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

Friday, March 28, 2008

1 Corinthians 15

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand,
2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you - unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,
5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.
6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.
7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.
8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.
9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
11 Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

What is believing in vain ... or grace from God that would be in vain in this passage?

Also, in verse 2, there is an "if" that makes the salvation being spoken of sound conditional upon continuing to "hold fast to the word," but maybe there is a better rendering of the verse that I have not seen just yet.

Does anyone have any thoughts on these ponderings?

81 Comments:

  • Paul explains what he means in verse 14:

    "And if Christ ben ot risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain."

    If Christ is not risen, then we have believed in vain and we are without hope in the world.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 3/28/2008 11:12 AM  

  • Maybe, but it seems unclear to me. When Paul says that God's grace toward him was not in vain it doesn't seem clear to me that he is saying that the grace would have been in vain if not for the ressurection. It just seems awkward the way it is worded in that sentence and the one before and after it if that is what he meant, but maybe you are right. I will read it over a couple of more times.

    Any thoughts on the "if you hold fast that word"...?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/28/2008 11:21 AM  

  • This jumped out at me:

    "I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

    Paul seemed to cooperate with grace. He says that he labored but seems to indicate that his labor was really a cooperation with the grace of God. Maybe this cooperation is the idea that James speaks of when he speaks of faith and works?

    I think that works that aren't cooperating with grace are vain works - but I could be off?

    By Blogger Kansas Bob, at 3/28/2008 11:56 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    As you know, 1 Cor. 15 is a key passage in the current debate among grace people. Seeing that Paul declares the Corinthians “saved” if they hold to the gospel he preached, some are claiming this text must refer to sanctification salvation instead of eternal salvation. Of course, if they are correct about this, then this passage doesn’t refute their claims about salvation without knowing Paul’s gospel of Christ’s death for our sins.

    Two major matters stand out to me in the efforts being made to establish sanctification salvation as the subject. First, the conditional concept - “IF you hold fast.” Second, the word “saved,” a present tense verb, possibly suggesting a continuing salvation taking place as they hold fast. But verse 14 & 17 has them “yet in your sins” as a result of “believing in vain.” And present tense verbs sometimes are state of being verbs. John 6:46 - “He that believeth on me is having eternal life.” Romans 4:5 –"his faith is being counted for righteousness." 1 John 5:13 – “that ye may know that ye are having eternal life.”

    My opinion is that Zane Hodges explained 1 Cor. 15:2 exceedingly well, evidently before he changed his mind about the gospel, when he wrote this:

    "The problem in correctly understanding this verse is caused by the English translation. A very flexible Greek verb (katecho) is translated "hold fast" in the New King James Version (the AV has "keep in memory"). But the verb could equally well be rendered "take hold of" or "take possession of." In that case it would refer to the act of appropriating the truth of the Gospel by faith.
    "Closer examination of the Greek text suggests that this is indeed the correct understanding. The Greek word order can be represented as follows: by which also you are saved, by that word I preached to you, if you take hold of it, unless you believed in vain.' From this it appears that Paul is thinking of the saving effect of the preached word when it is duly appropriated, unless in fact that appropriation (by faith) has been in vain.
    "What he means by believing 'in vain' is made clear in verses 14 and 17:
    "And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty [the AV has 'vain' or 'empty'].
    "And if Christ is not risen your faith is futile,; you are still in your sins [the AV has 'vain' for 'futile'].
    "First Corinthians 15:2 must be read in the light of the subsequent discussion about resurrection. Paul is simply saying, in verse 2, that the Gospel he has preached to them is a saving Gospel when it is appropriated by faith, unless after all, the resurrection is false. In that case, no salvation has occurred at all and the faith his readers had exercised was futile. But naturally Paul absolutely insists on the reality of the resurrection of Christ. He therefore does not think that the Corinthians have believed 'in vain.'" The Gospel Under Siege, Redencion Viva, Dallas, 1981, pp 91,92.

    By Blogger Art, at 3/28/2008 12:07 PM  

  • The condition (which is a conjunction btw) translated as "if" in verse 2 is actually the same word translated as "unless" in verse 2 - that is, the same word shows up twice. If you hold fast... if you believed in vain (or alternately, unless you hold fast... unless you believed in vain.)

    My Greek is pretty rusty, but conjunctions generally join clauses - which means if the same conjunction shows up twice, both may be modifying the same phrase, but intensifying it differently (English: If you believe - if you truly believe, etc.)

    Likewise, the Greek phrase translated as "believed in vain" simply means "believed to no purpose" or "believed for no reason"

    So verse 2 could be saying that receiving the gospel saves you if you hold fast to the gospel that was preached, because if you are not believing the gospel that was preached, whatever it is that you do believe serves no saving purpose.

    Paul uses a different phrase in verse 10, "not without substance" - that is, the grace of God towards Paul was not empty.

    I don't think the salvation spoken of is conditional in the sense of your question - rather the belief that the gospel produces is salvific conditioned upon whether or not what is eventually believed reflects what was actually preached.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 3/28/2008 1:02 PM  

  • Hello Rose,
    The "if" has troubled me and the "in vain" has to.

    By troubled I mean they seem a contradiction to clear passages that can only mean what they mean, unless of course some commentary tries to explain away the the meaning of something clear to adhere to their system.

    What I think or believe now would take alot of space and better communication than I can give with written words.

    Let me cite passages without typing them here to keep this post shorter;

    Romans 11:22
    Galatians 3:3,4
    Galatians 4:11
    Galatians 5:3,4
    Hebrews 6:1-8
    Hebrews 10:18-35

    It seems obvious from verse 1 in Cor 15 that Paul is talking to "brethern". So if that is clear then the "in vain" and the " if you hold fast" means something other than the believers eternal destiny, right?

    What I think if you read the passages I cited is that the "if" and "in vain" are referencing a warning here on earth by not "holding fast" the narrow entry into life here on earth and doctrines such as the resurrection of the dead.

    It is not a warning of losing eternal life or,(as some would say in order to uphold a theological system of belief), proof that a person wasn't part of the elect to begin with is why they fell away from faith and not persevered.

    To sum up: the 12 tribes were saved out of eygpt but only 2 out that generation actually made it into the promised land of rest here on earth.

    The others, whose bodies fell in the wilderness, didn't because after all God had done with miracles to prove Himself the people who witnessed these miracles still believed "in vain" and still trusted in things seen (giants in the land) instead of the same God who lead them out of Egypt and told them to go in and take the land across the Jordan.

    So I think that principle still applies to believers who will not go on to maturity(Heb 6:1-8) here on earth. Paul feared laboring in vain with believers who would fail to go on to maturity and enter the rest God has for them here on earth. Those who habitually refuse to believe the promises of God receive God's grace "in vain and wander and worry and fret over life here on earth.

