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

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Declared Righteous By Faith

Another Guest Post. This time by "Wingfooted" (the secret identity of a regular visitor here). "Wingfooted" emailed me these thoughts and I consider them worthy of a post for your pondering. I have another one from "Wingfooted" that I will post in the coming weeks.

by Wingfooted:

We know as Christians that sinners are declared righteous by God when they believe.
Genesis 15:6.....
“And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”
However, these verses could be puzzling....
Exodus 4:31...
“And the people BELIEVED: and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped.”

Exodus 14:31.....
“And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: AND THE PEOPLE FEARED THE LORD, AND BELIEVED THE LORD, and his servant Moses.”
Now my question is....why weren’t the Israelites, “my people”, “mine elect”, declared righteous? Not only were the vast majority NOT declared righteous, but most were not even saved, at least eternally. Paul makes this clear in 1 Corinthians 10:1-13.....
“Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that ALL our fathers were under the cloud, and ALL passed through the sea; And were ALL baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did ALL eat the same spiritual meat; And did ALL drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. BUT WITH MANY OF THEM GOD WAS NOT WELL PLEASED: FOR THEY WERE OVERTHROWN IN THE WILDERNESS. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, AND FELL IN ONE DAY THREE AND TWENTY THOUSAND. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, AND WERE DESTROYED OF SERPENTS. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, AND WERE DESTROYED OF THE DESTROYER. Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”
Jude 1:5.....
“I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward DESTROYED THEM THAT BELIEVED NOT.”
We are told that the Lord destroyed those who didn’t believe, but we see early on, that the people of ISRAEL BELIEVED and FEARED THE LORD. So why weren't they declared righteous?

Now, according to Calvinism, the Reprobate, the non-elect, can’t believe. In fact, the reprobate have NO desire for God. But notice those Israelites who perished, did believe, at least for awhile. This is even spoken of in the parable of the seed...
Luke 8:13.....
“Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.”
Now the Calvinist will say “well...they didn’t truly believe”. But Moses, led by the Spirit, said they did believe and even feared the Lord. They even worshipped God. Something a reprobate can’t do. And why would a reprobate sing the Song of Moses in Exodus 15:1-18? Again, awfully strange behavior for someone unregenerate or “spiritually dead like a corpse”?

-by Wingfooted

185 Comments:

  • Hi Rose/Wingfooted.

    "Daddy, I'm hungry!"

    "Why hello Miss Hungry, I am Daddy, pleased to meet you."

    My kids and I still laugh over that joke, well... mostly me. I know they mean that they are hungry, and that they are not telling me who they are, but rather something about their state - but since the words fit, I can play the game, as it were.

    It happens, from time to time, however, that I see Calvinism represented in terms that remind me of the little play on words we see above - except the people who are trying to represent Calvinism, are doing so as though they actually believe that Calvinists believe what they paint them to believe, instead of asking first whether or not the Calvinist believes that. They couch their characterization in weasel words so that they are free to express upon the whole what may or may not be true of any, and more often than not, this is done unconsiously and without malice - but rather as a long standing habit - a practiced indifference that rests upon the empty presumption that because they themselves are sincere in what they hold to, it follows that those who disagree with them, but be irrational, foolish, misguided, deceived, or at the very least, unteachable - but likely all of these combined.

    I strive therefore, as much as I can, not to speak too vaguely about anyone's belief, and to ask questions up front so as not to confuse myself or mistake anyone else's meanings.

    Which is my very long winded way of acknowledging up front that I don't think the author has painted a very accurate caricature of Calvinism.

    I can only speak for myself as someone who believes the bible teaches the utter deadness of men in sin (total depravity), and that the bible teaches that men do not tip the hand of God in their election (particular election) and that Christ did not satisfy everyone's sin debt, but only the sin debt of those who are united together with in by faith (Limited Atonement), that no fish can escape the unbreakable net (irresistable grace) and that God's work cannot be thwarted by mankind (perseverance of the saints); I say, I can only speak for myself when I say that from the moment I was justified, I have always understood the distinction between believing a thing to be true, and being united to Christ by faith.

    According to my understanding - an understand that many would label as Calvinism, the Reprobate - those individuals whom God has not elected are exactly like those whom God has elected in that they are spiritually dead and therefore unable to discern spiritual things such as the gospel. They can no more believe the gospel than they can breath water.

    That is not to say that they cannot believe that God exists, that Jesus was His Son, or that the gospel is valid - for even the demons believe these facts - yet it is one thing to believe a thing to be factual, and quite another to surrender one's entire life to Christ in faith. That is, it is one thing to believe that the facts are true, and quite another to surrender one's life to Christ in the strength of those facts.

    Justification happens the moment one utterly surrenders control of their entire life to Christ in the strength of a free grace which they receive along with the very faith that is saving them. It happens in a moment, not because of man's prompting, but even the desire itself is a gift of God, for there is nothing in a sinner that desires God.

    The gospel message is not "assent to these facts and you will be saved!", it is believe in the good news that Christ has made a way of salvation open through His own flesh so that whoever turns away from every false way, and comes to God through the Way, the Truth, and the Life - these shall be saved.

    Unless I am mistaken, the "logic" of the post runs along the deductive lines:

    Proposition 1:
    Abraham's faith was accounted to Him for righteousness.

    Proposition 2:
    Other people besides Abraham also "Believed"

    Unqualified Presumption 1: Abraham's trust in God is essentially equivalent to every other profession of belief

    Conclusion: Everyone who ever believes is likewise as righteous as Abraham

    Argument: Given that everyone who has ever believed is as righteous as Abraham, and given that scripture describes men who turn reprobate as being former believers, how is it that the Calvinist asserts that these reprobates cannot be believers?

    I think, sifting through it, that more or less is the question - I could be wrong.

    The question for me, as a Calvinist, has never been whether these people who fall away were believers or not, but rather whether these believers were regenerate or not.

    One could describe it this way:

    There are those who assent to the facts and imagine that doing so obliges God to save them; yet they never humble themselves before God - that is, they believe that the truth is true, and they hope that in believing that the truth is true God is going to be obliged on judgment day to save them. When anyone talks of believing, they understand it to be a reference to the assenting to the facts which they themselves do. They are soundly convinced and zealous, and assume that they have passed from death into life because they have believed the right truths, but this miss the mark entirely because they are trusting in the truthfulness of the truth to oblige God rather than trusting in Christ - a trust that cannot take place without God granting them repentance. They believe, but their belief comes without that union, that born again reality that can only be encountered through the new birth that happens in the moment that God grants the soul the ability to turn to Christ entirely.

    I am speaking of spiritual things, of course, and whenever we do we do so at the risk of being misunderstood by those who do not have eyes to see, and ears to hear - but let the children of the Lord say "Amen".

    Thus, it isn't a concern for me if someone believes and falls away - scripture says very plainly that this will happen. But no one who is born again will fall away, no one who is elect will fall away, no one is in God's net will escape God's grace.

    The flaw in the reasoning of this post is that it equates all belief as salvific - a mistake that I, as a Calvinist do not make. When scripture says that they went out from us because they were not of us - I don't take that to mean they didn't "believe" - I take that to mean the seed that fell into their heart did not produce a crop - in other words, they were not saved in the first place.

    Salvation comes when God grants us repentance through grace by faith, and not when we convinced ourselves that true things are actually true and imagine that by doing so and saying a prayer, God becomes obliged to us even even though we continue unchanged in the same state of rebellion that has always kept us from God.

    On that last day, many will come saying, "Lord, Lord!" - whose mouths are practiced at uttering what their heart has never said - and they will be turned away because they believed they could oblige God by their assent to the facts without ever having bowed the knee of their heart to God.

    I think there will be much gnashing of teeth on that day, as these look back on the moments when God exposed this fact to them time and again, and they rejected it in favor of their own conviction.

    If that helps.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 4/07/2009 1:42 PM  

  • Hi Rose/Wingfooted,

    Many non Calvinists believe that these people were lost, as even a cursory glance at their commentaries show.

    On Jude 5, J Vernon Magee accuses these Israelites of apostasy and gives them as an example that God does judge apostates

    HA Ironside took a similar line: Though once saved out of Egypt, they were destroyed in the wilderness because of having apostatized from the living God. (Comments on Jude 5)

    John Wesley (Is Wesley also among the Calvinists?) “ He afterwards destroyed - The far greater part of that very people whom he had once saved. Let none therefore presume upon past mercies, as if he was now out of danger.”

    Adam Clarke: Afterward destroyed them - Because they neither believed his word, nor were obedient to his commands. This is the first example of what was mentioned Jud_1:4.

    Of course, there is a great difference between the first two and the last two named commentators. The first two denied that true believers could ever apostatise. Wesley and Clarke (both contemporary Methodists) held that they could and Wesley clearly believes that they did. But it goes to prove the point that I make: None of these men were Calvinists. I must admit that you leave me scratching my head why you should isolate one group among the Evangelicals as if they were the sole teachers of these thoughts.

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 4/07/2009 1:59 PM  

  • We know that spiritual water wasn’t physical water that you have to keep on drinking but one drink and you’ll never thirst (John 4:13; 1 Cor 10:4). But they had failed to believe God in other propositions just as Moses who struck the rock twice therefore he could not enter the earthly inheritance (Num 20:7-12; 27:12-14). We know that Moses “knew the Lord” He spoke to him face to face but yet Moses said “Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people. (Exodus 33:11-17).
    But I don’t believe anyone would doubt whether Moses was saved or that he had a heavenly inheritance (Heb 11:26; Mark 9:4).
    And just as there was a nation that was saved from Egypt there will be a nation that will be saved from the tribulation period “for that generation shall not pass away till all these things take place” “but he who endures to the end will be saved” that generation of Jews will say ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! And so all Israel will be saved, that is the “Israel of God” (Romans 11:26-27).
    Alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/07/2009 2:12 PM  

  • It's pretty clear to me anyway that the Calvinist not only does not believe in a gift you can take freely but one must give up everything to get it.
    Also the Calvinist is like the ones who were saying "I'm of Paul" or "I'm of Apollos" they take a mans name.

    I feel rather than to keep up with every flavor of Calvinism, if they want to take that name they better be ready to take it all. Because when someone is defending Calvinism they have bought into the man-made system whether one point or all five they are all Unscriptural so their in the same boat.

    alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/07/2009 2:34 PM  

  • Alvin said : the Calvinist not only does not believe in a gift you can take freely but one must give up everything to get it.

    I am not sure you understand this.

    The "Calvinist" regards the ability to give up everything as grace - an unmerited gift. It isn't that we give up everything in order to receive grace, as colorful as that misrepresentation might be; rather it is that by the gift of grace we are suddenly able to give up everything so that we can receive Christ, for no one receives Christ otherwise.

    Try that on, and see if it fits better. You will be far more persuasive in your arguments if you learn to deal with these things without misrepresenting them.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 4/07/2009 2:55 PM  

  • Oh, and Hi Rose!

    By Blogger Daniel, at 4/07/2009 3:10 PM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/07/2009 4:09 PM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/07/2009 4:11 PM  

  • I'm well aware of Daniel's ability to defend hismelf, but if when he says "give up everything" to mean that we give up every effort of our own in order to be saved i.e. rely totally and solely upon the grace of God from beginning to the end, then I am with him.

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 4/07/2009 4:40 PM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/07/2009 5:01 PM  

  • GOE: Is it Calvinism or Old Time Evangelicalism (such as has been expounded by the four non Calvinists quoted)that you have the problem with here?

    Regards,

    P/s I'm away to bed! I head of tomorrow for Easter, (God willing)but I hope to get a look at the postingn in the morning.

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 4/07/2009 5:08 PM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/07/2009 5:26 PM  

  • Hi Rose!

    Goe, I hope you know that when I wrote "try this on" it was not meant in a snide way. <insert proverbial "ruffled-feather-smoothing" smiley face here>

    You wrote, "What you just told Alvin is not significantly different from standard Roman Catholic (Armininian) soteriology. "

    I should like to first explain my understanding of standard Roman Catholic soteriology, and then illustrate the differences between what I believe and what Rome teaches.

    Rome teaches that justification is imparted to the believer through righteousness that is poured into the believer through sacraments of grace (such as baptism, the eucharist, pennance etc.). Thus when the Catholic says that he is saved by grace through faith, he means that the righteousness of Christ is poured into him through a sacrament of grace received in faith, which then becomes his own personal righteousness providing he assents and cooperates with Christ's righteousness to the degree that he actually becomes righteous enough to oblige God to save him.

    It is this same "infused" righteousness that saves the Catholic - a righteousness that belongs to, and is expressed by, the Catholic, a righteousness that can be revoked entirely by mortal sin, or just somewhat by venial sin. Thus the Catholic cannot know for certain that they are saved "yet" for they may well lack enough righteousness to oblige God to save them should they perish at any given moment.

    Not to worry though, because they may receive unction as they die, provided a priest or deacon is around, and failing that, they can make up for it by suffering the torments of hell in purgatory until they themselves make up the difference between the level of righteousness they need to pacify God, and the amount they managed to warrant through sacraments of grace in life.

