Saturday, March 21, 2009

THE GOSPEL
...this is a powerful must read statement of doctrine and truth

The gospel has come under attack in recent years by even those within the gates of evangelicalism. There are not many hills to die on that would demand our blood, body and breath - but the issue of protecting, proclaiming and preserving the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ preeminently does.

Whether you be in the New Calvinism camp or the Old Calvinism camp; an Arminian or Independent; Charismatic or Pentecostal, etc., this issue should be significant and treasured by us all. Amen?

So let me know your thoughts to the following taken from The Gospel of Jesus Christ - An Evangelical Celebration. And then think for a moment how would you define the gospel biblically? 


Sola Fide,
Steve
2 Cor. 4:5-7


Preamble
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is news, good news: the best and most important news that any human being ever hears.

This Gospel declares the only way to know God in peace, love, and joy is through the reconciling death of Jesus Christ the risen Lord.

This Gospel is the central message of the Holy Scriptures, and is the true key to understanding them.

This Gospel identifies Jesus Christ, the Messiah of Israel, as the Son of God and God the Son, the second Person of the Holy Trinity, whose incarnation, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension fulfilled the Father's saving will. His death for sins and his resurrection from the dead were promised beforehand by the prophets and attested by eyewitnesses. In God's own time and in God's own way, Jesus Christ shall return as glorious Lord and Judge of all (1 Thess. 4:13-18; Matt. 25:31-32). He is now giving the Holy Spirit from the Father to all those who are truly his. The three Persons of the Trinity thus combine in the work of saving sinners.

This Gospel sets forth Jesus Christ as the living Savior, Master, Life, and Hope of all who put their trust in him. It tells us that the eternal destiny of all people depends on whether they are savingly related to Jesus Christ.

This Gospel is the only Gospel: there is no other; and to change its substance is to pervert and indeed destroy it. This Gospel is so simple that small children can understand it, and it is so profound that studies by the wisest theologians will never exhaust its riches.

All Christians are called to unity in love and unity in truth. As evangelicals who derive our very name from the Gospel, we celebrate this great good news of God's saving work in Jesus Christ as the true bond of Christian unity, whether among organized churches and denominations or in the many transdenominational co operative enterprises of Christians together.

The Bible declares that all who truly trust in Christ and his Gospel are sons and daughters of God through grace, and hence are our brothers and sisters in Christ.

All who are justified experience reconciliation with the Father, full remission of sins, transition from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light, the reality of being a new creature in Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. They enjoy access to the Father with all the peace and joy that this brings.

The Gospel requires of all believers worship, which means constant praise and giving of thanks to God, submission to all that he has revealed in his written word, prayerful dependence on him, and vigilance lest his truth be even inadvertently compromised or obscured.

To share the joy and hope of this Gospel is a supreme privilege. It is also an abiding obligation, for the Great Commission of Jesus Christ still stands: proclaim the Gospel everywhere, he said, teaching, baptizing, and making disciples.

By embracing the following declaration we affirm our commitment to this task, and with it our allegiance to Christ himself, to the Gospel itself, and to each other as fellow evangelical believers.


The Gospel
This Gospel of Jesus Christ which God sets forth in the infallible Scriptures combines Jesus' own declaration of the present reality of the kingdom of God with the apostles' account of the person, place, and work of Christ, and how sinful humans benefit from it. The Patristic Rule of Faith, the historic creeds, the Reformation confessions, and the doctrinal bases of later evangelical bodies all witness to the substance of this biblical message.

The heart of the Gospel is that our holy, loving Creator, confronted with human hostility and rebellion, has chosen in his own freedom and faithfulness to become our holy, loving Redeemer and Restorer. The Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world (1 John 4:14): it is through his one and only Son that God's one and only plan of salvation is implemented. So Peter announced: "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). And Christ himself taught: "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).

Through the Gospel we learn that we human beings, who were made for fellowship with God, are by nature—that is, "in Adam" (1 Cor. 15:22)—dead in sin, unresponsive to and separated from our Maker. We are constantly twisting his truth, breaking his law, belittling his goals and standards, and offending his holiness by our unholiness, so that we truly are "without hope and without God in the world" (Rom. 1:18-32, 3:9-20; Eph. 2:1-3, 12). Yet God in grace took the initiative to reconcile us to himself through the sinless life and vicarious death of his beloved Son (Eph. 2:4-10; Rom. 3:21-24).

The Father sent the Son to free us from the dominion of sin and Satan, and to make us God's children and friends. Jesus paid our penalty in our place on his cross, satisfying the retributive demands of divine justice by shedding his blood in sacrifice and so making possible justification for all who trust in him (Rom. 3:25-26). The Bible describes this mighty substitutionary transaction as the achieving of ransom, reconciliation, redemption, propitiation, and conquest of evil powers (Matt. 20:28; 2 Cor. 5:18-21; Rom. 3:23-25; John 12:31; Col. 2:15). It secures for us a restored relationship with God that brings pardon and peace, acceptance and access, and adoption into God's family (Col. 1:20, 2:13-14; Rom. 5:1-2; Gal. 4:4-7; 1 Pet. 3:18). The faith in God and in Christ to which the Gospel calls us is a trustful outgoing of our hearts to lay hold of these promised and proffered benefits.

This Gospel further proclaims the bodily resurrection, ascension, and enthronement of Jesus as evidence of the efficacy of his once-for-all sacrifice for us, of the reality of his present personal ministry to us, and of the certainty of his future return to glorify us (1 Cor. 15; Heb. 1:1-4, 2:1-18, 4:14-16, 7:1-10:25). In the life of faith as the Gospel presents it, believers are united with their risen Lord, communing with him, and looking to him in repentance and hope for empowering through the Holy Spirit, so that henceforth they may not sin but serve him truly.

God's justification of those who trust him, according to the Gospel, is a decisive transition, here and now, from a state of condemnation and wrath because of their sins to one of acceptance and favor by virtue of Jesus' flawless obedience culminating in his voluntary sin-bearing death. God "justifies the wicked" (ungodly: Rom. 4:5) by imputing (reckoning, crediting, counting, accounting) righteousness to them and ceasing to count their sins against them (Rom. 4:1-8). Sinners receive through faith in Christ alone "the gift of righteousness" (Rom. 1:17, 5:17; Phil. 3:9) and thus be come "the righteousness of God" in him who was "made sin" for them (2 Cor. 5:21).

As our sins were reckoned to Christ, so Christ's righteousness is reckoned to us. This is justification by the imputation of Christ's righteousness. All we bring to the transaction is our need of it. Our faith in the God who bestows it, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, is itself the fruit of God's grace. Faith links us savingly to Jesus, but inasmuch as it involves an acknowledgment that we have no merit of our own, it is confessedly not a meritorious work.

The Gospel assures us that all who have en trusted their lives to Jesus Christ are born-again children of God (John 1:12), indwelt, empowered, and assured of their status and hope by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 7:6, 8:9-17). The moment we truly believe in Christ, the Father declares us righteous in him and begins conforming us to his likeness. Genuine faith acknowledges and depends upon Jesus as Lord and shows itself in growing obedience to the divine commands, though this contributes nothing to the ground of our justification (James 2:14-26; Heb. 6:1-12).

By his sanctifying grace, Christ works within us through faith, renewing our fallen nature and leading us to real maturity, that measure of development which is meant by "the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13). The Gospel calls us to live as obedient servants of Christ and as his emissaries in the world, doing justice, loving mercy, and helping all in need, thus seeking to bear witness to the kingdom of Christ. At death, Christ takes the believer to himself (Phil. 1:21) for unimaginable joy in the ceaseless worship of God (Rev. 22:1-5).