    I hope that makes sense?

    By Blogger Kris, at 3/28/2008 2:14 PM  

  • Just a clarifying note for Kris - Aaron and his sons entered into the promised land alongside Joshua and Caleb. To be sure, the tribe of Levi was excluded as well, and we mustn't forget that when the twelve returned from scouting out the promised land - the punishment fell only on those who who were 20 years or older at the time - that is, only the bodies of those 20 years or older, from amongst the non-exempt Israelites - ended up littering the wilderness.

    Which is to say that it wasn't just Caleb and Joshua, nor was it just Caleb, Joshua, and Aaron's family. Nor just C. & J., and the priests and the Levites - rather it was C., J., the priests, the Levites, and between 300,000 and 600,000 people who would have been under twenty at the time the 12 returned from spying out Canaan.

    Which is only not to minimize how few entered, but just to keep the numbers real.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 3/28/2008 2:59 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    This is how I understand the passage of 1 Corinthians 15 under discussion:

    The Corinthian Christians had “received” and “believed” Paul’s gospel message of Christ’s substitutionary death and subsequent resurrection (1 Cor. 15:1-5). However, these Corinthian Christians were not “holding fast” to what they had initially believed for eternal life (1 Cor. 15:2) - this is an issue that concerns the spiritual growth and sanctification of Christians. Though the Corinthians’ justification was never in doubt (1 Cor. 6:11,15:1,50-52,58, etc.), their ongoing sanctification (1 Cor. 15:2a, literally “being saved”) was jeopardized due to their denial of the resurrection in general (1 Cor. 15:12) - and by extension their denial of the resurrection of Christ in particular (1 Cor. 15:13,16), which is a key tenet of the gospel (1 Cor. 15:4-5). In 1 Corinthians 15:12 and following, Paul goes on to show the absurdity of the contrary doctrine.

    To clarify:

    1 Corinthians 15:2 speaks of the Corinthians’ sanctification (deals with being fruitful vs. unfruitful)

    1 Corinthians 15:12ff speaks of the contrary/false doctrines’ implications (deals with being forgiven vs. unforgiven)

    JP

    By Blogger Jonathan Perreault, at 3/28/2008 3:23 PM  

  • What do you mean, 'maybe', Rose?

    I answered your question. Is may answer not good enough for you? Are you suggesting I might not be correct?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 3/28/2008 3:42 PM  

  • Thanks Daniel,

    Let me ammend: 2 plus a few others were the only ones who entered. :)

    By Blogger Kris, at 3/28/2008 6:20 PM  

  • I think it might be helpful if these questions could be addressed:

    1. How does the fact Paul was writing to believers mean he cannot question whether some among them may actually have believed in vain, and thus, were not really believers after all? Doesn't the subject matter of the chapter make this a natural question to raise? "How say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?" (v.12)

    2. Does the present tense verb "being saved" in 1 Cor. 15:2 really require sanctification for its meaning. If so, what about other texts with present tense verbs like Acts 13:39 - "all that believe are being justfied from all things" and Rom. 4:5 - "his faith is being counted for righteousness?" Isn't it reasonable that these texts refer to the status of being justified, being saved, being counted righteous, rather than an ongoing process?

    By Blogger Art, at 3/29/2008 11:17 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Those are good questions Art. Here is my understanding:

    Context is key. Throughout his first epistle to the Corinthians the apostle Paul repeatedly assures his audience of carnal Christians of their eternal salvation/justification (1 Cor. 1:2,4:14-15,6:11,12:13,11:32-33,15:1,50,52,58) - even in spite of their obvious lack of ongoing spiritual growth and practical sanctification (1 Cor. 1:10ff,3:1ff, 4:7,18,5:1ff,6:1ff,11:17ff,11:30,15:12ff,etc). In answer to your question, Paul can, of course, wonder if some of these Corinthians had "believed in vain" (1 Cor. 15:2), but I believe that this too deals with ongoing spiritual growth and sanctification (or the lack of it), not justification. Paul's statement "unless you believed in vain" (1 Cor. 15:2) refers to a possible life of unfruitfullness just like Paul speaks of in 1 Corinthians 15:10 (cf. 1 Cor. 3:14-15,9:27,11:30 - "sleep" here is a metyphor for physical death, i.e. the sin unto physical death).

    JP

    By Blogger Jonathan Perreault, at 3/29/2008 7:39 PM  

  • Johnathan,

    I appreciate your remarks here and value very much what you are saying. I especially appreciate your understanding that the Corinthians believed the gospel in order to be saved. I agree that context is key and that the Corinthian saints were secure in eternal salvation/justification. Where we are seeing matters a little differently, of course, is whether sanctification is involved in 1 Cor. 15:2. But, I suspect if you will think about this just a little further, you might not really agree with what that requires the text to say. According to this text, it is the gospel that definitely does save people from something. So, do you really believe holding fast to the gospel assuredly results in the gospel saving believers from fruitlessness? I think probably not, but understand instead that considerably more than gospel integrity is involved in making believers the sanctified, productive, fruitful saints they ought to be. Your remarks about spiritual growth and fruitfulness are great, but maybe 1 Cor. 15:2 isn't the text that teaches us about growth and fruitfulness?

    By Blogger Art, at 3/29/2008 11:53 PM  

  • Great discussion.

    By Blogger Jonathan Moorhead, at 3/30/2008 12:16 PM  

  • Hi Bob,
    Yes, I noticed that too - he follows up the phrase about the grace not being in vain with a description of his works in that grace. Thanks for your thougths.

    Art,
    Thanks for visiting again. I was looking at this verse because it was read the previous Sunday at church and the repetition of the phrase "in vain" stood out to me - then I kept reading it over and over and found it was maybe not what it seemed at first but a passage worthy of some further thought. Blogging sometimes helps me think about passages - to read what others think and see what makes sense to me. Thanks for the snippet from Hodges - that is really interesting. It sounds like the way dyspraxic fundamentalist was seeing it too.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/30/2008 11:06 PM  

  • Danile,
    Interesting Greek notes - repetitious conjunctions.

    Your last paragraph of your first comment sounds like the end proves the beginning. I read it over a few times and it is a bit hard to grasp for me. I think your use of the word "eventually" raises a question for me
    what is eventually believed

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/30/2008 11:12 PM  

  • Kris,
    Thank you for your thoughts! Your trouble matches mine. Yes, it makes perfect sense. :~)

    Jonathan P,
    Thank you for stopping by and for your fine comment. I am pretty sure youa re right - 'grace being in vain' means that the grace is not producing growth, or as you say, sanctification. Paul certainly had no doubt that the Lord was doing mighty things through him and so he could say "His grace toward me was not in vain." May the grace of God not be in vain for any of us either. We mustn't let go of the truth that has been shed abroad in our hearts. We must walk in that truth so that His grace will be evident to those around us.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/30/2008 11:27 PM  

  • Matthew,
    I mean "maybe" you are right....