    No catholic imagines that they are saved by works, and it is wrong to suggest that they do. They believe they are saved by sacraments of grace, providing they have a genuine faith.

    Given that this is what Rome teaches, I suspect it is what devout Roman Catholics believe.

    But I suspect that this is not what you were comparing my comment to?

    Rather I suspect that you were comparing my comment to a popular but unfortunate caricature of Romanism - the one whereby we say that Roman Catholics believe in salvation by works (a thing no Catholic I have ever met actually believes). Not that I presume upon your ignorance, but rather that your remarks suggest that you are comparing me to a straw man rather than the genuine article.

    Either way, it is an unpleasant association. ;)

    To be sure, I neither believe as the Catholics do, that I am infused with actual bits of righteousness by which I am eventually saved if I can acquire enough through various means of grace and providing I do not fall into mortal sin, or too much venial sin - and of course, assent to and cooperate with grace in order to actually be righteous so that God is obliged to justify me -nor do believe as the common straw man, that we are saved by works, for I do not equate God breathing life into my dead soul as a work of the flesh, but as grace - not an imparted ability by which I save myself - but the salvation itself is that this same grace that allows me to believe comes coupled with that belief that transcends assent to embrace Christ.

    Surely that cannot offend you.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 4/07/2009 5:48 PM  

  • Hi Rose

    That's good what Colin clarified but really I don't see any difference whether you front load or back load by perseverance of the saints your adding works as something that must happen.

    Daniel said:

    yet it is one thing to believe a thing to be factual, and quite another to surrender one's entire life to Christ in faith.

    rather it is that by the gift of grace we are suddenly able to give up everything so that we can receive Christ, for no one receives Christ otherwise.

    Daniel it’s clear to me that you are just playing a word game whether you say “surrender one’s entire life or give up everything” for no one receives Christ otherwise.

    Your still saying that no one can have the gift of eternal life apart from giving up everything.

    alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/07/2009 6:35 PM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/07/2009 6:38 PM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/07/2009 7:01 PM  

  • Hi again Rose.

    Goe, you write, In reality, you have only a highly subjective and ultimately invalid and unbiblical basis for any certainty of final salvation.

    I don't recall you having asked me upon what I base the certainty of my final salvation.

    Perhaps you should ask that before you make yourself look... well,... the way you are making yourself look by presuming things.

    ;P

    Are you giggling Rose?

    By Blogger Daniel, at 4/07/2009 7:19 PM  

  • Also Goe, if I understand you correctly, you are defining faith as an intellectual assent to a known (biblical) proposition.

    Please correct me, or elaborate on that if I am mistaken about what you are asserting.

    (Hi Rose!)

    By Blogger Daniel, at 4/07/2009 7:21 PM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/07/2009 7:32 PM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/07/2009 8:33 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Goe, you wrote, I define "believe" by scripture and BADG for starters. You might want to check those two sources out sometime.

    You mean BDAG.

    <snicker>

    By Blogger Daniel, at 4/07/2009 8:35 PM  

  • Aw, I missed it by a minute or so.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 4/07/2009 8:35 PM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/07/2009 8:52 PM  

  • So, is there a difference between believing and believing IN? (i.e., Gen 15:6)??

    By Blogger Missy, at 4/07/2009 9:26 PM  

  • Hi Rose, you sure are a glutton for controversy aren't you?

    Missy, your question speaks directly to a major controversy that has been brewing for quite some time. Even in the Free Grace movement, there are those who would differ with what Alvin and Gary have so explicitly stated above---that believing the proposition that Jesus alone gives eternal life is the same as believing in him for eternal life.

    Others would say that the truth of the proposition can be understood and even believed without the personal appropriation of that truth to one's own life.

    I must confess that my own salvation experience went through two distinct stages in response to being evangelized: I first "believed" (on the basis of McDowell's Evidence that Demands a Verdict) that Jesus was who he said he was and that his offer of eternal life was a genuine offer, but it was several months before I felt that I had honestly appropriated that gift to my own life.

    I shared this experience with Antonio, and his spin on it was that I had truly understood the proposition that Jesus alone offers eternal life but had not really believed it and therefore had not trusted Christ for eternal life. Honestly, I don't know which is true for me or anyone else. I suppose it is possible that I really was saved when I thought I believed the truth of the proposition, but I didn't feel saved until I started accompanying my wife to church and somehow accepted it for myself. I certainly had no assurance of salvation until then; in fact I told the evangelist after "believing" the proposition that if I died that night I was fairly certain I would go to hell.

    I'm still wrestling with this.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 4/07/2009 10:29 PM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/07/2009 11:31 PM  

  • Hi Rose..

    Goe, you wrote, Have you "given up everything" Daniel? Your words, not mine.

    I was quoting you when I used those words (see your second comment, the fourth in this post). Those are your words, (originally) not mine.

    But to answer your question, in the moment I received saving grace I answered that grace by surrendering everything that I am to the Lordship of Christ; that is, in the moment that I was granted grace, I was born from above through faith, having been baptized into the Holy Spirit by Jesus Christ Himself - even as the scriptures promise.

    If the joke is on me because My Lord and Savior saved me, then I exalt in it without shame.

    Now, I probably could do better than that, Lord knows I spent much of my life cutting people down with words to make myself look better. I prefer not to do that if it is all the same with you. I would rather have a reasonable discussion than a spitting contest.

    If I smirked at your flubbing of BDAG/BAGD, I didn't mean to make it sound combative - I thought it was funny. Here you are, posturing to make me look dumb, and yourself superior - and then you go and mispell BDAG... I am smiling warmly right now, glad that I didn't do it, because it is just the sort of typo I would make. I hope therefore that you regard my smirking and giggling as comradery, and nothing sinister.

    Grace dude. Grace.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 4/07/2009 11:34 PM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/08/2009 12:06 AM  

  • Hi Rose :-)

    Hi Jim, Alvin, Gary..... and other friends here that I don't know as well~!!!
    It's so nice to be back on the blog and read your comments.

    I wanted to respond to something Jim said. You said...

    ..... "there are those who would differ with what Alvin and Gary have so explicitly stated above---that believing the proposition that Jesus alone gives eternal life is the same as believing in him for eternal life.
    Others would say that the truth of the proposition can be understood and even believed without the personal appropriation of that truth to one's own life."


    I think that most of us don't know the moment we first believed, but God does. I think "to believe in Christ for eternal life" is to be persuaded that I AM ETERNALLY SAVED BECAUSE OF JESUS!" In other words... my faith is in Him to save me. If I haven't yet been persuaded that I personally AM saved, then I haven't yet believed the "saving truth!" It's not just a matter of believing that He DOES save people who believe in Him. It's believing that He HAS saved ME as He promised. The light goes on. I know I'm saved. That's the assurance issue! The Holy Spirit turned that light on for me. Where's my free will then? It's to seek truth. We can seek truth because God is drawing all of us to Himself. But we can also reject truth. He says if you seek me, you'll find me. When we gaze upon Christ, we will find Him. Those who say they just can't believe are not REALLY open to what God wants to give them AT THIS POINT. I say that not because I'm trying to be argumentative, but because God's Word says so. I just believe what God says in His Word. It's just so simple for me.
    The "appropriation" IS believing that He has given ME eternal life. If that were not the case, then people would get saved who didn't even want Christ.
    Like you said, Jim.....

    "I first 'believed' (on the basis of McDowell's Evidence that Demands a Verdict) that Jesus was who he said he was and that his offer of eternal life was a genuine offer, but it was several months before I felt that I had honestly appropriated that gift to my own life."

    I think most of us have that kind of experience. I did. That's why I don't know for sure the moment I was saved. But God does. As Zane Hodges once told me....... "The human memory can easily miss a moment of true assurance." I just leave that moment with God.

    For me....... I'm very thankful to the Lord for showing me just how free and simple it is to take His gift. I have NEVER doubted my salvation since the day I was saved. Most Christians aren't like me, it seems. They do go through doubts. But I was blessed to understand clearly John 3:16. I always just believed that promise..... even before I ever heard of GES or Zane Hodges. God's saving message is so simple and so clear, and we all get saved believing the same message. We get there through different paths, but we get there. And that's the wonder of it all~!!!

    John 3:16..... For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting live! AMEN!

    Have a wonderful Easter my friends. I love my extended family of God who has been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb!!!

    All because of His wonderful grace,
    Diane
    :-)

    By Blogger Diane, at 4/08/2009 12:20 AM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/08/2009 12:33 AM  

  • Hi Rose

    In the gospel of John the first time “believe” is used is in John 1:7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.
    Believe what?
    It can be stated two different ways. What does a witness do? He testifies, to believe the witness is to believe his testimony.
    Jesus said in John 5:46,47 “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me, “But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words.
    To believe Moses was to believe what Moses said. Over and over in the Gospel of John Jesus is offering eternal life to the one who believes in Him. To believe “in Jesus” in the Gospel of John is to believe what He is promising whether it is stated explicitly or implicitly. To believe that Jesus is the Christ is shorthand for believing what Jesus has promised to the one who believes in Him that they will not perish but have eternal life. Jesus makes this clear to the women at the well that she must know the gift of God and who it is who said to her ‘Give Me a drink. Then Jesus goes on to explain the gift of God in verses 11-16 then in verses 15-26 who it is speaking to her. There is always content to believe Jesus said so!

    I hope this makes sense.

    Alvin :)
    Good~night

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/08/2009 1:25 AM  

  • Correction: Jesus is explaining the gift of God in John 4:11-15 and is explaining who He is in verses 16-26.
    But she FIRST must know what He is offering her BEFORE she can ask (believe) for it. But once she has believed she knows she will never thirst again based solely on His promise :)

    Gary and Diane
    Excellent posts you both got right to the heart of it Jesus and His promise.

    When I first clearly understood John 3:16 I knew if a person still thought they might perish they were yet to believe Jesus promise.

    alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/08/2009 2:06 AM  

  • Good morning Rose/GOE:

    GOE: How do you know that Magee or Ironside ”unwittingly”, as you put it, aligned themselves with anything? I prefer to recognise that they were serious Bible students who studied their Bibles and came to the conclusion that this was the teaching of the Holy Spirit therein. Ironside gives every evidence that he knew all about the doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints. He said that he didn’t care that much for the title, but that he basically believed the teaching. I quote:

    “People say, “I see you believe in that old Baptist doctrine of ‘once in grace, always in grace.’” Or another says, “I understand you hold that old Presbyterian idea of ‘the final perseverance of the saints.’” I do not know why this should be called either Baptist or Presbyterian, only to the extent that Baptists and Presbyterians agree with the Book, and the Word of God clearly shows that once God takes us up in grace nothing can separate us from the love of Christ so that evidently the expression, “once in grace, always in grace,” is a perfectly correct one. But, on the other hand, I am not so enthusiastic about the other expression, “the perseverance of the saints.” I believe in it; I believe that all saints--all really belonging to God--will persevere to the end, for the Book tells me, “He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13), and if a man starts out and makes a profession but gives it all up, he will never be saved, because he was never born again to begin with, he was never truly changed by grace divine. On the other hand, the reason he endures to the end is not because of any particular perseverance of his own. What I believe in, and what the Word of God clearly teaches, is the perseverance of the Holy Spirit. When He begins a work, He never gives up until it is completed. That is our confidence.” (Eternal Security)

    I agree with Ironside 100%. I don’t particularly share his lack of enthusiasm for the term “perseverance of the saints” but I note with great joy that he believes in it, so I won’t quibble over words.

    Having already given you one long enough quote, I don’t want to fill up endless space others. Suffice to say that you can read HAI’s comments on Jude 5 for yourself here: http://www.plymouthbrethren.org/article/6004 observing the context and the comparisons that he makes.

    The general Evangelical definition of apostasy is that it is the final departure of one who once professed faith in Christ from the faith. If you can show me where these men believed it meant otherwise, then feel free.

    Re: my own salvation. Over thirty years ago, I looked by faith alone to Christ’s grace alone to save me. That is still my position and, by the keeping grace of God, will continue to be so. If such a simple confession here does not satisfy you and you feel that you should either add something to it or detract from it, then (again) that’s up to you. My experience in this kind of debate is that if someone wants to spend their time and energies trying to make you doubt your salvation, then move on and let them at it. It’s their time and energy and it won’t make a bit of difference if you are looking to Christ alone and His finished work for your salvation.

    Rejoicing in Christ

    Regards,

    P/s I am heading off in about 90 minutes time for a (very busy) 10 days or so. It is unlikely that I’ll get any real access to a computer during this time. However, I finish on a good note. At least as far as the Bible is concerned.

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 4/08/2009 4:48 AM  

  • Good Morning Rose
    Ironside
    Book tells me, “He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13),

    This shows that Ironside misinterpreted Matt 24:13 just as Dillow does to mean the end of ones life. The end is used three times in this context Matt 24:3,6,13 and the explanation is in verse 22 "And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved.
    Jesus is talking about those ones who endure to the end of the tribulation will be physically saved to go into the Millennial Kingdom, they won’t have to die.

