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

Friday, November 07, 2008

John Chapter 8:30-32

In the last couple of weeks, John 8 has held my attention. I can't stop thinking about it. Even during sermons in church, I find myself distracted and I turn to John 8. I can't get it out of my mind. The October 23 and October 29 posts on the UoG blog were the places where it was originally brought up for me recently. 'Ten Cent' was saying that in John 8:30 the "ones who believed in Him" were soon shown to be not true believers because they question some of his statements in an unbelieving way. I read the rest of the chapter over and then the whole chapter over and over again and it seems clear to me, especially after reading Antonio's post from October 29, that this was a mixed crowd. The ones who "believed in Him" could not have been the same ones who quickly challenged Him and went on to be the ones at the end of the conversation who sought to stone Him. These questioners were snarky to Him. Jesus said these ones were "of your father the Devil" and that they "seek to kill me." If they were the same ones, verses before, who John described as the many who "believed in Him," it seems to me that John did a poor job of describing them.

If John didn't mean to say that they actually believed in Jesus, (which is how elsewhere John describes receiving Jesus unto eternal life) he could've been much clearer about it. For example, if they were neutral and soon to turn hostile (only 2 verese later), then why didn't John say "those Jews who were considering His words" or "those Jews who were listening to Him" or "those Jews who were following His discourses" or "those Jews who were following Him around"?

OR, if they were already skeptical or even hostile, why would John describe them as "believing in Him"... why wouldn't he have made that clear and said "those Jews who were following Him and looking to discredit Him in their own minds" or "those Jews who doubted the things He was saying" or "those Jews who regarded His words with contempt"??

Do we not think that there were some there in the outer court of the temple that day who actually DID believe in Him... truly? Wouldn't it be the most common sense interpretation to attribute Christ's statement to "those Jews who believed in Him" to this group of true believers (however large or small)... and the ones who "answered Him" as the ones who were also in the crowd who were hostile to Him? Some hostile people had dropped their stones and left, the ones who were actually ready to stone the adultress. The instigators of such stoning were still there in the court and He was talking to them!! They picked up stones at the END of the chapter... for a different defendant....

Anyway, the discussion on John 8:30-32 moved over here at the Bluecollar Blog and Mark posted the opinion of two of my favorite theologians who disagree with my view of it. Ryrie and McGee also think that these verses refer to some idea that John is describing believers who quickly prove themselves to not really be believers after all.

That is a pity. Oh well. :~)

I discovered that Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown express, beautifully and eloquently, how the Son of God must have surely and truly touched some there in the outer court that day. Please read the following:
8:30. As he spake these words, many believed on him--Instead of wondering at this, the wonder would be if words of such unearthly, surpassing grandeur could be uttered without captivating some that heard them. And just as "all that sat in the council" to try Stephen "saw his face"--though expecting nothing but death--"as it had been the face of an angel" (Acts 6:15), so may we suppose that, full of the sweet supporting sense of His Father's presence, amidst the rage and scorn of the rulers, a divine benignity beamed from His countenance, irradiated the words that fell from Him, and won over the candid "many" of His audience.

8:31-33. Then said Jesus to those Jews who believed, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed, &c.--The impression produced by the last words of our Lord may have become visible by some decisive movement, and here He takes advantage of it to press on them "continuance" in the faith, since then only were they His real disciples (compare John 15:3-8), and then should they experimentally "know the truth," and "by the truth be made (spiritually) free."

8:33. They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man, &c.--Who said this? Not surely the very class just spoken of as won over by His divine words, and exhorted to continue in them. Most interpreters seem to think so; but it is hard to ascribe such a petulant speech to the newly gained disciples, even in the lowest sense, much less persons so gained as they were. It came, probably, from persons mixed up with them in the same part of the crowd, but of a very different spirit. The pride of the Jewish nation, even now after centuries of humiliation, is the most striking feature of their character. "Talk of freedom to us? Pray when or to whom were we ever in bondage?" This bluster sounds almost ludicrous from such a nation. Had they forgotten their long and bitter bondage in Egypt? their dreary captivity in Babylon? their present bondage to the Roman yoke, and their restless eagerness to throw it off? But probably they saw that our Lord pointed to something else--freedom, perhaps, from the leaders of sects or parties--and were not willing to allow their subjection even to these. Our Lord, therefore, though He knew what slaves they were in this sense, drives the ploughshare somewhat deeper than this, to a bondage they little dreamt of. (Jamieson, Fausset, Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible)

92 Comments:

  • Hi Rose,

    I'm glad you posted this. I agree with your assessment of John 8:30-32. I'm glad to see that those commentators see it that way, too.
    Those verses use to give me a problem because those around me were telling me that they weren't REAL believers. But now it's just as clear as can be because John wrote those words "believe in Him" under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Those are John's special words to define true saving faith. If they weren't TRUE believers he would have said something like this..... some "PROFESSED" to believe in Jesus, but he wouldn't have said they "believed in Him" if they didn't.

    Dr. McGee is one Bible teacher I love so much. I believe his rewards will be great in heaven. But I have found that there's other things he teaches that I now disagree with.... like his teaching in 1 John. That doesn't make him a bad guy. It just means that he didn't yet "see it." He lived in a different era before this debate was raging. Bible teachers change their minds all the time if they're really open to God's Word. They're continual learners just like we are. Zane Hodges has changed his mind on Biblical issues. He said recently at a conference that one of the down side of writing is you're stuck with things you once taught that you don't believe any more. Dr. McGee and Dr. Ryrie have been used by God in such wonderful ways. I thank God for them both.

    So glad you posted this. You are a real thinker and have such a heart for God. It's always a joy to read what you've posted.

    Have a great day enjoying the Lord who is enjoying you.

    Your friend because of Jesus,
    Diane
    :-)

    By Blogger Diane, at 11/10/2008 11:07 AM  

  • Rose,
    I admire your desire to really chew on the Word. Your presence in the blogosphere is a blessing to so very many - even those of us on the other side of the L/S debate.

    I see an unbreakable connection in John 8:31-32 - therein it would seem that Jesus is equating faith in Him with the beginning of discipleship ("you are My disciples *indeed*"); and that true discipleship continues on to know the truth resulting in being made free. If saving faith is indeed separate from discipleship why then did Jesus make any mention of discipleship in these verses?

    By Blogger mark pierson, at 11/10/2008 11:20 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    At the risk of being misunderstood (though, not by you, Rose) can I link to Spurgeon's sermon on the same passage

    http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/2191.htm

    It offers some good suggestions. I think this is one of those issues that cuts across the normal Evangelical lines between Reformed and Non Reformed as the above quotes show. Where the FGers come in, of course, is another story :o)

    Regards,

    P/s What HTML do you use so that I could have put in:

    "Spurgeon's sermon my be found HERE..." so that the "HERE" would have contained the link?

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/10/2008 11:54 AM  

  • Goodnightsafehome,
    You say:
    think this is one of those issues that cuts across the normal Evangelical lines between Reformed and Non Reformed as the above quotes show. Where the FGers come in, of course, is another story
    Answer this question please:
    Is Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown a "FREE-GRACE" commentary in your view?

    hmmmmm?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/10/2008 11:59 AM  

  • Diane,
    Thank you. Yeah, I can imagine that is hard to change your mind when you have things in print. :~)

    MsGee said a lot of these kinds of things. It doesn't surprise me. I think his books of edited messages are of such a nature also as to be a little off the cuff and not entirely well-thought out at times. I don't know that i would say that this is one of those times, but I do get that impression that he isn't always consistent.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/10/2008 12:02 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    They are actually in the "Reformed" camp, as their comments on Romans 9:13 make gloriously clear.

    But we digress ...

    Regards,

    P/s A lot of Mchee's stuff does seem off the cuff - ancedotal etc., However, if he keeps repeating something, then he evidently believed it to be so.

    But we digress again...

    P/s

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/10/2008 12:13 PM  

  • Mark,
    That is kind of you to say.

    You ask:
    If saving faith is indeed separate from discipleship why then did Jesus make any mention of discipleship in these verses?


    This is the simple beauty I see in answer to your question that seems so plain to me. He says to "those who believe in Him" "IF you continue in my word then are you my disciples INDEED".

    This is a CONDITION.

    IF you continue, then you go on being more than just a believer or a convert, but a follower, a disciple... and not just a disciple like Mother Theresa or someone else who tried to "follow Jesus" but a believer in Him who also follows Him. I think this is what HE WANTS and this is what he says that the Father is seeking in true worshippers.

    I hope that answers your question. He wants them to go beyond simple faith and on into "continuance" and "true discipleship" with Him.

    Hope that helps, brother.

    Maybe if Colin isn't familiar with Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown you can help him. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/10/2008 12:15 PM  

  • Mark, John 15 explains it well:

    3 “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.

    I would assume "clean" means washed and renewed and alive to God - saved believers. Do you think it means something else?

    But wait, He wants more!!:

    4 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit 1of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.

    5 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he abears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

    6 “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is athrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.

    7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, aask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

    8 “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/10/2008 12:18 PM  

  • Colin,
    aha! :~)
    So... there is not a concensus among normal Evangelicals about the "clear" meaning of this passage then? :~)

    We FGers aren't the only ones who think that "those who believed in Him" actually did believe in Him and that John had a command of his language?

    :~)

    Love to all my Reformed friends!!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/10/2008 12:21 PM  

  • I better go and get some work done.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/10/2008 12:21 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Let me suspend my view for a bit and try to look at this passage from your vantage point. So I will assume that Jesus was only talking to a certain group within the larger group in 8:31,32, the ones who "believed in Him".

    "As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him. (John 8:30)

    What things did Jesus speak? And who was He speaking them to?

