, we should be asking, "What can I do to glorify God with my life?" ... not ... "What can God do for me now that I am His child?"

But ... the message of salvation, the gospel is not about what man can do for God. It is just the opposite. An unregenerate sinner has nothing of any value to offer Him, no way to make himself righteous. Christ’s death, burial and resurrection has made it possible for sinners to become justified and declared righteous and alive in Christ.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! (Romans 5:8-10)

I have probably quoted this before, but I think it deserves repeating: “Friend, God doesn’t want your old wretched heart, He wants to give you a new heart. He doesn’t want you to give Him your life. He wants to give you His life.” (J. Vernon McGee) Does God require a sinner to commit his life to Him in order to be saved? Is the gospel message like the quote by John F. Kennedy, “Ask not what God can do for you, ask what you can do for God”? I think not.

the END

57 Comments:

  • Great post, Rose~. You are absolutely right.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 1/23/2006 10:08 AM  

  • Rose,

    I couldn't agree more!!!

    PEACE,

    NATE

    By Blogger Nate, at 1/23/2006 10:44 AM  

  • Amen in so many respects!!!!!! Great words from scripture.

    Your question "Does God require a sinner to commit his life to Him in order to be saved? "

    This is the wrong question. "Does a sinner who has been regenerated commit his life to him and turn from his sin and turn to Christ?" Yes because of the work of Grace in them. Do I think this happens instantly or in some prescribed pattern? Not always....

    That's why we as believers should tell those who are lost to tell them to repent and turn from their wickedness and turn to Christ for Christ to save them from their sins. Christ is the only one who can pay the penalty and give them the righteousness of God.


    I love this verse Phil 3:8-9"For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith"

    Amen!

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 1/23/2006 11:06 AM  

  • I totally agree. Great post Rose.

    By Blogger Kc, at 1/23/2006 11:13 AM  

  • Rose,
    Good post, though my thinking is along the lines of what Shawn said in his comments. I repented because I had a desire to. I serve Christ now because I want to. The desires to do these things come from the Sanctifying and Regenerating work of God the Holy Spirit. Apart from Him and His working in my life there is no good thing in me. Without Him I would not even seek God or understand Him. I would have believed the gospel message to be foolishness. I would have been among those who cried out for His crucifiction; those who curse God for His judgements in Revelation;those who take pleasure in unrighteousness in Romans 1.

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 1/23/2006 12:10 PM  

  • Rose BTW,I love your quest to know the truth. I respect and admire you and your love for His word and for His saints.

    May God bless you.

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 1/23/2006 12:14 PM  

  • The problem is that telling people to turn from wickedness is not necessarilly asking people to do something easy.

    If you tell a Muslim to give up Islam and turn to Christ; you ask him to be rejected by his family and friends and in a Muslim country, to risk imprisonment or death for apostasy.

    More moderately, if you ask someone in Britain and America to turn from their wickedness, it could mean leaving their partner if they are living in sin. This might mean moving out of their home or leaving their children.

    If you present these things as necessary conditions of being saved, then it is very difficult to see how you can claim to be presenting a free offer of salvation.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 1/23/2006 1:00 PM  

  • Matthew,

    Bingo, salvation is impossible for a man and this is what Jesus said and with God is it possible.

    This is the work of conviction in a soul. They see their inate inability to do anything and come to God with an empty hand of faith and show him they have nothing to offer, please save me from this body of death.

    That's the issue, you believe telling people to turn from sin and turn to Christ isn't a free offer of salvation. God free grace is real and effective in the life of someone told to turn from their wickedness (though flawed).

    There is no one who turns from sins flawlessly.

    However to neglect these statements seems to take out what we are commanded to do in the scriptures (God commands everyone every to repent) and how the Holy Spirit convicts of sin in a person to see their inability.

    They see their awesome inability before God to be righteous and perfect and only can cling to Christ to save them and they like the tax collector beats on his breast and pleads for God to save him and unrighteous God hater.

    This is how Holy Spirit convicts of sin.

    Though having said that I do that God does convict of sin in the same way even when we aren't faithfullly telling someone totally accurately everything I say hear. It's a work of God's Grace and even when we are flawed in our telling of the gospel, God does this work in a person. We shouldn't be frightened to share Christ if we know we will say something wrong as God will work through our failings.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 1/23/2006 1:20 PM  

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    By Blogger Bhedr, at 1/23/2006 2:09 PM  

  • Brian,

    I didn't mean to imply that we can neglect teaching repentance to the lost man. I just mean that sometimes God works mightily through our failings of sharing the gospel.