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/30/2008 11:28 PM  

  • Art,
    1. It doesn't seem possible because he says in verse 1 that they had received the truth. I find it doubtful that he was saying something like "the truth which you received... unless you didn't really receive it."

    2. This being about sanctification doesn't hinge on the fact that the word is present tense. I think even if it wasn't, the case could still be made - based on the conditional nature of the salvation being spoken of and the truth elsewhere that eternal salvation isn't conditional upon "holding fast."

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/30/2008 11:37 PM  

  • Thanks for stopping by, Jonathan M! I am surprised you have nothing to add? The last time you stopped by you recommended a book... but no opinion. Are you short on opinions these days?

    ;~) (just teasing)

    Art,
    One small comment touching on your challenge to Jonathan P about this being in regards to fruitfulness.

    You asked JP:
    So, do you really believe holding fast to the gospel assuredly results in the gospel saving believers from fruitlessness? I think probably not, but understand instead that considerably more than gospel integrity is involved in making believers the sanctified, productive, fruitful saints they ought to be.

    I don't think anyone is saying that holding fast to the gospel assuredly results in saving people from fruitlessness. But not holding fast to the gospel would definatley assure fruitlessness for a Christian. I would say holding fast to the gospel is the very basic thing that a Christian must do to be saved from a wasted life and testimony.

    We are "set apart" by holding fast to the truth of the gospel. It is what makes us known as Christians. What is a Christian church - how is it Christian - if you go there and they teach that "Christ rose again in our hearts" or some such nonsense?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/31/2008 12:05 AM  

  • "You ask me how I know He lives, He lives within my heart!"

    Did you sing that last Sunday, Rose? Now you will have it stuck in your head all morning.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 3/31/2008 2:17 AM  

  • After thinking about this some more, I am not sure that the phrase "unless you believed in vain" is meant to be taken so seriously - it may be an inconsequential remark, meant only to get them to think. Paul may be speaking to their own perception of the situation. What if Paul is saying something like: "this is what you believed and this fact of the resurrection is what is going to save you from the grave... unless of course it wasn't true and you believed an empty promise..."



    Matthew,
    I don't appreciate that song so much. I think the liberal presbyterians I know he say that the resurrection was only that "Jesus rose in our hearts" because people kept his memory alive etc... could sing that song, perhaps. What do you think?
    We didn't sing it on Easter. We did sing a new song by Keith Getty which I actually liked quite well.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/31/2008 9:35 AM  

  • on second thought - it is not such a bad song and you're right - I have been singing it all morning! :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/31/2008 10:59 AM  

  • Rose

    I am talking about the text. Follow what is there - "the gospel...by which ye are saved...unless you have believed in vain."

    We should learn therefore:
    1. It is by the gospel that people are saved.
    2. It is possible to believe in vain.

    How to believe in vain? Very obvious and simple to me - believe something other than this gospel that Paul preached and you have believed in vain.

    Of course, anyone who thinks people today can be saved without believing Christ died for our sins and arose from the dead has a great problem here and must contend for some meaning of "saved" other than eternal salvation. One of your ideas, "save you from the grave," actually supports eternal salvation, and very interestingly, is what Bullinger thought. He saw this as the figure heterosis (of tense) with the present put for the future, and thus read it, "will be saved." (Figures of Speech pg. 521).

    Whatever anyone suggests about the meaning of "saved," this text says "the gospel...by which ye are saved." Therefore, any definition for "saved," must be weighed by whether it squares with salvation by the gospel. I don't see that sanctification, fruitfulness, etc., does square with this. But eternal salvation easily does.

    Daniel

    I think the statement you made was excellent: "... that receiving the gospel saves you if you hold fast to the gospel that was preached, because if you are not believing the gospel that was preached, whatever it is that you do believe serves no saving purpose."

    Rose

    I cannot concur that "believed in vain" isn't to be taken seriously and am surprised you would say that.

    By Blogger Art, at 3/31/2008 11:23 AM  

  • Rose, I still hate it.

    They sang it at my church on Easter Sunday.

    However, the pastor did tell us that we have more reasons than that for believing in the resurrection.

    God Bless


    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 3/31/2008 11:57 AM  

  • Rose, I hope your morning went well.

    When I say "what is eventually believed" I mean it in the sense that they certainly believe something, but it isn't the same as what was originally preached -that is if they are holding fast what was preached to them then what they are holding fast to is valid, but if they are no longer holding fast to what was preached to them, and are instead holding fast to some perversion of what was preached - then what they are holding serves no purpose, or said another way, what they believe, they believe in vain -- because it wasn't what Paul had preached to them.

    If that clarifies my remarks at all.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 3/31/2008 1:02 PM  

  • "if" is one of the greatest defenders of God's sound doctrine. I believe Pink called "if" God's sentinel or guard. In my teaching I will always stress that great word and invite people to circle and/or underline it. What you are writing about is called the doctrine of perseverance by the past preachers, like Spurgeon, the puritans, and Augustine.
    I believe i wrote on this somewhat in my blog, "thelittlesanctuary.blogspot.com". You will find it under "It is not Easy". Study the following;
    John 8:31; Hebrews 3:6,14; Colossians 1:23; and Matt 10:22; 1Peter 1:5.
    It is God's mercy that keeps us but He expects us to persevere in that mercy by His gift of faith (1Peter 1:5)and the true saints will.
    St. Loder
    P.S. "Pilgrim's Progress", by Bunyan is all about this doctrine of perseverance.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/31/2008 2:50 PM  

  • Art,
    What I mean by taken seriously is as in "point of doctrine." I fear I am having trouble communicating what I mean. Let me try again: I am thinking maybe Paul just was trying to tell them what the logical conslusion of their newer thoughts were in relation to what they had originally believed.

    When we read it though, we might see it as a point of serious consequence of a possible reality - as if someone could believe the gospel in vain, when Paul was only trying to wake them up a bit.

    That is what I thought was a possible meaning when I said 'not to be taken seriously.' Maybe "not to be taken seriously" was the wrong choice of words.

    Do you understand what I am trying to say about the phrase? Have I explained it any better?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/31/2008 2:52 PM  

  • St. Loder,
    Thanks for your visit. Yes, that is another way of looking at it, I suppose - you must persevere in the faith... "hold fast to the word"... or else you prove you never really had the gift of faith and you never really were saved. I have heard about that doctrine of POS before... a time or two.

    g'day

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/31/2008 2:55 PM  

  • Daniel,
    That clarifies it a bit. Thanks! :~)
    It is nice to see you around again.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/31/2008 2:58 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Art, I appreciate our friendly and edifying discussion here, and your stand for "the word of the cross" (1 Cor. 1:18). I would like to comment on your last statement to me, when you said:

    “Where we are seeing matters a little differently, of course, is whether sanctification is involved in 1 Cor. 15:2. But, I suspect if you will think about this just a little further, you might not really agree with what that requires the text to say. According to this text, it is the gospel that definitely does save people from something. So, do you really believe holding fast to the gospel assuredly results in the gospel saving believers from fruitlessness? I think probably not, but understand instead that considerably more than gospel integrity is involved in making believers the sanctified, productive, fruitful saints they ought to be. Your remarks about spiritual growth and fruitfulness are great, but maybe 1 Cor. 15:2 isn't the text that teaches us about growth and fruitfulness?”