Salvation in its full sense is from the guilt of sin in the past, the power of sin in the present, and the presence of sin in the future. Thus, while in foretaste believers enjoy salvation now, they still await its fullness (Mark 14:61-62; Heb. 9:28). Salvation is a Trinitarian reality, initiated by the Father, implemented by the Son, and applied by the Holy Spirit. It has a global dimension, for God's plan is to save believers out of every tribe and tongue (Rev. 5:9) to be his church, a new humanity, the people of God, the body and bride of Christ, and the community of the Holy Spirit. All the heirs of final salvation are called here and now to serve their Lord and each other in love, to share in the fellowship of Jesus' sufferings, and to work together to make Christ known to the whole world.

We learn from the Gospel that, as all have sinned, so all who do not receive Christ will be judged according to their just deserts as measured by God's holy law, and face eternal retributive punishment.

30 comments:

SJ Camp said...

The Ligonier Conference just ended today, but many of the messages presented there were on this theme of the gospel and the holiness of God.

I would encourage you to get the CD's or MP3's when they are made available sometime in the next few weeks.

Steve

Lisa said...

I'm curious Steve - do you espouse the OSAS doctrine? If so, how do you reconcile all the words of Jesus, where He repeatedly warns us of enduring to the end? Or where, in Rev., He warns about the lampstand being removed?

It concerns me that this doctrine is espoused by many, and I'm not sure where you stand on this.

The HOLY SPIRIT showed me, at a time where I had no one to talk too or ask - that salvation is YET TO COME (as you seemed to hint at - at the end of your article). It's a promise for those of us who remain in Him (pick up our cross daily and soldier on, on that narrow path)....and of course all the cautions that many try but few find the path that leads to everlasting life.

Please prayerfully consider what I've posted, if you do hold to the OSAS doctrine and ask the Holy Spirit of the one true Living God (of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) to reconcile all the scriptures that tell us we can fall away (Heb 6, Heb 10:25...and of course Rev 3:5).

Finally, I just add: Salvation is by grace and not works ( Tit 3:4-6, Eph 2:8) BUT a child of God produces good WORKS as a result. (Matt 7, 1 John 2:3-4).

Races have a beginning and an end. People can endure or drop out. 2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.
1 Corinthians 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

and the warning about faith being overthrown:
2 Timothy 2:18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

Anyway - maybe you can do a post about it after some prayer? Hope you don't mind my comment. God bless you as you continue to seek Him.

SJ Camp said...

Lisa
I have never liked the phrase "once saved always saved." But I do believe that the Bible teaches clearly in the eternal security of the believer.

One thought for you to consider: because salvation is wrought of God, then man cannot reverse His great work of redemption in the lives of His chosen. If salvation was a cooperation between God and man OR that man could earn it in some fashion, then also man could lose it.

But what a comfort to know that our salvation is not guaranteed by us or our actions; but it is only secure fully because of what the Christ Jesus the Lord has done through His once for all complete work on the cross, sinless life, and bodily resurrection.

The Apostle Paul refers to the Holy Spirit as the guarantee of our salvation with whom we are sealed (Eph. 1:13-14).

There is a past reality to our salvation: we have been crucified with Christ. There is also a present reality to our salvation: He lives to make intercession for us. And, there is a future reality to our salvation: one day we will stand in the presence of His glory blameless and with great joy.

Justification, sanctification, and glorification.

Those whom He predestined, He called, those whom He called, He justified; and those whom He justified, He glorified. All whom the Father has given to Him He will not cast out and has not lost one of them. Nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. And there is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.

It is all of grace, all of Christ, all of God and all of His Spirit. Rest in that assurance today.

I will respond later to some of the verses you listed. But for now one brief thought to illustrate on the Heb. 6 passage in v. 4-6. This is not addressed to believers, but unbelievers. Notice in verse 9 of that chapter how the writer now shifts his attention to Christians - the beloved. Context is everything.

Think about this though Lisa: to suggest that any true child of God could lose their salvation is to cast severe doubt upon the character of God Himself in salvation and to suggest that God cannot keep those whom He has redeemed through Jesus Christ.

That would be contrary to the clear truths of Scripture itself: "3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (1 Peter 1:3-5)

I look forward to more dialogue with you. Please read Romans 8:28-39 - it will greatly encourage you today.

Lisa said...

Steve - I hope you don't mind my replying in the format below (your words are in italics/my responses are normal type):

I have never liked the phrase "once saved always saved." But I do believe that the Bible teaches clearly in the eternal security of the believer.

I don't like labels either, but for the sake of communication - it was an easy (even if a bit lazy) way to refer to something concisely.

I must confess, I shy away from the term 'believer', Steve. And for good reason; even demons believe. And they aren't going into the Kingdom.

One thought for you to consider: because salvation is wrought of God, then man cannot reverse His great work of redemption in the lives of His chosen. If salvation was a cooperation between God and man OR that man could earn it in some fashion, then also man could lose it.

Man cannot reverse God's great work. Man cannot earn salvation. I agree with those points, in and of themselves.

However, man has free will and can choose to walk away from this walk with Christ.

We have not yet obtained salvation. It is a promise for those who endure the race. God does not subvert our free will. By His own justice He will not subvert our free will. He does not hold us captive!

Therefore, we most certainly can (and some do/have) walk[ed] away after having received the knowledge of the Truth. (Heb 10 talks about this - in context;-)).

You're working on the basis or assumption that salvation is something that is already acquired. We have not yet obtained salvation. It is the prize that we are looking too (not of our works; our only job is to remain in Him, be obedient and keep his commandments). It is what gives us hope to endure, and remain in Christ (as our walk goes on – He increases and we decrease; iow, we die to self). THIS is what the Holy Spirit showed me.

But what a comfort to know that our salvation is not guaranteed by us or our actions; but it is only secure fully because of what the Christ Jesus the Lord has done through His once for all complete work on the cross, sinless life, and bodily resurrection.

The Apostle Paul refers to the Holy Spirit as the guarantee of our salvation with whom we are sealed (Eph. 1:13-14).


Yes, the Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our salvation (which is granted by Jesus), IF WE REMAIN IN HIM. And it is only guaranteed IF we do not quench the Holy Spirit and do not have un-repented sin in our lives. Just because we choose to follow Jesus doesn't mean we give up our free will.

By the reasoning you hold, this would mean that man gives up his free will when following Jesus because the assumption is that salvation is already a done deal, when it is clearly not finalised yet.

To side skirt this (which many do) does a disservice to those who are seeking a relationship with Jesus. I hope that you will prayerfully ponder what I'm sharing.

There is a past reality to our salvation: we have been crucified with Christ. There is also a present reality to our salvation: He lives to make intercession for us. And, there is a future reality to our salvation: one day we will stand in the presence of His glory blameless and with great joy.

I don't disagree with this statement. But you are leaving out the very real fact that man retains free will - even in his walk with Jesus.

By our very nature, man still sins (by omission or commission) - or stumbles (if you will) - when walking with Jesus. For each person - the process of justification and sanctification is unique in its progress (i.e. some quicker/slower than others).

There seems to be this vague notion that once we've chosen to follow Jesus (some call it 'being saved'), we somehow cannot do anything that can affect where we stand with Jesus. Before you react to what I just said;) - stop and think about the fact that we truly do retain free will. God does not subvert it. This presents a dichotomy for your reasoning. And it is at odds with what Jesus said (pick up your cross daily - which means by its very nature, we make choices every single day to follow him, to deny ourselves, to turn away from temptation, etc.....therefore, we can make choices every single day to put down that cross and walk away....)

Jesus said we are to follow (remain in) Him. He said it would not be an easy path. And that FEW would find it. He said He would later tell many 'Go away, I never knew you'.... While I love Paul's writings, read them and learn from them - I'm particularly interested in what Jesus had to say about our hope of salvation (along with His many loving warnings).