    I've noticed that in my life and I have friends that are afraid to say something wrong rather than tell people to come to Christ.... The Holy Spirit is the one to convict of sin, but he uses means, like for example us so let's try to be faithful to the Word and pray that God would work through our failings.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 1/23/2006 2:14 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 1/23/2006 2:23 PM  

  • So a Muslim sees his need for forgiveness from Jesus Christ.

    He asks if to be saved he must confess Christ, be baptized, give up the Muslim religion.

    If he is in a western country, he will loose his family and friends. If he is in a Muslim country he may face jail, torture or death.

    If you tell him to turn from wickedness, then he must face these consequnces.

    Okay, you may tell him that the Holy Spirit will give him strength to face these consequences, but he will still have to face them.

    If you tell this man that he must do these things, then how can he possibly undrstand salvation to be a free offer?

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 1/23/2006 2:49 PM  

  • Matthew, Nate, kc,
    I am glad you see it as simply as I do. Thanks for getting the gist of my post.

    Bluecollar!
    Thanks for your thoughts. For me, I repented because I wanted to, as well. I recently (2 years ago) repented of something also. God showed me that that particular sin doesn't satisfy. Could I do it again? Yes. But ... it doesn't satisfy. John has a funny saying about cigarettes, just to use an outward "sin" (because it abuses the temple of the HS). He points out that all the ads claim that this cigarette or that cigarette really satisfies. He says, "If it really satisfied, you would only need to smoke one." That is true about a lot of things in the flesh, too, isn't it? Even things that aren't sin, like eating. Eating only satifies for a period, and then you are hungry again. I babble ...
    Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words in your secind comment.

    Shawn,
    You went and complicated it! Our messages to the lost are different from eachother. I think your message would use the JFK quote a little, eh?
    Thanks for the verse. I will ponder it.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 1/23/2006 4:36 PM  

  • Rose,

    "You went and complicated it! Our messages to the lost are different from each other. I think your message would use the JFK quote a little, eh?"

    Nope not at all. If we are to put theology into one word it would be "GRACE" if you like. My daughter can see that as well. She always tells me "I want to love God more than Strawberry Shortcake dad, more than anything". For a question, does our theology have to fit into one paragraph anyway, yes sometimes I can be complicated and please forgive me, that's not exactly how the bible was written. I mean it taught so much on salvation it's very hard to put into one paragraph.

    Telling people to repent and turn to Christ and turn from sin is just the way the bible teaches us to tell people the gospel.

    Do you tell your children to repent of their sin and trust in Christ alone? I sure do everyday and I teach them the gospel.

    I don't understand why you think telling someone to turn from sin and look with unveiled eyes upon the Lord is some work of man. Is this really a work of man or a work of God's mercy? I see it as a work of God's mercy as in ourselves we wouldn't see the Glory of God and turn to Christ. Why would anyone do this apart from a work of Grace in their life?

    Do you mean you don't tell people to turn from their wickedness and look upon the glory of Christ who forgives needy sinners. Do you say look to Christ and behold his Glory and he will forgive you. That's in reality the same thing if they are truly seeing the glory of God. Because they see they have fallen short and need Grace.

    Okay done talking

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 1/23/2006 5:19 PM  

  • Rose,
    Yes Christ paid it all. Amen.

    One other thought, why exactly is telling someone to turn from sin and repent actually adding to the gospel? I have never gotten or understood this from my friends in Christ.

    It seem the burden of proof is on the friends to prove biblically that it is unscriptural to tell someone to turn from sin and turn to Christ.

    Convict the world of sin

    Another thought, when you say we aren't to do the work of convicting of sin, that's the Holy Spirit's job. I think I see what you are doing but he does this through the means of Grace in the preaching of the gospel. John 15:26 16:8 says that the Holy Spirit would testify to the world about Christ. He also convicts the World of Sin. He reveals man's sin and calls them to seek God's mercy through Christ's Work on the Cross. Doesn't God use us in this work through the Gospel preaching?

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 1/23/2006 6:00 PM  

  • Shawn, that we must tell people to repent does not mean it is the Gospel. We must teach people to be baptized. Is baptism part of the Gospel? Is keeping God's commandments the Gospel?

    We are commanded to obey every commandment of God that is meant for us. Is this the Gospel that we are to give God total obediance?

    All of these things are distinct from salvation. The Bible promises eternal life to those who believe. Repentance is commanded. Baptism is commanded. Holiness is commanded. But it is by belief in Christ that a man receives eternal life.

    Repentance is a work; it involves turning from sin and showing fruits of repentance.

    My sister is living with a man to whom she is not married. If she were to repent, unless he became a Christian and married her pretty quickly, she would need to leave her home and the man that she loves. Is this not a work? Is this not a thing in which she might boast? Is this not an act of obediance?