    Jesus was in the temple (v2) and the scribes and Pharisees (v3) brought the woman caught in adultery. They, the scribes and Pharisees were questioning Him, testing him (vv4-6). They persisted in asking Him (v7) and He answered them. Then they, the scribes and Pharisees, left one by one (v9). Jesus talks to the woman (vv10,11). Then Jesus spoke to them again (v12). This must be the group He was teaching in the temple (v2). But the Pharisees were still there because they talk to Him (v13). Jesus replies to the Pharisees (vv14-18). Then they, the Pharisees, reply to Jesus (v19). Jesus addresses the Pharisees again (v21). Then "the Jews" start talking, "Surely He will not kill Himself..." (v22). Then He addresses the Pharisees again (vv23,24). The Pharisees respond (v25). Jesus replies (vv25-29).

    So up until this point, Jesus is just having a conversation with the Pharisees. And as a result of this conversation with the Pharisees, many came to believe in Him.

    So let's just hold vv31,32 at bay for now and consider a few things.

    What did Jesus speak that would convince these Jews to believe in Him?

    Was it verse 12 where Jesus talks about those who follow Him having the Light of life? Couldn't be, because that's a discipleship message, right? That should've been directed at believers.

    Was it verse 21 where Jesus is scolding the Pharisees and tells them they will die in their sin? Doubt it, it's not a very compelling invitation when He tells them that they cannot come where He is going.

    Maybe it's verse 24 where Jesus says, "Unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins." Is that enough information for them to believe? Where's the promise of eternal life? Sounds more like a discipleship message, physically die in your sins.

    What about verse 28? "When you lift of the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He..." Or, "you will know that I AM".

    Or verse 29 where Jesus talks about how He obeys the Father?

    He doesn't seem to address eternal life at all. Seems curious that in a Gospel that is directed to unbelievers so that they might believe and have life, that people believed in Him without hearing anything about eternal life? And they were listening to a message about following Christ.

    Verse 31, Jesus addresses those who had believed and presents a discipleship message, "continue in My word".

    So Jesus starts out His time of teaching with a discipleship message, has a dialogue with the Pharisees, and then jumps back into His discipleship message.

    OK, then what did the believers believe?

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at 11/10/2008 1:08 PM  

  • Dear sister,
    I'm off to work shortly-
    Rose, again if discipleship and the reception of eternal life are indeed separate why did Jesus mention discipleship here then? If the two are not joined here then this portion of scripture makes no sense. So very much ambiguity is here then if the two are to be separated in our thinking. I see here that Jesus presents discipleship and the reception of eternal life as one inseparable concept. Lord willing I shall be back tomorrow.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at 11/10/2008 1:15 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    I think that everyone should read the passage and say: "If I continue in Christ's word, then I wil be a disciple indeed, knowing the truth that sets me free." We should not pitch at any lower than that.

    Who can doubt such self application?

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/10/2008 2:34 PM  

  • Good words, Goodnight.

    He who the Son makes free is free indeed. :~)

    Ten Cent - I am vacuuming so I will have to get back to your comment later.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/10/2008 3:00 PM  

  • Maybe Diane, Alvin, Goe, WJC, Antonio or Matthew or anyone else would like to answer you as I think your challenge is more geared to them anyway.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/10/2008 3:02 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Totally understand about vacuuming, 4 kids of my own.

    But I really like to know what you think they believed. This is important because you are making a stark distinction between faith and discipleship. And that will effect how we evangelize. It effects the role and purpose of the local church. It effects how we view our own personal salvation and relationship with God. There are ramifications to our views on this issue.

    I realize that you're not an evangelical minimalist, so the implications may not be as profound for you as they are for others.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at 11/10/2008 4:44 PM  

  • Rose:

    John Calvin, in his commentary, states that he believes that those who address Jesus from John 8:33 and following are not the same group of people "who believed".

    ----------
    We are Abraham’s seed. It is uncertain if the Evangelist here introduces the same persons who formerly spoke, or others. My opinion is, that they replied to Christ in a confused manner, as usually happens in a promiscuous crowd; and that this reply was made rather by despisers than by those who believed. It is a mode of expression very customary in Scripture, whenever the body of a people is mentioned, to ascribe generally to all what belongs only to a part.
    ----------

    Hope that helps, Rose.



    To answer the question on what these people believed. It is shown that they "pisteuo eis" Jesus ("believe[d] in" Jesus). This is a technical expression denoting saving faith in every instance it is used in John. Furthermore they "believed" Jesus, what He was saying.

    The flow of conversation in John 8 only takes a few short minutes to read. It is, without a doubt, a huge condensation of the discussion that actually took place on that day in the Temple. The discourse, no doubt, on that day, contained a statement by Jesus like John 3:16; 11:25-26, etc.

    What did they believe? They believed in Jesus for eternal life. They entrusted their eternal destinies into His able hands through a simple act of trust in Him. They believed Jesus' words when He promised them the present possession of eternal life that could never be lost through a simple act of faith in Him.

    The author John throughout the book already sufficiently delineates what the expression "believe in" Jesus means. He does not have to include that in every discourse. To do so would have been tedious to the reader. The expression "pisteuo eis" has not been found outside of the Bible in Greek literature. It is John's technical expression for saving faith.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 11/10/2008 5:13 PM  

  • Antonio,
    I find your comment interesting for a couple of reasons. First of all, because I was thinking that my answer to Ten Cent was going to be that I inagine that John was saying they believed in Him regarding the same thing that these people believed in Him:

    John 2:11
    This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.

    John 4:39
    And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.”

    John 7:31
    And many of the people believed in Him, and said, “When the Christ comes, will He do more signs than these which this Man has done?”


    John 7:48
    Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him?

    John 10:42
    And many believed in Him there.

    John 11:45
    Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him.

    John 12:42
    Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue;


    When I input the words "believed in Him" only verses from John came up!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/10/2008 6:27 PM  

  • Antonio,
    Also I find it interesting that I agree with John Calvin and Colin doesn't this time! haha!
    And Colin was trying to say that FGers were fringe on their view of this passage. :~)

    Colin, to do a link and make a word like "here" be the the link button, you go like this:

    I am going to substitue a "^" for a "<" so it doesn't actually make the link.

    OK, here goes:

    ^a href="URL address">HERE^/a>

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/10/2008 6:35 PM  

  • Antonio,
    Did you say that somewhere else and I just missed it or forgot it? That "The expression "pisteuo eis" has not been found outside of the Bible in Greek literature. It is John's technical expression for saving faith."

    That really adds an importnat element to the discussion at hand. Perhaps it will convince our friends to see this verse the way that seems to make such sense to us. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/10/2008 6:37 PM  

  • Ten Cent, maybe you get me wrong, BTW. I am not trying to say that believers should not go on to be disciples. Of course they should. If you see salvation as happening in a moment in time then you can't say that discipleship is part of the "call to salvation" because it is a lifelong process. It is mixing up categories to combine them. They are so opposite. One is a gift and the other is work. Why would you want to cause someone to wonder whether they can receive God's gift without doing hard work? I just don't get that.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/10/2008 6:43 PM  

  • Rose! Great find! I have long appreciated JFB! I hadn't seen their exposition of Jn.8:30ff though! Awesome! Once you "see" it, it becomes so clear, like those optical illusion games where you're supposed to see a person's face or a name among a bunch of little symbols & stuff. At first you can't see it, & then POW! Then it's hard to "unsee" it!
    No wonder the Lord is anxious to begin speakiong about discipleship to these babes in Christ! He knows the wolves that are out to get Him will pounce on them as well! (15:18) So, He wants to help them get started well. If spiritual fruit were the "natural outcome" of saving faith, He'd not even mention it, but just move on, it seems to me. So, His mentioning discipleship so soon after saving faith occurs seems the loving, caring, Fatherly thing to do.
    Oh man, I am out of my league here with you folk, but I was so excited when I saw this, Rose, that I just had to jump in with both feet like the nutcase that I am!! God Bless you.

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 11/10/2008 8:48 PM  

  • John 8:31-33 (King James Version)
    King James Version (KJV)

    31Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

    32And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

    33They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
    =========
    Rose,
    I know about chores around the house. I have plenty of them too.

    This one is for you to answer only, please:
    The word "indeed" in verse 31 - why is it there?

    Also, the word "They" in verse 33 - would not John have been more carefull in his choice of words if he wished to exclude those who are mentioned in verses 31-32?

    It seems to me that in the entire 8th chapter of John the doctrinal content and characteristics of saving faith are before us, especially in John 8:13-59. To be sure it is a faith that endures, yes, right on through the life-long discipleship process. A faith that abides in His Word, does the works of Abraham, that loves Christ, hears God's words, that honors Christ, and so on. Yea, it would seem from this chapter alone that saving faith is an enduring faith, not just a momentary notion.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at 11/11/2008 7:41 AM  

  • Hi Rose and hi Antonio,

    It's good to see you join in the discussion. I can actually see both sides of the issue as to whether or not the "they" refers to those who had believed or just to the unbelieving Pharisees. And, frankly, it wouldn't really effect the passage either way you see it. Jesus starts His time teaching the people who were coming to Him. And I'm sure it was a mixed crowd.

    And this is why I say that our view of faith and discipleship effects many aspects of our Christian life. Because it's interesting that in a mixed crowd, unbelievers and believers, His message is about following Him (v12).

    "Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, "I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light of life."

    So, in a book where the express purpose for being written is so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, we have a discipleship message. John could've chosen to write about Jesus telling them to believe in Him. But he didn't. This is what he says.

    "So Jesus said, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. "And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him." As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him." (John 8:28-30)

    And then, in verse 51, we get the only illusion to eternal life for this passage, "Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death." And it's attached to obedience.

    You said, "They believed Jesus' words when He promised them the present possession of eternal life that could never be lost through a simple act of faith in Him."

    Please don't miss understand me, I'm NOT saying that we have to do good works in order to have eternal life. Although, that's probably what you'll think or say that I'm saying. It's just that I see the umbrella of "eternal life" consisting of more than a future reality of spending eternity with Him. And you must too, because you say, "present possession".

    So what is it that we presently posses?