Those whom He predestined, He called, those whom He called, He justified; and those whom He justified, He glorified. All whom the Father has given to Him He will not cast out and has not lost one of them. Nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. And there is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.

I agree, there is no condemnation for those of us who are in Christ.

We must remember that God is omnipotent, so He already knows the outcome - with each and every single one of us. Setting that to the side, but keeping it in mind....

However. Sin most definitely can (and does!) separate us from God (Christ)!! God is a consuming fire. No sin can go before His Presence. We cannot present ourselves as a clean bride for Christ if we have unrepented sin in our lives. THIS ALL TAKES free will so - yes - we DO participate in our salvation in this respect. We participate in choosing to pick up our cross daily, etc. And the fruits of the Spirit are the evidence of that walk. We will be judged by Jesus - on every single word we spoke, thought we thought and deed we did (or failed to do).

We have free will. God does not strip us of free will once we choose to follow Jesus. He does not force us to remain in Christ. We are warned not to quench the Holy Spirit, lest we be turned over to our sinful desires. Jesus warned about the lampstand being removed.

One cannot, if reasoning this through, whilst praying and asking for the Holy Spirit to confirm or deny - get around these warnings. They cannot be set aside and disregarded, or disconnected from [our hope of] salvation.


It is all of grace, all of Christ, all of God and all of His Spirit. Rest in that assurance today.

It IS by His Grace. But when put like this - it is made to sound as if we do not participate, other than to believe. And I'm not talking about 'works'. Please don't misunderstand me.
We cannot set aside those warning scriptures spoken by Jesus, whilst focusing only on the ones which discuss our Father's love and grace. We cannot be plucked from His Hands, *as long as we exert our free will to remain in Him.* Nothing can separate us from Him - except our own stupidity in allowing sin into our lives. This is nothing whatsoever to do with 'works', as you mentioned. It has to do with choosing to be in Christ, each and every day. The fruits Jesus talked about, come after we're in Him (and He in us) as a result of walking with Him - and we can know our true brothers and sisters by their fruits (and testing the spirits, etc).

This whole walk is a process and it is a daily effort (and different for every person) -- even a moment by moment effort to continue to CHOOSE (free will) to remain in Jesus. Jesus told us it would not be easy. He told us we would be hated. He told us we would suffer. He told us we should look to the things 'not of this world'- to encourage us to hang in there with Him. I'm encouraged by His faithfulness. His mercy and kindness to not allow death to take me whilst I was disobedient. It was by His Grace, that He somehow protected me - even in my disobedience, and brought me to a point where I finally woke up and realised I was playing with fire. I had a choice to make. [I realised] His mercy period isn't going to last forever.

I will respond later to some of the verses you listed. But for now one brief thought to illustrate on the Heb. 6 passage in v. 4-6. This is not addressed to believers, but unbelievers. Notice in verse 9 of that chapter how the writer now shifts his attention to Christians - the beloved. Context is everything.


I agree - and please forgive me for including Heb 6. Hebrews 10:26 is most applicable to what I was saying. I'm afraid, I was a bit hasty in adding Heb 6. I agree - context is very very important!

Think about this though Lisa: to suggest that any true child of God could lose their salvation is to cast severe doubt upon the character of God Himself in salvation and to suggest that God cannot keep those whom He has redeemed through Jesus Christ.


Based upon your reasoning, the above would be fair to say. I understand what you are saying. I know it well. I grew up having been taught this very thing.

However, the shift in thinking that is required to fully understand the nature of our salvation - is a small, subtle one - that I could not make myself, without the help of the Holy Spirit. It was a very powerful revelation-like experience when He lifted the veil and I saw how beautifully simple it really is. And that is this: We have the *hope* of salvation (to come!) in Christ, when we choose to follow Him. We must pick up our cross daily - and seek Him in all things. If we choose to walk away (and we have the freedom to do that because God does not subvert our free will or hold us hostage against our will) - there remains no second sacrifice (Heb 10:26). Those who have walked away (and I was one of them) can only be redeemed by repenting before the Father and picking up their cross again and soldiering on.

That would be contrary to the clear truths of Scripture itself: "3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (1 Peter 1:3-5)

This scripture beautifully illustrates what the Holy Spirit showed me. Read it again. 'a living HOPE'.....'an inheritance...kept in heaven for you, who by God's power ARE BEING GUARDED THROUGH FAITH FOR A SALVATION READY TO BE REVEALED IN THE LAST TIME."

Do you see now, brother? Salvation is not yet granted. We have hope of salvation in Christ.......to be revealed in the last time.

Perhaps this is not the biggest worry for someone who remains in Christ. BUT - for those who are newly reborn of the Spirit of the One and True Living God - this is important to know that their salvation is YET TO BE OBTAINED. There are MANY scriptures that show us this. And like I said - I could not see it until the Holy Spirit showed me in a very powerful way one evening.


The Holy Spirit showed me, in no uncertain terms, that we have the promise of salvation. That is our present HOPE; our present situation if you will, for those of us who remain steadfast in Jesus. When we aren't abiding in Him - we are playing with fire.

I'm no scholar, Steve. I'm simply a housewife/mother, who for many years was disobedient to the LORD - leaning on my own understanding about spiritual matters. Thankfully (blessedly and mercifully), when I began my clumsy attempt to seek the Truth - and in my wilful ignorance (for a time) floundered badly (delving into many things that I'm sure must have grieved Jesus deeply) - I ended up back with Jesus. Not having realised back then that Jesus was THE Truth (John 14:5/6) that I achingly sought to find. He was right under my nose all the time. And He never abandoned me.
That is true grace and mercy. To experience it is something no one can budge from the core of me.

Since then, He has had to un-school all the ‘stuff’ I was taught in various churches. Things I had never even questioned before. And for that I’m truly and eternally grateful.

Anyway, thank you for your time. I do not post to argue scripture. I only post as the Holy Spirit leads. Steve - thank you for your reply. God bless you as you continue to seek Him daily.

cyd said...

Lisa,

Please consider the following:

The term "believers" is a Biblical one, (see Acts 10:45, 1 Thess.1:7, 2:10).
The Greek words used here for this term mean one believing in the Gospel of Christ; a Christian; one marked by the distinguishing characteristic of believing in Christ.

Regarding 1 Peter 1:5, John MacArthur says it very well:
"Supreme power,omniscience, omnipotence, and sovereignty, not only keep the inheritance, but also keep the believer secure. ("Reserved in heaven for you").
The Christian's response to God's election and the Spirit's conviction is faith, but even faith is empowered by God. (Eph.2:8). Moreover, the Christian's continued faith in God is the evidence of God's keeping power."

(Not your ability to hang on!)

Saving faith is complete and permanent. See Matt. 24:13; Heb.3:14

Our 'free will' has nothing to do with salvation. It is God who does the choosing, keeping, and bringing us to completion in glory (see Romans 3:21-26, 5:1-11; ch8; John 14, Ephesians 2).

Cindy

Darrin said...

Lisa,
Forgive me for interupting.

"not of our works; our only job is to remain in Him, be obedient and keep his commandments"
That sounds like works to me.

You bring up free will several times - which is certainly tied to the concept of losing one's salvation, and of our salvation not being secured from all eternity.

I would really encourage you to reconsider whether the Spirit is indeed leading you in this direction, or whether your assertions are even biblical.

If it really depends so much upon us, it's really not of grace, is it?

SJ Camp said...

Darrin and Cyd
Excellent!

Lisa
1. Heb. 10:26 is dealing with apostates - not genuine believers in the Lord. Judas would be a good example of this.

2. Consider Romans 3:10-18 and Eph. 2:1-3 concerning free will. Our wills are not free. They are bound by sin and the effects of sin. That is why Jesus speaks of our salvation as not one of exercising free will and maintaining good free will choices, but one of regeneration - being born again. (John 3).