    If my sister's leaving her home and the man she loves is a condition of eternal life, in what sense is eternal life a free gift?

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 1/23/2006 6:03 PM  

  • 'It seem the burden of proof is on the friends to prove biblically that it is unscriptural to tell someone to turn from sin and turn to Christ.'

    We should tell people to turn to Christ. We shoudl also tell people to turn from their sin. However, to tell people that to be saved eternally they must turn from their sin is to add law to grace. This simply results in a gospel of works, whereby one must have faith in Christ, but must also turn from sin.

    This means turning from lying, selfishness, pride, laziness. Have any of us actually completely turned from all of these things. No, we are under grace. We have forgiveness regardless of our failures.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 1/23/2006 6:25 PM  

  • I was not a fan of Kennedy's, but we have not had an orator as good as he since...not ever Reagan.

    And that was a great line.

    As for the rest of your post, very right on!

    By Blogger Joe, at 1/23/2006 7:25 PM  

  • Wow, I go away for a couple of hours, come back, and look at where we have gotten to!

    Bhedr,
    Yes, understanding you are lost is key. You can't appreciate the payment for a debt unless you know you are in debt!

    It is in your repentance that you discover you cannot repent of your own strength.

    So, according to your gospel-telling, people are to "repent" of sin, and while they are trying to put off their sin, then they will see the grace of God to do it for them? This is so contrary to what happened to me. Perhaps it is how you came to see the light. Is it? I ask because having spent the afternoon with my brother yesterday talking about salvation, I came to see that he is using personal experience to try to develop his soteriology. I could do the same. I was told that Christ wanted to do something for me. I didn't need to stop drinking or drugging or bar-going ... just come to Christ, recognizing my sinful condition. He will take care of that sin because he paid all the debt of it. I did. He did. Was this "another gospel"?

    He had a purpose behind saving us.

    Of course, Brian. No one is saying he didn't. His purpose was to present us faultless before the Father. He doesn't need our help in "repentance" to do this. I am surprised if you think so, being the monergism guy that I saw on Doxoblogy some months ago.

    The trouble is we are now saying in our new American Gospel that you can remain there in your sins ...

    Who says this? I have never ever read or heard where someone says "ah, come to Christ, but please, remain in this sin or that sin or just please, be as sinful as you possibly can, sir." The fact is Brian, sin is more than just outward actions. It is in our very being as the old nature is still with us alongside our new nature. Or the flesh is still there, however you want to say it. Sins of thought are just as bad as outward actions before God. The church must deal with outward actions in a strict manner, but that is a different matter altogether than soteriology.

    You say that some are saying God is powerless to overcome sin ...

    God could "deliver" me of jealous thoughts, or any other sin, Brian, that you or I have in us, but He doesn't deliver every Christian from every sin. I don't know Him to have ever done that in history. It happens when a believer loses the flesh in death.

    He has delivered us from the eternal death that is caused by sin. He has left us in our flesh, which is full of sin, to teach us something, or to do something for His glory. This is how He has chosen to do it. He hasn't chosen to immediately deliver us from all our sinfulness upon salvation. Wouldn't you agree?

    Christ said "It is finished." He has overcome our sin, even though we may be beset while still in this flesh, we are marked out for a future holiness that is beyond what we can try to muster up while still attached to this body.

    You can stay there in your sin? We should be telling new converts that sinful habits don't satisfy, if they haven't already figured it out. Sin is ever present with us though, Brian. That is why Christ died for us!! The gospel is a freeing message ... it is forgiveness and the promise of life with God. It is not a guilt-producing Puritanism.

    I walked into the truck stop the other day and a man was scratching a lottery ticket saying, "Oh Jesus, please help me. Oh Jesus."

    That is just silly. It is not because of any "free grace" message he had heard. He is taking the Lord's name in vain.

    It encourages men into thinking they can consume their lust and be enpowered by God to do so.

    I don't see it that way. I have never heard anyone "encouraging men" to think any such thing. If one says that it is possible to do this and still be found with eternal life, is that "encouraging" them to sin? Hardly! It is being truthful about the GRACE of it all, not dependent on my doing.
    NOT DEPENDENT ON MY DOING!

    I think some are afraid that if they don't add something to the gospel, that it will be abused, and perhaps the grace of God is being abused by some. BUT, we don't change the message to guilt Christians into living right. What a judgement we will face at the judgement seat of Christ if we attempt to do the work of the Holy Spirit by convicting men of their sin and attaching an "obedience" or "commitment" to the gospel. CHRIST DID IT ALL FOR US.

    Dangerous ground ...