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at 11/11/2008 12:54 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    I don't think that I actually said that I disagreed with John Calvin. In fact, apart from self application of John 8:31-32, I don't think that I gave any particular view. :o)

    Thanks for showing me how to do the link. I'v practiced it here, so it'll be interesting to see if it works for me.

    HERE

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/11/2008 1:22 PM  

  • Another satisfied customer

    :0)

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/11/2008 1:23 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    You said: "I am not trying to say that believers should not go on to be disciples. Of course they should."

    "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." (John 17:3)

    Every believer receives eternal life...right? Of course. If eternal life is that we may know God the Father and Jesus Christ, then how can we know Them without being a disciple, without following Them? Is eternal life a possibility or a reality?

    Salvation is about a relationship. We're saved from one relationship, the relationship we have with sin, it's our master. Through faith, Jesus takes us out of that relationship and we now have a relationship with Him through faith. We have been translated out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of light. Through faith we know God the Father and Jesus Christ.

    And you're right, it is a process, and faith starts the process. It's the moment the process begins. When you make such a harsh separation between faith and discipleship, you give the impression that our obedience to Him is not attached in any way to our faith in Him. You give the impression that our works will achieve a righteousness apart from our faith.

    "What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone," (Romans 9:30-32)

    Is God's righteousness a gift?

    But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;" (Romans 3:21,22)

    So then, I ask you the same question you asked me.

    "Why would you want to cause someone to wonder whether they can receive God's gift without doing hard work?"

    Why would you confuse them and say that at the moment of faith they have the hope of eternal life and then let them flounder in their Christianity because they never knew that eternal life is not just a future event, but it's now. Or they think that their justification is all up to God, but their sanctification is all up them, as if they have to achieve their own righteousness.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at 11/11/2008 2:01 PM  

  • Rose,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this passage in Jn 8. I understand why you can't get it off your mind because that's the way I've been feeling about the whole Gospel of John lately. The connection you make with Jn 15:4-8 is excellent, because Jesus is here expanding on the same idea of discipleship that He only briefly mentioned to the new believers in Jn 8. Certainly no one can question whether those He is addressing in Jn 15 were "true" believers, yet He is telling them essentially the same thing he told the believers in Jn 8. Jesus also makes it clear that abiding in His word as disciples and bearing fruit is not something that "true" believers automatically and inevitably do, as our Reformed brethren continually assert. As you have well noted, Rose, it all depends on that one huge word "IF". Calvinists have always hated that word and have devoted an incredible amount of energy and ink trying to explain it away. But it is everywhere in the scriptures and will not be denied! To be a disciple simply means to be a "learner", and it is something that God desires of men both before one comes to the point of saving faith and afterwards (Matt. 11:28-30, 28:19, Acts 17:26,27). But as Jn. 6:66, 8:30-32, 15:4-8 and many other passages make clear, discipleship and being born again by believing that Jesus is the Christ are not synonymous concepts. That should be obvious to anyone, but to many it is not because their man-made theological presuppositions will not allow it to be so.

    That the phrase "believe in Him" refers exclusively to saving faith is well established and undeniable in the Gospel of John. I count at least 23 references, but I probably missed some. They are Jn. 1:12-13, 2:11, 3:15,16,17,18,36; 4:39-42, 6:29,35,40,47; 7:38,39; 9:35,36; 10:42; 11:25,26,45, 48; 12:44,46. Jn 12:42-43 is an interesting passage because here we have some who were born again believers who were apparently not doing very well in discipleship and fruitbearing. Note the word NEVERTHELESS in v. 31, where John is emphatically contrasting these believers with those who DID NOT believe in vv. 37-41. In the Gospel of John, there are only two categories of men: those who believe in that Jesus is the Christ, and those who do not --Jn. 1:11,12. There are only two possible answers to Jesus' question in Jn. 11:25-27. There is no middle ground or degrees to saving faith. One either believes or does not believe.

    It was asked in an earlier comment what the word "indeed" (NASB-"truly") means in Jn. 8:31. Jesus explains what it means. To be a disciple "indeed" means to be a real or true disciple. This depends upon whether these BELIEVERS continue in His word or not. Only by doing this will they prove themselves to be real learners (disciples). Jesus does NOT say they will prove themselves to be "real" believers because John has already informed us that Jesus' only reason for saying this to them in the first place is because He knew they WERE believers. Nothing could be plainer or simpler, but apparently not so for some. Peter said something similar in 1 Pet. 2:2: "desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious." And in 2 Pet. 3:17,18 he warns and exhorts the believers: "You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but GROW in the grace and KNOWLEDGE of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." It should be noted here that Peter considered it a real possibility that these believers could fail to do what he is here exhorting them to do. Jesus had taught him well the realities of life.

    Is it not clear that those who believe and teach Lordship Salvation and the Reformed doctrine of perseverance are teaching a false gospel of works and misleading multitudes of unbelievers and believers into thinking that good works are a necessary condition for eternal life and entrance into God's kingdom? They cannot escape this charge by trying to attribute these good works to God's unconditional election and irresistible grace. The Catholic church tries to excuse themselves in a similar way by saying that the good works they teach are necessary for salvation are the result of God's "infused grace," and therefore His gift to us. The Pharisee in Lk. 18:9-14 did the same. Note well what he said in his prayer to God: "God, I THANK YOU that I am not like other men..." While it might sound humble to thank God and give Him the credit for our supposed righteousness, Jesus apparently thought otherwise.

    Thanks again for your thoughts on this passage Rose. You are right on!

    Gary

    By Blogger goe, at 11/11/2008 3:05 PM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 11/11/2008 3:13 PM  

  • Ten Cent,

    You keep bringing up Jn. 8:51 to try and teach your false gospel of works. The word means "to pay attention to", "take to heart," or "heed" as the NASB translates it in Rev. 1:3. Jesus further explains what this means in Jn. 17:6-8. It is a synonym for "believe".

    By Blogger goe, at 11/11/2008 3:20 PM  

  • I misquoted 1 Pet. 2:2. It reads; "as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you you have tasted that the Lord is gracious."

    By Blogger goe, at 11/11/2008 3:34 PM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 11/11/2008 5:04 PM  

  • I meant to say "...NEVERTHELESS in v. 42...", not v. 31.

    By Blogger goe, at 11/11/2008 5:10 PM  

  • Hi goe,

    I don't think that we have met before.

    Your comment i.e. "Is it not clear that those who believe and teach Lordship Salvation and the Reformed doctrine of perseverance are teaching a false gospel of works and misleading multitudes of unbelievers and believers into thinking that good works are a necessary condition for eternal life and entrance into God's kingdom? is (IMO) somewhat flawed. It would be more accurate to say that Calvinists insist that good works are a necessary CONSEQUENCE of eternal life etc., rather than a necessary condition.

    Furthermore, we have no hatred for the "if" word as you somewhat dramatically charge. I notice that Calvin himself uses it in John 15 on more than one occasion, along with the "ought to" phrase which is very similar in sentiment. The use of the "if" and "ought to" words, of course, emphasise man's responsibility - something we are always more than happy to affirm.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/11/2008 5:19 PM  

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    By Blogger mark pierson, at 11/12/2008 7:20 AM  

  • Hi Rose - May I ask Gary a question?

    Gary, are you saying that those who believed Him (verse 31) could actually go on to *not* abide in His word (again, verse 31)? How could they be said to believe in Him and then go on to *not* abide in His word? Is that really faith?

    By Blogger mark pierson, at 11/12/2008 7:23 AM  

  • Gary, Here is what J. Vernon McGee said about John 8:31-32 - Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is not alone. It will produce something. After a person believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, he will want to "continue in His Word." The proof of faith is continuing with the Savior.
    THRU THE BIBLE, with J. Vernon McGee, Vol. 4, page 419

    Gary, is J.V. McGee preaching works righteousness here?

    By Blogger mark pierson, at 11/12/2008 7:36 AM  

  • Abiding is a command to believers and never to the lost. 1st John makes it clear when it says:

    "And now, little children, abide in Him; that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at his coming."

    Why should one abide? So that they will not be ashamed before Him at his coming. Even Paul spoke this about himself in Philippians 1:20:

    "According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death."

    Even if we do not abide or believe, our Lord abides faithfully according to 2nd Timothy 2:13:

    "If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself."

    Salvation does not depend on our faithfulness but His!!

    No person is commanded to abide to be saved but to believe. No person is commanded to abide and believe to be saved but only believe. Abiding is what a believer is commanded to do and it was what Jesus taught elsewhere.

    Does Paul believe that a person saved will automatically abide or to abide to be saved? Paul says:

    "The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light." (Romans 13:12).

    "Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light" (Eph. 5:14).

    "And be not conformed to this world..." (Rom. 12:2).

    "For ye were sometimes (formerly) darkness (unsaved), but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light" (Eph. 5:8 that is a clear command to make your walk match your state).

    How about 1st Thess. 5:4-10 that clearly teaches a distinction between fervent Christians and the lazy and indifferent? The lazy will be saved.

    What happens if we and our works do not abide?

    "If any man’s work ABIDE which he hath built upon he shall receive a reward..." (1st Corinthians 3:15).

    Clearly the message of turning from sin and walking in Christ is Paul's message to the already saved. His message to the lost is quite different:

    "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement" (Romans 5:6-11).

    Usually LS tries to reword Acts 16:31 into "Believe on the sovereign LORD Jesus Christ making Him Lord and master of your life turning from your every sin and thou shalt be saved and you will know it when you see fruit."

    Scripture is filled with examples of believers that do not abide. We also can clearly see that abiding is a command to believers and not unbelievers. LS wants to make abiding as not an option so that way they can point the finger claiming that someone is not saved. This is foolish because it clearly shows a works oriented gospel because YOU must continue, YOU must abide and so on and this mirrors Catholicism.

    I have to admit that J Vernon McGee has added words to a passage nowhere stated. The chapter doesn't say that if you have faith then it will never be alone as that is a LS speculation. The person that abides and walks in the Spirit that is a command to believers will bear fruit. The passage also doesn't say that one will want to continue in His word as that contradicts passages elsewhere. Demas didn't continue and yet LS will say that he was never saved to begin with when NOTHING ever states that. They have to say that because Demas as well as the fornicator in 1st Cor. 5:5 would destroy their position. If LS were true then we certainly would not have to admonish people to continue in His word if that is automatic with true believers.