3. Lastly, every time that the Bible speaks of us being saved, it relation to us it is in the passive voice - meaning, it is something done to us, not that we do ourselves. Man does contribute something to his salvation - the "sin that makes it necessary" (Jonathan Edwards).

This is a good discussion Lisa. Keep searching the Word of God.

SJ Camp said...

Lisa
One quick question for you:

If someone can by their free will be in Christ Jesus for salvation, regenerated, completely changed as a new creation, given the Holy Spirit, be translated out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light, etc. and then simply walk away from the Lord by their free will again and become unregenerated, no longer in Christ, put back into the kingdom of darkness, the Holy Spirit taken from them and out of them, and return back to being an old unnewcreation once again... then can they become saved again if they repent at some point? And if so, can they then lose their salvation again?

If so, where does the Word of God teach such things?

You can see the problem with this line of thinking... "He loves me, He loves me not..."

I prefer Tulips to Daisies :-).

Lisa said...

You are (all) working on the basis that we have already obtained salvation, when scripture clearly states, repeatedly, that it is a promise to come – reserved for us – an inheritance yet to take place. If you will consider, for a moment, that what you hold might just be in slight error, based on a subtle difference of logic – the Holy Spirit being faithful, will NOT allow you to stumble into a false belief. He is the Deliverer and He is true. I challenge you to open your hearts to Him and seek Him on this matter prayerfully. Setting aside all doctrine, and with humility ask Him to show you if someone has possibly misled you. That’s what I did when I went back to Him and what He took apart blew my mind. I don’t share all the fallacies He took apart – for the sake of staying on topic with the eternal security, but eternal security was one of them – and it took me weeks to fully surrender and let go of this deeply ingrained teaching. So, I understand how the process goes in our flesh to hold onto something we firmly believe with all our hearts, for fear that someone will mislead us. But, the LORD showed me during that time, that He will NOT allow us to err as long as we humbly submit to Him and allow HIM to show us. And that’s precisely what unfolded for me.

That is my testimony on this topic. You can either believe it (and test it for yourselves, in place of coming at my comments with the firm purpose of defending your doctrine) or you can, (as Darrin dangerously did) attribute it to something other than the Holy Spirit. Tread carefully on that note. It’s serious business and we are each and every single one of us accountable for every single word, thought and deed. To either embrace (without prayerfully testing) OR dismiss (without prayerfully testing) my testimony would be foolish at best, and dangerous at worst.

Please contemplate the word ‘inheritance’. Read 1 Peter 1:3-5 with the consideration that salvation is not yet completed. It hasn’t happened yet. Everything is being put in place for it to happen. Jesus has been crucified (past – already happened). God is working (present – period of mercy is still open) on each of us to stir us to repentance – into following Jesus (John 14:6), and developing a living relationship with Him so that we can be purified (sanctified, justified and glorified) and be presented as spotless and obtain the promised salvation (yet to come). Yes, we participate! It doesn’t morph into a passive, one-way relationship simply after someone merely believes. Even demons believe.

Our free will definitely plays a part in choosing to follow Jesus. And that is not works (which Darren incorrectly deduced and incorrectly attributed to me, though I understand why he did this – he is working from a different reasoning than me). It is a choice we make AND it is instigated by that stirring of the Holy Spirit (by His Grace). Some respond and some don't. Some respond and walk away never to return (apostate). Some respond, walk away - and return later (prodigal).

Adjust the reasoning that you base your doctrine upon, to the fact that salvation is a promise that has yet to come to fruition – and you will see what I’m sharing is apples to your oranges. Instead of skimming through what I have written, being so sure of your doctrine - read it carefully and prayerfully. Don’t believe ME. Ask the Holy Spirit.
Our free will has everything to do with remaining in Jesus. Salvation hasn’t happened yet. It is a promise to come. It is the inheritance that will be given to us when Jesus returns. Not before that.

I take seriously everything Jesus said. We cannot water down or set to the side certain things He said to suit our limited understanding (myself included). It takes more than mere belief to have a relationship [with Jesus]. We choose to consult Him, or we choose to do things in our own power. The latter separates us from Him, while the former ensures we abide in Him and grow (and this is by His Grace), etc.

I don't profess to fully fathom the omnipotence of God. It is beyond my/our limited capabilities. Some things we accept on faith alone. God is the author - He knows the beginning to the end. We cannot rest on the promise that He will keep us from straying - unless we understand that it requires that we remain in Him. And, I declare clearly – this is NOT WORKS. Does He know who will endure the race? Of course He does! He knows the beginning to the end. Can we have assurance of eternal life? YES! By remaining in Jesus. And we can know if others are in Christ ‘by their fruits’.
Jesus warned us many times about enduring to the end – about falling away. He was talking about ‘BELIEVERS’! Who falls away? Those who believed and then rejected it. Can a non-believer fall away from something which he does not hold to in the first place? Of course not. Those who fall away are those who were once abiding in Jesus. It is those who do not remain in Him, who fall away. You cannot just come back and say that ‘oh those weren’t real ‘believers’ anyway’ and call that sound reasoning. It doesn’t line up with the scriptures (especially Jesus’s words!), taken as a whole.

He will chastise /discipline us when we err or stray (and that is by His Grace and Lovingkindness Heb 12 - so we won’t perish). But if we wilfully go on sinning, after the Holy Spirit has tugged at us – there is no second sacrifice. There are some who believe they can go on sinning and that it’s ‘covered’ but they will be very shocked when Jesus says to them, ‘Go away – I never knew you.’ I don’t mean to say people do this pointedly --- I’m talking about something very subtle that takes place in a person’s mind/reasoning. We can quench that still, small voice of the Holy Spirit – ignore the tugging at our Spirit, and essentially fool ourselves into thinking everything is okay (with sin in our life). What we need to do is go before Him humbly and ask Him to show us if there remains anything in our lives that stands between us and Him – to cleanse our hearts so our desires are righteous and holy. That is a continual process of walking with Him. It’s not just a one-off event.

If we repent (turn away from sin) then He will accept us, joyful that a prodigal child has returned (this is what happened with me). (This is not to say someone can knowingly move in and out of sin – God knows our hearts and knows our motives, so we cannot hide our motives from Him.) Not one sin will go before the presence of God. Steve, apostates are those who once received the knowledge of the Truth, then they walked away. Once we’re in a relationship with Him – we must diligently abide in Him – and when we stumble, go before Him humbly and ask His forgiveness. Then believe His promises and move forward – in the Spirit.

I agree, it is not by our ability that we obtain salvation. Nor is it by our ability that we remain in Christ. It is our choice, whether or not we believe, and then follow, and then remain in Him. It is ultimately, by His Grace, that the whole process even begins and/or continues to fruition. It is by His Grace that he stirs us and gives us strength to remain in Him when we continually (choose to) seek Him.
It is a relationship. The very nature of a relationship means that there is more than one participant. We are not passive in that relationship (and that is not to say we lead in any way)! It is by His Grace, because He is so merciful and does not wish to see any of us perish, that He keeps working/stirring in our lives to draw us to Him (or back to Him in some cases). Some never turn back to Him. Some simply never choose Him. Those who don’t choose to follow, along with those who turn away - He will turn them loose to their sinful desires. Jesus said we must deny ourselves, pick up our crosses and follow Him and that many would try and few would find the gate. Ask yourself, honestly (and with God’s help) if Jesus would have said those things for ‘non-believers’. Or was He trying to warn us (out of Mercy and Lovingkindness) of the very real dangers that lay ahead on our path with Him.