    By Blogger Rose~, at 1/23/2006 8:09 PM  

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    By Blogger Bhedr, at 1/23/2006 8:38 PM  

  • Hi Rose~
    Can you believe I have a moment to make a brief comment on this excellent post of yours? The thread as always is all in good spirits too. I love this kind of interaction with believers and unbelievers, too.

    BTW if there are unbelievers who are reading… the Gospel is simple. Jesus died for our sins was buried and rose from the dead. Do you believe this? The gospel is NOT turn from your sins. I know lots of people who think they can reform their life by doing some self-help program or take on some kind of cosmic higher power. They find some strength within themselves to quit smoking, or stop drinking, etc. They are still lost and on their way to hell except they trust in the Jesus of Nazareth who paid the penalty of their sin on the cross! You can read all about Him yourself in God’s Word, the Bible. See what the Bible says … do not rely on this blog or that. Ask God to reveal Himself to you through His Word. I recommend starting with the Book of John and reading it all the way through.

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at 1/23/2006 8:57 PM  

  • Brian,
    Categorizing sin, that is what I feel that reformed theology is doing when they talk about repentance from "sin". Sin is all the same and it is in us through and through in the natural man. So you could tell yourself you've repented of this sin or that sin, lust or drunkeness, but you can't truly repent of all sin, if repent means giving it all up. Can you put off selfishness? Not truly. Can you put off pride? Not completely. So if repentence were a requirement for salvation, then we would be able to meet the requirement halfway, at best. Do you see what I am saying?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 1/23/2006 9:01 PM  

  • The experience thing: I was using my own experience as a case in point. We can't rely on experience, but on what the Bible says about salvation.

    You still didn't answer this question from my previous comment:

    So, according to your gospel-telling, people are to "repent" of sin, and while they are trying to put off their sin, then they will see the grace of God to do it for them?

    Do I have that right ... about your approach to this?

    FRANKLY, I am amazed that a post like this doesn't just get an AMEN from all the brothers and sisters in Christ! Amazed, but I am becoming less surprised.

    Still ... I love you guys.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 1/23/2006 9:05 PM  

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    By Blogger Bhedr, at 1/23/2006 9:20 PM  

  • I guess I better say Amen to everything you say in the future and comment on every post of yours or I might not really believe.

    I'm not sure how one could read this into this, my comment from above:

    I am amazed that a post like this doesn't just get an AMEN from all the brothers and sisters in Christ

    All I meant was that the main idea of my post - that we have nothing to offer God before salvation and that it is totally a gift from Him - would not be challenged by any Christians I know around here. That is all ... no offense was meant and I definitely think it is not necessary to agree with everything I say to be a believer. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 1/24/2006 10:07 AM  

  • One more thing, Brian, over the past months, you have asked me a lot of questions on my blog. Some of the questions were things that weren't even related to my posts, but were primers for a post you were about to do. I always tried to answer your questions, no matter how abstract. I wish you would do me the same coutesy when you comment on my blog and I comment back to you with a clarifying question related to your comments.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 1/24/2006 10:12 AM  

  • Brian, I am surprised you ave missed Rose~'s point.

    Is the Gospel what we do for God or what God does for us? Is this not the very heart of Christianity? Surely denying it is to make Christianity into something else.

    I am tempted to indulge in a little Prophetic specualtion here and to suggest that this current within fashionable Reformed theology will lead to unification with Judaism and Popery and the acceptance of the Antichrist.

    I do not know. But I can see that Reformed theology has the potential to move in that direction.

    Every Blesssing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 1/24/2006 10:57 AM  

  • Matthew/Rose,


    Sadly I took this as a joke and laughed a bit, however it is a sad occasion that you really believe that Matthew.

    This grieves me very much because we are discussing what we believe the gospel proclaimation is not how one is justified and Rose rightly affirms the truth about trust alone in Christ alone for salvation. That is our hope and Rose rightly puts that on the table that it is because of Christ we can state "It is finished"

    I think what the difference of opinion is mostly is what is regeneration and how does God regenerate a person.

    Through the preaching of the gospel to teach them to come to Christ with an empty hand of faith knowing that they can't bring anything to their salvation as Rose and others have rightly agreed and knowing that only Christ is their hope. Why did Jesus say to the lady "Go and Sin No more". You seem to be opposed to these statements because you don't believe they will lead a lost heart to see their desperate need of Christ forgiveness.

    It's salvation alone in Christ alone. the issue is how is the gospel preaching supposed to occur.

    It seems to be started from there. I don't see why regeneration can't be discussed between people who hope only in Christ alone for their salvation without stating that they believe the all others who believe in regeneration believe differently are headed toward Rome or lost because they believe in Regeneration a bit differently.