    Alvin :)
    off to work :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/08/2009 7:22 AM  

  • Diane said:

    It's not just a matter of believing that He DOES save people who believe in Him.

    and:

    The "appropriation" IS believing that He has given ME eternal life. If that were not the case, then people would get saved who didn't even want Christ.

    Yes, Diane, I think you have nailed it. I didn't even want Christ after I first heard the gospel message, even when it was substantiated by "evidence." Although I believed that Christ "does save people who believe in Him," I wanted to continue to try to "save" myself by some kind of performance that would make an impact on the world and leave some kind of legacy in my own "name." That was my clear conviction.

    As I further think this through in my own case, I believe the basic problem when we understand the free gift of life is that we want to "keep our own name" rather than take on Christ's name by receiving the gift. That's exactly how I felt. This "name" issue pops up over and over in the book of Genesis all the way from Cain on. Kaiser makes this point in his book (thanks, Gary, for your wonderful gift!): Abraham had to break with the inclination to make a name for himself---like Cain and those who built the tower---in order to take the name that God offered him (Gen 12:1-3).

    And if Bobby Grow is watching, I think it is when we take his name as our own (as we receive the free gift) that we have union with Christ. That was exactly what I felt when I was finally baptized in April 1979 in a portable metal bathtub in an elementary school gym. When I emerged from the water, my unspeakable joy was rooted in my new identity/name after I had personally appropriated the free gift; I was already assured of my salvation, though as you point out Diane, I was one of those who cannot pinpoint exactly when that happened.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 4/08/2009 8:14 AM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/08/2009 8:50 AM  

  • Hi Rose/Goe

    Goe, I did surrender everything to Christ - all of it, in that single moment in which Christ saved me. Coupled to that moment was faith, which included not only the assent of my mind, but also the assent of my soul, body, and strength; in that moment, and not until that moment, I loved God with all my being, where even moments before I was in darkness and hating God.

    The change was not merely intellectual - I didn't go from not believing to believing - I went from believing the truths to be true, and hating God because they were true, and because I didn't want to be a Christian - to suddenly, inexplicably, and contrary to every thought I ever had - from utter bitterness to profound love, my heart was replaced even as the scriptures describe. The Holy Spirit came into my life in that moment which God prepared beforehand by His grace, initiated by His grace, and performed upon me in spite of me, by His grace. To be sure, my surrender was about as natural as falling when one steps out of a plane in the moment that this grace overcame me.

    I don't regard my utter surrender in that moment as anything other than God's grace.

    But I want you to understand, my surrender was as absolute as it was impossible, for if you had known me, you would know that I wasn't even trying to be saved, in fact, I hated God, hated the gospel - and hated everything about Christianity. I wasn't seeking God - I was very much like Paul on the road to Damascus, but in the moment of grace, I turned around and truly was another man.

    You know how some people try and use language that really makes their salvation sound mystical? I am trying hard to avoid that - but I want you to know that when the Holy Spirit came on me, I -knew- Christ, and it wasn't that He became irresistible, though that is how it seemed - it was that I saw how irresistible He had always been, and I was unable to exalt my life and all that was in it as being anything of value compared to it. Truly, in that moment all that I was and ever would be was set before me beside Christ, and the poverty of the one, and impossible riches of the other made my surrender, in spite of everything I had ever been, in spite of my previous hatreds, in spite of everything - it made surrender not only possible, but impossible to resist.

    That was the first, and -only- time in my life where I have been utterly surrendered to my Lord and Savior. I don't know if this is to my shame, or just the way it goes - but I do know this, on that day in that moment love was poured into me through the Holy Spirit, and I have never been able to, nor would I want to, shake it off. I know God loves me, His love, His life - they are in me.

    That is my assurance - that the Holy Spirit testifies to me that I am God's child.

    I don't live sinlessly, but I desire to, and have desired to ever since the Holy Spirit was poured into me.


    That is my definition of what it means to surrender all to Christ - it isn't that you decide you are going to surrender everything in order to generate salvation for yourself - for this was not the case with me, nor is this the case for any, nor is it even biblical - but it -is- what grace really looks like in the moment of salvation - a repentance that overtakes you, is not generated by you, but comes upon you so that you truly give all to Christ.

    The wind, it seems, blows where it wishes, and you do hear its sound, but you cannot tell wither it comes or goes. So it is for everyone who is born of the Spirit.

    If that helps.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 4/08/2009 9:18 AM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/08/2009 10:18 AM  

  • Hi Rose/Goe.

    Goe, I see that it was indeed Alvin who first said "give up everything". My confusion came when you, rather than Alvin, responded to my rejoinder by suggesting that I was soteriologically confused along the same lines as Rome. As I followed (backwards) the chain of our discussion trying to find where I had used the exact phrase "give up everything" I found that the only place I had used it was in quoting someone else (Alvin), so that while you were also confused - having said that these were my own words - I was likewise confused in that when I sourced the quote, I followed our discussion backwards, and found the quote did not originate with me, but with someone whom I was answering - and since you, and our discussion were foremost in my thoughts, I attributed it to you.

    I call that an "honest" mistake.

    I appreciate how confused I must seem to you, given that you believe yourself to have transcended an opinion you imagine me to hold, and have moved on to what you regard as a better one. I would suggest to you however, that the opinion you formerly held to doesn't sound anything like what I hold to presently - at least not as you describe it. The description you paint of what I believe is almost incoherent, and at times I wonder what on earth you think I believe. ;)

    I do not respond to you (btw) in order to debate what you believe, nor really to defend what I believe - though I don't mind correcting your misunderstanding of what I believe - but I take part in the discussion in order that I might take instruction if my understanding can be improved by anything you offer, and again, if yours by anything I offer - that is, my participation in the discussion is not intended to convince you of my point, but to fully understand your point, and to be assured that you understand mine. God's spirit will do the rest, if we are humble.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 4/08/2009 10:39 AM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/08/2009 12:23 PM  

  • be nice! be nice!!! be nice!!!!!

    argue theology, controversy is fine,

    but always be respectful. :~)

    This is the way we do it on this blog. (Well, we try anyways)

    Hi everyone!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/08/2009 12:49 PM  

  • I am so busy I can't join in, but I have been reading the comments as they come in.
    My daughter's 11th birthday is today. I am also working :~(
    My one son's 9th birthday is Monday and I am having 20 at my house for Easter dinner...

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/08/2009 12:50 PM  

  • Hi Rose - hope we see you online today.

    Goe, thanks for your thoughtful insight into my character, and again, for the grace in which you give it.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 4/08/2009 12:52 PM  

  • Sorry Rose, I missed your comments before I posted.

    Happy B-Day to the little one!

    Enjoy the reason for the season.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 4/08/2009 12:53 PM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/08/2009 1:19 PM  

  • I believe that 1 Cor 10 shows us that most of the Israelites were actually eternally saved. When you couple this chapter with the pertinent chapters in Exodus, we find a picture of the carnal Christian. They were babes in the Lord and were objects of God's rod of discipline.

    I am on the same page as Wingfooted when it comes to Calvinism, but I do not agree to the premises of his argument in this post.

    Respectfully yours,

    Antonio da Rosa

    By Blogger Antonio, at 4/08/2009 2:01 PM  

  • You articulated my thoughts exactly, Antonio.

    Rose, glad to see you're still kicking; I wish you His peace in all this hectic pace of activities!

    By Blogger agent4him, at 4/08/2009 2:13 PM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/08/2009 2:30 PM  

  • Hi Rose

    This is from the very first comment of Daniel's on this tread:

    Daniel said:
    Justification happens the moment one utterly surrenders control of their entire life to Christ in the strength of a free grace which they receive along with the very faith that is saving them.
    4/07/2009 1:42 PM

    Then Daniel said:
    Goe, I see that it was indeed Alvin who first said "give up everything".


    Daniel said:

    rather it is that by the gift of grace we are suddenly able to give up everything so that we can receive Christ, for no one receives Christ otherwise.
    4/07/2009 2:55 PM



    Setting the record straight!

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/08/2009 11:27 PM  

  • Good Morning Rose

    Hi Jim, you said:

    I think it is when we take his name as our own (as we receive the free gift) that we have union with Christ.

    Where does it say in the Bible we must take Jesus name AS OUR OWN to be born again? I’ve never heard of such a thing.
    I know in discipleship it is Christ that lives and not I, but concerning taking the free gift it is not a condition to give up ones name but simply to believe Jesus for His promise of life.
    I know myself I had to be willing to put my experience aside if it didn’t match up with God’s word. Because many people have experiences that are real but not Scriptural.
    Jim it seems to me your trying to mix Eph 2:10 again with receiving the free gift of 8,9.

    Alvin :)
    off to work :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/09/2009 7:33 AM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/09/2009 8:31 AM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/09/2009 8:32 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Alvin, in setting the record straight, you should have noted that Goe attributed "give everything up" as my exact words, those were you exact words - my exact word were "surrender entirely".

    My first use of those exact words was in quoting you, and in answering your comment in your own words rather than in mine. These were not the words I chose to express my original thoughts, but using the words you juxtaposed in your summary of my thoughts.

    My point, with regard to Goe, was that he said your exact words ("give up everything") were mine, and he was mistaken in that.

    That would set the record straight, at least on the quote.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 4/09/2009 8:33 AM  

  • Alvin, Rose, and others who frequent these blogs,

    Please forgive the length of this response; I just didn't see how I could keep it any shorter without running the risk of again being misconstrued. Even so, that is still a distinct possibility. I would ask that you wait until you have more than just a few minutes to work your way through this response to Alvin's last comment to me:

    Alvin, there are (at least) two recurring problems with the way you read me (and indeed, others as well).

    First, you and I continue to use some key terms differently and, hence, you keep misconstruing me as referring to "1D" salvation what I mean to represent as salvation in its 3-dimensional aspects.

    Secondly, when you see certain "hot" words or phrases you have a tendency to assume the worst about others without giving them the benefit of the doubt and seeking to clarify. This leads you to frequently miss the true substance of what others are trying to say because you are so intent on exposing heresy. In this you are certainly not alone among many others in the FG movement.

    The comments I made about "taking on the name of Christ" and "receive the free gift" had to do with issues that went way beyond mere "1D salvation" in my life. It is certainly possible, and indeed happens quite frequently, that some people when they are saved accept the "free gift" for much more than just a ticket to heaven. I think that is exactly what happened to Daniel as I read his testimony above, and that is certainly what happened to me.

    In my own study of Romans 5:12-21, I am convinced that Paul's use of the terminology "free gift" is intended to refer to much more than the mere "1D" salvation that you read into John's use of the term; moreover, I believe the two Greek terms that Paul uses for "justification" in the context of Rom 5:15-18 are meant to signify much more than just "1D" salvation.

    As I have tried to lay out in previous posts on Antonio's blog, I am convinced that the "free gift" in Rom 5:17 is meant to be received throughout the Christian life---initially, for "1D" salvation, and then every time we need his shed blood to atone for sin throughout our lives and to sustain our "union with Him" so that grace may "reign" in us through righteousness to eternal life (5:17, 21). This is no different than the notion of "abiding" in John 15 and 1 John.

    (I developed this idea in my GES workshop last week; the notion of reigning in righteousness through ongoing "acceptance" of the free gift. The audio CD or MP3 should soon be available from GES, and the PPT slides and brief summary are already posted on the website.)

    My use of "name" terminology is rooted in OT narrative theology as initially laid down in Genesis, but which I nonetheless see as foundational to how we receive our new identity in Christ. When Paul uses terminology like "Christ in us" and "we in Christ" he is doing nothing more than supplying new content to the "name" that God offered Abraham in Gen 12:1-3. If we are Abraham's seed and "children of promise," as Paul says in Galatians and Romans, that is because we take on the name of Christ at our new birth as we are baptized into his Body (1 Cor 12). We can then choose each day to either live in that name or not.

    When I was baptized in April of 1979, that was several months after I had appropriated the free gift for my "1D salvation," but Alvin, I am convinced that I was also "sold out" to Jesus when I first believed---in a much more profound way than just receiving a ticket to heaven---and that is what I realized about my new "name" when I was baptized months later. It has taken me another 30 years to further develop the character of Christ in my life, but I am a particularly hard-headed individual with the tendency to keep reverting to my old self-sufficient "name." It is that self-sufficient stubbornness, even as a Christian, that has given me the deeper insights into the same dynamic depicted in Job and Ecclesiastes that went into my commentary.

    Alvin, you err when you rigidly insist on always separating justification from sanctification. Christ invited his followers to all three dimensions of salvation in the gospel accounts, even in John, and you will never "get" what I and others are trying to say by continuing to insist that we must always keep the two separate. All too often, that only "stunts our growth" in Christ, which is exactly what Paul intended to address in Eph 2:8-10. It is you who have a problem when you artificially separate Eph 2:8-9 from 2:10 out of fear that people will lose assurance of their salvation when they fail to live out the intended result of 2:10.