It is not our ability to hang on - it is our choice to hang on (and trust He will give us what we need to endure). We CHOOSE to pick up our cross daily. Christ interacts with us as we reach out to Him. It is a gift from Him that we even deign to reach to Him. This is what used to confuse me. This process of picking up our cross changes, as I have found, over time. At first, it took concerted effort on my part - to learn NOT to lean on my own understanding, and to reach to Him when I found myself at a crossroad. Gradually as I draw closer to Him – He draws closer to me. Just like He promised! To develop that relationship - that living, breathing relationship with the LORD, learning that I could not and cannot achieve anything in my own strength is part of the process that has become so real and powerfully encouraging to me. Nothing beats experiencing these things firsthand, with the LORD.

God, being omnipotent - the author and finisher of everything, knows the beginning to the end (as we operate and understand time) - He is outside of time. Based on that, we can be assured, that those of us who remain in Him, will obtain the salvation He has set aside for us - our inheritance. Do we inherit in the present? NO. Even the apostles understood this, as anyone can clearly see in 1 Peter 1:3-5.

Our obedience to Christ is what keeps us in Him. To say we can never walk away is not true. I walked away years ago. The LORD chastised me for many years. I didn't see it at the time. It's only by HIS GRACE (& Mercy and Lovingkindness) that He didn't allow my earthly body to die, thus sealing a nasty fate for me. There are MANY warnings (nt and ot) about God turning us loose to our sins if we doggedly cling to vain imaginations and traditions of men, etc. There are many warnings about not having our feet in ‘both camps’ – serving two masters, and those who have not the love of the Truth, and those who want their ears tickled instead, etc.
Darrin, we're supposed to test the spirits to see if they are of God. We also must be very careful about declaring that something is not of God when it is, because if we're in error we are in grave danger of grieving the Holy Spirit by attributing a work by Him to something more sinister. Please be careful you don’t fall into that by implying that I’m not testing the spirit to make sure it is of God. God knows my heart. I keep my eyes on Him. We all should keep our eyes on Him lest we fall into leaning on our own understanding or fall into defending long-held beliefs taught by men (who may be in subtle error, therefore misleading the sheep). Whenever I have a question, I ask Jesus to show me the answer. I don’t ask man. Jesus is faithful. Man is not.

One thing the Holy Spirit has taught me is that I cannot rely on ANY man. I can only rely on Him. He is faithful. He is 100% true and will never mislead me. I HAVE been misled in the past. The most insidious misleading was by preachers. Insidious because their doctrines are subtle and I wasn’t in the WORD strongly enough myself, asking the Holy Spirit to teach me (and confirm things so I would know it was from Him and not something sneaking in). I almost lost my faith in Christ because of men. Ultimately I am responsible for that as far as my own fate goes. But those who cause little lambs to stumble are issued grave warnings by Jesus. Many many will answer for all the times they caused little lambs (like I was back then) to stumble and falter. It is by the Grace and Mercy of God that He allowed me to live long enough to come back to Him. ANYONE who is teaching needs to be very careful and remain humble before the LORD so they don’t stumble themselves, and unintentionally cause others to stumble, leaving themselves with blood on their hands.

This notion that somehow we have no choice, once we 'believe', is a fallacy in reason. The demons believe. Jesus said that. I’m certain He meant what He said. And we cannot pick and choose which of His words we like and chuck out the rest. We must rightly divide the word in Spirit and Truth - and the only way to do that is to totally submit to Him, and seek Him. I'm doing that.

Obedience to Christ is not works. It is obedience - it is total surrender born out of love and desire for Jesus. It is getting to know His voice (He said, "My sheep know my voice and they follow me"). We must ask ourselves, ‘Do I know His voice?’. If calamity struck – and you were left without your computer, without your church building, even without your Bible – would you know His voice? Would your relationship with Him be so close that your faith would not be shaken from the True Vine? That you would know He can do the impossible in the midst of impossibility? That you would be so keenly attuned to Him that you would follow what would be seemingly odd instructions to those who don’t follow Him (Elijah comes to mind – being told to go to the dry river..then to the widow) WITH total faith and without any hesitation? These are hard questions that we must all ask ourselves in the time in which we live.

Lastly, we all need to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. Keeping our eyes firmly on Jesus. And measuring our words carefully, knowing that we will be called to account for each and every single one.

I had to confront that very real possibility in my own life. It was very sobering and very frightening to me to think I could end up one of those whom Jesus would deny. And deny some, He will. And those whom He denies in that day are the people who clung to their vain imaginations and traditions of men, whilst refusing to review their long held beliefs – calling themselves ‘Christians’. This is not about non-‘believers’. It’s about US who profess to love Jesus.

I care not what anyone thinks of me. I only speak what the Holy Spirit leads me to speak. I pray He guides and leads my every step, lest I step into a snare. And I trust Him implicitly to protect me. I pray all brothers and sisters do as well. I humbly bow out now.

SJ Camp said...

Lisa
We have been saved; we are saved; and we will be saved.

When the Scriptures speak of our salvation, it speaks of it as a past reality with continuing results. Consider Titus 3:5 or Romans 8:28-31. We were actually redeemed on the cross and our inheritance secured for us between the Father and the Son in times past eternal (2 Timothy 1:9).

All of grace (Romans 9:6-24).

Christine said...

Lisa,
After reading your post, I would like to say, thank God that He led you back to Himself. Jeremiah 3:14 says Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: 15 And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. and 22 Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the Lord our God. 23 Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains: truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel. Jeremiah 3:22,23.

I would like to say something about Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. It seems that when that scripture is quoted, the last part is left out--who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Even after you are saved, you have a choice to either walk after your flesh, or after the Spirit. As born again Christians, we need to renew our minds to the Word of God. The bible says, those who are in the flesh cannot please God, so God wants us to stay in the Spirit. Also, about choices, Deuteronomy 30:19 says I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed my live, (your seed is your children, for those that don't know-not trying to insult anyones intelligence,I didn't know until I was taught) I believe we have a free will, God created us with a free will. When He created Adam, He said, "you can eat of all the trees in the Garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat"-death and sin entered the world because of Adam's choice. We have choices, we are not zombies or robots, even after we are born again. Lisa, God Bless you as you continue to seek God.

Steve, thank you for being a gracious host, I very much enjoy your music,thankyou for making it available on the internet.

Christine

Lisa said...

Christine - That is such a good point you made about Romans 8. People do often leave out the last bit about no condemnation for those walking not after the flesh but after the Spirit. It illustrates we still have free will once born again. (born again is not the same as 'saved'.)

Those verses in Deuteronomy are wonderfully encouraging, and help us to know we must remain steadfast in the Spirit.

Consider also the sometimes hard to swallow words in Ezekiel 18: 24"But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity and does according to all the abominations that a wicked man does, will he live? All his righteous deeds which he has done will not be remembered for his treachery which he has committed and his sin which he has committed; for them he will die.

25"Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not right ' Hear now, O house of Israel! Is My way not right? Is it not your ways that are not right?

26"When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity and dies because of it, for his iniquity which he has committed he will die.

27"Again, when a wicked man turns away from his wickedness which he has committed and practices justice and righteousness, he will save his life.

28"Because he considered and turned away from all his transgressions which he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die.

This addresses what happens if we, who profess to love and follow Christ, turn from the righteousness and go back to unrighteousness. It's the same today for us. Many do not believe these warnings in these scriptures mean what they say.

This answers Steve's mildly sarcastic question posed before my last post (about those who remain in Christ - then fall away - then come back).

If back-slidden children (those reborn of the Spirit) do not turn away from sin and remain in Christ - there is grave trouble ahead for them.

Christine you said: "Even after you are saved, you have a choice to either walk after your flesh, or after the Spirit. As born again Christians, we need to renew our minds to the Word of God. The bible says, those who are in the flesh cannot please God, so God wants us to stay in the Spirit."

I agree with everything you just said, except the part about 'one you are saved'. I would reterm that to say 'once you are reborn of the Spirit'. Our salvation will be given when Jesus returns. It is the promised inheritance to come and we can only rest in assurance as long as we remain in Christ.