    Catholics say that one must have faith and works to be saved. LS says that one must have works that will prove that he is saved. Such similarities.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/12/2008 9:20 AM  

  • I said by mistake in my prior comment:

    "What happens if we and our works do not abide?

    "If any man’s work ABIDE which he hath built upon he shall receive a reward..." (1st Corinthians 3:15).""

    The question should have been "What happens if we and our works abide?" followed by the verse. I was thinking more of Marks comment when I was saying all of that when he said:

    "How could they be said to believe in Him and then go on to *not* abide in His word? Is that really faith?"

    Clearly Scripture shows that abiding and believing are two separate acts but LS tries to mingle them together and that is dangerous. Faith and works are not two sides to the same coin. The Bible defines faith in Hebrews 11:1 and yet even with that clear verse LS still defines it as a faith that works or an obedient faith. This way you still have faith and works to be saved because you cannot have the one without the other. Many of LS arguments mirrors Catholicism.

    If one chooses not to abide then he/she will be ashamed at His coming. If one chooses to not abide then one will suffer loss in that day. We believe to be saved but we abide after as a command but clearly it is optional.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/12/2008 9:43 AM  

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    By Blogger mark pierson, at 11/12/2008 10:51 AM  

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    By Blogger mark pierson, at 11/12/2008 10:51 AM  

  • You allude to Hebrews 11: 1 for your definition of faith. I urge you to read the WHOLE chapter for your definition. Therein the L/S position that saving faith is an obedient faith which looks for city whose builder and Maker is God.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at 11/12/2008 10:54 AM  

  • Hi Rose,
    Anon says, " LS wants to make abiding as not an option so that way they can point the finger claiming that someone is not saved. This is foolish because it clearly shows a works oriented gospel because YOU must continue, YOU must abide and so on and this mirrors Catholicism."

    A tired mantra. No L/S is interested in pointing fingers. All L/S believe and preach salvation by faith alone, in Christ alone.
    Please visit my bluecollar blog and participate there. Thank you.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at 11/12/2008 11:04 AM  

  • goodnightsafehome,

    It's good to meet you Colin. You say" that good works are a necessary CONSEQUENCE of eternal life etc., rather than a necessary condition." Thank you Colin. That is precisely the word-game that I was referring to in my "flawed" comment. It is this very word-game that Calvinists have such a well deserved reputation for playing. The reason why the Puritans were so obsessively introspective in their futile attempt to have assurance of salvation was because they tried to play the very word-game you have just described. It is a well documented fact, that, despite the untold volumes of writing they produced in their search for an answer to the problem for assurance this theology creates, almost all of them died in despair and without the biblical assurance which God provides and desires for every believer. Let me ask you a question Colin. If the best Puritan theologians were unable to solve the riddle of assurance that was inherent in their theology, do you believe that the typical unbeliever or believer today can find assurance in the false theological labyrinth of Calvinism? Anyone who would pretend they could suffers from a serious lack of candor. But I forgot, that's the whole point isn't it--to always hold people captive to fear and doubt about their salvation so they will be sure to obey and be faithful to God! In this regard, Calvinism is no different from Arminianism or any cult which teaches salvation by faith plus works--no different at all!

    I do appreciate you acknowledging the fact that human responsibility (free will, choice?) is a very real part of the equation when it comes to the issue of progressive sanctification in the life of the believer though. However, Mark, ten cent and most other Calvinists I have known or read seem unwilling to admit this reality, even though it is everywhere affirmed in scripture---Jn 8:30-32 being only one case in point. Mark's question to me illustrates well what you call my "dramatic charge" and I will attempt to address it yet again, though I don't believe his theological presuppositions will allow him to see the clear and plain meaning of Jesus' words. No offense intended Mark. I have been where you are and I could not see it myself for many years!

    Gary

    By Blogger goe, at 11/12/2008 11:16 AM  

  • Hi Rose/Gary,

    Gary: For some one so liberated, you seem very content to indict others with the worst of crimes! We move from being accused of playing ”word games” (indicative of deliberate false hood as opposed to sincerity and honesty) and doing so in such a way as to earn ourselves a ”well deserved reputation” right through to the “whole point” of our whatever it is the whole point of, but nevertheless we aim at nothing more than ” to always hold people captive to fear and doubt about their salvation so they will be sure to obey and be faithful to God! finishing up as a ”cult.”

    I must confess that when I meet with such people who accuse me of playing such dishonest word games, then I hardly know how to answer them. After all, what is the point? If you not merely mistrust my comments or motives at the beginning, but come straight out and demonise them, then what will there be in the second and third wave of comments?

    So, I’ll give you a miss here, Gary, if you don’t mind. There are others on this blog with whom I have often engaged in the closest of arguments who seem to accept me at face value, even if they radically disagree with my doctrine.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/12/2008 12:06 PM  

  • I like the way majority of what I said was ignored.

    I think it is clear now that LS teaches a works salvation. Mark said in one place:

    "All L/S believe and preach salvation by faith alone, in Christ alone."

    and said elsewhere:

    "Therein the L/S position that saving faith is an obedient faith which looks for city whose builder and Maker is God."

    It is funny that he points out Hebrews 11 as somehow proof that Hebrews 11:1 must mean an obedient faith as he asks one to read the entire chapter. No my friend, it is because of the simplicity of faith that some men are regarded as heroes of the faith. Verse 2 shares why they were recorded:

    "For by it the elders obtained a good report."

    Does every believer receive a good report? The only reason any of us can have a good report would come down to faith because without it then it would be a sin.

    It is interesting if faith must be an obedient faith then Samson is an interesting story. You will find him to be anything but obedient. He was basically a fool that wasted his life away. You will not read so much as Samson even praising God. It wasn't until the final moments that this blind man that lost his sight due to his lust problem that he became a hero of the faith and not his life long journey.

    Mark says that he believes in faith alone but defined this way from his blog:

    "No where in scripture does one come to Christ without coming into a place of obeying Him-Nowhere! The calls to salvation and to disciplship are one. Nowhere in scripture is there a division. Such a view is unscriptural and deadly."

    Please notice his words "obeying Him." Obedience is not an option. This is a works gospel

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/12/2008 12:54 PM  

  • Gary, if you'll go into Rose's late February, 2006 archive you will see where I address the progressive sanctification issue - that it is NOT automatic, but is inevitable in that God works in the saint to will, and to do His good pleasure. The hunger for sanctification in the saint is as natural as the need to breath. Self denial IS hard, but it becomes more and more a reality in those who are led by the Spirit, chastened by the Father, interceded for by the Son and Spirit, transformed by, instructed in, rebuked by, corrected by the Word.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at 11/12/2008 12:59 PM  

  • Anon, thanks for admitting that Samson finally came around. Therein you made my case.

    Please find for me where in Hebrews 11 we see a faith that failed. No. The entire chapter provides us with THE definition of faith.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at 11/12/2008 1:03 PM  

  • As I said earlier: John 8:12-59 provides us with the content and characteristics of saving faith.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at 11/12/2008 1:05 PM  

  • If a 5 to 10 minute act at the end of Samson's life is his coming around supports your case for an obedient faith then OK. So a believer can be a believer as long at some point he/she is obedient for a few moments but none of the years up to that. OK thanks!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/12/2008 1:36 PM  

  • Mark, I'm going to be honest with you. I'm not going waste either your time or mine going in circles with you over these issues. If you ever truly want answers, they have already been given by others much better than I could ever do. If you ever come to realize the full implications of your theology and how it conflicts with practically every page of scripture, perhaps then you will do as I did and begin an honest search for answers. Talk about tired mantra's! You claim that all L/S believe and preach salvation by faith alone. I agree with you that they consistently CLAIM to teach salvation by faith alone---but only after they have redefined biblical faith to INCLUDE WORKS! So this claim is disingenuous to the very core! Mark, are you going to tell me that an unbeliever who is seeking answers about salvation could possibly read a book like MacArthur's TGATJ and not come away with an overwhelming impression that his salvation is somehow dependent upon his works? I have already shown you on another thread where even another L/S advocate equated MacArthur's book with the works salvation teaching of the Catholic Church! If you say that the works are "the fruit and not the root", you are justing saying the same thing the Catholic church says as well as all other cults. I hate to break it to you Mark, but you are also saying the same thing the Pharisees believed and taught. They also claimed to believe that salvation was by faith alone just like you. But they also believed, like you, that "faith" meant "faithfulness and obedience", otherwise it was not "real". If you will read the teachings of the Jewish rabbis of Jesus' day, you will find great fellowship with them Mark. Why do you think the Pharisee in Luke 18:9-14 was thanking God for his "righteousness"? Because he believed as you do! I bet you didn't know your theology had such ancient roots did you? Here's another thing I bet you don't know. If you will read Martin Luther's commentary on Galatians, you will find that the Catholic church used the same arguments to try and refute Luther that L/S advocates still use today to refute Free Grace theology. I first noticed this many years ago and it's what opened my eyes to begin questioning the things I had been taught and blindly assumed to be true.

    You are always making absolute statements such "saving faith is obedient faith". But not always obedient, right Mark? If not always, how obedient does it have to be? Obedient like Abraham? How about obedient like Lot? Is his life and finally having to be dragged out of Sodom and Gomorrah an example of saving faith that is obedient--the kind you say Heb. 11 "defines" for us. Heb. 11:29 says, "by faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egypians, attempting to do so, were drowned." Yet we know that "with MOST of them (these same ones who passed through the sea) God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness." 1 Cor. 10:5. Paul then warns the believers in Corinth, whose lives were characterized by all manner of sin and disobedience, that these things were written as "as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore, LET HIM WHO THINKS HE STANDS TAKE HEED LEST HE FALL.' 1 Cor 10: 11-12. Please note the fact that 1 Cor. 10: 1-5 is the end of a paragraph which began in 9:24, so Paul knew that these same O.T. examples, admonitions and warnings were written as much for him as they were to the Corinthians. For Paul, this is what the "race" (9:24) was all about. And he certainly didn't believe that the results of this race were guaranteed or inevitable for every "true" believer like you do Mark. He knew what scripture everywhere affirms, that even true believers can seriously and tragically fail in their walk of faith.