    The foundation for our faith is Christ alone and our goal is holiness and sanctification so that we may Grow in Christ. These studies should give us hope in Christ like they give the team.

    The problem is I am talking about salvation and think of all aspects of salvation.

    Salvation to me means all aspects.

    Election
    Regeneration
    Faith
    Repentence
    Justification
    Adoption
    Progressive Sanctification
    Perseverence of the Saints
    Glorification

    We are having a conversation about salvation in justification and you all rightly make the points that it is through hope in Christ alone in Christ's finished work, but I'm making the point that salvation is very much a change of heart into a heart in regeneration and how does God do this in a person. He does take a heart of stone and give back a heart of flesh. The lost man is opposed to God and his truth. They must first see their condition before they can see and delight in so great a salvation!

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 1/24/2006 11:37 AM  

  • Shawn, there is little in what you have just commented that I would disagree with.

    The problem is simply that Reformed theology demands more than a simple faith in Christ. It makes a change in conduct a condition of salvation.

    Whether that be identified as justification or sanctification makes little difference in practical terms. It is a 'buy now pay later' salvation.

    Salvation is a gift. It is received. No payment is required. To make any action or change in behaviour a condition of salvation is to pose a gospel of works. We are saved by faith not by works.

    I am not against telling people to sin no more, as you imply. What I object to is the identification of this with the Gospel.

    Romans 6:1
    'What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?'

    Does Paul answer this question by declaring that the person posing it has clearly not truly repented and is so not saved? No, he explains why the Christian should turn from sin. This is the question posed by one who has been saved, but who has not turned from sin. Paul's answer makes this clear.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 1/24/2006 12:12 PM  

  • Rose,

    They just won't get it. I am glad that you are disposed toward the thoughts that you have, for they are not ones that most choose to ruminate on.

    The effort and passion that our Traditionalist friends use in arguing against grace is deeply saddening. How come they cannot see that in one breath they extol the virtues of grace and the freeness of eternal life, but in the next they qualify it so much, attaching so many provisos to it that it fails to be grace anymore.

    I love what Matthew said, paraphrased:

    The Bible not only commands repentance, baptism, surrender, commitment, dying to self, and earnest love and absolute holiness, it commands hundreds of other things as well. Where do we stop? Just because repentance, commitment, surrender, and dying to self are commandments in the Scriptures, does not mean that they are required for eternal life!

    And most definitly they are not! Unless you are comfortable with asserting that eternal life is contingent on the sinner's works, they most definitly are not.

    Mark, Brian, and Shawn. I have just posted a exposition on the Parable of the Sower on my blog. It shows conclusively that many of your points and comments in this thread are absolutely wrong.

    I would appreciate it if you could please read it and give me your objections to it based upon the text and my exposition of it:

    My Blog with the Parable of the Sower

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 1/24/2006 12:33 PM  

  • I wonder if this stems from the fact that Reformed see that regeneration and belief is more about body, mind, and soul rather than just mind as antonio says about faith in Christ. I believe it affects all parts of us. When I interpret the scriptures I see it involving our whole affections, trust, and love being affected..when we come to Christ. How can you seperate the mind from the heart and the heart from the soul? A reformed person doesn't normally see it that way in regeneration.

    So I'm more augustinian in my understanding of our affections and will actions than a stoic or a greek thinking on the intellect. Faith just being mere accent of the truth of Christ.

    I remember before I came to Christ I remember thinking I really loving and trusting in Christ, but I wouldn't have any of this "I'm a sinner stuff and that I deserved hell stuff". I was 15 and thought I believed for about 6 months before I came to Christ.

    I heard all of the gospel about the sin being cruel and evil toward God, I remember when I actually realized this desperate need I had to have Christ and that I needed to get past this real sin problem I could then see the Glory of Christ and I did truly see it. There truly is glory when one is seeing the true eternal realities of their condition and that Christ can take you out of that.

    I began weeping and weeping and seeing my sin put Christ upon the Cross when I was alone in my bedroom and I came to Christ alone seeing that he could really forgive me and that I did deserve hell.

    God totally changed my heart the wellspring of my life and my affections changed. I was turning from my sin and I was accepting that Christ was my sustitute(though I didn't say that).

    I don't want others to be like me who wanted Christ, but also wanted to consider sin to be nothing as a hinderance. I think our gospel preaching should include the serious problem of sin. Though if it doesn't I know that the Holy Spirit will convict the world of Sin.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 1/24/2006 12:37 PM  

  • Matthew,

    The previous post was for you, but I didn't put your name on it.

    Antonio,

    Thanks you have already told me that my absolutely false so should I really read it?

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 1/24/2006 12:40 PM  

  • Shawn,

    I desire your sincere interaction.