Thank you for rejoicing that one more prodigal child returned to the LORD. God bless you.

SJ Camp said...

Lisa
Good to see that you are still engaged on this issue.

I would like to encourage you to give an answer to my question to you and to have you define it biblically. I really wasnt trying to be sarcastic - please forgive me if my words communicated that to you. I was only trying to take what you are asserting - salvation and preservation by personal free will - to its end conclusion.

I do think it is an important one to answer. Please take some time to respond.

BTW, I do believe in free will. I just believe God is the only one who has it.

Thank you for your comments here.

SJ Camp said...

Christine
Thank you for your gracious words. Glad to allow good open discussion on these important issues.

A few brief thoughts to consider:

1. The rest of verse one you quoted isn't part of the original text. It was added later.

2. The issue of free will in salvation goes to depravity. Is man unable to save himself because he is dead in trespasses and sin; or is he not too dead, only partially dead, that he can of his own free volition determine his own spiritual destiny by his own personal choice. You can't have it both ways.

3. One text in Romans to consider is 9:10-23:

"10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—"

That is the Potter's freedom over his creatures.

Grace and peace

Darrin said...

Christine/Lisa,

I think you may not be correctly interpreting Romans 8:1. The end of the verse is not a further delimiter on who is not condemned, but a descriptor of those who are in Christ. (Please see verse 9 and following.)

As Steve has indicated, a big problem with the doctrine of libertarian free will is that it takes no account of the biblical doctrine of fallen man's inability.

God has made us free creatures to an extent, but our will is always constrained to our nature. And He alone can change our nature.

SJ Camp said...

Darrin
Bingo!

Biblically, there is no support whatsoever that someone can be in Christ, then out of Christ, then in Christ, then out of Christ... based upon their own free will moorings.

Salvation is of the Lord... past, present and future.

Thanks again for your comment.

Lisa said...

Steve -
In the Spirit of Truth let me first start with this:
Isaiah 1:18"Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.
19"If you consent and obey, You will eat the best of the land;
20"But if you refuse and rebel, You will be devoured by the sword
"Truly, the mouth of the LORD has spoken."

You are either trying to understand what I'm saying while binding it in your reasoning/logic - OR you are on a mission to defend your logic, and I leave your motive to the LORD because I truly don't know at this point, but neither approach will bring you any understanding of what I am sharing unless you prayerfully ask the LORD to be over this exchange to HIS GLORY and HIS TRUTH.

I am not asserting that salvation comes only by free will/choice on our part. Look at the passage above. GOD says - IF you CONSENT and OBEY. That means we choose - we exert our free will. I'm saying that if we exert our free will (which is a gift from GOD) and choose to turn away from sin - turn to the LORD (total submission to obey Him) that we open the door for GOD to bring us back to what He originally intended. Jesus explained this to Nicodemus - about the need for us to be reborn of the Holy Spirit. God doesn't rebirth us against our will.

Salvation is not yet received. Revelation 21: 7"He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.
It is the promised inheritance - we WILL inherit if we first seek Him - then follow Him - and diligently remain in Christ.

We have not overcome all these things yet. We have not yet received the promised inheritance.

Read the passages I posted from Ezekial 18. Those will shed light regarding falling away and turning back to the LORD again. It illustrates that we can choose to remain righteous (in Christ) or turn away and lose life.

If you agree the whole Bible is the living Word of God - then you must be able to reconcile these warnings throughout scripture, with sound reasoning. We cannot dismiss these warnings and only cling to the passages about Grace.

We will battle spiritually against this flesh until that day that we receive our inheritance of eternal life (along with our new bodies in Christ upon His return). GOD does not hold us captive. We can walk away at any time. That is NOT His desire for us, though.

If we remain stubborn - as Jesus warned the church of Epesus in Rev, He will remove the lampstand. Revelation 2: 5'Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place--unless you repent."

Everyone looks around with a 'good idea' of who this might refer too. Personally, I take these warnings and examine myself instead of looking around to figure out who it might be, lest I be caught out. We need to retain that love of the Truth, or we might end up with a nasty shock of being denied by Jesus in the end. I'm not willing to gamble.

The dichotomy for our limited understanding is that the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY already knows the beginning to the end, while we do not. He already knows every single time we will stumble and what we will or will not do about it. We only have hints (which Romans 9 and many other scriptures touch upon) of His plan, but the important emphasis is that these scriptures demonstrate His Mercy, Lovingkindness and His desire that none would perish.....but.... also that some are destined for wrath.

We can be assured that if we remain in Christ - we will receive the promised inheritance of eternal life in His Kingdom. THAT is our security. If we do not steadfastly, and diligently remain in Christ - we will die (just as is stated clearly in Ezekiel 18:26). Loving our LORD with all our hearts, mind and strength ensures that we remain in Him - we obey Him - we know His voice - and secures our fate to receive our inheritance.

Remembering the words of Jesus in Matthew 7: 21"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.

22"Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'

23"And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.' "

Who do you think Jesus is talking to here? Non-Christians'? Or deceived Christians who really believe (with the best of intentions) they've got all the doctrines down pat and stubbornly hold onto traditions of men with 'spiritual' pride and arrogance? ('modern day Pharisees'.) Don't just think the Pharisee thing is about the 'law'- the main point is they remained UNPLIABLE in the potter's hands and had no love(!).

We have to ask (examine) ourselves (daily, imo): Am I still pliable (willing, submissive, humble & obedient) in the Potter's Hands? And we have to ask the LORD to show us if there remains ANY blemish. (and ouch is it painful sometimes)

I'll be honest and confess here out in the open - that is not always the case with me (remaining pliable). But the LORD has demonstrated His mercy and faithfulness so many times with me - and for that, I rejoice and thank Him.

SJ Camp said...

Lisa
Some good thoughts you shared. A few clarifying thoughts in response:

1. The warnings of Scripture especially in Hebrews, are written to those who are on the fence, nominal professors; those who show up for the religious event or service, but are not truly regenerate.

2. Again, context is everything. For example, you began your comment with Isaiah 1:18f; but those words are not for believers to come together and seek understanding on spiritual matters (though we should); but those words are spoken from the Lord desiring a wayward Israel to be reconciled to Him. Again, context matters.

3. We should examine ourselves and seek to grow in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ each day. That is the fruit of our salvation - not the root of it. You are not saved by that growth... but it does give the evidence that you are born again. (see 2 Peter 1:3-12).

4. Once you are saved you do have a choice in your sanctification (Titus 2:12; Roms. 12:1-2). But your salvation is all of the Lord and only by the Lord. That is the point of John 3 and Jesus' instruction to Nicodemus.

5. But the greater question I have for you is what you have not answered here: if you believe you can lose your salvation, do you believe you can regain once again after you were initially saved and then lost it? If so, how many times can you lose and regain it? And what determines that loss and a resaved condition?

I look forward to your response.
Thank you.

SJ Camp said...

Lisa
But the LORD has demonstrated His mercy and faithfulness so many times with me - and for that, I rejoice and thank Him.

Amen! It is the Lord who is faithful and merciful in our salvation and sanctification - not us.

Well said.

Lisa said...

Steve - My replies are numbered to correspond with your assertions and your question in #5:

1. I was referring to all warnings - not just Hebrews. There are many warnings issued by Jesus that make one seriously question the doctrine of eternal security as taught by so many today (and which only began being taught in the 1800's incidentally).

Ask yourself whom you serve. Jesus, Paul, Edwards, some other preacher's teachings, etc....? I had to ask myself this once. It was sobering.

I have not seen you quote ANYthing from Jesus. I have seen you quote a lot of Paul's writings (once from Peter), and refer to Edwards. Whom do you follow?