    Mark, don't you think that "anonymous" deserved a genuine response to his comments, rather than the superficial, misleading, and disingenuous one you offered. Seriously, why would anyone waste their time coming to your blog for a "debate". If you ever want to trade your Calvinism in for some true biblical theology, you know where to find it. Like Paul, you will find in the scriptures all the motivation you need to live a faithful life. But unlike your Calvinism, it won't be about "proving" you are one of the elect. Like the Gospel of John so clearly tells us, assurance of eternal life can only be found by simply believing Jesus' free and gracious promise, and it does not depend on our performance to be valid.

    My best wishes to you.

    Gary

    By Blogger goe, at 11/12/2008 2:37 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Gary, you said: "To be a disciple simply means to be a "learner", and it is something that God desires of men both before one comes to the point of saving faith and afterwards (Matt. 11:28-30, 28:19, Acts 17:26,27)"

    and

    "It was asked in an earlier comment what the word "indeed" (NASB-"truly") means in Jn. 8:31. Jesus explains what it means. To be a disciple "indeed" means to be a real or true disciple. This depends upon whether these BELIEVERS continue in His word or not. Only by doing this will they prove themselves to be real learners (disciples). Jesus does NOT say they will prove themselves to be "real" believers because John has already informed us that Jesus' only reason for saying this to them in the first place is because He knew they WERE believers."


    So Gary, is faith the dividing line between being a disciple and being a true disciple/learner?

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at 11/12/2008 5:14 PM  

  • ten cent,

    Since a disciple is by definition "one who is learning", the determining factor of whether or not we are disciples is always whether nor not we are continuing to LEARN. But God would, of course, be trying to teach a disciple who WAS NOT born again something different from a disciple who IS born again. He would be trying to bring an unbelieving disciple to the point of saving faith in Christ. He would be teaching a born again believer to "obey His commandments." All of this is implied in Jesus' great commission in Matt. 28:19. In this commission to His disciples, "baptizing them..." is pointing to the first step of obedience in the life of a newly born again disciple. The people in Jn 8:31 had heard Jesus' words, learned from Him, and "believed in Him." Now, Jesus is simply telling them that if they "continue" to learn, they will learn to obey and be set free from sin in their experience. If they cease learning at any point, they obviously will cease being "disciples" (learners), but they would still be born again since this can never be undone. So faith is just the dividing line between an unbelieving disciple and a believing one. Continuing to learn always determines whether not one is a disciple.

    Good question. Hope this helps clarify.

    Gary

    By Blogger goe, at 11/12/2008 9:17 PM  

  • Hi Rose

    I remember Bob Wilkin making a statement about these ones who have to
    look to their works
    TO prove
    that they are saved.
    He said they do pretty good
    IF
    they are able to stay busy,
    BUT
    if something happens that they can’t stay busy they start getting introspective about their salvation because they are use to looking to their works
    TO PROVE
    they are really saved and one of the elect.
    Just like the Puritans it wasn’t until their death beds, AND THEY COULDN'T DO ANYTHING did they start doubting their salvation because they realized they weren’t as faithful and committed as they could have been.

    But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. (2 Cor 10:12)

    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at 11/12/2008 10:32 PM  

  • So Gary,
    I see that when Jesus said in John 8:39 "If you were Abraham's children, you would do the works of Abraham", that your system is aleays willing to tell us what that verse *doesn't* mean, thus gutting that portion of scripture of its intended force, as spoken to the original hearers.

    I also see that your system demands that we cannot see the present and ongoing aspects of faith (and must therefore avoid the plain and simple reading of said scriptures) in verses like John 8:12 - where the action word "follows" happens.

    Also, in John 8:30, where it is said that "As He spoke these words, many believed in Him"... it is to those that He said, "If you "abide" in My word, you are My disciples indeed". Clearly here we see that discipleship begins at the point of saving faith, and also that saving faith is proven in the act of abiding. Any way you cut it, Gary, nowhere in scripture do we see a believer who is not also a disciple. Saving faith IS an obedient and persevering faith. Note Hebrews 11 where each and every account of faith was forward looking, and ultimately unfailing. In Hebrews 11 we see these people from God's vantage point. These were all justified in His sight; and in each case their faith was forward looking, embracing promises that were afar off. And though we read of their failures in the OT, here we see only that the direction of their lives were Godward, and minus any mention of their lapses, which ALL His saints this side of the grave experience.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at 11/13/2008 7:27 AM  

  • Anonymous,
    Samson's faith came around at the end. His chastening was in the position that he ended up in - blindness; and being the star attraction of a circus act. We learn in Hebrews 12:6-11 that God's chastening is always effectual. That truth is played out for us in the OT life story of Samson. Yes, he *did* finally come around.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at 11/13/2008 7:35 AM  

  • Gary says, "If they cease learning at any point, they obviously will cease being "disciples" (learners), but they would still be born again since this can never be undone. So faith is just the dividing line between an unbelieving disciple and a believing one. Continuing to learn always determines whether not one is a disciple."

    How can you say that they believe, and at some point stop obeying? Please explain this to me. It should surely raise red flags in the minds of those who consider the entire chapter of Hebrews 11. Waiting for you to carefully walk me through this.

    Mark

    By Blogger mark pierson, at 11/13/2008 7:42 AM  

  • Hi Rose!!!

    By Blogger mark pierson, at 11/13/2008 7:43 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    "Gary, you said: "Since a disciple is by definition "one who is learning", the determining factor of whether or not we are disciples is always whether nor not we are continuing to LEARN. But God would, of course, be trying to teach a disciple who WAS NOT born again something different from a disciple who IS born again. He would be trying to bring an unbelieving disciple to the point of saving faith in Christ. He would be teaching a born again believer to "obey His commandments.""

    So does the unbeliever have to be a disciple before he comes to Christ?

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at 11/13/2008 9:07 AM  

  • Mark, you still prove my point that one can live an uncommitted life as Samson did and be saved. He clearly did not begin his life showing that he had an obedient faith that you claim is required to be saved and he did not do it during his later years either but only the last moments of his life. In your words basically, can a person claim to be believing when he at the same time isn't obeying? Samson was just that for so many years Mark. Would you consider a person saved if they fashioned their lives after him for the first part of their lives? No, LS would claim that such a person got saved at their death bed.

    Samson did commit suicide as he wanted to die for his stupidity. Samson certainly did not live a life that fits according to the LS beliefs as the last few minutes of his life was the only time he appeared to show any bit of fruit. I would love to hear a LS believer claim that a believer can live fruitless for his whole life expect for the last few minutes.

    Demas certainly left the faith and never returned. The only argument LS can offer is that he was never saved to begin with when that was never stated once.

    Your arguments are very weak. Let's remember what Paul said:

    "The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light." (Romans 13:12).

    "Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light" (Eph. 5:14).

    "And be not conformed to this world..." (Rom. 12:2).

    "For ye were sometimes (formerly) darkness (unsaved), but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light" (Eph. 5:8 that is a clear command to make your walk match your state).

    How about 1st Thess. 5:4-10 that clearly teaches a distinction between fervent Christians and the lazy and indifferent? The lazy will be saved.

    All of these were directed to believers clearly implying that one can live as a child of darkness and nothing indicates that it cannot be perpetually.

    In Acts 19, you have believers that were messing around with the occult for two years after coming to know Christ:

    "And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds."

    It said that "many THAT believed" pointing to sometime in the past and nothing current came forth and confessed their deeds. Many came and not all seems to be implied too. Did they trust Christ with an obedient faith?

    Paul just got through in Ephesians 5 talking about all the wickedness of the world and then said to believers:

    "Be not ye therefore partakers with them." (vs. 7)

    That clearly implies that believers can partake of the evil works of darkness. Only LS places exception clauses such as, "but he will repent before he dies" and so on nowhere stated.

    Paul did go on to tell them to walk as children of light. Your belief that believers cannot remain perpetually carnal is not supported here in Pauline Scripture.

    I always found the LS to be a weak position that bases much of what it believes from Catholicism. The message of John 3 is 'LOOK AND LIVE'. The single look was what cured those that looked upon the brazen serpent. Only John MacArthur has to add what he believes happened claiming that they had to crawl to get themselves in such a place to see the brazen serpent???????????

    John 4, the woman at the well had 5 husbands and the one she currently was with was not her husband. Was she told to repent and make Jesus the Lord of her life?

    I still love how LS reads Acts 16:31 and butchers it into something entirely different.

    You did say to Gary, "How can you say that they believe, and at some point stop obeying? Please explain this to me." The answer again is Samson being one of them who started his life as anything but committed and continued for years. At what point in his early years do you believe he was a disciple?

    How about Solomon? How do you explain the end of his life because he clearly believed but at some point quit obeying. When did he return to the faith repentant? Oops!

    How about Lot? Please share from the OT only that this was a great guy? What a great guy and father to offer his daughters to the perverts at his door to protect a stranger instead.

    How about Noah? The last thing we read about is him drunk in a cave committing incest with his daughters.

    Mark, you can believe in LS but don't think that you are convincing us of anything as your arguments as well as any LS argument is sorely lacking in light of Scripture as a whole. I just hope that you believed in faith alone at one time and not just this obedient faith as you define it as some of your statements terrify me about you.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/13/2008 9:24 AM  

  • Ten Cent,

    You said:

    Why would you confuse them and say that at the moment of faith they have the hope of eternal life and then let them flounder in their Christianity because they never knew that eternal life is not just a future event, but it's now.