    I am pleading with you once again, Alvin, to read much more carefully what others are saying on these blogs. I certainly appreciate you and Gary for the incisive bloodhounds that you are; we need your innate gift of picking up logical inconsistencies in what others are saying. But we also need to "lead from strength" and recognize the abilities God has given others to help round out the truth of a 3-dimensional gospel by functioning together in the mind of Christ.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 4/09/2009 10:53 AM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/09/2009 11:37 AM  

  • I largely agree with you in substance, Gary.

    I would just prefer to "lead from strength" and draw out the logical implications of Daniel's position. I'm not sure he is as guilty of hypocrisy as of logical inconsistency in his position. If his version of Calvinism varies in substantive ways from how you, Alvin, and wingfooted have characterized it above, then I would like Daniel to clarify his position if in fact he doesn't mean that we will "surrender control of our entire life" in order to be saved; that would make his position logically inconsistent.

    I agree with you that the issue revolves around how much one has to have shown after professing belief, and after how much time, in order for us or for the person himself to verify that he is saved in the first place. I think that we do in fact show our identity by works of love---to me that is very clear from Scriptures like John 13:33-35; John 17; and 1 John 3. I agree that our differences with Calvinists are in whether we must show those works to be saved. No one---as even ZH concedes---doubts that a profound change has surely taken place in someone who is in Christ (2 Cor 5:17). The problem is how outwardly evident works must be for a person to be saved.

    And this is where the question of "irresistible grace" comes in, as I asked on my post, What's Grace Got to Do with It? I'd like to see Daniel a little more forthcoming in addressing from Scripture what I see as logical inconsistencies in his position, if he can. My position is that grace after our salvation is not irresistible, as I clarified in my previous post. So, it is not our business to separate the wheat from the tares, were it even possible to do so. The sad fact is that believers can "stay in the closet" from the works standpoint. Our business is to offer the free invitation consistently and clearly and allow the Spirit to draw them to Christ through that invitation. I sense, however, that Daniel holds grace to also be irresistible after regeneration, so that some "full surrender of one's life" must be invariably evident early in a believer's life.

    If that's the case, then Daniel is sadly deluded but not hypocritical: He would have to believe in full surrender were he to be fully consistent with 5-point Calvinism as a coherent system. Consistent 5-point Calvinists do not believe in free will. The problem with 5-point Calvinism is not that it is an incoherent system; it is simply logically inconsistent with the Biblically revealed character of God and his relationship with man, whom he created with free will.

    As I have emphasized in previous posts, the apparent dichotomy between God's absolute sovereignty and human free will is attributable to the fact that God's decree is spoken beyond the time-space dimensions within which human free will is exercised; all of these choices can remain fully free yet still contribute to the fulfillment of God's decree.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 4/09/2009 1:41 PM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/09/2009 2:01 PM  

  • Hi Rose/Jim

    Jim you said:
    As I further think this through in my own case, I believe the basic problem when we understand the free gift of life is that we want to "keep our own name" rather than take on Christ's name by receiving the gift. That's exactly how I felt.

    Alvin said:
    Jim, here you clearly say that taking on Christ’s name by receiving the gift. Jim you imply by saying that, that there’s more to just “receiving the gift” then the giving and receiving of a gift but one must take on Christ’s name.

    And here Jim your putting that together again as receiving the gift. There is only one point in time when one receives the gift and that is when one passes from death to life. You again link taking His name with receiving the gift “that we have union with Christ.
    Jim said:
    I think it is when we take his name as our own (as we receive the free gift) that we have union with Christ.

    Jim I don’t think you really realize how confusing your statement is. I have highlighted the points.

    Jim who’s name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life? Is it Jesus name or the believers?

    The believer is given a new name as a reward for overcoming (Rev 2:17b I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.)

    Each one of us MUST know the gift of God, that it truly is a gift. Before Jesus would give the women at the well the living water she had to know what the gift of God was in order to ask for it. It was the simple appropriation of a gift which had NOTHING to do with taking Jesus name as there own but simply the giving and receiving of a gift.

    My own brother believes that he had no choice but was saved against his own will so has embraced the five points of Calvinism. I don’t believe anyone is saved against his or her will, not even Saul of Tarsus. Saul was seeking to serve the true God ( but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief 1 Tim 1:13). But once he saw the truth he believed on Jesus FOR everlasting life (1 Tim 1:16). God does not force people to take the living water, that would be like pouring it down the women at the wells throat. But Jesus said if she asked (believed) He would give it to her. It was only through her seeking the truth by asking if He was the Christ that He gave her that living water. (John 4:10,13,15,25,26)
    The ones who have burning in their bosoms also believe it’s from God and is true. Anyone linking any other condition such as taking Jesus name as ones own to surrendering ones life in order to receive the gift by saying rather it is that by the gift of grace we are suddenly able to give up everything so that we can receive Christ, for no one receives Christ otherwise it is a false gospel.

    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/09/2009 11:39 PM  

  • Jim said:
    It is you who have a problem when you artificially separate Eph 2:8-9 from 2:10 out of fear that people will lose assurance of their salvation when they fail to live out the intended result of 2:10.

    Alvin:
    Jim my fear is NOT that people will lose assurance of their salvation, my fear is that they NEVER had it to begin with because they linked works as something that MUST happen. As you have stated in the past “faith alone saves but the faith that saves is not alone.” You defended that statement! Which shows me clearly you “is” the one with the problem.

    Alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/10/2009 12:45 AM  

  • I have to ask, because this continuously comes up: Why must one have assurance?

    If you use this example with Abraham (Gen 15:6), yes, he is credited with righteousness for his belief - but his belief does not grant him assurance. I keep reading Gen 11-25 to get a better grasp on this. He immediately, and then repeatedly asks for assurance,and God always grants him assurance through a work of obediencea - and then finally through a covenant.

    By Blogger Missy, at 4/10/2009 9:11 AM  

  • Good morning, Rose!

    Obediencea is not a new word. I meant obedience. :)

    By Blogger Missy, at 4/10/2009 9:12 AM  

  • Hi Rose

    Gary what you said here was Excellent and I believe right at the crux of the issue:

    If this is the way you evangelize unbelievers you are only confusing them more than yourself. You are going to great lengths (as all LS advocates do) to deny salvation by simple faith even though its the only hope any of us have for salvation.

    Daniel said in his very first post:
    I have always understood the distinction between believing a thing to be true, and being united to Christ by faith.

    Folks that is what is at stake in this debate! Whether someone can simply believe Jesus promise of life and be born again.

    alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/10/2009 9:48 AM  

  • Hello, Rose, I am growing weary, too

    Alvin,

    You are not listening. I have repeatedly taken great care to define my use of terms, and from what I can tell after all the past exchanges we have had, you still seem to have irrational fears. I have explained what I mean by "taking on Christ's name," which is what happens to everyone when they believe in Jesus alone for eternal life. It is not "works salvation," which you seem to read into much of what I have been saying, as I have been trying to "go deeper into Free Grace" by moving from the "milk" to the "meat" of the Word (e.g., Eph 2:8-10).

    I don't feel the need at this point to further defend what I have already affirmed and explained at length. If other readers of this blog need further clarification of my position, I would be happy to respond to them. You don't seem willing to engage the obvious need for us in the FG movement to grow in grace. We are bleeding all over the Internet, and you keep shooting the wounded (read: "confused") instead of binding their wounds.

    I will not be a party to that.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 4/10/2009 9:53 AM  

  • That's good Jim because all you are doing is causing confusion!

    Because when Daniel says this:

    I have always understood the distinction between believing a thing to be true, and being united to Christ by faith.

    alvin:
    You want to move right past the issue that truly gives one the gift of eternal life "simple faith."

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/10/2009 10:38 AM  

  • Missy asked: Why must one have assurance?

    A person who only considers it probable that he is a true Christian does not understand the New Testament offer of eternal life.

    Assurance is part of God’s offer
    A careful consideration of the offer of salvation, as Jesus Himself presented it, will show that assurance is part of that offer. One forceful example of this is John 5:24,
    Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

    Anyone who takes this statement at face value should be able to say, “I know I have everlasting life. I know I will not come into judgment.”
    But if assurance arises from a simple promise like this, it has nothing to do with works. To begin with, the statement of Jesus does not call for works. It calls only for faith. Moreover, the guarantee which He makes is relevant to the very moment of faith. “He who hears . . . . believes . . . has . . .” On the authority of Jesus, the believer can know he has eternal life at the very moment he believes God for it.
    The importance of this cannot be stressed too much. Assurance does not await the day of our death. It does not await the day when we stand before God in judgment. For in John 5:24 it is declared that, for the believer, there is no judgment. That is, there is no final assessment by which his eternal destiny hangs in the balance. Already he has passed out of the sphere of spiritual death and into the realm of spiritual life.
    (Zane Hodges “The Gospel Under Siege” page 10,11)

    Missy only when a person knows they are God’s child can they operate in grace and not in works. Just as in your own life if you did not know for sure if you were your fathers child on what grounds would you approach him as your father? A child of God must know they are His child, that they are unconditionally accepted by Him that is the only way they can walk in grace before Him.

    Alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/10/2009 10:40 AM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/10/2009 10:47 AM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/10/2009 10:50 AM  

  • Jim,
    Hey, I wanted to tell you that when I read one of your earlier comments it reminded me of something. You were saying that you think there is a difference between believing that Christ gives eternal life to all who believe in Him for it and actually belieivng in that for yourself.

    Amen! I have gone round and round with bros Antonio and Matthew about that almost two years ago on the UoG blog. My husband has a similar story as yours - he believed Christ could do that for believers but wanted no part of that gift.

    I agree that there is a personal component to faith - and I think the word "receive" that is sometimes used interchangably with "believe" nicely fills that in for us in the English language. You can't be said to "receive" a gift and at the same time not want it for yourself.
    Thanks!

    BTW, I understand your wearinesss. It is frustrating when you feel like people will not listen to your explanations.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/10/2009 11:16 AM  

  • Alvin,
    You should listen to Jim. :~)
    The way you are speaking past him is frustrating.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/10/2009 11:17 AM  

  • Hi Rose; glad I made some sense, at least.

    But at this point, let me add my complete concurrence to what both Alvin and Gary have elaborated about the critical importance of assurance in response to Missy.

    I especially like what Alvin said, only when a person knows they are God’s child can they operate in grace and not in works.

    The whole train of my comments on this and previous blogs has been addressed primarily to those of a Free Grace persuasion who already have that firm assurance of their salvation and their identity in Christ. I had hoped that was obvious in what I have previously stated; I apologize to any who may have assumed I was speaking primarily to those who are not thus assured.

    My passion is to promote---in any way that I can---responding to our invitation to go deeper in this grace, because so many of us who do know that "they are God's child" all too frequently do not choose to then live in that grace, but rather revert to operating out of the flesh.

    Thank you, Alvin and Gary, for your compassionate care for Missy.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 4/10/2009 11:27 AM  

  • What Jim does not understand is that until we are on the same page we are saying something completely different therefore all you will get is confusion. You don't give meat to someone who does not have teeth, you give them milk :)
    That would be like giving the women at the well what Paul wrote to the Ephesians, you would need to do a lot of qualifing. And then the chances of confusion are much greater. The milk of the word is in the ONLY book in the Bible that is written TO the unbeliever that he might have life.

    And there a child can drink from the water of life Jesus gives by "simple child like faith."


    . . . whoever desires let him take of the water of life freely :)

    no strings attached not even 10

    alvin :)

    P/S ecumentical under tow here, all for the sake of unity and moving on. Watch the waters for poison added :(

    have a good day :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/10/2009 11:28 AM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/10/2009 11:30 AM  

  • Alvin,
    et tu Brute?

    :)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/10/2009 11:38 AM  

  • Hi Gary,
    I find it difficult to explain because it is not how conversion happened for me. But maybe Jim can because he describes his own experience that same way.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/10/2009 11:39 AM  

  • I also appreciate the responses Gary and Alvin gave to Missy's question. I look forward to her reaction if she offers one.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/10/2009 11:41 AM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/10/2009 11:43 AM  

  • ecumen[ism]...
    all for the sake of unity ...


    haha! Come on, Alvin! :) Those words are the same that have been spammed by the internet bully. :)
    Don't think that I am an ecumenist because I want understanding and respectful dialogue. :)

    I love you, Alvin. :) I hope you have a wonderful ressurection weekend.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/10/2009 11:44 AM  

  • If I was a betting man, I would bet that the message that was given was from a poluted stream.