I tend to lean toward Jesus's words more heavily than others. If another's claims or assertions are at odds with any of Jesus's words, then we must question those claims. (and Jesus's words are not at odds with Paul's..but then Peter warned about people misinterpreting Paul's writings...and many have.....)

Please answer how we're to reconcile the warnings issued by Jesus - all passages referring to enduring to the end - removing lampstands - overcoming, etc. - with Paul's writings about Grace.

If you cannot. Okay. But at least step up and say you don't know. Or pony up the goods and show exactly how Jesus (THE KING of KINGS) is saying exactly what Paul says regarding eternal security while reconciling all Jesus's warnings.

2. you said For example, you began your comment with Isaiah 1:18f; but those words are not for believers to come together and seek understanding on spiritual matters (though we should);

Hmmm

A: I can't use this scripture in a general sense because - well - it isn't about reconciling Israel to God?

Or

B: I can use this scripture in the context of this exchange because it makes good, reasonable sense (not to mention we're supposed to live by every WORD that comes out of the Mouth of God)?

Which is it, Steve? You just contradicted yourself.

The words I quoted from Isaiah are either applicable to this situation or not. You cannot throw 'context is everything' at me whilst contradicting yourself and retain credibility as to your motive. It simply isn't honest.

3. Where did I say that examining ourselves was the root of our salvation?

I issued a gentle warning in an earlier post when Darrin (unintentionally) attributed something to me which was inaccurate and was not what I was saying or implying.

I speak more plainly now.
Please do not twist my words.

4. You said earlier that we have no free will - only God does. "I do believe in free will. I just believe God is the only one who has it.

Which is it? Because now you're saying we have a choice in sanctification.

Again, you're contradicting yourself.

I agree salvation is all of the LORD. Jesus will give us our inheritance (salvation) when He returns. We cannot earn it - we can only initiate the relationship with Jesus by going to Him - following Him and remaining in Him.

5. I refer you to my previous posts (Ezekiel 18 is a good place to start, along with the other scriptures I posted. One can do a search with a good Bible software program to find all the terms like overcome, endure to the end, promise, etc). If that doesn't work to explain it - try going before the LORD on your knees, in total submission to Him. He will explain it much better than me.

Lastly (from your last comment) - you said: "Lisa
(Lisa said)'But the LORD has demonstrated His mercy and faithfulness so many times with me - and for that, I rejoice and thank Him.'

Amen! It is the Lord who is faithful and merciful in our salvation and sanctification - not us.

Well said."


Wow, you twist what I say once again. Steve, this really doesn't bode well in terms of honesty. I'm praying over this situation because we ALL need to ask ourselves if we're operating in the Spirit of Truth ....or the flesh. I mean, honestly. What did you hope to achieve by that? This isn't some clever slam-dunk process to show who's more knowledgeable (at least it's not for me, and I didn't initially think it was for you either).

I totally acquiesce and give you credit for having more 'Bible knowledge' than me. I'm no scholar. But I do have the Holy Spirit and He leads me. And I'm learning my LORD's voice more and more each day. Where's the humility? Where's the love?

SJ Camp said...

Lisa
Let's try again here. Please stay focused.

One quick question only:

How do you lose your salvation, regain it, lose it again and then regain it again? How exactly in your views can you do that?

Explain by the Word of God.
Steve

SJ Camp said...

Lisa
Also, "all of Scripture is inspired by God and profitable..." (2 tim. 3:16-17). The words of our Lord Jesus should be treasured to all who name the name of Christ. But the whole of Scripture are His words... not just the red-letter ones.

The warnings of our Lord are the same as Paul's. They addressed to unregenerate people who are in danger of believing a false gospel. You cited well Matthew 7:21-24. The ones condemned in that passage are the ones who think they come to salvation by works - even religious ones - of their own. Jesus calls their works done in His name - iniquity and lawlessness. He never knew them...

Knew them from when? From all eternity past. IOW, they were not chosen; they were not elect; they were not His sheep of His fold. They were identified with Him only by profession, but not by relationship.

Hope this helps clarify a bit more for you. I am glad you are asking these questions.

cyd said...

Hi Lisa,

Please help me understand something you said earlier --

"I have not seen you quote ANYthing from Jesus. I have seen you quote a lot of Paul's writings (once from Peter)"

It sounds as if you are dividing up the Word into categories of Jesus words and mans words; I'm hoping that is not the case here, since the Bible confirms the Bible on this issue.

For example, 2Timothy 3:16 says "ALL Scripture is breathed out by God..."

John 17:17 says, "sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth."

Proverbs 30:5 says, "Every word of God proves true; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him"

Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit..."

John 1:1 says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God..."
vs.14- "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth."

The entire Word is God's Word and must be believed and honored as such. This is a foundational truth, necessary for a strong, steady walk with the Lord.

Also, I am interested in reading your response to Steve's question. And FWIW, I can assure you that he asked it with sincerity, not sarcasm. :-)

Thanks, Lisa.

Cindy

Lisa said...

Steve -

How can one lose something they haven't got [yet]?

I know you don't hold this view, but lets consider, for the sake of reasoning that salvation has not yet been granted. Let's suppose Rev 21:7 and 1 Peter 3:5 really mean what they say.

With that in mind.....

We have assurance of receiving the promised inheritance of eternal life, in the Kingdom of God by remaining in Jesus.

If we wilfully sin after being reborn of the Holy Spirit and do not turn away from our sin (repent) there no longer remains a sacrifice. If we later repent (turn away from our sin) while the door of mercy is still open, God will forgive us and we can resume the race.
(see Heb 10:26, Heb 12:1, Heb 12:3 & Heb 10:36)

Nowhere have I asserted, stated or claimed that one can "lose salvation, regain it, lose it again and then regain it again". I did, however, address this notion earlier by stating that one cannot move in an out of sin wilfully (God knows our hearts/intent) . Heb 10;26 is pretty clear about this.

This brings us back to salvation. And my starting point in attempting to answer you. We have not yet obtained salvation - it is the promise of inheritance. Working upon that basis....


You want scriptures. Okay - perhaps this will help. It is by no means exhaustive, but it is a start. I hope you carefully read each and every one prayerfully.

A. Not all who claim to be Christians really are:
1 Jn 2:19
Mat 7:21-22
(This does NOT negate the fact that people can turn their backs on God)

B. We have to TEST ourselves to see if we are of the faith
2 Cor 13:5
2 Pet 1:10
(why would we need to do this if it was a one time no brainer?)

C. Real Christians Obey
1 John 2:3-5 (speaks for itself really)

D. We need to PERSEVERE to the END and NOT turn away
Heb 6:4-6,15
Matt 10:22, John 10:21
Ja 1:12
Col 1:23
2 Pet 2:20 (through 22 is good)
Mat 5:20
Ezek 18:26-27
Rev 3:5
1 Cor 1:18, 15:2, and 2 Cor 2:15 (some versions actually translate ALL 3 of these passages in Cor as "BEING SAVED")

E. We persevere through GOD'S power
1 Thess 5:23-24
Phil 1:6
Rom 9:16
Jude 24-25
John 10:27-30
John 6:37-47
(Those that make it to the END and are granted salvation will not get plucked out of Christ's hand by anyone or anything.)

F. Salvation is by grace and not works (Tit 3:4-6, Eph 2:8) BUT, a child of God produces good WORKS as a RESULT (fruit). (Matt 7, 1 John 2:3-4)


E. It is a race. Races have beginnings and ends. People can endure or drop out.
2 Timothy 4:7 "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:"

1 Corinthians 9:24 "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain."

Hebrews 12:1 "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us"

****************

Whilst praying and answering, I noticed you posted a further reply to me. I also noticed Cindy posted as well. I will address that here:


I said I'm particularly interested in Jesus's words (be assured this is not at the exclusion of other words in the Bible....otherwise I wouldn't be referring to other passages, which I have done throughout this discussion consistently. Hope that clears that up:)). My point to Steve was that he was quoting nothing from Jesus, and consistently has disregarded my questions around Jesus's warnings...instead referring to Paul (several times), Peter (once) and even referring to Edwards. Quote the Bible to me - no problem;). Leave preachers out of it, thanks. They are mere men. The Bible is solid. Men are liars.