    Ten Cent,
    I absolutely believe and speak of eternal life as something that is not just a future event... but is NOW. When we are born again, we have the very power that raised Jesus from the dead now living within us. This is something I love to remind new Christians of. This is the power that enables us to live the "Christian life."

    You also said:

    Or they think that their justification is all up to God, but their sanctification is all up them, as if they have to achieve their own righteousness.

    Fooey. No way. See my comment above. The part that is up to us is YEILDING to Christ... wouldn't you say? Also - wouldn't you say that this *can* be very difficult, Ten Cent? Having faith that God will take care of you and stepping out in faith in the daily walk can be very challenging as we are not prone to do so in our earthly minds? My earthly mind is still present with me, is it not so with you, Ten Cent?

    Giving up all that we have and coming and following Him is not just the easiest mental hurdle to get past, is it, Ten Cent?

    "YEILDING" to Christ in this way and ALLOWING Him to work His righteousness in us (as opposed to the straw man that you erected by saying that FGers think their sanctification is all up them, as if they have to achieve their own righteousness.) No, we are not left on our own to acheive our own righteousness and no one has ever said that. Allowing God to take over and giving up our own desires and habits of "doing it our way" can be a hard fought battle... for most of us anyways. This is yeilding to Christ as the Lord Of Your Life and it is something lifelong, not a pre-condition for believing in Him.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/13/2008 9:55 AM  

  • Hi Mark :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/13/2008 9:56 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    You said: "Fooey. No way. See my comment above. The part that is up to us is YEILDING to Christ... wouldn't you say? Also - wouldn't you say that this *can* be very difficult, Ten Cent? Having faith that God will take care of you and stepping out in faith in the daily walk can be very challenging as we are not prone to do so in our earthly minds? My earthly mind is still present with me, is it not so with you, Ten Cent?"

    Isn't believing in Christ the first step in yielding to Him? You even said, "Having faith that God will take care of you..." So, yielding to Christ is a matter of faith and not action, yet action will follow will it not? Either revealing the faith, or revealing the lack thereof. Having faith means you trust Him to take care of you, lack of faith means carnal/sinful anxiety, worrying about what will happen when He's told you not to.

    This is what I mean when I say that faith and works or actions are connected. You can't have one without the other.

    You said: "When we are born again, we have the very power that raised Jesus from the dead now living within us. This is something I love to remind new Christians of."

    Is something that you also include in your gospel message to those you know are unbelievers? Or do you retain this information and only present it to new Christians?

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at 11/13/2008 10:21 AM  

  • Anon,
    How about the fact that Samson was mentioned in Hebrews 11? Suicide? More like an act of bravery, dying for the cause of God, looking beyond his present circumstances - forward looking faith - Hebrews 11 quality.

    Your look at 1 Thess. 5:4-10..."you are not in darkness"
    ..."You are all sons of light, and sons of the day."
    ..."We are not of the night nor of darkness"
    Then verse 6 is the admonition for those mentioned above. You see God has a means to an end in His tool, which is His word. The Word is profitable for reproof, correction and instruction in ri9ghteousness. It is one of God's means in bringing His saints into conformity to Christ. The others being chastening (which is ALWAYS effectual, Hebrews 12:11), Christ's and God the Holy Spirit's intercetion, church discipline, and, let us not forget the regeneration experience that gives us new desires for God in the first place. But, let's get back to 1 Thess.5. In verse 6, where it says, "as others do" is talking about the unsaved, and those are the ones that "sleep" and get "drunk". Then it goes back in verse 8 "But let us who are of the day" to speaking of saints and their new way of life. Clearly there are two kinds of people described here, and the saints are being admonished to experience their position.

    You mention the Epesians. Ryrie covers this too in "So Great Salvation". Ah, but the point is that they DID repent, even if it took 2 years. I don't see anything there to lead us to believe that disobedience can be perpetual.

    Lot? Peter called him "that righteous man" who "was opressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked", and that "he tormented his righteous soul...by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds. Let us not forget also that in Genesis 19:9 they acknowledged his judgement of their wickedness.

    MacArthur contantly states that true saints can and sometimes do commit terrible sins in both "TGATOJ" and TGATTA". Paul even states that in Galatians 5:17 there is a war between the flesh and the Spirit. All L/S acknowledge that.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at 11/13/2008 11:26 AM  

  • Question, does being saved and walking in the Spirit mean the same thing? Are unbelievers asked to walk in the Spirit? According to Galatians 5, one must walk in the Spirit to keep from the sins of the flesh. It sounds like according to LS that this obedient faith they speak of is the same thing as walking in the Spirit. The Scriptures sure seem to make them a separate act.

    Is this faith that saves a faith that abides in Him to be saved? If it is one and the same then why did John instruct his believers to abide in Christ:

    "And now, little children, abide in Him; that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at his coming."

    Again, it sounds like abiding just like walking in the Spirit is a command after we are saved to the believer.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/13/2008 11:27 AM  

  • Wow Mark, you sure forgot about verse 10 in 1st Thessalonians 5 where you just tried to twist that some. Look at verse 10:

    "Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him."

    The word "sleep" are those believers that are lazy and indifferent. Paul commands us believers not to sleep as others do. Yes, believers are admonished to live their position but verse 10 states that even if they do not then even those believers that are like those that sleep that they will be with Christ!!! ETERNAL SECURITY!!!

    Yes, in Acts 19, they repented after 2 years, but did they have the initial obedient faith required for salvation? I haven't found any LS believer that thinks that one can continue in occult practices and be saved. Also, the verse said "many" and not "all" believers came and confessed their deeds.

    Lot was indeed a righteous man as the NT said but his deeds were anything but as recorded in the OT. I'm positionally as righteous as Jesus Christ but not in my daily walk.

    Samson died a miserable wreck and wanted to die and did not want God to prevent it as his prayer showed. His plan was to kill the Philistines and himself that day and prayed for that both be accomplished. I guess I cannot blame a man that lived a selfish life all of those years and allowed a wicked woman that he lusted after to trick him into getting his eyes burned out and end up doing a work of an animal. Most probably would choose suicide. However, Samson NEVER lived a life committed to God but only in the final few moments of his life.

    Yes, you are right that believers can do some terrible things. Let us also remember Solomon that continued in them and died in a state of final apostasy that LS strongly denies is possible.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/13/2008 11:44 AM  

  • Hi Rose
    Jesus said: If you were Abrahams children you would do the works of Abraham. John 8:39
    That’s true IF your abiding in the truth, and walking as sons!
    But
    First you must become a child (teknon)of God by beleiving in Him like the ones in (John 8:31; 1:12).
    Then it's ONLY as you walk as sons (huios)do you produce the works of Abraham.
    If your like the Galations who were sons of Abraham (Gal 3:26)
    BUT
    not abiding in the truth then your works are not producing the works of Abraham which are from God even though you’re His child.

    These Jews in John 8 were saying that they were descendants of Abraham so their works were from God.

    Not only were they not even spiritual children of Abraham but their works were from Satan.

    Jesus is not saying here that IF you’re a child of Abraham then that GUARANTEES you will do the works of Abraham!
    Because if that were true Jesus wouldn’t have had to tell those who had just believed IF you abide in my word. It’s only as a child of Abraham abides in the truth does he do the works of Abraham and is therefore set free to live as sons of God!

    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at 11/13/2008 11:59 AM  

  • Anon,
    Let us (Christians) not sleep as others (unregenerate)do. What sense would it make if Paul, Led about by the Real Author of this letter, who is writing scripture to be read by all Christians, tells them not to follow the example of some Christians. No. He is telling these saints to not be like those who are of the night, and of darkness. This characterizes the unregenerate. We are not to follow the lifestyle of the unregenerate.

    Now on to verse 10 The Greek there for sleep is the same Greek as in Matthew 9:24; Mark 5:39; Luke 8;52, the young lady that Christ raised from the dead.

    The point can't be ignored that characteristics of two kinds of people are seen here in the preceding verses. Thus more than a Greek lexicon or dictionary is to be employed in considering "sleep" in verse 10. Your definition flies in the face of the rest of the New Testament on Regeneration and all that Christ accomplished on the cross. I'm thinking of Col. 1:13 where we have been delivered from the power of darkness, and conveyed into the Kingdom of His Son. Or Acts 26:18, where, on account of His cross-work, Paul is sent to "open eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God"; or of Romans 6 where we see that true Chrisians are dead to sin and alive to God, having been once slaves of sin and are now slaves of righteousnes, and of God; or of Romans 8:14 where we who are sons of God (a term used of His people) are led by His Spirit; or of Titus 2:14 where His precious people are said to be *zealous* of good works.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at 11/13/2008 12:52 PM  

  • Off to get ready for work now. Bye

    By Blogger mark pierson, at 11/13/2008 12:53 PM  

  • Wow again Mark!!! You compared the Greek word there to how Jesus used it and not how Paul used it. Paul never ONCE referred to the Greek word there as referring to death. Paul used the same Greek word in verse 10 as he did in the prior verses and it didn't mean death there. Paul never used the word "wake" anywhere in his writings as meaning alive. Mark Mark Mark, you need to learn to argue how an author argues a particular word because you will learn that Paul doesn't argue the Greek word the way you would like it to. Come on now, they teach this in first year Bible college.