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/10/2009 11:47 AM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/10/2009 12:06 PM  

  • Happy Easter, Alvin!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/10/2009 12:07 PM  

  • I love you Rose . . . . even if you did miss the main issue here :)

    I believe that people who have been given a mixed message as my brother did "who said he was saved against his will" once they come to the truth that the gift can be taken freely with NO strings attached they need to dump their experince that was mixed with something they MUST do :)

    Happy Easter :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/10/2009 12:16 PM  

  • Wow, Rose & Jim! I must say I am enjoying this discussion because though there is disagreement there does not seem to be any vitriol from anyone here & that is refreshing. I must say that I can understand what your husband & bro. Jim mean about believing Jesus can & would give eternal life to all who believe in Him but not receiving it. That may sound strange, but for one who is proud & sinful, it hits home. That proud & sinful one is me. Often our pride is disguised by a cover of false humility: "oh, I am no good, & nothing, He may give it to others, but He never would give it to me, I am not able to even receive it.." etc. That may sound humble but it is actually wickedness, since He will give it to me & anyone who will take it. I am certainly not acusing John or Jim of this. Everyone of us is different, & I am so thankful that even with my wicked sinfulness, He has saved me & is still working on & in me anyway. How patient & kind He is!!!!!!!!!!!! Blessed Resurrection Weekend to you all!

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 4/10/2009 12:16 PM  

  • I believe you are missing the fact to believe something is to be convinced it is true. When you believe Jesus saving offer you have ALREADY DRANK THE LIVING WATER. Your not sitting there saying to yourself "is it true, or is it not true?" If you have not been convinced you were yet to drink :(

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/10/2009 12:26 PM  

  • Thanks, Gary, for the request for clarification. And David, you may "accuse away," the shoe definitely fits.

    My own flesh is all too easily filled with the tendency to take pride in my principles and never compromise, to the extent that I would never have automatically taken something offered freely unless I could do so "in good conscience," in other words, not compromising my own self-sufficient principles. In retrospect, I was very much like Paul's description of his former self in Phil 3, minus the Jewish trappings.

    When I was first evangelized I believed that Jesus was who he said he was, and one who was offering eternal life. But I also believed that he wanted me to follow him, which is true, in itself. In my own mind, while I don't remembering believing that following him was a condition of my salvation, I refused to compromise my "principles" and receive the free gift, because I was not willing to give up my self-sufficiency.

    Subsequently, this stubborn stance kept bothering me and rolling around in my conscience because of the way I was treating my wife and kids and reacting at work, and I remember feeling increasingly convinced that I could not determine the significance of my own existence. I could not shake the "invitation" I had been given and gradually but finally "gave up" my demand for self-sufficiency as I began to associate more and more with the people in Peggy's church. (Unfortunately, that did nothing for my flesh, and the ensuing 30 years of my life is a path "littered with death and destruction" in my flesh.)

    Mike Cocoris many years ago wrote a pamphlet staunchly opposing Lordship Salvation, and in it he outlined a scenario in which a person could be offered the free gift of life, only to have them insist on knowing what would be asked of them after they "believed." I must have given the pamphlet away, because I can't find it in my library, but Mike said that if the person being evangelized makes that the issue of whether to accept the gift or not, then they have created the barrier to believing in Jesus for eternal life, not the evangelist.

    It wasn't until I was willing in my own mind to give up the demand to retain my self-sufficiency (= "my own name") that I was ready to receive the gift of eternal life, even though I understood and even agreed that the offer was valid.

    Hope that helps.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 4/10/2009 12:29 PM  

  • There it is right there>

    I would never have automatically taken something offered freely unless I could do so "in good conscience," in other words, not compromising my own self-sufficient principles.

    Jim thought there was a string his self-sufficient principles. He thought he had to give up self before he could take the water freely that's why the thing about "taking Jesus name" he thought he had to give up his own name to take the water freely.

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/10/2009 12:43 PM  

  • Rose, I recognize your subtle encouragement to stay engaged in the discussion. I prefer simply to ask questions these days, but only for you... :)


    Alvin, thank you for your gentle response. Your passion for freedom in Christ is unequaled!

    You first said, “A person who only considers it probable that he is a true Christian does not understand the New Testament offer of eternal life.” I have to tell you this statement confuses me as my assumption has been that you do not believe that a person must be a “true Christian” (follower of Christ) to be saved. That may have to be a rabbit trail we hop down in the future? :)

    I’m not seeing the forceful example in John 5:24 as you see. Jesus says if you believe in Him, then you have everlasting life – not that believing in everlasting life gives you everlasting life. I’m having a hard time grasping the idea that you must believe in the gift itself to get the gift based on this scripture. I do see clearly see that it calls for faith alone and not works, though.

    I think I agree with your last paragraph – yes, you must believe that you are God’s child to operate in grace. But we don’t always operate in grace, do we?


    Gary, thank you as well. I certainly see your heart for those that struggle to KNOW.

    You said, "If we aren't certain (assurance) that have eternal life that can never be lost, how can we ever be stable in our faith? How can we even have confidence to pray to Him? Or know he hears us as His child?"

    Yes, I agree. But again, does that mean someone who has lost the assurance is not saved? I would not think that is what you nor Alvin believe??

    It seems to be my understanding of FG to believe that the proof of salvation is this assurance – if you don’t have assurance then you are not saved. Am I concluding this properly?

    By Blogger Missy, at 4/10/2009 1:00 PM  

  • Missy said;

    It seems to be my understanding of FG to believe that the proof of salvation is this assurance – if you don’t have assurance then you are not saved. Am I concluding this properly?

    Missy, you can lose your assurance if you take your eyes off of Christ and His promise and look to yourself to please Him.
    The moment a person believes the saving message they have assurance, because they have believed Jesus promise to the one who believes in Him, that being them. And at the very moment they believed they drank that living water and will never thirst again even if they later think they could thirst. It's the spring that will never run dry not our assurance or our faith, we can lose them. But, if one never was convinced that Jesus had saved them then they are yet to drink the living water.

    alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/10/2009 1:16 PM  

  • So, Alvin, are you saying that if you have assurance initially, then you are saved - but you can lose it?

    By Blogger Missy, at 4/10/2009 1:19 PM  

  • Missy said:

    So, Alvin, are you saying that if you have assurance initially, then you are saved - but you can lose it?

    Yes, because at a point in time you pass from death to life. But assurance is based on the moment you believed. That is why when someone tries telling you it's not just a gift you can take freely you can look back to the promise of God for assurance.
    The issue at hand is "Does God keep His promises?" In 1 John 5:9-13 it is the testimony of God alone that we KNOW we have eternal life :) And that has NOTHING to do with OUR walk :)

    alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/10/2009 1:29 PM  

  • Thanks, Alvin. Your consistency is refreshing!

    By Blogger Missy, at 4/10/2009 1:33 PM  

  • Alvin, this may be a "duh!" question - but would you agree with me that God desires we are assured?

    By Blogger Missy, at 4/10/2009 1:40 PM  

  • Yes, or we would not be resting in Him.

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/10/2009 1:42 PM  

  • I love you Jim, I know your heart :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/10/2009 1:47 PM  

  • I agree. How do we get that assurance back?

    By Blogger Missy, at 4/10/2009 1:48 PM  

  • (Ooops - Gotta cut in.)

    Centurion attacks!

    By Blogger Missy, at 4/10/2009 1:49 PM  

  • By simple looking to His promise (John 3:16)like on the truck door in my picture :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/10/2009 1:51 PM  

  • Missy, if I may interject here, & I am almost sure bros. Alvin & Antonio would agreee, that the way to get the assurance back is to look & believe the promise of eternal life in Christ once again. Such as in John 6:47, 5:24, etc. Of course, all this is based on His glorious Person & Work on the cross, which leads me to once again wish everyone here a blessed Resurrection Weekend! BTW, bro. Jim, I so appreciated your last comment on your own pilgrimage! It so refreshes me!! God Bless you all!

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 4/10/2009 1:56 PM  

  • Yuppers, Iwas right! Thanks bro. Alvin!

    BTW, bro. Jim, you mentioned Mike Cocoris (sp?) I appreciate him greatly as well. Do you know much about him personaly? I rarely hear him mentioned in FG circles, & to me that is a shame. God Bless!!!

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 4/10/2009 1:59 PM  

  • Awwww! I didn't notice that - is one of those cuties you?

    Looking to His promise? Like Abraham? Abraham looked to the promise and when his assurance failed him he asked for help - and God granted assurance of his promise through visions, signs and works. As often as Abraham asked for it, God granted it.

    I don't see how it is wrong for me - though initially assured through faith alone - to look to the perserverance of the works of grace in my life for reassurance.

    By Blogger Missy, at 4/10/2009 2:02 PM  

  • what happens when you can't work?

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/10/2009 2:04 PM  

  • I believed Jesus simple promise but then later was taught wrong. I started putting "if your saved you will serve the Lord" on other people "wife." It wasn't until I gave up my business that I realized my assurance was coming from my works, so when I stopped working I didn't FEEL saved. The problem was I needed recalobrated :) I needed to be refocused on where TRUE assurance comes from Jesus promise :) Then when I walked in that I was on the sure footings of grace :)

    alvin :) going for a run :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/10/2009 2:11 PM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/10/2009 2:18 PM  

  • Alvin, enjoy your run. I may not be clear, but when I say "perserverance of the works of grace in my life" I am describing looking back on the works God has made in my life. The works stop because I've lost my assurance - not the other way around. Is that an answer?

    By Blogger Missy, at 4/10/2009 2:20 PM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/10/2009 2:29 PM  

  • Missy, I am gonna say something that may shock some folk here. I believe you are justified in looking to teh works God has graciously performed in your life to give assurance, but I must quickly add a proviso before the oxygen level reaches a dangerously low level: I also believe that the assurance you are sopeaking of here is not full assurance of salvation, but confirmatory or a "gut-level" assurance, if you'll pardon the earthy tone there! There is nothing unbiblical as far as I can see with seeing God's hand in & on our lives & gaining an affirmation or confirming of His presence with us. Yet I am careful now (but I have surely struggled here in the past & may still in teh future if I'm not careful!) not to base the assurance of eternal salvation on any such experience. Does that help at all? If not, please disregard it!

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 4/10/2009 2:33 PM  

  • Works can never prove were born again because we (present tense) all fall short of the glory of God. In fact by looking at our works for our assurance we could see more that would make us question whether we are a child of God. But if we are looking to our works for assurance that we are in FELLOWSHIP with God, walking with Him than it can be a good thing :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/10/2009 2:33 PM  

  • Thank you bro. Gary! I can say the same to you & all my other fine brothers & sisters here!

    Bro. Alvin, you just said in a few words MUCH better than what I was trying to say in that convoluted, typo-ridden message i just posted!

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 4/10/2009 2:37 PM  

  • David,

    I believe Mike Cocoris is still involved in fruitful ministry, but he was apparently involved in some kind of moral compromise many years ago, and many people just wrote him off (so I have heard). But Rene Lopez spent a day with him a few years ago and had a wonderful time of sharpening gospel distinctions and he returned very encouraged and edified.

    Sorry I don't know any more than that.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 4/10/2009 2:38 PM  

  • Thank you, again, Gary. I do understand what you are illustrating - and generally agree. However, my point (I think!) is that the scriptures being used don't illustrate it as clearly to me as it does to you. I don't think Gen. 15:6 or John 6:47 say all that is being read into it. You are telling me that John 6:47 says, "...he who believes in [My promise of everlasting life] has everlasting life." In context, this scripture indicates that can believe that He is sent from God (vs. 29) - the son of God (vs. 40) - the bread from heaven (vs. 51) - and yes, in his words (vs. 63). Not once does it say beleiving specifically in "everlasting life."

    Bread nourishes the body (gives life) whether or not we believe it does so. Although it is unlikely that we will eat bread unless we know it will nourish, I can tell you my children often eat what I give them because they trust me when I say they should do so, or because they are hungry - despite their lack of knowledge in what it provides, it still provides.

    Am I explaining my confusion clearly?

    By Blogger Missy, at 4/10/2009 2:55 PM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/10/2009 2:58 PM  

  • Thank you David! Yes, I understand your caution. I agree with you, brother.

    Alvin, well said!

    I am trying to introduce the fact that we don't have to presently have assurance to have been saved - and, surprisingly, everyone seems to agree.

    As presented earlier in this thread, I've often seen the similiar point made to Calvinists, "How can you have assurance if you must have perserverence?" I don't think this is a viable argument against a belief in perserverance. It is also the question that led me to believe that FG requires assurance for salvation.

    I guess I'm saying I'd like to see a more substantial argument against perserverance.

    By Blogger Missy, at 4/10/2009 3:12 PM  

  • (Rose, I've substantially engaged. Can I stop?)

    By Blogger Missy, at 4/10/2009 3:23 PM  

  • Yes, Missy,

    The Bible clearly teaches perseverance (hang on, wait for it, you bloodhounds, wait for it...); only it is not necessary for our initial salvation ("1D"), which can never be lost or forfeited by anything we do or fail to do. Perseverance is necessary for our full glorification as "sons" at the judgment seat of Christ, and all the passages that seem to teach loss of salvation or heaven for a failure to persevere can only be understood as loss of reward at the judgment seat of Christ.