    Have I ever doubted your sincerity?

    As a brother to a brother, I request that you simply read my post on the Parable of the Sower.

    I still come to your blog and read all your stuff.

    I guess you have deleted me from your blog rounds. You used to come and at least read.

    There is nothing derogatory nor objectionable in my post.

    It seeks to clarify that parable and make application to our ministries to Christians.

    I read all the Calvinist's blogs. I learn things from them, and I sense their sincerity and heart and love for Jesus. I am often encouraged by their devotion to Christ.

    Can you not in turn be encouraged by my exposition of Scripture that seeks to make beneficial applications to the Christian life?

    Same with my post on the Bema of Christ.

    Please read my post on the Bema of Christ.

    I give in my posts persuasive exposition that seeks to clarify issues of practical importance.

    At the least you all could familiarize yourself with another viewpoint and at the most, you may find that some of my tripe is both godly and sincere, and persuasive.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 1/24/2006 1:19 PM  

  • Shawn, I re-read my comment where I used the phrase "absolutely wrong".

    It was quite forward and not gentle nor encouraging. I apologize for the phrase. Please forgive me. I desire your interaction, and have made a determination to proceed in our discussions tact and temperance.

    I can't undo a done, but I wish to revise:

    The post I give, I believe, will clear up for you some of your objections to Rose's and my position, and give you a fresh look at a perspective that most are not familiar with.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 1/24/2006 1:25 PM  

  • Antonio,

    Sound good. Maybe after I get home, except it might be late because I'm getting together with friends for prayer meeting. I'm on lunch break now and should probably each lunch and get back to work...

    Blessings in Christ,
    Shawn

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 1/24/2006 1:54 PM  

  • Sinner, ask not what you can do for God, but what He has done for you.

    Praise God!

    This truly is the Father's will for us.

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at 1/24/2006 2:03 PM  

  • 'I wonder if this stems from the fact that Reformed see that regeneration and belief is more about body, mind, and soul rather than just mind as antonio says about faith in Christ. I believe it affects all parts of us. When I interpret the scriptures I see it involving our whole affections, trust, and love being affected..when we come to Christ. How can you seperate the mind from the heart and the heart from the soul? A reformed person doesn't normally see it that way in regeneration.'

    Regneration indeed affects all these things. However, saving faith and regeneration ar not the same thing. Believing is recognising a thing to be true. This may involve the senses, but not necessarilly so. It may have an affect on the emotions, but this is a result of the belief, not the belief itself.

    John 20:29
    'Jesus saith unto him, Thomas because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet believed.'

    In this verse we have the belief of Thomas who saw with his senses and this is equated with that of all believers.

    Thomas' belief was simply a passive recognition of what his eyes told him, and what his hands would have told him if he touched Jesus. Was this a cold intellectual faith? Of course not, because that distinction is irrelevant here. Thomas' belief was simply the passive apprehension of truth.

    What is truth except a fact, a proposition? Truth is not a theory, it is not an ideal, it is not a whim, a wish or a hope.

    The passage goes on to say:

    'But these things are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.'

    If I read this as and believe that it is the truth, that this is a fact, then I shall be saved.

    Does the passage explain how to believe it? No. Believing is as simple as my looking out the window and seeing that I am still in Worcester. I see with my eyes and believe this to be the truth, just as Thomas looked at His Lord and saw that He had risen.

    Does it require me to search my consciousness to find out whether I am believing it in my soul or my emotions or only in my mind? No. I simply believe that this is the truth. If I believe, then I will be indwellt with the Holy Spirit who will deal with my emotions, provided I surrender them to the Lord. My salvation is in believing.

    Thomas looked with His eyes and saw His risen Lord. I look with my eyes at the pages of God's Word and see that my Lord is risen.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 1/24/2006 2:22 PM  

  • Oh Amen Rose! I don't know you from Adam ...but do I ever love the Spirit.

    Love to you

    By Blogger ambiance-five, at 1/24/2006 2:37 PM  

  • Matthew,

    That was really beautifully constructed. I am going to save that comment as a reference.

    I would that you put that comment on your blog!

    Paste it to your blog, or I may end up doing it!

    That was beautiful man!

    Very persuasive!

    Grace to you!

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 1/24/2006 9:33 PM  

  • Great post, Rose. As I look at some of the discussion in these comments, I think that much of it is arising because the understanding of repentance is being unnecessarily muddled by some. Repentance (metanoia) is in its purest definition, a "change of mind".

    Some have tried to add the results of repentance (fruits of righteousness, change of lifestyle, etc.) to the definition of it. This causes theological problems.

    I personally thought your post was very lucid and was blessed by it.