    FOR ANYONE ELSE PAYING ATTENTION: PLEASE TAKE OUT YOUR CONCORDANCE AND YOU WILL BE ABLE TO SEE THAT PAUL NEVER USES THE GREEK WORD SLEEP IN 1ST THESS. 5:6-10 IN THAT PASSAGE AS MEANING DEATH OR IN ANY OF HIS OTHER BOOKS. WHEN PAUL SPEAKS ABOUT THE DEATH OF A BELIEVER THEN HE USES AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT GREEK WORD. SEE FOR YOURSELF!!!! PLEASE NOTICE THAT MARK DESPERATELY TRIED TO CHANGE THE SAME GREEK WORD FOUND IN THE PRIOR VERSES AS NOW SOMEHOW MEANING DEATH IN VERSE 10. MARK TRIED DODGING THIS BY MAKING THE WORD "SLEEP" IN VERSE 10 AS MEANING DEATH BECAUSE JESUS USED IT THAT WAY. HOWEVER, EACH AUTHOR HAS THEIR UNIQUE SPEECH AND YOU CAN DETERMINE BEST WHAT THEY MEAN BY COMPARING THEIR LANGUAGE TO OTHER PASSAGES OF SCRIPTURE WHERE THE SAME AUTHOR WAS SPEAKING. IT OUGHT TO BE CLEAR THAT THE SAME GREEK WORD "SLEEP" IN THE PRIOR VERSES HAS THE SAME MEANING IN VERSE 10. ALSO, STUDY THE WORD "WAKE" AS PAUL USED IT ELSEWHERE AND YOU WILL SEE THAT HE NEVER ONCE MEANT TO USE IT AS ALIVE.

    You said:

    "He is telling these saints to not be like those who are of the night, and of darkness. This characterizes the unregenerate. We are not to follow the lifestyle of the unregenerate."

    That is so true Mark and you have no disagreements from me but verse 10 clearly says that some will have such a lifestyle. If believers cannot have such a lifestyle then why warn them?

    The lazy and indifferent Christians will be saved!!!!!!! Eternal security!!!!!!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/13/2008 1:30 PM  

  • Hi Rose

    AMEN ANONYMOUS!!!!!

    In other words, when you become a child (teknon)
    Of God by taking of the living water FREELY, you have all the
    POTENTIAL
    To walk as sons (huios) of God
    But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God – and righteousness and sanctification and redemption 1 Cor 1:30
    IF
    We put off the old man
    AND
    Be renewd in the spirit of your mind (Eph 4:22-24)
    And put on the new man
    By doing this we are working out our own salvation with fear and trembling
    As God works in us both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
    Other words it’s a
    CHOICE we make.
    For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we SHOULD walk in them.
    But how about if we don’t walk in them?
    Then were no different then a slave, not walking as sons of God in FREEDOM!
    But, are carnel as babes in Christ (1 Cor 3:1)
    When we are walking in the old man we are capable of sinning a sin unto death.
    Many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep (koimaomai they died in Jesus) 1 Cor 11:30
    BUT
    To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord!!!
    And just as Romans 8:30 they will be glorified not only in soul but in body!!!
    So were not to listen to false teachers as the ones in 1 John were being warned about!
    Therefore let that ABIDE in you which you heard from the beginning.
    IF
    What you heard from the beginning ABIDES in you, you also will ABIDE in the Son and in the Father.
    AND THIS IS THE PROMISE THAT HE HAS PROMISED US – ETERNAL LIFE. (1 John 2:24-25)

    Take of the water freely!
    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at 11/13/2008 2:11 PM  

  • Big AMEN back Alvin!!!

    The problem with Mark is that he takes 1st Thess. 5:6-10 and makes the Greek word "sleep" there in 6-8 as not meaning death but then ignores the context and makes verse 10 death.

    Solomon must be a sore spot to LS as he clearly died in a state of apostasy. I thought LS claims that the saint progressively gets better as you progress in the faith. However, Solomon went backwards to a point that I do not know of any Christians today that have strayed as far. The only LS defense is that Solomon must have come back before death.....Uh huh, yeah sure.

    You brought up a lot of good facts Alvin but don't except a reply on it. You will only get a hodgepodge of verses inter-twined together to somehow refute what you said. It appears that they just like John MacArthur can't argue the context but have to insert their theories into verses just like those that believe you can lose your salvation do.

    Mark, you seem like a good guy and you are in my prayers my friend. I hope and pray that you will leave the Catholic teaching of obedient faith and embrace the gospel of grace through faith alone. I do not mean this sarcastically either as what you say truly has me concerned for you.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/13/2008 2:18 PM  

  • Alvin and Anonymous,

    GREAT comments guys. I can only say AMEN and AMEN! God bless!

    Mark, ten cent and goodnightsafehome,

    May God bless you also, but I'm sorry, I just can't go in anymore circles--I'm getting dizzy!

    Gary

    By Blogger goe, at 11/13/2008 3:05 PM  

  • email me, please anonymous.
    rcole@ambt.net

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/13/2008 3:09 PM  

  • God bless you too, Rose!

    By Blogger goe, at 11/13/2008 3:15 PM  

  • Anon, Alvin, goe,

    You got on me for checking how the word sleep was used in the gospels, that very same word that we see in 1 Thess.5:10. Then you tell me that we should note how one author uses the same word in his writings elsewhere. Hmm. Inconsistancy here. Because earlier this year when I visited Antonio's blog and the discussion of "overcomers" in the book of Revelation, I went on to define an overcomer by how John, who authored both Revelation and 1 John, used that very same word in 1 John 5:1-5. I was told that I could not do that. Somehow the GES has discovered some hermeneutical law, that only they are privey to, that states that Revelation is of a different genra than 1 John and therefore I can not note how John used the word in his letter, then how he used it in Revelation.

    Anyway

    Here are some of J. Vernon McGee's notes on 1 Thess. 5:10 - Whether we die first or whether we live until His coming, we shall live together with Him. Most of the church has already gone through the doorway of death. What a parade that will be someday-beginning with Stephen and the apostles, the martyrs, all those who have fallen asleep in Jesus down through the years, and then those who are still alive at His coming, and if you and I are still alive, we will bring up the rear.

    THRU THE BIBLE WITH J. VERNON McGEE, page 402, comment on 1 Thess. 5:10

    Once again I'm in good company with my take on 1 Thess.5:10

    By Blogger mark pierson, at 11/14/2008 7:49 AM  

  • Rose, thanks for being so gracious and allowing me to comment here. You are a very nice blog hostess and it's been a pleasure visiting you here these past 3 years.

    Your friend,
    Mark

    By Blogger mark pierson, at 11/14/2008 8:01 AM  

  • I'm with you GOE as this will be my last comment as I am dizzy as well. It's hard arguing the grass is green when the other side that keeps saying that it is purple.

    Let me leave with fully explaining why 1st Thess. 5:10 is not talking about death and however you want to handle it after this is up to them.

    To make 1st Thess. 5:10 mean death ignores the context and the language of Paul. LS doesn't seem to understand that the Greek word KOIMAO is translated as the word "sleep" in 1st Cor. 11:29-32 and it clearly refers to death. The other Greek word KATHEUDO translated "sleep" is NEVER translated as physical death by Paul (only LS authors or disciples will translate that Greek word as death).

    The Greek word GREGOROMEN that is translated as "wake" in 1st Thess. 5:10 is NEVER translated as being physically alive and doesn't mean that either (see Vines or Strongs).

    The context determines what the word "sleep" meant and you cannot make "sleep" in 1st Thess. 5:6 and 7 mean one thing and then make it mean something entirely different in verse 10 especially when they are the same identical Greek words KATHEUDO. If Paul was trying to argue physical death then he would have used the only other word (KOIMAO) that he uses to refer to physical death. Paul argues even in the same book of 1st Thess. where he uses the other Greek word KOIMAO in 4:14 that clearly means death there, but LS wants to make KATHEUDO mean physical death one chapter later and only in one verse (10, not 6,7) when Paul doesn't use the word KOIMAO (such inconsistencies). It is typical for LS to run outside of this passage in 1st Thess. to alter its plain meaning but as we all can see from the context and language that it refutes them.

    LS tries to compare the language of Jesus and force them into how Paul spoke. Again, they just don't understand that we judge the authors use of words because each author was unique in how they spoke and we also argue the context.

    What they also fail to see is that Jesus only used KATHEUDO when referring to Jairus' daughter in Mt. 9:24; Mk 5:39 and Luke 8:52 where He said that she was not dead but sleeping and as far as I know that is it. Here is what LS fails to realize, Jesus used that Greek word KATHEUDO many many times to refer to anything but physical death as found in those 3 places but actually sleeping (see Lk. 22:46, Mk 14:41; Mk. 4:27; Mt. 26:45; Mk. 13:47; Mt. 13:25; Mt. 25:5). Now you should see how hard LS has to force the death of Jairus' daughter into 1st Thess. 5:10 when Jesus almost always used KATHEUDO to refer to something other than physical death and Paul NEVER once used that word KATHEUDO as physical death. Do you see the desperation? They would prefer to ignore Paul entirely and the context but instead run to 3 verses and try to force them into 1st Thess 5:10 when they are clearly not parallel passages.

    There is a passage in the gospel that mirrors what 1st Thessalonians 5:10 says and LS misses it. Jesus used the SAME Greek word KATHEUDO to mean 'not being watchful' as in 1st Thess. 5:10, and please note that it clearly does not mean physical death in Mark 13:35-37 that says:

    "Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping (KATHEUDO). And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch."

    Now compare that to 1st Thess. 5:6-10 and you will see that LS is deliberately resisting the truth. Again, when Paul meant physical death then he used the Greek word KOIMAO and when he referred to sleeping or laziness as in 1st Thess 5, then he used the Greek word KATHEUDO. LS has backed themselves into a corner and they will run to as many outside passages as possible to get around the context as well as the language of Paul that refutes them, because LS does not want to accept that a believer can be lazy, sinful and indifferent when he dies. One needs to only look at verses 6,7 to see that Paul arguing the word "sleep" as referring to believers that are lazy and indifferent and not physically dead and the context carries into verse 10 but now LS wants the word sleep to mean death. VERY SAD AND SHOCKING!

    Jesus said that He doesn't want to catch you sleeping and Paul said that we are not to sleep as others do but if we are caught sleeping then Paul makes it clear that we will be with Him!!!!! ETERNAL SECURITY!!!!