    So, yes, Missy, there is a Biblical doctrine of perseverance.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 4/10/2009 3:29 PM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/10/2009 3:45 PM  

  • Missy

    What’s missing in this verse?

    Jesus answered and said to her, . . . . . . . ,and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink’ you would have . . . . . . Him, and He would have . . . . . .?

    Jesus ansered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” John 4:10

    Jesus in verse 13,14 explain that this water springs up into eternal life when drank (believed).

    What’s missing in this verse?

    However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him . . . . . . .?

    However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. 1 Tim 1:16

    What is Jesus offering over and over in the Gospel of John to the unbeliever? (John 3:16; 4:10,13,14; 5:24;6:47; 11:25-26; 20:31)

    If the Apostle Paul believed in Jesus FOR eternal life, what is the unbeliever suppose to believe in Jesus for in the gospel of John which is written TO the unbeliever that he might have life? John 20:31

    Alvin :)

    There is a saying in Montana "you can lead a horse to the water but you can't make him drink."

    If the horse ain't thirsty he ain't going to drink,or if he don't know there is water there how will he quench his thirst?

    Jesus made it crystal clear to the "women at the well" the water that He gave she would never thirst again.

    alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/10/2009 4:00 PM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/10/2009 5:26 PM  

  • Hey Bad

    I'm like peanut butter with nuts, and your like jelly . . . . smooth!

    But I must admit when I first read your last post what came to my pea-brain was your like a "tick" on my old hound dog...heeheeee

    Ugly :~)

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/10/2009 6:24 PM  

  • Gary, actually I'm very proud of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Your willingness to get re-baptized and get up in front of a whole church and tell them why by denouncing LS salvation :)

    That's powerful brother!
    That is what we are denouncing right here and now!
    That the gift of eternal life is appropriated by simple faith in Jesus promise of life.
    Some would call that intellectual accent because they want to load up the word believe with (surrender ones entire life, commit, repent) and they would go on to say that Satan believes so it has to be more than just "believe." They deny the gift of God that Jesus invites anyone who desires to take freely by simple faith :)

    That was stated in the first post on this thread but yet was no big deal????? Makes you wonder.

    I'll be praying for you brother :)

    alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/10/2009 6:52 PM  

  • Just a little nid-bit for today: During Passover week there was a holy convocation the day after plus the weekly sabbath (Exodus 12:16) . A day starts at six pm in Israel, He was in the grave Wednesday night (1), Thursday day (1), Thursday night(2), Friday day (2), Saturday day (3) and Saturday night (3). Sunday started at 6 pm Saturday evening. Jesus was literally three days and three nights in the belly of the earth just as Jonah was literally three days and three nights in the great fish :) But He is RISEN and has conquered the grave and sin :)

    So much for the Catholics and their so-called good Friday :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/10/2009 7:13 PM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/10/2009 7:41 PM  

  • Amen!!!! I know what you be say'n!!!! I was paddlin away not no'n Jesus could stand up anytime and still the water an i be on the other side smilin that a jaybird :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/10/2009 7:58 PM  

  • That just didn't come out right, I mean "smilin like a jaybird:)" that be better . . .heeheeee

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/10/2009 8:03 PM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/10/2009 8:07 PM  

  • Tell me what that be mean'n, we can't have no fun no more:(

    I got a wear a tie? an stan at attention :(

    yah not goin straight on me now are yah?

    I liked when you be try'n to get a bead on me, and well my hound dog i did train him to go in the cat box . . . . . we be happy as hound dogs howl'n at the moon over at yur place:)

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/10/2009 8:24 PM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/10/2009 8:34 PM  

  • I would, but i promised my wife an evening ride with the top down, an I be in big trouble if i don't get go'n

    Yah all have a fine evenin :)
    an you be see'n me when you least expect it . . . heeeehee

    Ugly was here :~}

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/10/2009 8:41 PM  

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    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 4/10/2009 10:07 PM  

  • I'm re-posting my last comment because of a very crucial typo!

    Bro. Gary,

    Your post to Missy was very clear & accurate as I see it. I especially appreciate that you pointed out that it is legitimate to express faith in His finished work on the cross! I remember early in my Christian walk I had worries about thether I had believed in His finished work consciously or not at conversion! I tell you, for a rabid introvert like me, these things can be just devastating. The longer I walk with my Savior, the more I believe that it is best that I don't know the exact moment I was saved, only that I am now because I have believed, & though continuous faith is not necessary to STAY saved, yet I still believe in Christ as my only hope of eternal salvation.
    Missy, I appreciate your kind words too.
    Bro. Jim, I thought I'd heard something to the effect that bro. Cocoris (sp) had fallen, but I am so thankful that he is restored. I pray we can all put that behind him & us. God Bless you all, you are special to me.

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 4/10/2009 10:10 PM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/11/2009 1:24 AM  

  • Alvin,
    listen, brother. This is my blog. All the comments from this blog come to my inbox.

    1. I know what the main issue was with what you were discussing.

    I was just sugessting a little more grace in the discussion. Listening to tohter person. Jim is very reasonable and he should not have to be put on the defensive by one of us. But I got the point.

    2. I did not think it was "no big deal" what Daniel said regarding his Lordship stance. I have discussed and argued with Daniel for hours about LS and Calvinism.

    Makes you wonder.

    Don't 'wonder', Alvin. I have made it abundantly clear that I find no problem in arguing against doctrines that we find offensive. I do it too. It is necessary. I am adamantly against LS and Calvinism. duh? :) What I want us to avoid is being offensive in and of ourselves in the way we respond, in the manner in which we argue our positions. No one will listen a whit to what we say if we act rudely judgemental. I was mainly thinking of Gary's comments when I said 'be nice be nice be nice' because he has said things like "the joke's on you" etc. I think Gary understood what I was asking and I haven't seen that from him anymore since?

    I don't mean to be a stickler, but when I read these things, I have a responsibility to ask for gentleness and a toning down of rude remarks. It is a subjective standard, I know. I have a certain 'vision' for things around here.

    Brother, no one is going to see our comments and change their mind right then and there on a blog. They will read what we have to say and *maybe* think about it later. If we deliver it with kindness, then it will have a better chance of being brought to mind without unecessary offense, which actually squelches consideration in the one in whom we are trying to cultivate it. IOW, if person X reads a comment that is delivered with rude embellishments, he will most likely remember the rude embellishments later, rather than the substance of the point being made.

    Now this is my blog and if I feel that one of my guests is being treated rudely, I have every duty to ask others to be nice to this one. This does not mean I condone his theology.

    I was also asking for him to be nice. I never named a name when I said "be nice."

    I wish you could see this and quit making "no big deal" and "makes you wonder" remarks aimed at me at my own blog.

    Love ya.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/11/2009 8:55 AM  

  • Thank you, Gary! You too. I will pray for you as you do the brave thing you have planned for tomorrow. I support you 100% in it.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/11/2009 8:56 AM  

  • Missy, thanks for engaging! You have some great questions, sister.

    David, thanks for gracing this blog.

    Antonio, I appreciated your comments as well.

    Diane,
    Thanks for your visit too!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/11/2009 8:58 AM  

  • Also,
    to get back to the point of Wingfooted's post:

    I think the point was that when reading along in the Bible, with Calvinism in the back of your mind, you come across episodes that just don't fit.

    :) simple enough.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/11/2009 9:02 AM  

  • Good morning Rose

    You said:
    I was mainly thinking of Gary's comments when I said 'be nice be nice be nice' because he has said things like "the joke's on you" etc.

    Rose, you didn't even bother to notice why Gary said that? Here is why:

    Daniel said:
    Not that I presume upon your ignorance

    Perhaps you should ask that before you make yourself look... well,... the way you are making yourself look by presuming things.
    Are you giggling Rose?


    It was Daniels snips that caused Gary to say what he said. Daniel was trying to make Gary "look stupid." But he ended up making himself.

    Rose your just picking and choosing how you want to see it without seeing what caused it.

    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/11/2009 10:09 AM  

  • Notice, I said:
    I was also asking for him to be nice. I never named a name when I said "be nice."

    I have a lot to do and I don't want to spend my day arguing. Just take what I said for what it's worth and stop "wondering" OK?

    Thanks, Alvin. :)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/11/2009 10:17 AM  

  • Daniel was showing no respect what so ever for a man that is well his senior by trying to make him look stupid, and then had th gaul to insinuate he was the one using grace!?!?


    You mean BDAG.
    snicker

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/11/2009 10:19 AM  

  • Hello Rose.

    Wingfooted has some great ideas as always, but I believe that there is a missing element in what is being said here, & that is that in the NT we are declared righteous when we believe in Christ as Savior becuase He has now died & risen. In the OT, that had not as yet happened, though when they looked ahead in faith they were saved, on credit as it were, as I believe Hebrews 11 makes clear. They were just as eternally secure as we today since God sees the heart as well as the cross that was then future. But salvation is forever, whether trust in the Lord was in OT or NT times. The clencher IMHO is what a person believes, or should I say WHO they believe. If I believe God for temporal blessings, then that is not eternal salvation. But if I believe Him for eternal salvation in Christ, then that IS eternal & no matter what may happen in my life until I die, my relationship with Christ is not in danger. My present walk with Him may be, but not my relationship, just like the often mentioned relationship between parents & children. Daily fellowship can be marred, but the permanent relationship is in tact.
    BTW, just seeing a post from Wing reminds me of how much I miss Liver & Onions' blog!! God Bless.

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 4/11/2009 10:21 AM  

  • Point taken, Alvin. I think Daniel took my admonition to 'be nice' after I asked. That is all I want.

    Thank you. The end. :)

    Thanks, David! Yes, I miss L&O too!!!!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/11/2009 10:25 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger goe, at 4/11/2009 10:26 AM  

  • Gary,
    I am certainly sorry if you were offended by Daniel's remarks. I have seen his comments for a long time now and I know how he teases and it didn't come across in the same way to me as it did to you. That is the flaw with my subjectivity. Will you please forgive me if you percieve that I have been incorrect in my assessemnts? What I meant when I said that I was thinking mainly of you was that your one comment in which you said something like "the joke's on you" really stuck out to me because it was of such a serious nature - the subject matter.

    But I did mean "be nice be nice be nice" to all involved.

    I hope you all understand and don't "wonder" anymore. I mean well by everyone who visits here.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/11/2009 10:35 AM  

  • and just to clarify:

    I don't have any problem with a little light-hearted teasing or joking around. In fact, I appreciate it and love to engage in it. We are all learning. I know I haven't always been nice. Not by a long shot. I am sure many have taken me the wrong way. I know it, in fact.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/11/2009 10:37 AM  

  • God bless you all and have a great holiday weekend.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/11/2009 10:37 AM  

  • I think I may just delete this blog. This is really tiring.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/11/2009 10:42 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger goe, at 4/11/2009 10:50 AM  

  • Hi Rose

    I wouldn't delete the blog it has two testimonies on it: Daniels and Jim's which both was based on their personal experincing (feelings) which are helpful for others to see WHY you can't go on your FEELINGS. That is something I had to deal with, was I going to believe God's word or go by my experince.

    alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/11/2009 11:34 AM  

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    By Blogger goe, at 4/11/2009 11:38 AM  

  • Daniel has more or less said this is the way it is "Calvinism."

    On the other hand Jim said:
    I'm still wrestling with this.

    Which I respect :) Because I had to wrestle with it and make a choice was I going to go by my experince or make my experince line-up with God's word.

    Everyone here knows the type of believing were talking about because I keep going back to the women at the well over and over again. When anyone intelectually accents (understands,believes) to the truth that Jesus has given them eternal life they have believed in Jesus as the Christ and are born of God.
    It's been said "you can't believe something you do not understand."

    So, it's NOT until you believe that Jesus has provided for your eternal well-being, that is your heaven bound with no other requirements to get there that you have understood the gift of God and have taken the water FREELY :)

    Have a blessed Resurrection Day :)

    alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/11/2009 12:49 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    I think we need the blogger's code of ethics. I wish they could re-gather and finish, but right now a few of them are caught up in work. It's set up so wonderfully for this situation. I'm going to pray along those lines.

    Michele

    By Blogger Sanctification, at 4/11/2009 1:36 PM  

  • Getting Our Focus Correct This Resurrection Day

    Alvin, you err when you rigidly insist on always separating justification from sanctification. Christ invited his followers to all three dimensions of salvation in the gospel accounts, even in John, and you will never "get" what I and others are trying to say by continuing to insist that we must always keep the two separate.

    Luke 10:20

    Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name." And He said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven. "Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. "Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven." In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, 'I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so Father it seemed good in Your sight.