    Art, it is my understanding that the gospel not only justifies non-Christians (Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 1:17-23; Eph. 1:13; 2 Thess. 1:8-9, etc.), but also sanctifies Christians (Rom. 1:15, 16:25; 1 Cor. 15:2; 2 Cor. 9:13, 11:1-4; Gal. 1:6, 3:1-9ff; Phil. 1:1-6, 25-28; Col. 1:22-23). As I explained in my previous comments, I believe the latter is in view in 1 Corinthians 15:2.
    JP

    By Blogger Jonathan Perreault, at 3/31/2008 4:27 PM  

  • Hi Rose :)

    I think it means to believe something that is not true. Assurance rests upon Christ's victory over death. If you are not holding fast to the resurrection of Christ, you would subsequently have to give up your blessed assurance (of course they would still be eternally secure).

    JL

    By Blogger Jon Lee, at 3/31/2008 7:31 PM  

  • Hi Rose

    I appreciate your clarification comments and know how easy it is to say something that doesn’t come out quite the way we think. I do that sometimes and have to disagree with remarks I’ve made. I’m not sure I’m following exactly what your thought is, maybe Paul is making a hypothetical point? At any rate, you’re not saying there are words in the text that shouldn’t be taken seriously.

    By Blogger Art, at 3/31/2008 8:38 PM  

  • Hi Anonymous

    Your post provides for a worthwhile clarification I think. I can’t speak for others here, but I’m not really a perseverance guy (not in the TULIP sense) and haven’t meant to infer this in my input. Instead, the danger of believers falling away seems real to me, except that I understand fallen saints to still be saved people even if they no longer believe the gospel, that is, if they ever did believe it. Which is what I’m trying to say about “believing in vain.” Anyone who denies such elementary Christian truth as the resurrection of the dead (as in v.12) is denying the gospel by which they have salvation, unless of course, they never believed the gospel in the first place but believed something less, in which case, they’re not really saved people after all. What I’m trying to say is that this explanation is consistent with the words of the text.

    By Blogger Art, at 3/31/2008 8:42 PM  

  • Johnathan

    That’s a really good response to what I wrote to you. I’m not sure if the verses you listed include any that require seeing the gospel of Christ’s death and resurrection as producing a sanctified Christian life but I will look at them and try to see if maybe I’ve missed something. If so, I’ll have to adjust my thinking somewhat, which I will do if the texts require it. Thanks for listing these verses in explaining your case.

    By Blogger Art, at 3/31/2008 8:43 PM  

  • I would add...that His Grace toward me was not untrue, or maybe unsuccessful is a better word.

    By Blogger Jon Lee, at 4/01/2008 11:51 AM  

  • Rose,
    I know FGers do not accept the idea of a temporary faith, but the Bible does teach this possibility. In the parable of the sower, Jesus tells about some who receive the word with joy but later fall away.

    Luke 8:12 The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. 14 And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. 15 As for that in the good soil {true believers}, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.

    Honest and good hearts are not part of fallen men, so this is talking about a person with a new heart that does accept the word of God, not because of any merit in them but only by God's grace. True believers hold fast to the word of truth even when tried. Temporary faith shows itself to be a false faith when the person departs from the truth because trials come. The devils believe and tremble, but neither of those "faiths" are saving faith.

    Accepting and continuing in the word is a sure sign of a regenerated heart indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

    John 17:6 “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.

    1 Thessalonians 2:13
    And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.


    Warnings about not continuing:

    Colossians 1: 21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

    1 Timothy 1:18 This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, 20 among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

    1 John 2:19
    They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.

    By Blogger VA ~Susan, at 4/01/2008 1:17 PM  

  • Susan
    Indeed, some may only believe for a time.

    However, if a person has believed on the Lord Jesus she is justified and has eternal life.

    You do not have to believe for any length of time before you are justified. We receive eternal life as soon as we believe.

    And as you rightly point out, there are warnings about not continuing. However, none of these warnings mention going to hell.

    The moment a person believes she can be sure of going to heaven.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/01/2008 1:57 PM  

  • Rose, I am bored of talking about faith and perserverance.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/01/2008 1:59 PM  

  • Matthew writes: Rose, I am bored of talking about faith and perserverance.

    ... having itching ears ...

    :0)

    Rose: Are your ears itchy today?

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 4/01/2008 2:34 PM  

  • Colin, I dont type comments with my ears, so I have no idea what they have to do with it.

    It is tired fingers I have, not itching ears.

    There is plenty of Reformed theology on my bookshelf and some of it I am currently reading.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/01/2008 2:52 PM  

  • Matthew,
    Are you? I thought perhaps you rather missed it. Remember the days... when we all discussed such simple things on blogs....

    teehee

    Colin,
    No, my ears don't itch, but if they did, I would go to that church I was speaking of earlier where they describe the resurrection as "Jesus is risen in our hearts."

    :~)
    Ragards to you, brother!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/01/2008 3:01 PM  

  • Reeegards, that is. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/01/2008 3:03 PM  

  • Hi Rose

    Jonathan,

    I’ve been looking at the references you listed, and a few more, and considering the possibility of the gospel producing sanctification. To begin with, I’m pretty sure we understand there is an initial sanctification by which we are set apart from the penalty of sin unto God. Neither of us has been talking about sanctification in that sense, I don’t think. Rather, we have been referring to sanctification that should develop in our lives after justification.

    Looking at the references you gave, Romans 1:15 comes first. Your point must be, I think, that based on Paul planning to preach the gospel to believers at Rome, this must mean the gospel has work to do in people after they are saved. So far so good, except that this may not necessarily mean the gospel is what produces a sanctified fruitful life. It does show that the gospel should be preached to believers as well as unbelievers, and with this I concur.

    Your second reference is Romans 16:25 where God is able to establish us according to Paul’s gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery. This is considerably more than the gospel, and thus, doesn’t say we are established by the gospel but “my gospel and the mystery.” Nor is being “established” the same thing, to my way of thinking, as becoming sanctified and fruitful in the way we live our lives. I do see it important for the gospel to be preached to believers but primarily to confirm them in assurance.