Steve said: They addressed to unregenerate people who are in danger of believing a false gospel.

Are you saying that true Christians cannot be in danger of believing a false gospel (being led astray)?
Good people who love the LORD have most definitely been led astray before, and by the Grace of GOD have they found their right footing on the true path again. Parable of the prodigal son...of which I'm a living example (said with no pride, I assure you)
Jesus warned how narrow the path is and how very few find it. He wasn't joking around. He meant that for US - for everyone who professes to believe and follow Him.

You then say: You cited well Matthew 7:21-24. The ones condemned in that passage are the ones who think they come to salvation by works - even religious ones - of their own. Jesus calls their works done in His name - iniquity and lawlessness. He never knew them...


Most of the people who fall into works do not realise they are striving to earn their salvation, instead of surrendering to Jesus and developing a trusting relationship with Him. It happens to many in an insidious way. A lot of people think just because they say a prayer down at an alter - all their sins, past, present and future are all automatically forgiven. It's true all past sins are forgiven (if the experience was genuine), but present sins need to be turned away from (repented of) - and future ones need to be repented of when/as they happen. Sure, we stumble - but we must immediately repent and ask Jesus to forgive us to remain on that narrow path - in Him. Jesus said 'Go and sin no more'(true repentance). Those who profess to believe but do not really turn away from sin (which is a whole other topic - but essentially all unrighteousness is sin..) are kidding themselves about their 'eternal security'.

The whole of Matthew 7 is a huge warning to those of us who profess to follow Jesus - because none of us are above falling into sin - stumbling. We all need to be diligent to remain in Him.

Jesus said He never knew them because they never submitted to Him long enough to develop a living, breathing relationship with Him.

I do not disregard the doctrine of election. HOWEVER - I certainly do not profess or waste time worrying about who is and who is not elected. God knows. And He's blown my mind a few times. So I humbly leave who's truly elected - to Him. His way are not our ways - nor are His thoughts. And so I just say "LORD, some things You do - I don't understand -- just cleanse me - keep my feet out of the snares and continue to purify me so I'm ready when You return."

Incidentally, those 5 virgins who find themselves without enough oil when the Master returns? Are professing Christians who did not overcome, endure and diligently maintain a living relationship with Jesus. I guess you probably call them 'unregenerate'..not real Christians......
I won't be so bold to say that myself - I just leave that to the LORD --- He knows about each and every single one of us.

I hope this answers your questions.


**************************
Referencing your last sentence:
I have posted, as I said earlier - because the LORD led me to do so. Not because I sought any answer from you. When I have questions I only have to ask Jesus. He answers every single time. As I said before, I trust no man. I've learned that lesson the hard way, I'm afraid. Psalm 146: 3 Do not trust in princes, In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation.

Christine said...

Hi Steve,

I'm responding to your comment to me about our own personal choice. I believe we are only partially dead; When the man who would become my pastor was giving an alter call, I responded, I choose to say I need what this man is offering me. I rose my hand, and I went to the front. It was my choice to respond to God's gift of Jesus on the cross. God has given to every man a measure of faith, enough faith to get saved!
Even though we were dead in trespasses and sin, God still sent Jesus to die on the cross. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly. God "saw" a day when people would be reconciled to Him through Jesus. Of course, God knows who will accept Christ and who won't, because He knows all things.
We are not too dead, we were in the loins of Adam when He was in the Garden of Eden, before the Fall.
More about this later, this is an interesting discussion. -Christine

Christine said...

Hi Lisa,
I would like to comment about the salvation issue. My pastor talks about this all the time, salvation is not just about the sweet by and by. God is interested in how you live now.

For he says: In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you." Behold now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 2 Corinthians 6:2

If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. Once you are saved, it is our responsibility to find out what it is that God wants us to do. He has a purpose for us. Ephesians 1:18 "the eyes of your understanding being enlightened,that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what is the riches of the Glory of His inheritance in the saints. Eph 1:18

John 8:31, yes, we need to continue in the Word,

Then said Jesus to those jews which believed on Him, If ye continue in My word, then are ye my disciples indeed. John 8:31

got to go!!! until next time, Christine

SJ Camp said...

Christine
A good balance. Salvation is a present reality and a future hope that is unshakable and certain.

The commands to continue on in His Word are one of the evidences that we belong to Him. "My sheep hear My voice..." But here is the great comfort for us all, we only persevere until the end because we have been preserved in Christ.

It is all of grace.

SJ Camp said...

Christine
Just saw this part from one of your previous comments:

We are not too dead, we were in the loins of Adam when He was in the Garden of Eden, before the Fall.

This is what is theologically known as the seminal view for which I assume you unwittingly used. It is not at all accurate biblically.

One key reason why is that you would have to then affirm in the same breath (comparing the relationship between Adam and Jesus in Roms. 5:12-18) that we were also present in the loins of Christ on the cross - which would be blasphemous. So I am hoping this was just something you heard someone else say without fully understanding its meaning.

However, the first Adam was our federal head in the garden - he sinned and therefore his posterity, all of us, are in Adam and by nature, are conceived in sin and all who sin... die. Just as in the last Adam, Jesus Christ the Lord - He is our Federal Head in the covenant of grace. He died in our place as our divine substitute; He was a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins on the cross and by His imputed righteousness to us we have a right standing before a holy God and the surety of eternal life by grace through faith in Him alone.

This is an important distinction biblically and theologically to make.

Christine said...

Hello Steve,
Thank you for your comments. I believe what you say,when someone accepts Christ,you have salvation,everything you need to live a victorious life in Christ. He gives us the Holy Spirit. I believe the word in the greek is soteria?
I have time contraints, or I would be able to do more.

I would also like to say something and this is addressed to Lisa and anyone else who may be interested. Lisa, I've read through your submissions and I believe I hear your concern regarding people who go to the alter, get saved and then don't seem to connect with the Life that Jesus wants them to live. I believe that if someone truly wants the Lord, they will seek after Him. Some never receive a revelation of what God wants them to do, "where there is no vison,the people perish." or where there is no prohetic revelation-the people perish or run wild. I believe God gives His grace so we can get it right. "where sin abounds,Grace does much more abound," the point is, God is for you. He is a Good God! He's not like a man that He should lie.

I know that I'm not giving scripture references here, but I have to leave soon,my apologies.

James 1:23-25
If any man be a hearer of the Word, and not a doer,he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself and goes away,and immediately forgets what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looks into the Perfect Law of Liberty and is not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. James 1:23-25 (paraphrase) Also, I believe the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches,and lust for other things enter in and choke the Word.

Also, Gen 4:7
If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it." NIV Gen 4:7 I hope this helps and doesn't bring any confusion. Lisa, I just want you to know that I hear what you are saying, and you seem to be frustrated. Hope this helps.
Sincerely, Christine

SJ Camp said...

Lisa
I have been more than patient with you. i have deleted your last comment here for a couple of reasons:

1. I don't allow anonymous posting here. I give people a chance to say what they will, but I want to know who they are. Please fill out the blogger profile.

2. You also continue to post in very lenghty book form comments which I also don't allow here. Be more concise and stay on message.

3. Lastly, you refuse to answer questions asked of you about some of the unbiblical assertions you have voiced here.

When you have filled out the blogger profile and can engage here appropriately you are welcome to rejoin this thread.

Grace and peace,
Steve