    Jesus is not getting after the seventy because of the work but He is reminding them of what is most important. The joy of our salvation rest in the fact that our name is written in heaven. If we do not know that these are separate issues our joy will be dependent on our work.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/11/2009 2:50 PM  

  • Hi Rose/Jim

    My wife and I were talking this evening about the joy of a child when they receive a gift. She said when she takes goodies to the neighbors she noticed the difference between when the adults come to the door and when the children do. She said she likes it so much better when the child comes because they are all excited and just thinking how wonderful the gift is. But when the adults come to the door they are uncomfortable and really would have rather you not have done that, it makes them feel indebted. Just like me I don’t want anyone to do anything for me because I would feel that I owed them something. It’s hard for us adults to just accept something.
    When we accept the gift Jesus offers we have to do it as a child, just think if my wife was to take the goodies over and the little child comes to the door and they are all excited but then you tell them what is expected of them they need to follow you the rest of their life. I can tell you they would lose the joy of the free gift instantly and maybe decide they really didn’t want it. I can tell you my wife would not force the gift upon the little child if they really didn't want it, but what little child would not want a gift if its free?


    “Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” Mark 10:15
    Alvin :)
    good~night

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/11/2009 9:40 PM  

  • Hi Friends,

    Hi Rose,
    (You're my friend, too)
    :-)

    WOW! This has been some CLASS I've been taking!!! All the dialogue that's been going on here has used up much of my ink and paper!!! I've been copying EVERYTHING and then spending time reading it and digesting it. VERY INTERESTING and profitable!!! I have made so many notes that I don't even know where to begin. For tonight I'll just have to wait on all of that. I just wanted to tell you that I'm out here reading it, and really enjoying it. I can sense the frustrationg that goes on between some of you at times, but also the love. That's neat!!!
    :-)

    Jim, I just wanted to say one quick thing to you.
    I must admit that at times I was a little confused in your 3D approach, but then you said something that cleared it up for me..... I think!!!??? It was this comment that you made to Missy.....
    You said....

    "The Bible clearly teaches perseverance (hang on, wait for it, you bloodhounds, wait for it...); only it is not necessary for our initial salvation ("ID"), which can never be lost or forfeited by anything we do or fail to do. Perseverance is necessary for our full glorification as "sons" at the judgment seat of Christ, and all the passages that seem to teach loss of salvation or heaven for a failure to persevere can only be understood as loss of reward at the judgment seat of Christ..

    I agree!!! Alvin and Gary, have I missed anything here?
    :-)

    Jim, I too appreciate your heart!!!

    I still have lots of questions.... notes I've made and want to get back to, but Easter week-end has been busy for me. If you're still talking about this tomorrow or the next day, I hope to be back... if I can.

    I love you all.

    Your free grace friend who loves to learn,
    Diane
    :-)

    By Blogger Diane, at 4/12/2009 1:02 AM  

  • Hi Rose

    Diane,
    my first post on this thread explained that just as Moses believed the saving proposition, He later did not believe God concerning speaking to the Rock ( Numbers 20:12). And even though Moses was NOT saved to go into His earthly inheritance, he was saved (born again) by believing the saving proposition which gave him entrance into heaven.
    In that post I clearly showed that believe does not always mean believe in the saving proposition. The ones in 1 Cor 10:4 it is said : and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.
    Folks that wasn’t physical water but spiritual water. We know from what Jesus said to the women at the well “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst.”
    And I later clarified that to “believe” as the women at the well is to drink the living water. Notice in 1 Cor 10:4 “they drank the same spiritual drink.
    Then later Jim makes this statement : there are those who would differ with what Alvin and Gary have so explicitly stated above---that believing the proposition that Jesus alone gives eternal life is the same as believing in him for eternal life.

    That is where the confusion started on what Gary and I were saying, I’m still scratching my head on that one :)
    Jim you said “explicitly stated above” where????????????????????? We never once made that distinction. The proposition itself brings assurance because the one who has believed (drank) knows they will never thirst :)

    I will speak for myself here but I’m sure Gary believes the same as I do. To believe something in the Biblical sense is to be convinced that it is true (as Abraham was Rom 4:21). When a person believes the saving proposition they have drank the living water. Because the living water is the truth that Jesus is the Christ the One who has guaranteed “your” eternal well being. As 1 John 5:1a makes clear it’s impossible not to be born of God if you have believed that Jesus is the Christ in John's sense of the word (John 3:16;4:13,14; 5:24;6:47;11:25,26; 20:31). The promise is only true if believed. To believe this truth is to have drank it.
    As I understand Jim to say one can believe it but not have drank it. As I read Jim’s testimony and the track he talked about he was reading more into it then simply a free gift, he was considering what he would have to give up to have a clear conscience. Other words he wasn’t taking it like a child would, but like an adult (what will I have to give up “my name”). So I will not take this gift unless I am willing to give everything up because discipleship is expected of me. Jim had not really believed it, he was looking at it like a contract rather than a gift. What he said proved he had not drank the living water I certainly had no assurance of salvation until then; in fact I told the evangelist after "believing" the proposition that if I died that night I was fairly certain I would go to hell.
    See folks he believed he could still perish, so he was yet to believe (drink) what Jesus offers. He had connected Eph 2:10 to the gift therefore could not take it as a child would with joy :)

    Alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/12/2009 1:33 PM  

  • Thank you Alvin for your help here. I thought it was excellent!!! First I want my friends here on the blog to know that I appreciate their comments EVEN if I don't see it the same way sometimes. For example.....

    Jim, you are making me think!!!!!!! I appreciate that. Thank you. BUT you are also confusing me at times.
    You seem to be saying that to believe that Jesus is the Christ is to believe that He is the One who gives eternal life. In other words, you believe that He's telling the truth about that. Well, He IS the giver of eternal life, but to the one who believes IN HIM for it!!!
    Just believing that He's the giver of eternal life does not save anyone. You cannot be saved against your will. To believe that Jesus is the Christ (in John's use of that phrase) is to believe that Jesus HAS given you eternal life. You are personally believing that you ARE eternally secure BECAUSE of Jesus. God knows when that moment happened. You have that confidence (assurance). Nobody is saved against his will. And for those who have trouble with the assurance part, God will give that to you if you seek Him. Pray and read His Word. He's going to come through for you!!!! He promises!
    :-)

    Also, I still have trouble with your 3D emphasis even though I appreciate your heart for 3D. I, too, believe that we have been saved to live for Christ, but 3D is never a condition for that eternal entrance into God's family. Perhaps I'm still misunderstanding you.

    Your friend because of Jesus,
    Diane

    By Blogger Diane, at 4/12/2009 6:11 PM  

  • Sorry, Diane.

    I think this thread is too far gone...it's threadbare.

    With all the water gone under the bridge, the one clear thing I get out of your last comment is:
    Just believing that He's the giver of eternal life does not save anyone. You cannot be saved against your will.
    That's exactly what I felt happened to me; Rose and others confirmed that it is what they also understood.

    I guess I just don't understand how "Jesus is the giver of eternal life" is different from "Jesus is the Christ." When I was first given the offer of eternal life I "believed that He's the giver of eternal life" but I didn't accept the gift; I said to the pastor, "You're a very nice man, but no thank you." I didn't want it until I (the stiff-necked, self-sufficient, prideful jerk) had ample time to adequately reflect on my own miserable existence and compare it to what Christ offered.

    Alvin has so hopelessly misconstrued and redefined my testimony through his own lenses that it just wouldn't be productive to go any further; maybe on the phone or e-mail you and I could talk, or face-to-face sometime. I have already offered to clarify further for anyone who has engaged this thread, if they still have questions; at this point the offer is still good, but only by e-mail, please. The link is on my profile.

    I appreciate your tenacity and your zeal for learning, Diane.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 4/12/2009 7:05 PM  

  • When you jump from 1D to 2D concerning the gift of eternal life (John 4:10,14) your imputing works into the equation. So by saying that someone that believes must be willing to surrender all (Daniel) to be saved to imply that he is not just believing in God for the Gift (fire insurance) but for a fuller salvation (completely sold out) you have wed something that Jesus paid for with His blood and can be taken freely with something that requires your sweat and blood discipleship. By doing this your back loading the gift of God (John 4:10,14) with an ongoing gift of life (supposably Rom 5:15-21) that takes ongoing faith&works (James 2:14) to receive. You are connecting what Jesus said concerning one drink and you will never thirst with ongoing drinking (abiding). Jim I can see why you were a doctor your making the simplicity of Christ into an operation procedure.
    As I pointed out earlier the difference between the joy of a child over a gift to an adult not wanting the gift because what might be expected I think clearly shows where your wrong. As Jesus said rejoice because your name is written in heaven, than He went on to thank the Father for revealing this to babes. And I can tell you as a child when you see that the gift is “Absolutely Free” there is joy! What you and others have said “they didn’t want the gift” shows something was really wrong.

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/12/2009 7:14 PM  

  • Diane,

    You said, "You are personally believing that you ARE eternally secure BECAUSE of Jesus." That is exactly what I believe. I especially praise His Name for it today, but everyday also.

    Another verse that has personally "come to life" in me, or maybe I should say, for me, recently is Isaiah 51:6! For me, I just can't get the idea of receiving eternal life from Christ apart from what He did to secure it. I believe I know what you & bro. Alvin & others mean by the "bulls-eye" but for me I just need His person & work along with the offer for it to have meaning for me. For whatever reason, maybe I'm just strange (I certainly hold that as a distinct probability), but I need those together before I am comfortable. I am NOT accusing anyone of my brothers or sisters here of being "crossless" or anything, I simply am stating what FOR ME makes it clear. I KNOW that everyone here believes in & loves the cross of Christ & most importantly the Christ of the cross, & realizes that no one can be saved apart from it. That being said, I wonder how it went for bro. Gary today at his baptism service?

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 4/12/2009 8:56 PM  

  • Hi Rose,
    Thanks for letting me comment on your blog.

    Hi Jim,

    You are so kind to invite me or anyone else to continue discussing any questions we have with you through your personal e-mail. Thank you for that invitation and your kindness. Rather than contact you via your e-mail (which I might do sometime???), I would like to just make one clarification for others who may be reading this. I for sure don't want to make this blog unprofitable. I am thankful for all your comments that help me think. Jim, you are always so gracious. I love that about you!!!

    I don't think that believing that "Jesus is the Christ" (in the sense that John meant it) means to believe that He alone is the giver of eternal life whether you want it or not. In other words, you get it whether you want it or not BECAUSE you do believe that He alone is the giver of it.
    BUT THAT'S NOT WHAT HE'S ASKING YOU TO BELIEVE!!!
    To believe that Jesus is the Christ (the way John meant it) is to believe that He HAS given you personally eternal life when you believed in Him FOR IT. If you don't want it, then you haven't believed in Him FOR IT. To believe in Him is to rest on the fact that Jesus HAS saved you eternally.

    Jim, it sounds to me like you at FIRST never did get to that point when you FIRST realized (or believed) that Jesus was who He said.... the giver of eternal life to all who believe. Sounds like you were at the point of pre-evangelism. In other words, Jesus was opening your eyes to the truth, but you hadn't yet gotten to that place where you received it through personal faith in Him. You hadn't gotten to the place where you KNEW you had eternal life. The Lord was still working on you at that time, drawing you to Himself. That's how much He loved you, to pursue you.
    Maybe we (GES, Antonio, and me included) are saying it badly when we say....... to believe in Christ is to believe that He guarantees eternal life to all who believe. Maybe it would be better said like this..... to all who believe in Him FOR IT because that's what He means. You can know that's what it means by the writings of John...... the woman at the well, the account of Jesus talking to Martha in John 11. You had to TAKE the gift...... believe in the GIVER for the GIFT. That's personal. You must take the gift. You do that by believing in Jesus FOR IT (the gift of eternal life)!!! The free gift is justification salvation with all the potential of growing and experiencing the Eternal One intimately. When you believe in Him for His gift of eternal life, you KNOW you have it and you are thrilled!!! None of this........ "but I don't really want it because I don't want to come to Him that way!" You KNOW your eternal destiny is settled and safe with God because of Jesus. That can only bring joy, not dread.

    Rose, is this what your husband believed? I don't remember reading that on your blog, but that's what some are saying you said. Evidently it must be a common question? That's good to know because it helps sharpen my presentation...... at least it's making me think.

    This is a GREAT and profitable discussion. It is for me. Thank you for discussing it even though it has brought about some head aches. I am sorry for that.

    You are all so special to me on this blog, and I don't mean to cause any of you frustration. I just like learning, and these discussions cause me to think on issues that I never would have apart from the discussion. So thank you my friends. I think good, loving debate is profitable. The key is "loving" debate!!!

    Rejoicing in Jesus this Resurrection Day,
    Diane
    :-)

    By Blogger Diane, at 4/12/2009 9:32 PM  

  • Hi David

    I believe why Zane felt that the bulls-eye needed to be emphasized is because the professing church is filled with people who love the Lord and believe that He died on the cross for them, but believe they have to work their way to heaven to get there. They have been taught 1 John and James teaches if your truly are saved you will have works. But in reality they teach if your in fellowship and the saving of the life. Nothing to do with the free gift.
    I believe Zane had a very special relationship with his Lord. If I remember right he said because he had a personal relationship with Jesus is why he didn’t want to go see the movie The Passion of Christ. So don’t think that the cross and the person of Christ were not central to Zane. He knew the only reason Jesus is able to give the gift of eternal life was the cross. The only way God could be just in giving a sinner the free gift of eternal life and counting him righteous is because He died on the cross and paid for all of our sins.