    By Blogger Gordon Cloud, at 1/24/2006 11:55 PM  

  • Hi Joe,
    I don't think I would have been a fan either, but he gave some good speeches, huh? He was so much more a lucid man than his brother, the esteemed gentlemen from Massachusetts, from what I understand. Then again, that doesn't (hiccup) take much.
    Thanks for the support of my thoughts in this post.

    J. Wendell,
    You are such a blessing. I con't wait until you get back into blogging more.
    I appreciate your gospel presentation, too.

    Matthew,
    Prophetic speculation? Don't give in to the temptation! I also appreciate the other comment about looking out the window and knowing you are in Worcester. This really clicks for me:

    Does it require me to search my consciousness to find out whether I am believing it in my soul or my emotions or only in my mind? No. I simply believe that this is the truth.

    Right. We are blessed because we have believed without seeing.

    HK Flynn,
    Thanks for stopping by and for getting my gist here! I love your blog!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 1/25/2006 11:41 AM  

  • Ambiance,
    You are so kind. Thank you for reading. Thank you for loving.

    Gordon Cloud,
    Thanks for reading and encouraging my heart. I am still unclear about the word "repentance" and the application of the word. This is something I neeed to investigate more. I am glad my thought were a blessing to you.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 1/25/2006 11:43 AM  

  • Bhedr,
    I wish you wouldn't have deleted all your comments. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 1/25/2006 11:44 AM  

  • I just finished reading a wonderfully concise description of saving faith as it pertains to works at triablogue.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 1/25/2006 3:28 PM  

  • Gordon, can one repent without changing one's conduct?

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 1/25/2006 4:29 PM  

  • For those of you following Daniel's link to the circular logic, pettio principii (begging the question), appeals to popularity, and theological imposition on the text found at his link site,

    click on this one as well to see my brief comment to it (as the post is a critique of my post in James):

    My comment on Triabologues theological sophistry

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 1/25/2006 5:31 PM  

  • Thanks for the pointer Antonio. I decided to comment as well. Interested in his response.

    By Blogger Todd, at 1/25/2006 9:40 PM  

  • Rose, I love your blog :)

    Who doesn't?

    And I think Matthew's comments are excellent.

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at 1/26/2006 1:46 AM  

  • Thanks, Jodie.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 1/26/2006 5:42 AM  

  • i loved it so many words but shuch a good read

    By Blogger Stephanie, at 1/26/2006 5:53 PM  

  • Why so much praise for Matthew on this one? I was mostly confused to no end from Matthew's Statements.

    Here's the most disheartening.

    1) Equating my belief as a sell out to infused righteousness and Romanism. This almost made me want to cry as I personally spend so so much time thinking about what Christ's imputed Righteousness and finished work means to me in my everyday life as well as when I came to faith. I trust/rest/believe/hope/embrace in Christ's work and always look to his work alone for any of my hope that I might have.

    2) His prophecy that reformed are going to unify with Rome with the anti-Christ. The reformed have always been those who championed justification by faith alone through the ages and this is quite a large leap.

    This is quite surprising to say and to me not something of praise.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 1/26/2006 8:21 PM  

  • Shawn, I am talking about Matthew's post dated and timed at:

    1/24 2:22

    As for the rest of the stuff concerning Reformed theology, the Antichrist and the RCC, we'll let Matthew respond on that one, for my beliefs are that an Assyrian will be the Antichrist and the UN will play a huge role in the globalization of a one world religion (maybe a tree-hugging, bleeding heart religion, I dunno :) ). Positive about the former, speculating on the latter.

    Shawn, listen. You are a great brother. I love you. Blessings and peace to your family. Do some more posts on your blog about family and being a good father. I enjoy them.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 1/26/2006 11:25 PM  

  • Fundamentalist, I believe that genuine repentance will result in a change of conduct. But it begins with a decision. I have heard many varying definitions of repentance, but almost invariably, when they stray from the literal definition of metanoia they wander into justification by works.

    By Blogger Gordon Cloud, at 1/27/2006 1:16 AM  

  • I think an inductive study of repentance shoudl show that it involves a change of conduct and that it is arbitrary to separate decision from process in repentance.

    Shawn, I am so sorry if my words are offneisve and have caused you sorrow. I strive to contend for God's grace and for more knowledge of Christ.

    I feel you draw to close a connection between regeneration, sanctiifcation and conversion. I think this inevitably leads to notions of infused righteousness.

    The Reformation stands for the rvival of God's Word and the doctrine of justitification. I hold the Reformation to be the greatest spiritual renewal since Pentecost.

    However, the Reformers were not always consitent in their thought abnd those who followed after them even more so.