    There is a passage in Peter, I recall, where he says add to your faith virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness and brotherly kindness because these things will keep you from being “barren” and “unfruitful” (2 Pet. 1:8). And I recall that Paul told Timothy, “Take heed unto thyself and unto the doctrine; continue in them; for in doing so thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee.” This saving of believers (I think from needless heartache, confusion and trouble in their lives) obviously rests here on more than the gospel.

    Going back to 1 Cor. 15:2, it really doesn’t seem adequate to me for Paul’s idea to be that the gospel saves believers from lack of growth and fruitlessness. The problem is just way too big for that, as I read it anyway. He is dealing with people saying there is no resurrection of the dead (v.12), therefore that Christ himself isn’t alive from the dead (v16), so extremely serious that eternal life is denied for they which have fallen asleep in Christ are perished (v.18) and means, if true, you are “yet in your sins” (v.17). To me, it is just far too great an understatement to have Paul talking about salvation from fruitlessness as he approaches this exceedingly more important matter.

    This post is too long. I’ve looked at the verses you listed and think I know what you are thinking from reading them. I can tell you I don’t really think they teach that the gospel, on its own, produces sanctified, fruitful Christians. Seeing more than the gospel needed for that, it doesn’t make sense to me to have 1 Cor. 15:2 saying that.

    But I do want to say again, Jonathan, that I value so much your position about the gospel being what must be believed to be eternally saved/justified. You have stated your case well and I appreciate what you have posted. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that some things are more important than others. Our mutual appreciation for the necessity of faith in the gospel certainly outweighs our difference in how we view one particular verse. I am thankful to the Lord for you and your fine statements declaring your point of view.

    By Blogger Art, at 4/02/2008 12:00 AM  

  • [Susan
    Indeed, some may only believe for a time.

    However, if a person has believed on the Lord Jesus she is justified and has eternal life.]

    Hello Rose!

    Hi Matthew,
    That is true, but God says that "the just shall live by faith. If a person leaves the faith, that means he never belonged to God.

    [You do not have to believe for any length of time before you are justified. We receive eternal life as soon as we believe.]

    True, justification is a once for all thing. Our continuing is the result of our justification, not the cause of it. Continuing is abiding in Christ and His word by the power of the indwelling Spirit.

    Judas followed Christ for a time, preached the gospel and performed miracles even. By all appearances he was a believer, but his heart was never regenerated. He was never justified or sanctified and he did not continue in the faith. Jesus called him a devil, the son of perdition.

    John 13:8 Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

    The moment we believe, we are cleansed of all our sins (bathed) and accounted righteous because of the imputed righteousness of Christ. Then as we walk through this world, we still need to be cleansed daily (have our feet washed) having our sins forgiven even though we are justified.

    1 John 1:7
    But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.


    [And as you rightly point out, there are warnings about not continuing. However, none of these warnings mention going to hell.]

    Some of these following passages sound a lot like hell to me, Matthew!

    John 15:1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 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. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.

    This next passage tells about people who have experienced some of the gracious operations of the Holy Spirit (like Judas and the OT pagan prophet Baalam) but they were never justified. They received the grace of God in vain and are sons of the devil.

    Hebrews 6:4 For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. 7 For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. 8 But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.

    9 Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation. 10 For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. 11 And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

    Blessings,
    Susan

    By Blogger VA ~Susan, at 4/02/2008 11:19 PM  

  • Susan, are you a literal branch of a vine?

    If the branches are not literal there is no reason we should take the reference to fire literally.

    Likewise, the fire in Hebrews 6 is connected with a metaphor.

    It is bad exegesis to take metaphorical language and use it literally.

    The author of Hebrews does not say that the persons in chapter 6 are believers, but he does say:

    1)They have been enlightened.

    2) Tasted of the heavenly gift.

    3) Shared in the Holy Spirit.

    4) Tasted the goodness of the word and of the age to come.

    Now you can argue that these could be applied to an unbeliever. However, there is no exegetical ground for doing so. The only reason to make these people unbelieves is because of the doctrine of perserverance that you believe in.

    The author uses language that would be more naturally applied to a believer.

    You can try to apply this to an unbeliever, but you will need to reconcile this with the fact that the natural man does not receive the things of God. The people in Hebrews 6 seem to have received a few things of God.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/03/2008 3:23 AM  

  • Are you feeling natural today, Rose?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/03/2008 3:23 AM  

  • Good morning Rose,

    Matthew writes: You can try to apply this to an unbeliever, but you will need to reconcile this with the fact that the natural man does not receive the things of God. The people in Hebrews 6 seem to have received a few things of God.

    I think, Matthew, that your argument only holds if the Bible teaches that the natural man receives absolutely nothing of the things of God. Which we know is not the case. Unless you desire to place the Son of Perdition (John 17:12) among the redeemed. Millions of people right across "Chrsitendom" regularly testify to their receiving of the things of God when they recite the creed and affirm their belief in sound doctrine, but I think that neither of us would count them all among the people of God.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 4/03/2008 4:01 AM  

  • Colin, indeed. I agree.

    Though I think that shows that in using that verse do defend Total Depravity, Calvinists sometimes make it prove too much. But that is another subject.

    As I said, you can argue that the persons in Hebrews 6 might be unregenerate. However, there is no exegetical basis in the text for coming to that conclusion.

    It seems rather more natural to assume that the persons in view are regenerate.

    So by quoting this text, Susan proves nothing.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/03/2008 12:01 PM  

  • [Susan, are you a literal branch of a vine?

    If the branches are not literal there is no reason we should take the reference to fire literally.

    Likewise, the fire in Hebrews 6 is connected with a metaphor.

    It is bad exegesis to take metaphorical language and use it literally.]

    Hi Matthew,

    You can't get rid of certain truths in passages of Scripture because they are "connected to" metaphors or similes! Jesus chose His words for a reason, to communicate truths to His hearers.

    John 15: 6 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.

    If Jesus says the fate of the man who does not abide is like the branch that is burned, it means exactly that.

    The context of the vine and branches illustration is important. Jesus told this to the disciples after Judas had left the supper. He was encouraging them to continue in the faith after He left them because terrible persecutions would come. (Jn 16:1-4) They would later have understood that Judas was one of the branches that did not abide and was burned and it would have warned them to continue in the faith.

    [As I said, you can argue that the persons in Hebrews 6 might be unregenerate. However, there is no exegetical basis in the text for coming to that conclusion.

    It seems rather more natural to assume that the persons in view are regenerate.

    So by quoting this text, Susan proves nothing.]