    That message strikes right at the pride of man. Man has always tried to attache works or make it so you need to be a theologian to believe. Jesus has made it so simple all you must do is believe His promise of life :)
    And when you do you know you've been given a gift that will never run dry :)

    alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/12/2009 9:34 PM  

  • Hey bro. Alvin. Thanks again for your words. I surely was trying to make it clear that I do know that you, bros. Antonio, & Zane do appreciate & believe in Christ's cross bought our salvation. I went out of my way to point that out. Kudos to him for his belief about "The Passion" I agree! I just wanted to make the point that I have to have Christ & His cross together. I understand also what you mean about folk who love the Lord & believe He died for their sins, but believe their works are a part of the salvation "process" also. IOW, they don't believe in the sufficiency of His cross to save. Oh, how easy it would be for me to fall for that! My sins & especially that number one on God's hate list, prIde, is so prevalent in me that if I did not believe in His sufficiency to save me, then I would NEVER sleep! Thanks again & God Bless!

    Oops! Forgive me Rose! I forgot to say hey to you! So I'll make up for it now & say Hey Rose! Hey Rose!

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 4/12/2009 9:46 PM  

  • Hi David,

    You are another one who is always so gracious and kind. I always love seeing your name pop up.
    :-)

    I have no problem with what you said here.....

    "I just can't get the idea of receiving eternal life from Christ apart from what He did to secure it. I believe I know what you & bro. Alvin & others mean by the "bulls-eye" but for me I just need His person & work along with the offer for it to have meaning for me."

    AMEN!!! I see nothing wrong with that at all~!!! It was the cross and resurrection that brought you to the place where you saw Jesus as the Christ!!! After all, it IS the GREATEST OF ALL SIGNS!!! Even though you never thought of it that way..... (a sign), it's what the Lord used to bring you to Him.
    Praise God!!! That's what He used for me, too. That's what He uses for almost everyone these days. We preach Jesus crucified! We preach His resurrection! It's NOW after the cross and we preach it!!!
    Hallaluia!

    Zane's point and GES' was to focus people's attention to the bulls eye (as Alvin so well explained). If people don't get to that bulls eye, then they don't get saved. The cross and resurrection is what got you to the bulls eye. Keep praising the Lord for His cross and resurrection. Without it we would have no hope, no glorious future!!!
    So I'm with you..... praise Him for the cross!!!

    Your free grace friend,
    Diane
    :-)

    By Blogger Diane, at 4/12/2009 9:51 PM  

  • Thank you Rose for allowing us to keep on commenting on this thread :) And I'm sorry if I hurt anyone, i wrestle with myself alot. I do mean well though, I just don't come across like I want to.

    David

    Putting them together is a natural thing, the cross is the greatest of all the signs in the Gospel of John that proves He can give the gift freely . . . . He paid for it in His blood. And we take away from that if we think we have to dfo something to get it :)

    brother alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/12/2009 9:54 PM  

  • Amen, Diane! It is so good to rejoice & exhuberate (is that a word? If not, let's coin it for this!) around the things of Christ as His people! You are a blessing as well.

    Hay again Rose! Thank you for allowing us the privilege to converse here.

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 4/12/2009 9:55 PM  

  • With Diane around it's hard to be bull headed :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/12/2009 9:55 PM  

  • Speaking of bulls-eye, good ol' bro. Alvion (with the emphasis on Good, NOT old!) pops in a post right in the middle while I was speaking to Diane! God Bless you too, bro. Alvin. What I said to Diane, as George Bailey said in It's A Wonderful Life to the slimy friend of the slimy Mr. Potter, "that goes for YOU too!"

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 4/12/2009 9:58 PM  

  • David and Alvin,

    You're making me smile again..... almost laugh!!!
    :-)

    By Blogger Diane, at 4/12/2009 10:02 PM  

  • Hi David

    I never watched that movie, I'll have to do that :)
    I believe Gary has decided to give up the blogging unless he has changed his mind and I'm right behind him. Lately it's been way more headaches than anything. It can ruin a guys day, I really don't think I have the mentality for it or the spelling ability. That should cause some to throw a party :)the bullies are gone, anyway two of them

    alvin over and out :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/12/2009 10:16 PM  

  • Diane and Michele,
    Thanks for your visits. :) I appreciate what you both had to say.

    Alvin,
    Thank you for your 9:54 comment.

    Gary,
    I hope your presentation and re-baptism was a blessing for yourself and all those in observation today. God bless you!

    NOTE: there used to be a rule in the sidebar of the Pyromaniacs blog. I haven't popped over there in a long time so I don't kow if it is still there, but it said:

    Don't feed the trolls!

    I think that is a good rule to apply today. :)

    BTW, I turned off my computer yesterday after my last comment and did not turn it on again until tonight at 9pm. I wasn't ignoring anything, I just had tons to do and couldn't afford the distraction.

    I hope you all had a wonderful reflective day in the Lord, celebrating the resurrection.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/12/2009 10:39 PM  

  • Hello Rose,

    I haven't posted on your blog for quite a while. But, if I may, I'd like to share something that I've written on the subject of intellectual assent and trust in saving faith. I hold that trust as well as intellectual assent is required for saving faith.

    It seems to me that if saving faith is defined only as intellectual assent to the truth of the Gospel message without the element of trust in Christ as ones own Savior for eternal salvation, then unsaved people who have such intellectual assent would become saved whether they want to be or not.

    This relates to the additionally important matter of deliberateness in getting saved. Can a person intentionally receive (or reject) the gift of eternal salvation? I think so ( Rev. 22:17; John 12:48). It might even be argued that intentionally is the only way to receive it.

    If the Bible presents the Gospel message as an invitation to believe in Christ for the purpose of getting saved, then both desire and volition on the part of the recipient would seem to be necessary. And if people are held accountable for their response to the offer it would also be reasonable to conclude that we have been given the ability to make a choice in the matter. For, unintentionally believing in Christ for the purpose of receiving the gift and getting saved doesn't make sense.

    Requiring trust or reliance as part of saving faith is naturally compatible with the idea of salvation being an actual offer. Whereas, intellectual assent to the truth of the Gospel message doesn't, by itself, involve either wanting or acceptance of salvation.

    I'm of the opinion that, although they may occur at the same time, intellectual assent and trust aren't identical. Believing that Christ saves versus believing in Him for salvation are separate things. Those who have trusted in Christ for eternal salvation, obviously, have also assented to the truth of the Gospel message. But people who have intellectually assented to the truth of the message have not necessarily trusted in Christ for eternal salvation.

    Requiring trust or reliance as a part of saving faith is not ammunition for Lordship Salvation because trust is not a work. It's simply accepting the invitation to be saved by deliberately relying on Christ alone as ones Savior.

    Agreement with the truth of the mechanics of how salvation is supplied and obtained isn't the same as actually accepting that salvation through faith in Christ as ones own Savior. The system of solitary intellectual assent also rings of cold academics. Requiring trust or reliance in not only the Gospel message but also in Him to Whom the message points is not only logical, it's also personal and satisfying. Deliberate trust in Christ for eternal salvation has the wonderful effect of cementing assurance of ones salvation, even in the face of trials or troubling and unanswered questions about Christianity.

    If there is a circumstance under which intellectual assent, by itself, could be shown to be insufficient to save, then it would seem that requiring trust as a part of saving faith would be demonstrated as being necessary.

    An article appeared some years ago in a GES newsletter (http://faithalone.org/news/y1989/89july2.html) describing a woman who believed herself to be unsaved because she believed she was not one of the elect. If such a person believed herself to be unsavable because of belief that Christ died and paid the penalty only for the sins of the elect but not for her, and if she also believed the Gospel message of Christ being the Savior, wouldn't this then be a case of someone having intellectual assent to the truth of how people are saved (that is, the Gospel message), and yet remain unsaved?

    People with such a belief system couldn't accept the gift of salvation through faith in Christ as their own Savior because they don't believe He is their Savior; and yet, they do believe He is the Savior of believers in Him. In other words, they believe the Gospel message about how people (some people, in their thinking) obtain salvation but, thinking salvation is unavailable to themselves, they don't trust in Christ as their own Savior and, therefore, remain unsaved.

    I suppose it could be argued that, since she didn't believe it applied to her that, therefore, she didn't really believe the Gospel at all. But, does the intellectual assent only position require beilef in the truth of the universal availability of salvation? It doesn't seem so. And, if not, wouldn't this be an example of having intellectual assent without receiving salvation? And wouldn't it therefore prove that intellectual assent to the truth of the Gospel message is not, by itself, saving faith? Again, acknowledgement of the truth of how people are saved is not equivalent to the acceptance of the salvation that's offered.

    Another important point should be made. If people are saved only through intellectual assent to the truth of the Gospel message that Christ, because of Who He is and what He's done, saves sinners who believe in Him, then saving faith would carry the impossible idea that people are saved solely by believing that those who believe in Him are saved. Using the word "believe" (or its equivalent) twice within the sentence is what makes this riddle impossible.

    Trying to define what it means to believe in Christ by saying that it means to "believe that" those who "believe in" doesn't define what "believe in" actually means. For if "believe in" is said to mean "to believe that those who believe in" it's then being used to attempt to define itself. It's doubletalk to say that believing in Christ is the same thing as "believing that those who believe in Him …" They aren't the same. Arguing that saving faith is sole intellectual assent to the truth of the Gospel message does this very thing.

    This problem with the intellectual assent only viewpoint is compounded because, even though it claims that belief in the truth of the Gospel proposition is the same as direct belief in Christ Himself, as shown above, it's really not. Therefore, that viewpoint wrongfully allows for the belief in the truth of a statement as a substitute or alternate object of saving faith. It would be like saying that group number one gets saved by believing in Christ; but group number two gets saved by believing the mechanics of how group number one got saved.

    Believing the truth of a statement that promises a benefit for believing in an object described in the statement is not the same as believing in the described object. People aren't saved by merely believing that the Gospel message is true. They are saved the way the message says to be saved; by believing in Christ (Acts 16:29-31).

    Stan Nelson

    By Anonymous Stan, at 4/13/2009 12:44 AM  

  • Hi Stan,

    EXCELLENT comments!!! I appreciated it.

    Intellectual assent is only saving if you mean by it that you believe the facts of the saving message - that Jesus Christ HAS given "ME" eternal life when I believed in Him for it. At that moment of belief you KNOW you are forever saved.
    Believing THAT is what I think you would call TRUST. It's what some in the free grace movement call intellectual assent to the facts of the gospel (saving message).
    Those are the only facts that save when believed. Believing in Him for your OWN eternal salvation.

    I remember Zane Hodges saying that he wished that free grace people would get away from using that phrase... intellectual assent.

    I would say it a little different than you, although I think we're saying the same thing?
    I would prefer to say it this way.... believe the message that saves.... believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.
    Eternally saved. Acts 16:31;
    John 3:16.

    I think there is a choice, but that choice comes before we believe. That choice comes to seek out truth..... to look into God's Word. God says if you seek me you'll find me. Because God is drawing all men to Himself, we are able to seek Him. Then comes the moment that you hear the truth and the Holy Spirit turns on the light for you and you find yourself believing in Him. You choose to seek Him, and He in return reveals the truth. You FIND yourself believing. You can't believe something that you're not convinced is true. Once you're convinced, you're saved.
    AND you're thrilled about it!!!

    I think we both agree? Don't we?

    Very glad for your comments!!!

    All because of his wonderful grace,
    Diane
    :-)

    By Blogger Diane, at 4/13/2009 1:50 AM  

  • Wow!

    By Anonymous Bobby Grow, at 4/13/2009 3:12 AM  

  • Hi Diane,

    Thanks for the kind reply. I think we might have a difference of opinion.

    Although I would agree that we can choose to seek out evidence and truth before coming to faith, I also think we can (with the drawing of the Holy Spirit) actually choose to believe in Christ as our Savior.

    Confining belief to just the acceptance of facts without believing in (trusting in) Christ as ones Savior, in my opinion, isn't saving faith. This is a major point of my previous post.

    Also, it sounds like you might be saying that in order to get saved unsaved people must believe they are saved. But an unsaved person couldn't believe he's saved until he actually is. Maybe I misread you on that, though.

    Stan Nelson

    By Anonymous Stan, at 4/13/2009 3:22 AM  

  • Stan, I like your comment so much I am goinf to make a post of it.

    Diane, I also like your follow up comment you made to Stan. I am giong to move your comemtn and his reply up to the post I am making of his comment. If y'all want to continue discussing it, up there would be great and maybe others will join in too. It is a great topic!

    Thanks!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/13/2009 10:05 AM  

  • The futility of feeding the trolls is once again apparent to me, so I will take my own advice and give it again:

    Don't feed the trolls.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/13/2009 12:54 PM  

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