    Additional resources for your reading:

    Vines Expository Dictionary of NT words on KATHEUDO:

    "to go to sleep, is chiefly used of natural sleep, and is found most frequently in the Gospels, especially Matthew and Luke. With reference to death, it is found in the Lord's remark concerning Jairus' daughter, Mt. 9:24; Mk 5:39; LK. 8:52. In the epistles of Paul it is used as follows: (a) of natural sleep, e.g., 1st Thess. 5:7; (b) of carnal indifference to spiritual things on the part of believers, Eph. 5:14; 1st Thess. 5:6,10 (as in Mark 13:36), a condition of insensibility to Divine things involving conformity to the world."

    Vines on "Awake" or GREGOROMEN in Greek says that it is not used elsewhere "in the metaphorical sense of 'to be alive.'"

    Strongs concordance on "wake" or GREGOROMEN:

    "to keep awake, i.e, watch (lit or fig):- be vigilant, wake (be) watchful."

    Strongs Concordance on sleep or KATHEUDO:

    "(to sleep); to lie down to rest, i.e. (by impl.) to fall asleep (lit or fig.):- (be a) sleep.)

    Take care everyone!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/14/2008 8:23 AM  

  • p.s. please note that Mark will stand with Vernon McGee but not Scripture. As you all can see from my last comment just above that Vernon McGee has butchered Scripture to his own fancy. VERY SAD INDEED! As I said in my last post, LS will simply make 1st Thess. 5:10 to mean death simply because it wrecks havoc to their belief system.

    Solomon must really be a sore spot to LS.

    Goodbye!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/14/2008 8:26 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Hi Anon. I realize you said you've commented your last comment, but I'm trying to figure something out with 1 Thess. 5:10. Usually I can see the other side of the argument, which in this case would be your side, however when I try to read the verse the way you've explained it, it becomes very confusing to me.

    You said: "Paul said that we are not to sleep as others do but if we are caught sleeping then Paul makes it clear that we will be with Him!!!!! ETERNAL SECURITY!!!!"

    OK, I'm not trying to twist your words, so please forgive me if I am. But here's how that passage would read (at least to me) if we use your interpretation.

    For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are vigilant or indifferent to spiritual things, we will live together with Him.

    Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.


    It almost sounds like Paul is saying, "Don't worry about whether or not you're indifferent to spiritual things, you'll still live together with Christ when He returns. In light of that, encourage each other."

    If awake and asleep were life or death, then I could see this being an encouragement to believers. It would be a great truth with which to build up one another.

    But if he's telling that no matter what spiritual state their in, they will still live with Him, what purpose does Paul's exhortation in verse 5,6 serve? "We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not be indifferent to spiritual matters as others are, but let us be vigilant and self-controlled."

    I admit that according to what you've found in the concordance, it must mean what you say it means. But according to the context, it seems weird to me. It's as if Paul is saying, be vigilant, but even if you're not, don't worry, God hasn't destined us for wrath, you'll live with Him no matter what. But I don't know, maybe that's what he's saying.

    So I don't know, is that what Paul is saying?

    And, not that it matters, but I haven't seen a commentary yet that doesn't interpret it as life and death. Of course, they can be wrong.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at 11/14/2008 9:42 AM  

  • Mark's arguments have been very solid and persuasive!

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 11/14/2008 9:50 AM  

  • As have those of Ten Cent.....

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 11/14/2008 9:52 AM  

  • Jazzy,

    Thanks for the compliment, but if I had my choice between being persuasive and theologically correct, I'd choose the later.

    And I hope that this isn't a forum for taking sides and mounting armies, "bringing out the big guns" so to speak. I'd rather have it be a place where I can come and learn. And I'm open to that. I'm willing to take a hard look at what I believe and make sure that it's correct.

    I hope others are just as willing.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at 11/14/2008 9:59 AM  

  • Hello Ten Cent,

    I wasn't going to comment again but I never spoke to you yet. This now will be it as I personally get bored with arguments that go back and forth and never end.

    I'm glad that you at least admitted: "I admit that according to what you've found in the concordance, it must mean what you say it means" as I am not used to hearing that.

    You did say that you do not mean to twist what I say but that is exactly what you ended up doing but I understood why. I never argued that Paul was saying that "Hey, go ahead and live indifferent because in the end your saved regardless" as that is exactly what I hear from those that believe you can lose your salvation.

    My whole point was that a believer could be lazy and indifferent and this is what LS denies. I guess I came across as really promoting the laziness and indifference of believers as being OK to you and that is not what I meant to do, sorry.

    Here is that passage that we are talking about:

    6Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

    7For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.

    8But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

    9For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

    10Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

    Paul is telling believers clearly in verse 6 not to sleep (KATHEUDO) as others. Verse 7 clearly refers to laziness and indifference. Look at the verse in Romans 13 that says:

    11And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

    12The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

    13Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

    14But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

    See also Ephesians 5:8, 14:

    8For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

    14Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

    See how the wording is similar? Paul is speaking to the saved to live like it. Does not these verses imply that a believer can live anything contrary to who he really is in Christ? If one says no then the warnings and admonishments make zero sense.

    Question, what happens to those that are sleeping when Christ comes back? Will they be ashamed? Yes, and Scripture confirms that.

    Why would Paul in verse 10 when he was exhorting the saved to live like it claim only there that only the vigilant will be saved and not those that live like them that sleep in verse 6? He is clearly saying that even if you are lazy and indifferent then you too will be saved but he isn't encouraging them there to live like that. Salvation is always by grace through faith and works clearly are excluded here and that is why I shouted ETERNAL SECURITY!!!

    No free grace teacher ever says, "Go and do as you please because you have salvation in the bag." No, we agree with Paul that grace TEACHES us to deny all manners of ungodliness. Paul like us free gracers will point to the grace of God and what God says is true of us and plead with them on the logic of it to live their life accordingly.

    I hope this made some sense. Even if it wasn't to you then it doesn't matter as verse 10 clearly does not argue death.

    Take care! I am done with my comments and you guys can have the last word.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/14/2008 10:23 AM  

  • If you want to understand Paul, it is also important to realize that the future accountability of all believers at the judgement seat of Christ was a very prominent part of his teaching to believers. He definitely believed in the eternal security of all believers, but that never meant for him that it doesn't matter how we live or that there are no consequences for sin. There are consequences for the sin of the believer both in this life and at the judgement seat.

    By Blogger goe, at 11/14/2008 11:05 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Anonymous, I read 1 Thess. 5:10, as well as the whole chapter surrounding it, many times since yesterday's visit. And the very same thing occured to me that Ten Cent noticed - that after admonishing these folk not to be "sleepers" Paul then turns around in verse 10 to say essentially "don't worry, the sleepers will be together with Him too". It doesn't make any sense to me. So you're saying that Paul is introducing a note on eternal security here when clearly in verses 4-8 his energy is occupied with exhorting them to live their position ("sons of light, of the day"). Are you not the one introducing a topic here (eternal security) that was not the topic of consideration?

    By Blogger mark pierson, at 11/14/2008 12:05 PM  

  • Good day, Rose-

    Gary, that people will suffer loss at the Judgement Seat of Christ you will find it hard to find a Calvinist who disagrees - at least *this* Calvinist.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at 11/14/2008 12:08 PM  

  • Mark, ten cent,

    I don't understand your difficulty in finding motivation in what Paul is saying. In reminding them that Christ "died for them," he is reminding them of His unconditional love and that their final salvation is not dependent on their success or failure. Isn't your unconditional love for your children something you want them to know? Paul wanted to remind them not to take the grace of God for granted, but to respond with gratitude and obedience, also knowing that they will have to face Him one day and give an account for their ingratitude. He is reminding them that they are not ignorant of these truths like unbelievers are, because they are "children of the light." This is why believers who are "asleep" will be ashamed before Him. Gratefulness for Christ's unconditional love combined with the sobering prospect of standing before Him one day in shame should be more than enough motivation for anyone, don't you think?

    By Blogger goe, at 11/14/2008 12:51 PM  

  • Gary,

    You are importing the teachings about the Judgement seat of Christ over here from ther portions of scripture. Where is that mentioned in 1 Thess.5? If you can import teachings about the JSOC here why can't I consider verse like Romans 8:14 that all Christians are those who are led of the Spirit, and therefore there is no such things as Christians "asleep in the light", ala Keith Green

    By Blogger mark pierson, at 11/14/2008 1:06 PM  

  • I don't have time to list them now, but this was constantly Paul's method of exhorting believer's to obedience--Gratitude for God's unconditional love and acceptance (eternal security) AND the truth of accountability at the judgement seat. Also the reality of God's temporal discipline even to the point of premature death if sin is persisted in.

    By Blogger goe, at 11/14/2008 1:19 PM  

  • Mark,

    Notice what Paul says in 1 Thes. 5:1,2. He refers to the "day of the Lord". He also makes it clear that they had already been taught about these things--"you have no need that I should write you. For you yourselves know perfectly..." So it is clear that they had already received instruction about about things that Paul has "no need" to even mention. The judgement seat of Christ is mentioned everywhere in Paul's epistle, either explicitly or implicitly. For Paul, the believer's accountability was one of the fundamentals of the faith. I'm not sure why you would even question that.

    As for Rom. 8:14. you seem to again be trying to make scripture bend to your system and make it say something it simply does not say. It is not saying that all believers are always led by the Spirit. That would be absurd, and contradict things that even Calvinists believe. For example, do you not acknowledge that believers can sin? Or be out of fellowship with God even for a period of time? Is it not possible for a believer to obey the flesh and not the Spirit? If you believe any of these things you are already conceding that believers are not ALWAYS led by the Spirit. If that is so, why is it not then possible for them to be "asleep" as Paul says. I agree with anonymous Mark. I'm starting to be concerned about you. You really are like the Arminians in your denial that a true believer can die in a state of unrepentance. Mark, there truly isn't any practical difference in your theology and the Arminians. Only a theoretical and meaningless difference that is of no real consequence.

    By Blogger goe, at 11/14/2008 7:21 PM  

  • I meant to say that "the JSOC is mentioned everywhere in Paul's epistles (plural)"

    By Blogger goe, at 11/14/2008 7:25 PM  

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