    I can't see how they could be regenerate. Do you believe a Christian can lose their salvation?
    I would agree with you that these apostates did receive something from God. I would assume that Judas had received baptism along with the other disciples and was treated much like all the other disciples by Christ. He was commissioned by Christ to preach the gospel and it seems he must have done the same things the other 11 disciples did because none of the other disciples ever suspected him of being the one who would betray the Lord. The Holy Spirit must have worked in him in some temporal ways, yet, he had the faith of devils! His familiarity with Jesus and the spiritual truths he was taught made him even more guilty for betraying the Lord. His heart was never purified by a true faith.
    Blessings,
    Susan

    By Blogger VA ~Susan, at 4/04/2008 12:40 AM  

  • Susan,
    "If Jesus says the fate of the man who does not abide is like the branch that is burned, it means exactly that."

    Our Lord is not talking about men being burned, He is talking about branches being burned.

    You are switching from metaphorical interpretation.

    A metaphor uses pictorial language to make a single point. The particular elements in that metaphor make up this point.

    A branch of a vine is burned because it is useless.

    Our Lord here reveals that like a failed vine branch, believers who do not bear fruit will be discarded from His service as useless.

    The point of this metaphor is that non-fruitbearing branches will be rejected.

    Now if you were an Arminian (which I am glad you are not) you could argue that these rejected branches go to hell. However, the passage does not give any indication that hell is their destination, so you would have to quote another passage to prove that rejected and failed believers go to hell.

    "Judas was one of the branches that did not abide and was burned and it would have warned them to continue in the faith."

    Can you cite any passages to support this interpretation. Where is there any suggestionn that Judas was a branch?

    "Do you believe a Christian can lose their salvation?"

    No.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/04/2008 3:46 AM  

  • Hope all is well Rose, you seem absent of late.

    A comment on the discussion between Matthew and Susan.

    All theological assumption/presumption aside; when a real life vine dresser goes through acre upon acre of vineyard, removing useless branches from the vine, he doesn't haul those branches around with him, but lets them fall to the ground in the place they were cut. Nor does he immediately go through the vineyard and clean these up for if he did so he would have to do so many times in a season - instead, at the end of the season, he gathers all the dead branches out of his vineyard and piles them up as refuse, to be burned, or in our modern culture, recyled, or maybe just carted off to a land fill somewhere.

    In the metaphor in John 15, there ought to be no question as to what happens to the branches that do not produce fruit - they are carted off at the end of the season, piled up as refuse, and burned. The question seems to be, and correct me if I am wrong here, that you two are disagreeing on what that burning pictures?

    Personally whether this burning pictures hell or not, one thing ought to be certain, it by no means pictures a continuing presence in either the vine or the vineyard.

    Now, given that contextually speaking, as Susan points out, that this is not some superfluous, arbitrary teaching. Judas had just done what this metaphor pictures, and whatever is being said of these branches that were burned is being said of Judas.

    Or put another way, our interpretation of this passage is going to tell us where Judas ends up.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 4/04/2008 8:41 AM  

  • Good afternoon Rose:

    Well summed up, Daniel.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 4/04/2008 1:35 PM  

  • To be quite fair,

    Judas is not in the Upper Room at this point, and the teaching is for the practical instruction of the disciples.

    Fire is a perfectly good term used throughout the bible for temporal judgement.

    What Jesus is talking about is the dynamic relationship of a disciple, not simply one who is born again.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 4/04/2008 2:28 PM  

  • Antonio, while your comment demonstrates that (if you are consistent at least) you conclude that the son of perdition, Judas, is a justified believer and that he will therefore receive only some temporal punishment for his betrayal.

    I should however, like to see you state it plainly.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 4/04/2008 2:38 PM  

  • I once wrote this somewhere:

    You are right that I was not specific enough in my posts concerning "in Christ" as John uses it. He is talking about the relationship of the Master to his regenerate disciples. In Christ here presupposes A CURRENT relationship with Christ. In this context, it means MORE than just being regenerate. It means being in DYNAMIC relationship with Christ, in the Master/disciple, Teacher/pupil relationship. A relationship that produces fruit and answered prayer.

    You write:
    ----------
    I'm also unclear as to why you're the only one allowed to use eisogesis. John 15 says nothing about temporal judgment or chastisement. You imported that.
    ----------
    It is the induction of the context, friend. Jesus is talking to His regenerate pupils, His regenerate disciples. He is doing this in an EXCLUSIVE teaching session of the 11 in the Upper Room discourse. What is He teaching them to do? Abide, remain in Him. Why does He command regenerate disciples to abide, remain in Him if He is talking about a eternal life/eternal death significance?

    The context is clear. This is talking about the disciple relationship with Christ. Not eternal life/hell fire.

    By implication, you must believe that these commands have nothing to do with the disciples in which THE TEACHING IS ADDRESSED and the COMMANDS ARE ADDRESSED.

    Like I said. In Reformed theology, the truly regenerate one will abide. Jesus for sure must know that these 11 are indeed regenerate. But He is commanding them to abide or else they will be thrown into the fire. Why would he be commanding them to do something with the consequences if He knew in fact that they couldn't end up in the METAPHORICAL fire?

    You write:
    ----------
    The text in John 15 is not meant solely to apply to the disciples Jesus is addressing.
    ----------
    It is theirs as His teaching. But yes you are correct. It is meant to apply to ALL regenerate disciples. To encourage them to abide in the dynamic relationship with Christ so that they can bear fruit, have answered prayer, and avoid the temporal difficulties related to NOT abiding.

    You write:
    ----------
    There is universal language present (he cuts off every branch, every branch that does bear fruit, no branch can bear fruit, If a man remains in Me, If anyone does not remain in me, etc.). You are clearly operating under a presupposition which this text (and many others) does not support, so you are forced to say silly things like that.
    ----------
    It is language applying to ALL branches IN CHRIST. A branch in Christ, in this context, presupposes 2 things:

    The branch is regenerate
    The branch is in dynamic fellowship with Christ.

    The command?

    For those who are dynamically related to Christ to CONTINUE that way. You cannot be dynamically related to Christ unless you are first born-again. And you cannot bear fruit and have answered prayer unless you are born again AND remain dynamically related to Christ by abiding.

    By implication of your interpretation, you must stipulate that this teaching, this command, this admonishment, warning, and encouragement cannot be applied to the 11 in whom it is specifically addressed.

    Why?

    Because Christ knew whether or not they were regenerate. And they were. And if your theology is correct, than by the mere fact that these 11 are regenerate, THEY WILL not FAIL to abide, according to the Perseverance of the Saints. If your theology is correct, than Christ obviously knew this, and in light of this, this teaching had no application whatsoever to the disciples, for they BY NECESSITY OF THEIR REGENERATION will PERSEVERE IN ABIDING, so says Reformed theology.

    And, you can't get around the implications of your interpretation here.

    Works are required to not be thrown into hell. This is works-righteousness, debt, and merit. This is not salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. This is people getting out of hell by their works.

    You seem to be comfortable saying that salvation is not by faith in Christ alone.

    This is unorthodox. This is Roman Catholic. This is a road paved back to Rome.