    We see this inconsistency in the insistence on the fianl perserverance of believers and the stress on repentance as a condition for salvation. Also, arguments for the meritoriousness of savin faith in order to promote their view of election cause confusion over justification.

    Prophetically, I hold that the Roman Catholic Church will be the centre of a Revived Roman Empire and the completion of the Church's apostasy. This will be connected to a revived Judaism focused on a false Jewish Messiah.

    Whether the trend towards Calvinistic Reformed theologyplays a part in thsi scheme remaions to be seen.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 1/27/2006 3:43 AM  

  • Antonio,
    I appreciate your original and your second comment here. It is noce to see when you are warm toward the brethren.

    Hi Daniel. Don't you have anything to say about THIS post?


    Todd,
    Don't you even want to say "hi" to me? Do you have nothing to say about this post?

    I don't mind people conversing with one another or giving links, but I need nice-ness. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 1/27/2006 8:34 AM  

  • Stephanie,
    Thanks for visiting.

    Shawn,
    I am sorry if something said here has made you feel bad. That is not good. I don't want you to feel like crying. I know how you feel, though. Sometimes when I read certain things I feel like, or I actually do, cry. One time that happened to me on Steve Camp's blog. It was the post where he put up all the things that his minstry believed in, like a statement of faith. It was great. I complimented him on its beauty. He then edited the post and added TULIP. It really made me cry. (Maybe you don't understand that.)

    I am sorry if it seemed personal. I don't think Matthew said any of those things to personally hurt you. He was talking about the current within fashionable Reformed theology which is actually all over the blogosphere and I don't think he meant your thoughts specifically, but maybe I am wrong. I am glad you see Christ as sufficient. He IS all sufficient! Praise Jesus.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 1/27/2006 8:41 AM  

  • Matthew,

    Thanks. I however do not see how one who affirms the 1689 LBCF or Westminister COF causes confusion over justification.

    The conversations of some reformed believers online does tend to put an emphasis on the fruit of faith (sanctification) however in my church it doesn't seem to be that at all. This might be because online we put emphasis in what we disagree with others on rather than put our statements up on all of our beliefs.

    At my church we try to put an emphasis on all aspects of salvation. I think sometimes your lack of emphasis on other aspects of salvation (sanctification especially) is surprising as well, but I know that this is debating rather than our daily conversations meant to encourage sometimes and in our hope in Christ. I shouldn't call you a Man of lawlessness because you haven't discussed the importance of putting our hope in Christ for our sanctification.

    The truth is those confessional Christians truly do affirm justification by faith alone, however the conversations of debate may include more than just justification, but sanctification, regeneration as well. Justification and Sanctification are distinct, but does that mean they are inseperatable.

    The bible flips back and forth in it's discussion as well. Does our daily conversation mean that everything has to read like a systematic theologians book in discussion.

    We are people, we are striving to see what Christ's work means to us in all of it's aspects. We can and should focus on the greatness of God and His work of Grace more than anything in our lives, but that doesn't negate His work in us to make us really into a worshipping community of faith.

    We have to believe in his Sanctifying Grace on the highway of holiness, though we know we aren't saved except by His Work alone on the Cross and His Life.

    Rose,

    Rose, I personally was very surprised as well with Steve Statement of Faith for his ministry. I believe in many reformed doctrines, but does that mean my ministry would be only with 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. Probably not. I remember if Steve would have stated this along time ago when I was a teen I would have been very confused with all of the theological terminology like Arminian, Calvinist, Dispensationalist, Reformed if I was listening to his music at a concert.

    I'm EFCA and I find it good to not be in a church that is only for the calvinists and those who believe calvinistic doctrines. I find it interesting from friends who tend to just say "well he's an arminian so he doesn't know". I don't agree with that line of thinking because it adds divisions that just shouldn't be there. Though their are calvinists at my church there, I want to be a community of faith that is from many backgrounds from every tribe and tongue to reflect God's Glory. However our faith should be based on some key doctrinal truths together. I guess I think sometimes the EFCA is a bit too loose in it's doctrinal statement of faith, but it does seem to encourage a community of worshippers who just want to believe in Christ.

    Antonio,

    Thanks I'm excited to read your article soon, but I need to get time off. I've took all of my time for lunch on this and should have read some of yours. I know that part of this is I'm trying to balance determine ministry time with friends and the lost and blogging time and time with the kids to help them see God's grace, and also time with the wife. I'm not always certain how much time I should be on the blogging, as I must be encouraging my brothers/sisters at my local congregation as well. I do and will read your article. I might have a free minute late tonight unless my wife wants to watch a movie or spend more time together. Well anyway forgive me for taking so long.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 1/27/2006 12:12 PM  

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