    If it is by grace it cannot be by works, or else grace is no longer grace. And we know that salvation is by grace through faith and NOT of works, so that no one can boast. We know that it is NOT by works of righteousness. We do not frustrate the grace of God, for if righteousness comes by works, then Christ died in vain.

    You preach a salvation by works. Paul and Jesus preach salvation by grace which PRECLUDES works. They are antithetical.

    "To him who works, his wages are not accounted as grace but as debt" (Romans 4:4)

    You are making God obliged to save the one from hell who perseveres in works. You have made salvation a debt.

    "But to him who DOES NOT WORK but BELIEVES on Him who justifies the ungodly, his FAITH is accounted as righteousness." (Romans 4:5)

    The one who does not work, but merely relies on God's grace through faith, HE is the one who is righteous. Not the one who is self-righteous through his works-righteousness and works-salvation.

    Brother, in love, I don't want you to end up like those in Matthew 7 who state their reasons why they should be let into the kingdom as being their Christian works. Christ says "I never knew you!" (Matt 7:21-23).

    You are not rightly dividing the word of truth. You are confusing that which is costly with that which is absolutely free.

    As to your contention that we ought to combine the teachings of the parable in Matthew with the metaphor in John, that would be illegitate identity transfer. You cannot equate two things because they appear similar. They have different contexts and different teachings. Jesus loved to use agricultural figures of speech. It is against the hermeneutic rule of identity and affirmation to identify two things with each other that are not equated by the Bible.

    By Blogger Antonio, at 4/04/2008 2:38 PM  

  • Antonio,
    You didn't say HI to me.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/04/2008 2:53 PM  

  • Antonio,You didn't say HI to me.

    At least, he doesn't seem to be doubting your salvation

    :0)

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 4/04/2008 4:10 PM  

  • Rose,

    I said hi to you in instant messaging.

    But for sake of good form:

    Hi Rose,

    you are the best!

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 4/04/2008 6:42 PM  

  • Daniel of Doulogos,

    I don't know how you would get that from my first comment.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 4/04/2008 6:43 PM  

  • Antonio said, I don't know how you would get that from my first comment.

    I had to laugh, Antonio, because as I read that I was thinking I don't know how you avoid that conclusion, given your exegesis. lol.

    I hope all is well with you.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 4/04/2008 7:30 PM  

  • Dan: what I have written, bold portions for emphasis:
    ----------
    In Christ here presupposes A CURRENT relationship with Christ. In this context, it means MORE than just being regenerate. It means being in DYNAMIC relationship with Christ, in the Master/disciple, Teacher/pupil relationship.

    The command?

    For those who are dynamically related to Christ to CONTINUE that way. You cannot be dynamically related to Christ unless you are first born-again. And you cannot bear fruit and have answered prayer unless you are born again AND remain dynamically related to Christ by abiding.
    ----------

    Judas was not born again. He is not within the purview of this teaching of Christ.

    All is well with me, today is my 10th wedding anniversary (we can't say the same thing about my wife though, having to put up with me 10 years)

    Antonio

    PS: any more blow outs ridin yer bike?

    By Blogger Antonio, at 4/04/2008 8:23 PM  

  • Antonio, the snow is still melting up here. I don't expect to be riding for another week or so.

    Happy anniversary. My wife and I will be 16 years in August. They get better and better as they go along.

    I must be missing some of the discussion for some of your quotes are from this post, so I have no idea who was saying them, when they said it, or what they were talking about. It makes it difficult to follow what you're saying.

    As far as what I read in this comment thread however, you are putting forth the notion that Jesus is not speaking about regeneration but is in fact speaking about "dynamic relationships".

    Do I understand you correctly? It seems you are saying that Jesus was talking about different kinds of relationships? One relationship which bears fruit, and another relationship which doesn't - or said another way, Christ is talking about what makes a good friendship?

    I don't think they make comfortable enough Cosby-esque sweaters for you to wear if you are peddling that sort of trite. lol.

    Seriously, what do you mean relationships? Do you mean that the people who don't form good relationships are gathered up at the end of the age and cast into fire (metaphorically of course)?

    I should like to understand this.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 4/04/2008 10:33 PM  

  • Sorry Antonio, that should read, "I must be missing some of the discussion for some of your quotes are not from this post".

    By Blogger Daniel, at 4/04/2008 10:35 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger VA ~Susan, at 4/04/2008 10:46 PM  

  • Happy weekend Rose!


    ["If Jesus says the fate of the man who does not abide is like the branch that is burned, it means exactly that."

    Our Lord is not talking about men being burned, He is talking about branches being burned.]

    Hi Matthew,

    "Exactly" was not the best choice of words for me to use there. Jesus is not giving a lesson on how to grow grapes. He is speaking about people and spiritual life and about men who abide and those who do not. He is teaching his disciples about abiding but he is also warning them about not abiding.

    John 15: 6 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.

    Who are the branches? and what do you think "thrown away" means? Do you believe that this cut off person can be a true believer? Could God ever throw a true believer away? How does the fire relate to your understanding of what happens to this fruitless person who does not abide.

    [Now if you were an Arminian (which I am glad you are not) you could argue that these rejected branches go to hell. However, the passage does not give any indication that hell is their destination, so you would have to quote another passage to prove that rejected and failed believers go to hell.]

    I do think the rejected branches [humans] go to hell but I do not believe they are "failed believers" unless you want to defind that as someone with a false faith. I don't think those people were ever true believers because God would never throw away a true believer.

    I disagree that the verse gives no indication of hell. There's no reason to think that the fire mentioned here means anything less than judgment and hell. Jesus spoke a lot about judgment, fire and hell. Why would you think he is not speaking about hell in that passage?

    These branches may have been in close contact with true believers, but anything they "believed" was in vain. If the sap of life does not flow through the branch, it is dead and will be burned.

    [Me:"Judas was one of the branches that did not abide and was burned and it would have warned them to continue in the faith."]

    [Matthew: Can you cite any passages to support this interpretation. Where is there any suggestionn that Judas was a branch?]

    It seems clear to me because of the context about Jesus identifying his betrayer then Judas leaving and the others remaining with Jesus. The branches symbolize those who are brought into close contact with Christ and the gospel. All appear to be connected with him, but not all are in vital union with Christ. Some abide and some do not. Since Judas did not abide and was cut off, he is in the category of the branches that are burned.

    Blessings,
    Susan

    By Blogger VA ~Susan, at 4/05/2008 12:35 AM  

  • 'Who are the branches?'

    Those who are united to Christ, the true vine.

    'and what do you think "thrown away" means?'

    Being rejected as a fit vessel for the Lord's service. In the same way that the wicked servant in the parable of the talents and pounds was refused the right to rule over any cities.

    What he has (a position of calling to service) is taken away from him.

    Paul feared that this fate could be his:

    1 Corinthians 9
    27 but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

    Many Calvinists rightly argue that Paul does not mean losing his salvation, but being rejected as a fit vessel for the Lord's service.

    This is the fate of those branches that do not bear fruit.

    'Do you believe that this cut off person can be a true believer?'

    Yes.

    'Could God ever throw a true believer away?'

    In the sense that Paul thought he could become a cast-away.

    'How does the fire relate to your understanding of what happens to this fruitless person who does not abide?'

    The fire is simply a detail within the metaphorical image of brances. There is no need to apply it beyond its context in this.

    Just as branch that no longer bears fruit will be discarded, a believer who does not bear fruit will lose the opportunity to be of any service to His Lord.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/05/2008 5:34 AM  

  • Have a good weekend, Rose.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/05/2008 5:39 AM  

  • Matthew, I wonder if you believe that this 'cut off person' was Judas?

    That is, Susan is suggesting that this metaphor is by no means superfluous or arbitrary, but directed and purposed: explaining the defection of Judas.

    comment?

    By Blogger Daniel, at 4/05/2008 8:56 AM  

  • Daniel, I see no valid reason to connect this saying to Judas.

    There is disagreement among commentators as to the timing of Judas' departure.

    Nothing in that immediately precedes or follows this saying gives any indication that Judas is in view.

    I think to connect the passage to Judas is pure eisegesis.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/05/2008 10:44 AM  

  • Daniel,
    Hi! It was nice of you to give me such a greeting, asking how I was and noting that I haven't been so active lately. I have been real busy! I work at home about 15 hours a week and go to the office for about 5. Lately, I have been getting about 5 extra hours of work and that really takes me over the edge of business with all my home-maker duties. Plus, you know - 15 month olds - they are everywhere and such trouble makers! Last night, I have four 10 year old girls spend the night for my daughter's birthday. That was fun! They were so mischevious... they snuck into my 8 and 12 year old son's room and put makeup on them while they were sleeping. Naughty!

    I just love blogging and I read every comment that comes in via email. I just seem to lack time lately to thoughtfully comment myself except once or twice a week.

    But thanks for asking!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/05/2008 3:16 PM  

  • I think the question that needs to be answered by those that would equate the threat of "burning" with "hell" in this would be:

    Why does He command regenerate disciples to abide and remain in Him if He is talking about an eternal death consequence of not doing so? They were saved, were they not? They were not in danger of hellfire, but of being cast aside as useful for the LORD. That is what makes sense to me.

    Also - what brother Matthew mentioned in his 5:34 am comment about how Paul feared this - I would like to see those of you who hold to the hell interpretation address his comment.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/05/2008 3:23 PM  

  • Good morning Rose!

    I notice that Arthur Pink (s he says himself)does not run with the general view of the Calvinistic commentators and would hold views more akin to that of Matthew.

    The POS does not rest on one text or passage. You ask why God would warn Christians about hell fire if they were not in any danger of going there. I think the answer to that lies in the fact that while Christians can and should enjoy assurance of salvation, yet it must be a real Biblical assurance and not mere fleshly presumption.
    That there are empty and false professions is clear, even by looking around us. I accept that we
    can dispute over whether there ever a was a profession at all rather than a false profession, but the reality is that there are many people out there who make the right noises but are not converted. There is no evidence in their lives, outside of the cheap talk of their lips, that they are in Christ and so new creatures.

    The Bible includes warning passages to Christians so that they will ever take heed to themselves. A true Christian will not say "I may sin freely because there is no hell for me" - Let him fear sin through the various means that God has seen fit to give us to that end. Note the highlighting of the word various - there are many different ways i.e. fresh appreciation of the Cross etc., but not least are the warning verses also.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 4/06/2008 7:57 AM  

  • Rose, I hope you are having a blessed day.

    Colin, where does Pink say that?

    I love AW Pink books.

    "I think the answer to that lies in the fact that while Christians can and should enjoy assurance of salvation, yet it must be a real Biblical assurance and not mere fleshly presumption."

    Why does our Lord not just explain what true assurance is and then it will be obvious to the disciples and to the reader whether they have it or not?

    It seems a rather indirect way of going about it.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/06/2008 4:35 PM  

  • Hi Matthew:

    I was going on Pink's own comments on John 15:6

    http://www.pbministries.org/books/pink/John/john_51.html

    It's late here. I'll get back to you (DV)

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 4/06/2008 6:04 PM  

  • Good morning Rose/Matthew!

    Matthew asks: Why does our Lord not just explain what true assurance is and then it will be obvious to the disciples and to the reader whether they have it or not?

    There are two answers to this question:

    1) Why did our Lord not make other subjects a lot clearer? Had He inserted the word "literal" before the words "one thousand years" in Revelation 20, then one school of prophecy would never had got off the ground. Had He gone that extra mile in the text of Romans 9 then Rose (and others) would have struggled to find some of her subjects :0) There are many passages where a wee word would have cleared up many a controversy.

    Secondly, as I am sure that we both agree, we are to glean our teaching from the Bible as a whole. The Scripture constantly urges us to look in faith to Christ as the sole hope of our salvation, while not neglecting our duties as Christians 9yet without imputing our justification to our works).

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 4/07/2008 3:53 AM  

  • Rose said:
    "Why does He command regenerate disciples to abide and remain in Him if He is talking about an eternal death consequence of not doing so? They were saved, were they not? They were not in danger of hellfire, but of being cast aside as useful for the LORD. That is what makes sense to me."


    John 15:3
    3"You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.

    Hello Rose,

    Doesn't verse 3 pretty well nail it down that those who were being spoken to in chapter 15 of John are saved? How can a person be clean and not saved? I think your point is 100% valid and "Reasonable".

    By Blogger Kris, at 4/07/2008 4:52 PM  

  • Howdy there Rosemeister!

    Bro. Kris,

    You hit the nail on its head so hard & centered, it'll take a search crew years just to find any evidence of it!! God Bless.

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 4/08/2008 9:53 AM  

  • Thanks, Bro. David.

    I am waiting eagerly to see if anyone can answer Rose's question objectively without the bias of learned systematic thinking influencing a "correct" answer.

    By Blogger Kris, at 4/08/2008 2:33 PM  

  • Good afternoon Rose

    Kris writes:

    I am waiting eagerly to see if anyone can answer Rose's question objectively without the bias of learned systematic thinking influencing a "correct" answer.

    I always wait eagerly to see if anyone can answer Rose's questions objectively without the bias of learned systematic thinking influencing a "correct" answer.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 4/08/2008 2:42 PM  

  • Kris,
    I was really just re-iterating Antonio's question. :~)
    Thanks for visiting and for your comments.

    I think it interesting how this comment thread changed passages. This all gave me a lot to think about and was very helpful.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/10/2008 1:34 PM  

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